News of: Saturday, 7th of January, 2012
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Bangladesh could make a big breakthrough in the healthcare system using information and communications technology if the government showed the necessary political will and provided proper policy support, said experts yesterday.
The government has spent at least Tk 100 crore to save Dhaka's rivers from pollution and encroachment in the last 30 months, but the initiative appears to have seen little success.
The government will continue its efforts to save the rivers around Dhaka from encroachment and pollution, said Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan yesterday.
The main opposition BNP is yet to finalise the next course of its movement which the party chairperson is expected to announce in the Chittagong polo ground rally on Monday.
Awami League has directed the authorities concerned to show zero tolerance for Chhatra League leaders who embarrassed the party and the government by being involved in violence and an attempted rape incident in Satkhira on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's adviser HT Imam yesterday expressed his disagreement with the survey reports of The Daily Star and Prothom Alo on the government's three years in office.
Addressing the nation on Thursday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina spoke at length about successes and development activities of the government, but skirted around some of the pressing issues that people were keen to hear about.
Leading trade bodies, political parties, and social organisations yesterday continued to pay tributes to the country's best-known industrialist and visionary business leader, Samson H Chowdhury.
Homeless and poor people are likely to suffer again by bitter cold as the meteorological department forecast two more cold waves over northern and central parts of the country.
To implement development projects fast and monitor their progress, the government is thinking about engaging Officers on Special Duty (OSD), who are considered to be in a state of punishment.
Nearly 10,000 Bangladeshis have been left stranded in Saudi Arabia for the last few months, as they could not renew residence permit for their employers' failure to pay premiums to a Saudi government organisation.
India is keen on awarding Bangladesh the status of the “most preferred nation for trade across the border” and will work to ensure capital flows to the country for business, a senior Indian minister said yesterday.
A suicide bomber killed about 25 people and wounded 46 in Damascus yesterday, Syria's state news agency Sana said, in the third such attack in the Syrian capital in a month.
It is quite impossible to check corruption in Bangladesh if the country's current political culture cannot be changed, said executive director of Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB) Dr Iftekharuzzaman.
More than four months into building structures for Dolura border haat on Sunamganj-Meghalaya frontier, the authorities are yet to fix a time to open it.
The construction of 1.8km-long Mirpur-Airport Road flyover through the restricted Dhaka Cantonment zone, an overpass and a connecting bridge will be completed by early 2013, the communications minister said yesterday.
At least four people were killed and another 30 injured when a bus plunged into a pond along Ashuganj-Nayanpur road in Kasba upazila yesterday evening.
Over 3,000 people were killed in South Sudan in brutal massacres last week in an explosion of ethnic violence that forced tens of thousands to flee, the top local official said yesterday.
BNP yesterday termed the prime minister's address to the nation on Thursday “extremely fallacious” and said it was done to mislead people to cling to power.
The husband of Ukraine's jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has sought asylum in the Czech Republic as Ukrainian authorities step up pressure on her family, her party said.
Comilla mayor-elect Monirul Haque Sakku yesterday said he has declined to rejoin BNP accepting any conditions.
Police yesterday said a bomb hidden in a trash heap has killed six children and one man in southern Afghanistan.
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird yesterday decried a wave of attacks against Shiite Muslims in Iraq that killed dozens of people.
BJP yesterday was seen divided over the induction of sacked Uttar Pradesh minister BS Kushwaha with Uma Bharti and Maneka Gandhi expressing their unhappiness and Yashwant Sinha backing him up.
Let's begin by congratulating Monirul Haque Sakku on his resounding success in the mayoral poll to Comilla City Corporation. Significantly, both the process of election and its outcome have vindicated maturity and reliability in the conduct of such polls falling in a heartening pattern.
The government move to put a lid on teachers' involvement in 'coaching business' has got underway with the formation of a committee mandated to prepare a list of such teachers in seven days. The Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid has taken the initiative aiming to restore effective classroom teaching. We consider it a necessary step on the minister's part to get the teachers to prioritise classroom instructions over that of private tuition. We are for a balanced approach even though we are entirely against commercialisation of teaching which is a noble profession.
Both giants Mukti-joddha Sangsad and Mohammedan SC faltered in their second match of the Grameenphone Federation Cup finals as they suffered defeats against minnows at two separate venues yesterday.
There are certain battles in the professional sphere which shapes the institution's credence. When it comes out as a winner, not only is the individual decision-maker thrust into a higher level, the establishment grows and leaves its competitors and detractors far behind.
The visiting England Lions got off to a winning start when they posted a four-wicket victory against the bits and pieces BCB XI in the lone one-day practice match at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.
Pakistan cricket authorities have received assurances from the government that top-level security will be provided to Bangladesh during their April tour of the country.
The fifth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), comprising nine teams and 76 matches, will begin and end in Chennai, with the opening match on April 4 and the final on May 27. The teams will play each other at home and away during a league phase consisting of 72 games at 12, possibly 13, venues, beginning with the defending champions Chennai Super Kings playing Champions League T20 winners Mumbai Indians.
Dhaka, Gazipur, Satkhira and Khulna emerged group champions to reach the third round of the Citycell National Basketball Championship eliminating their rivals at the Dhanmondi Basketball Gymnasium yesterday.
Segun Bagicha High School emerged Group F champions to reach the next round of Dhaka Metropolis zone in the National School Football Islami Bank Tournament beating Manik Nagar Model High School by 8 -0 goals in the final at the Khilgaon High School ground yesterday.
Australia, inspired by captain Michael Clarke, crushed India by an innings and 68 runs in the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday to take a dominant 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
Captain Michael Clarke on Friday savoured taking Sachin Tendulkar's prized wicket to send India tumbling to another heavy Test defeat and deny the tourists a first-ever series win in Australia.
A superb all-round performance by Jacques Kallis carried South Africa to a series-clinching 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the third and final Test at Newlands on Friday.
Defiant captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said India were looking to level the series after another heavy Test loss Friday saw them relinquish all hope of a first-ever series triumph in Australia.
Rising Australia pace star James Pattinson will miss the rest of the Test series against India with a foot injury, team officials said on Friday.
India's one-day specialist Yuvraj Singh said on Friday he would be fit for next month's tri-series in Australia after recovering from a non-malignant lung tumour.
Barcelona have been imperious at their Nou Camp stadium this season but will be keen to improve their patchy away form when they take on city rivals Espanyol on Sunday as La Liga swings back into action after the winter break.
Former France striker Thierry Henry has rejoined Arsenal on a short-term deal, the Premier League club said on Friday.
Juventus take their unbeaten Serie A record to Lecce on Sunday but, like the weekend's other matches, the game has been buried by a whirlwind of transfer rumours following the opening of the January window.
A commemorative coin issued for this year's London Olympics with a diagram explaining soccer's tricky offside rule has fallen foul of referees who say the explanation is out of date and confusing.
Former Argentina coach Nestor Pekerman has been put in charge of Colombia's bid to end a 16-year wait to reach the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014.
Winger Jose Antonio Reyes has quit Atletico Madrid and completed a move back to Sevilla, the club in his native city where he began his professional career said on Thursday.
Carlos Tevez looks set to snub interest from Inter Milan in order to join their bitter city rivals AC Milan, according to the Argentine's agent, Kia Joorabchian.
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness wants Sepp Blatter to be deposed if the FIFA president fails to clean up soccer's governing body in the next year.
On January 3 the year still smells new. The new year promises a new start for many. Wondering what the younger generation wants and expects this year, I visit Dhaka University and talk with students about 2012. What do they want to achieve? What is their hope?
At least 388 workers were killed in workplace related accidents across the country in 2011, says a report of Safety and Rights Society, an NGO.
There is no proper list of workers dead, injured or missing in accidents at construction sites in the country, said construction workers in Barisal yesterday.
Four people, including a woman, were killed and another was injured in separate road accidents in Jhenidah, Magura and Natore in last two days.
Land subsidence affected villagers around Barapukuria Coal Mine area postponed their fast-till-death programme on Thursday night after Dinajpur deputy commissioner's office gave assurance of compensation within January 30.
Speakers at a national workshop has urged teachers to change their mindset towards students and teach them in an edutainment atmosphere, shunning the old practice of corporal punishment.
A female student of Mirpur University College allegedly committed suicide at their house in the city's Mirpur area yesterday after her parents refused to buy her a laptop.
The country would not have a strong judiciary until the High Court judges are appointed through enactment of a law as per the constitution, Railways Minister Suranjit Sengupta said yesterday.
Leaders of all the units of BNP in Chittagong are now working round the clock with holding preparatory meetings, rallies and processions at different corners of the areas to make the January 9 rally a success following a road march.
The longstanding problems of stranded Pakistanis living in a number of filthy camps across the country still remains unresolved, depriving them of their basic rights like education and healthcare.
Media professionals at a human chain yesterday criticised the lawmakers who have repressed journalists in the last three years and demanded their punishment.
Local influential people have cut down some green shishu and mehgony trees along Kotchand-Kaliganj highway near Alangi bus stand in the district yesterday.
A young man was killed and over 50 others were injured in a clash between two rival groups of villagers over a land dispute at Chamakpur village in Mitamoin upazila yesterday.
All secondary level textbooks will get a new look from next year as the government decided to develop the quality of the textbooks of 2013 academic session.
Custom officials held a Cameroon's national with US$ 52,600 (around Tk 42 lakh) at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the city while he was going to Dubai on Thursday night.
A three-year-old girl suffered injuries after being violated by a neighbour at Fulhori village in Shailkupa upazila on Tuesday evening.
A female student was injured as snatchers pulled her handbag and took it away from inside a moving taxicab in front of Curzon Hall at Dhaka University yesterday morning.
Flowers were there, on the church altar, benches and in the hands of the people from all walks of life who came in their thousands and paid their tribute to the country's legendary industrialist Samson H Chowdhury yesterday.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday recovered 384 cans of beer worth about Tk 1.15 lakh from a jetty ghat area under Patenga Police Station in the port city.
A man died while trying to resolve a family feud in Harinakundo upazila of Jhenidah on Thursday.
Awami League-led grand alliance will hold mass rallies in all the district headquarters across the country today demanding immediate trial of war criminals and, as it said, to resist BNP-Jamaat's "move to protect the war criminals by creating anarchy in the country".
A four-day international conference on Towards Oriental Theatre Studies will begin at Senate Hall of Jahangirnagar University (JU) today.
A teenage girl was killed by an Indian elephant at Pathanpara village near Banglabandha border in Tentulia, Panchagarh yesterday morning.
Chehlam of Abdur Rauf, former whip, will be held at the Liberation Square of Bakdokra village under Domar upazila in Nilphamari today.
Shawkat Ali Talukder, freedom fighter and vice-president of Tangail district unit of Awami League, passed away on the way to Ibne Sina Hospital in Dhaka yesterday due to Asthma at the age of 73.
The US military will become "leaner" while maintaining superiority as it switches focus to the Asia-Pacific region, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday.
For the second time in less than two months, US defence secretary Leon Panetta has said that the country is facing challenges from rising powers like China and India in Asia in 21st century.
China's state media yesterday warned the US against "flexing its muscles" after Washington unveiled a defence review switching focus to the Asia-Pacific.
Foreign Secretary William Hague and Myanmar's pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, set out similar conditions for the lifting of sanctions imposed on the country under the previous military regime at an historic meeting yesterday.
The US economy created 200,000 jobs in December, marking the sixth month in a row of gains, official figures showed yesterday.
Tensions on the oil shipping lanes in the Gulf have escalated with the announcement of new naval exercises by Iran's Revolutionary Guards and news that Israel and the US are planning to carry out their most extensive joint manoeuvres in the region.
Turkey has delivered a Western offer to Tehran to renew negotiations over its nuclear programme, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday, expressing hope talks stalled a year ago could soon be revived.
Gunmen fired on Christian mourners in northern Nigeria yesterday, killing 17 people in the latest attack to hit the region amid mounting fears of sectarian clashes, residents and a relief source said.
Even as the Republican presidential candidates fight it out in New Hampshire, a bigger showdown is looming in South Carolina, a conservative state with a history of nasty politics and picking winners.
Authorities in China have agreed to Ai Weiwei's request to review a $2.4m fine imposed by the tax bureau for ''back taxes''.
A former head of the Turkish armed forces has been remanded in custody to face charges over an alleged plot to overthrow the government.
Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents have demanded in negotiations with the US that prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay be transferred to Qatar, an Afghan government spokesman said yesterday.
Pakistan's deteriorating relations with the United States may bring it international isolation on the economic front, Pakistan's finance minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh yesterday told the parliamentary committee tasked by the government to review bilateral terms with the US.
Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, who has been in self-imposed exile, has said he is ready to face the courts and would be returning Pakistan on Jan 25 or 27.
As all those of middle age who have ever fumbled for a name to fit a face will believe, the brain begins to lose sharpness of memory and powers of reasoning and understanding not from 60 as previously thought, but from as early as 45, scientists say.
South Africa's mighty African National Congress yesterday began celebrations for its centenary, still firmly at the helm of Nelson Mandela's all-race democracy despite losing some of its shine.
Five thousand items recovered from the Atlantic grave of the Titanic, from a 17-ton piece of the hull to china used to serve first-class passengers, will go on auction in New York a century after the liner sank.
At least six Chilean firefighters perished Thursday after tackling one of a series of raging wildfires blamed by President Sebastian Pinera on arsonists.
At least one Tibetan man set himself on fire near the restive Kirti monastery in southwest China yesterday, rights groups said, the 13th such act to hit Tibetan areas in less than a year.
Arts & Entertainment
Last year passed with many ups and downs for the movie industry -- with a significant drop in the number of releases. Dhaliwood, the mainstream Dhaka-based film industry, did see the arrival of several new faces, along with the release of Indian films, in 2011. But overall, Dhaliwood failed to emerge from its reliance on a single actor, while the veterans and rookies engaged in a healthy competition for the viewers' affection.
Desh Bangla Theatre will stage its latest production “Chandalika” at a festival arranged by India's National School of Drama (NSD). The troupe will stage the play on January 11 in Delhi.
Bangladesh Uchchango Sangeet Shilpi Parishad (BUSSP) has organised a three-day Classical Music Conference at the main auditorium of Chhayanaut Shangskriti Bhaban in Dhaka. Renowned Ustad Yasin Khan inaugurated the conference on January 5.
Music enthusiasts were rapt at a musical soiree in the port city last Wednesday.
The late director Tareque Masud's latest film “Runway” will be shown in Mymensingh today, as part of the ongoing countrywide release of the film, according to a press release.
Generally speaking, in the sub-continent, when public functionaries talk shop they are usually in a self-congratulatory mood, and if the event is an annual one requiring some stocktaking and well-deserved relaxation, no one really is in a mood to dwell into the downsides. It was, therefore, no wonder that the difference of opinion among senior police officials on police performance, which surfaced during the course of a formal meeting, made headlines in national newspaper.
We expect 2012 to be a year of slowing global growth, with wide divergences between regions and countries. Overall global growth will slow from about 3% in 2011 to 2.5% in 2012. For 2013, a modest recovery in global growth is likely.
Around the globe, on land and in the sea, the story is much the same. Spurred by poverty, population growth, ill-advised policies and greed, humanity is at war with the plants and animals that share the planet. The director of Missouri Botanical Garden predicts that if things go on like this, during the next three decades man will drive an average of 100 species to extinction every year. Extinction is a part of evolution but the present rate is at least 1,000 times the pace that has prevailed since pre-history.
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Interventions will be required over a long time for adaptation and mitigation. They will need to adopt different approaches to programming, while the ongoing development initiatives will need to be sensitive to climate change. One such approach is Public Private Partnership (PPP). Despite delays in staffing the PPP Unit and implementing the Policy and Strategy on PPP that was approved in 2010, the government took a timely step for the economic growth and development. The government has also been applauded globally as one of the pioneers to formulate the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP). If applied properly, PPP can be an effective approach to reduce vulnerability. Such partnerships can also ensure “climate proofing” of other projects implemented through PPP in the country.
Many analysts have blamed Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Gachhadar for the cancellation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Nepal. However, there's more to the cancellation than Gacchhaddar not appearing sensitive to the Chinese requests to make sure that no anti-China/pro-Tibet protests takes place during Wen's visit.
Galileo Galilei makes his first observation of the four Galilean moons: Ganymede,Callisto, Io and Europa, although he is not able distinguish the last two until the following day.
The menopause signals the end of a woman's reproductive ability. So it represents the end of her need for contraception, but also the beginning of a new era in which changes in metabolism and psyche may become prominent.
With climate change comes global warming and a rise in sea levels, and Bangladesh is already the second lowest lying country in the world. A higher sea level makes it easier for freak tides and cyclones to breach the coastal and tidal defences, and the effects of climate change also increases the risks of river flooding and earthquake.
Today is the first round of National Immunisation Day in 2012. Bring your under-5 years old child at nearest immunisation centre to get vaccinated against Polio and make Bangladesh free of the disease.
Physical activity, an important part of arthritis management, can help improve pain and joint flexibility. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends these low-impact exercises that offer benefits without undue strain on the joints:
The British Heart Foundation is urging people to forget "mouth-to-mouth" and to concentrate on chest compressions when performing CPR. It has been seen that many feel worried about the idea of giving the kiss of life. Experts from the foundation now recommend that anyone who does not have CPR training should ignore the kiss of life in favour of hard and fast compressions in the centre of the chest.
Children who get more exercise also tend to do better in school, whether the exercise comes as recess, physical education classes or getting exercise on the way to school, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
An early clinical trial of a hepatitis C vaccine has shown promising results, according to researchers at Oxford University. The virus spreads through blood-to-blood contact can go unnoticed for years, but during this time it can cause considerable liver damage. Designing a vaccine has been difficult as the virus changes its appearance.
The Strait of Hormuz is the narrow sea passage that connects the Persian Gulf to the Oman Sea. This is the only sea-passage for the export of oil from the Persian Gulf states. Recently, due to the revival of the possibility of new sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which may include sanctions against the purchase of oil and the sale of petroleum products to Iran, the issue of Iran's reactions, especially the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, has turned into a hot topic. Some Iranian officials have recently claimed that according to the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Law of the Sea, Iran can suspend the passage from the Strait of Hormuz for the countries that impose sanctions against the Iranian oil and gas imports and exports. This is a piece on the legal, political, military and practical aspects of this issue.
China is going to expand its naval sphere to the Indian Ocean. It plans to build an overseas military base, first ever in its kind, in the Indian Ocean. The decision has double merits: one, this is a significant shift from regional to global strategic reach, and another is the specialty of the location of the base, which is in the Indian Ocean. According to Robert D Kaplan, Indian Ocean will be the centre of global conflicts, because most international business supply will be conducted through this route. Most important of all, it is in the Indian Ocean where the interests and influence of India, China and the US are going to overlap. It is here, as Kaplan says, where the 21st century's "global power dynamics will be revealed." Kaplan identifies India and China as the two key players in the region. India is moving east and west while China to the South. Interestingly, these, relatively, new political players are making the Indo-Pacific a heaven of "realpolitik." The US is also shifting its focus from the Middle East to this region. And it backs India as the leader of the Indo-Pacific.
Star Books Review
History matters in Bangladesh, for obvious reasons. The systematic manner in which it has been mutilated over the decades since liberation by military regimes and their civilian cohorts has taken a heavy toll on the nation, especially the younger generation. The good news, though, is that the return of the Awami League to power after a forced hiatus of twenty one years in 1996, followed by its second stint in office beginning in 2009, has been a boon for those whose interest in the events leading to the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971 has never wavered. In all these years since Sheikh Hasina has led the government, in two distinct phases, a restoration of history has been a priority both for the political class and the broad mass of the population.
Shaheen Akhter's award winning book Talash in Bangla has been translated into English by Ella Dutta and published by Zubaan in New Delhi, India. The translator has done a polished rendition which in my mind has been possible because she herself is a Bengali and hence accurately conveys the subtle nuances of the Bengali language and culture.
Dr. Mustafizur Rahman's book, titled above, is an extensive research on the poetry of Raibinod, one of the most influential poets of the 16th century. Raibinod hailed from Tangail and his poetry Padmapuran or Monoshamangal as it is known in West Bengal was widely popular across Mymensingh and Dhaka. The Bengali poetry of that time had the elements of drama. The poetry turns into a story and the story turns into a play, Padmapuran.