The Daily Star

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Monday, December 22, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 22nd of February, 2012

Front Page

No Ganges water beyond treaty

There is little scope of Bangladesh's getting excess water through the Farakka barrage as the Ganges water treaty provides for adjusting the additional volume, experts say.

Teesta, Farakka to top agenda

Sharing of the Teesta water with Bangladesh and two broken sluice gates of the Farakka barrage top the agenda for talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here today.

BNP returns AL gesture

Amid growing indications of a possible understanding with the ruling Awami League on the issue of parliamentary polls under interim government, BNP is planning to move away from taking up tougher programmes following its March 12 grand rally in the capital.

Amar Ekushey observed

Barefoot they came out of their homes. Wearing black badges and holding bouquets tight to their bosoms, they marched towards the Shaheed Minars throughout the day yesterday. It was their day to pay homage to those who laid down their lives sixty years ago to safeguard the glory of their mother tongue, Bangla.

Jica yet to pledge signing of loan

The government has formally approved realignment of the proposed metro rail route through Khamarbari instead of Bijoy Sarani in the capital to speed up the process of getting Japanese soft loan for the project by next month.

Oli's castle on beach

Liberal Democratic Party chief and lawmaker Oli Ahmed is having a four-storey structure built in the jhau woods on the Cox's Bazar beach in violation of the environmental laws.

Airline sues regulator over corruption

The owner of a private airline has filed a bribery case against an official of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, but Caab officials are saying that the case is false and has been filed to harass their colleague because he did not give a no-objection certificate to an unfit aircraft.

Dhaka eyes an end to stalemate

An end to stalemate over labour recruitment in Saudi Arabia is expected as a high-powered delegation leaves today for the Kingdom at the much-desired official invitation by its labour minister.

Cheats target mobile users

You have dealt with junk e-mails but how do you deal with junk calls and texts?

Fake Rab men commit robbery

Police arrested seven robbers impersonating as Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) men at Ghior upazila in the district and recovered cash and ornaments worth over Tk 30 lakh on Monday night.

Syrian forces pound Homs, 27 killed

Syrian forces killed at least 27 civilians yesterday, including 16 in the shelling of neighbourhoods in Homs, monitors said, as regime forces massed around the flashpoint city raising fears of an imminent ground attack.

Back to life after 30,000 frozen years

Scientists in Russia have grown plants from fruit stored away in permafrost by squirrels over 30,000 years ago.

Dhaka to seek border pledge

The three-day India-Bangladesh home minister-level talks start tomorrow with Dhaka irritated by Indian Border Security Force's recent brutal treatment of Bangladeshis and escalating tension at the borders.

Hasina for making Bangla UN's official language

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged Bangladeshis living abroad to mobilise global opinion in favour of making Bangla as one of the official languages at the United Nations.

Jamaat's threat over Ghulam Azam's trial

Jamaat-e-Islami leaders yesterday said that no one in the country will remain safe should some harm befall their ex party leader Ghulam Azam now held in jail.

Noakhali BNP leader beaten to death

A BNP leader was beaten to death allegedly by some Chhatra League and Jubo League activists at Choumohoni Bazaar under Begumganj upazila of the district yesterday.

Mugabe turns 88, vowing to cling power

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has denied reports he has cancer, joking that he has died and been resurrected more times than Jesus Christ.

Explosion at China factory kills 13

An explosion at a major steel factory in north-eastern China yesterday killed 13 people and injured another 17, a company official said.

Editorial

Defusing tension around 12 March

After ratcheted up confrontational rhetoric between the ruling party and the opposition, the Awami League for the first time has given to understand that the party will not stage a counter programme on the same day. AL joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif has announced his party's programme to form human chains on March 9 and 11 across the country including the capital, leaving BNP to hold its 12 March programme.

Death of a visionary

We are saddened by the demise of Faiz Ahmed, an eminent writer and veteran journalist whose life was inextricably linked to all the progressive political movements of the nation both in the pre- and post-independent Bangladesh. His death brought an end to the colourful life of a true visionary who unrelentingly devoted himself to establishing the fundamental political rights of the Bangladeshi people.

Sports

Franchises yet to sign agreements?

With the inaugural edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 tournament already half-way through, a sensational disclosure came out yesterday that neither of the six franchises taking part in the meet has signed a formal tripartite agreement that also involves the BPL Governing Council and Game On Sports Management.

Lack of chance, power and unfamiliarity

There has been no shortage of competitiveness in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 so far, even the low-scoring encounters saw nail-biting ends. But two talking points remain with the inaugural tournament: poor turn-outs and the lack of important runs from the local batsmen.

Lanka overtake India

An outstanding display of seam bowling from Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera helped Sri Lanka beat India by 51 runs in their one-day international tri-series match in Brisbane on Tuesday.

MS worried of old legs

There is no place to hide in international cricket, especially when your captain points a finger at you in public.

BPL resumes today

Barisal Burners could have to play catch-up to the Dhaka Gladiators today in the BPL T20 which resumes after a day's break for the International Mother Language Day on February 21.

FIFA's turf consultant in town

FIFA astro-turf consultant Eric Harrison arrived in Dhaka yesterday to oversee the foundation laid on the 'Balur Math' adjacent to the Bangladesh Football Federation.

Ricky wants to play Tests

Whether it be pulling a short delivery to the fence or plucking a lightning-quick catch in the slips, Ricky Ponting's formidable powers of anticipation have rarely been questioned throughout his storied career.

Pakistan 237 all out

Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali hit half centuries as Pakistan were bowled out for 237 in their allotted 50 overs as they looked to avoid a series whitewash in the fourth and final match against England here Tuesday.

No fixing body yet

Even after three match-days of the fifth edition of the professional football league, the Bangladesh Football Federation is still dilly-dallying with forming a 'special committee' which will investigate whether there are any fixed matches taking place in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League.

Oram out of SA ODIs

New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram has been ruled of the remainder of the limited-overs games against South Africa due to a calf injury. Oram will miss the third and final Twenty20 in Auckland and the three ODIs.

Inter face tough test

Inter Milan's season has been so up and down few fans would be shocked if they put on a stunning show at Olympique Marseille in Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg despite poor recent form.

Basel eye upset

Bayern Munich's Champions League visit to Basel on Wednesday has all the ingredients for an upset, with the Bavarians in the middle of a rocky patch.

No Pirlo regrets

Massimiliano Allegri defended the decision to let Italian World Cup winning midfielder Andrea Pirlo leave in the summer to join Juventus saying the midfielder needed a new challenge.

Nasri defends decision

Samir Nasri is confident he is starting to prove that Manchester City did not make a mistake when they signed him for £24 million from Arsenal last summer.

Fergie eyes future role at MU

Alex Ferguson believes that he will stay on at Manchester United even after he steps down as manager, he said in an interview to be broadcast on Monday.

Zaragoza suffer Betis setback

Real Zaragoza's increasingly desperate fight to avoid relegation from La Liga suffered another setback on Monday when they were beaten 2-0 at home by Real Betis.

Henry plans fish tank home

Thierry Henry has lodged controversial plans to demolish his £5.9million north London house and replace it with a larger property - incorporating a 40ft high fish tank that will cost £250,000 to build.

Local Snippets

Bangladesh Air Force and Bangladesh Army won their respective matches of the Exim Bank-Noorjahan Shaheed Smriti Hockey tournament at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Jankulovski calls it quits

Czech defender Marek Jankulovski, who won the Champions League with AC Milan in 2007, announced the end of his career Monday after grappling with a knee ligament injury for almost a year.

Business

Low PE ratio may lure investors back to stocks: analysts

The price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of banks, non-bank financial institutions, telecoms, textiles, and mutual funds is at low levels, which indicates that the stockmarket has become less risky and more attractive for investment.

Banks cut deposit rate but charge high interest on loans

Commercial banks have brought down the interest rate on deposits quickly after a self-imposed cap earlier this month, but the lending rate is still above the ceiling.

Indian tyre giant Ceat plans to open unit in Bangladesh

Indian tyre giant Ceat has started work to set up a manufacturing plant in Bangladesh to cash in on the booming automotive industry.

Public sector accounting in focus

A daylong international conference on public sector accounting and auditing begins in Dhaka tomorrow to draw the government's attention to the needs of ensuring transparency and accountability in financial management.

Apple's China trademark battle moves to Shanghai

Apple Inc's trademark battle moves to one of China's richest city on Wednesday when a Shanghai court will deliberate a request by troubled technology company Proview to halt the sale of iPads across the city.

Turkish Airlines to fly direct from Dhaka

The Turkish Airlines, which operates flights between Istanbul and Dhaka via Karachi, has decided to operate direct flights from March 25 for four days a week in both ways.

Google to show real time London stock prices

London Stock Exchange Group said Tuesday that it had signed a deal with Google to show real time prices of shares traded in London and Milan on the US group's website free of charge.

Ctg port workers go on strike for double wages

Merchant workers at the Chittagong Port yesterday refrained from delivering container goods for five hours from 10:30am, demanding double wages for working on government holidays.

Mahindra in talks to set up assembly line in Russia

Automaker Mahindra & Mahindra is in talks with South Korea's Ssangyong Motor Co distributor in Russia to set up an assembly line, the Indian company's head said on Tuesday.

Debt crisis takes Kingfisher to the brink

Debt-crippled Kingfisher Airlines Ltd edged closer to the brink on Tuesday after nearly a week of mass cancellations of flights and the resignation of dozens of the low-cost carrier's pilots.

Silicon Valley: The rise of the adolescent CEOs

Josh Buckley, chief executive of an online gaming start-up, is looking forward to next month's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, particularly for the parties and the accompanying schmoozing with industry A-listers.

Tata Motors to double JLR investments

Tata Motors plans to double investments in its Jaguar Land Rover brands to 1.5 billion pounds a year to help launch new products and variants, its chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

Europe seals new Greek bailout to avert default

Euro zone finance ministers sealed a 130-billion-euro bailout for Greece on Tuesday to avert a chaotic default in March after persuading private bondholders to take greater losses and Athens to commit to deep cuts.

China's Alibaba posts 16.6pc rise in 2011 net profit

Chinese Internet company Alibaba on Tuesday posted a net profit of 1.71 billion yuan ($271.48 million) in 2011, up 16.6 percent over the previous year, but with weakness in the fourth quarter.

SMEs show path to jobs

With rising unemployment and inflation, we need more jobs, and we need them now. The most efficient way to create jobs is by encouraging more small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs to compete in the market and beyond.

The nutrition puzzle

In Eldorado, one of São Paulo's poorest and most misleadingly named favelas, some eight-year-old boys are playing football on a patch of ground once better known for drug gangs and hunger. Although they look the picture of health, they are not. After the match they gather around a sack of bananas beside the pitch.

Metropolitan

Borno Mela marks Ekushey

The leading Bangla daily, Prothom Alo, yesterday organised Borno Mela, a fair where children of different ages thronged to celebrate International Mother Language Day.

Visitors make the most of the day

It was a holiday, more importantly International Mother Language Day, yesterday. So Sikder Gias Uddin and Runa Layla, a couple with two daughters, had to make the most of the day.

Over 100 RMG workers fall sick after having dinner

More than 100 workers of a ready-made garment factory in Ashulia, a suburb of the city, fell sick after having dinner served by the factory authorities early yesterday.

PM for use of Bangla in digital technology

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has voiced her strong commitment for taking the country ahead keeping pace with the innovation of new technologies and their application in a globalised world, saying that her government wants to establish a knowledge-based society.

Prophet's holy beard put on display

A strand of the holy beard of Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) was again put on display on the eastern side of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in the city yesterday.

SCBA polls Mar 21, 22

The two-day annual election of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for its 14 executive posts including president and secretary will be held on March 21 and 22.

Jamaat lawmaker freed from jail

Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Hamidur Rahman Azad, also the secretary of the Dhaka City unit of Jamaat, was freed from Dhaka Central Jail last night on bails after 70 days of imprisonment.

Amar Ekushey: A day all about Bangla

It was all about Bangla and Bangalee yesterday, the Amar Ekushey. It was Barna Mela, a fair projecting the language, culture, and heritage of Bangalee, at the playground of BAWA School in the port city. Hundreds of enthusiastic children, adults too, swarmed the fair.

Khaleda invites views from alliance leaders

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia last night sought the opinion of the leaders of the BNP-led four-party alliance about the agitation programmes she is to declare from the March 12 rally.

Call to work unitedly imbued with Ekushey spirit

The Amar Ekushey, Language Martyr's Day and also the International Mother Language Day, was observed across the country with due solemnity and in a befitting manner yesterday.

Shibchaturdashi Fair abuzz with pilgrims

Lakhs of Hindu pilgrims thronged the Chandranath Dham at Sitakunda upazila in Chittagong on the last of the three-day long Shibchaturdashi Fair, one of the main religious festivals of Hindu community, yesterday.

Bangladeshis in US observe Ekushey

Immediately after the zero hour on Tuesday, the entire Bangladeshi American people began paying tributes to the martyrs of the 1952 Language Movement with several organisations and community leaders placing wreaths at more than a hundred Shaheed Minars across the United States.

Faiz lights up life

A 29-year-old Tajharul Islam gets emotional while expressing his feelings on getting back his eyesight.

Road crashes kill 5

Five people, including two college students, were killed and two others injured in separate road accidents in Jhenidah, Barguna, Pabna and Satkhira early Monday and yesterday.

Drik appointed as WAN-IFRA representative in Bangladesh

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has appointed Drik Picture Library Ltd, the leading picture and news agency of Bangladesh, as its representative in the country, in a move to bring WAN-IFRA's services closer to local publishers.

Journalists' protest today

Several journalist organisations including Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalist (BFUJ), Jatiya Press Club and Dhaka Reporters' Unity will hold a rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the city today demanding arrest and punishment to killers of the journalist couple.

Reunion of 84th batch DU management studies tomorrow

Reunion of the students of 84th batch (Honours admission session 80-81) of the Department of Management Studies of Dhaka University (DU) will be held tomorrow.

72-hr transport strike in Rajshahi division from today

Bangladesh Transport Workers Federation has enforced a 72-hour transport strike in eight districts of Rajshahi division from today morning to press home its eight-point demand, including appointment letter for transport workers.

Eight robbers held in Bay

A patrol team of Bangladesh Coast Guard detained eight robbers in the Bay of Bengal in Maheskhali upazila on Monday night.

Six houses gutted in Ctg

A fire gutted six houses and damaged valuables worth Tk 10 lakh in south Debarpar area under Double Mooring Police Station in the port city early yesterday.

Exhibition on trafficked women begins in London Feb 28

An exhibition titled Naseeb: Trafficked will be showcased on Hanbury Street in London's Banglatown district from February 28 to March 25.

Obituary

Horipado Poddar, father of journalist Bijoy Poddar, cultural secretary of Faridpur Press Club, passed away yesterday morning at Faridpur General Hospital, due to old age complications at the age of 65.

Death anniversary

Today is the 13th death anniversary of Sree Achchutananda Brahmachari, a pious of Hindu community.

Jeba Khandokar

Today is the third death anniversary of Jeba Khandokar, a teacher of Sunnydale School, says a press release.

National

Sand lifting threatens 2 Thakurgaon bridges

Ignoring threat to two important bridges over Tangon River in Thakurgaon town, contractors allegedly with the consent of the district administration are extracting sand from the river about 100 yards from the bridges to fill up the premises of an under-construction Liberation War memorial.

Villagers pay tribute to their language hero

People of Kasba village in Gournadi upazila of Barisal district paid tribute to language hero Kazi Golam Mahboob yesterday, the Amar Ekushey and International Mother Language Day.

Interns call off strike in Rangpur

Intern doctors and nurses at Rangpur Medical College and Hospital called off their work abstention programme and returned to duties yesterday.

Language breaks the barriers

It was a different day at Benapole.

9 geckos freed, two poachers punished

Mobile courts here punished two people on Monday and the day before for poaching geckos, a reptile locally known as takkhak.

Kids study on floor as school torched

Students of Kobi Sufia Kalaml Anondalok School, which was torched by criminals recently, are still attending classes on the school floor at Narshratpur village in Sadar upazila.

22 teachers of seven Lalmonirhat pry schools transferred

Twenty-two teachers of seven government primary schools in Hatibandha upazila have been transferred as the schools' results in the terminal examinations of 2011 were very poor.

Two prisoners die in Natore, Thakurgaon

Two prisoners died in Thakurgaon and Natore districts on Sunday and the day before.

Kidnapper kills boy

Police recovered the body of a six-year-old boy from Rakhal Buruj Ghat of Karotoa River in the district yesterday.

2 hurt as bombs explode

A Swechchasebok League leader and his aide were injured as two bombs exploded at Dhopadi Bazar in Kaliganj upazila on Monday night. The injured are Saiduzzaman Rana, president of Swechchasebok League union unit, also a member of Rakhalgachi union parishad (UP) and Shadat Hosain Saju of the village, said police. UP chairman Mohidul Islam Montu said, criminals hurled two bombs in the area, injuring Rana and Saju. They were rushed to upazila health complex. The incident took place at about 7:30pm while the two were returning home from local market.

Youth commits 'suicide'

A young man allegedly committed suicide over a family feud at Tarali village in Kaliganj upazila on Monday. The victim was identified as Shubhankar Bose, 20, son of Dilip Kumar Bose of the village. Quoting locals police said, Shubhankar took his life by hanging himself from the branch of a tree near his house at about 8:00pm. Police recovered the body and sent it to hospital morgue for autopsy, said Abdul Bari, officer in-charge of Assassuni police station.

5 held with porno CDs

Detective Branch (DB) of police arrested five people along with 1700 porno CDs, DVDs and computer equipment at Rahim Super Market in the city on Monday. The arrestees are Shadhin Badsha, 28, son of Habibur Rahman of Satgara Mistripara area, Riazul Islam, 27, son of late Ketu Sheikh of New Jummapara area, Jasim Uddin, 30, son of Golam Mostafa of Shalban Mistripara area, Ruhul Amin, 25, son of Hafizer Rahman of Keranipara area and Tifazzal Haque, 28, son of Anul Hossain of Baharkachhana area in the city. Mostafizur Rahman of Rangpur DB police, said on secret information, a team of DB police led by executive magistrate Kamol Krishna Ghosh raided three shops at the market at about 10:00pm and arrested the five along with the porn CDs, DVDs and computer equipment.

Letters

War crimes trial is never too late

As Wikipedia tells us, the Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk (born Ivan Mykolaiovych Demianiuk; Ukrainian,1920), had been living in disguise in the USA since 1952. And in 1986 he (at age 66) was deported to Israel for his war crimes committed in 1942-43 at Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps. In 1988 he was sentenced to death, in 1993 had his sentence overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court, and so he returned to the USA.

Challenges capitalism facing

There are controversies and severe criticisms all over the world about the efficacy of the capitalist market economy model. Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard and former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers came up with his scholarly exposition in an article under the above caption wherein Professor Summers unambiguously endorsed the model. He also discounted the version of different schools of thought that capitalism brings about various kinds of social maladies.

Death of a small investor

We are shocked at the death of an investor of stock market who allegedly killed himself recently after becoming bankrupt in stock business. We have no words to console his wife, lone child and relatives. Borrowing money with interest in order to become wealthy overnight without toil is discouraged in Islam. My view is, in the name of share business what is going on is sheer gambling. Our stock market is in no way like that of other countries.

Dishonouring the teachers

It is praiseworthy that our government is trying to digitalise the education system of Bangladesh, but the rules they are imposing on teachers are really regrettable. From time immemorial, teachers are respectable persons but now we see that teachers are being harassed. Any kind of punishment in the classroom has been banned. But we should understand that in some cases, punishment is indispensable for maintaining discipline, though it should be moderate. The teachers who apply severe punishment on students should be brought to justice but passage of a law against any kind of punishment is quite unexpected . Now teachers have become puppets in the hands of conspirators. Many teachers are being harassed and accused of practising corporal punishment in schools. If this situation continues, no sensible person will take to teaching. And this is the best way to destroy a nation. So the government should look into the matter.

Wall Street, climate change & UCS

As communicated by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), on January 27, the Wall Street Journal of the USA had published an opinion piece titled. "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" signed by sixteen scientists urging policymakers not to worry about our changing climate, claiming that there have been no global warming for the past 10 years.

Amor Ekushey

Samuelson said:

Choose the right way to protest wrong

Recently more than 25,000 Indian websites have been hacked by a group of Bangladeshi hackers named 'Black Hat Hackers'. This group also includes hackers from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other countries. They have hacked important government and official sites including the website of BSF. The hackers' main purpose was to make the Indian government and its people aware of the incidents happening at the border and also create pressure on the Indian government to stop the BSF's brutality.

Give railway importance

Railway is an effective and cheap way of transportation. But in our country road network has been given more emphasis than other means of transportation. Compared to the road network, railway network is not developed. But as now we have a separate ministry for railway, we can hope that railway will be given due importance. The railway ministry should work hard to ensure cheap and comfortable journey for the people. Steps should be taken to make it popular among people.

Urge people to use over-bridge

I really don't understand why people do not use the foot bridge. Is time more valuable than life? Well it may be annoying to use the foot bridge when we are running out of time. But we should think about our safety first; life is more precious than time. Every time I cross a road, I use the nearby foot bridge. Tragic road accidents are taking place regularly due to jaywalking. In recent years, many people including schoolchildren were crushed to death for not using the over-bridge. As a conscious citizen, I am very worried. People urge the government to build over-bridges, but surprisingly, they don't use it!

Border incidents

At times I find it difficult to understand our media reporting. Regarding border incidents, both Mr. Ashraf and Mr. Mukherjhee have tried to say that it is basically a law and order issue and has to be dealt with the law enforcing agencies of both countries. It is not necessary to politicise the incidents of trespass on the international border.

Readers Respond

Here are some comments that came in response to Tuesday's The Daily Star news report headlined “Living gets tough”

International

Yemen vote ensures Saleh's exit

Yemen ushered Ali Abdullah Saleh from power after 33 years yesterday, voting to endorse his deputy as president, with a mission to rescue the nation from poverty, chaos and the brink of civil war.

US seeks base in Pak province eyeing Iran

The US is reportedly pushing Pakistan for permission to establish bases in Balochistan for intelligence operations against Iran, despite recent reports that bilateral relations between both countries have worsened yet again over a resolution introduced in the US House of Representatives seeking sovereignty for the fragile province.

Iran warns of pre-emptive strikes

Iran would take pre-emptive action against its enemies if it felt its national interests were endangered, the deputy head of the Islamic Republic's armed forces was quoted by a semi-official news agency as saying yesterday.

The artist who hears colour

A colour-blind artist has become the world's first government-recognised cyborg with a head-mounted device that translates colour to sound.

Pakistan seeks Interpol's help

Pakistan is in the final stages of asking Interpol to help arrest former military ruler Pervez Musharraf over the murder of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said yesterday.

India, Pak agree to extend treaty

India and Pakistan yesterday announced that they had agreed to extend a pact on reducing the risk from accidents related to nuclear weapons for another five years.

Italy sends top diplomat in India

Once again qualifying the actions taken by local police forces in the arrest of two Italian naval personnel in Kochi as “coercive and unilateral,” Rome today decided to send junior Foreign Minister Staffan De Mistura to India.

Rahul Gandhi accused of poll violation

Congress party MP Rahul Gandhi has been accused of violating election rules while campaigning for the crucial assembly polls in India's Uttar Pradesh state.

Strauss-Kahn detained again

French police yesterday detained former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn for questioning over allegations he took part in orgies in Paris and Washington with prostitutes paid for by businessmen.

Myanmar to consider poll observers

Myanmar will "seriously consider" allowing Southeast Asian observers to attend April parliamentary by-elections, President Thein Sein said, the latest sign of openness by a civilian government keen to end decades of isolation.

Nepal jails minister in graft case

Nepal's highest court yesterday jailed a serving government minister for corruption in a first for a nation fighting an ingrained culture of graft.

India railway failings 'like massacre'

Lax safety standards on India's railway lines have caused thousands of deaths, a government committee has said yesterday, calling the deaths a "massacre".

Karzai invites Taliban for direct talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday invited the Taliban to direct talks with his government, while urging Pakistan to facilitate negotiation efforts towards ending Afghanistan's decade-long war.

Protest over Quran burning in Afghanistan

More than 2,000 Afghans protested outside the main US military base in Afghanistan yesterday over a report that foreign troops had improperly disposed of copies of the Quran and other religious items, Afghan officials said.

Egypt to provide power to Gaza

Egypt is to provide 22 megawatts of electricity to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, where the sole power plant has shut down after running out of fuel, the electricity minister said yesterday.

Saudi to send ambassador to Iraq

Iraq will approve the nomination of a non-resident Saudi ambassador, the Iraqi foreign minister said yesterday, terming it a positive sign for the normalisation of ties between the two countries.

Above 3,000 to contest Iran polls

A total of 3,444 vetted candidates are to run in elections next month to fill the 290 seats in Iran's parliament, officials said yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Padatik Bangladesh holds 14th Amar Ekushey Cultural Convention

The 14th Amar Ekushey Cultural Convention by Padatik Bangladesh was held at Ramna Batomul, Dhaka on International Mother Language Day (yesterday). Tagore singer Nargis Chowdhury led the group rendition of national anthem that opened the daylong event. Artistes of Padatik Sangeet Sangsad performed the Ekushey song “Amar Bhai-er Roktey Rangano” [written and composed by Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury and Altaf Mahmud, respectively].

Murtaja Baseer recalls the Language Movement

Murtaja Baseer, who belonged to the second batch of the Dacca Art College (now Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka), was always an ardent cultural activist.

Faiz Ahmad, an icon among writers and journalists

Faiz Ahmad -- journalist, writer and activist -- has joined the ranks of departed heroes. The last I knew of him, the 84 year-old philosopher was at some meeting in Dhanmondi, near the lake. Anukul Majumdar, who ran the private art gallery Shilpangan in Dhanmandi, never stopped singing his praise.

The price of patriotism

“Achin Pakhi”, an adaptation of eminent littérateur Hasan Azizul Haque's short story, premiered at Padma Mancho in Rajshahi on February 16.

Screening of “…Ebong Kanna” in Chittagong

Srishtigarh will screen the feature film “…Ebong Kanna” at Theatre Institute Chittagong in the port city from February 23 to 25.

Publishers go public

Ekushey Book Fair, now in its last week, is drawing large crowds. Bangla Academy sources informed that this year, more than 900 new books including stories, poems, plays and essays had already been unveiled at the fair.

Bijoy Sarker birth anniversary commemorated

“Ei prithibi jemon achhe temoni thik robe, shundor e prithibi chhere ek din choley jete hobe” and many such spiritual songs were written by Bijoy Sarker. The bard's 110th birth anniversary was observed on February 20 amidst much festivity at his village Dumdi under sadar upazila in Narail district.

OP-ED

Agartala case and February 22, 1969

Forty three years ago today, on February 22, 1969 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, leader of the All-Pakistan Awami League, walked out of his prison cell in the Dhaka cantonment. He was escorted to his Dhanmondi residence for an emotional reunion with his family. Having been in prison since May 8, 1966 under the Defence of Pakistan Rules, Mujib had gone through the rigours of a trial in which he, along with thirty four other Bengalis (men in the armed forces and the civil administration), had been charged with conspiracy to have East Pakistan secede from the rest of Pakistan through an armed revolt. It was argued by the government of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan that Mujib had earlier travelled to Agartala in India to solicit Indian support for his scheme of breaking up Pakistan.

This war is not over yet

The defense secretary, Leon Panetta, recently announced that America hoped to end its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2013 as it did in Iraq last year. Yet at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, the United States continues to hold enemy detainees "for the duration of hostilities."

Is democracy in Maldives in danger?

The Maldives, the 1,200-atolls archipelago, with about 400,000 people, is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, and countries like India, China, the US and Britain, are worried about its political instability. Support and assistance to the island-state are necessary to prevent non-military maritime threats -- piracy, gun-running, and trafficking of people -- and to protect sea-lanes of the Indian Ocean..

Myanmar's by-elections key to reform process

Campaigning for the forthcoming elections is already in full-swing. Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is contesting a seat in the parliamentary polls scheduled for April 1, has already made several forays into the countryside, including touring parts of the constituency on the outskirts of Yangoon in which she is running.

This Day In History

February 22

1942
World War II: President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines as the Japanese victory becomes inevitable.



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