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News of: Saturday, 8th of September, 2012

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Front Page

Swindle unearthed at another branch

Like its scam-hit Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch, Sonali Bank's Gulshan branch has helped a number of companies to swindle Tk 159 crore out of it.

Agrani's dicey deal with Beximco

2010. The year of share market boom (and later bust too). Companies were witnessing astronomical gains in their share prices. A perfect time for smart people to make hay.

No operations on 5 routes from Sept 17

The Biman Bangladesh Airlines has decided to suspend its operation in five international routes and slash flights to almost all other routes as a preparation for carrying hajj pilgrims.

Students to end strike if govt fulfils pledges

Agitating Buet students yesterday announced that they will go back to classes only after the government meets all its assurances including removal of the pro-vice chancellor and withdrawal of a case filed against them.

Moon ride on port city roads

The sluggish progress of road development in a part of the port city has put the commuters to a lot of hardships and is causing inordinate delay in reaching their destinations.

Eradicating illiteracy remains a dream

The government's electoral pledge of eradicating illiteracy from the country by 2014 will not be kept due to a lack of adequate budgetary allocation and poor planning.

Mashiur won't quit taking responsibility

Prime minister's adviser Mashiur Rahman yesterday said he would not resign taking responsibility for the alleged corruption in the Padma bridge project.

Greens demand PM's directives to save 4 rivers

Green activists yesterday urged the prime minister for taking necessary steps to stop the setting up of demarcation pillars in an unfair manner along the four Dhaka rivers, and remove the encroachers.

Road crash sparks rowdy protests

A CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver was killed and its three passengers, including a minor boy, were injured in a road accident in the capital's Malibagh last night.

2 Jessore policemen transferred

An assistant sub-inspector and a constable of police were transferred from their postings at Sharsha Police Station in Jessore for their alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal.

BNP goes for month-long campaign

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will address rallies and exchange views with professional groups and party supporters from today to October 9 to drum up public support in favour of caretaker government.

Foreign office protests media reports

The foreign ministry has said that issues related to the meeting between Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and US Deputy Secretary of State William J Burns were not projected properly in a section of Bangladesh media.

5 held with phensidyl

Detective Branch of police arrested five drug traffickers including an employee of Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Ltd (BTCL) and recovered 2,500 bottles of phensidyl from their possession in Paltan of the capital on Thursday evening.

Green tea 'boosts memory'

Chemicals found in green tea can boost your memory and learning skills, a new study has found.

Powerful quake kills 64 in China

At least 64 people were killed and 550 injured yesterday when two quakes struck a remote and mountainous area of southwest China, toppling buildings and pushing panicked crowds into the streets, officials and observers said.

Colombia rejects FARC truce call

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos rejected a proposal on Thursday by leftist FARC rebels for a bilateral ceasefire during talks next month aimed at bringing an end to half a century of war.


Branding whistleblowers as criminals

Mohammad Rajib and Sabuj Mia witnessed the abduction of four of their friends in Savar area on August 13, one of whom had informed the parent of one of the kidnapped who subsequently lodged a case of abduction with the police on August 17. Far from launching a formal investigation, we find to our horror that the police have incarcerated the two witnesses to the crime as possible suspects in the kidnapping case on the very same day of filing the case. Although the investigating officer claimed that the whistleblowers have been taken into custody at the request of the families of those kidnapped, the parents have stated that the whistleblowers actually did them service by informing them. We are forced to ask how judicious a manner in which the police has acted here.

Dhaka city's flawed governance

Despite Dhaka metropolis' favourable geographical location as a national capital to become a hub of economic opportunities in the region, its development prospects are hamstrung by poor planning and equally haphazard project implementation. Although there have been projections into the future and a master plan too (riddled with all sorts of compromises though), the lack of an overarching vision has been a major roadblock to its growth at par with other regional cities.


South Africa draw level

The South Africa women's cricket team bounced back to level the series with a four-wicket victory in the second one-day international at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

Tigers top in short match

Mushfiqur Rahim's men posted a comfortable seven-wicket victory in their rain-interrupted first match against Barbados in the Trinidad Quadrangular T20 competition at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain on Thursday night.

Who will be the lucky 12?

The Airtel Rising Stars football tournament might have been completed yesterday with Khulna Division emerging champions by beating Dhaka Division-2 by a single goal but the real attraction begins today as footballers bid to fulfil their dream to visit and train at Manchester United.

Perils await the Djoker

Defending champion Novak Djokovic tackles Spanish bulldozer David Ferrer for a US Open final spot Saturday determined to preserve the Grand Slam stranglehold of himself, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Both teams lead

Bangladesh's both teams, men's and women's, were leading by 2-0 games in the 10th round of the 40th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul on Friday. Men's team were leading against 109th ranked Thailand, thanks to victories by GM Niaz Murshed and GM Enamul Hossain while Nazrana Khan Eva and Sharmin Shirin Sultana made sure women's team too took a 2-0 lead against Ireland, by the time this report was field.

Bangladesh lose against India

Bangladesh women's football team lost to defending champions India by 3-0 goals in the opening match of the 2nd SAFF Women's Football Championship at the CR & FC ground in Colombo yesterday.

Siddikur makes good ground

Siddikur Rahman put on the best performance of the day with a six-under, but that was only good enough to put him on joint 11th position, seven shots off the leader at the end of the third round of the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.

Schwarzer breaks 100-caps barrier

Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer became the first Australian to win 100 international caps in the 3-0 friendly win over Lebanon on Thursday.He had one of his easier nights in the Australia goal and is targeting a third World Cup final appearance in Brazil in 2014.

Yuvi back from the brink

Indian all-rounder and World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh will don national colours for the first time since battling cancer when a two-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand starts on Saturday.

Eng won't miss KP

England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad has insisted the absence of Kevin Pietersen will not overshadow the upcoming series with South Africa and the defence of their World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka.

Blade Runner upstaged again

Britain's Jonnie Peacock on Thursday sprinted to glory in the Paralympics' showpiece final, stripping "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius of another title with a lightning-quick 100m.

Hingis picked for Hall of Fame

Swiss former world number one Martina Hingis, a winner of five Grand Slam singles titles, has been nominated for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Sub junior chess

Four players shared the lead in the Azimuddin Bhuiyan Trust 32nd National Sub Junior Chess Championship at the close of the fourth round at the Bangladesh Chess Federation hall room yesterday.

Ganguly eyes coaching role

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has pushed himself forward to become the next coach of the national side, telling cricket chiefs that next time they should turn to a homegrown candidate.

'Kaka past his prime'

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has suggested Kaka is unlikely to ever regain the form he showed at AC Milan.

Soares, Makarova win mixed doubles

Russia's Ekaterina Makarova and Brazil's Bruno Soares completed an unlikely run to the US Open mixed doubles title by beating fourth-seeded Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Marcin Matkowski of Poland on Thursday.

Shinji fails to shine

Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa cut a forlorn figure after being substituted at halftime during Japan's 1-0 friendly victory over the United Arab Emirates, having made little impact on the game.

Rooney regrets transfer request

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has admitted that handing in his transfer request two years ago was the biggest mistake of his career.

'Old guys still the best'

Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson Friday backed current boss Roy Hodgson's decision to stick with the country's "old guys" -- saying he had no one better to replace them.

Sweden ride on Elmander

Sweden beat China 1-0 on Thursday in a lacklustre warm-up match that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic sit out the second half ahead of the hosts' World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan next week.

German stars visit Enke's grave

Members of the Germany squad on Thursday visited the grave of former national goalkeeper Robert Enke, nearly three years after his suicide, ahead of their World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands.

Barton to serve ban in France

Olympique Marseille midfielder Joey Barton will serve the remaining nine games of his 12-match ban in France after joining the club on a one-year loan from Queens Park Rangers, the French league (LFP) said on Thursday.

Spurs loan Bentley to Rostov

Tottenham midfielder David Bentley made a surprise loan move to Russian club FC Rostov on Thursday.


Great Detectives

The murders took place in broad daylight. No gun or knife, and victims died swiftly of heart attack in broad daylight. The police were baffled. It took the genius of ace detective Bomkesh to discover that the assassin used a tiny poison-laden dart that was released from the bell of his bicycle. Lodging itself at the heart, the dart caused instant death.

UAE offers amnesty to irregular foreign workers

Irregular foreign workers, including Bangladeshis, in United Arab Emirates (UAE) can return home by paying a small amount of money due to a recent unofficial amnesty granted by the Gulf nation.

Rab wants to work as a riverine force too

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), an elite force, has sought to form a well-equipped riverine battalion to secure mainland waters and southern coastlines as criminal gangs appeared to have gained extra strength for robbery.

PM to speak at UNGA on Sept 27

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the 67th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, beginning on September 21.

No repair of Boubazar Road for eight years

It is quite a common scene on Boubazar Road on the capital's fringe that a number of auto-rickshaws are always lining on its either side. They are neither calling for any passengers nor are stuck in a traffic jam but waiting to be repaired.

1,146 bottles of phensidyl seized in Benapole

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) yesterday seized a truck loaded with 1,146 bottles of phensidyl from Benapole-Jessore highway in Sharsha upazila of Jessore.

Bangladesh better than some Indian states

Considering the remarkable development, especially on social dimensions, compared to some “richer” states of India, Bangladesh is very much in the news these days in India, reported The Hindu yesterday.

Take punitive action against perpetrators

Ruling Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif yesterday demanded that the government arrests and takes punitive measures against the persons involved in the Hall-Mark scam no matter how "powerful" those persons may be.

BSF detains 5 Bangladeshis

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) yesterday held five Bangladeshis including three of a family in Khalisha Kotal border area in Kurigram and Lalakhal border of Sylhet while three Bangladeshis returned home after languishing in Indian jail for three years on Thursday afternoon.

Five killed in road crashes

Five people were killed and three others injured in road accidents in Dhaka, Magura, Noakhali and Narayanganj yesterday.

Govt activities anti-people

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday said activities of the government are against the people and the country's sovereignty.

Caretaker shot dead in capital

Being a victim of a family feud, a caretaker of its house was shot dead in the capital's Khilgaon area on Thursday night.

JU admission tests from Oct 13

The admission tests for the first year honours courses in 2012-13 academic sessions at Jahangirnagar University (JU) will begin from October 13.

BCSIR kits will detect ethephon in mangoes

The scientists at Bangladesh Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) have developed two test kits to detect use of harmful chemical ethephon for ripening mangoes.

Case filed against 8 CVASU teachers, 150 students

A case was filed against eight teachers and 150 unidentified students of Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU) in Chittagong on Wednesday for allegedly vandalising the office of Department of Livestock Services (DLS) and assaulting its officials.

Two bodies recovered

Bodies of two people found floating in two water bodies in Gazipura area of Tongi and Kamrangirchar on the outskirts of the capital yesterday.

US diplomat lauds BDAWL

United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne S Verveer yesterday commended Bangladesh Alliance for Women Leadership (BDAWL) for championing women's leadership in Bangladesh which would reduce the prevailing gender gap in society.

2 commit 'suicide' in capital

A woman and a college student allegedly committed suicide in Mohakhali and Kafrul area of the capital yesterday.

CU students protest power cuts

Students of Suhrawardy Hall of Chittagong University brought out a procession on Thursday night protesting the frequent load shedding on the campus, often up to 16 hours a day, since September 1.

Girl's body hanging from tree found in Chapainawabganj

Police recovered the body of a girl hanging by the neck from a tree in a mango orchard at Mirerchara village of sadar upazila in Chapainawabganj yesterday.

One killed over land dispute

A man was killed and five others were injured when two rival groups clashed over land in Hatbamuni village of Gaibandha yesterday.

Fish trader 'murdered' in Rangpur

Police recovered the body of a fish trader from a pond at West Babukha area in Rangpur city on Thursday evening.

Woman 'with criminal link' held

Police arrested a woman with an alleged link to criminal activities at her house in Mandartala village of Harinakundu upazila yesterday.

10 injured as BCL rivals clash in Bangla College

At least 10 people were injured after two factions of Bangladesh Chhatra League Mirpur Bangla College unit in the capital clashed over establishing supremacy in a dormitory last night.

Mahila Parishad for new laws to stop repression against women

Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), a women's human rights organisation, underscored the need for new laws to prevent new forms of repression against the women in the country.

Joint meeting of AL, associated bodies today

A joint meeting between ruling Awami League and all of its associated and like-minded bodies will be held today to discuss the country's current socio-economic, political and organisational matters.


Retired superintendent of police ATM Tarek died of heart attack in New York yesterday. He was 64.

Nani Gopal Saha

Entrepreneur Nani Gopal Saha passed away due to cardiac arrest at his residence in Ghat Farhadbeg of Chittagong on Thursday. He was 83.


'Tested and proven' Obama asks for second term

President Barack Obama implored Americans to grant him a second term, warning that Republican rival Mitt Romney would kill the economic recovery and is not cut out to lead.

Disrupting parliament is negation of democracy

The turmoil-hit monsoon session of Indian parliament ended yesterday amidst disruption of proceedings by BJP which came under a sharp attack from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who accused the main opposition party of "total negation" of democracy.

Blasts hit Damascus, EU beefs up aid

Bomb attacks struck Damascus, killing five soldiers on a Friday of anti-regime protests and clashes between security forces and rebels as EU heads met to boost aid to civilians caught in Syria's conflict.

US to blacklist Haqqanis

The United States yesterday decided to designate the Pakistan-linked Haqqani network as a terrorist group, stepping up pressure despite concerns over the impact on ties with Islamabad.

French super rich to face tax axe

A proposed 75-percent tax on income exceeding one million euros, a centrepiece of Francois Hollande's presidential campaign earlier this year, will be "strictly" implemented, France's finance minister told AFP yesterday.

Prince Harry deployed to Afghanistan

Prince Harry has been deployed to Afghanistan for four months, the British Ministry of Defence said yesterday.

Hazare will not form party

Following Team Anna's dissolution, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Thursday announced a new action plan, which includes appealing people to vote for the “right” candidates, instead of forming a political party.

Armstrong to be buried at sea

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, will be buried at sea, a family spokesman said Thursday.

Myanmar passes new investment law

Myanmar's parliament yesterday passed an eagerly awaited new law aimed at boosting foreign investment in the former pariah state, which is emerging from decades of military rule.

US removes Nepal Maoists from blacklist

Nepal's ruling Maoist party yesterday welcomed a US decision to remove it from a blacklist of terrorist groups after the end of a bloody insurgency, saying it would boost ties with Washington.

Pak court bails 'blasphemy' Christian girl

A Pakistani judge yesterday granted bail to a Christian girl who has spent three weeks in jail after she was arrested for alleged blasphemy, in a landmark decision for a case that has sparked an international outcry.

Palestinian PM 'ready to resign'

The Palestinian Authority's prime minister has said he is willing to resign, after protests in the West Bank against rising living costs.

Iran presidential poll on June 14

Iran will hold presidential elections on June 14 next year, the Interior Ministry said yesterday, the first such vote since a violent crackdown on protests over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009.

Man fined for Mugabe death joke

A Zimbabwe court fined a man $150 for joking that President Robert Mugabe had died, a daily newspaper reported yesterday.

Revenge attack kills 12 in Kenya

Armed raiders killed 12 villagers and set fire to houses in Kenya's Coastal region, police and the Red Cross said yesterday, in a revenge attack that is part of a long-running dispute over grazing land and water.

Arts & Entertainment

Painter Nurul Islam's 2nd death anniversary observed

Eminent painter Nurul Islam was known for his unique portrayal of curvaceous women with bold lines, subtle textures, as well as cubist forms.

Cultural programme Robir Alo Droher Bina in Port City

In honour of the two great poets -- Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam, Tarunyer Ucchash, a group for elocutionists in the port city, organised a cultural programme titled “Robir Alo Droher Bina” at the Shilpakala Academy here on Thursday evening.

Violet Dreams

The Sufi philosophy of acceptance, humility and simplicity has always fascinated 28-year-old photographer Shivani Dass. What better medium to capture the essence of the mystical tradition than her camera? Over a period of seven months this year, after extensive research, reading and many hours at Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi, armed with her camera Shivani traversed nine Sufi shrines in India, among them the famous Dargah Hazrath Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty in Ajmer Sharif, Mir Datar Dargah, Unjha Gujarat, Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya in New Delhi and Hazrath Nagore Sharif Dargah in Tamil Nadu.

Ustad Allauddin Khan's 40th death anniversary observed in Brahmanbaria

The 40th death anniversary of Sur Samrat Ustad Allauddin Khan was held at the Sorod Mancho of the Allauddin Sangeetangan in Brahmanbaria on September 7.

Bangladeshi script awarded in Göteborg

Göteborg International Film Festival (GIFF) has awarded young filmmaker Kamar Ahmad Simon for his feature script “Shankhodhoni” (Silence of the Seashell). Simon and his colleague, producer Sara Afreen, are participating in the European Producers Workshop with the script as well.

Bangladeshi artists taking part in Open

‘Open', an international exhibition of sculptures and installations, is celebrating its 15th edition, from August 30 to September 30, at Venice Lido and on the island of San Servolo, says a press release.


The Court and the Parliament

The Daily Star reported that the current parliamentary session 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. To put things in perspective, Speaker Abdul Hamid said in Parliament, on June 18, that the HC judge had violated the constitution by making "derogatory remarks" about the Jatiya Sangsad and its Speaker.

Military still the wild card in Myanmar

Last week's announcement by Myanmar's information ministry that it had abolished direct media censorship was hailed by observers as yet more evidence that the process of reform is well underway.

Defending Limon, challenging impunity

Why has Limon become such a well known face in the media? Why are so many people lining up from Jhalakathi to Dhaka in his defense? The answer is simple: to ensure that the state does not default on its obligation to protect a citizen's right to life, that security forces do not have impunity for lawless law enforcement.

Vibrant parliament needed

With corruption, unaccountability, opacity, drift and paralysis in governance in recent times, the need for a vibrant parliament with untainted MPs has become most apparent. In a democratic set up, parliament members are the driving force in putting the wheels of development in motion. As the country sinks deeper into monetary scandals involving banks, stock market and shady business deals, pessimism and gloom descend.

A tribute to Prof. Mohammad Noman

He was an institution unto himself. A teacher who knew he was a teacher, who had the vision to read and reach his students, to meet their needs, to enrich their mental faculties, to touch their hearts. He was Professor Mohammad Noman.

This Day In History

September 8

Germany is admitted to the League of Nations.


Down with the hills!

Though Bangladesh is prominently a plain land, its Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Bandarban and Sylhet have hilly areas with forests and rich biodiversity. These areas are full of natural resources fulfilling needs of the people and other living species.

Designing the new climate regime

The new climate regime will lead to commitments only for developing countries. The reason for this is that the United States, which did not ratify the legally binding commitments contained in the Kyoto Protocol, continues to insist on a system in which nationally determined goals for reducing emissions will be monitored globally.

Access to water

The International Water Week has just been observed (Aug 24-30) at the Swedish capital Stockholm and by concerned organisations elsewhere with a call for "More Food in Each Drop of Water" and a slogan seeking more "Water in Urbanised World". More than two thousand water specialists/activists from about two hundred countries attended the Stockholm meet representatives from Bangladesh including a researcher of DORP also participated. It may be mentioned that DORP (Development Organisation of the Rural Poor), an NGO, has been working on water for many years, specially with Bangladesh WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Alliance. WASH programme presently covers six sub-districts namely, Barguna sadar, Fakirhat, Ramganj, Kuliarchar, Bhuapur and Sirajganj sadar, funded by a Dutch NGO, Simavi.


Land of magic

This write-up is the first of a two-part article Star Literature means to carry for its readers. It first appeared in 'East Pakistan Review: An Anthology', published in Karachi in 1958.
----Literary Editor

On a rainy afternoon

“I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you're the greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are in every single thing that you do and in every single thought that you have, and how you say what you mean, and how you almost always mean something that's all about being straight and good. I think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me.”

Gain and loss . . . on a different note

In the continuity of life, the pendulum keeps on moving from side to side to keep its balance. Nevertheless, at some point it tends to tilt toward one end or the other, awakening one to the reality all around. Time changes, circumstances change, attitudes, beliefs, all change. In other words, a new and rather different atmosphere is created, one that demands if not adjustment but at least a recognition of those changes. To some it is a social upheaval, to others it in a normal phase of transition that takes place in any society. Perception varies from person to person. So do our fascination, preferences, acceptance and rejection of the same. Under the circumstances, two determinants that run across our whole life play their roles oftentimes to our liking, oftentimes to our disapproval. These we can reasonably label as losses and gains in our life. An enormous number of them can very easily be put down on a list, evoking a number of reactions like surprise, laughter, anger, sorrow, wistfulness, etc., in the process raising innumerable questions.

Star Health

The crucial role of physiotherapy

Physical therapists (known as physiotherapists in Bangladesh) are experts in developing and maintaining people’s ability to move and function throughout their lives. With an advanced understanding of how the body moves and what keeps it from moving well, they treat and prevent many problems caused by pain, illness, disability, disease, sport, work related injuries, ageing, inactivity and so on.

Silicosis: an occupational lung disease

Silicosis is an uncommon disease in our country. But it has been reported recently that over the last few months eighteen people have died and more then hundreds have been suffering from silicosis in Patgram Upazila, Lalmonirhat. These affected people are engaged for breaking stones for years together. Because of continuous inhalation of silica particle in their work environment, they became ill.

If you have eczema

Eczema, also called contact dermatitis, can occur when the skin touches a substance that triggers an allergic reaction. Though actual substances vary by person, common triggers include fragrances used in perfumes or chemicals used in sunscreens.

Help keep COPD in check

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) is an umbrella term for lung diseases that make it difficult to breathe, have symptoms like chronic cough. The U.S. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute offers these suggestions to help keep COPD under control:

Coconut oil could combat tooth decay

Coconut oil attacks the bacteria behind tooth decay and could be used in dental care products, according to researchers from Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland.

Tobacco smoke tied to flu complications in kids

Kids hospitalised with the flu are more likely to need intensive care and a longer stay if they have been exposed to second-hand smoke at home, a small new study published in The Journal of Paediatrics finds.

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Strategic Issues

Non-Aligned Summit belies isolation of Iran

AS hosts of the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, NAM, in Tehran, Iranian officials tried to advance their agenda. Top of their list was to secure NAM's endorsement of their right to peaceful nuclear energy. Next was to get NAM to condemn foreign armed interference in Syria, a strategic ally of Iran since the Islamic revolution of 1979. The summit's final communiqué supported Iran's stance on the nuclear issue. But it made no mention of backing for the beleaguered regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia's stake in Asia-Pacific

Holding the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok will give Russia a chance to remind the world that two-thirds of its vast territory is in Asia and that it has a longer stretch of the Pacific coastline than any other country. After the break-up of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Russia has all but vanished from the Asia-Pacific horizon.

North Korea: Reforms imminent?

Talk about North Korea's satellivte launch in April 2012 is now being followed by a slew of speculations about political change and possible economic reforms on the horizon. What has prompted these speculations? More importantly, could there be any truth to them or are they, as is usually the case of North Korea, a misguided shot in the dark?

Star Books Review

Tale of another Indian journey

Koto Janapad Koto Itihash is the third, though chronologically the first of the three in terms of publication, historical travelogue written by M. Sakhawat Hussain that I am reviewing. Like the other two, it deals primarily with Indian history, concentrating a good deal on the Mughal period. Unlike them, however, it is not as carefully written, and is marred by a number of anomalies and confusing information. Also different is that the author devotes at least as much attention on the Indian Election Commission and the 2009 Indian elections (in the conduct of which he was an observer), the Rajputs, the Sufi saints, and the Delhi Sultanate as to the Mughals, in this case primarily on Humayun, Akbar, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb. Notwithstanding the shortcomings, Hussain, a self-avowed avid history buff, has composed an absorbing account that moves seamlessly along a string of different topics. As with the other books, he has the sporadic profound observations and comments, which cogently reflect the state of politics and society in Bangladesh.

Two countries, their dictators, their politics

William B. Milam served as America's top diplomat in Bangladesh and Pakistan at points of critical and crucial significance for the two countries. You can call that a most opportune happening or a mere coincidence. But the fact that the United States government thought it proper to have Milam serve in countries which once were linked through politics, indeed were a single state, is a rarity. And rare too is something else: Milam witnessed the fall of General Ershad in late 1990 and the beginning of a move back toward democracy; and then, in October 1999, as US ambassador to Islamabad and away in California, he heard about the coup that brough General Pervez Musharraf to power in Pakistan. And over the years since then, Milam has clearly made it his preoccupation to study politics in the two countries, which again would be regarded as analyses of the similarities that have characterized their political landscapes. Milam's subtitle, Flirting With Failure in South Asia, is a pointer to the questions he has before him.

Friendship in hard times

A captivating book from the very first page, Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad not only has an enticing title, but also a very appealing sub-title, "The True Story of An Unlikely Friendship". Who doesn't like to read about friendships that actually exist/existed, especially unlikely ones?

The Daily Star

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