The Daily Star

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Monday, December 22, 2014


News of: Tuesday, 12th of June, 2012

Front Page

Face it after Eid

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday threatened to announce tougher agitation programmes like hartal, blockade and mass sit-in after Eid-ul-Fitr if the government fails to meet the opposition demands including restoration of the caretaker government system.

Polls 3 months before time

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked her party lawmakers to take preparations for the next parliamentary polls, keeping in mind that the election process would begin three months before dissolution of current parliament.

3 tiger cubs rescued

The Rapid Action Battalion yesterday rescued three Bengal tiger cubs from a wildlife smuggler's house at Shyamoli in the capital and arrested two persons in this connection. The cubs, about two months old, had been captured in the Sundarbans.

Alim indicted

The International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday framed 17 specific charges of war crimes against former BNP lawmaker Abdul Alim, which include genocide, murder of Bangalee civilians, and burying people alive during the Liberation War.

TIB hails Speaker

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has welcomed Speaker's decision to expunge from parliamentary proceedings the remarks made by MPs on noted litterateur and Bishwa Sahittya Kendra founder Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed.

Border guards push back 500

Bangladesh border and coast guards yesterday pushed back 11 boats carrying around 500 Myanmar nationals as they tried to enter Bangladesh through Cox's Bazar for refuge from sectarian violence in Rakhine state.

Tk 5,000cr deposit withdrawn

Three major concerns of Destiny Group have withdrawn about Tk 5,000 crore in client money that was deposited in various banks over the last decade.

100 RMG factories suspend production

Production at around 100 readymade garment factories on the city's outskirt Ashulia was suspended yesterday after hundreds of workers staged violent demonstrations demanding hikes in their wages.

No business in Dhanmondi

The High Court yesterday declared illegal all commercial operations in Dhanmondi residential area and directed the authorities to remove such institutions to preserve the area's residential character and environment.

US to talk to WB over funding

The US will play a helpful role in the construction of proposed Padma bridge by conveying its importance to the World Bank (WB) management soon, said US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena yesterday.

Sufferings unbearable

Thousands suffered badly in and outside the capital yesterday with the transport system crippled by the administration and ruling alliance activists to stop opposition supporters from joining the rally at Nayapaltan.

HC summons Narsingdi cops

The High Court yesterday summoned superintendent of Narsingdi police and the officers-in-charge (OCs) of its Sadar Police Station and Detective Branch in connection with the assault on a judge by police.

US pulls negotiators from Pakistan

The United States is withdrawing its team of negotiators from Pakistan without securing a long-sought deal with Islamabad to allow trucks to again supply Nato troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, the Pentagon said yesterday.

Libya's vote postponed to July 7

Libya has announced that elections for a constituent assembly, the country's first national vote after four decades of dictatorship under toppled leader Moamer Gaddafi, has been postponed to July 7.

British PM left daughter at the pub

British Prime Minister David Cameron accidentally left his eight-year-old daughter at the pub after a family lunch following a mix-up with his wife, his Downing Street office confirmed yesterday.

Editorial

The opposition's sensible programmes

Opposition leader Khaleda Zia has announced country-wide agitation programmes to press for her party's demand for restoration of caretaker government in a massive rally held in Dhaka. We commend her for not calling hartal which we always are opposed to for the stupendous, detrimental effect it has on the economy, let alone sufferings caused to people.

Police highhandedness

In the most recent incident of police highhandedness an Additional Session's Judge of Narshingdi district court was manhandled by them outside the court premises on Sunday. This is outrageous behaviour towards a judge whose position calls for respect.

Sports

Chance to blood youngsters

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim isn't banking too much on the "unofficial" tag of the forthcoming tri-nation Twenty20 tournament against Zimbabwe and South Africa which begins in Harare on June 18.

Nadal on 7th heaven

Rain or shine, clay or mud, Sunday or Monday, Rafael Nadal rules Roland Garros.

Old foes share points

France came from behind to force a 1-1 draw with England on Monday as a cagey Euro 2012 opener between the Group D rivals ended in a stalemate.

It'll be complete tour, Srinivasan told Kamal

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is hopeful of their team visiting India for a maiden full-fledged tour this year, according to board president AHM Mustafa Kamal. Following discussions with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the sidelines of recent ICC meetings, Kamal said BCCI president N Srinivasan "has assured me that a tour could be possible by the end of the year".

Red-hot Moore drives Europa

Europa Youth retained Citycell Premier Division Basketball League title after beating The Gregarious by 77-68 points in an entertaining title-deciding match at the Dhanmondi Indoor Basketball Gymnaisum yesterday.

A team to play 4-day tourney in India

The Bangladesh A team are all set to visit India to play an eight-team four-day tournament in Bangalore in July-August this year.

Rain has final say

Rain had the final say as the third and final Test between England and the West Indies ended in a draw at Edgbaston here on Monday.

KP can play if ...

Kevin Pietersen said Sunday he still wanted to help England defend their World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka in September, despite announcing his retirement from limited-overs internationals.

Best feels reborn

Tino Best said he hoped his record-breaking 95 for the West Indies against England on the fourth day of the third Test marked his "rebirth" as an international cricketer.

Astro-turf officially opened

The newly-laid astro-turf at the Balurmath adjacent to the Bangladesh Football Federation House was opened yesterday with a U-16 friendly match between arch-rivals Abahani and Mohammedan, which Mohammedan won 3-0 in tiebreakers after regulation time produced a 1-1 draw.

National school football

A hattrick from Mozammel guided Dhaka Residential Model School to a 4-3 win over Damkura Hat High School of Rajshahi in the finals of the National School Islami Bank Football Tournament at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

League returns with Jamal-Russel clash

The Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League resumes today, after a two-day rest, with holders Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club taking on Sheikh Russel KC at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. The match will start at 5:30pm.

Big wins for Ispahani, Rising Star

Ispahani Cricket Academy and Rising Star Cricket Academy won their respective matches in the 'CJKS-Urban American Under-18 T-20 Cricket Tournament' at the MA Aziz Stadium yesterday.

Another award for Tendulkar

Senior India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was presented the Wisden India Outstanding Achievement award for completing a century of 100 international hundreds here.

Llong becomes elite umpire

Nigel Llong has been selected to replace Billy Doctrove on the International Cricket Council (ICC) panel of elite umpires for the 2012-13 season, the global governing body announced Monday.

Croatia off to flier

Dark horses Croatia made a flying start at Euro 2012 on Sunday, giving a lively and varied attacking display in a 3-1 win over an unusually sloppy Ireland.

Emotions run high

Poland and Russia are doing their best to keep their minds on soccer ahead of a Euro 2012 Group A game on Tuesday that off the pitch looks like one of the tournament's potential flashpoints.

Time to solve defensive woes

Greece and the Czech Republic have defensive problems ahead of their Euro 2012 clash in Group A on Tuesday with the Greeks missing their first-choice central defence and the Czechs desperate to plug a leaky back line.

Italy lift spirits

Italy's expectations heading into their Euro 2012 opener against Spain were about as high as diminutive frontman Antonio Di Natale but his goal and their all-round play in the 1-1 draw have lifted spirits.

Disquiet in Dutch camp

Fears of discontent inside the 2010 World Cup finalists Holland's Euro 2012 squad grew on Monday when it was announced star striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would be the only player not talking to the Dutch press.

Polish FA hits back at Spain

Polish FA chief Grzegorz Lato has played down Spain's complaints about the pitch after Sunday's 1-1 draw with Italy at Euro 2012, denying the grass was too long and saying the Italians refused to let it be watered.

Aragones slates Spain tactics

Del Bosque's tactics drew criticism from his predecessor Luis Aragones, who was Spain coach when they won the continental title four years ago.

Business

Muhith: It's an evil market

Finance Minister AMA Muhith says he has done enough for the stockmarket, but the market is not improving.

Next worry: fertiliser subsidy

Rising fertiliser price in the international market is likely to add to the subsidy burden on the government.

Stocks tumble for the third day in a row

Dhaka stocks fell for the third day on the back of a writ petition challenging the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mozena warns of a storm brewing in RMG

US Ambassador Dan W Mozena yesterday warned the country's readymade garment industry of a possible storm stemming from recent unrest in the sector.

Taka slides further against dollar

The local currency depreciated by Tk 0.25 against the dollar in the past week after stability for nearly two months, treasury officials said.

Confusion over tax status of merchant banks

The government's offer to reduce the income tax for merchant banks from 42.5 percent to 37.5 percent in the upcoming fiscal year was met with a wave of confusion, as the merchant banks were already paying the lower rate of 37.5 percent.

Buet teacher advises Bangladesh to make handset spare parts

Bangladesh can save a lot of foreign currency by manufacturing spare parts of handsets and developing a technology transfer mechanism, Prof Kamal Uddin, director of the Institute of Appropriate Technology at Buet, said yesterday.

Tesco suffers fresh fall in British sales

Supermarket giant Tesco said Monday that British sales sank further in the group's first quarter, just two months after the retailer had pledged to revive its ailing domestic operations.

United Airways to buy four Jetstream aircraft

United Airways (BD) Ltd is set to buy four Jetstream aircraft by September, mainly to operate flights on unused small domestic routes, said an official yesterday.

Opec concerned over oil price, market behaviour: Kuwait

Kuwait's Oil Minister Hani Hussein said on Monday that oil producing countries are concerned over the drop in oil prices and the "strange" behaviour of the oil market.

S&P warns India could lose investment grade

Standard & Poor's warned Monday that India could be the first of the BRIC emerging economies to lose its investment-grade rating unless the Asian giant revives its growth and spurs reforms.

EU insists Spain wanted IMF to monitor aid

The European Commission insisted Monday that Spain asked the IMF to contribute monitoring expertise to an aid programme agreed by eurozone finance ministers for Spain's financial sector.

Airline industry profits to plummet in 2012: IATA

Airline industry group IATA warned on Monday global profits would more than halve this year owing to surging oil prices and the eurozone crisis, with European carriers suffering losses of $1.1 billion.

Businesses continue protest against export tax hike

Business leaders yesterday urged the government to review its plan to increase tax at source on exports, saying the move will badly impact their business.

Maize traders ask for easy export rules

The government has been continuing an 'irrational' restriction on maize export for around four years although farmers are facing consistent low prices at home due to a fall in demand in poultry feed mills, the main consumer of the grain.

Greeks face a Homeric dilemma

Odysseus would recognise the dilemma faced by today's Greeks as they must choose either the pain of sticking with the euro or the chaos of bringing back the drachma. The Homeric hero had to steer his ship between the six-headed sea monster, Scylla, and the whirlpool, Charybdis. Avoiding both was impossible. Odysseus chose the sea monster, each of whose heads gobbled up a member of his crew. He judged it was not as bad as having the whole ship sucked into the whirlpool.

Metropolitan

Wounded Myanmar citizens narrate escape

Three Myanmar citizens who were shot while fleeing the sectarian violence in the neighbouring country were being treated at Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) yesterday under police custody.

PM directs to check vehicle overloading

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the communications ministry officials to check overloading of vehicles, as the malpractice has been damaging roads and bridges across the country.

Murder was to destroy govt-press relations

Former railways minister Suranjit Sengupta yesterday in parliament claimed that journalist couple Sagar and Runi were murdered “to destroy good relations between the present government and the press".

'Highest number of journo persecution in May this year'

A rights watchdog reported that in the last month 15 journalists were injured and 12 others harassed while discharging their duty.

Govt to ban 36 types of child labour

The government is going to impose a ban on engaging children in 36 types of jobs, which were recently detected as hazardous for children.

DU teacher jailed for torturing wife

A Dhaka University (DU) teacher was sent to jail following his arrest yesterday for allegedly torturing his wife over dowry and committing fraudulent act with the High Court (HC).

BNP leaders Abbas, Milon released on bail

BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas and party leader AKM Fazlul Haque Milon were released on bail from Dhaka Central Jail last night.

Train ticket scalping under scrutiny

Two people, posing as Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) personnel, bought 115 train tickets on May 31, only to sell them on the black market, railway officials said.

Road accidents kill five

Four people were killed and 17 others injured in separate road accidents in Narayanganj, Chittagong, Khulna, Sirajganj and Manikganj yesterday.

Dhaka, Pretoria agree to boost relations

Dhaka and Pretoria yesterday agreed to enhance bilateral trade and discussed about signing agreements in the sectors of agriculture, avoidance of double taxation, and cooperation in education, arts, culture, and sport.

Govt plans big about agri info centres

The government has taken a plan to set up 87,362 Agricultural Information and Communication Centres (AICCs) in the country's villages by 2021 as part of building a 'Digital Bangladesh'.

Ten injured as train hits bus

At least ten people were injured as a train hit a coach at the rail crossing point near Rajarhat Railway Station in Rajarhat upazila yesterday, thanks to absence of railway crossing gate on the spot.

Fugitive leaders of Jamaat attend rally

Three top fugitive leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir yesterday attended and delivered speech at the BNP grand rally.

Muggers stab two in capital

Muggers snatched around Tk 50,000 and two mobile phone sets after stabbing two youths at capital's Golapbagh and Joydevpur of Gazipur district early yesterday.

Bail bonds of 15 opposition leaders accepted

A Dhaka court yesterday accepted bail bonds of 15 opposition leaders, including BNP Standing Committee Member Dr Khondaker Mosharraf Hossain, in an arson case.

Stop giving ultimatums

Former railways minister Suranjit Sengupta yesterday urged the opposition to stop delivering ultimatums for restoration of caretaker government system, as, he said, the history of the country showed no such ultimatum to be proven successful.

Police assault on judge condemned

Different human rights organisations yesterday protested and condemned the incident of assault on a judge in Narsingdi by police on Sunday morning.

Human chain formed for justice

Teachers and students of Prafulla Patro Primary School yesterday formed a human chain in front of Sylhet Central Shaheed Minar demanding solving the murders of six-year-old girl and her grandmother who were killed last Saturday.

Defence terms report on witnesses 'false'

The defence yesterday told a tribunal that the investigation officer had submitted a false report about 15 prosecution witnesses against Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee, who has been on trial for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War of 1971.

German FM due June 23

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will arrive in Dhaka on June 23 on his first official visit to Bangladesh at the invitation of Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.

Passing out parade of navy held at Khulna

The passing out parade marking the induction of A/2012 batch of new entry sailors of Bangladesh Navy was held in Khulna yesterday morning.

CDA officer sent to jail in arms case

A Chittagong court sent estate officer of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) Alamgir Khan Chhoton to jail yesterday in an arms case.

35 get bail, arrest warrants against 3

A court yesterday granted bail to 35 persons, including engineers and contractors of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), in 22 corruption cases.

Bombs recovered from Jubo Dal leader's house

Police recovered 28 abandoned petrol bombs from a Jubo Dal leader's house at Mir Hajir Bagh in Jatrabari of the capital yesterday.

Edible oil factory fined

A mobile court fined an edible oil factory Tk 1.5 lakh yesterday in Chittagong city.

Ex-Gowainghat OC suspended

Former officer-in-charge of Gowainghat Police Station Mominul Moksed was suspended on Sunday.

OC closed for raping housewife

Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Terokhada Police Station Md Mamun-ur-Rashid was closed to Khulna district police line on Sunday for allegedly raping a housewife.

Seven sent to jail for giving proxy in court

A Dhaka court yesterday sentenced seven people, including a woman, to one year's simple imprisonment on charges of giving proxy for the actual accused in an attempted murder case filed in December 2010.

Lt Col (retd)Syed Kalimuallah passes away

Lt Col (retd)Syed Kalimuallah passed away due to old age complications in the capital yesterday evening. He was 85.

Anniversary of MA Hannan's death today

Today is the 38th death anniversary of MA Hannan, a former Chittagong Awami League (AL) leader.

National

Serving humanity in an exceptional way

Manu Miah has become a symbol of selfless service to others, that too in a most exceptional way.

Little progress in CBA leader Abu Taher murder case

Law enforcers have failed to submit charge sheet in the case for killing Abu Taher, president of CBA of state-run Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd, even after two years of the incident.

Robbers kidnap 40 more fishermen

Robbers kidnapped 40 fishermen and looted valuables worth Tk 5 lakh from 20 trawlers in Padmabati Canal in the West Sundarbans under Dakope upazila of Khulna district yesterday.

Police yet to nab Bipul's killers

Teachers, students, officials and employees of Hajee Danesh Science and Technology University (HSTU) formed a human chain on Dinajpur-Dhaka highway at around 11:00am yesterday demanding immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the killers of Fahim Mahfuz Bipul, a final year veterinary student of the university.

Stray clashes with cops on 2nd day of protest

The 21-hour road blockade programme in eight upazilas of Khagrachhari district ended yesterday amid stray incidents of clashes between police and pickets.

RU students suffer due to nagging power outages

Academic and other activities at Rajshahi University are being seriously hampered due to recurring load-shedding every day on the campus.

Tragic death of a baby

An infant met a tragic death at Nayapara village in Gobindagnaj upazila yesterday.

Housewife murdered for dowry

A newlywed woman was strangled allegedly by her husband and his family members at Barakpur Uttarpara village in Dighalia upazila on Sunday noon.

Boy's body recovered

Narail police recovered the body of an unidentified boy, aged about 12, from Chitra River at Mirapara village in Sadar upazila yesterday noon. Local people saw the body floating in the river near Mirapara Bazzar in the afternoon and informed police. Later, police recovered the body and sent it to Narail Sadar Hospital morgue for autopsy. Police suspected that criminals killed the kid elsewhere and threw the body in the river.

Workshops, houses gutted

At least three workshops and two dwelling houses were gutted in a devastating fire in old bus stand area in the district town early yesterday. Fire brigade and local sources said, the fire originated from a short circuit at Abdul Ali's workshop around 5:00am and soon engulfed the adjacent three shops and two houses. The firefighters estimated the loss at Tk 5 lakh while the owners of the houses and workshops put it around Tk 15-20 lakh.

'Suicide' by schoolteacher

A female schoolteacher allegedly committed suicide by jumping under a running train at Fenchuganj rail station on Sunday afternoon. The deceased was identified as Titu Acharya Manna, 26, a teacher of Chanpara Primary School and wife of Rana Acharya of Chhatak upazila of Sunamganj district. Police said Titu committed suicide by jumping under the Dhaka-bound Parabat train at about 3:30 pm. The reason behind the suicide could not be known immediately.

Certificate forgers held

Police arrested two people along with fake certificates and certificate making materials at Rajoir village in Sharankhola upazila on Saturday evening. The arrestees were identified as Saiful Islam Milon, 24, son of Jahangir Talukdar of Nalbunia village and Korban Ali, 28, son of Asmat Ali Sharif of West Khontakata village in the upazila. Acting on a tip-off, a police team raided Shahed Digital Studio in Kheyaghat area of the village and arrested them while making fake SSC and HSC certificates of Jessore Education Board.

Van driver found dead

A van driver was found dead at a graveyard at Jotpara village in Sadar upazila yesterday morning. The deceased was identified as Abu Bakar Siddique, 32, son of Abdul Jalil of the village. Police quoting family sources said two unidentified men called Abu Bakar out of his house on Sunday night and since then he remained missing. Police suspected that the criminals killed him following a previous enmity.

International

Police collect bodies in strife-hit Myanmar town

With fearful residents cowering indoors, security forces patrolling a tense town in western Myanmar collected bodies yesterday from the debris of homes burned down over the weekend in some of the country's deadliest sectarian bloodshed in years.

Syria troops pound rebel strongholds, 52 killed

Helicopter gunships yesterday fired on rebel positions in central and northwestern Syria in a bid to snuff out the gunmen as violence killed 52 people across the country, a monitoring group said.

Hollande's leftists ahead in parliamentary vote

President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party, bolstered by leftist allies, stands positioned to take control of the lower house of parliament so he can revamp a country his partisans see as too capitalist for the French, and push to save the eurozone through growth, not austerity.

Around 100 feared dead in Afghan quake

As many as 100 people are feared dead in an earthquake and landslide that buried more than 20 houses in northern Afghanistan yesterday, officials said.

Hosni Mubarak defibrillated twice

Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who has been in critical condition since moving to prison, was defibrillated twice after his heart stopped yesterday, a prison hospital source told AFP.

Poll schedule to be declared shortly: CEC

The announcement on Presidential election schedule is due shortly, new Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said yesterday.

Police raid homes of Putin foes

Police armed with assault rifles raided the homes of Russia's top protest leaders yesterday in a show of force on the eve of a mass Moscow rally against President Vladimir Putin's rule.

Karadzic asks judges to dismiss his genocide case

Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic has asked UN judges to dismiss his war crimes case halfway through the trial.

Nobel Foundation slashes prize size amid crisis

This year's Nobel Prize laureates will have a little less to pad their wallets with than previous winners, organisers said yesterday, announcing a 20-percent cut in the award because of the economic crisis.

British ex-PM Brown blasts Murdoch press at inquiry

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown repeatedly criticised Rupert Murdoch's newspapers in his evidence to a press ethics inquiry yesterday, denying his policies were ever influenced by the tycoon.

Arts & Entertainment

Pandit Birju Maharaj to conduct Kathak workshop in Dhaka

Legendary Kathak artiste and dance guru Pandit Birju Maharaj and his foremost disciple Shaswati Sen will conduct a five-day Kathak workshop in Dhaka. Bangladeshi dance troupe Nrityanchal, in association with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), is arranging the workshop, from June 21 to 25 at BSA. A press conference in this regard will be held at BSA on June 20 at 5 pm. Pandit Birju Maharaj will address the conference.

Remembering icons through a cultural festival

Tripura Shangskriti Samannay Kendra (TSSK) recently arranged a two-day cultural festival marking the birth centenaries of four iconic cultural personalities -- Debbrata Biswas, Hemanga Biswas, Jyotirindra Moitra and Nibaran Pandit -- at Nazrul Kalakhetra in Agartala, Tripura, India.

Balancing act

Swagata, a popular face on TV, is involved in acting, singing, modelling and hosting. However, she gives most of her time to TV plays. Desh TV is airing a serial named “Radio Chocolate”, featuring Swagata. The play is telecast twice a week at 8:15pm. The play has been adapted from a story by Anisul Haque, and its director is Redwan Rony. Recently, Swagata had a chat with The Daily Star about the play and her other projects.

Alexander Pushkin's birthday celebrated

To mark the Russian Language Day and the 213th birth anniversary of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Dhanmondi, Dhaka recently organised a programme at the auditorium of the centre.

Shanto-Mariam Celebrates Life

Since the beginning of this year, Standard Chartered and The Daily Star's 'Celebrating Life' has been touring in various districts across the country. The tours include screening of the 10 films produced as part of the Celebrating Life Filmmaking Workshop 2011 and exhibition of the winning photographs from 2011.

Humayun Ahmed interview on ntv

An interview of noted writer Humayun Ahmed will be aired on ntv tonight, at 11:30 pm. The programme, titled “Ekantey Humayun Ahmed”, has been produced by Goutam Mondol.

GTV set for launch

With the theme “Bishwamoy Bangladesh”, the latest addition to Bangladeshi satellite TV channels -- GTV, is set to launch its commercial operations today. President Zillur Rahman will officially launch the channel at an elaborate ceremony at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre this evening.

Dettol Shera Ami Shongey Ma on Rtv

The bond between a mother and her child is profound and sacred. To highlight this close relationship, reality show, titled “Dettol Shera Ami Shonge Ma” will soon be aired on Rtv, says a press release.

OP-ED

There will be no victors in a Syrian civil war

With the Kofi Annan peace plan all but doomed and a slow but steady escalation of violence in Syria that is looking more and more like it's going to be a bloody civil war, questions must be raised as to what sort of country Syria will be in a post-civil war era. As recent history will bear witness, such conflicts have opened up age-old wounds along ethnic and sectarian lines where one community is pitted against another and all semblance of "nationhood" conveniently goes out the window. This happened in post-Saddam Iraq and is happening today in post-Gaddafi Lybia.

Umm… may we borrow the Queen?

The British royal family may not be much of a family -- Queen Elizabeth II is happily married, most of her children are happily divorced -- but by golly, is it royal! The diamond jubilee of her reign was the ultimate costume drama. It slipped from one century to another with sangfroid born out of majestic indifference to common style, which is as it should be. If royalty were deflated by common sense it wouldn't look very exalted, would it? Who on earth could wear trousers with yellow strips running along the side, as in the worst Hollywood parodies, and live to tell the tale, except the princes of the House of Windsor?

A Greek exit is in no one's interest

All of Europe is eagerly waiting for the results of the upcoming Greek election on June 17. The Eurozone is once again at centre stage in the world economy, with a financial crisis that has spread beyond Greece.

Some thoughts on the defence budget

On June 7, the finance minister had put up for approval in the Parliament a revised budget of the current financial year (FY) of 2011-12 and a proposed budget for the next FY i.e. 2012-13. With the possible absence of the opposition parties from the Parliament, the budget session is going to be one of tedious repetitive accolade for the government from the treasury bench members, each ending the speech with a list of demands from the MPs' constituencies for roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.

The exploitation continues

Sleepy morning! The jingle of newspaper names called out to the wind woke me up. I searched for the hawker but couldn't find him, though his young voice sang loud and clear through my window. A tiny boy of about 3 feet height held about 50 copies of various newspapers which probably weighed more than him! His age, hardly 6. He was standing in between traffic.

This Day In History

June 12

1940
World War II: 13,000 British and French troops surrender to Major General Erwin Rommel at Saint-Valery-en-Caux.

Science & Life

Why is the sky dark at night?

In 1826, a Viennese physician named Heinrich Olbers brought to the attention of astronomers one of the most basic questions in cosmology. Why is the sky dark at night? Since the night sky is filled with stars literally overlapping each other, shouldn't it be uniformly bright? Yet the night sky appears black with stars, planets, and galaxies scattered all over. This contradiction between theory and reality is known as “Olbers' paradox.” At first, the question may seem stupid and nonsensical, but it has profound implications.

The long trek of zero

The digit 0 (zero), plays a central role in mathematics. It is believed that at around 2000 BC, it was the ancient Babylonians (modern-day Iraq) who first realized the need for a special marking to signify that a number is absent from a column. The 0 in 1035, for instance, points to the fact that there are no hundreds in that particular number. Instead of writing 0, these ancient people used space and later a punctuation symbol (two slanted wedges) to get the job done.

New look of NuSTAR

NASA is launching a new telescope designed to study black holes and the sun that could "open a whole new window on the universe".

Creating giant matter wave

Exotic subatomic particles called excitons have been trapped and cooled to the point they formed a giant wave of matter, physicists report.

Parasitic plants steal genes

New research published June 8 in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Genomics reveals that the Malaysian parasitic plant Rafflesia cantleyi, with its 50cm diameter flowers, has 'stolen' genes from its host Tetrastigma rafflesiae. Analysis of these genes shows that their functions range from respiration to metabolism, and that some of them have even replaced the parasites own gene activity.

The rare transit of Venus

The transit of Venus across the sun is one of the rarest celestial sights visible from Earth, one that wowed scientists and amateur observers around the world Tuesday (June 5). The event, arguably the most anticipated skywatching display of the year, marked the last time Venus will cross the sun (as seen from Earth) for 105 years.

What is exciton?

The time dependence of the internal structure of the charge-transfer exciton in LiF, created by an idealized point source (represented by the wavy line). The absence of significant structural changes indicates that the relative motion of the electron and hole is frozen, which demonstrates that this is a Frenkel exciton.



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