The Daily Star

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Friday, June 15, 2018

News of: Tuesday, 7th of February, 2012

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Rapid bus project given go-ahead

The cabinet yesterday approved a proposal for constituting a special project organisation (SPO) to operate the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka to Gazipur.

Admin to turn top-heavy

Despite having no vacancies for the posts of deputy secretary, joint secretary and additional secretary, the government is set to promote a large number of officials in the civil administration in the three ranks to defuse growing discontent.

Inflation hits 15yr high

Fuel import, energy price hike, and taka's devaluation against the US dollar have jacked up the country's non-food inflation to 13.16 percent in January -- which is the highest in the last fifteen years.

Criminals on the prowl

Armed muggers snatched over Tk 28 lakh after shooting at two officials of a private firm in the capital's Elephant Road yesterday.

HC weighs in, raps for compensation

The High Court yesterday issued a rule asking the government and the Milk Vita authorities to explain why they should not be directed to compensate the family of schoolgirl Sidratul Muntaha Paloma, who was allegedly crushed to death by a Milk Vita bus in the city last week.

MP Shaon acquitted

Ruling Awami League lawmaker Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon was cleared yesterday of killing Ibrahim Ahmed after the Criminal Investigation Department showed him as a prosecution witness, not an accused.

Briefing about names today

The Search Committee will submit to the president today a list of names for appointment of a new chief election commissioner (CEC) and election commissioners.

Keep DGFI away from politics

A parliamentary body yesterday placed in the House a special report on the 2007 Dhaka University campus violence, recommending steps to put an end to the DGFI's meddling in politics, and closing the interrogation cells of the task force and joint forces.

Stocks hit new low

Stock prices fell to a record low yesterday, pulling down the key index of the Dhaka bourse by around 6 percent, as the investors went for massive sell-offs.

Lawmakers take a swipe at govt

Several lawmakers of the Awami League-led alliance in parliament yesterday blasted the government over its failure to stabilise the stockmarket, and demanded immediate arrest of those a probe body had held responsible for the market crash.

Families tell of cop reluctance

Families of six students killed by a mob at Amin Bazar last year have alleged police are reluctant to probe into the incident and arrest the killers.

Nazimuddin's act of perfidy

On the evening of March 24, 1948, having already spoken at Curzon Hall, Pakistan's founder met the leading figures of the Action Committee. Obviously, the committee was disturbed that Jinnah had completely ignored the matter of Bangla and was clearly riding roughshod over Bengali sentiments. The meeting between the students and the governor general did not go down well. As Abdur Rahman Chowdhury, who was on the team and who subsequently would rise to the position of a judge of the Bangladesh High Court, would relate years after the incident, Mohammad Ali Jinnah committed the outrage of asking the young men if Bengal could point to any instances of great literature and aesthetics in the Bangla language. Abdur Rahman Chowdhury and Oli Ahad did not mince words in informing Jinnah that his knowledge of Bengali culture and heritage was indeed limited. It turned out, as Chowdhury would say, a moment of education for Pakistan's supreme leader. Was it? For his part, Jinnah thought the students were being led astray by the enemies of Pakistan.

Traffic jam chokes city

As the city returned to its usual business after a three-day holiday, city dwellers yesterday experienced unusual traffic congestion in most parts of the city due to ongoing works of installing utility pipelines in some major streets.

Shahara goes to Delhi Feb 23

Home Minister Shahara Khatun will stress the issue of recurring killing incidents of Bangladeshis by BSF during the two-day talks in New Delhi on February 23-24 with her Indian counterpart.

BNP forms citizens' probe body

BNP has formed a five-member citizens' investigation committee to probe the killing of five opposition activists in police firing during its mass procession programme on January 29 and 30, saying truth will not come to light through the ongoing government investigations.

Diabetes too risky

The risk of birth defects increases four-fold if the pregnant mother has diabetes, researchers say.

Putin calls for renewal of Russian democracy

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday called for a renewal of Russian democracy, in his latest manifesto before presidential polls where he will seek to extend his 12 year domination of the country.

Release 'soon' for 29 Chinese

The 29 Chinese workers captured by rebels more than a week ago in southern Sudan should be released soon, a spokesman for the insurgents said yesterday.


Parting comments of CEC

We believe that the parting comments of the outgoing Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) merit serious consideration. The successful completion of his five-year tenure has left him with a wealth of experience and a number of observations which he leaves behind for the incumbent CEC and Election Commission (EC) overall. These can help them in the holding of the country's next general elections in a free and fair manner.

Concern over scarce water

The ground water table is going down by three metres every year according to a latest estimate -- thanks to our over use of this water source. About 87 percent of water that Dhaka WASA uses is ground water. Now we have to look for alternative sources for water to meet our growing needs.


Victoria slip from top

Rifatullah's unbeaten 103 ensured Kalabagan Krira Chakra a fighting 3-wicket win over Victoria Sporting Club in a Dhaka Premier League yesterday.

Pak complete Eng sweep

Pakistan's bowlers sealed an emphatic 71-run win in the third and final Test against England here on Monday; inflicting a 3-0 series whitewash humiliation in the process.

C'ship League finally on

The much-awaited second-tier professional football league got underway yesterday with Uttar Baridhara Club and Beanibazar SC playing out a 1-1 draw in the dull opening match of the Premier Bank Bangladesh Championship League yesterday.

Glitzy opening for BPL

Indian and local silver screen stars and singers will perform in the opening ceremony of the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 which will take place at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on February 9.

Shakib fined Tk 10,000

Shakib Al Hasan, the Victoria Sporting Club captain, was fined Tk 10,000 for using "bad language" with the umpires in a Dhaka Premier League match against Kalabagan Krira Chakra yesterday.

Old DOHS fight past Sk Jamal

Old DOHS moved to the top of the Dhaka Premier League table on Sunday after a 25-run win over Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club at the BKSP in Savar.

Kiwis crush Zim

Opener Rob Nicol made the fifth highest one-day international score by a New Zealand batsman Monday as his side beat Zimbabwe by 141 runs in the second one-day international in Whangarei.

Yuvraj has lung cancer

India's World Cup-winning cricket star Yuvraj Singh should be able to resume training in May after undergoing chemotherapy for a cancerous tumour in the United States, his doctor said on Monday.

No respite for India

Australia drew first blood in the tri-nation one-day series with a convincing 65-run victory over India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

MSC wait on Emeka clearance

Mohammedan's Nigerian coach Emeka Euzeigo is unlikely to guide his charges in the ongoing Grameen-phone Bangladesh Premier League until the Bangladesh Football Federation gets an all-clear from the Asian Football Confederation regarding his coaching licence.

School hockey after 5 years

The Dhaka Metropolis School Hockey tournament gets underway at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium today, five years after the inaugural edition was held.

Guinness hero Halim rewarded

Walton, a local electronics manufacturing company, accorded a reception to Abdul Halim, Guinness World Record (GWR) holder of “Farthest Distance Travelled With a Football Balanced on the Head”, at the Bangladesh Olympic Association Auditorium yesterday.

World Cup reception on Feb 17

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be the chief guest in a reception on February 17 to commemorate a year since the successful hosting of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Thriller at the Bridge

Manchester United staged a stunning fightback from three goals down as Javier Hernandez's late equaliser rescued a dramatic 3-3 draw against Chelsea in one of the games of the season at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Atletico held at home

Atletico Madrid and third placed Valencia played out a 0-0 draw in a freezing Vicente Calderon stadium in the Spanish capital on Sunday night.

It's tight at the top

Juventus and AC Milan were held to draws to keep things tight at the Serie A summit as only one of the top seven teams managed to win on Sunday.

Mali, Ghana in last four

And then there were four - Mali and Ghana completed the semifinal line-up at the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday with tense quarterfinal wins over Gabon and Tunisia.

Contador banned for 2 years

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday suspended Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador for two years for a doping offence he committed during the 2010 Tour de France, officials said.

FA summons Capello

England manager Fabio Capello was set for talks about his own future with the Football Association on Monday after publicly condemning their decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.

Neymar scores a century

Neymar, touted as Brazil's most promising star and the player who will likely be in charge of leading Brazil at the 2014 World Cup at home, scored for the 100th time with a header in the 66th minute for Santos against Palmeiras in the Sao Paulo state championship on Sunday.


Number of part-timers marks a rise

The number of underemployed people (part-time job holders) has shot up as more people have entered the labour market in the four years to 2010, according to a survey by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

Taka gains against dollar

The taka has finally gained against the US dollar, thanks to tightening imports and a rise in inflow of remittances.

There're pressures on economy, not crisis: Atiur

Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman yesterday strongly refuted the view expressed in some quarters of the country being mired in a macroeconomic crisis and said there are pressures on the country's economy but not the crisis.

Formal shipping line to Myanmar to open soon

A direct shipping line between Bangladesh and Myanmar will begin formal operations soon as both the countries signed an agreement last month, said a senior official of the commerce ministry of Bangladesh yesterday.

BB efforts speed up financial inclusion

A greater number of people in the country now have an access to formal financial services as Bangladesh Bank (BB) has undertaken a number of initiatives to bring the unserved and under-served under the umbrella of financial systems, said the bank's chief.

Fake notes can paralyse economy: analysts

The circulation of fake currency could paralyse the country's economy, analysts said at a roundtable in the capital yesterday.

New feature for Airtel users

Bharti Airtel yesterday announced the availability of Profile Ring Back Tunes feature for its mobile customers in Bangladesh.

Leather exporters earned $651m last fiscal year

Bangladesh earned $651.05 million from leather and leather goods export in 2010-11 fiscal year to different countries across the world.

Mitsubishi Motors to end Europe production

Japan's Mitsubishi Motors said Monday it would stop manufacturing automobiles in Europe by the end of 2012, blaming a difficult operating environment in the debt-hit continent.

Nitol-Niloy Group opens 'export house'

Nitol-Niloy Group yesterday launched a trading platform in a bid to support increased export of garments mainly to India.

Proper conduct of monetary policy

The Bangladesh's macroeconomy is going through rough seas. It is imperative that all efforts must be geared to steadying the economy rather than letting it be consumed by the turbulent economic weather.

Going mobile: Travel's eventual high-tech future

Welcome to the airport terminal of the future. There are self-service bag drops but no check-in desks. Your passage is seamless, punctuated behind the scenes only by discrete Near Field Communication sensors.


In a story, "An institute for professional accountancy", published on Sunday, we mistakenly mentioned CIMA as Certified Institute of Management Accountant, which is, in fact, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants that offers management degree. It has three enlisted tuition providers in Bangladesh: LCBS Dhaka, Chartered University College and Pagemark. We regret the mistake.


Makeshift structures demolished

The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) in an eviction drive yesterday knocked down makeshift structures erected on Gulshan-Banani Lake in the city and evicted several hundred slum dwellers from there.

Focus on protecting wildlife, not commercial forestry practices

Instead of protecting wildlife, the proposed wildlife preservation act focuses more on giving more power and dominion to an incompetent forest department widely criticised for its commercial forestry practices, said speakers at a discussion yesterday.

High visitors' presence marks initial days

Unlike previous years, Amar Ekushey Boi Mela has drawn larger crowds in its initial days this time, bringing smiles on publishers' face with book sales running high.

Ex-DCC councillor appeals for discharge

Ariful Islam Arif, a former ward councillor of Dhaka City Corporation (DCC), appealed to a Dhaka court yesterday, for discharging him from the August 21 grenade attack cases.

End cop-criminal link to curb crimes

Speakers at a community consultation meeting of Rajshahi police yesterday suggested eliminating links between police personnel and criminals and providing equal services to all to curb crimes in the city.

PM invited to visit Iraq

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was invited by her Iraqi counterpart Nouri al-Maliki to visit his country.

JU appoints two assistant proctors

The Jahangirnagar University (JU) authorities yesterday appointed two assistant proctors after resignation of Kabirul Bashar and ASM Firoj-ul-Hasan from the same post.

Schoolboy dies in road crash

A teenage schoolboy was killed as a government-run bus ran over him near Fulbaria bus terminal in the city.

Gibson apprises PM of Elizabeth Trust formation

British High Commissioner Robert Winnington Gibson yesterday called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Gono Bhaban and apprised of formation of the Queen Elizabeth-II Diamond Jubilee Trust on the occasion of the Queen's 60th anniversary of accession to the throne.

Only renaming of caretaker govt acceptable: BNP

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will accept renaming the caretaker government as interim government but nothing short of the “character of the non-party, neutral caretaker government”, said BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan.

15 Shibir men arrested

Police arrested 15 activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir, a student organisation backed by Jamaat-e-Islami, from a procession in the capital's Mirpur area yesterday.

2 bills placed to make taxes mandatory

Two bills were placed in parliament yesterday seeking to amend the laws to make it mandatory for the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and lawmakers to pay taxes on their remuneration.

EC sectt asked to make road map for next elections: Sakhawat

The Election Commission (EC) has asked its secretariat to prepare a full-fledged road map for the next parliamentary polls, Election Commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain said yesterday.

62 expelled on third day

A total of 62 examinees and an invigilator were expelled for adopting unfair means at different examination centres across the country on the third day of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and its equivalent examinations yesterday.

Biman's London flight delayed

The Dhaka-bound London flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines via Manchester on Sunday was delayed by around 10 hours due to inclement weather.

BDR trial hears of body dumping

The first-ever description of how the bodies of slain army officers were dumped in mass graves by rebel jawans of the former Bangladesh Rifles under the cover of night was narrated before a Dhaka court yesterday.

AL to sell nomination papers from today

Awami League Parliamentary Board (ALPB) at a meeting decided to sell the party's nomination paper for the vacant seat of Shariatpur-3 constituency from February 7 to February 9.

Body identified as PBCP man

The decomposed body recovered last Friday from a Khilkhet building in the city was identified as an absconding member of outlawed Purbo Banglar Communist Party of Khulna.

17 killed, 68 injured in road crashes

Seventeen people were killed and another 68 injured in road accidents in nine districts yesterday and Sunday.

Govt to improve TCB capacity

Commerce Minister GM Quader yesterday informed the parliament that the government is taking steps to improve the capacity of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) to intervene in the market more effectively.

HC asks govt to explain

The High Court yesterday asked the authorities concerned to explain in two weeks why they should not be directed to pay pensions to two retired Supreme Court (SC) judges.

Hearing on charge framing today

A Chittagong court yesterday fixed today to hear on the charge framing against BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in a vandalism case.

RU female student stabbed

A female student of Rajshahi University (RU) was stabbed allegedly by a male student on the campus.

Shibir withdraws strike at Sust

Islami Chhatra Shibir activists withdrew their strike on Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (Sust) campus after a fruitful meeting with the university authorities on Saturday night.

Hassan Shahriar made CJA President Emeritus

Three Bangladeshi journalists have been elected to the 15-member Executive Committee of Commonwealth Journalists' Association (CJA) at its triennial conference in Malta.

20km AL human chain today

The ruling Awami League-led 14-party combine will form the first-ever 20-kilometre-long human chain today across the city protesting conspiracies and subversive activities to hinder the ongoing war crimes trial and the country's democratic process.

Two fall to their deaths

A madrasa student died after falling from the roof of a four-storied building in Kadamtoli while a construction worker fell to his death while working on the under-construction Kuril Flyover in the city yesterday.

One murdered in Keraniganj

Police recovered the body of a young man bearing marks of injury from Peguria Pubdi area under South Keraniganj Police Station yesterday morning.

Man dies after being hit by train

A man died after being struck by a train at Azimnagar Railway Station in Lalpur upazila on Sunday morning.

British Council office to be shifted

Office of the British Council in Chittagong will be shifted to Agrabad Commercial Area from Sholoshahar, Gate No-2.

Khairul Kabir's anniversary of death today

Today is the 15th death anniversary of Khairul Kabir, a noted journalist and founder editor of Bengali daily the Sangbad, says a press release.


Qulkhwani of Sadik Ahmed Rumu will be held today, says a press release.

Matilal Biswas

Today is the seventh death anniversary of Matilal Biswas, patroniser of Ramakrishna Ashram at Shriramkathi of Pirojpur, says a press release.

Ruby Rahman

Today is the 47th death anniversary of eminent artist Ruby Rahman, says a press release.


Journalist Abul Hossain Fakir passed away at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital on Sunday at the age of 70.

Dabir Uddin

Freedom fighter and also Shailkupa Upazila Press Club president Dabir Uddin died of cardiac arrest at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital in the capital on Sunday.

Mahbubur Rahman

Freedom fighter Syed Mahbubur Rahman, former director general of Department of Films and Publications (DFP), passed away at a city hospital yesterday at the age of 60, says a press release.


Construction of mega pump house remains halted

Work for construction of a Tk 35-crore pump house meant for a gigantic flood control and irrigational project in the district have remained suspended for over six months amid 'extortion' by the local material supplier.

Bid to sell fertiliser on black market, 2 held

Police on Sunday night foiled an attempt to sell 1.65 tonnes of fertilisers on a black market in Galachipa upazila and arrested two people.

Clashes over land leave one dead, 35 hurt in two districts

A man was killed and 35 others were injured in clashes over capture of disputed land at in Gaibandha and Sirajganj district yesterday and the day before.

3 of a cheat gang arrested

Police yesterday arrested three members of a cheat gang from Miapara of Tarail union under Bhanga upazila in Faridpur district.

Five drug peddlers jailed

Five drug paddlers were sentenced to jail in Tangail Sadar upazila yesterday

Woman killed for 'dowry'

A woman was killed by her husband allegedly for dowry in Kalia upazila on Friday.

Charge-sheeted ex-BCL man holds press confce

Sheikh Jewel, president of now dissolved Satkhira district Chhatra League, wanted in an attempted rape case filed on January 5, addressed a press conference at Khulna Press Club yesterday.

SSC examinee commits 'suicide'

An SSC examinee allegedly committed suicide over a family feud in Dhanbari upazila yesterday noon.

Fish trader fined for selling jatka

A mobile court fined a fish trader Tk 5,000 for selling jatka (hilsa fry) at KB Bazar in the district town on Sunday.

BSF picks up one from Hatibandha border

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) picked up a Bangladeshi youth from a paddy field in Genduguri Border area of Hatibandha upazila yesterday afternoon.


Mamata still has chance to boost Indo-Bangla ties

Paschimbanga Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's refusal to clear the Teesta water-sharing treaty with Bangladesh “did kill a splendid opportunity for India to bring bilateral ties to the next logical level”.

Philippines quake kills 43

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the central Philippines yesterday, killing at least 43 people and causing widespread panic, officials said.

Syrian forces bombard rebel city of Homs

Syrian forces bombarded Homs yesterday, killing 50 people in a sustained assault on several districts of the city which has become a centre of armed opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian National Council opposition group said.

My obsession is not to become PM: Rahul

Rahul Gandhi, the scion of Nehru-Gandhi family, said yesterday that he was not ''obsessed'' with becoming the Prime Minister.

Gingrich vows to take fight to 'timid' Romney

Republican Newt Gingrich vowed on Sunday to press ahead with his struggling presidential bid after a big loss in Nevada, saying he will focus on drawing a contrast with "timid" rival Mitt Romney.

Abbas to head Palestine unity government

The main Palestinian political rivals took a major step yesterday toward healing their bitter rift, agreeing that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would head an interim unity government to prepare for general elections in the West Bank and Gaza.

Egypt clashes enter fifth day

Protesters and police clashed again outside Cairo's security headquarters yesterday in the wake of deadly football violence and amid calls by activists for civil disobedience in Egypt.

Obama says no Israel decision on Iran attack

US President Barack Obama said Sunday he did not think Israel had made a decision on whether to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear installations, a threat that has rattled the region.

Pak factory collapse kills nine

Seven women and two children were killed, with dozens of others trapped under rubble when a factory collapsed in Pakistan's city of Lahore yesterday, officials said.

Romanian PM resigns over protest

Romania's centre-right Prime Minister Emil Boc resigned yesterday after days of street protests against his government, saying he wanted to "defuse political and social tension".

Nato reassures Afghans over combat missions

Nato sought to reassure Afghans yesterday that despite talk of an early end to combat missions, foreign troops would fight "shoulder to shoulder" with local soldiers whenever needed until the end of 2014.

Queen Elizabeth II marks 60 years on throne

Queen Elizabeth II renewed her vow to serve yesterday as she made a deliberately low-key start to five months of diamond jubilee celebrations marking her 60 years on the throne.

Google, Facebook remove content in India

Google and Facebook said yesterday they had removed allegedly offensive content on their Indian sites as part of a court case seen as a test for Internet control and censorship.

Arts & Entertainment

The price of freedom

Bollywood could take the distinction of making India's first feature film on the theme of the Bangladesh's Liberation War if efforts in this regard by a book publisher and Bollywood producers fructify.

Master strokes

Samdani Art Foundation (SAF), in collaboration with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) and Bangladesh National Museum (BNM), will organise the first Dhaka Art Summit. The summit will be held from April 12 to 15 in the city. Sponsored by City Bank and American Express, the main venues of the summit will be the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and Bangladesh National Museum. Several other venues will host exhibitions, curatorial shows, seminars, presentations etc.

"One wishes to see only books at the fair, not CDs or DVDs"

Lutfur Rahman Riton -- the popular rhymester -- has won several accolades, including the Bangla Academy Award, for his contributions to the genre of 'Chhora'. His first publication "Dhutturi" also earned him the Agrani Bank Children's Literature Award. Along with rhymes, the author has published over a hundred children's books, while more are to come at this year's Ekushey book fair.

Eternal love for poetry

A poetry recitation programme was held at the premises of Gallery Chitrak, in the capital on February 3. Noted Dutch poet Germain Droogenbroodt who resides in Spain, and a renowned Bangladeshi poet of the '80s Aminur Rahman recited their poems at the event.

"Theatre should be treated as an industry"

Though local theatre functions as an industry, fund constraints are a hindrance, says Ashish Khandakar, actor and director of Space and Acting Research Centre. Khandakar also expresses the view that achievements in theatre over the last four decades have been major.

Runa Laila judging musical feud between India and Pakistan

Iconic Bangladeshi singer Runa Laila is a judge on a musical talent hunt “Sur Kshetra”. She is in good company with Asha Bhosle (India) and Abida Parveen (Pakistan) as fellow judges. The show is will be aired on Sahara One. It is being produced by Boney Kapoor and Saaibaba Telefilms. Shot in Dubai, the contestants are from India and Pakistan.

Charles Dickens bicentennial celebrated

On the occasion of the bicentennial of English novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870), British Council in Dhaka, in collaboration with Charles Dickens Museum in London, jointly arranged a three-day festival (February 4-6) at the auditorium of British Council on Fuller Road. Dr. Kaiser Haq, poet and Professor of English at the University of Dhaka, inaugurated the festival on February 4.


Latest monetary policy statement: How realistic?

Bangladesh Bank announced its monetary policy statement (MPS) for the second half of the current fiscal year (January-June 2012) on January 26. Explicitly or implicitly, the objectives that the MPS seeks to accomplish are:

Denying human rights violations increases their likelihood

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was mistaken when, on January 15, she declared there were no human rights violations in Bangladesh. Had she taken even a cursory glance at the country's newspapers or reports by Amnesty International or Bangladesh's own human rights organisations -- such as Odhikar or Ain O Salish Kendra -- she would have seen countless reports about endemic human rights violations that her own government has failed to address.

Iran stalemate and oil price

Tensions between the United States and Iran these days are as high as they've ever been in years. With Iran threatening to block US ships from entering the Persian Gulf, and the United States imposing sanctions, the stage seems to be set for a protracted confrontation.

Burma's reform process in the balance

Burma's reform process is in the balance as the hardliners and liberals in government are locked in a bitter power struggle. Change in Burma remains fragile, despite encouraging signs and growing goodwill towards President Thein Sein internationally. So far there has been a lot of good intentions, but thus has only produced limited practical change, according to analysts.

Can Egypt avoid Pakistan's fate?

One year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is closing down civil society organizations and trying to manipulate the constitution-writing process to serve its narrow interests. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where the military has also held sway for more than half the country's existence -- for much of that time, with America's blessing -- a new civil-military crisis is brewing.

This Day In History

The Kingdom of Awadh is annexed by the British East India Company and Wajid Ali Shah, the king of Awadh, is imprisoned and later exiled to Calcutta.

Science & Life

Mars an unlikely place for life?

Mars may have been arid for more than 600 million years, making it too hostile for any life to survive on the planet's surface, according to researchers who have been carrying out the painstaking task of analysing individual particles of Martian soil. Dr Tom Pike, from Imperial College London, will discuss the team's analysis at a European Space Agency (ESA) meeting on 7 February 2012.

Dark Matter and Anti-Matter

Every basic particle in the universe appears to have an associate particle called its anti-particle that shares several of the same uniqueness, but many other uniqueness are the opposite of those for the particle. For example, the electron has as its antiparticle the anti-electron. The electron and the anti-electron have exactly the equal masses, but they have exactly opposite electrical charges.

Big volcanoes wake up fast

Long-slumbering volcanoes can jolt to life faster than students drinking Red Bull, a new study suggests.

Printed stickers could monitor food and vaccines

A plastic temperature-recording sticker that could provide detailed histories of crates of food or bottles of vaccine would be the first to use all-printed electronics componentsincluding memory, logic, and even the battery. The cost per sticker could be only 30 cents or less.

Born with the orginal

A copy of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was painted by a pupil or follower of the artist at about the same time as the original was created, and is now considered the oldest known copy of the enigmatic piece of work, scientists announced this week.

What does skull say?

One of the best indicators of race is cranial morphology, or skull shape. Hawaiians, for example, have a characteristic jaw that rocks back and forth if pushed (known as Rocker Jaw). The shape of the skull can also tell investigators a victim's gender. Males have slightly sloping foreheads, whereas females' foreheads are vertical. Details such as these help investigators analyze and identify remains. This information can be used for a variety of purposes, such as gaining insight into the criminal's modus operandi, and to notifying an identified victim's relatives of the unfortunate circumstances.

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