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News of: Saturday, 4th of August, 2012

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Ministry goes soft on realtor

The environment ministry has mysteriously waived Tk 45 lakh from a penalty of Tk 50 lakh slapped on the developer of illegal housing scheme Ashiyan City for destroying nature.

Quizzical export

Hilsa, which has gone beyond the reach of the common people for its high prices, was being exported to India for less than half the local market price before a ban was slapped on its overseas sales on Tuesday.

No fish export to Dhaka

Paschimbanga Fish Importers Association has threatened to halt exports of all kinds of fish if Bangladesh's ban on hilsa export to West Bengal is not withdrawn immediately.

Cops sue 300 JU students over violence

Around 300 students of Jahangirnagar University (JU) were sued yesterday in two cases filed in connection with Thursday's violence on and outside the campus.

Dozen fake taka makers active

At least a dozen of forger gangs are active across the country and using the shopping rush of Eid-ul Fitr to spread fake notes in the market, say detectives.

Friendship core of swim rivalry

Michael Phelps tiptoed into the press conference, taking exaggerated steps with his massive frame. On the podium, Ryan Lochte who was answering a question, looked at Phelps with a flummoxed expression.

Govt moves to destroy Grameen

Condemning the government's move to amend the Grameen Bank ordinance, the main opposition BNP yesterday said the government has initiated the move to destroy the bank in a planned way.

Pak court scuttles contempt shield

Pakistan's top court yesterday struck down a new law exempting members of the government from being tried for contempt, clearing the way for legal proceedings against the prime minister.

No water for 72 hours

It was 8:15pm on Wednesday. Over 350 people, each carrying four to five empty pots, were waiting in four queues to collect drinking water from a water pump at the capital's Farmgate.

Cheetah the best sprinter on earth

The fastest cheetah on Earth has done it again, breaking her previous world record for the 100-meter dash and setting a new best time of 5.95 seconds.

Boy killed by electrocution

A teenage boy was electrocuted and killed last night while plugging in a mobile phone charger at their house in Moulvitek of the capital's Rampura.

Robot rover nears Mars

Nasa yesterday said the big robot rover it is sending to Mars looks in excellent shape for its Monday landing.

Jamaat eating iftar, doing politics

Jamaat-e-Islami now appears to go on with a revised strategy to take advantage of the month of Ramadan to conduct a countrywide campaign against the government and also the ongoing war crimes trial.

UN members condemn Syria

The UN General Assembly yesterday overwhelmingly voted to condemn the Syrian government and demanded a political transition in Syria, which has seen 17 months of fighting between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and opposition fighters.

Septic tank gas kills 2

Two labourers died after inhaling toxic gas trapped inside a septic tank in a housing plot at Colonel Hat of Chittagong city yesterday morning.

Elephant tramples 1 to death

A man was trampled to death by a wild elephant in Naikhangchhari upazila of Bandarban district early yesterday.

10 Rohingyas arrested, 3 sent back

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in separate drives detained 10 Rohingya intruders in Teknaf upazila of Cox's Bazar district early yesterday.

China's Weiwei in fresh appeal against tax fine

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has appealed a court decision upholding a $2.4 million fine for tax evasion -- a charge he claims is politically motivated, his lawyer yesterday said.

Philippine typhoon toll rises to 37

The death toll in the Philippines from Typhoon Saola has risen to 37 and is expected to go even higher as new rains worsened flooding, the government yesterday said.

US Senate confirms envoy to Kabul

The US Senate late Thursday confirmed career diplomat James Cunningham as President Barack Obama's new ambassador to Afghanistan.

Fall in support for Israel's Likud

The popularity of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party has fallen while that of the opposition Labour party is rising fast, the results of a newspaper poll showed yesterday.


Undermining Grameen Bank

In a shocking and perverse move, the Cabinet set in motion steps to amend The Grameen Bank Ordinance 1993 that effectively empowers the Chairman to have overall control in the institution's operations and denudes the powers of the real owners, all 8.3 million of them, 95 per cent of whom are destitute rural women from having any real say. According to what has been reported in the press, the new powers of the Chairman become absolute in sidelining the real owners of the bank those who own 97 per cent of the share. Presently, the Board has 12 members where only 3 members including the Chairman represent the government. The other 9 women members are elected from the grassroots by the 8million plus women shareholders. Hence, the latest effort shows the government's intention to change the very nature of one of the most unique bank in the world which has successfully empowered destitute women and has become a model for emulation throughout the world. The Nobel Prize was jointly awarded to both the institution and the founder and the government's deliberate move to change the way it is run is in effect, a camouflaged attempt to turn it into a government institution and we all fear and share the concerns of the Foundation.

HRW report on Rohingya repression

In spite of widespread media reports, the Myanmar government continued to categorically deny allegations of state-sponsored violence against the Rohingyas that erupted following the rape of a Buddhist woman in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. But a report released by Human Rights Watchdog (HRW) sets the record straight by asserting that Myanmar security forces not only supported Buddhist attacks on Rohingyas but also themselves unleashed violence on the minority Muslims at times.


Phelps's magnum opus

Michael Phelps delivered one more history-making Olympic performance Thursday, winning the 200m medley to become the first man to win the same individual swimming event at three straight Games.

Speed costs Pendleton

“These things happen,” said a weary looking Victoria Pendleton. She said it with purpose, her brilliant blue eyes looking straight at the journalist who had asked her the question. But even then you got the feeling that the only person she was trying to convince was herself.

Bolt, Isinbayeva's London bow

The cream of men's sprinting and Russian pole vaulting legend Yelena Isinbayeva will make their bow on the second day of the athletics programme of the Olympics on Saturday.

London Diary

After we reported yesterday that luminaries as diverse and impressive as Dmitri Medvedev (RUS), Kobe Bryant (USA) and Prince Albert of Monaco had been among the glitterati gracing the stands at these games, the celeb-sightings poured in from other sports, determined not to be outdone.

BD U-19s thrash PNG

Bangladesh Under-19 team bounced back strongly from their 31-run loss against West Indies Under-19 by handing a massive 129-run defeat to Papua New Guinea in their second and final unofficial practice match at the Caloundra Cricket Club, Brisbane yesterday.

Mohan to race today

Bangladesh sprinter Mohan Khan will be participating in the first heat of the 100-meter preliminary round at the Olympic Stadium today. Athletics kicked-off yesterday and the first round of the blue riband 100-meter event will see Mohan up against a host of other unheralded sprinters in the 100-meter at 3pm Bangladesh time today.

BD A lose despite Gazi heroics

Off-spinner Sohag Gazi returned with match figures of eleven wickets but his efforts failed to lift Bangladesh A as they went down to a five-wicket defeat against Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) Colts XI in the Safi Darashah (KSCA) Invitational Tournament in Bangalore yesterday.

Arsenal seal Cazorla deal

Arsenal have completed the signing of Spanish international Santiago Cazorla from Spanish side Malaga, the player said on his Twitter account Thursday.

Petersen propels SA

Alviro Petersen hit a career-best 182 as South Africa stretched their first innings to 419 before they were bowled out at tea on the second day of the second Test at Headingley on Friday.

NZ out for 260

Kemar Roach took four wickets as the West Indies dismissed New Zealand for 260 before stumps on the first day of the second test at Sabina Park on Thursday.

Roger, Maria in final

Roger Federer fought through the longest three-set singles match in the Open era Friday when he beat Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 19-17 to reach the Olympic final.

Ennis sets scorching pace

British title hope Jessica Ennis, a poster girl for the London Olympics, clocked the fastest ever time for a heptathlete in the 100m hurdles on the opening day of athletics on Friday.

Hamid on life support

Abdul Hamid, noted sports commentator and one of the pioneers of sports journalism in the country, has been put on life-support at the city's United Hospital in Gulshan yesterday after his condition suddenly deteriorated.

Power outage postpones hockey match

Yesterday's crucial Green Delta Insurance Premier Division Hockey League encounter between title contenders Usha Krira Chakra and Abahani has been shifted to today following power outage.

Eleven at the lead

Eleven players shared the lead in the Open International Rating Chess Tournament at the close of the third round at the Bangladesh Chess Federation hall room yesterday.

Scintillating Douglas

Gabrielle Douglas boldly triumphed in the women's individual gymnastics final on Thursday to give the United States their third consecutive Olympic female champion.

Hoy equals Redgrave

Track cycling king Sir Chris Hoy played down his feat of equalling Sir Steve Redgrave's British record haul of five Olympic gold medals after winning the men's team sprint on Thursday.

Zhang seals grand slam

China's Zhang Jike won the Olympic men's singles table tennis gold medal as he completed a career grand slam by defeating compatriot Wang Hao 4-1 in the final on Thursday.

Van der Ven stuns Dong

Holland's Rick van der Ven sprung a huge surprise on the final day of the men's archery at Lord's, ousting top seed and world record holder Im Dong-hyun in the last 16.

Guam judoka tips scales at 218kg

Judo fans were treated to a rare sight at the Olympic competition when Ricardo Blas Jr. of Guam took to the mat in the men's heavyweight competition.

Pupo gives Cuba first gold

Leuris Pupo won Cuba's first gold medal of the 2012 Olympics on Friday when he claimed the men's 25m rapid fire pistol shooting gold medal.

First phase of talent hunt ends

A two-month long advanced training titled Talent Hunt and Intensive Training for Athletes at Root Level concluded on Thursday at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan with the participation of 250 athletes from seven disciplines.


A New Camera

Until now, all cameras - from the earliest box cameras of Nicephore Niepce and Fox Talbot in the 1820s to mobile phone cameras to the latest digital SLRs - have one basic feature in common. They are based on pinhole design. In other words, the light rays arriving from the scene in front enter the camera through its lens and fall on the light-sensitive sensor at the back of the camera. This sensor collects and “fixes” this light, turning it into an image. The difference between digital and film-cameras is the difference in sensors. But the light-collection method remains the same.

Both RU ambulances out of order

With both ambulances of Rajshahi University Medical Center (RUMC) out of order, the university's healthcare seekers are suffering for over two months.

Paris calls for Dhaka U-turn on Rohingyas

France yesterday said it regretted a decision by Bangladesh to stop three non-governmental organisations from helping Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in neighbouring Myanmar.

Three die from electrocution

Three people died from electrocution in Chittagong, Sirajganj, and Thakurgaon on Thursday and yesterday.

BNP missing a chance by rejecting PM's offer

Minister without portfolio Suranjit Sengupta yesterday said the opposition BNP was missing the opportunity by turning down the prime minister's proposal on interim government for holding the next general election.

Girl found dead

The body of an unidentified teenage girl was recovered at Madya Sundalpur village in Kabirhat upazila yesterday.

Stop building all dams

Speakers at a discussion yesterday called upon India to immediately stop building all sorts of dams, including the controversial Tipaimukh dam, as it will adversely affect the environment, agriculture and bio-diversity of Bangladesh.

Humayun Ahmed's works recalled

Speakers yesterday recalled the life and works of illustrious writer and filmmaker Humayun Ahmed at a condolence meeting in Chittagong city.

Baby girl 'murdered'

The unidentified three-year-old girl, who was found dead on Thursday at a house in the capital's Jatrabari area, was tortured to death, morgue sources said yesterday.

Implement Phulbari contract fully

Leaders of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports yesterday urged the government to completely implement the Phulbari contract, which bans open-pit mining, and expel Asia Energy to protect the country's mineral resources.

Check food adulteration

Leaders of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon yesterday said the price hike of daily essentials and adulteration of food were causing people to suffer.

BB to hold road shows abroad to boost remittance

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has decided to organise roadshows and investment fairs abroad from September to boost remittance inflow and sale of Wage Earner Development Bond, US Dollar Investment Bond, and US Dollar Premium Bond.

Road crashes kill 4, injure 10

Four people were killed and ten others injured in separate road accidents in Manikganj, Chittagong and Dinajpur on Thursday and yesterday.

Four Tahrir men held

Four alleged members of banned militant outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir Bangladesh were arrested by Rapid Action Battalion in two separate drives in the capital's Elephant Road and Nakhalpara areas yesterday.

30 hurt as transport workers, cops clash

At least 30 people, including five policemen, were injured in clashes between transport workers and the law enforcers in Sylhet city on Thursday night.

Two die of eating 'poisonous food'

A 10-year-old boy died and about 150 people fell sick after having "poisonous food items" at an iftar programme at Bibhagdi village in Abhaynagar upazila Thursday.

33 orgs fined in July for pollution

The Department of Environment (DoE) fined 33 organisations in seven districts more than Tk 3.80 crore in July for polluting and degrading the environment.

Ingenious event for Ctg road repairs

Frustrated with Chittagong Development Authority's negligence in repairing Arakan Road in Chittagong city, some 100 dwellers of adjoining Mowlvi Pukur Paar area started planting paddy on the road yesterday.

2 children drown in Munshiganj

Two children drowned in a pond in Baluakandi area under Gozaria upazila of Munshiganj yesterday.

Woman hit by train dies

An unidentified woman was crushed under the wheels of an Upakul Express train at Akhaura Railway Junction in Brahmanbaria on Thursday.

PM hosts Iftar for professionals

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday hosted an Iftar party in honour of different professional bodies at her official residence Gono Bhaban.

16 Hizb-ut Tawhid activists held

Police yesterday arrested 16 members, including four women, of Hizb-ut Tawhid at a village in Katiadi upazila.

Rotary club installs polio awareness billboard

Rotary Club of Dhaka Fort yesterday installed a billboard to raise awareness on eliminating polio from the country and planted 100 trees at Institute of Child and Mother Health, Matuail in the capital.

Rejection of demand for CG will bring bad results: B Chy

Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury yesterday called upon Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to accept the demand for the restoration of the non-party caretaker government system.

Hotel workers want salary before Aug 9

Hotel and restaurant workers yesterday demanded that their wages and Eid bonus be paid before 20th Ramadan (August 9).

Decomposed body found in Ctg

Police recovered the decomposed body of a man from Chittagong city yesterday.

Death anniversary

Today is the 35th death anniversary of Dr Nawab Ali, a prominent Bangalee Muslim physician.

Ghazi Lutfur Rahman

Today is the 10th death anniversary of Air Commodore Ghazi Lutfur Rahman.


Team Hazare takes political plunge

Indian anti-graft activists led by Anna Hazare yesterday said they would start a new political movement aimed at winning seats in parliament for candidates committed to fighting corruption in public life.

97pc Indians want Anna to join politics

As per the results of the biggest ever television pollin India conducted by Zee News, the nation wants Team Anna to join politics.

US think tank reveals Haqqani-Pak nexus

The Haqqani network in Afghanistan is a deadly source of terror attacks against Indian and US interests. But they are also emerging as a significant economic player in the Afghan-Pak region, getting into new businesses like rare earths mining, which are of interest to both India and China, making them a more complicated foe.

Blame game flares after Annan resigns

World powers traded blame on Friday after Kofi Annan quit as international peace envoy to Syria, complaining that his initiative to end the bloodshed there never received the support it deserved.

Annan struggles to escape the curse of history

A visibly shaken Kofi Annan admitted defeat in his attempts to bring peace to Syria on Thursday, but - perhaps keen to protect his legacy from the taint of another genocide - laid the blame for the failure on the big powers that claim to back him.

Sudans must strike 'compromise' deal

The two Sudans must strike an urgent compromise deal to end bitter disputes and resume oil production, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday, warning the newly separated nations they "remain inextricably linked."

Flood-hit N Korea seeks food aid

The United Nations yesterday said North Korea has requested immediate food aid after devastating floods last month.

Putin calls for leniency

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he did not favour a tough punishment in the trial of an all-girl punk band which performed a song against his rule in Moscow's biggest church.

US holds 'productive' talks with Pak spymaster

The US and Pakistani intelligence chiefs held "productive" talks Thursday on ways to work together to fight extremists, a US official said, in a new sign of easing tensions between the countries.

'Israel losing int'l support'

The British ambassador to Israel has said international support for the Jewish state among those in the political mainstream is eroding, driven by settlement expansion in the West Bank and continued restrictions on Gaza.

Top Maoist arrested in West Bengal

Top Maoist leader Ranjan Munda, who carried out subversive activities in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa, and another squad leader were arrested by the joint forces from West Midnapore district yesterday, police said.

Iraq violence kills 47 in three days

Iraq attacks mainly targeting security force personnel killed at least 47 people in the last three days, officials said, after government figures showed July was the bloodiest month in almost two years.

Iran agrees to nuke talks in August: EU

Iran's main nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili agreed in phone talks on Thursday to speak again with world powers before the month is out on Tehran's contested programme, the EU's top diplomat said.

US extends Myanmar import ban

The US Congress on Thursday extended a ban on imports from Myanmar, seeking to maintain pressure despite a series of reforms in the country that have prompted an easing of other sanctions.

O'Neill re-elected PNG PM

Peter O'Neill was re-elected yesterday the next leader of Papua New Guinea, ending a turbulent period in the nation's politics which at one point saw it with two rival prime ministers.

Ex-president of Mongolia jailed

A court in Mongolia has jailed former president Nambar Enkhbayar for four years after finding him guilty of corruption charges that he has called politically motivated.

World's oldest hippo dies at 62

Donna, believed to be the world's oldest hippo, has died at the age of 62 after living more than two decades beyond the massive mammal's usual life expectancy, zoo officials said.

Arts & Entertainment

Germantown: Reaching greater heights

“Bhule shob truti, amra chhuti, shob badha periye, amra chhuti, amra shadhin…”

Hargoj: A journey into disaster

As part of the ongoing theatre festival, Selim Al Deen's “Hargoj” was staged at the Experimental Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, on August 2. The host troupe, Swapnadal, staged the play that depicts the aftermath of a tornado, in a place called Hargoj, in 1989.

Kishore Kumar's last film song auctioned

The late playback singer Kishore Kumar's last film song, recorded just three days before his death in October 1987, but never released before, fetched a price of Rs 15.6 lakh at an auction on the sidelines of a film festival here on July 31, the organisers announced.

Sabina Yasmin to sing Rabindra Sangeet on Channel i

Renowned singer Sabina Yasmin will perform in a solo musical programme on Channel i. Hosted by noted singer of Rabindra Sangeet, Rezwana Chowdhury Bonnya, the programme will be aired on the channel at 6 pm on the third day of Eid-ul-Fitr. The programme was shot at Channel i studio and several other locations in Dhaka.

“Projonmo Thekey Projonmo” on Banglavision

Featuring adda and puzzles, an Eid-special TV show “Projonmo Thekey Projonmo” will be aired on Banglavision. The participants of the show are actors and models -- Faruk Ahmed, Anisur Rahman Milon, Deepa Khandakar, Shimana, Ahsan Habib Nasim, Shokh, Niloy, Sohan, Rakhi and Adnan.

Vertigo is named “greatest film of all time”

Alfred Hitchcock's “Vertigo” has replaced Orson Welles' “Citizen Kane” at the top of a poll that sets out to name one film “the greatest of all time”.


Police service and government control

We have now become accustomed to the term "police service" rather than "police force" being used of police agencies, and there is little doubt that it expresses the desired relationship between police and public much more clearly. Police officers have always provided a service to society, and indeed, have prided themselves on so doing.

Combustible northeast of India

India's northeast is the most combustible region. Some 250 ethnic groups are arrayed against one another and New Delhi to fight for their identity, some seeking even an outside-India status. Religion-wise, the proportion of Hindus, Muslims and Christians is more or less the same. Infiltration, mostly from Bangladesh or what was East Pakistan, has only aggravated the problem. Even the Assamese who were given a separate state in 1955 when India was reorganised on the basis of language have become a minority in Assam itself.

Rampant adulteration plays havoc

Adulteration is rampant in the country. From vegetables, fish, milk, fruit, sweetmeats, ice cream, to spices, nothing is safe. Packaged and bottled drinks mixed with harmful ingredients and chemicals, both locally produced and imported are being sold freely. Oblivious of the dangers lurking in the everyday food items, children are eating foods that are actually laced with poison!

A call against arms

Just as the athletes of the world were about to join hands and celebrate the world's ability to come together for sport, the concept of international unity was dealt another blow.

Electric power blackout in India

In northern India 670 million people, about half of the country's population, were without electric power on July 31. It is the largest power blackout in the history of electric power supply system in the world. Strangely, the second largest blackout, affecting 370 million people, also occurred in northern India only a day earlier. Two consecutive blackouts of such magnitude around the same area are unprecedented. The latest one covered the entire area of northern India from the north eastern state of Arunachal Prodesh bordering China to the western state of Rajasthan bordering Pakistan.


Forests, rivers and pollution

Amid growing industrialisation and pressure of increasing population, and consequent massive pollution due to gross violation of environmental rules, the government has cut this year the budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Environment and Forests, putting the pace of preservation and cleanup of the nature to lag behind an expected level.

The climate change tipping point

So far 2012 is on pace to be the hottest year on record. But does this mean that we've reached a threshold a tipping point that signals a climate disaster?


'Bengalis have an inborn respect for learning'

The life of Rabindranath Tagore, pre-eminent intellectual voice of Bengalis on both sides of the political divide, drew to a close on 22 Sravana in terms of the Bengali calendar, a date which coincides with 7 August 1941. As a tribute to him and in recognition of his formidable, purposeful presence in the lives of Bengalis across the world, we reproduce below excerpts from his autobiographical work, My Life in My Words, for readers of Star Literature. Edited and with an introduction by Uma Das Gupta, the book was first published by Penguin India in 2006. --- Literary Editor

Bhikari: Nawshad Noori's protest

On the occasion of tenth death anniversary of renowned Urdu poet Nawshad Noori, I intend to trace out those circumstances that had influenced the late Urdu poet to write his most popular, famous and fabulous Urdu poem Bhikari (Beggar) in 1949.

Timeless echoes. . .

Standing at the foot of the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, Rabi felt an overpowering sense of freedom. This was the first time in his young life that he had ventured outside the protected confines of his princely home and was amidst the natural surroundings he loved. He was only eleven then. Strangely enough, this would also be one of those treasured periods of time he would get to spend with his father Maharshi Devendranath. Rabi, in his later life, would call his childhood a period of 'servocracy' since he had grown up more under the tutelage of family servants than his parents. This trip to Shantiniketan and the Himalayas with his father was, therefore, all the more special to him.

Star Health

Food security for the child

The history of human breastfeeding practice is certainly as old as the existence of human being on the earth. Still, the advantages of breastfeeding are being reinvented every day.

Foods inducing sound sleep

Sleep is very necessary for all living beings in this world. But there are few factors which make us sleepless and we do not get enough rest. It could be due to stress, depression or ageing factors like menopause in women.

First aid in burn

* Stop the burning process by removing clothing and irrigating the burns.

Gout risk goes up as waistline expands

The heavier you are, the greater your odds of getting the painful arthritic condition gout is — no matter your gender or race, a new U.S. study published in Arthritis Care & Research finds.

Caffeine may provide some Parkinson's relief

A new, small study published in Neurology found people with Parkinson's disease who took caffeine pills saw slight but noticeable improvements in movement problems related to the condition.

Curry compound may curb diabetes risk

Researchers, whose results were published in the journal Diabetes Care, found that over 9 months, a daily dose of curcumin seemed to prevent new cases of diabetes among people with so-called prediabetes — abnormally high blood sugar levels that may progress to full-blown type 2 diabetes. Curcumin is a compound in turmeric spice.


With a view to increasing awareness on prevention of hepatitis virus, Liver Foundation of Bangladesh arranged an open seminar between doctors and patients on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day that was observed last week. Chief Guest Md Monzur Alam, Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation is seen in the photo along with other guests in the programme held at Zilla Shilpakola Academy, Chittagong.

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Strategic Issues

Global rebalancing: Now or never

Time and again, the lessons of a troubled world economy are the same: An unbalanced world is an unsustainable world.

The emerging paradigm of Libyan democracy

On July 7, general election has taken place in Libya after more than four decades. There has been debate among the intelligentsia, academics and politicians on the emerging paradigm of democracy in this oil-rich country. The apparent electoral victory of National Forces Alliance (NFA) led by Mahmud Jibril, who is projected as a secular, has made some people believe that the country is moving to secular democracy. There may be some truths to this claim. However, this secular democracy hypothesis seems to fade away in view of emerging cultural blend growing out of the fusion of different cultural extremes. This constitutes a second strand of thinking about the post election political paradigm.

Assam in turmoil

Nearly four years after violent clashes between the indigenous Bodo community and the immigrant minority Muslim land settlers rocked Assam's Darrang and Udalguri districts in 2008, violence has once again flared up on similar lines in Assam. In October 2008, violence over issues of land took 55 lives and injured 111 while forcing 200, 000 people to take shelter in 82 relief camps. The proximate cause of the 2008 violence was the incident of alleged violence meted out to a Bodo youth, Rakesh Swargiary, by Muslim minority youth. The news of this attack spread like wildfire amongst the Bodo community resulting in widespread violence between the two communities. The Bodo community was already on the edge after two Bodo youths were killed in Rowta, Udalguri in August 2008 after they had refused to take part in a bandh called by the All Assam Minority Students' Union (AAMSU).

Star Books Review

Tale of two journeys, one sad history

I have always had wanderlust in my blood, the urge to just pack up and go, to any place that catches my fancy for whatever reason. My great satisfaction has been that I have been able to indulge that urge quite a bit. I am also a history buff. These days, for a variety of reasons, pointedly not including a diminished desire, I am unable to just get up and go, but I still delve into history at every opportunity that comes my way. I was recently presented a book that satiated both of my great interests, one vicariously, the other as supplementing what I already know. Sakhawat Hussain's Bangla Bihar Prantore is a pleasant travelogue heavily laced with historical anecdotes, interspersed with astute comments, and some imaginative reconstructions. Some myths and coincidental occurrences, which the author almost persuades the reader as having been real, causal, or consequential, spice up the narrative. The book recounts two journeys undertaken within a few months of each other by Hussain and friends to Poshchimbongo and Bihar in 2010 and 2011. The author's own proclivity for travel and history come through clearly in his writing, and, although he alludes to historical facts of ancient, medieval and modern India, he spends a substantial portion on the Battle of Plassey, its antecedents, and its enormous ramifications for the history of South Asia in general, Bengal and Bihar in particular.

Imagination put to the test

The turn of the nineteenth century appears to have been a busy time for literary pursuits. On both sides of the Atlantic, in the English speaking world, authors like Henry James with The Turn of the Screw, Stephen Crane with The Red Badge of Courage, Thomas Hardy with Jude the Obscure, Rudyard Kipling with The Second Jungle Book, Leo Tolstoy with Master and Man, in science fiction Jules Verne with Propeller Island, in drama Oscar Wilde with The Importance of Being Earnest were gaining in popularity and critical acclaim for their work.

Young people in melancholia

Junaidul Haque mainly writes short stories and essays on literature and culture. But he is up to the mark as a novelist too. His Bishader Tarunya is quite good as a first novel. He is a natural writer. He has trained himself well too. The novel is short but of a high quality.

The Daily Star

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