The Daily Star

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Sunday, April 20, 2014


News of: Tuesday, 28th of February, 2012

Front Page

Contentious project gets court green light

The Indian Supreme Court yesterday ordered the government to implement an ambitious project to link the major rivers of the region in a “time-bound manner”.

Controversies can be costly

Exercise of the presidential power to grant clemency over the last two years has led to a perception of the misuse and abuse of such extraordinary constitutional authority. The way the authority was exercised to benefit only the ruling party men also appears to be a severe blow to the rule of law.

No water, no transit

Every deal with India, including transit, corridor and trade, has to be annulled if the neighbouring country does not ensure fair share of common river waters, said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday.

Allies drifting away from AL

Distance between ruling Awami League and its grand alliance partners has been widening over the last few months centring a set of issues including the much talked about interim administration for holding the next parliamentary election.

Pak 'fixer' arrested

Sajid Khan, a Pakistan national, was put on a two-day remand yesterday for questioning in his alleged involvement with match-fixing in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 tournament.

Cabinet okays draft law on Cox's Bazar development

The cabinet yesterday approved the draft of Cox's Bazar Development Authority Act, 2012, seeking planned improvement of the beach town and safeguard of its ecological balance.

HSC exams schedule revised

In the face of protests by HSC examinees of the science group, the government yesterday deferred the mathematics examinations by nearly a month.

Muhith for talks with WB

The government might go for World Bank funding for the much-awaited Padma bridge project, considering that the Malaysian offer would be costlier.

Involvement of 'parties' under probe

The allegation that certain political parties and civilians were involved in the recent attempt in the army to overthrow the government is being examined, Planning Minister Air vice-Marshal (retd) AK Khandker told the House yesterday.

Saleh cedes power

Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down yesterday after 33 years in power and months of protests which took the country to the brink of civil war.

Girl 'kidnapped', then set on fire

A 12-year-old girl succumbed to her injuries at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) early yesterday, six days after she was allegedly set ablaze by her “husband”.

Britain's plans for war with Iran

Britain is drawing up plans to send hundreds of troops and an extra nuclear sub to the Gulf as tension mounts with Iran.

Wartime footage shown at ICT

The International Crimes Tribunal yesterday was shown a series of video clips on the Liberation War of 1971 during the charge-framing hearing against former Jamaat-e-Islami kingpin Ghulam Azam.

Journos observe 1-hr token strike

Journalists at all the newspapers, television channels, news agencies, and online media across the country abstained from work for one hour yesterday to press for the arrest of the murderers of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi.

No fair polls possible under political govt

Fair election under a political government is not possible as the two major parties have never shown any semblance of neutrality in the past, commented noted jurist Dr Kamal Hossain.

Filmmaker Kumkum passes away

Alamgir Kumkum, a noted filmmaker, freedom fighter and the founding president of Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote, died at a city hospital yesterday. He was 65.

Young spellers going ahead

There were hugs and greetings all around at the Mirpur branch of Scholastica yesterday as three of their students made it through to the second round of The Daily Star Spelling Bee contest.

Rejoinder, our reply

In a rejoinder to a Daily Star report headlined "2,000 Jhau Trees on beach cut down", published on February 19, Range Forest Officer of Inani Range under Cox's Bazar South Forest Division Sunil Kumar Debroy claimed that the news was not based on facts.

One fined for hill cutting

The Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday fined the owner of Brindartila at Debpur area of Sylhet Tk13 lakh for illegal hill cutting.

UN pulls int'l staff out of Afghan base

The UN pulled its international staff out of their base in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz yesterday after it came under attack by demonstrators protesting the burning of the Quran.

Editorial

President's prerogative to mercy

In a very recent instance of exercise of the president's right to pardon, a convicted killer had his life term remitted to ten years. What makes this act absurd is the fact that this very person, Biplob, son of Laxmipur AL leader, who was convicted in another murder case and awarded the death penalty, was given the presidential reprieve in July last year.

Media's misuse of freedom

The Prime Minister's passing comment with reference to the media has drawn our attention. The media, in her opinion, has been misusing the freedom bestowed upon it by her government, often publishing or broadcasting sensational and sometimes inaccurate news.

Sports

Drama over semi spot

Controversy has touched today's semifinals line-up of the BPL T20 after it was announced that it will be Chittagong Kings instead of Barisal Burners who will take on Duronto Rajshahi in the afternoon game, while the second semifinal will be between Khulna Royal Bengals and Dhaka Gladiators.

Smith blitz wilts Sylhet

Khulna Royal Bengals rode on West Indian Dwayne Smith's century, the third of the BPL T20 after Chris Gayle's two efforts for the Barisal Burners, to defeat Sylhet Royals by 69 runs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

Sami warms up with fiver

Mohammad Sami blew away the Dhaka Gladiators in Duronto Rajshahi's facile three-wicket win in the BPL T20 yesterday.

Stars sign for MSC

Joint champions Mohammedan SC formed a star-studded hockey squad when they singed up 13 players on the second day of the Inter-club players' transfer amid festive mood at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Clarke best Aussie player

Australia captain Michael Clarke won the Allan Border Medal as his country's Player of the Year for the third time on Monday.

Jose chides Real fans

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho chastised the club's fans after only a handful turned up at Real's city rivals Rayo Vallecano for Sunday's 1-0 La Liga victory.

Abahani drop points again

Title contenders Abahani slumped again in the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League when Brothers Union held the Sky Blues to a 1-1 draw in their fourth match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

Sachin's last chance

Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene says he is wary of what is shaping up to be Sachin Tendulkar's final chance in Australia to score his elusive 100th international century for India.

David's India thoughts

Australia opener David Warner said on Monday he sensed "desperation" among the Indian visitors as they try to salvage something from their dismal down under tour.

Mesmerising Melzer

Jurgen Melzer is playing so well again that not even a broken toe could slow him down.

Aussie quick Clark quits

Australian pace bowler Stuart Clark said on Monday he was retiring from first-class cricket after 24 Tests and 39 one-day internationals

Charity for Tommy Miah's academy

Madrid Cricket Club will take two young cricketers from Sylhet to the fifth charity T20 tournament at La Manga Club in the Spanish capital in April.

Levi joins Mumbai?

South Africa Twenty20 batting sensation Richard Levi will play for Mumbai Indians in the 2012 Indian Premier League (IPL), according to reports Monday.

Reds end trophy drought

Liverpool won the English League Cup for the eighth time on Sunday but were given a huge fright by Championship Cardiff City who snatched a goal deep into extra time to salvage a 2-2 draw before going down 3-2 in a penalty shootout.

Lavezzi sinks Inter

Napoli's late push for Serie A's third Champions League place was aided by a 1-0 home victory over beleaguered Inter Milan on Sunday but wins for Udinese and Lazio kept the gap at five points.

Real keep winning

Sharp thinking and brilliant execution by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo lifted Barcelona and Real Madrid to wins at Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano respectively on Sunday that maintained Real's 10-point lead over their great rivals at the top of La Liga.

Italy drop Balotelli

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was dropped from the Italy squad for Wednesday's friendly international against the United States in Genoa for breaking coach Cesare Prandelli's ethical code.

Germany lose Lahm

Germany captain and defender Philipp Lahm is out of Wednesday's friendly international against France with a knee injury, national coach Joachim Loew confirmed Monday.

Gerrard feels for cousin

Before heading up the Wembley steps to collect the League Cup on Sunday Steven Gerrard made sure he sought out cousin Anthony, whose penalty miss gave Liverpool a dramatic victory over Championship side Cardiff City.

Business

Falling rice prices put farmers in tight corner

Millers, stockists and large-scale farmers of rice are in a fix as their profit margins have been squeezed by falling prices of the commodity.

Businesses want further cut in lending rate

Businessmen yesterday called upon banks to bring down interest rates on term loan and working capital.

Foreign lender to raise credit limit for BPC to $2.5b

Responding to a request from the government, Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has decided to raise the credit limit for Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) to $2.5 billion from this year.

Two firms get nod for merchant banking

The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday gave the green light to BD Finance Capital Holdings Ltd and Citizen Securities Investment Ltd to operate merchant banking in the capital market.

Chinese company to invest $9.3m in Dhaka EPZ

Young Optics (BD) Limited, a Chinese company, will set up a lens manufacturing industry in the Dhaka Export Processing Zone.

WB focuses on how to tackle future crisis

The World Bank Group has responded to the global economic crisis effectively, but it will face difficulties to address similar levels of crisis response in future, said a report sponsored by the global lender.

HSBC upbeat on Asia as profit hits $22b

HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest bank, predicted growth in Asia and other emerging markets would outweigh sluggish European economies this year as it posted a $21.9 billion profit for 2011, the best outturn by a western bank so far.

Nitol Insurance gets new leaders

AKM Monirul Hoque has recently been elected as chairman of Nitol Insurance Company Ltd, the insurer said in a statement yesterday.

Stocks slip on profit-taking

Indicators of the twin bourses fell yesterday, quickened by sell-offs of shares and mutual fund units.

Bangladesh-Myanmar air links to resume

The country plans to sign an agreement to re-establish air connectivity with Myanmar this week as Bangladesh's civil aviation and tourism ministry has completed necessary work to this end.

Costly spectrum raises debate in Barcelona

Global telecom experts have urged regulators to award spectrum for free to generate value for the future economy.

More and better jobs in Bangladesh

Accelerating growth in Bangladesh's per capita income has added nearly 1.2 million new jobs every year and improved job quality between 2000 and 2010. Wage workers have seen their wages -- adjusted for price increases -- rise by nearly 2 percent a year. Poverty rates among the self-employed have fallen. The quality of jobs, as measured by rising real wages for wage workers and declining poverty for the self-employed, has improved. Going forward, with swelling numbers of new entrants -- and an expectation that more women will enter the job market, as was the case during East Asia's rapid growth -- Bangladesh will need to create up to 1.5 million new jobs each year for the next two decades.

Nokia unveils cheaper Windows smartphone

Nokia unveiled a new, cheaper smartphone using Microsoft's Windows Phone software on Monday, in an attempt to reverse its declining market share.

Metropolitan

Lance nayek Ekram vowed to kill army officers, Maj Ishtiaq tells court

Hurling abusive words at slain BDR chief, Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed, on loudspeaker, lance nayek Ekram had declared that the DG (director general) had been killed, and now every army officer would face the same fate.

Arguments on SQ Chy's four petitions end

The defence counsels yesterday finished their arguments on four petitions for BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury before the International Crimes Tribunal.

Joint body to monitor situation

Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have agreed to set up a joint working group to supervise the issues regarding recruitment and welfare of Bangladeshi workers.

Form nat'l body to protect indigenous people

The technical committee of Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous People recommended forming a national commission to protect and promote the rights of the indigenous people.

Demand to expedite trial into murder attempt

Demanding an expeditious end to the trial of the case relating to the murder attempt on Prof Humayun Azad, the writer's ardent admirers yesterday recalled the brutal attack made on him eight years ago near the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela premises.

Amanul gifts history to War Museum

Veteran photographer Amanul Haq, one of the very few who captured the historic moments of the Language Movement through the lens, donated the Ekushey Padak he received last year to Liberation War Museum yesterday.

Stop Club Amazon activities for 3 months

The High Court yesterday directed police to stop the activities of Club Amazon, situated in the city's Gulshan area, for three months.

Dhaka's friendly ties with neighbours good for stability in S Asia: US envoy

The way Bangladesh is reaching out to strengthen relations with its neighbouring countries, despite the barriers, is good for its development and South Asia's stability and peace, said US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan W Mozena yesterday.

Mozena visits HIV/Aids healthcare centre

US Ambassador Dan W Mozena visited a USAID-funded HIV/Aids healthcare centre in Rajshahi yesterday, says a press release.

India must fast settle Teesta issue

While India's assurance to Bangladesh on improving joint border management is welcome, New Delhi must follow it up by expeditious ratification of the land boundary agreement and settlement of the Teesta water-sharing issue, “The Times of India” newspaper editorially commented yesterday.

Legal notice on govt to raise SC judges' remuneration

A legal notice was yesterday served on the government for increasing the remuneration and other privileges of Supreme Court (SC) judges within a month as per recommendations of a parliamentary sub-committee.

People forced to join procession

Women and children of Meherchandi area, who had so far been protesting the filling up of a pond by lawmaker Enamul Haque, were forced to join a procession in the area yesterday demanding the filling up of the pond.

3 die in road crashes

Three people, including a minor boy, died in separate road accidents in Jessore, Netrakona and Rangpur yesterday.

Rajshahi bus strike called off

Bus owners called off the indefinite strike yesterday following a meeting with the city Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton.

Nahim elected unopposed

Ruling party candidate Nahim Razzak, son of late Awami League lawmaker Abdur Razzak, was yesterday elected member of the parliament in Shariatpur-3 by-election uncontested.

BNP leader killed over land dispute

A union level BNP leader was stabbed to death and his cousin injured as a group of rival villagers attacked them over land disputes in Banshkhali upazila Sunday evening.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir man arrested

Police yesterday arrested a suspected leader of banned Islamist outfit Hizb-ut-Tahrir from the city's Kamalapur with huge books and posters of the organisation.

3 'robbed' of Tk 7.7 lakh

A gang allegedly robbed Tk 7.7 lakh from three people in a city bus yesterday, by making them unconscious with drugs.

Amini accuses PM of plotting to destroy army

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is plotting to destroy the army in the name of detecting religious fanatics, Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) Chairman Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini said yesterday.

Teacher suspended over corporal punishment

An assistant teacher of Keraniganj Teghoria High School in Keraniganj was temporarily suspended yesterday for caning a class VI student of the school.

Over 100 RMG workers gripped by hysteria

More than hundred female garment workers of two garment factories fell sick due to mass hysteria in Katherpool area of Fatullah Industrial area yesterday.

Confce on natural resource begins

A two-phase South Asian regional conference on "Natural Resource Conservation in the Developing Countries under the Changing Climate" will begin at Rajshahi University (RU) today.

2,827 mobile phone sets seized at airport: Six arrested

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) personnel seized 2,827 mobile phone sets yesterday and arrested six alleged members of a gang that had been getting delivery of imported goods from Shahjalal International Airport using fake documents.

Two houses gutted in Ctg

A fire gutted two semi-pucca houses in Madhyam Mohora area in the port city yesterday morning.

Dyeing factory fined Tk 65 lakh

The Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday fined a textile dyeing industry Tk 65 lakh and sealed off it for releasing untreated chemical and waste into the river Shitalakkha at Shiddhirganj in Narayanganj.

Expatriate electrocuted in Ctg

An expatriate was electrocuted at a hospital at Patiya upazila in the district yesterday.

Free check-up for people with hearing problems

Hicare Society, an organisation working for hearing and speech impaired people, will arrange a free camp for examining the extent of deafness on March 7-8, says a press release.

Six stores fined Tk 30,000

A mobile court yesterday fined six stores of steel products Tk 30,000 for using weigh machines, which have not been verified and approved by the BSTI, says a press release.

Sri Lankan team in city

A high-level Sri Lankan delegation is visiting Bangladesh to learn about the disaster management system of the country and to follow it in Sri Lanka.

Obituary

Humayun Kabir Lavlu, a workers' leader, passed away due to a cardiac arrest at a private clinic in Satkhira yesterday at the age of 35.

Death anniversary

Today is the 4th death anniversary of Imran Rahman, former managing director and CEO of Brac Bank Ltd, says a press release.

National

22km bumpy journey in Nilphamari

The 22-kilometre-long road connecting Nilphamari town and Domar upazila headquarters in the district has become virtually unfit for vehicular moment due to lack of repair for long.

Water crisis hits nut farming in Kurigram

Nut farming is being hampered in char areas of Kurigram district due to acute water crisis.

Boro farmers worried as deep tube-wells cannot lift water

Farmers in Nalitabari upazila of the district are in great distress as a large number of tube-wells meant for irritation went out of operation due to sharp fall in groundwater table during the current boro season.

NHRC chief finds it in bad shape, blames docs

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Dr Mizanur Rahman yesterday expressed his dissatisfaction at poor heathcare services at Cox's Bazar 250-bed Sadar Hospital and performances of the doctors.

Another clinic vandalised in Kotchandpur of Jhenidah

Another private clinic in Kotchandpur upazila town was vandalised following death of a patient there allegedly for wrong treatment on Sunday night.

Two outlaws held with firearms in Pabna

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested two outlaws along with firearms at Bhowdanga village in Sadar upazila early yesterday.

Dispute over ownership of UP office land

A businessman on Thursday hung a signboard claiming ownership of the land where Jamalpur union parishad had been running its office and activities for years.

Protesters call to stop land commission hearing

Leaders of three hill organisations yesterday called upon the government to stop today's hearing of CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission.

2 abducted girls still untraced

Two schoolgirls, kidnapped in Sadar upazila last month, are yet to be rescued.

HMIS launched in Khulna

Khulna City Corporation with technical assistance from German Development Corporation (GIZ) yesterday launched the work for implementation of 'Health Management Information System (HMIS). Prof Syed Modasser Ali, advisor to the prime minister for health, inaugurated the programme at a city hotel as chief guest. He said healthcare service would be ensured for the people through implementation of digital Bangladesh. Aim of HMIS is to reach better healthcare services to the doorsteps of KCC people as quickly as possible, said Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque while addressing the inaugural function. This programme under KCC has been launched for the first time in the country.

Launch passengers injured

Several passengers were injured as launch workers attacked them in Sadar upazila yesterday. On information, police rushed to the spot and arrested two people in this connection. The arrestees are supervisor Zillur Rahman, 32, and Mohammad Motaleb, 30, an engineman of passenger Launch 'MV Kajol. Zahair Ahmed, sub-inspector of Sadar Model police station, said the Barguna-bound launch from Dhaka reached Chandpur port at around 12:30am, nearly two hours after its scheduled time. Angry passengers protested the irregularities. At this, the staffs of the launch swooped on the passengers and charged batons on them.

Trader beaten to death

A cloth trader was beaten to death by his neighbour following a dispute catching fish at Kalaigobindapur village in Sadar upazila yesterday. The deceased is Bachchu Mia, 4o, of the village. Police said Bachchu had a longstanding dispute with one of his neighbours over the ownership of a pond adjacent to his house. The victim was attacked by his rival when he went to catch fish in the pond at noon. Bacchu was rushed to Narsingdi Sadar Hospital in critical condition where he died.

Jubo League leader stabbed

Criminals stabbed a local Jubo League leader at Sujalpur Jamtola Crossing on the outskirts of the Jessore town yesterday. The victim is Kabir Hossain, vice president of Arabpur union Jubo League and son of Aminullah of Vekutia Colony area in Sadar upazila. Locals said, a gang of criminals swooped on Kabir when he reached the area on a motorbike in the morning. At one stage, they stabbed him indiscriminately, leaving him injured critically. He was rushed to Jessore 250-bed General Hospital.

Four youths jailed for stalking

A mobile court at Barhatta upazila on Sunday night sentenced four youths to jail for stalking a madrasa girl. The convicts are Tanvir Ahmed Sohag, son of Abdul Haque, Sumon Mia, son of Ainuddin Talukder, Niharul Islam, son of Zahidul Islam and Mizanur Rahaman, son of Sirajuddin of village Ujangaon under Barhatta upazila. Police sources said, the four stalkers used to stalk the girl of the same village. She is a student of class ten at Monash Dakil Madrasa.

International

Assassination bid on Putin foiled

Russian and Ukrainian security services have foiled a plot to assassinate Vladimir Putin after next week's presidential election, Ukraine's SBU counter-intelligence agency said yesterday.

Romney-Santorum clash apprehended in Ohio

Regardless of the outcome of Republican presidential primaries in Michigan and Arizona today, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum appear headed for a showdown next week in Ohio.

Syria approves new constitution

Syrian artillery pounded rebel-held areas of Homs yesterday as President Bashar al-Assad's government announced that voters had overwhelmingly approved a new constitution in a referendum derided as a sham by his critics at home and abroad.

Australian PM wins leadership ballot

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard convincingly won a leadership vote against rival Kevin Rudd yesterday, just as opinion polls showed her unpopular minority government clawing back voter support despite the bitter fight to head the party.

Bill Clinton, Manning among nominees

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, and former US president Bill Clinton may be among the hundreds of nominees for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, rights activists say.

Iran govt's talks offer 'satisfactory'

An offer of negotiations from Iran is "basically satisfactory" and talks with global powers on Tehran's nuclear program could start soon, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said yesterday.

Nine killed in Afghan Nato base

A Taliban suicide car bomber targeting Nato troops at an airport in eastern Afghanistan killed nine people yesterday, on a seventh day of violence over the burning of the Quran at a US airbase.

Bomb blast kills 5 after Pak ministers' meeting

A bomb killed at least five people and wounded another 17 yesterday, targeting a public meeting attended by provincial ministers in volatile northwestern Pakistan, police said.

Nepal bomb blast kills three

At least three people were killed and seven wounded in an explosion near government offices in Kathmandu yesterday, police said, in the first bomb attack in the Nepali capital for three years.

Lankans protest US move over 'war crimes'

Tens of thousands of ruling party supporters led by cabinet ministers staged demonstrations across Sri Lanka yesterday protesting Washington's moves to censure Colombo over alleged war crimes.

New evidence casts doubt in Lockerbie case

Fresh scientific evidence unearthed by a Scottish legal review undermines the case against the man convicted of being responsible for the Lockerbie aircraft bombing, an investigation for Al Jazeera has found.

Iran state TV says Oscar win a victory over Israel

Iran's state TV described the country's first foreign language film's Oscar win yesterday as a victory over archfoe Israel, a rare nod of approval toward a movie industry often criticised by Iranian hardliners.

Wikileaks publishes confidential emails from Stratfor

Whistleblowing website Wikileaks has begun publishing the first of more than five million confidential emails from US-based security think tank Stratfor.

Arts & Entertainment

The Artist earns best-picture, lead-actor Oscars

"The Artist" won five Academy Awards on Sunday including best picture, becoming the first silent film to triumph at Hollywood's highest honours since the original Oscar ceremony 83 years ago.

Bangladeshis shine at ADFEST 2012

Adfest is Asia Pacific's largest annual regional advertising festival celebrating and raising the standard of creativity in the region. It is a platform designed not only to promote and recognise creative excellence in the region, but also provides a unique learning opportunity for participants through looking at the best works in the region, listening to inspiring speakers, and exchanging ideas with other participants.

Aly Zaker's new books at the Boi Mela

Eminent media personality Aly Zaker -- the winner of the prestigious Ekushey Padak -- has released two books at this year's Ekushey Book Fair, with Shobdoshilpo Prokashoni publishing "Dhoro Nirbhoy Gaan" and Ittadi Prokashoni publishing "Shei Arunodoy Theke".

Documentary on acid victims wins Pakistan its first Academy Award

Pakistan won its first Oscar on Sunday night for a documentary that chronicles the work of a British plastic surgeon who rebuilds the faces of women disfigured by acid attacks.

Safiuddin Bengal Printmaking Studio opens

Bengal Foundation has opened a printmaking studio on February 25. “Safiuddin Bengal Printmaking Studio” is situated at Bengal Centre at Khilkhet, on New Airport Road, Dhaka.

OP-ED

Spoils without standards

From the spoils of war to the spoils of politics. The hottest new spoils in the game of zero-sum political competition are appointments and control of criminal judicial power. The game is ostensibly democratic but the niyaat is not. British colonial rule bequeathed to us the principle of neutral bureaucracy. But progressively we have moved away from this towards a principle of spoils. In itself this would not have been a worry because there are perfectly functioning systems built on the spoils principle. Look at the American system where upper levels of appointments are considered the spoils of political victory. But the move towards the spoils system has come with a fatal twist in contemporary Bangladesh. In functioning spoils systems, I can appoint my supporters but they must pass quality tests. The leadership is thus careful to promote supporters who have standards. In contrast, our political contenders seem to have embraced the worst possible hybrid -- a spoils system without standards. The only test required is of blind loyalty. In such a milieu, Gresham's law operates with a vengeance -- good supporters are sidelined by the most unprincipled among the supporters. The sycophant rules. The more blatant the sycophancy, greater are the chances to rise to the top.

The path of isolation

Our state machinery revved into quick action last week to denounce the hearings on Balochistan conducted by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

'The existing water protocol, suitably amended, could serve as an interim arrangement'

Professor Mustafizur Rahman is an Economist by training. He is currently the Executive Director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a leading civil society think tank in Bangladesh. Also a Professor in the Faculty of Business Studies, Dhaka University, Rahman completed his PhD in Development Economics from Moscow State University. He was a Visiting Post-doctoral Fellow at Oxford University, UK and a Senior Fulbright Fellow at Yale University, USA. He has published widely in professional journals both in Bangladesh and abroad and has authored several books. Professor Rahman has been a member of various national bodies set up by the government. He is a member of the National Task Force to monitor the impact of global financial crisis on Bangladesh economy. At present, he is also a member of the government core committee on transit. In this interview, he talks with Rifat Munim, senior editorial assistant of The Daily Star about various aspects of the existing Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) and its renewal in March next.

Unite for diabetes awareness

Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. Glucose is vital to human health because it's the main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and tissues. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger). If anyone has diabetes, no matter what type, it means he has too much glucose in his blood, which can lead to serious health problems.

This day in history

February 28
1854

The Republican Party of the United States is organized in Ripon, Wisconsin.

Science & Life

Wonders of nanotechnology

There's an unprecedented multidisciplinary convergence of scientists dedicated to the study of a world so small, one can't see it - even with a light microscope. That world is the field of nanotechnology, the realm of atoms and nanostructures. Nanotechnology refers broadly to a technology whose unifying theme is the control of matter on the scale, generally 100 nanometers or smaller, and the fabrication of devices with critical dimensions that lie within that size range (Lakhtakia 2004). Materials reduced to the nanoscale can suddenly show very different properties compared to what they exhibit on a macroscale; for example, opaque substances become transparent (copper), inert materials become catalysts (platinum, gold), stable materials turn combustible (aluminum), solids turn into liquids at room temperature (gold), insulators become conductors (silicon) that means that the behavior of substances at the nanoscale can sometimes contradict common sense by behaving erratically.

Recreated medieval climate

Diaries and writings from ninth-century Baghdad provide a glimpse of the weird weather from the era, findings that could help researchers reconstruct past climate.

Light to replace electricity?

The technological world of the 21st century owes a tremendous amount to advances in electrical engineering, specifically, the ability to finely control the flow of electrical charges using increasingly small and complicated circuits. And while those electrical advances continue to race ahead, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are pushing circuitry forward in a different way, by replacing electricity with light.

Steamy exotic planet

A new class of planet has emerged from the buzzing masses of celestial spinners, a type unlike the rocky, gassy and icy worlds shuffling around the solar system.

Ancient warming shrunk horses

During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, about 56 million years ago, a massive release of carbon into the atmosphere and oceans boosted average global temperatures by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 degrees Celsius) over 175,000 years. Mammals responded to this climate change by shrinking, with about one-third of species getting smaller.

How hot is Mercury?

Despite being closest to the sun, Mercury is not the hottest planet. The hottest planet isVenus (at 462 Celsius).


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