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News of: Sunday, 1st of July, 2012

Front Page

WB scraps Padma loan

The World Bank has cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the Padma bridge project with immediate effect, saying it has proof of corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and individuals.

Pride lost, and to be gained

We all could feel what was coming -- cancellation of the Padma Bridge loan. But none of us probably sensed it could come in such a damning way with so much of economic and political ramifications.

It's Zoellick's statement, not WB's

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday said he thought the World Bank's statement cancelling the fund for the Padma bridge project was rather its outgoing President Robert Zoellick's statement and that it was unacceptable.

Khaleda slams PM, family for corruption

Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia held Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her family's "corruption" responsible for the World Bank's cancellation of Padma bridge funding.

Economists fear negative impact

Cancellation of World Bank funding for the Padma bridge project over alleged corruption in it would have a negative impact on the global donors' perception of Bangladesh.

AL allies slate cancellation

The major partners of the ruling alliance and a leftist party yesterday slammed the World Bank decision to cancel the Padma bridge funding while opposition allies saw it as a consequence of government corruption.

PM raps BNP for 'killings, plots, graft'

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday alleged that carrying out killings, conspiracies and indulging in corruption were the characters of BNP.

TIB asks WB to review decision

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has termed the World Bank's cancellation of $1.2 billion credit for Padma bridge deeply regrettable, embarrassing and disappointing and urged the global lender to review its decision.

It's premature decision

The World Bank's decision to cancel its loan for the Padma bridge was arbitrary, Mashiur Rahman, economic adviser to the prime minister, said yesterday.

Probe to go on despite WB decision

After the World Bank cancelled its $1.2 billion loan for the Padma bridge project over allegations of graft, the Anti-Corruption Commission said it would continue its investigation into the alleged scam.

Solar panels to power Dhaka's traffic signals

The Dhaka city corporations are installing traffic lights and automatic time-countdown displays at 100 intersections that would be powered by the sun.

Cases pile up at SC over judge shortage

Although the chief justice promised a year ago to reduce case backlog at the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, the number of cases has shot up to more than 14,400 from 10,500 during this period.

Downpour worsens flood in North

Thousands of people were marooned as the overall flood situation in several northern districts worsened yesterday due to heavy downpour and flow of rainwater from upstream.

WB decision on Padma loan worries civil society

The World Bank decision to pull out of the Padma bridge project has created image crisis for Bangladesh and might impact on foreign aid in future, different civil society members expressed their concerns yesterday.

Toxic gas kills 5 in septic tank

Five people including four workers died after inhaling toxic gas inside a septic tank at Mirzapur upazila in Tangail yesterday morning.

Myanmar deputy FM in town

Deputy Foreign Minister of Myanmar Maung Myint arrived in Dhaka yesterday noon on a three-day trip to lay the groundwork for the upcoming visit by its president.

63 extrajudicial killings this year

A total of 63 people fell victim to extra-judicial killings by law enforcers across the country in the first half of this year, according to a report of rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra.

World powers meet for Syria peace

World powers opened a crisis meeting on Syria yesterday with the West at odds with China and Russia over how to end 16 months of bloodshed and agree on a transition plan for the strife-torn country.

Gun found at MP's home compound

Police seized a locally-made gun along with some ammunition from the home compound of BNP lawmaker Mostafa Kamal Pasha of Chittagong-11 constituency yesterday.

Mali Islamists destroy UN heritage sites

Hardline Islamists occupying northern Mali went on the rampage in Timbuktu yesterday, destroying ancient tombs of Muslim saints and threatening to wipe out every religious shrine in the fabled city.

Full text of World Bank statement

The World Bank has credible evidence corroborated by a variety of sources which points to a high-level corruption conspiracy among Bangladeshi government officials, SNC Lavalin executives and private individuals in connection with the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project.

Chronology

AUGUST 2007

Editorial

Children's nourishment under threat

Despite government claims to the contrary, data published by government institutions point to some disturbing facts about child malnutrition and mortality. Child malnutrition has decreased nationally over the last five years, according to Bangladesh Demographic and Health Service (BDHS) 2011 but there is a flipside to it. This is reflected in the Sylhet division where up to 49 per cent of all children belonging to lower income groups suffer from large-scale malnutrition, this figure goes up to 51 per cent in families where mothers are less educated.

Youth power raring to be harnessed

What Prof Yunus said on Friday while addressing the opening ceremony of the "Social Business Forum 2012" at the North South University was not only relevant to a growing younger generation but also inspirational for them. There was a message for the educationists as well. In what is a sharp critique of the present education system, he said education today is merely job oriented and motivates students to earn as much money as possible. In a bid to reverse this trend, he urged all universities to have their curricula reshaped and text materials rewritten. They have to set a different goal for the students, which as well as giving a good job will infuse in them a sense of responsibility towards society, a skill for resolving social problems and serving its downtrodden people.

Sports

Spain aim to make history

And so they meet again at Euro 2012.

'No ambiguity in my nomination'

Bangladesh Cricket Board president AHM Mustafa Kamal ruled out any fear of him not becoming a vice-president of the International Cricket Council.

Hafeez making hay

Mohammad Hafeez roared back to form with a career-best 172 not out as Pakistan made Sri Lanka pay for a failed gamble in the second Test in Colombo on Saturday.

Farashganj go down

Farashganj SC were relegated from the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League after they lost 0-2 against Mohammedan Sporting Club in their last match at the Bangabanhdu National Stadium yesterday.

Serena battles, Petra sails

Four-time winner Serena Williams survived a major scare before battling into the last 16 at Wimbledon on Saturday, while defending champion Petra Kvitova took the express route into the second week.

BKSP emerge champions

BKSP emerged champions in the BRB Cables 28th National Age Group Swimming Championship that concluded at Syed Nazrul Islam National Swimming Complex in Mirpur yesterday.

Blake beats Bolt

Yohan Blake served notice he will be ready to challenge for the Olympic 100m title, upstaging world record holder Usain Bolt to win in 9.75 seconds at the Jamaican Olympic Athletic Trials.

Eoin glad to get going

England match-winner Eoin Morgan said he'd made a "big start" for his summer after his unbeaten 89 set up a 15-run win over Australia in the first one-day international here at Lord's.

'Indo-Pak series hangs in balance'

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N Srinivasan met on the sidelines of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) annual conference in Malaysia recently, and Ashraf has claimed both the boards have agreed on a series in principle, but not on any specific details.

BD Sporting and Bima win

Bangladesh Sporting Club tasted their first victory in the Green Delta Premier Division Hockey League beating Ajax SC by 4-3 goals at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Pabna, Biman dominate

The National Junior Badminton Championship concluded at the Shahid Tajuddin Ahmed Indoor Stadium yesterday where a total of nine matches were decided.

Conqueror of Nadal falls

Lukas Rosol, Rafael Nadal's conqueror in the second round, went down in straight sets 2-6, 3-6, 6-7 (6), to Philippi Kohlschreiber in the third round at Wimbledon yesterday.

Battle of the tacticians

There are many similarities between the two coaches Cesare Prandelli and Vicente Del Bosque in the Euro 2012 final between Italy and Spain.

Italy add to lexicon

Italy's return to the top ranks by reaching the final of Euro 2012 has added a few more words to the world's considerable footballing lexicon.

Lucio, Inter part ways

Brazilian defender Lucio has left Inter Milan by mutual consent with two years left on his contract, the Serie A club said on Friday.

Long ban for Nasri would be ridiculous

UEFA president Michel Platini on Saturday said that a two-year suspension from the national side for France forward Samir Nasri for a foul-mouthed tirade against journalists would be "ridiculous and shameful".

Platini defends 'boring' Spain

UEFA president Michel Platini has defended Euro 2012 finalists Spain against accusations that their famous 'tiki-taka' possession-based approach has become boring.

Business

Dealers not buying sugar from govt agency

Dealers are not taking delivery of sugar from Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC) as the government agency keeps its selling price higher than the present market price.

IDCOL to install 40 lakh solar home systems by 2015

The Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL) plans to set up 40 lakh solar home systems across Bangladesh by December 2015, buoyed by the faster rate at which the earlier targets were met.

Westin owner's share trading starts tomorrow

The share trading of Unique Hotel and Resorts Ltd, the owner of the Westin Dhaka, will begin on the country's twin bourses tomorrow.

Parjatan posts bright numbers

Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation recorded profits of Tk 6.3 crore in July-May, almost three times the amount posted for the same period the previous fiscal year.

Stocks clock up highest weekly gain this year

Dhaka stocks rose 6.3 percent last week, the highest weekly gain this year, following positive steps taken by the SEC. The High Court earlier on June 21 rejected all five writ petitions that challenged the special powers of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Green Channel launches luxury tourist vessel

Tour operator Green Channel has launched the country's first fully air-conditioned luxury tourism vessel.

Ctg Custom House to remain open all-hours

The NBR and FBCCI yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding on 'merchant overtime' service at the Chittagong Custom House.

Let stockmarket move freely

The stockmarket should be free to move at its own speed, as it is linked with the indicators of economy and money market, said a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday.

New MD for Syngenta Bangladesh

Sazzadul Hassan has recently been appo-inted as the managing director of Syngenta Bangladesh Ltd, a Switzerland-based agro-business company in Bangladesh.

Apple scores 2nd legal win against Samsung in a week

A US judge on Friday granted Apple Inc's request for a pre-trial injunction against the sale of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy Nexus phone, handing the iPhone maker its second legal victory against Samsung in a week.

Swiss tech firm eyes expansion in Bangladesh

Leading power and automation technology group ABB aims to strengthen its foothold in Bangladesh as the Swiss company sees tremendous growth in the power and industry sectors.

Consolidating neo-liberal agenda

The mainstream discussions and debates on the national budget for fiscal 2013 have either missed or ignored the economic philosophy of the government. Thus, analysis or criticism of several budgetary measures sometimes appeared confusing and contradictory to one another. When several think tanks, trade bodies and economists are busy with issues such as deficit financing and structural reforms, they probably assumed that Finance Minister AMA Muhith is obliged to focus on social justice and welfare to balance the budget. Such presumption is actually not true.

Metropolitan

PM opens Bangabandhu Bridge-Tarakandi rail route

After 13 years of inauguration of construction, a much waited rail line connecting east side of the Bangabandhu Bridge (BB) with Tarakandi, Jamalpur opened for traffic yesterday heralding a new era of socio-economic development of greater Mymensingh region.

Huge amount of drugs destroyed in Rangpur

Drugs worth about Tk 50 lakh were destroyed on Rangpur Police Lines premises marking International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking yesterday.

Dhaka University's 91st founding anniversary today

Hundreds of people will take part in the celebrations marking the 91st anniversary of Dhaka University today.

Reduce private coaching

Educationalists and researchers yesterday stressed social initiatives to create awareness for reducing the dependence of students on private coaching and eliminating barriers to co-education.

Little boy's fatal curiosity

Not even in his wildest dreams could Rashedul Islam imagine that the boy lying lifeless on the street next to his West Dholaipar residence in the capital on Friday night could be his son.

Students vow to protect environment

The daylong 'Environment Olympiad-2012' concluded yesterday with a 17-point declaration, including a vow to protect the country's already endangered environment and to resist land grabbers.

Renovated Lifebuoy floating hospital reopens

The Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital, the country's first floating hospital yesterday restarted its journey with renovation to expand its services among the marginalised people of char areas in the country.

Menon demands scrapping of provision

Workers Party of Bangladesh President Rashed Khan Menon yesterday reiterated his demand to scrap the constitutional provision allowing lawmakers to remain in office during parliamentary polls.

Seven killed in road accidents

Seven people were killed and eight others injured in separate road accidents in Jessore, Gazipur and Comilla yesterday.

'Protect Dalits from discrimination'

Dalit community members yesterday demanded formulation of a law to protect them from caste-based workplace and social discrimination.

Earth filling for construction suspended

Land filling in the construction site of Sylhet Central Jail in suburban Badaghat area of Sadar upazila remained suspended yesterday.

Robi-Drishty debate contest ends in Ctg

The nine-day long national debate competition 'Robi-Drishty National Debate Contest' concluded in Chittagong city yesterday.

Two illegal diagnostic centres sealed

A mobile court yesterday sealed off two illegal diagnostic centres in Mohammadpur in the capital and jailed a woman posing as an MBBS doctor and eight technician imposters.

Saudi embassy's ex-employee arrested

Detective Branch (DB) of police on Friday night arrested a former employee of the Saudi embassy from the capital's Rampura area on charges of issuing death threats against three top officials of the embassy.

BAT launches afforestation campaign in Ctg

British American Tobacco (BAT) Bangladesh launched its nationwide afforestation campaign and sapling distribution programme in Chittagong yesterday.

Industries minister promises all support

Industries Minister Dilip Barua yesterday said the ministry is working to provide all logistic supports to private sector investors in the country.

Businessman killed in Sylhet

A businessman died after being stabbed by some miscreants at his house in Chunarughat upazila of Habiganj district yesterday.

Tk 322.24cr BCC budget announced

Barisal City Corporation (BCC) announced a Tk 322.24 crore budget for 2012-13 fiscal without imposing new taxes yesterday.

Moudud escapes road crash

BNP leader Moudud Ahmed narrowly escaped a road accident near Comilla on his way to Chittagong from the capital yesterday.

Rotary donates Tk 200cr to eradicate polio

Rotary International has donated Tk 200 crore in last 23 years with a mission to eradicate polio disease from Bangladesh.

Knit composite factory fined Tk 25.44 lakh

Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday fined a knit composite factory in Sreepur of Gazipur Tk 25.44 lakh for polluting Shitalakkhya River.

RU classes resume today

Classes at Rajshahi University (RU) resume today after a 36-day summer vacation.

Garment worker gang-raped

A 24-year-old garment worker was gang-raped in Narikel Tola area of Chittagong city on Friday night.

Ctg samity to accord reception to meritorious students

Chattagram Samity-Dhaka today will accord a reception to the children of the Samity members, who achieved GPA-5 in this year's SSC and equivalent examinations, and will also give stipends to 11 meritorious students of Chittagong studying at graduation level.

Firearm seized, one held

Police seized an illegal firearm from a man and arrested him in Chittagong city yesterday.

IBBL gives scholarships to HSC graduates

Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd (IBBL) gave scholarships to 200 underprivileged students who obtained GPA-5 in the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations in 2011.

Obituary

Begum Mojifa Khan, mother of Chief Surgeon of ENT department at Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital Prof Dr AF Mohiuddin Khan, died of cardiac arrest at Square Hospital in Dhaka city yesterday.

Death anniversary

Today is the second death anniversary of Mohammad Fazlul Karim Majumdar, former vice-principal of Comilla Victoria Government College, says a press release.

Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury

Today is the 38th death anniversary of Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury, former minister, Awami League lawmaker and chairman of eastern council during the Liberation War of the country in 1971.

National

Making fair voter list a difficult task for EC

Voter list updating, which started on March 10 in the district, has been witnessing several flaws allegedly due to manipulation of facts and figures by the future aspirants of the areas.

Harrowing tale of torture by Sundarbans robbers

Eight days after his abduction by forest robbers, Mizanur Rahman returned home with marks of serious torture yesterday.

30 including Kuakata councillor hurt in attack

At least 30 people including Kuakata municipality councillor were injured as a criminal gang, allegedly hired by a housing company, attacked them in the yesterday morning in Kuakata town.

Fresh call for recognition of indigenous people

The 157th 'Santal Revolution Day' was observed in Thakurgaon and Dinajpur districts yesterday with the demands for constitutional recognition of the indigenous people.

Bus strike in Khulna

Transport workers have called an indefinite bus strike in all routes of the district from today demanding ban on plying of illegal shallow-engine driven vehicles on highways. Khulna District Bus-Minibus-Coach Owners' Association, Rupsha-Bagerhat Bus-Minibus Owners' Association, Khulna Motor Workers' Union and Bagerhat Transport Workers' Union will jointly enforce the strike. Nurul Haque Lipon, President of Rupsha-Bagerhat Bus-Minibus Owners' Association said they have decided to enforce an indefinite strike as local administration failed to stop plying of human haulers like Nasimon, Karimon, Bhotbhoti, Easybike and Mohendra on highways.

Man killed by son

A man was killed by his son at Anantapara village under Kalapra upazila yesterday. Locals caught accused Oliul Islam, 18, and handed him over to police. KM Khalequzzaman, UP chairman and police said, victim Abdul Bareq, 52, physically tortured his wife Moyna Begum over family affairs. At this, Oliul became angry and hit Bareq with an axe, leaving him dead on the spot.

Fire at parking lot

Four vehicles were gutted in a fire at the parking lot of a shopping complex in Dak Bungalow area of the city on Friday night. Fire service sources said the fire originated from electrical short circuit at the ground floor of the multistoried building at about 10pm. One Pajero jeep, a pickup van, one wagon taxi and a motorbike were gutted in the fire.

Youth killed at village fair

A youth was stabbed to death at a fair at Biharinagar village in Dhamurhat upazila of Naogaon early yesterday. The deceased was identified as, Habibur Rahman alias Babu, 23, son of late Mozaffor Hossain of Chak Mohesh-Boropukuria village in the upazila. He was a SSC examinee under the Open University. Police said a gang stabbed him to death following a brawl over sharing of gambling money at the Anandamela at around 2:30am.

Lightning kills youth

A youth was killed and two others were injured in lightning strike while catching fish at a water body at Mudirgaon village in Itna upazila yesterday morning. The deceased was identified as Ershad Mia, 25, and the injured are Hamid, 45, and Abdul Helim, 35, of the village.

International

Morsi sworn in as Egypt leader

President Mohamed Morsi yesterday took the oath of office to become Egypt's first freely elected leader and its first head of state since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow last year.

No regret over PM's post

Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee has said he has no regrets over not becoming the prime minister and that Manmohan Singh is one of the "finest persons" and a worthy one to occupy that position.

US Senate confirms envoy to Myanmar

The US Senate on Friday confirmed President Barack Obama's nominee to be the first US ambassador to Myanmar in more than two decades, the latest step in greater engagement with a nation undergoing dramatic reforms.

Kalam was ready to make Sonia PM

President Abdul Kalam raised no objection to Sonia Gandhi becoming prime minister in 2004. Instead, he had been prepared to swear her in despite intense pressure from various parties and politicians, as that was the only “Constitutionally tenable” option available to him if the Congress chief had staked her claim.

Hu's Hong Kong visit sparks protests

Police used pepper spray to disperse crowds of Hong Kongers demonstrating against Chinese President Hu Jintao yesterday, ahead of the 15th anniversary of the territory's handover amid tight security.

50 killed in China mudslides

China's civil affairs ministry says mudslides caused by heavy rains have killed 50 and left another 42 missing.

Abbas postpones Israel meeting

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has postponed a meeting with Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz that was due to take place today, Palestinian officials said yesterday.

Qaeda mines kill 73 in Yemen

At least 50 civilians and 23 military personnel have been killed by mines sown by al-Qaeda since the militants were chased out of areas of south Yemen on June 13, the defence ministry reported yesterday.

DSK, wife have separated: Report

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is facing a probe into his alleged involvement with a prostitution ring in France, and his wife have separated, a source said.

US storm kills power to millions

Up to two million people were without power yesterday after violent storms hit the region around the US capital, Washington DC.

Arts & Entertainment

Zahir Khan: When music calls

Doctors, lawyers, engineers or entrepreneurs. Careers take us down different paths. But just as “all roads lead to Rome”, a true music lover's path always leads back to a place in the heart where the rhythm beats the strongest. With a series of articles, “Different Take”, Star Arts & Entertainment will bring stories of such individuals who, despite the pressures of their careers, have pursued their dreams in the world of music.

A taste of success

'Shera Radhuni 1418,' a culinary arts competition organised by Square Consumer Products Limited's renowned brand 'Radhuni,' came to a close with a spectacular event and awards ceremony. The event was held at the Winter Garden in Rupashi Bangla Hotel. The best three were awarded at the event.

Group art exhibition at Radius Gallery

Radius Art Gallery in Gulshan has organised a group art exhibition titled “Colour of Time”, featuring the works of a number of contemporary Bangladeshi painters. The exhibition was inaugurated on June 29 at the gallery premises.

Dance fest in Sylhet

A three-day dance festival began at Sylhet auditorium on Thursday evening in remembrance of Nrityaguru Haridas. Dancers from 12 districts took part in the event that began with a performance by children. Chhanda Nrityalaya organised the event. Dance exponents Tamanna Rahman and Sheikh Mehedi Hasan took part in a discussion an academic at Shahjalal University of Science & Technology( SUST) AKM Mazharul Islam read out a paper. Chhanda Nrityalaya Director Bipul Sharma also delivered a speech.

Celluloid dreams

Toma Mirza is a new face in the celluloid world. While two of her films have already been released, “O Amar Desher Mati”, in which she played a key character, was released in early June. Apart from singing, Toma is also an adroit dancer.

OP-ED

From Rio to Rio+20: Twenty years of sustainable development

The Rio+20 Summit was just held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to mark twenty years since the first Earth Summit, also held in the same city in June 1992. Having attended the first summit twenty years ago as well as the recent Rio+20 meeting and also having worked on the issue of sustainable development over the last two decades, I will offer below some reflections on what has (and has not) been achieved.

How Eqypt's army won

Jubilant chants echoed far beyond Tahrir Square when the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsi, was confirmed as Egypt's first civilian president last week. Morsi's election was lauded across the globe, and many are hailing today's "transfer" of power as a triumph for democracy.

Addressing extreme poverty: Are we on right track?

According to the MDGs Progress Report 2011 of Bangladesh, 25 million (19.5%) people are living under the lower poverty line (food consumption under 1805 kilo calorie/capita/day) in Bangladesh. It also reveals that since 1990-91 the incidence of extreme poverty in Bangladesh has decreased from 28.0% to 19.5%. In terms of upper poverty line (food intake under 2122 kilo calorie/capita/day), 45 million people (31.5% of total population, which was 56.6% in 1992) live in moderate poverty. Moderate poverty rate has decreased significantly (2.46% per year). However, extreme poverty has decreased slower than moderate poverty. Further, the incidence of extreme poverty in rural areas decreased more slowly than in urban areas.

Where is BJP heading?

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have tryst with doom. In the wake of scams and scandals in the Congress-run government, the BJP was gaining ground. Its performance in Parliament was comparatively better and its younger leadership assertive and more meaningful. But once again old RSS men who have been riding the party have brought it back to square one.

'Computing' with impunity?

There is a strong chance that you have heard the following conversation between two young mothers (or fathers):

This Day In History

July 1

1921
The Communist Party of China is founded.


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