News of: Tuesday, 4th of September, 2012
Inside the bank, it was in the air that something grossly wrong was going on at three Sonali Bank branches -- Ruposhi Bangla, Gulshan and Motijheel local office -- regarding loans to a powerful company named Hall-Mark. It was also in the air that some influential political figures were involved in the still unknown scams there. Yet the management showed no interest to audit these branches.
The Hall-Mark Group has been asked to return within 15 days in cash half of the Tk 2,638 crore it borrowed from Sonali Bank allegedly on forged documents.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid late last night assured of withdrawing Buet Pro-VC Prof Habibur Rahman and the two cases filed against faculty members and students of the university.
The parliamentary session that begins today may witness a heated discussion on a recent High Court verdict in response to the Speaker dubbing an HC judge's comments as a violation of the constitution.
The World Bank as well as a broad section of people in this country would like Mashiur Rahman to quit his position, in the national interest, as the prime minister's economic advisor. Questions are beginning to be raised about the prime ministerial health advisor Modasser Ali, who clearly needs to step aside in order for a proper investigation to be carried out about his involvement or otherwise in the Hall-Mark financial scam. And with hooligans having now entered the scene at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in questionable defence of an embattled vice chancellor, it now becomes critically important that Vice Chancellor Nazrul Islam and the pro-VC of the university do the decent thing of handing in their resignations in order for Buet to get back to normal.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday said the decision on the Padma bridge project would be taken after sitting with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Jica.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday threatened to resign when a cabinet member criticised him severely over the issues of Grameen Bank and the World Bank loan for the Padma bridge project.
Former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain yesterday claimed that there was no corruption or irregularities in the Padma bridge project.
The cabinet yesterday finally approved the draft of Grameen Bank Amendment Act 2012 to turn the ordinance into a law in the current session of parliament.
Asking the government to reduce the power tariff, the main opposition BNP yesterday urged the people to build up a tougher resistance against the government's decision to increase price of electricity repeatedly.
Detectives yesterday arrested a member of a transnational drug smugglers' gang, who had sent 50 small consignments of heroin coming from Pakistan to the UK through local branches of international courier services.
Two important selection criteria -- district quota and physical fitness -- were not applied properly in recruiting 334 railway security personnel last year, a departmental probe of Bangladesh Railway revealed recently.
The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday claimed that it had foiled a bid to “kill” three physicians following an internal feud between two groups of the Doctors' Association of Bangladesh (DAB), a pro-BNP organisation.
A prosecution witness yesterday told International Crimes Tribunal-2 that Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and his accomplices had abducted his brother who was tortured at a military camp in Sherpur and was later shot dead on June 30, 1971.
The defence yesterday cross-examined two prosecution witnesses in separate cases against war crimes accused BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami at the International Crimes Tribunal-1.
Seventy generals in the Egyptian armed forces are to be retired, the government announced on Sunday.
An editor of one of Pakistan's leading English dailies was beaten up by four men outside his home in the port city of Karachi for watching TV and listening to music.
Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad yesterday said the general election cannot be free and fair with parliament still not dissolved.
A worker died and two others were injured in a lift crash at the office of pharma company Renata Ltd in Mirpur-7 yesterday.
Islamic extremists occupying northern Mali said Sunday they have executed an Algerian diplomat kidnapped five months ago, after an ultimatum given to his government to fulfill their demands expired.
It is indeed worrying that the turmoil in BUET that has been going on for five months has not yet been solved, and is, in fact, getting more complicated by the day. Although in keeping with the High Court order the teachers had suspended their agitation programmes classes have not resumed and procession and sit-ins by the students still continue.
We welcome the government's revised decision to hold admission tests for students enrolling at medical and dental colleges this year as in past years. The fact that the change in the government's unthinking declaration comes in the face of a prolonged and at times violent agitation by students, however, sets a bad precedent.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is in the process of rethinking some tough clauses following a poor response to their international tender for worldwide media rights.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic stormed into the US Open last 16 on Sunday as Andy Roddick stretched his long goodbye into a prime-time showdown with fellow former champion Juan Martin Del Potro.
Real Madrid star striker Cristiano Ronaldo sparked a storm of media speculation over his future Monday by saying he was 'sad' at the club.
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius apologised Monday for the timing of his outburst after losing his T44 200m title, but insisted there was an issue with large prosthetics lengthening an amputee's stride.
Maria Sharapova reached the US Open quarterfinals for the first time since her 2006 championship run with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Russian compatriot Nadia Petrova on Sunday.
The Tigers reached Trinidad on Sunday night to take part in the Trinidad Quadrangular T20 competition.
Talent hunt for the BFF Football Academy in Sylhet got underway on Sunday through Panchari upazila of Khagrachari district as all District Football Associations (DFA) have been asked to complete the selection at Upazila level by September 1 to 15.
AC Milan's Kevin Prince Boateng will undergo an operation on a fractured bone in his right hand, it was reported Sunday.
India survived a mini collapse to sweep the series against a fighting New Zealand with a five-wicket victory on the penultimate day of the second and final Test in Bangalore on Monday.
Ian Bell made 88 as England beat South Africa by six wickets in the fourth one-day international at Lord's on Sunday to go 2-1 up with one match to play in the series.
Alastair Cook was in an upbeat mood after England topped a memorable few days for their captain with a six-wicket win in the fourth one-day international against South Africa at Lord's on Sunday.
Azimuddin Bhuiyan Trust National Sub-Junior Chess Championship gets underway today with a record number of 60 players expected to take part in the 32nd edition of the meet at the hall-room of Bangladesh Chess Federation.
Bangladesh women's chess team bounced back from a string of poor results with a clean sweep of Uganda in the sixth round of the 40th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul yesterday.
Rafael Nadal has extended his long injury layoff by another two months and will miss his country's Davis Cup semifinal against the United States.
Robin van Persie struck twice in the dying moments to complete his first Manchester United hattrick and ensure Sir Alex Ferguson's side marked the manager's 1,000th English league game with a 3-2 victory over Southampton on Sunday.
Barcelona maintained their winning start to the season with a fine strike from Adriano Correia giving them a 1-0 victory over Valencia in La Liga action on Sunday.
Paris Saint-Germain registered their first win of the new Ligue 1 season on Sunday night as a first-half double from Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped the capital club to a 2-1 triumph at Lille.
Bayern Munich floored ten-man VfB Stuttgart 6-1 on Sunday, with Germany's Thomas Mueller scoring twice, to finish the second weekend of the Bundesliga season at the top of the table.
AS Roma forward Pablo Osvaldo netted a stunning goal but was later sent off in his side's 3-1 win at Inter Milan on Sunday as Antonio Cassano scored for the first time since joining the hosts.
AC Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini was rewarded for his hattrick heroics on Saturday with selection to Cesare Prandelli's Italy squad to face Bulgaria and Malta next week.
H&M, the Swedish retail giant for clothing, will double its annual outsourcing volume from Bangladesh to around $3 billion within the next five years.
The month of August saw non-resident Bangladeshis send $1.167 billion in remittance, down by 2.84 percent from July's receipts of $1.201 billion, the central bank said yesterday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the priority of her government is to ensure welfare of workers as labour-intensive sectors are important to the economy.
Stocks gained marginally yesterday, as institutional investors became active to make fresh investments in the market.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) yesterday decided to retract a letter it sent to the Election Commission with suggestions for selecting the president of the trade body through a secret ballot.
Garment exporters yesterday demanded a quick probe into the corruption allegations against Sonali Bank officials and the Hall-mark Group authorities.
The Department of Environment yesterday penalised the owner of an illegal leather gloves factory in Ashulia with a Tk 37 lakh fine.
Software services provider Tech Mahindra plans to buy Hutchison Whampoa's call centre business in the country, according to two sources with direct knowledge, in a deal that one of the sources said was worth between $100 million and $120 million.
City Bank was named the 'Best Bank in Bangladesh for 2012' by FinanceAsia, a leading financial publication in the Asia-Pacific region, the bank said in a statement yesterday.
Airtel yesterday launched Bangladesh's first USSD-based access to Facebook, the mobile operator said in a statement yesterday.
Md Golam Rabbani has joined Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd as its deputy managing director, said the bank in a statement yesterday.
India vowed on Monday to introduce a more "friendly" tax system and said it would decide soon whether to delay a controversial plan to fight tax evasion that has spooked foreign investors.
The buyers of bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab said Monday they would launch their first model in 2014 using the Saab name, after concluding the purchase of the company for an undisclosed sum.
Tycoon and former Russian presidential hopeful Mikhail Prokhorov's auto division announced Monday it was delaying until early 2015 this year's promised launch of the country's first hybrid car.
The pollution in the great new cities of China is hard to miss. There is often a visible miasma of dirt and dust. It is not just the air; water and earth have also been badly despoiled. The Chinese authorities, which were competent enough to provide more or less adequate sewage, electricity and urban housing, have let the environment deteriorate badly. Although central government officials routinely include pollution on the list of urgent problems, relatively little has been done. Rules are made, but commonly flouted.
China's manufacturing activity fell to its lowest level in more than three years in August as the global economic slowdown continues to weigh on the world's largest exporter, HSBC said Monday.
Vladimir Lenin's vision of developing Russia's far east would not be out of place in President Vladimir Putin's talking points for the Asia-Pacific summit he is hosting this week in the Pacific port of Vladivostok.
Editor and Publisher of The Daily Star Mahfuz Anam has urged Chittagong Rotarians to work for building a regenerative Bangladesh.
The parliamentary session that begins today may witness a heated discussion on a recent High Court verdict delivered in response to the Speaker's dubbing the comments of an HC judge as a violation of the constitution.
Referring to a recent High Court (HC) verdict on the Speaker's ruling about an HC judge, senior Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta yesterday said the court could not comment on all affairs involving parliament.
The High Court yesterday questioned the legality of the government's action of not extending retirement age by two years for freedom fighter teachers of non-governmental educational institutions enjoying monthly payment order (MPO) facilities.
A Dhaka court yesterday dismissed an attempted murder case filed against 25 policemen, including a former ADC and AC of Mohammadpur zone, for assaulting Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque in July last year.
Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) yesterday began taking necessary measures to build either a foot overbridge or an underpass at Shahbagh intersection in the capital to ensure safety of people crossing the roads there.
The cabinet yesterday endorsed the draft of the International Crimes (Tribunals) (Second Amendment) Act-2012 aiming to speed up the 1971 war crimes trial.
Speakers at a discussion yesterday urged the government to take effective measures for ensuring women's equal rights in Muslim and Hindu marriage laws.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni yesterday left the country on a week-long visit to meet maritime experts and state department officials in the United States of America and attend an international fair in China.
The chief of National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory (NFDPL) has refuted claims that DNA profiling of murdered journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi was not possible in the country.
Union Parishad (UP) secretaries yesterday reiterated their demands to regularise the jobs of 4,545 of them and upgrade their status to second class officer, saying such measures have remained unimplemented for 38 years.
The main opposition BNP will return to the parliament only if the government places a bill to restore non-party caretaker government (CG) system in the constitution, said Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque yesterday.
Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton at a programme in the city yesterday said he had tried his best to keep corruption at RCC at a “tolerable” level for the last four years.
Nine people were killed and 13 others injured in separate road accidents in Chapainawabganj, Comilla, Gazipur, Brahmanbaria and Sylhet on Sunday and yesterday.
The government will construct 156 new fire stations across the country in the next three years under a master plan, which also aims at providing training to ordinary people on protecting the community from fire and other disasters.
President Zillur Rahman yesterday said access to information is people's right and the Right to Information Act (RTI) is playing an important role in ensuring this right.
Two fishermen were killed in Chittagong as thunderbolt struck them while they were fishing in the Bay of Bengal on Sunday.
The caretaker government (CG) system was introduced without any prior discussion and was abolished in the same manner, said Dr Akbar Ali Khan, a former adviser to a caretaker government, yesterday.
The authorities of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) is going to introduce an emergency department under its Department of Medicine soon.
A housewife died after her husband allegedly hit her on the head with a grinding stone during an altercation in their north Isdair residence in Fatullah under Narayanganj sadar upazila yesterday morning.
An unidentified construction worker died as a brick fell on his head in an under-construction building in Chittagong yesterday.
Environmentalists and social activists yesterday demanded for passage of the disaster management act in the next parliamentary session, which is scheduled to begin today.
An electrician died after being electrocuted while working at an under-construction building at Vatara in the capital yesterday noon.
English department students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (Sust) yesterday laid siege to the department's office to press home several demands, including resignation of its head Prof Atiullah.
The Asian University for Women (AUW) is scheduled to host an 11-day long Grassroots Women's Political Leadership Forum from September 9 on campus in Chittagong.
A discussion and a people's music will be held at the capital's Liberation War Museum at Segunbagicha at 6:15pm today, marking the first death anniversary of veteran music director, artiste and composer Ajit Roy, says a press release.
Detective Branch (DB) of police overnight in separate drives arrested five people and seized half KG of heroin from capital's Mohammadpur and suburban Ashulia.
Flight Lieutenant (retd) AB Siddique, an organiser of the War of Liberation and a former lawmaker, passed away from old age complications at Combined Military Hospital in the capital yesterday. He was 83.
Today is the 40th death anniversary of Shahid Khaja Nijam Uddin Bhuiyan Bir Uttam.
Illegal sand lifting from the Jamuna River between Bhuapur upazila of Tangail and Sadar upazila of Sirajganj has continued unabated, causing river erosion in the nearby villages.
A victim of domestic violence in Chirirbandar upazila under the district has got verdict in her favour under Family Protection Act, the first of its kind in the district since the act, meant for preventing domestic violence, was enacted in 2010.
The union parishad (UP) chairman, abducted from Laxmipur Sadar upazila on Saturday night, was rescued from Chatkhil upazila of Noakhali yesterday.
Police arrested nine people from different areas in Sadar upazila yesterday and the day before in connection with the killing of a former general secretary of Sirajganj Motor Workers' Union.
At least ten people were injured and 18 houses vandalised during a clash between the supporters of two local Awami League leaders in Beroil-Palita union under Magura Sadar upazila yesterday.
A woman was killed allegedly by a youth over extra-marital relationship at Balidara Teghoria village in Ranishankoil upazila on Sunday night.
The engine of Kobadak Express caught fire near Sabdarpur Railway Station in Kotchandpur upazila yesterday evening.
Export-import through Hili land port in Hakimpur upazila of the district remained suspended for the second day yesterday due to an indefinite strike enforced by the importers.
At least 20 people, including a sub-inspector, were injured in a clash between police and locals at Uchail village under Habiganj Sadar upazila yesterday.
A cattle trader, who was shot dead allegedly by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on Saturday in Burimari area of Patgram upazila, was returned to Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on Sunday night.
Violence is continuing in Syria, with opposition activists saying that a warplane may have killed as many as 25 people in a single strike in Aleppo province.
A suicide car bomber struck a US consulate vehicle in Pakistan on Monday, killing four people in the deadliest attack targeting Americans in the frontline state of the war on al-Qaeda for two years.
Australia yesterday flatly rejected comments from Afghan President Hamid Karzai that a recent night-time raid which left two men dead was carried out without the approval of local authorities.
US President Barack Obama was in the blue-collar heartland of Ohio yesterday, seeking to energize his labor union base after accusing Republican foe Mitt Romney of failing to offer "a single new idea" to solve the country's problems.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned yesterday against coercion in the conflict-riven South China Sea and voiced hope that Beijing would find a peaceful resolution with Southeast Asian nations.
The UK government is failing in its commitment to freeze assets of the regime of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, a BBC investigation found yesterday.
The Government yesterday rejected BJP's demand for immediate cancellation of 142 coal block allocations but appealed to the Opposition to allow parliament to function and participate in a debate on the issue.
Kurdish rebels armed with machine-guns and rocket launchers attacked a security complex in southeastern Turkey overnight, triggering fierce clashes that left about 29 people dead, local sources yesterday said.
New Zealand yesterday formally announced it will pull its troops out of Afghanistan by April 2013.
Ten civilians including a 10-year-old girl were killed in a Yemeni government air strike that had apparently missed its intended target, a car carrying Islamist militants, tribal officials and residents there said yesterday.
Police in the southern Indian city of Bangalore said yesterday they had arrested a doctor over an alleged plot by Islamist militants to assassinate prominent politicians.
A South African court yesterday freed the first batch of 270 miners arrested for the killing of 34 fellow workers who were gunned down by police in a wildcat strike last month.
Speculation is mounting about an imminent ministerial reshuffle as MPs return for a new parliamentary term.
A veiled anchorwoman read the news on Egypt's state television for the first time on Sunday, reflecting a shift in official media since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent rise of Islamists.
Sun Myung Moon, the self-styled messiah from South Korea who founded the controversial Unification Church and a business empire with interests spanning cars to sushi, died yesterday at the age of 92.
Arts & Entertainment
The moon or moonbeams have metaphorically been used myriad times in poetry, music, art and literature. Aesthetes who are in love with a mere glimpse of natural landscapes cannot but savour the beauty of a Blue Moon.
Terrence Malick divides opinion like almost no other director working today, and "To the Wonder", his impressionistic and virtually dialogue-free story of love and faith, was booed as loudly as it was cheered at the Venice film festival on Sunday.
A six-day theatre festival to celebrate the 60th birthday of actor-director Lucky Enam begins today at the National Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Enam's troupe Nagarik Natyangan in association with Shilpakala Academy will arrange the fest that will feature six plays directed and performed by her.
As part of its regular monthly programme, Shuddha Sangeet Proshar Goshthi arranged a classical music soiree at the Bishwa Sahitya Kendra, Dhaka on August 30. This month's soiree titled “Prativa Shandhan-14”featured both classical vocal and instrumental music performances.
A musical evening featuring classical vocal, instrumental and dance performances was held on Friday evening in the port city.
Family members of noted dramatist Professor Zia Hyder observed his fourth death anniversary at his ancestral house in Doharpara in Pabna town on September 2. Family members and cultural activists of the district paid homage to the late professor at the Arifpur graveyard.
In an age where climate-induced changes are wrecking havoc with food production and alarm bells being rung that we would soon be facing a re-run of the 2008 food crisis, it is ironic to find that, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation data, as much as 30 40% of the global food production is wasted annually. Roughly translated, that is 1.3 billion tonnes of food getting lost in the supply chain or wasted for multifarious reasons. When one considers that globally about a billion people go to bed hungry and some 3 billion people are undernourished, such wastage becomes unacceptable. It is interesting to note is that the amount of food wastage is nearly at par between developed and developing countries with 670 and 630 million tonnes respectively. However, food wastage by consumers in rich countries stands at 222 million tonnes that is equivalent to practically the total food production of sub-Saharan Africa, i.e. 230 million tonnes. In case of industrialised countries, the bulk of wastage occurs at the consumption level, whereas for low-income countries, the substantial losses occur at early and middle stages of the supply chain and not so much at consumer level.
If the Indian government thought it could politically isolate the growing nationwide anti-nuclear power struggle, it's manifestly mistaken. Three important developments have put the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) in the dock.
For the last few days we have been witnessing a furore caused by Tk.3,547 crore loan scam in a branch of the Sonali Bank where a little-known company named Hallmark had alone siphoned off Tk.2,500 crore. This is unprecedented in the history of our banking sector because the borrower is neither a well-known nor a well-established company. It is in the air that this huge amount of money has been given to the company by Sonali Bank, Ruposhi Bangla branch, in completely irregular way which has been misused by the company. This is alarming news for our banking as well as the financial sector as a whole.
A debate is now ongoing on the performance and legal standing of Grameen Bank, and the role played by its founder, Prof Muhammad Yunus. Yunus Centre has compiled a set of frequently asked questions and provided answers to them. The Daily Star reproduces, in installments, the full document for the sake of informed public opinion on this vital issue that has attracted tremendous national and international interest.
Prof. Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Vice Chancellor, University of Asia Pacific, gives his instant reaction to the ongoing crisis in BUET to The Daily Star.
Emperor Napoleon III of France is deposed and the Third Republic is declared.
Science & Life
The Earth was born 4.6 billion years ago and the Universe about 13.7 billion years ago. Compared to these numbers the brief flicker of our existence seems inconsequential, and yet we cannot resist the temptation to ask the question: What's the future of the Universe? There is no definitive answer to this question because the fate depends on the shape of the Universe.
Can we have enough to eat and a healthy environment, too? Yes -- if we're smart about it, suggests a study published in Nature this week by a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and McGill University in Montreal.
The secret movements of magma deep inside a volcano can be detected by tracking the subtle changes in gravity they cause. Surprising readings from a Hawaiian volcano have researchers hoping to better understand volcanic activity through gravity monitoring.
Alhazen was a Muslim scientist and polymath, born in 965 in Basra (today known as Iraq). He played significant roles on the principles of optics, as well as to physics, astronomy, mathematics, ophthalmology, philosophy, visual perception, and also to the scientific method. He also wrote insightful commentaries on works by Aristotle, Ptolemy, and the Greek mathematician Euclid.
An initiative has been launched to break the dominance of Northern agendas and practices in development debates and policy, and to increase the impact of Southern research on global development discussions.
A feature on the floor of the Baltic Sea that was discovered last summer by Swedish treasure hunters is making headlines once again. The latest media coverage draws upon an hour-long radio interview with Peter Lindberg, head of the Ocean X Team (which made the "discovery"), in which Lindberg delivers a string of cryptic and titillating statements about the "strange" and "mysterious" seafloor object his team has been exploring for a year.
There are many differences between insects and arachnids. Most are anatomical differences.