The Daily Star

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Monday, November 24, 2014


News of: Saturday, 22nd of September, 2012

Front Page

Target clean project

The long-cherished Padma bridge project will now be implemented with a new approach, with donors having more clout in the procurement to ensure quality work and prevent corruption in the project.

Of heroes, zeroes

Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi had never given up on the World Bank fund for the Padma bridge constriction, facing sometimes harsh criticism.

Cost to go up by $145m

The cost of the Padma bridge project would increase by around 5 percent or $145.75 million due to a one-year delay in starting construction, an expert said yesterday.

Loss of time, loss of money

Delay in the Padma Bridge construction is now forcing the government to spend an extra Tk 100 crore to protect an area of the bridge site from river erosion.

Padma shines

The World Bank has finally decided to revive its $1.2b loan deal for the Padma bridge project as the government has removed the hurdles to end an impasse over the scheme.

Click here to read WB statement

Better late than never

Between September last year and September this year, it is not just one year lost in the Padma bridge project. The World Bank's loan revival process will take some more time. All the while, the cost of the project is going up in many ways.

McCullum crushes Tigers

Brendon McCullum was dismissed on the very last ball of the innings; but in the twenty overs prior, the bombastic Kiwi right-hander severely punished Bangladesh and led his team to a comfortable 59 run win in their Group D opener of the ICC World T20 at the Pallekele International Stadium yesterday.

Govt wasted 10 months

The main opposition BNP yesterday expressed its happiness over the World Bank's decision to get reengaged in the much-talked-about Padma bridge project.

Bangladesh loses some points

Though the World Bank has finally agreed to revive its $1.2 billion funding for the much-hyped Padma bridge project, economists say the Padma episode has weakened Bangladesh's position and the accountability issue will apparently become more important for any foreign-aided project in the future.

AL thanks WB

The high command of the ruling Awami League is cheered up with the revival of the Padma bridge loan deal and hopes the clouds surrounding the scheme would disappear.

PM flies to US for UNGA

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina leaves Dhaka for the US tonight to attend the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations, when international disputes and their solutions will dominate the discussions.

WB statement

On June 29, 2012, the World Bank announced the cancellation of a $1.2 billion IDA credit for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project. The Bank's investigative unit previously shared with the Government of Bangladesh credible evidence of corruption related to our financing of the bridge, and the Bank had identified a series of clear measures to be implemented by the Government for the Bank to remain engaged with the project, which the Government of Bangladesh had failed to meet. These included: (i) placing all public officials suspected of involvement in the corruption scheme on leave from Government employment until the investigation is completed; (ii) appointing a special inquiry and prosecution team within the Bangladeshi Anti-Corruption Commission to handle the investigation; (iii) agreeing to provide full access to all investigative information to an external panel of internationally recognized experts so that they can give guidance to the Bank and co-financiers on the progress, adequacy, and fairness of the investigation, and; iv) agreeing on new implementation arrangements that gives the Bank and co-financiers greater oversight of project procurement processes.

Grameen director protests

A Grameen Bank director yesterday protested her inclusion in a committee formed to select the managing director of the microfinance institution, saying it was done without her consent.

Padma Timeline

February 24, 2011
The World Bank approves a $1.2-billion loan

20 return from Tanzanian jail

Twenty Bangladeshis who had languished in two Tanzanian prisons for the last 11 months finally returned home yesterday morning.

Tanker with Tk 4cr fuel seized in Ctg

Members of Bangladesh Coast Guard yesterday seized an oil tanker on the estuary of the Karnaphuli when the vessel was carrying over six lakh litres of furnace oil and 700 litres of diesel worth Tk 4 crore allegedly for the black market.

50 hurt in clash with cops

At least 50 people including the Narsingdi municipality mayor were injured in a clash between supporters of slain mayor Lokman Hossain and police in the town yesterday.

Khaleda's remarks amount to sedition

Taking a swipe at the BNP chief, the state minister for law yesterday claimed that her comments over the full verdict on the constitution's 13th amendment were tantamount to sedition.

Housewife 'kills herself' in city

A housewife allegedly committed suicide hanging herself from a ceiling fan in the capital's Shyampur area yesterday.

Bus kills tea-stall owner

A tea-stall owner was run over and killed by a bus while crossing a road in the capital's Sayedabad area yesterday morning.

6 Trinamool ministers quit govt

Six federal ministers belonging to Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress party resigned from the UPA government in a split over economic reforms, reducing the coalition headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to a parliamentary minority.

19 killed in Pakistan

At least 19 people died yesterday as violent protests erupted on the streets of Pakistan's main cities in anger at an anti-Islam film made in the US.

US sees greater Bangladesh role

The first ever US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue concluded in Washington Thursday spotlighting greater engagement and cooperation in regional integration.

Teen girls 'beat up' Iranian cleric over dress code

An Iranian cleric is claiming that two young girls beat him up after he told one of them to cover up and dress more conservatively.

Suu Kyi for releasing Pussy Riot singers

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, on a landmark visit to the United States, called Thursday for the release of jailed members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

Editorial

Padma bridge financing revived

We express satisfaction at the news that the World Bank (WB) has given verbal commitment to revive the stalled $1.2bn loan for Padma Bridge. Congratulations are due for both the government and the WB in being able to overcome months of impasse to reach an agreement due to be announced sometime on Friday. We would like to put in an added word of appreciation for the Minister of Finance, who in the face of tremendous pressure kept his faith in the project specially at a time when the highest public officials of the government had engaged themselves in a tirade of abuse against the WB. The flurry of behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts by government officials this month in ironing out differences with the lead agency of the consortium has borne fruitful dividends and this is reflected by WB's willingness to return to the negotiation table a move we greatly appreciate.

Adivasis in primary textbooks

The fact that primary textbooks still contain some wrong and misleading information about the cultural identity of the country's indigenous communities comes as a shocking piece of news. All the more so because the present government believes in respect for the minorities.

Sports

'We failed in all departments'

You have little else to do but watch the game in awe when the highest-run scorer in Twenty20 cricket hits form. And that was the reason why Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim also showered praises on Brendon McCullum, even though his side was thrashed in their first game of the ICC World Twenty20 by 59 runs at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium yesterday.

The Tendulkar of T20s

There were records galore during Brendon McCullum's explosive 123-run innings at the Pallekele International Stadium on Friday. But the man in charge was not thinking of records, rather he trying to maximise the scoring opportunity against a hapless Bangladesh in their Group D match of the ICC World Twenty20.

Wright lifts Eng to 196-5

Luke Wright smashed an unbeaten 99 off 55 balls as defending champions England overcame a bad start to post 196-5 against Afghanistan in the World Twenty20 in Colombo on Friday.

England crush Afghanistan

Luke Wright's unbeaten 99 got England's defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown off to a perfect start in a record 116-run trouncing of Afghanistan at the Premadasa Stadium on Friday.

SA aim to tame Mendis

South Africa skipper AB de Villiers said his batsmen will put Sri Lanka's magician spinner Ajantha Mendis under pressure when the two teams meet in a group C match in Hambantota on Saturday.

Battle for ascendancy

Having registered a comprehensive win in their World T20 opener, Australia would aim to seal a Super Eight berth when they take on the flamboyant West Indies in a Group B encounter at the R Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.

Siddikur misses the cut again

Siddikur Rahman's season is going pear-shaped as the flag-bearer of Bangladesh golf failed to make the cut for the second time this season and in space of three weeks. The 27-year old golfer racked up a sorry score of 4-over-par (146) at the end of the second round of the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open yesterday to miss the cut by five shots. Siddikur, who had a first round score of 2-over-par (73), failed to make much impression in the second round either as he traded six bogeys for four birdies to end the event at 106th position.

Gayle's gift on his 33rd

Hard-hitting West Indies opener Chris Gayle celebrated his 33rd birthday on Friday by telling batsmen how to hit sixes during the ongoing World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Three more qualify for Fed Cup

Khulna Abahani, Bangladesh Police and Noakhani Football Academy qualified for the Federation Cup after their respective matches of Grameenphone Federation Shield yesterday.

Taylor hits out at sloppy Zim

Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has described his team as "sloppy" and "below par" after they crashed out of the World Twenty20 with a ten-wicket thumping by South Africa on Thursday.

4-day game begins today

The West Indies High Performance team will begin their second four-day game today against the Bangladesh A side at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka. The visitors' first four-day match, against the BCB's National Cricket Academy, resulted in a draw as the home side struggled against the West Indian spin attack.

Legends' pep talk urges Afghans

Minnows Afghanistan go into their World Twenty20 clash against reigning champions England on Friday night with their morale boosted by a pep talk from two former greats of the game.

B chess

Six players shared the lead in the 38th Access Group National Chess B Championship at the close of the seventh round at the Bangladesh Chess Federation hall room yesterday.

Mikel closes his Twitter account

Chelsea's Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel was forced to close his Twitter account on Thursday after suffering a barrage of racist abuse prompted by his costly mistake against Juventus.

Lara a Sachin fan

Legendary West Indian batsman Brian Lara has said that Sachin Tendulkar still has two years of cricket left in him and feels that all Indians should be proud of his achievements.

Football returns to Sylhet

The first division football league returns to Sylhet today after a five-year absence when Abahani Krira Chakra take on Lauwai Krira Chakra under the floodlights. The last league was held in Sylhet in 2007. Fifteen teams will be participating in the league this time.

Nat'l school madrasa sports

41st Summer National School Madrasa Sports Competition kicks off in the port city of Chittagong today. A total of 424 students from all over the country will participate in seven events including football, handball, kabaddi and swimming. Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid will inaugurate the five-day competition at 10am at city's MA Aziz Stadium.

KP confident of NZ recall

Axed England batsman Kevin Pietersen hopes to be playing again for England by the time the tour of New Zealand starts in February next year, he said on Friday.

Nehwal signs mega-deal

Top Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has signed a three-year deal worth a reported 400 million rupees ($7.4 million) with a sports management company, underlining badminton's growth in the otherwise cricket-crazy country.

Local Snippets

Narayanganj and Netrokona emerged venue champions to qualify for the semifinals of the Walton Dhaka Divisional Commissioner Gold Cup football tournament beating their respective rivals yesterday.

Vargas destroys Solna

Yuto Nagatomo scored a stoppage time equaliser to spare Inter Milan a humiliating home defeat against Russia's Rubin Kazan as the Europa League's 48-team group stage got under way on Thursday.

Man Utd head to Anfield

Michael Carrick has pleaded with Manchester United fans to keep the peace when his side face bitter rivals Liverpool in an emotionally charged clash at Anfield this weekend.

Real aim to rebound

Champions Real Madrid aim to get their La Liga campaign back on track away to city rivals Rayo Vallecano following a dismal start which has seen a Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona open up an eight-point lead over them with the season little over a month old.

'No Balotelli bust-up'

Roberto Mancini on Friday insisted that there was no bust up with striker Mario Balotelli after the Italian was left out of Manchester City's squad for their Champions League tie with Real Madrid.

Ronaldo to star in TV reality show

Brazil football great Ronaldo who, like half of his country's population, is overweight, is to star in a television reality show that will chronicle his battle against the bulge.

Conte made to wait

Juventus coach Antonio Conte will have to wait until October 2 before discovering if he has any chance of seeing a 10-month worldwide touchline ban reduced, it was announced Friday.

Metropolitan

Column 101

This is the 101st Tangents column. Thank you, dear reader, for reading and supporting Tangents over the last two years.

No disunity within grand alliance: Inu

Dismissing any speculation of disunity within the Awami League-led grand alliance, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu yesterday said they would continue their fight together against "the alliance of communalists, militants and war criminals".

Obstructionists are country's enemies

Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir yesterday said the people hindering the development projects, including Padma bridge, are the “enemies of the country.”

3-day Asian tourism fair begins in capital

Aiming to showcase promotional packages to attract travelers to exciting tourist destinations of Asia, a three-day, “Second Asian Tourism Fair”, kicked off in the capital's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre yesterday.

Domestic help killed after 'rape'

A twelve-year-old domestic help's body was found with her throat slit after she was allegedly raped in her employer's residence in Sarishabari upazila of Jamalpur Thursday evening.

Islamist orgs stage protest

Expressing anger at a US film and a French weekly's cartoon mocking Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (pbuh), some Islamist organisations staged demonstrations in the capital's Paltan area after Juma prayers yesterday.

Left parties protest power tariff hike

Protesting the recent power tariff hike and asking the government to withdraw it, leaders of left-leaning political parties yesterday said the rise would cause the rich to pay less while the poor to spend more.

Six arrested for robbery in capital

Detectives arrested six people in the capital from September 17 to yesterday in connection with a robbery in an expatriate's house at Senpara in Mirpur area on September 6.

Do more applied research

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday stressed the need for taking massive programmes to make progress in science and technology in the country.

Three killed in road accidents

Three people were killed and four others injured in separate road accidents in Chittagong on Thursday and yesterday.

Jobra people worried over Grameen Bank's future

Ninety residents of Jobra village have expressed their concern over the recent amendments to the Grameen Bank ordinance, which would allegedly turn the microfinance institution into a government-controlled organisation.

Six cases against Jamaat men filed

Police yesterday filed six cases against activists of Jamaat-e-Islami in connection with the Thursday's violence in Pabna.

Open history subject at all edn levels

History is the most overlooked subject in the country's college and university levels for lack of teachers and students' interest to take this course, said history teachers at a conference yesterday.

Cellphone credit rechargers observe strike

Providers of credit recharging service of mobile phones kept their shops closed in the northern part of the capital on Thursday demanding a raise in commissions, stated the president of Bangladesh Mobile Phone Recharge Baboshaye Association yesterday.

Two arrested

Police on Thursday night arrested two people in connection with the lynching of a woman, assaulting policemen and vandalising a police van in the capital's Jatrabari area.

Missing student's body recovered

The body of a college student who went missing after falling from a boat on August 25 was recovered from the river Teesta at Madhupur Gonaier Char in Kaunia upazila on Thursday.

Railway staff jailed for graft

A court on Thursday sentenced a railway staff to one year imprisonment in a corruption case against him.

Strict law to stop food adulteration demanded

Leaders of Bangladesh Juba Union yesterday demanded enactment of strict laws to stop food adulteration and mixing toxic chemicals with food considering their adverse effect on public health.

16 Shibir men arrested over RU bus torching

Sixteen activists of pro-Jamaat student organisation Islami Chhatra Shibir were detained from different areas of Rajshahi city early yesterday on suspicion of their involvement in torching a bus of Rajshahi University (RU) on September 17.

RU admission test now starts from October 4

Admission test of honours programme of Rajshahi University for the 2012-13 academic session will begin on October 4 and continue till October 9.

UPDF demands arrest of killers of its party men

Leaders of United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) yesterday demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the killers who murdered two of their party men in Khagrachhari Thursday night.

AL advisory council, executive committee meetings on Oct 8, 13

A meeting of the ruling Awami League Advisory Council and National Executive Committee will be held on October 8 and 13 respectively to discuss country's socio-political and organisational matters.

Project launched to prevent unsafe migration of children

Aiming to strengthen services of local government institutions and non-state actors for prevention of unsafe rural-urban migration of children, a project styled "Rural Urban Child Migration" was launched on Thursday.

International

Arab Spring brought only chaos: Assad

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria yesterday told an Egyptian magazine that the Arab Spring uprisings only brought chaos and that the Syrian rebels cannot win as clashes raged

Car blast kills 6 in Thai south

At least six people were killed and 40 more wounded yesterday after a car bomb exploded in a packed market in Thailand's insurgency-hit south, officials told AFP.

Arts & Entertainment

Dilip Chakrabarty: The most powerful actor of his generation

The most shocking SMS I have ever received in my life was the one sent by “Common Gender” director Noman Robin on September 17 night. It read:

Dialogue of Nature

Under the title “Dialogue of Nature”, Shilpangan Art Gallery in Dhanmondi has organised the 18th solo sculpture exhibition of Ferdousy Priyabhashini. The exhibition was inaugurated on September 21. Noted educationist Professor Anisuzzaman inaugurated the exhibition as chief guest. Rokeya Kader, chairperson of Shilpangan Trust was present as guest on the occasion. Sculptor Ferdousy Priyabhashini and Rumi Noman, member-secretary of Shilpangan Trust, spoke on the occasion.

A poetic afternoon with Ross Sutherland

“The secret is not in knowing how to pick someone's lock;the secret is knowing how to get them to open the door for you.”

Shomoy stages Shesh Shanglap

Theatre troupe Shomoy staged “Shesh Shanglap” as part of the Ganga-Jamuna Theatre Festival at the Experimental Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, on September 20.

Close up 1 selection round in Mymensingh

The audition and selection round of “Close up 1 2012” for the Mymensingh region was held at a city hotel here on September 20.

Ranbir to become Kishore Kumar

Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor will play the role of Kishore Kumar in director Anurag Basu's biopic on the legendary singer-actor.

OP-ED

Challenges for Home Minister

Politi-cally speaking, by the Indian sub-continental experience the home portfolio has not been a particularly sought after berth and some say that the pragmatic politician does not feel comfortable in being the skipper of home affairs management. In our situation, such an observation assumes special significance, especially in the penultimate year of a political government when mood, expectations and delivery are extremely demanding.

Close for comfort

It is the beginning of the end. Whether Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee goes ahead with her decision to withdraw support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre, or has second thoughts about it, the writing on the wall is clear. Federalism is asserting itself and the Congress is feeling the heat.

Revitalising primary education

If a country wants social and economic development, it will have to break away from its orthodox and backward mould, and there must be policy initiatives to integrate social justice with economic development. This calls for a thrust in literacy as an integral part of this policy. But as it stands today in Bangladesh, there is only petty party feuds and money making to the utter disregard of human resource development. Literacy is the most crucial factor in achieving the MDG. While we brag about our education system making a leap forward, we are unable to discern if it is functioning properly.

Let us not forget history

It is commonly said that we do not learn from history. This is by and large true, but that does not mean that we should not remember history and recall where we had gone wrong. If we had taken lessons from history, perhaps we would not have repeated the mistakes of the past.

Social Business: Vehicle for achieving self-sufficiency

The success of social and economic developments in Bangladesh depends on social business. The majority of the 160 million people in Bangladesh are poor. Social and economic reforms must begin with the poor, and that's why social business plays a crucial role in the overall economic growth in Bangladesh.

This Day In History

September 22

1896
Queen Victoria surpasses her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.

Environment

Climate change and migration: An emerging nexus

Since the dawn of human evolution, people have migrated across different places and sought a livable environment that would support their survival as well as aspirations for better life. The fundamental relationship between environment and migration has therefore been rooted in the human history. Now the reality of climate change adds a new dynamic to this nexus. Climate change is feared to accelerate the frequency of natural disasters and gradual environmental degradation which may induce people to migrate because of threats to their lives or livelihoods. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its first assessment report warned that the greatest single impact of climate change might be on human migration. However, there are uncertainties about the exact scope and scale of it as migration is essentially a multi-casual phenomenon and interacts with lots of other socio-economic factors. But the influence of climate change on migration is quite discernible and growing. International Organization of Migration (IOM) has predicted that the number of environment induced migrants may exceed 200 million by 2050 (IOM, 2010).

Urban forestry for green city

The global population pressure has increased in urban areas with people thronging the cities in quest of a better life. According to the UN Population Division, about 44% of the total populations in developing countries are living in urban areas. There is no doubt that the urbanization will proceed to have significant impact on the ecology, economy and society at local, regional, and global levels. The great impact has been observed in the urban green spaces including urban forestry, parks, playgrounds, domestic gardens, roadside open spaces and urban vegetation.

Literature

Neruda, poetry and lone cemeteries

My poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forest.
--- Pablo Neruda

Land of magic . . .

(This is the concluding segment of the article, the first two parts of which appeared in the past fortnight)

Reconnecting with Quebec and Madonna

September 1, 2012. We reached Quebec city in the late afternoon, and were planning to hit the Old City (Vieux Ville) right after we had a chance to wash up, but when we checked with the hotel concierge, he warned us not to take the car into the city since roads leading to the Old City were blocked because of a concert by Madonna. However, we defied him and, since the sky was clear and we anticipated that the moon would be up soon and brighten up the city and the river, we decided to brave the traffic and road blocks to get to the heart of the city. We lucked out and were able to get to our destination without major detours, and even found street parking on rue Ste-Anne at a spot very close to the river front, the Chateau, and for us the major attraction, the Terrace Dufferin, a promenade above the St. Lawrence River which offers a magnificent view of the estuary and the mountains surrounding it. As soon as we stepped out from the car we could hear Madonna singing “Papa don't preach”, a song that was the battle cry of the women's emancipation struggles in the 1980s.

Star Health

Saving mother and child

In Bangladesh, several evidence based interventions have been identified as highly effective in reducing maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. However, few programmes have demonstrated how to embed this proven models within the existing system in low resource countries.

When females develop facial hair

Hirsutism is a condition where women have excess facial and body hair like a man. It is therefore primarily of cosmetic and psychological concern. Many cases of Hirsutism are not severe and have no underlying cause. However, it may be a medical sign of a more serious medical condition in certain cases, especially if it develops well after puberty.

Does cracking your knuckles cause arthritis?

Many people believe cracking knuckles can cause arthritis. But does it really do so? Several studies have been conducted so far and no one could reveal any significant relation between knuckling and development of arthritis.

Work on good posture

If you have lower back pain, sitting at an office desk all day can aggravate your symptoms. The University of Michigan Health System offers these suggestions for managing back pain at work:

Can pacemakers be used twice?

People in developing countries with heart problems may not be able to afford new pacemakers, but a new study suggests devices removed during autopsies may have enough remaining battery life to be donated and used again.

Work stress raises heart risk

Having a highly demanding job, but little control over it, could be a deadly combination, UK researchers say. They analysed 13 existing European studies covering nearly 200,000 people and found job strain was linked to a 23% increased risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart disease. The risk to the heart was much smaller than for smoking or not exercising, the Lancet medical journal report said.

Strategic Issues

The wages of naivety

Shortly before the fateful US intervention in Iraq that led to the downfall and the eventual execution of the then Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, Brent Scowcroft, who had been the National Security Advisor to the first President Bush, wrote a perceptive piece of advice that was published in the Wall Street Journal on 15 August 2002. Advising against intervention in Iraq, Scowcroft wrote that this 'would divert for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism' and that any military campaign 'would have to be followed by large scale long term military occupation.' The then policy makers in the US did not pay heed to Scowcroft's words of wisdom, with disastrous consequences both for the US as well as for the hapless people of Iraq who have suffered horrendously.

Indian domestic politics and Bangladesh

From recent developments of Indo-Bangladesh relation, it appears that we are being caught in a limbo due to domestic political impasse of our big neighbour India. The rise of a high demanding regional party, The Trinamool Congress, in historically moderate West Bengal and the very nature of the federal structure of Indian polity have compounded the Indo-Bangladesh situation. With secular Awami League in power in Bangladesh which is considered more pragmatic and less rhetorical about our relation with our big neighbour in one side and the secular UPA coalition led by the Congress party of India on the other, it was a natural expectation that the relation between the two nations would flourish in the light of the worldwide trend of increased regional cooperation. What is going wrong? No political pundit would probably label Sonia-Manmohan-Pranab leadership of the present Indian government as belligerent towards smaller neighbours; yet there goodwill fails to deliver. If we take a closer look at the evolution of the party system of Indian democracy and the fresh change of political atmosphere in West Bengal we will probably be able to see where lays the gridlock. Although, in one sense, internal political intricacies of India is not ought to be the concern of Bangladesh, we are entangled in it against our wish owing to the reduced capacity and internal strife of the multiparty conglomerate in power in India at present. Other than the Congress no other party in the coalition is a national party and the primary focuses of these parties are their local power bases at the provincial level where they want to grasp or maintain the political clout. These parties share lesser responsibility in terms of some important union government functions like foreign relation. The situation is worse when a foreign relation in question involves some conflict of interest between the federal government and the coalition partner regional party and the latter is unwilling to demonstrate a rational sense of responsibility as coalition partner of the central government and rather remain arrogant to score a high political point at local level. Mamata Banerjee is not even ready to recognise the broader benefit of West Bengal itself in an enhanced Indo-Bangladesh cooperation on bilateral issues like transit, anti-terror cooperation, reordering of border enclaves etc. For the moment, it appears that the key to the gridlock is her coming of age as a responsible leader. It appears that Ms. Banerjee is all out to orchestrate a show to the West Bengal electorate; perhaps thinking of her long-term gain, that she, not the Left Front leadership, is the real hardcore protector of the provincial interest and West Bengal's well being is only safe in her hands. Given her state of temperamental mindset and hasty political behaviour, worsened by the weaker strength of UPA government in the face of it, it is prudent for Bangladesh government to take cautious steps. Pushing the central government too hard may not yield as they will not like to risk the survival of their coalition by pushing Mamata in turn. Moreover, the union government of India tend to follow the federal polity norm of trying to take the concerned provincial leadership aboard while dealing with neighbouring nation. The same policy also applies in case of Sri Lanka when the central government endeavour to take the Tamil Nadu provincial government and the provincial allies into confidence. So, there is a rationale for being reasonably patient.

My blood will hasten the liberation of my sacred land

Siddiq Salik was born in Punjab. He completed his post graduation from Punjab University in English Literature and later on in International Affairs. Although he began his profession as a teacher and then became a journalist, he found his true calling when he enlisted in the Pakistan Army. In January 1970, he was posted to East Pakistan. On 16 December 1971, he along with other Pakistanis surrendered to the Joint Command of Indian and Bangladesh Forces. He held the rank of a Brigadier when he died in the plane crash that also killed Pakistan's President General Ziaul Haque.

Star Books Review

When Things Came Together: a book about a book

Some books are literally seminal. They generate so many other books. Things Fall Apart (TFA) is one such. It has become a modern classic, we know. And it's giving rise to so many other books also. At a place as far as Dhaka, a commemoration conference for Things was held in 2008, on the occasion of its 50 years. The Department of English of Dhaka University organized it. News of that conference and that Prof. Kabir Chowdhury spoke at its inaugural reached certain unexpected corners. And then one day Prof. Chowdhury called me over phone to say that one of his old acquaintances, Professor Don Burness in the USA, had got news of our Achebe Conference and sent him a letter of appreciation for all who had organized it. He mentioned me and some others by name in that letter. What was more enthusing is that through Burness, who happens to be a close personal acquaintance of Achebe's, the latter (Chinua) also had come to know about our conference. I was overjoyed; for anyhow it is I who took the initiative for this conference. I tried to share the joy with others by reading out Prof. Burness's letter at the Academic Committee meeting of the English Department. But a quite different surprise was still waiting for us. For Prof. Burness and some others had also organized a conference in Lisbon on the same occasion, and had sent us a copy of its proceedings, When Things Came Together. The other editors of that book are: Inocência Mata and Vicky Hartnack.



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