The Daily Star

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


News of: Saturday, 10th of September, 2011

Front Page

Shrinking Teesta wreaks havoc on life in North

The withdrawal of Teesta waters by India continues to play havoc with the lives of the people in Bangladesh's northern region.

Bangladesh gained a lot

Achievements made by Bangladesh during the Indian premier's visit are very substantial but they have been overshadowed by the postponement of the Teesta deal, said Prime Minister's International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi.

Taste of freedom

Jalal Uddin, 58, of Angorpota village, had diarrhoea on 25 June. His condition turned critical at night and needed to be taken to a doctor. Seeing a doctor would require going to the mainland through the Tin Bigha Corridor. But India's Border Security Force did not allow him to cross the corridor for it was “night time” when movement through it was not allowed.

'Gang leader' confesses kidney trade

Tareque Azam, a key figure of the ring involved in kidney trade, yesterday confessed to working as the coordinator among gangs active in the capital and in Joypurhat.

Khilgaon flyover closed for 24hrs

The authorities yesterday closed the Khilgaon flyover in the city for 24 hours after a part of the six-year-old structure slightly sank displacing three shuttering plates.

Corruption unabated

The BNP-led government was engaged in an apparently unprecedented level of corruption towards the end of its tenure, said a US diplomatic cable leaked recently.

Some within AL govt let it go on

LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam had told the US ambassador that some of his colleagues “did not want to stop extra-judicial killings by law enforcement agencies,” said a leaked US diplomatic dispatch.

Locals want punishment of instigators

When the six students were bludgeoned to death mercilessly at Bardeshi village in Aminbazar about two months ago, almost every villager had branded them robbers. Even just before the judicial probe committee submitted its report on Thursday, the villagers were adamant that the boys were robbers.

ACC crippled by internal rows

The then finance minister Saifur Rahman in 2005 had acknowledged that the Anti-Corruption Commission was not working the way it should and that “it was crippled by internal arguments,” said a US diplomatic dispatch leaked recently by WikiLeaks.

Interpol issues warrant to arrest Gaddafi, son

World police body Interpol called yesterday for the arrest of fugitive former Libyan leader Gaddafi for his alleged crimes against humanity, following a request by the International Criminal Court.

15,000 workers to return home

Around 15,000 irregular Bangladeshi workers will return home from Malaysia without facing any punishment under an amnesty programme declared by the Kuala Lumpur government.

BJP sees little gain from Manmohan's Dhaka trip

India's main opposition BJP yesterday said Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh had "not achieved much" due to differences between the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) allies.

Boy dies as no doctor found at hospital

A two-year-old boy died allegedly getting no treatment at a public hospital in Sylhet yesterday.

RMG export to India to shoot up

Bangladesh could easily grab a $2 billion chunk of Indian apparel market taking advantage of duty and quota-free accesses of 46 apparel items to India, analysts and exporters said.

BNP top brass sit today to talk agitation

BNP's National Standing Committee will sit tonight at the chairperson's Gulshan office to discuss the party's course of action regarding anti-government agitation programme to be announced soon.

13.3m need help in East Africa: UN

Drought, high food prices and fighting in Somalia has increased the number of those in need of humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa to 13.3 million, the UN said yesterday.

Nine dead in Bolivia plane crash

Rescuers in Bolivia found no survivors in the wreckage of a small plane that went missing earlier this week and crashed with nine people aboard, the country's aviation authority said Thursday.

Danes set to end far-right influence on politics

Danes look set to bring a new centre-left coalition to power in a September 15 general election, a move that would spell the end of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party's influential role in Danish politics.

13 Sudanese policemen killed in clashes in Darfur

Around 13 Sudanese policemen were killed and 33 injured in clashes with armed groups in the troubled region of Darfur, officials said yesterday.

Editorial

Judicial probe report on Aminbazar carnage

We are heartened by the speed and competence with which the one-member judicial probe body completed its work in the killing of six students on the night of July 18 by a mob, suspecting them to be criminals. The disturbing aspect of it was that the police stood by while the mob beat the students to death.

Media handling left much to be desired

The strikingly different contrasts of how the governments of Bangladesh and India handle the media and share information became very apparent during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's official visit to Bangladesh which just concluded. The Bangladeshi media was obliged to struggle during the summit to acquire the official version of the development of events, often having to chase officials for information and briefings. The media was apparently kept in the dark about the step by step outcome of the talks between the two governments. There appeared to be no designated person to approach in case of any clarifications required and if there was, he/she was not readily available. In fact, there were hardly any press conferences.

Sports

Tamim wants to leave it behind

Asked what the highlight of his nine-month term as vice-captain was, Tamim Iqbal gave almost the perfect answer.

Marsh shines on debut

Shaun Marsh was 13 runs away from a century on his debut and Mike Hussey hit an unbeaten 76 as Australia piled on Sri Lanka's misery in the second Test in Pallekele on Friday.

A Roman Revival

2011-2012 is shaping up to be a stellar season on the Italian peninsula after several years of placidity in the wake of Calciopoli. Milan finally broke the Inter-dominance of recent times by winning the Scudetto last year, and interesting mercato strategies should allow Milan to compete for trophies once again. In fact, nearly every club is pursuing a unique strategy in this offseason, perhaps most evidently demonstrated in the opposite approaches taken by the two capital sides.

Salahuddin makes an early start

Eight months are left for Bangladesh Football Federation's executive committee but president Kazi Salahuddin has already begun the fireworks.

Caroline sets up semi with Serena

World number one Caroline Wozniacki said her quarterfinal appearance out on Flushing Meadows' modest Court 13 on Thursday took her back to her junior days.

Novak-Roger blockbuster

World number one Novak Djokovic and five-time champion Roger Federer set up a US Open semifinal blockbuster on Thursday as the rain-ravaged event opted for a fourth successive Monday men's final.

Indo-Pak showdown

India staged a remarkable fightback to hold Pakistan to a 2-2 draw in their last league match before depending on Malaysia's heroics to set up a summit showdown with their archrivals in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Ordos, China on Friday.

India reach 234 for 7

Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni led India's fightback as the tourists recovered from a dismal start to reach 234-7 in the third one-day international against England here at The Oval on Friday.

Asif, others absolved from case

Commonwealth Games gold medallist shooter Asif Hossain Khan and others were discharged from a case filed by the Gulshan police station following an appeal from the National Shooting Federation.

U-16 booters leave for Iraq

The Bangladesh U-16 squad left here for Iraq yesterday night to take part in the AFC Under-16 Championship qualifiers meet, which is starting on September 12.

Women's kabaddi Sept 28

A three-day Meizan National Women's Kabaddi Championship will get underway from September 28 at the Kabaddi Stadium court.

Hockey transfer postponed

The players' transfer for the First Division Hockey League has been postponed following the appeal from seven participating clubs.

SRK brushes aside Nasser comments

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan Friday played down former England skipper Nasser Hussain's controversial "donkey" remarks against some Indian players, saying they should not be taken at face value.

Arsenal aim to rebound

Arsenal will aim to bounce back from their Old Trafford horror show on Saturday as they make a fresh start to their Premier League campaign against newly promoted Swansea.

Disputes put aside

After a week marred by more off-field disputes surrounding the financial state of football in Spain, the big two resume their battle for domestic supremacy on Saturday.

Nerlinger's caution

Bayern Munich's director of sport Christian Nerlinger has warned his side not to be distracted by next week's Champions League trip to Spain when they face Freiburg in the German league on Saturday.

Redknapp keen on Becks

Former England captain David Beckham would be welcomed back at Tottenham Hotspur with “open arms” and could this time be registered as a player, the Premier League club's manager Harry Redknapp said on Friday.

Unfortunate Castaignos

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti says the team will learn from the embarrassing mistake that saw them list new striker Diego Forlan in their Champions League squad even though he is ineligible.

Barton top Uggs crime suspect

Joey Barton has only been with QPR for about a week now, but he's already the top suspect in a crime at the club. Well, a crime that's also sort of a public service.

Metropolitan

Eid Travellers

Another Eid has come and gone leaving its memories behind.

India promises greater market access to neighbours

India has promised greater market access to its South Asian neighbours, including Bangladesh, by reducing its sensitive list of goods by twenty percent next month under the South Asian Free Trade Area (Safta).

Probe body formed, two cops, 2 Ansars suspended

Two police constables and two Ansar members were suspended yesterday after muggers pushed seven people off trains, killing four of them and injuring three, after looting valuables in separate incidents on Wednesday, said railway sources.

Fire at chemical depot, two fire fighters injured

Two fire fighters were injured while trying to douse a fire at a chemical depot at Armanitola in the old part of the city last night.

Disruption in ferry services cause tailbacks

Ferry services on Daulatdia-Paturia route remained suspended for three hours yesterday morning as four ferries ran aground in shoals in the Padma one after another, creating a huge tailback at Daulatdia ferry terminal.

Raozan 'top criminal' held

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested a 'top criminal' of Raozan upazila in Chittagong from Feni early yesterday.

Dhaka wants unified job contract, minimum wage

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) should design unified job contracts for the Bangladeshi workers going to the UAE to check deception by the employers.

Turkey vows to protect Gaza aid convoys

Turkish warships will escort the country's aid vessels bound for the Gaza Strip, protecting them from Israeli ships, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late Thursday prompting a grave response from Israel.

Transport leader shot dead in city

A transport leader was shot dead by unidentified criminals at Mohammadpur in the city last night.

Enclave people call off fast-unto-death for 7 days

Leaders of India-Bangladesh Enclave Exchange Coordination Committee here on Thursday evening suspended a fast- unto-death programme of people living in enclaves in Bangladesh for seven days as per the district administration's request.

Right activists' sit-in at shaheed minars Sept 13

A group of rights activists will stage a sit-in programme in front of shaheed minars in every district across the country on September 13 to press home their seven-point demand including removal of the communications and shipping ministers.

Two killed in road crash

At least two people were killed and 48 others injured when a Barisal-bound bus of Eagle Paribahan collided head-on with a bus of Sarbik Paribahan coming from opposite direction while it was trying to overtake a Nosimon, locally made three-wheeler, on the Dhaka-Aricha highway at Muljan of Sadar upazila yesterday.

Woman found dead

Police yesterday recovered a woman's decomposed body from a flat at the capital's Bongshal.

Girl violated in Kulaura

A minor girl was violated at Kadipur village in Moulvibazar's Kulaura upazila on Thursday.

Strong Indo-Bangla relations catalyst for Assam's economy, says Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi yesterday called for strengthening India-Bangladesh relations, stating that it would provide an impetus to the economy of the northeast, affected badly over the years.

Jam-free Dhaka demanded

Dhakabashi, a socio-cultural voluntary organisation, arranged a game of top at Hazaribagh Park in the city yesterday demanding road accident - and traffic congestion-free Dhaka.

BNP alleges camera trial of Tarique

BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday alleged that the government wants to keep Tarique Rahman away from the next parliamentary election by sentencing him through a camera trial in the grenade attack case.

Manmohan terms it 'a sentimental journey'

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has termed his just-concluded visit to Bangladesh “a sentimental journey".

Manikganj OC succumbs to injuries

Officer-in-charge (OC) of Manikganj Sadar Police Station died at Apollo Hospitals in the city yesterday, nine days after he was injured in a road accident in Manikganj.

Two schoolgirls drown

Two schoolgirls drowned in a pond at Bangram village under Boda upazila in Panchagarh yesterday afternoon.

Nurul Islam made Eastern varsity VC

Prof Dr Nurul Islam has been appointed the vice-chancellor of the Eastern University, says a press release.

DU reopens today

Classes of Dhaka University (DU) will resume today after scheduled holidays on the occasion of holy Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr.

Man on train roof dies after hitting bridge beam

A man travelling on top of a train died after hitting an overhead steel beam of Vangura Boral Bridge yesterday afternoon. Another man died in the same way here on Wednesday.

BCP leader held with arms in Jhenidah

Jhenidah Detective Branch (DB) of police arrested a regional leader of Biplobi Communist Party (BCP) early hours yesterday.

Obituary

Shayera Ahmed, a well-known social activist and wife of late Mahiuddin Ahmed of Sylhet, passed away due to old-age complications at United Hospital in the city at 10:00am yesterday, Friday, at the age of 92.

Kazi Nazrul Islam

Kazi Nazrul Islam, a businessman of Kachari Bazar, passed away due to prolonged illness at his Munshipara residence yesterday at the age of 62.

Death anniversary

Today is the 4th death anniversary of Dr K Mahiuddin, a physician, social worker and founder of the Dr K Mahiuddin Treatment and Diagnostic Centre, says a press release.

International

Obama unveils $447b jobs plan

US President Barack Obama Thursday unveiled a $447 billion jobs plan which he said would "jolt" the stalled economy at an "urgent" time for a nation facing a deep economic and political crisis.

US on alert after 'credible' 9/11 bomb threat

Heavily armed police were on alert in and around New York City yesterday after US officials warned of a "credible" but unconfirmed bomb threat on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Battle for Libya not over yet: NTC

Libya's de facto premier Mahmud Jibril warned in his first address in Tripoli that the hardest battles still lay ahead as fighters loyal to the new rulers closed in on Moamer Kadhafi's hometown Friday.

China blasts West's 'double standards'

China's state media yesterday accused Western countries of "double standards" in their fight against terrorism, ahead of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Govt hits back at critics

India's under-fire home minister hit back yesterday at heavy criticism of the government's counter-terrorism policies after a string of attacks against high-profile targets.

Palestinian statehood 'long overdue'

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday said Palestinian statehood was "long overdue.

Major power outage in US, Mexico

A massive power outage triggered traffic gridlock and left at least 1.4 million customers without electricity overnight into Friday in southern California, Arizona and Mexico, officials said.

Iran vows retaliation over threat

Iran Thursday warned it would "not hesitate" to hit back following a foreign strike on its soil in a formal complaint to the United Nations over a warning from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

US confirms use of veto power

The United States said Thursday it will veto a bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian state if it comes to a vote before the UN Security Council.

Authorities appeal for food

Pakistan on Thursday asked the United Nations to issue an international appeal for humanitarian assistance for up to five million people affected by the recent monsoon rains, an official said.

Veteran rights activist jailed in China

Chinese veteran rights activist and doctor Wang Lihong was sentenced yesterday to nine months in jail for "creating a disturbance", as part of what campaigners say is a broad crackdown on dissent.

EU slams US failure to close Guantanamo as 'shame'

The EU's home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem yesterday slammed Washington's failure to close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre as "a shame".

US sanctions Venezuelan officials for aiding FARC

The United States on Thursday accused four Venezuelan officials, including a general, of aiding the leftist Colombian guerrilla group FARC and put them on a list of narcotics kingpins subject to sanctions.

Apple wins key German patent case against Samsung

Apple won the latest battle in a global legal war with Samsung yesterday when a German court banned the Korean firm from selling a tablet computer in Germany, ruling it had copied the iPad.

Iraq's anti-graft chief resigns

The chief of Iraq's anti-corruption watchdog has resigned, citing political interference in the performance of his duties, a spokesman said yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Before the curtain falls

Hundreds of theatre activists -- from veterans to young ones -- gathered at the Mahila Shamiti premises on September 8. They came over to join a festival being held for the last time at the venue widely known as the epicentre of neo-theatre movement in Bangladesh. The Mahila Shamiti authorities have taken a decision to renovate the building. It was an emotional affair for many of the activists, as they reunited at the venue that had witnessed the theatre movement firsthand. They were taking photos of each other and sharing memories. It seemed that the venue went back to its golden days suddenly.

Soundless nature

Mokhlesur Rahman is a recognised printmaker in the contemporary Bangladeshi art scene. He works with wood, and paints on its fibre. He finds texture hidden in the fibre. The fibre's unevenness encourages him to create something more alluring.

“Bhanga Gora Natyatshab 2011”

Organiser: Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation

Mel Gibson and Warner Bros. developing Jewish hero epic

Mel Gibson, the Oscar winner who has defended himself against accusations of anti-Semitism, is developing a film for Warner Bros. about the life of Judah Maccabee, the warrior whose ancient victory is celebrated by Hanukkah.

Divisional theatre festival for children in Barisal

A two-day long divisional children's theatre festival and competition, titled 'Barisal Bibhagio Shishu Natya Utshab-2011' started in Barisal last Thursday morning.

OP-ED

Law-enforcement professionalism and political will

While commenting on serious police malfeasance of committing extortion, The Daily Star post-editorial of August 24 very candidly observes that non-implementation of police reforms "raises misgiving in the public mind that a thoroughbred reform of the police might keep them above politicisation" and "that may be the reason why no political party is serious on this score."

Government at its old games

Pakistan may not have democracy in the sense the world knows. Nor will it pass the muster in the economic field. But it has to its credit independent judiciary and free media which the lawyers and journalists have won after long battles in their respective fields. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka cannot emulate Pakistan because the judiciary and the media exercise independence to the extent the governments of those countries allow, although Bangladesh is a shade better than Sri Lanka.

Poor governance fuels corruption

People might recall that while speaking in an anti-poverty rally in 2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cautioned that none would be spared for graft and wrongdoing, regardless of party affiliation. Speaker of the Parliament Advocate Abdul Hamid, who presided over the rally, stressed that curbing corruption and ensuring good "governance" were preconditions for having a poverty free society.

Europe's debt crisis fuels civil resistance

The events were clearly a sequel to the crisis over the US's public debt, and once again the need for introspection was all too obvious. On July 21, representatives of European governments agreed to a new package of loans to Greece, so as to pre-empt a default on Greece's obligations to its foreign creditors. The approval of the package did not signal a solution to Europe's debt crisis, but the failure of the first package agreed on last year.

Water sharing: Agree to disagree

Was it surprising that, at the last moment, the Chief Minister of Paschimbanga decided not to accompany the Prime Minister of India to Bangladesh? Perhaps not, even though bilateral relations between the two countries are cordial, especially since the visit of Sheikh Hasina to India in 2010. The ruling party of Bangladesh has made every effort to improve relations, so where did the problem lie?

This Day In History

September 10

1813
The United States defeats the British Fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.

Environment

Pollution of rivers around Dhaka

With a population of over 15 million Dhaka is one of the most congested cities of the world. This rapidly growing city is located on the northern bank of the river Buriganga and surrounded by other rivers, namely, the Turag to the west, the Tongi Khal to the north and the Balu to the east. The rivers surrounding Dhaka are an advantage to it and essential for the survival of the mega city as these provide drainage system, drinking water, different kinds of fishes and also waterways for traveling. However, being the capital of Bangladesh -- one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world -- the city has been developed haphazardly without considering its physical and social diminution. As a result, the environmental consequences originating from rapid increase of population along with the increase of polluting effluents from industries, and municipal as well as other waste are having profound negative impacts on rivers around Dhaka city. In turn, the polluted waters of the rivers are posing increasing threats to the living organisms including humans residing by the rivers.

Tiger Conservation: Reality, recognition and rights

Tigers are maverick animals. They are supposed to live long in this world. Instead, they are disappearing rapidly. No doubt celebrating 'tiger day' will raise awareness to safeguard this majestic animal; however, we hope the affiliated institutions will continue creating a congenial environment for safety and sustainability of tiger population.

Literature

Dying 'peacefully' . . .

I always wondered what it meant when death announcements in newspapers used the phrase “someone has died peacefully.” How does one die “peacefully”? When we were young, the Italian poet Dante whispered into our ears, “Death, always cruel / Pity's foe in chief / Mother who brought forth grief / Merciless judgment and without appeal!” How could one have peace with such a cruel adversary? Yet, when my mother, Suraiya Begum died on the first day of August, I found no other way to describe it. She died “peacefully” --- and that is what our relatives were telling everyone.

A garden of gastronomic delights

A friend of mine always keeps reminding me that if we were asked to rank our most pleasurable activities, the ingestion of good food would always find a very high spot on everybody's list. Yes, I couldn't agree more. It seems as time goes by and I get more opportunities to sample a wider range of food, the truth is sinking in. When men reach a certain age, they like picking through their memories. We are indeed willing slaves of our taste buds. How else do you explain the obesity epidemic or the explosion of cooking/dining shows on primetime television?

Star Health

Unite in the fight against noncommunicable diseases

Noncommunicable diseases or NCDs like heart attacks and strokes, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases — kill about three in five people worldwide (63 percent), and cause great socioeconomic harm in all countries, particularly in developing countries like Bangladesh. Every year, 9 million people die too young from NCDs (under the age of 60). But implementing cost-effective interventions that reduce risk factors for NCDs will contribute up to two-thirds of the reduction in premature mortality. Global leaders urged to set a new international agenda on NCDs to take action against the epidemic, save millions of lives and enhance development initiatives.

Urge for a policy on Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is an integral part of modern medical science to deal with millions of movement related disorders and patients with physical disability to make them able to become fit, active and healthy. With a view to raising awareness on the necessity of Physiotherapy and portraying its status in the country, World Physiotherapy Day was observed on September 8 in Bangladesh along with the whole world. The day was observed with the slogan “Movement for Health”.

Help prevent burnout

Managing all of your responsibilities at home and work can make it difficult to find some personal time. The American Academy of Paediatrics suggests how busy parents can help prevent burnout:

Study shows decrease in newborn mortality but calls for more action

The number of newborns dying in Bangladesh has decreased — falling from 57 to 30 deaths per 1000 births in 2009, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the World Health Organisation, Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Warning over global cancer level

The number of new cancer cases has increased by 20 percent in under a decade and now stands at 12 million a year, according to the World Cancer Research Fund. It warns that nearly a quarter of those cases are preventable. It calculated that 2.8m new cancers each year are linked to diet, exercise and obesity.

World Physiotherapy Day observed by CRP

To observe the World Physiotherapy Day on September 8, Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) organised a seminar in its own premise. The seminar entitled “Contemporary Physiotherapy practice across the world and Bangladesh perspectives” was aimed at increasing awareness and proper use of physiotherapy in treatment.

Strategic Issues

An America adrift

Ten years ago, a well-coordinated terrorist plot led to the assault upon the United States with disastrous loss of human life. The worst of all this was the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in lower Manhattan, where nearly 3,000 innocent people were killed.

India's leadership and its implication for South Asia

India's leadership is much talked about now a days in South Asian politics. There has been a persistent and sharp contrast between South Asian states, as a whole, and India. Where a number of South Asian states are in a strained relationship with the West, India on the contrary is enjoying a bonhomie relationship. For last few months it has been receiving many world leaders at home with success. 'Incredible India', is truly proving its diplomatic professionalism in dealing with other states, even USA, to keep its national interest intact.

Al-Qaeda offshoot acquires Libyan air missiles

AL-QAEDA'S north African branch has acquired a stockpile of weapons in Libya, including surface-to-air missiles that are threatening air travel, the EU's counter-terrorism coordinator said Monday.

Star Books Review

Footprints on the sands of time

I love the opening line of Stephen Hatch-Barnwell's memoirs The Last Guardian for its sagacity: “It is better to trust luck than to be clever.” And it is a book of memoirs, and not an autobiography. His purely personal life is dismissed in a total of three or so sheets (that, too, is a generous estimate) out of a voluminous book of 384 total pages. The rest is devoted to his professional career as a member of the exalted Indian Civil service (ICS) during the waning years of the British raj. He ended this chapter after reaching the pinnacle of the service as a member of the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP), the successor service in the new country of Pakistan. In fact, he ended his career in East Pakistan (he had worked all his civil service life in undivided Bengal of British India and the eastern province of Pakistan) in 1966 before retiring to end his days in the country of his birth --- England. The unusual aspect of his life and career was that this was a quintessential Englishman who voluntarily opted to stay on in the land where he began his professional career even after the sun of the raj that had made his job possible had finally set in its crown jewel. Even his name, Stephen Hatch-Barnwell, smacks of the archetypal Englishman, somehow even evoking the image of an empire-builder. He has left behind one of the most delightful books that I have read over the last ten years or so.

A woman truly insecure

There are certain American obsessions you cannot ignore. Take the fascination with the Kennedys, for instance. Or think of Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. And then there is the other side of this fascination. Fidel Castro remains a threat for the US government, despite so many changes having taken place all across the world since the bearded Cuban revolutionary marched into Havana in 1959. Today, it is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez who worry America, especially its ruling elite. And obsession sometimes can go to ludicrous lengths in Washington. Forbes magazine has just informed us that Michelle Obama happens to be the most powerful woman in the world. Now that is surely ridiculous, given that Mrs. Obama holds no position in government nor has done anything significant on her own to justify that definition of her capabilities. She happens to share the bed of the current occupant of the White House. How then, you wonder, does she edge ahead of the likes of Angela Merkel as the most powerful woman on the planet?

The tensions of not knowing

Hisham Matar's Anatomy of a Disappearance is not so much the narration or analysis of a person's disappearance as a profound exploration of the psychological effects on characters whose lives have been brutally altered because of the disappearance of a loved one. The main character and the narrator of Matar's wrenching novel is Nuriel el-Alfi, age twelve when he begins relating what happened when his father disappeared two years later in 1972. As he observes in the opening of his story:


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