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Monday, March 26, 2018

News of: Saturday, 20th of August, 2011

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Highest fees for road, lowest for waterways

A government panel on transit may suggest charging India, Nepal and Bhutan minimum transit fees between 2.5 cents and 7 cents a tonne for every kilometre of travel depending on the mode of transport.

Roads show govt failure to deliver

Battered roads and highways in most parts of the country indicate the Awami League-led coalition government could not deliver on its electoral pledges of building a strong road network although half of its tenure has already passed.

Bus driver's licence found expired

The driver of the bus that crushed a microbus leaving Tareque Masud, Mishuk Munier and three others dead on August 13 was carrying an expired licence.

BNP to soften its anti-India stance for now

The main opposition BNP is apparently backtracking on its traditional 'anti-India stance' ahead of the Indian prime minister's visit to Bangladesh early next month.

Dhali Mamun flown to Thailand

Painter Dhali Al Mamun, who was injured in a fatal road crash on Dhaka-Aricha highway in Manikganj last Saturday, was yesterday flown to Thailand for better treatment.

UN hears Dhaka's claim on Aug 25

The United Nations will hear Bangladesh's claim on the continental shelf in the Bay of Bengal on August 25, months after Dhaka sought international arbitration following disputes with neighbouring India and Myanmar.

Fishermen clash with coastguards

Nineteen people including nine coastguards were injured yesterday during a clash with fishermen over seizure of current net in Patharghata upazila of Barguna district.

Complete road repair not before Eid

The battered roads will not be completely repaired before Eid-ul-Fitr but steps have been taken so that vehicles can ply safely, said Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain yesterday.

Rajshahi cops yet to face legal action

The eight suspended policemen, who on Thursday confessed to extorting Tk 1 lakh from a physician of Rajshahi, are yet to face any legal action.

Discontent brewing in ruling alliance

Leaders of three major components of ruling Awami League-led grand alliance said they will no longer shoulder the responsibility for the government's failure to deliver on the people's expectations.

Suicide bomb attack on Pak mosque kills 48

A suicide bomber struck a crowded Pakistan mosque yesterday, killing 48 people and wounding more than 100 during Ramadan prayers, in the country's deadliest attack for three months.

Garments get pricier

The year's biggest shopping season on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr has stepped into its third week with businesses reporting poor sales and shoppers struggling to keep pace with the soaring prices of garment items.

Beware of fake notes

With Eid-ul-Fitr round the corner, counterfeiters are churning out fake notes and releasing them in the market.

Hazare begins hunger strike

Emerging from a prison to lusty cheers of "Long live Mother India”, India's leading anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare yesterday started a 15-day public hunger strike, vowing to continue his protest until the government passes a tougher anti-graft law.

West Bengal renamed Paschimbanga

The Indian state of West Bengal will get a new name-- Paschimbanga.

IBM makes first 'brain chips'

IBM has developed a microprocessor which it claims comes closer than ever to replicating the human brain.

Storm kills five at Belgian rock fest

A violent storm that lashed an outdoor rock music festival in northern Belgium killed five people, Hasselt mayor Hilde Claes said yesterday.


Shipping minister's remarks

In what appears to be an ex post-facto justification of an earlier comment, the Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan has again said in so many words that drivers have no need for education.

Ban on corporal punishment

It is obvious that children are the future of the nation. How well are we grooming them? The government has banned corporal punishment in schools. Yet, stories of such incidents crop up intermittently. A survey conducted by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Dhaka couple of years ago depicted a horrific picture of physical abuse in schools.


Tigers salvage some pride

A four-wicket haul from Rubel Hossain yesterday helped Bangladesh finally open their account, three weeks into their tour of Zimbabwe.The Tigers ran off with a 6-wicket win with 13.2 overs to spare in the fourth one-dayer at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

Relief more than satisfaction

What went through the minds of Bangladesh's top-order in the first three games of the series was confirmed to all yesterday. Aggressive intent and a gung-ho attitude, though expected, not only uncovered how relieved they felt in the fourth one-dayer (read Brian

Messi to lead team in Dhaka

Want-away Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez was on Friday dropped from the Argentina squad for friendly games against Venezuela and Nigeria by new coach Alejandro Sabella but magical striker Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero have been included in the friendly squads.

Saif retains jr chess title

Abdullah Al Saif retained the title of the National Junior Chess Championship after registering his ninth straight victory over Fahad Rahman in the final round of the 32nd edition championship at the Bangladesh Chess Federa-tion hall room yesterday.


Out of the six previous times they have played at the Queens Sports Club, Bangladesh have won the toss and elected to field first on two occasions.

Kamal assures CWAB

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president AHM Mustafa Kamal assured Cricket Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) that he will keep former cricketers' councilorship rights at the board.

NCA trail CSA Academy

Fast bowler Alauddin Babu helped GP-BCB National Cricket Academy (NCA) to score 197 in their first innings on the second day of the final four-day match against CSA Academy at Laudium, Pretoria yesterday.

BSWA awards two journos

Bangladesh Sports Writers Association awarded journalists Motiur Rahman Chowdhury and Majedur Rahman Mohsin for their contribution to country's sports.

Ian, Kevin torment India

Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen both scored hundreds to leave England in a position of utter dominance against India on the second day of the fourth and final Test at The Oval here on Friday.

Hilditch goes in sweeping review

Chief selector Andrew Hilditch and head coach Tim Nielsen were high-profile casualties Friday of a sweeping review into Australian cricket sparked by the team's Ashes humiliation this year.

Malik cleared of charges

Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday cleared former captain Shoaib Malik over allegations of illegal earnings, paving his way for a return to international cricket.

Big guns blaze in Cincinnati

Top seed Novak Djokovic breezed through his third round match Thursday but world No. 2 Rafael Nadal was pushed to the limit before he reached the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters.

U-19 squad announced

Bangladesh Football Fede-ration yesterday declared a 30-member U-19 preliminary squad for the AFC U-19 Championships in October.

Clijsters skips US Open

Defending champion Kim Clijsters withdrew from the US Open on Friday because of a stomach muscle injury.

Reds test for Arsenal

Arsenal enter what is arguably the most testing week of Arsene Wenger's 15-year reign on Saturday when Liverpool visit the Emirates to kick-off a potentially season-defining sequence of matches.

Brazil recall Ronaldinho

Veteran striker Ronaldinho was on Thursday handed a surprise recall to the Brazil squad for next month's friendly against Ghana, with coach Mano Menezes opening the door to the 2014 World Cup finals.

Five-star Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur led the way on a positive night for English clubs in the Europa League play-offs on Thursday, crushing Scottish rivals Hearts 5-0 to all but book their place in the group phase.

The man who conquered the world

Today he stands tall as the first and only person on the planet to have stood on top of every continent, and the two poles, in a world-record-breaking six months time.

Spain players call strike

Players in Spain's top two divisions will strike on the first day of the season after last-ditch negotiations with clubs on wage guarantees collapsed, the league announced on Friday.

Atletico agree Falcao fee

Atletico Madrid agreed a deal, believed to be worth 40 million euros, to sign Colombian international striker Falcao from Portuguese champions Porto, the Spanish side announced on Thursday.

Wenger faces UEFA hearing

Arsene Wenger faces a disciplinary hearing for allegedly breaching the terms of his touchline ban during the Gunners' 1-0 Champions League win over Udinese, UEFA confirmed on Friday.


Vow to resist road crashes

Speakers at different commemorative programmes yesterday vowed to transform the shock, caused by the loss of Tareque Masud and Mishuk Munier, into strength to resist any further death on roads.

Dhaka to get better than Mujib-Indira deal: Rizvi

Bangladesh will gain a better deal over land disputes with India than what the Mujib-Indira Land Boundary Agreement of 1974 bargained, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi.

UNFPA to fund $70m for next five years

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has pledged to fund $70 million in the next five-year (2012-16) plan to improve the country's maternal and reproductive health and tackle violence against women.

Grandmother's Diet

Michael Pollan is known for his groundbreaking books on America's food business. In The Omnivore's Dilemma, he analyses the dependence of American food on processing and fertilisers. First hand research on American food businesses, from farms to manufacturing plants, enables him to analyse the confusing state of many American foods, including the preponderance of corn and its derivatives in American diet.

Amend vested property act

Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta yesterday urged the government to amend the vested property act and establish minority communities' rights to property.

2 killed in road crashes

Two people were killed in road accidents in Rajbari and Chapainawabganj on Thursday night.

Minor girl violated

A seven-year-old girl was violated by an unidentified man at Jodunathpur village in Sadar upazila on Thursday.

Illegal Bangladeshis big problem

India yesterday said delay in identification of nationality of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh by Bangladesh High Commission is causing problems in the deportation of the illegal immigrants.

Fire sparks panic at city's Mouchak

Hundreds of shoppers got panicked as a fire broke out at a bakery nearby the city's busy Mouchak Market on Friday evening.

Two bullet-hit bodies found

The bullet-hit bodies of two young men were recovered from a playground at South Keraniganj, the city's outskirts, yesterday morning

Resignation demanded

Leaders of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) yesterday demanded resignation of the communications minister and shipping minister “responsible for the frail condition of transportation in the country”.

Collect more revenues: Muhith

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday directed the National Board of Revenue (NBR) officials of Rajshahi zone to go for more revenue collection through widening the income tax net.

8 injured in BGB- smugglers clash

At least 8 people including a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) member of Joypurhat were wounded in a half-hour chase and counter-chase between alleged smugglers and BGB members at Joypurhat Railway Station yesterday.

Driver flees with sugar-laden truck

A truck driver has allegedly fled with 16 tonnes of sugar worth Tk 10.24 lakh on the way to Comilla from Chittagong.

Acting Huji boss on 5-day remand

The suspected chief of banned outfit Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji), Maulana Mohammad Yahiya, and his two associates were remanded for five days yesterday.

Repair highways

Leaders of Workers Party of Bangladesh yesterday demanded immediate reconstruction of the damaged roads and highways to ease the sufferings of home-bound people on the occassion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Fire at RMG factory in city

A devastating fire broke out at Tariq Nitwear Garments at Badda in the city early yesterday.

Khaleda in Madinah

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia offered Juma prayers along with lakhs of Muslims from across the world at Masjid al-Nabawi in Madinah yesterday.

Salary for RMG workers before Eid demanded

Leaders of different organisations of garment workers yesterday demanded salaries, allowances and overtime payment of garment workers before Eid-ul-Fitr.

Betel leaf vendor shot

Unknown criminals shot a betel leaf vendor in the city's Gulshan yesterday morning.

Nine teams to check unrest in RMG

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has formed nine monitoring committees to check any probable unstable situation in the garment industry that may erupt over payment of salaries and bonuses to the workers before the Eid-Ul-Fitr, apparel makers said.

WFP provides food for flood victims

The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) with funding from AusAID is providing emergency food assistance to floods affected people in Satkhira.

Vehicles damaged

A vegetable vendor was crushed under the wheels of a bus on Dhaka-Mawa highway at Abdullahpur of South Keraniganj on the outskirts of the capital on Thursday night.

HC asks govt to explain

The High Court on Thursday issued a rule asking the government to explain within two weeks why it should not be directed to prosecute a teacher of Jahangirnagar University (JU) for allegedly posting a derogatory comment on the facebook against the prime minister.

Train derails in C'nawabganj

Train service between Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi and adjoining areas remained suspended since yesterday morning after a passenger train derailed near Chapainawabganj Railway Station.

Hill man slaughtered over land dispute

A hills indigenous person was slaughtered by his neighbour at Wakchhari in Manikchhari upazila yesterday morning.

Mill worker electrocuted

A rice mill worker was electrocuted at Kazinagar village in Begumganj upazila yesterday morning.

Journo faces music over report

The leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) unit on Thursday demanded punishment of the SUST correspondent of the Dainik Shokaler Khobor, a Bengali daily, following a published report.

Woman beaten to death

An elderly woman was beaten to death at Fariapara of Mithapukur upazila on Thursday night.

Production of urea in Ashuganj plant suspended

Urea production in Ashuganj Fertiliser and Chemical Company Limited (AFCCL) was suspended yesterday morning due to technical glitches.

8th wage board soon if journos want : Azad

The government will be able to form the eighth wage board 'very soon' if journalists are agreed to receive it without amending the respective law, Information Minister Abul Kalam Azad told parliament on Thursday.

Youth killed over Tk 10

A youth lost his life allegedly in a quarrel with his friend over Tk 10 in Lalmonirhat town Thursday night.

Indefinite transport strike in Rangpur begins today

Rangpur Motor Sramik Union (union of transport workers) will enforce an indefinite strike from today on all routes in Rangpur district until their five-point demand is met.

Cocaine worth Tk 25 lakh seized

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) men recovered cocaine worth Tk 25 lakh at Dayingpara in Godagari upazila of Rajshahi on Thursday.

BGB hands over 12 Indians to BSF

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) handed over 12 Indian nationals to Indian Border Security Force (BSF) in Hakimpur frontier area of Sadar upazila on Thursday.


MN Chowdhury, a former ambassador and father-in-law of the Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, passed away at his Banani residence in the city on Thursday at the age of 87.

Death anniversary

Today is the 15th death anniversary of Monjurul Imam, a retired employee of Water Development Board and father of journalist Mafiz Imam Milon.


Syrian forces kill 22 despite Assad's pledge

Syrian forces killed at least 22 protesters as tens of thousands swarmed the streets after Friday prayers, activists said, a day after President Bashar al-Assad pledged that military assaults on civilians had been halted.

Rescue of foreigners planned from Tripoli

Thousands of foreigners trapped in Tripoli by rebel advances that have cut off the capital will be evacuated in a massive international rescue, probably by sea, an international body said yesterday.

Egypt protest to Israel over 5 police deaths

Egypt protested to Israel yesterday and demanded a probe into the deaths of its policemen a day earlier on the Israeli border as Israeli troops pursued militants behind deadly attacks, the official MENA news agency reported.

Blacks get less science funding than whites

Black scientists lag behind whites in US government funded research grants with a 10 percentage point gap between the two that cannot be explained by education or experience, a study said Thursday.

Taliban assault on UK office in Kabul kills 9

Taliban attackers laid siege to a British cultural centre in the Afghan capitalyesterday, killing at least nine people during an hours-long assault on the 92nd anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from British rule.

Inspired by Anna, Pakistani to fast against corruption

Taking a cue from Anna Hazare, a 68-year-old Pakistani businessman is set to go on hunger strike in Islamabad from Sep 12 to declare war on endemic corruption in his country.

Maoists kill 11 police in India

Maoists yesterday gunned down at least 11 policemen in an ambush that set off a gunbattle which left four ultras dead in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

Suu Kyi meets president for first time

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met the country's new civilian president for the first time yesterday, an official said, in the latest sign the regime is reaching out to its opponents.

Israeli strike kills 1 in Gaza

At least one person was killed yesterday when the Israeli air force targeted an area in the eastern part of Gaza City, medics told AFP.

Karachi Violence

At least 52 people have been killed in a wave of street violence between rival ethnic groups and criminal gangs in Pakistan's financial capital of Karachi, police said yesterday.

Norway killer to stay in solitary

A court in Oslo ruled yesterday that Anders Behring Breivik, the gunman behind last month's twin attacks in Norway, should remain in solitary confinement for another month.

Gbagbo charged in Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast ex-president Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone have been charged with "economic crimes" and placed under preventative detention, the public prosecutor announced Thursday.

Aim high to be happy

Ambition does make you happier, according to the latest research, which shows those who sell themselves short often end up miserable.

ABC team feared dead in Australia chopper crash

A three-man news team from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation was feared dead yesterday after their helicopter crashed in a remote Outback area.

Works open on Makkah mosque extension

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was to officially launch a $10.6-billion extension project yesterday for the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam's holiest city, media reports said.

Chile raises Pinochet victims' number

More than 40,000 people were either killed, illegally arrested and tortured or "disappeared" during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of the late general Augusto Pinochet, Chilean officials said in a report out Thursday.

Social networks to meet home secretary over riots

The major social networks have been called to the home office next Thursday to discuss the English riots.

Arts & Entertainment

Remembering an icon

Dhaka Theatre along with Bangladesh Gram Theatre, Swapnadal and Desh Bangla Theatre arranged a two-day programme to celebrate the 62nd birth anniversary of theatre icon Selim Al Deen. The programme began on August 18 at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). It included staging of plays, exhibition and a memorial lecture.

6th South Asian Film Festival to pay tribute to Tareque Masud

The 6th edition of the South Asian Film Festival (SAFF) to be held in Panaji, Goa, from September 15 to 18, will pay tribute to Bangladeshi director Tareque Masud, who died in road accident, and late Bollywood veteran Shammi Kapoor.

Stopping traffic in Manhattan with Indian classical dance

Each August now brings one of the highlights of the New York dance calendar in, of all places, the Financial District at lunchtime: namely, the Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance open-air performance. It's held as part of the Battery Dance Company's annual Downtown Dance Festival and presented by the Indo-American Arts Council.


Public disorder and class factor

The breaking and looting spree of menacingly rampaging young men and women in London and other cities in England must have been shocking and enigmatic to many. Some observers may have been amused to see young people relishing the very act of stealing, looting and damaging property with no remorse or compunction. Surprisingly enough, as young as eleven year olds have taken part in the disturbingly deviant act.

Another people's movement

When Gandhian Jayaprakash Narayan was arrested by Ms. Indira Gandhi after imposing the emergency (1975-77), he cited a Sanskrit saying: "Vinasha kale vibareta buddhi," meaning that when the ruler faces bad times, his thinking also gets warped.

In this country, can life survive?

I used to ask friends, how are you? Now I ask, are you still alive? When saying goodbye, I don't say be well; I say, stay alive. Even if I'm suffering, let me live. Don't let our heroes disappear into the void. A truck full of dead children, brothers beaten to a pulp by the mob, a patient dying because of a missing oxygen cylinder. Please, no more of this.

Highway to death

In a country that stumbles upon calamity, mostly man-made, with unerring regularity and embraces disaster with disturbing stoicism, death's sting has long been blunted. Yet, once in a while, some deaths become a matter of more than personal grief to the bereaved family. It happened with the death of noted Filmmaker Tareq Masud and Media Personality Mishuk Munier in a head-on collision between a passenger bus and the microbus carrying them to Manikganj. Five persons including Tareq Masud and Mishuk Munier were killed on the spot.

This Day In History

August 20

Battle of Yarmouk: Arab forces led by Khalid ibn al-Walid take control of Syria and Palestine away from the Byzantine Empire, marking the first great wave of Muslim conquests and the rapid advance of Islam outside Arabia.

Prof. Razzak: Anti-hero, mentor

Professor Abdur Razzak (or in language typical of South Asia, “Razzak Sir”) did not, formally, teach me a lot about political science, but he did, informally, teach me much about life. He taught me about personal dignity, about professional integrity, about moral authority. He taught me about making individual sacrifices, about relative indifference to material possessions or social status, about earning your respect from others through example and humility rather than shrewd machination or opportunistic compromises. He taught me about the pleasures of a sophisticated and enlightened mind, about the thrill of acquiring knowledge, and about the passion that animates a scholar's soul. He opened for me a world of books, ideas, beauty, and made me fall in love with it. He LIVED the life of a mentor and inspired others not through his position as a professor, but in spite of it.


Those bursts of gunfire . . .

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stone places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palaces and reverberations
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead …

Frost and Wordsworth: a comparative overview

Robert Frost is often designated by students and critics as the American poetical parallel of William Wordsworth, the forerunner of the Romantic Movement in England. It is widely believed that Wordsworth exerted profound influence on Frost in writing his poems, especially those on nature. In philosophy and style, Frost and Wordsworth appear both similar and dissimilar.

Song of a filmmaker

Just hours ago, I learned about the tragic death of Tareque Masud in a road accident on one of Bangladesh's increasingly lethal roads. It will sound like a cliché but it must be said that his death, both untimely and heartbreakingly tragic, will cut a deep gash into the soul of Bangladesh.

Star Health

A call for pre-hospital trauma care

About 12 thousand people in Bangladesh die each year on the roads and another 35 thousand sustain fatal and non-fatal injuries, according to a Dhaka based accident research institute.

Keeping physiotherapy in the centre of disability management

Physiotherapy is one of the most important approaches used in the management of disability. Unfortunately, physiotherapy in Bangladesh has not yet got the recognition as it deserves.

Providing psychological first aid in emergencies

Humanitarian emergencies — such as earthquakes, drought, or war — not only affect people’s physical health but also their psychological and social health and well-being.

Exercise crucial for arthritis care!

There is a widespread perception that people with arthritis need to rest their joints, a myth that the physicians have worked hard to dispel. But experts say that exercise can help ease joint pain and stiffness for arthritis sufferers. Despite advice from experts, many people with osteoarthritis do not engage in any meaningful physical activity in a typical week, according to new research study published recently in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Clinic-based BP measurement is inaccurate for diagnosing hypertension

Most clinicians rely on clinic- or home-based measurement of blood pressure (BP) for diagnosing hypertension. However, whether such measurements are accurate is unclear.

Fat disrupts sugar sensors causing type 2 diabetes

A high-fat diet can trigger type 2 diabetes, in experiments on mice and human tissue, according to a study published in The Journal Nature Medicine. Researchers say that fat interferes with the body's sugar sensors, disrupts them and increases the level of sugar making people prone to type 2 or most common diabetes.

Depressed women have increased risk of stroke

Women with a history of depression had a 29 percent increased risk of having stroke, U.S. researchers suggest. The research published in Journal of the American Heart Association said doctors should be aware of people with depression who may neglect their general health.

Strategic Issues

Hiroshima and nuclear weapons disarmament

August 6th reminds us the horrors of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. The annual 6th August Peace Memorial Ceremony, which is sponsored by the city of Hiroshima, is held in the park every year.

Attacks in Iraq heighten political tensions

Baghdad One day after insurgents unleashed the most lethal series of attacks in Iraq this year, political tensions flared as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki appointed a member of his governing coalition as acting defense minister.

US firm fell short on Afghan police trainers

US-based DynCorps International failed to provide nearly 60 percent of the instructors needed to train Afghan police under a contract with the US government, according to an audit issued Monday.

Star Books Review

Adrenaline in the nervous system

lthough a skinny little book, Joumana Haddad's treatise on being a writer/editor in Lebanon packs a wallop, controversial in all environments: Haddad's own country, certainly throughout the Middle East, and also in the West. Intentionally designed to hit you in the face, I Killed Scheherazade might best be examined by quoting a passage almost at the end of the volume:

Light in a house of madness

It was on November 11, 1997, that Veronika decided to take her own life. To her, the world was not worth living for. She had four packets of sleeping pills and she lay down after taking them, waiting for the pills to take effect. Veronika had education, had a job, had a few boyfriends and had a place to live in the convent and yet all these had no meaning for her. Depression had set in deep and was leading her on toward suicide. She took up a magazine and was baffled to know that a writer had begun his writing with the question, “Where is Slovenia?” Here she was dying in Slovenia and this writer had not found this land on the map? Turning off the heater, she waited for death and lay down after marking Slovenia on the map.

Lopsided India

In his much-admired biography of V.S. Naipaul, Patrick French has an excellent half-dozen pages describing the disciplined, relentless way his subject set about gathering material for his last full-length examination of India, then widely seen to be incapable of reforming its roughhouse communal politics or quickening its development. When, 20 years ago, “India: A Million Mutinies Now” finally appeared, it was judged to be surprisingly sympathetic and hopeful, considering India's actual circumstances and the tone of high dudgeon, sometimes mockery, that many Indians had found in Naipaul's prior treatments of their land.

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