The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Tuesday, July 29, 2014


News of: Friday, 8th of June, 2012

Front Page

Problems aplenty, prospects bleak

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has proposed a new budget with a lot of stress on future reforms and analysis of why things went haywire this year. But his biggest challenges of squeezing out a 7.2 percent growth and strapping inflation remain unchanged.

Tax, more tax it needs

Owing to what the finance minister called a gradual decline in international trade-based revenues, the government is making all-out efforts to boost revenue from domestic sources, thereby forcing people to carry a heavy tax burden.

Surplus electricity from next year?

In the budget speech, the finance minister projected that within the next fiscal year, there will be huge surplus power as a result of implementation of dozens of power projects.

Budget shifts into big spending gear

The outlay of the next fiscal year has been increased by 19 percent from the 2011-2012 revised budget to fix it at Tk 1,91,738 crore, which is 18.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Pay more for cars

Prices of all non-commercial vehicles like cars, microbuses and sport utility vehicles would go up as the government plans to impose supplementary duties on their imports from the next fiscal year.

Minimum tax rises to Tk 3,000

Despite soaring inflation, the tax-free income limit remains at Tk 1.80 lakh in the proposed budget.

Time to say bye to a few items

Last year, Abidur Rahim rushed home from office and watched the budget speech alone because the rest of the family thought it was boring.

Hurdles pretty high to clear

The government will face formidable challenges in implementing its budget for the fiscal year 2012-13, analysts said in their immediate reactions yesterday.

Alone in car? Pay tolls

Finance Minister AMA Muhith came up with an idea to ease the ever-deteriorating traffic congestion by introducing road pricing and taxing people into carpooling.

It's impossible to implement

Though the proposed budget is not highly ambitious, its implementation will be impossible due to uncertainty about funds and the government's administrative inability, the main opposition BNP said yesterday.

Essentials hang in int'l balance

The general public has little to cheer about the budgetary steps since those measures alone are unlikely to relieve them of higher prices of essentials.

Mission inflation impossible

The government targets to contain inflation at 7.5 percent in the forthcoming fiscal year, heartened by this year's bumper food production, falling commodity prices on the global market and promises of higher foreign exchange supply.

43pc higher goal set for foreign aid

The government has proposed to set the foreign assistance target at Tk 26,442 crore in the upcoming fiscal year to finance its development projects.

Farm subsidy inadequate

The government has deferred its target time for attaining food autarky from 2012 to 2013 and proposed a farm subsidy outlay that seems far short of the requirement.

Police may get separate probe unit

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday emphasised the need for creating a separate investigation unit to strengthen the police force.

3 shots in the arm of ailing stocks

The troubled stockmarket will get three more incentives in the next fiscal year, in addition to the existing ones, as part the government's efforts to strengthen and stabilise the capital market.

Fakhrul, 29 leaders get bail

The High Court yesterday granted bail to 30 opposition leaders, including BNP Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, in an arson case.

Modern war planes on purchase list

The government is purchasing modern war planes and helicopters for air force and working to install an overhaul plant for war planes to modernise the force, the finance minister disclosed yesterday in parliament.

GDP growth target set at 7.2pc

The gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the next fiscal year has been set at 7.2 percent expecting that trade and agriculture will continue to thrive and the global economy will turn around by 2013.

Rail on priority, roads ignored

While delivering the budget speech yesterday, the finance minister gave some hope for the development in the railway sector but painted a disappointing picture on improving road communication and easing traffic congestion.

Woman murdered in front of mother in capital

Criminals strangled a 46-year-old woman right before her septuagenarian mother in their Topkhana residence in the capital before looting Tk 35,000 and six property deeds on Tuesday night.

Social safety net shrinks

Allocation for social safety net programmes (SSNPs) has gone down by two percentage points in the proposed budget, which according to an analyst is a reflection of financing challenge for the government.

Taka-whitening device in place

Yet again, the government has given the money-whitening scope for influential groups.

CJ meets Speaker

Speaker Abdul Hamid, Chief Justice M Mozammel Hossain and Law Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday held a discussion on the prevailing situation caused by the “derogatory remarks” that High Court Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik made about the Speaker.

Govt hopes to end it in time

The finance minister's budget speech yesterday showed a beacon of hope amid growing doubts about completion of the much-awaited trial of the war criminals within the present government's tenure.

Wildfire kill 9 Russian firefighters

Nine firefighting parachutists were killed Wednesday as they battled a wildfire in southern Siberia, Russian media reported, citing forestry officials.

Nasdaq sets Facebook payout deal

Nasdaq said Wednesday it is setting aside $40 million to cover brokers' trading losses due to computer glitches that disrupted the launch of Facebook shares onto the market on May 18.

Editorial

The new budget

Today, we are giving our comments in broad strokes on the national budget. More exhaustive and deeper analysis would follow in our various pages in the coming days.This is the fourth budget to be placed before the House by the present government and it also happens to be the largest one standing at an estimated Tk1.97 trillion that is 17.2% higher than previous year's and GDP growth rate is targeted at 7.2%.

Inundation of the port city

It is unfortunate that Chittagong city has come to be ailed by the same problem that the capital and indeed most major towns in the country are plagued by water logging. What was quite an unheard of phenomenon in Chittagong even after prolonged deluge not many years ago has come to beset the city with the slightest bit of downpour. And all this because of filling up of the catchment areas, unplanned growth of the city and, to top it, all, illegal construction that impedes the natural flow of rainwater, and clogging of the canals that cater to the rain runoff. While this has been the case year after year we wonder why the authorities seem not to be bothered with the public misery.

Sports

Hosts relying on German brigade

If Poland can upset former champions Greece in the opening game of Euro 2012 on Friday it will be a victory made in Germany.

Victoria's flair v DOHS's grit

The stop-start Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League awaits a grand finale as the star-studded Victoria Sporting Club meet the efficient Old DOHS in the title-deciding last Super League encounter at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium today.

Pakistan easy victors

Pacemen Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami each took three wickets as Pakistan posted a comfortable six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international in Pallekele on Thursday.

Euro 2012 kicks off today

Poland get the honour of opening Euro 2012 on Friday against surprise 2004 winners Greece but it would take a major upset to see either team or co-hosts Ukraine progress as far as the July 1 final in Kiev.

Usha thru' to semis

Usha Krira Chakra moved into the semifinals of the Walton Club Cup Hockey Tournament with their third straight victory after blanking Ajax SC 5-0 at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

McInnes set to be Academy's head coach

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) all but confirmed Australian Richard McInnes as head coach of the National Cricket Academy.

Flame Boys, Gregarious notch wins

Flame Boys and Gregarious won their respective matches of the Citycell Premier Division Basketball League beating their respective rivals at the Dhanmondi Basketball Gymnasium.

Muktis join Abahani at the summit

Title contenders Muktijoddha Sangsad joined leaders Abahani in the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League with a 2-0 win over Sheikh Russel KC in their crucial tie at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

Maria-Sara showdown

Maria Sharapova defeated Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-3 to reach her first French Open final on Thursday, reclaiming the world number one ranking and moving one win away from a career Grand Slam.

Ferrer fears none

David Ferrer says he is ready to face the toughest challenge in world tennis -- going up against Rafael Nadal on the clay courts of Roland Garros at the French Open.

Opening day washed out

The first day's play in the third Test between England and the West Indies at Edgbaston here on Thursday was washed out without a ball being bowled.

Rahmatganj 'sack' Liton

Rahmatganj MFS unofficially terminated their coach Mahmudul Hasan Liton following the club's poor performance against neighbouring Farashganj SC in the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League.

Easy wins for Ispahani, Rising Star

Ispahani Cricket Academy recorded a massive 125-run victory over Ekushey Cricket Academy in the CJKS-Urban American Under-18 T20 Cricket Tournament at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.

Doctrove calls it a day

West Indies official Billy Doctrove has retired from umpiring after a 14-year international career, cricket's world governing body said on Thursday.

Point to prove

The Czech Republic will draw on memories of impressive runs at past tournaments while Russia are looking to show their semifinal appearance in 2008 was no fluke when they clash in their Euro 2012 Group A opener in Wroclaw on Friday.

Arshavin eyes repeat

Should Russia repeat their run of four years ago and reach the Euro semifinals that would be counted as a success said national captain and playmaker Andrei Arshavin.

Preciado dies of heart attack

Spanish coach Manuel Preciado died of a heart attack on Thursday, just a day after he was named the new coach at relegated side Villarreal, his former side Sporting Gijon said.

Ribery not amused

French playmaker Franck Ribery had a sense of humour failure here on Thursday when he was asked what he thought of UEFA president Michel Platini's joke that France could win the Euro 2012 title if they got off the bus.

Testicle-biting dogs for hooligans

From testicle-biting police dogs to sonic cannons capable of inducing involuntary urination, Polish anti-hooligan squads have an array of weapons ready for potential trouble-makers at Euro 2012.

Defoe flies home

England striker Jermain Defoe has flown home from the squad's Euro 2012 training camp in Krakow following the death of his father, the Football Association confirmed Thursday.

Business

Export tax spike draws ire from business leaders

Businesses yesterday opposed government plans to increase bank borrowings and double tax at source on exports for the next fiscal year.

Some applause

The government has pronounced a number of fundamental steps in the fiscal management in the upcoming budget, which might create business and taxpayer-friendly environment. These include the removal of income inequality to establish social equity, limiting the discretionary power of the tax and VAT officials, and finding easy and alternative solutions to tax disputes and litigations.

Muhith taxes mobile usage

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday announced plans to impose a 2 percent tax at source on mobile phone bills.

Tk 100cr boost for women entrepreneurs

The government yesterday proposed to allocate an amount of Tk 100 crore in the upcoming fiscal year for women entrepreneurs.

ICT still neglected

The government's vision of a 'Digital Bangladesh' is not reflected in the proposed budget as there is no specific focus on the information technology sector, said analysts.

Unreal plans for housing

The government takes steps to develop plots and construct flats for medium- and low-income group of people without taking any realistic measures to make it a success, said real estate sector leaders.

No import duty for ETP equipment

The government has proposed to introduce zero duty instead of the existing 1 percent for importing equipment to install effluent treatment plants (ETPs) for export oriented industries in the coming fiscal year.

Tax cut for shipbuilders

The government may reduce the tax burden, including advance income tax and advance trade VAT, on the shipbuilders from the existing 38 percent to 5 percent in the next fiscal year.

Greek tourism battered by political crisis, fear

When he took a job as the manager of one of Greece's biggest resorts overlooking a sandy beach near Ancient Olympia, the cradle of the Olympic Games, Michalis Minadakis thought he had the goose that laid the golden egg.

Nitya Upahar teams up with Grameen-Uniqlo

Grameen-Uniqlo clothes will now be available in the outlets of Nitya Upahar, a local fashion house, from June 20.

Budget News In Brief

INCENTIVE FOR FILM INDUSTRY
The government has put forward a stimulus package for the film industry.

India's Reliance announces investment drive

India's largest private company, Reliance Industries, said Thursday will invest $18 billion over the next four to five years to expand in the country and more than double operating profit.

Job creation for poor gets a boost

Self-employment for the hard-core poor gets a boost with the proposed allocation of Tk 1,200 crore in the budget, which is Tk 200 crore more than the current year's allocation.

London hotels "pricing themselves out of market"

Bookings at London hotels for the Olympic period are down by around a third on last summer, with travellers being put off by high prices, a British travel agent said on Wednesday, dampening hopes that the Games will help to revive Britain's economy.

Special court to fast-track stock cases

The government yesterday announced to set up a special court to resolve the capital market related cases quickly, but did not reveal any timeframe.

Budget challenge: economic discipline

The strategic focus of the budget for fiscal 2012-13 has been set in line with the overall objective of achieving development to take Bangladesh to middle-income status by 2021. With the aim of accelerating growth, increasing investment, reducing poverty through employment generation, establishing social justice, the budget has made fiscal measures for various sectors. Bringing public finances under control has been a tough task for all governments. This year, it has been even tougher in the context of lower than projected growth of the gross domestic product, slow pace of investment, higher inflation and low development spending in fiscal 2011-12.

Louis Vuitton so last season for China's super chic

Daisy Liu epitomizes China's obsession with luxury brands: her shoes are Guiseppe Zanotti, her brooch Chanel, a floral Hermes scarf is stylishly knotted over one shoulder. She won't, however, tote a monogrammed Louis Vuitton handbag ever again.

Some tax measures

New proposals

Metropolitan

Witness, wife get death threats

A prosecution witness in a case being heard at the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 and his wife received death threats over phone some 20 minutes before the trial proceedings began yesterday.

Prosecution's absence displeases judges

The International Crimes Tribunal-2 expressed discontent over the prosecution, as the entire team was absent from court during yesterday's proceedings.

ETV chairman, MD indicted

A Dhaka court yesterday framed charges against the chairman and managing director of Ekushey Television (ETV) in a case filed against them for not submitting their tax returns within the stipulated time.

Healthcare in remote areas not addressed

Deeming healthcare insignificant in remote areas, the issue of service providers at public hospitals in hill tracts and other such areas remained unaddressed in the proposed budget, observed doctors' associations leaders.

Nothing new for education

Although an allocation increase of 8 percent has been proposed for the education sector in the national budget, Finance Minister AMA Muhith did not unveil any new plan, only except repeating the old promises.

Malaysia eager to hire Bangladeshi workers

A visiting Malaysian delegation yesterday expressed satisfaction over Bangladesh's proposal to export manpower to Malaysia on government-to-government level.

Iqbal Karim new army chief

Lieutenant General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan has been appointed new chief of army staff, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) release said yesterday.

AL govt again pledges to bolster local govt

The Awami League-led government made fresh promises yesterday to strengthen local government, despite its indifference to its electoral pledge on the issue since 2009.

17 opposition youth wings form alliance

Seventeen youth wings of the BNP, its allies, and like-minded parties have formed a joint youth front named “Jatiyatabadi Jubo Oikya” to ramp up the mobilisation activities of the opposition's ongoing anti-government movement.

Prisoner dies

An under trial prisoner, who had become seriously sick in Narayanganj district jail, died at Narayanganj General Hospital on Wednesday night.

PPP gets hefty allocation despite failure

An allocation of Tk 3,000 crore has been laid down for public-private partnership (PPP) projects in the 2012-2013 budget although the government has miserably failed to make any use of such allocations for the previous three years.

DoE fines two businesses Tk16.25 lakh

Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday fined a steel cutting factory and a commercial building in Narayanganj and in the capital a total of Tk 16.25 lakh for violating environmental law.

4 Myanmar citizens held

Members of Coast Guard arrested four Myanmar citizens and seized shrimps and palm oil worth about Tk 6.08 lakh in Cox's Bazar and Chittagong on Wednesday.

Three electrocuted in capital

Three people were electrocuted in their house at Wari in the capital yesterday morning.

One fined for selling formalin tainted fishes

A mobile court fined a fish trader Tk 20,000 for selling formalin tainted fishes and two shopkeepers Tk 20,000 for keeping faulty scales in Chawkbazar area in Chittagong city yesterday.

Two die in road crashes

Two people died in road accidents in Chittagong and Narayanganj yesterday.

Court orders quizzing of Zulfiqar in jail

A Chittagong court yesterday rejected a seven-day remand prayer for Lt Col (sacked) Zulfiqar Ali Majumder, former commanding officer of Rab-7, in a case over his alleged link in robbing Tk 2.07 crore from a Chittagong shrine.

Self-reliance the way for curbing graft

Curbing corruption and establishing good governance in the country would not be possible only depending on foreign aid, if the countrymen would not come forward to solve the problems, said noted economist Debapriya Bhattacharya yesterday.

Shibir men vandalise vehicles

Islami Chhatra Shibir men vandalised at least 10 vehicles at Malibagh in the capital yesterday.

Unipay2u investors to go for agitation

Unipay2u Members' Club Ltd, a platform for aggrieved investors of Unipay2u Bangladesh, a controversial multi-level marketing company, yesterday threatened to go for agitation programmes if they did not get a refund within 15 days.

Rab impersonator held in Ctg

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab-7) arrested a Rab official impersonator in Chittagong yesterday.

Bank official shot, robbed of Tk 12.2 lakh

Muggers looted Tk 12.2 lakh from Sonali Bank officials at Mirpur in the capital, leaving one of the officials bullet-hit yesterday.

'Ilias Mukti Parishad' formed

A 501-member committee was formed to strengthen ongoing agitations demanding return of 'missing' BNP leader Ilias Ali in Sylhet on Wednesday.

Special class on maritime boundary

Primary knowledge about maritime boundary and marine resources will be given to the country's students from secondary to higher secondary level.

Man hacked to death in Rajshahi

A man was hacked to death in Dewanpara of Rajshahi city Wednesday night.

Obituary

Prof Mohamm-ad Muqa-ddesur Rahman passed away at his residence due to old age complications yesterday.

National

Uncared for, Kurigram children's park now unappealing to kids

Kurigram Shishu Udyan (children's park) has remained in an awful state due to lack of repair and proper maintenance for years.

Long march held in Rangpur for city corporation

Rangpur City Corporation Bastabayon Sangram Parishad organised a long march yesterday demanding immediate issuance of a gazette notification affecting formation of the city corporation.

300 houses damaged as storm lashes Netrakona

A violent storm ripped into Netrakona town and 15 villages in Purbadhola upazila of the district yesterday morning, damaging at least 300 thatched and tin-roofed houses.

BAU expels 2 students for their 'involvement'

Two students of Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) were expelled for one year each from the university for their alleged involvement in the attacks on general students yesterday and on Wednesday night.

Abducted girl rescued, 5 arrested

Police rescued a madrasa girl from Bhatiari area under Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong on Wednesday night, 13 hours into abduction.

Rail-road blocked for 7 hrs in Kishoreganj

Rail and road communications between Kishoreganj and capital Dhaka remained suspended for seven hours yesterday as locals put barricades in the district protesting what they said a High Court (HC) judge's 'derogatory' remarks about the Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad.

Man gets life for murder

A court on Wednesday sentenced a man to life term imprisonment and another to jail for five years in a murder case. Convicts Anwar Hossain Bakhtiar was awarded life term imprisonment while Ruhul Amin Bepari jailed for five years. The court also fined Bakhtiar Tk 20,000, in default, he is to suffer six months more in jail and acquitted one Palash of the case. According to the prosecution, the duo looted Tk 1.14 lakh from a local sales representative of Unilever Bangladesh Limited Sumon Das, son of Torki Bandar of Gournadi upazila and killed him on April 16, 2008. Later, a case was filed with Gournadi Police Station accusing three people. After examining the witnesses and records, District and Sessions Judge AKM Salimullah handed down the verdict.

Three kids drown

Three children drowned in separate incidents in Magura and Bogra districts on Wednesday. In Magura, a 12-year-old schoolgirl drowned in Nabaganga River in the district town while taking bath along with her friends at noon. The deceased was identified as Bipasha Mondal, daughter of Probir Mondal of Judge Court Para of the town. Police said Bipasha went to the river along with her friends for bathing and at one stage, she slipped into the deep water of the river and drowned. In Bogra, two children drowned at Bhuipur village in Dupchachia upazila at noon. The victims are Maria Akter Monica, 4, daughter of Sajadur Rahman of Bhuipur village in the upazila and Ishrat Jahan Ritu, 5, daughter of Omar Faruque of Kundupur village in Adamdighi upazila. Family sources said Monica and her niece Ishrat Jahan while playing on the bank of the pond of their house suddenly fell into it around 12:00pm.

5 'gamblers' arrested

Police arrested five alleged gamblers and recovered a pack of playing cards and Tk 30,000 gambling money from their possession at Katuli village in Shalikha upazila on Wednesday afternoon. The arrestees are Tutul, 27, and Milon, 25, of the village, Surman Ali Bishwas, 45, of Shatakhali village, Kamal Hossain, 28, of Pearpur village and Abdul Hye, 32, of Sima Khali village. On secret information, the law enforcers arrested the five while they were gambling, said police.

Letters

We want to trust police

News of atrocities committed by police is reaching us everyday. We are appalled by it and feeling very upset. The latest incident is about two sub-inspectors assaulting and harassing a teenaged girl and her father and mother in the police club next door to Dhaka magistrate's court on May 29, 2012. Police took the 15-year-old girl to a separate room and behaved with her indecently. Police also assaulted the journalists and lawyers to whom she was narrating the incident.

Materialise Bangabandhu's dream

Forty years passed by after independence, yet no one seems to address the core problem the country is facing since the day one of its inception. No did even the fortunate incumbent prime minister, who escaped the gruesome killing as she was living abroad with her (late) professor husband. I wonder why the two-time prime minister Sheikh Hasina is not interested in implementing her late father's plan into reality. Had she implemented the plan that Bangabandhu was about to do, many of the problems would have been taken care of by themselves without extra effort. Many of the existing problems would have simply vanished with decentralisation as people from far flung areas would not have to throng the capital for a living.

Don't raise liquid milk price

Nowadays most of the households prefer the freshness of pasteurized milk to the powdered milk. So, this trend boosts up the businesses of nine local milk processing companies. A report says that the companies processed nearly 150 million litres of liquid milk in 2011 whereas four years ago it was only 85 million liters.

Show respect to senior citizens

In Bangladesh slowly but steadily the elderly citizens are losing respect. They are considered to be an object in many families and then they are sent to old homes and the worst innings of their life starts there. Today's generation is so concerned about their children that they hardly find any time for their beloved parents. Why has this happened? With our increasing need to have the latest car, computer etc, have we forgotten that some things never change and how important old skills and wisdom of age are?

A source of inspiration for women

Repeated successes of our sisters Nishat and Wasfia, who conquered the highest peak of the Everest, has made us proud. Wasfia, the second female Everest conqueror in our country has dedicated her achievement to all the women of Bangladesh. Their stupendous success indicates that women in our country are capable of doing everything that men can do. Now what we have to do is to ensure a level playing ground for them so that they can prove their competence in every sphere of life.

Young man, keep writing!

Once again, the Class 9 schoolboy from Chittagong, Shafeen Mahmood, is challenging your readers, sir, on a moral issue.

Online Voices

COMMENTARY

International

Dozens killed in Syria massacre

Pro-regime militiamen swept through farmlands in central Syria slaughtering dozens including women and children, activists said yesterday, sparking opposition calls for increased military raids by armed rebels.

US reaching 'limits of patience' with Pakistan

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta yesterday said that the United States was running out of patience with Pakistan for tolerating safe havens that allow insurgents to attack US troops across the border in Afghanistan.

EU agrees on border checks in visa-free area

European Union nations yesterday agreed they can temporarily restore border checks within the visa-free Schengen area in case of a surge of illegal migrants, despite opposition from Brussels.

Afghan war at 'turning point'

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told troops in Afghanistan yesterday that the decade-long war was at "a turning point", as Kabul reacted with fury to a Nato air strike that killed up to 18 civilians.

Web switches to IPv6, for breathing room

A new Internet standard giving the global network more room to grow came into effect Wednesday, a move that users probably won't notice.

Russia backs Iran's peaceful nuke drive

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday told his Iranian counterpart that Moscow supports Tehran's atomic programme as long as it is "peaceful".

Global food prices post sharp drop in May: FAO

Global food prices fell sharply in May, dropping four percent from the previous month to their lowest level since September 2011, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation yesterday said.

US reaching 'limits of patience' with Pakistan

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta yesterday said that the United States was running out of patience with Pakistan for tolerating safe havens that allow insurgents to attack US troops across the border in Afghanistan.

Al-Qaeda still a threat: Hillary

Al-Qaeda is still a spreading and imminent threat, US Secretary of State said yesterday, as she joined major world powers in Istanbul for a meeting to curb terrorism.

Iraq executes Saddam's top aide

Iraq yesterday executed Saddam Hussein's presidential secretary and chief bodyguard Abid Hamid Mahmud, justice ministry spokesman Haidar al-Saadi said.

Israel to build 850 homes in West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Wednesday to expand the Beit El settlement by 300 homes after MPs voted down a bill to prevent the razing of buildings in one of its neighbourhoods.

Poll Charges: India's HM faces trial

India's Home Minister P Chidambaram could face a civil trial over allegations that he broke voting rules during the 2009 general election, following a court ruling yesterday.

Drug-resistant TB epidemic in China

China faces a "serious epidemic" of drug-resistant tuberculosis according to the first-ever nationwide estimate of the size of the problem there, said a US-published study on Wednesday.

Qaeda seeks suicide bombers on web

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has begun posting Internet advertisements offering training for suicide bombers to target the US, Israel and France, adverts on several jihadist web forums show.

Arts & Entertainment

Mokammel films generate interest among Kolkata audience

It was a trek down memory lane for many who had gathered at the Gorky Sadan, one of Kolkata's major cultural hubs, where two documentaries by Tanvir Mokammel were screened on May 26 and June 5.

Sa'adat Ali Akhand Literary Award 2011 conferred

Sa'adat Ali Akhand Shahitya Puroshkar (literary award) 2011 was conferred on eminent researcher and writer Professor Khondakar Sirajul Haq on June 6 at the Seminar Hall of Bangla Academy. Haq received a crest, certificate and a cheque worth Tk 25,000 as part of the award.

Solo sarod recital by Prattyush Banerjee at IGCC today

Noted Indian sarod artiste Prattyush Banerjee will perform today at 6:30pm at the auditorium of Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) in Gulshan, Dhaka. The artiste also performed a solo sarod recital at Dhaka Club yesterday. Ashis Paul is accompanying Prattyush on tabla.

Swani Zubayeer's tribute to National Poet

Talented singer Swani Zubayeer's latest album “Keno Megher Chhaya” is going to be released at the end of this month. The accomplished musician has recorded ten familiar and lesser-known songs of the National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Zubayeer recently recorded the songs at Resonance studio in Kolkata, India. Bengal Foundation is producing the album.

Tarok

Two nocturnal birds are talking to each other. They suddenly see a group of people digging a grave. As one bird asks the other about it, a story unfolds -- zooming in on an individual named Kabir.

Moushumi Nag

Several TV serials, featuring Moushumi Nag, are now on air on different channels. At present she seems to be busy with her shooting more than ever. Almost everyday she is shooting for TV plays. Alongside she is continuing modelling as well. “Ladies First”, featuring Moushumi, is being telecast on Banglavision. The drama is aired twice a week. The actress recently had a chat with The Daily Star about this play and others.

Mahfuz Ahmed becomes father

Popular actor Mahfuz Ahmed has become a father. His wife Professor Ishrat Jahan Kader gave birth to their first child yesterday. The elated couple have decided to name their daughter Mawrin Aradhya Ahmed.

Brad Pitt to produce stalled Marilyn Monroe biopic

Brad Pitt has signed up to produce an Australian filmmaker's stalled Marilyn Monroe biopic, according to reports.

OP-ED

The bridge of silence

A High Court bench has accused the Speaker of the National Parliament of making seditious comments against the apex court of the country. Transparency International Bangladesh has demanded that the parliament should expunge from its proceedings the adverse remarks made by some of the lawmakers against a member of its trustee board. Earlier a group of lawmakers had bitterly criticised this particular TIB member for allegedly calling them thieves and dacoits and demanded that he should offer them an unconditional apology. Welcome to the crosscurrents of mutual invectives. Never before in the history of this country have so many high-profile railings roiled this nation within the space of a single week.

Budget FY2012-13: Expectations from GRB perspective

The journey towards gender responsive budget (GRB) has gained momentum in recent years. A concrete evidence of government's positive intention to make the budget gender responsive is that a culture of sharing with civil society representatives has started. Sharing and exchange of opinions takes place both before and after the budget declaration. The government now regularly publishes gender budget report as a part of its budget documents. We express our thanks for that. Over the years, the number of GRB reports has increased from 4 (in 2005-06) to 10 (in 2010-11) to 20 (in 2011-12).

Electricity tamasha and all

No suits, ties for nine months from March to November, a government circular blurts out of the blue for the government and autonomous bodies. That such an idea sprouted in a fertile brain awash with crisis management quackery cannot be in doubt. But what you puzzle over is the forced dress code. If the rule sticks by you will have dumped your costly summer suits and boots away.

Save the euro. No time to waste

After so many bilateral and multilateral summits of European leaders over the past two years on the euro, I cannot help feeling that these politicians are either a bunch of procrastinators or they do not realise that Europe is on the edge of a precipice. While they talk, eat dinner or stroll, the ship is sinking little by little. It is as if we are watching a movie in slow motion of a death foretold. No country, not even Germany will be able to avoid the consequences of the disaster. How can we avoid it?

What is in a name?

Well, a lot is. Words have physiognomic properties which influence perception. To Shakespeare the fragrance of a rose would remain the same even with a change of nomenclature. Suppose we called it "jhotjhotkil" or "quillkerrfiz" and ran an experiment to prove the bard's point of view the results might not tally with his assumption. In the same context take the word "gram" or "grameen." There was a time not very long ago when, for the elite, the pedigreed, the city dwellers, the higher ups, the word "grameen" stood for squalor, a perfume bereft multitude, stench of cow dung, bumpy dirt roads, helplessness and diseases. These things have not changed drastically but a few farsighted, innovative and dedicated men and women have been able to bring about visible and functional change in the stagnant situation. The Persian saying "Qatra, qatra dariya mee shawad" befits their endeavour.

This Day In History

June 8

1191
Richard I arrives in Acre (Palestine) thus beginning his crusade.


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