The Daily Star

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Sunday, October 26, 2014


News of: Saturday, 17th of March, 2012

Front Page

Chittagong to bridge S Asian nations

Chittagong, which gradually emerged as a prominent region in the sub-continent since the 4th century with its features and a great sea port, would shine more in the near future bridging neighbouring countries.

Russian soft loan pledged

Russia has agreed to provide 85 percent of the fund for the first-ever nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.

Tigers gatecrash Tendulkar's party

Sachin Tendulkar's more than one-year wait for the much-hyped hundredth hundred finally ended yesterday at Mirpur, but a party that was very much supposed to be the Little Master's was crashed spectacularly by a brave Bangladesh side who pulled off a magnificent five-wicket victory in their Asia Cup encounter at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

BNP thinks of JS return

The main opposition BNP is likely to join the ongoing session of parliament after a break of almost a year.

Bangabandhu's birthday today

The nation observes the 92nd birth anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the National Children's Day today.

Advisers of Mujib, Yahya in talks

It was Bangabandhu's fifty-first birthday on this day in March 1971. That he was a leader who mattered, that in his hands lay the destiny of Pakistan was made obvious by the glowing tributes paid to him by such leading national newspapers as the Karachi-based Dawn. His sagacity and his vision were all remarked upon. That said, it was for the first time in the Bengali leader's life that his birthday was being observed in the two wings of Pakistan.

5 robbers killed in 'shootout'

At least five dacoits including two ringleaders of robbery gangs were killed in a “shootout” with Rapid Action Battalion personnel in Morabhola canal of the Sundarbans yesterday.

'Carjacker' killed in gunfight with police

An alleged mugger was killed in a shootout between police and a gang of carjackers in the capital's Mohammadpur yesterday.

MPs join hands in climate battle

Parliamentarians of home and abroad launched a unique network to engage parliaments and their members across the globe in advocating policies that would help climate victim nations effectively address global warming challenges.

India hikes defence budget, cuts taxes

India yesterday hiked its defence budget by more than 17 percent for fiscal year 2012-13, which starts from April, and announced tax cuts for the salaried class.

Death toll rises to 145

Death toll jumped to 145 in the Meghna launch capsize as rescuers found six more bodies yesterday, three days after the tragedy.

Ex-ISI chief admits funding BNP polls '91

Former ISI chief Asad Durrani has admitted funding BNP during the 1991 parliamentary elections.

Measures to stop firing discussed

Bangladesh and India yesterday discussed measures to bring down incidents of firing along their border to a zero level as the chiefs of the border guard forces of the two countries began their meeting here.

Ruet closed amid tension

Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet) was declared closed for 13 days to avoid tensions following the death of a BCL leader yesterday.

White rice linked with diabetes

Health researchers said on Thursday they had found a troubling link between higher consumption of rice and Type 2 diabetes, a disease that in some countries is becoming an epidemic.

Spelling Bee 2nd round begins today

The divisional round of The Daily Star Spelling Bee contest begins today from Sylhet division.

Libya dismantles trafficking ring

Libyan security forces said on Thursday they had dismantled a human trafficking network smuggling illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Somalia.

Editorial

Make JS functional

By persisting with its boycott of parliament, neither the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), nor the parliament, nor the nation has gained anything in any way.

Our dying rivers

Experts on the environment have urged the government to form a single national river authority under a stringent law to save the country's rivers. Risks to our rivers as identified in a report on the protection of rivers, recently shared at a press conference held on the subject, include the decrease of water level and water flow, river pollution, filling up of rivers, erosion of banks, river grabbing and construction of illegal structures in their places. According to experts, all these problems are created by people with vested, selfish, and commercial interests and the law must be designed so as to deal with these issues and those responsible for them. The issue of India's projects on river-linking and Tipaimukh dam and China's plan to build a dam on the Brahmaputra River were also raised by experts.

Sports

No talking, just dancing

"I don't want to talk rather I want to dance right at this moment. Please let me dance for as long as I can tonight," was the instant reaction from all-rounder Nasir Hossain, one of the heroes behind Bangladesh's five-wicket success against India in the Asia Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

History repeats itself

It seems that the past harmonises with the present and that nothing inspires Bangladesh more than a fallen comrade. Evoking memories of former national all-rounder Manzarul Islam Rana, the Tigers yesterday pulled off a remarkable coup to upset the Sachin Tendulkar bandwagon and eke out a memorable victory.

A Century for centuries

Three hours and five minutes into his 651st international match, Sachin Tendulkar ascended to an extraordinary high. And yesterday's Asia Cup game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium became the moment of history all of world cricket had been awaiting for a year and three days. He reached the much-awaited, often much-maligned and ultimately the much-adored milestone of one-hundred international hundreds.

Shakib & only Shakib

Shakib Al Hasan is a game-changer.

'100th was the toughest'

There was a lot of doubt whether Sachin Tendulkar would do the post-match press conference after Bangladesh's 5-wicket win over India. But given the occasion, he had to come and the legend did. Here are some excerpts from last night:

Kamal's rejoinder, our reply

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president AHM Mustafa Kamal sent a rejoinder to The Daily Star on March 14, contesting some contents of an article titled “Smoke and mirrors” that appeared in the sport page of the newspaper on March 13. We are publishing his rejoinder in its entirety and along with it we are also submitting our reply:

Lankan stars finally paid

Sri Lanka Cricket said on Friday it had paid all outstanding dues to its players, ending a period of uncertainty for the cash-strapped governing body and the nation's cricketers.

Haddin heads home from WI tour

Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin Friday shocked his team ahead of their opening one-day international against the West Indies by returning home for "personal reasons."

Cook lifts England

Alastair Cook hammered an unbeaten 163 on the second day of England's three-day practice match against Sri Lanka Board XI in Colombo on Friday.

Shoulder damage for Shafiul

Bangladesh paceman Shafiul Islam suffered an injury on his right shoulder when he dove at fine leg to save a boundary during Asia Cup match against India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

SA take control

New Zealand's batting woes against South Africa continued as they slumped to 65 for four at stumps on day two of the second Test in Hamilton, squandering a fine effort with the ball.

Little known facts

* Tendulkar has 13 coins from his coach Ramakant Achrekar. He would win a coin if he could get through an entire session of nets without being dismissed.

Thorpe fails in 200m freestyle bid for London

Five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe missed out on reaching the 200 metres freestyle final at the Australian Olympic selection trials Friday with a time well below his supreme best.

Maria, Novak in semis

Top seed and defending champ Novak Djokovic stepped up his bid for his third Indian Wells title by easing past 12th seed Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday.

'I've lost 50 kilos'

Relieved after notching his 100th international century that took over a year to come, Sachin Tendulkar on Friday said it was "mentally tough" to deal with the hype around the milestone and joked that he has lost 50kg after getting to it.

Manmohan leads Sachin tribute

India's prime minister Friday led the tributes to batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar who became the first player in cricketing history to score 100 international centuries.

Siddikur on 27th

Siddikur Rahman stayed in the 27th position, along with six others, after the third round of the Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic yesterday. The 27-year old golfer played a two-under-par 70 in the third round at the sun-baked Angkor Golf Resort on Friday to take his tally to five-under-par 211 as Korea's Kim Hyung-sung took solo lead with 15-under-par 201.

MU got what they deserved

Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra said his side had got what they deserved after being eliminated from the Europa League by Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.

Barca face Milan test

Barcelona and Real Madrid were kept apart in the Champions League quarterfinals and semifinals draw Friday, though the defending champion must first beat AC Milan before the Spanish giants can hope to meet in a potentially stellar final.

Abidal career in doubt

The head of Spain's national organ transplant organisation on Friday suggested that French footballer Eric Abidal would have difficulty returning to the sport after a liver transplant.

Abahani on top

Abahani returned to the top of the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League table by defeating defending champions Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club 2-1 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. Nigerian forward Lucky Paul Otofe gave Abahani an eighth minute lead while Ghanaian midfielder Awudu Ibrahim doubled the lead in the 66th minute before Atiqur Rahman Meshu reduced the margin with a neat header in the next minute.

Anelka scores in debut

French striker Nicolas Anelka scored in his highly-anticipated debut in the Chinese Super League Friday but was powerless to prevent new club Shanghai Shenhua losing 3-2 to fierce rivals Beijing Guoan.

Mancini targets EPL glory

Roberto Mancini saw his expensive Manchester City side fail in Europe once more on Thursday, but still insisted they can still win their first ever Premier League title.

Pique cleared in referee spat

Spanish football authorities announced on Thursday they had cleared Barcelona defender Gerard Pique on a charge of accusing a referee of "premeditation" in handing him a red card, they said Thursday.

Metropolitan

My Holi Adventure

Behind the court-kachari, the entrance to Shakharibazar is barricaded. Curious onlookers and policemen peer into the dark empty street. A few diehards cross over; the crowd watches them with a mix of envy and pity. Two figures approach from the other side. Their cameras, hanging from the neck, are covered with polythene bags. Their faces are covered in deep purple, red and indigo from which their eyes seem to jump out.

Wasa pipeline cracks in Ctg

Around half a kilometre of Siraj-ud-Doulah road at Chandanpura of the port city was submerged yesterday as an underground pipeline of Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (C'Wasa) cracked down.

Students test skills at English language fair

A daylong English Language Fair was held in Chittagong, Tangail and Natore yesterday with the participation of eight schools.

Qulkhwani of Shawkat Jamil held

The qulkhwani of Shawkat Jamil, a senior staff photojournalist of The Daily Star, was held at his ancestral home at Katpatty Road in Barisal city yesterday afternoon.

100 graduates can't start career for certificates

About 100 students of a private medical institute could not enter their career for two years as its authorities are not issuing their graduation certificates demanding extra course fees.

No need for talks with Myanmar

Bangladesh no longer requires any negotiation with Myanmar to draw the country's maritime boundary after the verdict of the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

Chittagong charms Indian scholars

Three Indian professors, who have arrived to attend the two-day “The Daily Star-Heritage Chatigram History Conference”, beginning yesterday, expressed their appreciation of Chittagong's natural beauty and the hospitality of its people to The Daily Star yesterday.

PM, FM hailed

Different organisations and individuals congratulated Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni for Bangladesh's winning the legal battle with Myanmar in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) over its maritime right in the Bay of Bengal.

DU house tutors keep away from their roles

House tutors at Dhaka University dormitories are not serving their due role to maintain the standard of food and take care of students' health and their accommodation problems.

BNP for early polls under CG

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday asked the government to restore the provision of non-party caretaker government by amending the constitution within June 10 and go for early elections.

Seven killed in road crashes

Seven people, three of a family, were killed and three others injured in road accidents in Bhola, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon and Jessore districts yesterday.

Honour the accused

Speakers at a book launch yesterday demanded the government honour all the 35 accused in the historic Agartala case with Independence Award, considering them as national heroes.

Resignation of shipping minister demanded

Some civil society members and non-government activists yesterday demanded resignation of the shipping minister alleging that he failed to ensure safety of commuters over the riverine routes.

Girl found dead in city

Police yesterday recovered the body of an unidentified young girl from a six-story factorycum-residential building at Bangshal in Old Dhaka.

ICDDR,B scientists make international presentations

Researchers and scientists of ICDDR,B made a remarkable number of presentations on global emerging infectious diseases at an international conference in the USA.

10 lakh tonnes of Thai rice to be imported annually

Bangladesh on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Thailand to import 10 lakh tonnes of rice annually from the Southeast Asian rice-exporting nation.

Technician dies as lift falls on his head

A lift technician died as an under-maintenance lift hit his head while he was working on it at Mirpur Section-2 in the city yesterday.

FAO chief arrives tomorrow

The Director General of UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Jose Graziano da Silva, will arrive in Bangladesh on a two-day visit tomorrow (March 18).

Schoolboy murdered

Some unidentified criminals killed a schoolboy by cutting his throat at Aruapara in the town on Thursday night.

English medium schools' cultural events today

The annual “The Daily Star-Chittagong English Medium Schools-2012 Cultural Programme” will be held adjacent to Foy's Lake in Chittagong city at 6:30pm today.

CU classes start tomorrow

Amid tension between Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), authorities of Chittagong University (CU) are rigid on their decision to resume the academic activities scheduled for tomorrow.

Bullet-hit body found

The bullet-hit body of an unidentified youth was recovered from a hill at Sagartala in Kosba upazila yesterday.

Worker dies trapped in machine

A worker died while operating a machine at Bayezid Modern Steel Mills in the port city yesterday.

5 DU students injured in clash

At least five students of Salimullah Muslim Hall of Dhaka University were injured in a clash between two groups of its students over taking seats at the hall television room last night.

10,000 Yaba tablets seized, 2 arrested

Police arrested two people and recovered 10,000 pieces of Yaba tablets from their possession at Ashuganj Toll Plaza in the district on Thursday night.

Journalist receives death threat

The district correspondent of the Daily Ittefaq and BTV, SM Shogiqul Islam Kanu received death threat over mobile phone on Thursday night and yesterday morning.

Free healthcare service at Champaphul

Poor people of Champaphul and adjoining villages, a remote area of Satkhira, are getting primary healthcare service free of cost under Shikkhachariya Shahabuddin Health Service Project.

Stolen timber seized in Ctg

Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized stolen timber worth Tk 2 lakh from Raozan of the district.

Death anniversary

Today is the 10th death anniversary of Sabrina Ahmed, a joint district judge.

International

Military intervention urged

Thousands of anti-regime protesters called on Friday for foreign military intervention to bring down a Syrian government whose brutal crackdown on dissent monitors say has cost more than 9,100 lives.

US hints at sanctions against India

Obama administration officials say they are worried India may run afoul of a new US law restricting payments for Iranian oil, forcing the White House to impose sanctions on one of its most important allies in Asia.

Allies to be consulted on 'tough' decisions

Against the backdrop of stiff opposition by UPA constituent Trinamool Congress to FDI in retail and rail fare hike, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday said the government will consult allies and take them on board whenever “tough” decisions are taken.

US denies switching terms of Taliban talks

The White House on Thursday denied Taliban claims that it had changed the terms of an Afghan reconciliation dialogue, a move the militia said prompted it to walk out of talks.

Zawahiri urges Pakistanis to revolt against govt

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on Pakistanis to revolt against their government and military in a video posted on the Internet yesterday, US monitors said.

Nato chopper crash kills 16 in Afghanistan

A Nato helicopter crashed into a house on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Friday, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and four Afghan civilians on the ground, Turkey's military and a senior Afghan police official said.

Israeli troops kill one on Egypt border

Israeli troops on Thursday killed a man and wounded and arrested three others in an exchange of gunfire on the border with Egypt, the Israeli army said.

Amnesty demands clarification from US

Egypt denied yesterday a US arms shipment headed to the Suez Canal would be unloaded in the country, after rights group Amnesty International warned that Egyptian security forces could abuse the weapons.

US leads world

Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are top of a global league table of university reputation - in a top 100 dominated by US institutions.

N Korea's plan for rocket launch sparks row

North Korea yesterday announced it would launch a rocket carrying a satellite next month, just 16 days after agreeing to suspend long-range missile tests in return for massive US food aid.

Republican race shifts to Obama's home state

Republican White House hopefuls were to set their sights on President Barack Obama's home state of Illinois, hoping to gain momentum and become the party's standard bearer in the general election.

Nigeria, Boko Haram in indirect talks

Nigeria's government and Islamist group Boko Haram have been in indirect talks to end deadly violence blamed on the extremists, two sources familiar with the discussions said yesterday.

Manning helped al-Qaeda: US

US soldier Bradley Manning aided al-Qaeda by leaking troves of classified information to the secret-spilling website Wikileaks, military prosecutors said Thursday.

East Timor goes to poll today

East Timor will go to the polls on Saturday in a close presidential contest that pits the Nobel Prize-winning incumbent against about a dozen hopefuls, including the ex-lover of his would-be assassin.

C'wealth concerned on Maldives

The Commonwealth has voiced "deep concern" over the failure of Maldivian parties to agree on a schedule for presidential elections this year and end a political crisis following allegations of a coup.

Arts & Entertainment

A Bengali Iron Lady

From a nondescript woman in Dhaka to Tokyo, where she read news in Bangla on radio for Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Azad Hind Fauj, travelling in the dead of night every day risking her life through bomb-ravaged streets of Tokyo during the Second World War.

Musical Homage to Waheedul Haque

As a tribute to eminent cultural activist and Tagore exponent Waheedul Haque, a driving force behind the nationalist cultural movement for decades, Chhayanaut held a two-day programme titled “Desh Ghar-er Gaan 1418”. Seasoned folk singer Kuti Mansur inaugurated the programme on March 15.

One Hundred Sacks of Rice

“One Hundred Sacks of Rice”, a play produced jointly by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka, was staged on March 15 at the National Theatre Hall of the academy. The staging was part of a celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Bangladesh and Japan.

OP-ED

Political protest and violence

Citizen's discomfiture prior to and during the "March to Dhaka" on March 12 has been immense and all classes of people have voiced their anger and helplessness. The State organs are largely the objects of people's wrath, rightly or wrongly. The State apparatus left behind by the British standing above and insulated from society with the police as one of its primary agencies always attracted the nationalist leaders. However, there were very little efforts to modify the British Indian State.

Is Congress BJP's carbon copy?

Numbers are important in a parliamentary system and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assertion that he has them should be assuring to the ruling Congress. After its debacle in state elections of UP and Punjab, the party's anxiety is understandable.

Bangabandhu stands tall like the Himalayas

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He struggled hard and made great sacrifices to rise to fame and become the Father of the Nation of the newly created state of Bangladesh in 1971. The story of his life, the triumphs and the tragedies thus intermingle with that of the creation of Bangladesh.

Industrial pollution wreaks havoc

For the last three decades the slow but certain devastation caused by industrial pollution has been going on unabated while very few, either in the administration or in politics, have kept track of the toll it has been exacting. Concerned citizens and the media have from time to time raised alarms, but they fell on deaf ears.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

624
Led by Muhammad, the Muslims of Medina defeat the Quraysh of Mecca in theBattle of Badr.

Environment

Where have all our vultures gone?

Three species of vultures endemic to South Asia including Bangladesh, oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), long-billed vulture (G. indicus) and slender-billed vulture (G. tenuirostris), are listed as being threatened with extinction after rapid population declines in this region. Populations of three Gyps vulture species in parts of their ranges in South Asia fell by more than 95 percent in the 1990s, and all are now classified as Critically Endangered. Unless major steps are taken, all three species could soon be facing extinction. The white-rumped vulture -- once the most populous large bird of prey -- is under particular threat, having declined by 99.9 per cent. During the 1980s the oriental white-backed vulture was so abundant in this region that it was probably the most common large bird of prey in the world. More than 97 per cent of vultures have disappeared from this region's skies in the past 15 years -- the fastest decline ever recorded in a bird population anywhere in the world. Only about 10,000 still exist in the wild in the sub-continent, down from tens of millions in the 1980s.

Potentials of clean development mechanism

In order to contest the escalating risk of climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1994 by a group of proactive governments of the world. Albeit it conceded that GHGs emission needs to be reduced; the convention, however, did not set any mandatory level of reduction for any individual state. Credential of incepting Clean Development Mechanism or in brief CDM as a way of climate change mitigation goes to article 12 of Kyoto Protocol. CDM as a collaborative approach of work for promotion of sustainable development can be accomplished by unique partnership between developing and developed countries toward climate change mitigation.

Literature

Game over . . .

They rush in roaring, marching past the pond, over the playground, across the jungle. Their faces painted black and white look grotesque, and they hold blood-drenched swords drawn high above their heads. These are the dreaded gang of robbers. Turn over everything that you have, they demand. Hapless homeowners are seized with fear. But wait, here come the fearless defenders. Oh, what a fight they put up! Bullets fly, smoke gushes. Once the firefight is over, the vanquished robbers surrender unconditionally.

A meal at a Chinese restaurant

Nirmal-babu has been a problem ever since he has retired from the college and came to live in Dhaka. He lived in Boro-digha quite contently. The few occasions Krishna visited him were of dire necessity when she stayed in her paternal house nearby. Avita and Ovi stayed with him once and were looked after well by other residents of his quarter. They were students of the college who lived there free of board and lodging and had the common characteristics of being poor and meritorious distant relations. Kobita, Avita and Ovi saw more of him in the earlier part of their lives when he would come to Dhaka during the vacations. Then the visits became less frequent, Krishna got promoted and moved to a larger quarter. Ovi's hair and dress styles took turns that were increasingly and startlingly bizarre in Nirmal-babu's eyes and Avita permanently became Avita Chatterjee through registration in her Secondary School Certificate form. Only close few kept the secret that she was previously known as Sobita Chattopadhay. Only Nirmal-babu had no reason to believe otherwise that she was Sobita Chattopadhay.

Waiting For Snow

This year winter has not been very generous to us living in Boston. I, a grown up, look forward to snow, just as children do, because snow days are often declared as holidays: no school, no work, no classes and no appointments. You stay at home, drink tea or coffee, watch TV or go on the Internet, listen to music, or do whatever you please. Snow days are unscheduled holidays, and are always welcome, at least to me.

Star Health

Successful strategies to safeguard medications

Over several decades, powerful medicines have been developed to treat diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, AIDS, influenza and many bacterial infections; all medicines used to treat these infections are likely become ineffective because of resistance at some point. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has evolved to become a worldwide health threat. Of critical importance, every antibiotic ever developed is at risk. With a dearth of new antibiotics coming to market, the need for action to avert a developing global crisis in health care is increasingly urgent.

Helping children with hearing impairment

Some children are born deaf. But with advancement of technology, children with hearing impairment can now hear and learn to listen and talk.

Pap tests needed only every 3 years

Women need getting a Pap test — which detects cervical cancer — only once every three years, and do not need to be screened until age 21, even if they are sexually active earlier, according to new guidelines from a U.S. health panel.

Ultrasound increases diagnostic accuracy in breast cancer

Digital mammography (kind of X-ray) is the gold standard for detection of breast cancer. Only mammography can detect 42% of breast cancer, but when ultrasound is added, diagnostic accuracy is increased up to 78%.

Aerobics may ease menopause symptoms: study

In a small study on Finnish women who had recently entered menopause, those who stuck to an aerobic exercise programme for six months were less likely to report menopause symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings and irritability than women who did not exercise.

More red meat, more mortality!

Eating red meat is associated with a sharply increased risk of death from cancer and heart disease, according to a new study. The more of it you eat, the greater the risk.

Strategic Issues

Dialogue is the only viable option

The show off by the opposition on March 12 on contentious caretaker government has paralyzed the capital with rest of Bangladesh. The poor nation has lost tens of millions of work hours. Do not matter who win or loose people are the real sufferer. The capital itself gave ghost look more by the denial action by the government than opposition activities. The nation is earnest in the hope that the major players in politics will find peaceful resolution of the differences on political issues duly stamped by the parliament.

1848: History's shadow over the Middle East

1848 in Europe was the year that wasn't. In the spring and summer of that year, bourgeois intellectuals and working-class radicals staged upheavals from France to the Balkans, shaking ancient regimes and vowing to create new liberal democratic orders. The Arab Spring has periodically been compared to the stirrings of 1848. But with the exception of the toppling of the Orleans monarchy in France, the 1848 revolutions ultimately failed. Dynastic governments reasserted themselves. They did so for a reason that has troubling implications for the Middle East: Conservative regimes in mid-19th century Europe had not only the institutional advantage over their liberal and socialist adversaries but also the moral advantage.

What India's state elections mean for the West

India's ruling Congress party was trounced in recent state elections especially in the all important province of Uttar Pradesh. The trends reinforced by the results portent trouble for both India and the West.

Star Books Review

Rainbows out of the past. . .

Mahboob Alam, after all the years he spent in promoting Bangladesh's diplomacy abroad, could have lapsed into quiet superannuation. Or he could have followed in the footsteps of some of his colleagues in government who, after retirement, opted for a second life as columnists or television talk show guests. Alam chose to do neither. And one is happy that he made a different sort of choice, that of exploring the many unknown facets of history. You could well argue that in Alam there is a historian whose preoccupation happens to be a study of the history behind the curtain, history that has often gone into the making of history as we know it.

. . .Words that redefined history

Oratory has since the beginning of civilised existence kept people in thrall. Shakespeare provided a clue to the riveting nature of speeches in his plays. You think here of Brutus and Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, of the many ways in which they played with words to convince the audience of the justness of the causes they held dear. But that was literature. In life lived from day to day, through the vagaries of politics, oratory has often been raised to the level of art. In Bangladesh's case, the speeches of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were ammunition, over the years, in the defence of liberty. Gandhi was not a rousing speaker, but the calm religiosity he brought into his words drove the point home. And then there was Syed Badrudduja, whose command of Bengali, Urdu and English was demonstrated to huge effect in his speeches, particularly in pre-partition India.

Reviewing the review page

To review something is an intellectual pursuit which presupposes the idea that there is a complete work, be it a book, a film, a play, radio, TV or any other programme that is to be viewed again. Thus reviewing something is set in the context of an already expressed opinion or viewpoint of someone who produces the work. This brings the reviewer face to face with the writer. Reviewing definitely is a job that involves a critical process of thinking that need not necessarily be for the purpose of expressing disagreement or disapproval unless and until the book in question entails it. For example, the recently published book, Dead Reckoning: Memories of The 1971 Bangladesh War by Sarmila Bose, caused much furore among sensible people both at home and abroad, for obvious reasons.



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