The Daily Star

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014


News of: Monday, 3rd of December, 2012

Front Page

Three may be sued

The Anti-Corruption Commission is likely to sue tomorrow former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury, ex-secretary of the Bridges Division Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and ex-director of Padma bridge project Rafiqul Islam for influencing the selection of a consultant for the project.

Picture perfect at Tigers' den

Bangladesh off-spinner Shohag Gazi, playing only his second match, flighted the ball to opposite number Sunil Narine of West Indies, who tried to drive it through the off-side but did not connect well and the ball went at a brisk pace in the air towards cover. On another day the ball may have eluded Tamim Iqbal, but yesterday he leapt to his left and at full stretch pulled off a two-handed blinder to hammer the final nail in the Caribbean coffin.

Ashulia region remains restive

Stemming from the Tazreen Fashions disaster, garment and leather workers' agitations in Ashulia industrial belt continued yesterday as they attacked several factories and clashed with industrial police.

KL to recruit first in farm sector

Ending a four-year ban, Malaysia will initially recruit 30,000 Bangladeshi workers for its plantation sector from early next year.

Who will they turn to, now?

In a tragic irony, the day before the deadly Tazreen blaze her father had called her from the capital and promised to stay for five days with her in Rangpur.

Japan okays metro rail funding

In a major breakthrough in building the country's first metro rail system in Dhaka, Japan has approved $2.1 billion in soft loan for the $2.7 billion project.

Mindset the main hurdle

People should change the mindset towards the physically-impaired and help flourish their potential to the fullest, speakers at a dialogue said yesterday.

Witness 'never heard of Mollah'

A listed prosecution witness, who gave her testimony as the fourth defence witness in the war crimes case against Abdul Quader Mollah, claimed she did not hear the accused's name until yesterday.

JMB back!

Rapid Action Battalion yesterday arrested five top-level leaders of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in the capital's Mirpur on charges of allegedly plotting to foil the ongoing war crimes trial by destabilising law and order.

Aman price set at Tk 26

The government has decided to procure Aman rice at a price of Tk 26 per kg after considering all aspects of its production cost and market price, Food Minister Abdur Razzak said yesterday.

Philippines braces for powerful storm

Philippine authorities yesterday warned the public to take precautions for what could be the most powerful storm to hit the country this year.

Pak landslides toll rises to 15

Rescuers have found three more bodies after landslides in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, officials said yesterday, taking the confirmed death toll to 15, with three people still missing.

Strong quake rattles Vanuatu

A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the South Pacific island of Vanuatu yesterday, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami warning was issued.

Editorial

15 years since the signing of CHT peace accord

When the state entered into a peace accord with the PCJSS, the now-defunct political wing of the former tribal insurgent group which called itself Shantibahini, one and a half decades ago, it formally ended a two-decade long insurgency in the hill districts. Peace was an instant dividend from the accord that both sides celebrated with the world welcoming the olive branch spread across the CHT.

Vandalisation of leather factory

We find it very difficult to rationalise why a leather factory in Ashulia was vandalised on Saturday. It was functioning normal; there was neither labour unrest nor any problem there. Reportedly, the factory management refused to give in to the demands of some workers of an adjacent garment factory whose work was suspended because of a fire alarm. As a result their owner, rather sensibly, declared the remaining day off which caused workers of a few other factories to suspended work too fearing trouble. And these workers set upon the leather factory.

Sports

A great Bijoy

There was more than a little consternation before the five-ODI series between Bangladesh and West Indies at the fact that Bangladesh were going in with four debutants against a team that performed so powerfully in the preceding Test series. By the end of yesterday's second match at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium, those doubts would have been blown out of the water. One of the newcomers, Anamul Haque, was the player-of-the-match after a match-winning 120 while another, Mominul Haque, who was playing his first innings, was instrumental in Bangladesh plundering 68 runs off the last five overs to set up their 160-run win.

21 for 2? No problem

Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal had scored five consecutive half-centuries leading up to the second ODI against West Indies. The first of those was in the Asia Cup match against Pakistan in Dhaka in March, nine months ago. So it was hard to imagine Bangladesh would get off to a good start or make a competitive score without Tamim's contribution, especially with their champion cricketer Shakib Al Hasan not there to shore up the middle-order.

'Don't count us out'

Even Bangladesh fast bowler Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, when speaking on the eve of the second ODI against West Indies, said that getting their opponents out for 199 runs in the first match was 'too good', and maybe something that will not be repeated.

Turning a blind eye

At the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna the Tigers roared to their second win against the West Indies on Sunday. And an elated sports minister of the country Ahad Ali Sarker immediately congratulated the Tigers and announced Taka 2 lakh cash award for young Anamul Haq for his brilliant century.

Amer's ban revoked

The professional football league committee of Bangladesh Football Federation yesterday revoked its decision of instilling a one-month ban on Brothers Union manager Amer Khan after the suspended manager appealed to exempt the punishment. Khan was handed a one-month ban on November 12, following his 'misleading information' about last season's league match between Abahani and Brothers Union. The game's governing body revoked its decision ten days before the expiry of Amer's punishment.

Enamul, Imrul day's stars

National rejects Enamul Haque jr and Imrul Kayes hit form for their respective teams in the sixth round of the National Cricket League yesterday.

Aussies chasing record

Australia will have to produce the greatest run chase in Test history to beat South Africa in the third Test at the WACA Ground and claim the top spot in the Test rankings.

Booters face Pakistan today

The Bangladesh U-23 side will be hoping to get a winning star in the HE Mahinda Rajapakshe International Football Tournament in Sri Lanka when they take on Pakistan in one of the two opening day matches at the newly-built Jayathailaka Stadium in Kandy at 4:00pm (local time) today.

More friendlies lined up for booters

Bangladesh will host four international friendly football matches in the first quarter of 2013, said Bangladesh Football Federation president Kazi Salahuddin yesterday. The opponents are India, Malaysia, Thailand and UAE (United Arab Emirates) U-23 squad.

Nerurkar due today

Richard D Nerurkar, director of Dhaka International 10km Run, is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka today to assess the route of the run and other related arrangements.

United pull away

Manchester United moved three points clear at the Premier League summit after beating Reading 4-3 in a remarkable game on Saturday, which was to prove a day of despair for Chelsea and Arsenal.

Messi extends Barca record

Lionel Messi closed in on Gerd Mueller's scoring mark as Barcelona crushed Athletic Bilbao 5-1 to set a new record for the best ever start to a La Liga season and stay 11 points clear of Real Madrid.

Happy with a draw

There may have been only two goals scored in the Bayern Munich-Borussia Dortmund draw, but the showdown of Germany's top two teams lived up to its top billing.

Juve punish Torino

Claudio Marchisio and Sebastian Giovinco scored second half goals as Juventus beat 10-man Torino 3-0 to rack up their 60th win in the 'Derby della Mole' on Saturday.

Milan out to get Balotelli

AC Milan could look to sell Brazilian pair Robinho and Alexandre Pato to boost coffers for a sensational January swoop on unsettled Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, reports said Sunday.

Beckham's crowing moment

David Beckham wrapped up a six-year stint in America by playing his final game in the MLS Saturday, capping his time with the Los Angeles Galaxy with back-to-back championship titles.

Business

Firemen ring alarm for RMG owners

The Fire Service and Civil Defence on the final day of its inspection drive found 11 of the 69 visited garment factories without sufficient safety mechanisms to fight blazes.

GermanBangla signs $90m bicycle making deal

GermanBangla Bicycle Ltd signed a deal worth $90 million last week to make bicycles for a supplier to the mass market in the European Union for the next five years.

Trade bodies concerned over industrial unrest

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) yesterday expressed deep concern over the recent untoward incidents in the readymade garment sector.

Karnaphuli EPZ set for full-swing run

The Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone in Chittagong is expected to begin full-swing operations within this year as necessary development works with adequate infrastructure facilities are almost complete.

IT freelancing booms in Bangladesh

IT freelancing has taken off in a big way in Bangladesh, with around 200 percent growth observed this year already.

India Show starts today

Around 100 Indian companies of different sectors will showcase their products at an event at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka today.

Labour leaders demand punishment to Tazreen culprits

The leaders of different labour organisations and students yesterday demanded an immediate arrest of all responsible for a fatal fire that killed at least 111 workers at Tazreen Fashions Ltd.

Muhith talks of success in power sector

The present government achievement in the power sector in just three to four years equals a success of 10-15 years, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday.

Green Industry Platform selects Viyellatex as adviser

The country's Viyellatex Group has recently been selected as the member of the advisory board of the Green Industry Platform of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

Internet regulation in focus

Technology experts yesterday stressed the need for forming a body where the governments of different countries can place their complaints of any internet-related disputes.

Downward trend back in stocks

Stocks started the week on a negative note after a sudden surge of more than 5 percent last Thursday.

Novo Nordisk vice president due in Dhaka tomorrow

Maziar Mike Doustdar, vice president for international operations at Novo Nordisk, is scheduled to arrive in the capital tomorrow to mark the company's 50 years of operations in Dhaka.

Pubali donates Tk 2cr for Ashulia, Ctg victims

Pubali Bank donated Tk 2 crore to the prime minister's relief fund for the victims of Ashulia fire tragedy at Tazreen Fashions and the people who died when a concrete girder of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Chittagong.

Don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg

Over the past two decades, Bangladesh's merchandise exports in current US dollars surged from around $2 billion in FY1992 to $24 billion in FY2012, growing at a heady pace of 13 percent per year. This is a superb performance by most developing country standards. This export boom was led by one product group -- the readymade garments. The RMG exports have surged from $1 billion in FY1992 to a whopping $19 billion in FY2012, which is an amazing 79 percent of total merchandise exports and some 49 percent of total export earnings of Bangladesh (including goods and factor and non-factor services). There have also been some positive shifts within the garment sector in terms of product composition. While Bangladesh has continued to gain strength in the low-end segment, outperforming the cost escalating competitors in China and India, it is also making some inroads in the high-end segment of name-brand products. The spread in terms of geographical diversification of RMG exports is also improving, although the US and the European Union continue to be the main buyers. Overall, Bangladesh's prospect for gaining further market share in the large global RMG market is bright.

Big plans make comeback in post-crisis Dubai

Dubai is back in the business of unveiling mega projects, three years after a severe financial crisis crippled its booming property sector, but doubts still linger over finance and feasibility.

Battle over Grameen Bank

When Taslima Begum, a housewife turned entrepreneur from the north of Bangladesh, accepted the Nobel peace prize in Oslo in December 2006, it was a proud moment for Bangladeshi women. The Nobel citation said the prize was awarded to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below".

Metropolitan

Institutional reforms a must for growth

Miracle growth can take place in a country without properly functioning institutions, including effective courts, but to maintain a sustainable growth institutional reforms are a must, said Prof Kunal Sen of University of Manchester, UK yesterday.

BNP boycotts talks with EC

Main opposition BNP yesterday boycotted electoral talks with the Election Commission as the issue of the caretaker government was not on the agenda.

No effort to execute CHT peace accord

Besides making vain promises, the current government has made no effort to implement the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord in the last four years, said speakers at a discussion in the capital yesterday.

Transfer of control to hill district councils sought

The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) yesterday urged the government to immediately transfer control of remaining important issues, including law and order and land management, to councils of three hill districts as per the 1997 peace accord.

Power at subsidised rate to go: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday hinted that the government would not provide power at a subsidised rate in the future as she said people should at least pay its production cost.

Musa's 25-day cycle journey starts today

Musa Ibrahim, the first Bangladeshi to conquer Everest, will embark on a 25-day journey across Bangladesh on a bicycle today to generate awareness among the youth about the Liberation War.

Clinic caretaker confesses crime

Mohammad Faysal, a caretaker of the capital's Amtola Brac Clinic where a female doctor was found dead on Friday, yesterday confessed that he killed the doctor after failing to rape her.

Ministry to suspend judge for 'possessing' Phensedyl

The Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs yesterday decided to suspend a senior assistant judge of Bhola District Judge's Court after he was arrested for allegedly having 342 bottles of Phensedyl in his possession.

No Jamaat rally today: MKA

Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir yesterday said Jamaat-e-Islami will not be allowed to hold its rally today in the capital as the party did not get permission from police.

Implementation of CHT accord in a year: Gowher

Admitting that the government could not do "much" regarding materialising the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, prime minister's special adviser Gowher Rizvi yesterday said they are confident that the accord will be implemented within the next one year.

2 workers hurt in fire

Two workers were injured in a fire at a warehouse of LP Gas at Sheikhdi in the capital's Jatrabari yesterday.

4 die in road crashes

Four people were killed and 15 others injured in road accidents in Rangpur, Narail and Bogra on Saturday and yesterday.

Third IO to face court tomorrow

A Dhaka court yesterday summoned the last investigation officer (IO) in the Saudi Embassy official Khalaf Al Ali murder case to share probe findings.

Domestic help found dead in capital

A boy domestic help was found dead in his employer's house in the capital's Azimpur area yesterday.

16 personalities honoured in Ctg

Sixteen eminent personalities of the port city have been honoured for their outstanding contributions in different fields.

One killed in workplace accident

A worker was strangled early yesterday as his wearing shawl was twisted into the motor wheel of a deep tube-well to supply water to Royal Cement Company in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong.

Police halt protest programme over Bahaddarhat incident

Police yesterday foiled an announced protest programme of pro-BNP Chhatra Dal and Jubo Dal where they were to lay siege to the office of Chittagong Development Authority.

Release of Ilias Ali demanded

Thousands of BNP leaders and activists formed an around 21 kilometre human chain on Dhaka-Sylhet Highway yesterday demanding that the government “frees” former lawmaker and BNP Organising Secretary (Sylhet Division) M Ilias Ali.

Nuclear engineering dept at DU launched

A new department, Nuclear Engineering, yesterday started its journey at Dhaka University to promote nuclear science education and create experts in the field of nuclear technology.

UK envoy attends live radio programme today

Robert Gibson, British high commissioner to Bangladesh, will attend a live programme on Radio Today at 2:15pm today to answer queries related to studying in the UK, said a press release.

Reception marking Romanian National Day held

A reception marking the Romanian National Day was hosted by Honorary Consul of Romania in Bangladesh Enayetullah Khan at his Baridhara residence in the capital on Saturday evening.

One killed in workplace accident

A worker was strangled early yesterday as the shawl he wore was twisted into the motor wheel of a deep tube-well to supply water to Royal Cement Company in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong.

Anti-communal conference on Dec 13

The anti-communal conference, which was scheduled to be held on December 8 in the capital's at Mohanagar Natya Mancha, will be held on December 13 , said a press release.

Obituary

Nurunnahar Chowdhury, principal of Rashid Kisholaya, a kindergarten in Patuakhali district town, died of cancer at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in the capital on Saturday. She was 61.

Death anniversary

Today is the 13th death anniversary of Rokonuzzaman Khan Dada Bhai, noted writer, journalist and founding director of Kochi-Kanchar Mela. A milad mahfil will be held after Asr prayers at his residence in the capital.

Ashraf Uddin

Today is the 13th death anniversary of Ashraf Uddin Ahmed, legal guardian of the family of poet Kazi Nazrul Islam in Bangladesh.

National

Call for united movement to fully implement peace accord

Different organisations as well as the local administrations held rallies, processions and cultural programmes across the Chittaging Hill Tracts (CHT) region yesterday in observance of the 15th anniversary of the CHT peace accord.

Kala-azar research centre opens in Mymensingh

Kala-azar research centre was inaugurated at Surya Kanta Hospital in Mymensingh town yesterday.

Sudden pest attack frustrates farmers

Pest attack on aman plants, around a month before ripening of the main food crop of the coastal region, has appeared as a menace to the farmers of coastal islands in Patuakhali district.

BDR, BSF meet on disputed land in Panchagarh

A flag meeting between Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) was held on Haribhasa border under Sadar upazila in Panchagarh yesterday over the ownership of a disputed land in Khudipara village.

Gangni AL enforces hartal protesting Beltu murder

A day-long hartal called by Gangni upazila unit Awami League in Meherpur, protesting the killing of the unit's leader Saidur Rahman Beltu, was observed in the upazila yesterday.

15 injured as rival ruling party men clash over illegal toll collection

Two groups of the ruling party clashed over illegal toll collection at Patgram cattle market in the district yesterday, leaving at least seven people from both sides injured.

AL men attack rivals: 15 hurt

At least 15 people were injured in a factional clash of Awami League on Khalilur Rahman Degree College ground in Mollarhat upazila on Saturday night.

Jamaat ameer arrested

Police arrested Maulana Abdul Mannan, ameer of Mirzaganj upazila unit Jamaat-e-Islami on Saturday afternoon from Pashchim Subidkhali area under the upazila. Abir Mohammad Hasan, OC of Mirzagonj, said they arrested the Jamaat ameer as he was planning to commit sabotage in the area. He was held while holding a secret meeting with the party activists, he said. In Jessore, police arrested three leaders and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir from Basundia area in Sadar upazila on Friday night, reports UNB. The arrestees were identified as Motiar Rahman, president of the union unit of Jamaat, Maulana Saifur Rahman, general secretary of the union unit of Shibir, and Alamgir Hossain, a Shibir activist.

Man held with firearms

Detective Branch (DB) of police arrested an alleged criminal along with a firearm at Deyara village in Bagharpara upazila early yesterday. The arrestee was identified as Hafizur Rahman alias 'Kana' Rubel, son of Abdur Rahman of RN Road area in the district town. Police said, on secret information, they raided the house of one Safiar at the village and arrested Rubel at the dead of night. Later, following his confessional statement, police recovered a shutter gun and a bullet from one Tabibar Rahman's house at Kholadanga Purba Para in the town. Rubel was wanted in a number of cases including for violence, killing and mugging.

Shrimp enclosure owner killed

Owner of a shrimp enclosure was hacked to death at Rayer Mohal Mostofar Intersection in Dumuria upazila yesterday. The deceased was identified as Mahbubur Rahman, 40, son of Late Abdul Khaleque, of No. 1 Boyra Cross Road area at Khalishpur in the city. Jahangir Hossain, brother of the deceased, said that Mahbub went to the shrimp enclosure on Wednesday and talked to his wife over cell phone last on Friday afternoon. On Saturday night, a friend of his brother informed that Mahbub went missing from the enclosure, he said. Police later recovered his body from a nearby thatched house at 11.30am yesterday. There were several marks of injury on his body, including in the chest, said the OC of Dumuria PS.

Housewife commits 'suicide'

A housewife allegedly committed suicide at Hariharpur village in Sadar upazila on Wednesday afternoon. She was identified as Swapna Rani,19, wife of Tapan Chandra of the same village. Police said, on Wednesday afternoon Swapna committed suicide by hanging herself from a beam of her room . On information, police went to the spot and recovered the body by breaking open the door and sent it to Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital for autopsy. The reason behind the suicide could not be known immediately, police said.

Letters

Garment factory fires: Here and in the USA

The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York City in 1911 caused the death of 146 garment workers, mostly women and children. Many jumped to their deaths because the doors were locked to prevent stealing. The fire at Tazreen Fashions in Dhaka in 2012 has killed 111 workers, mostly women. Most of them died because the factory doors were locked to prevent stealing. The two fires prove that Bangladesh is lagging behind at least one hundred years from the USA.

Take exemplary action against culprits

In Bangladesh, corruption has already reached the peak. The Bahaddarhat accident in Chittagong city is a clear example of it. This is not the first time that the flyover collapsed. If the government had taken strict action after the first accident, maybe it would not have happened for the second time. As usual, our government will form an inquiry committee but the investigation result may seem absurd to us. And the real culprits will roam free. Not only that, they will prepare themselves for future crime. It is high time the government took exemplary action against the culprits.

Let it be a lasting ceasefire

After the deaths of 160 Palestinians, including 10 of a family and 5 Israelis during a few days' conflict, a ceasefire has been announced with the effort of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. It is reported that US President Barack Obama spoke to the Egyptian President and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on the night of November 19, 2012. We were very upset about the escalation of violence and are now feeling relieved by the news of ceasefire. We hope the ceasefire will not be temporary; the world leaders must take steps to make it permanent. The Palestinians are the victims; they are deprived of their land and have been living under occupation for so many years. They have the right to live with dignity. The USA, the Arab countries and others must try to execute a two-state plan so that Palestine and Israel can exist side by side in total harmony. This is the only solution to permanent peace and we hope Israel will not object to it.

Crop production under permaculture

We are living in a world of uncertainty as far as climate and agriculture are concerned. Although there are a handful of scientists who disagree, but available evidences suggest that climate change is a real threat to sustainable agriculture, particularly food crop production system. Climate changes are occurring dramatically over which we have almost no control. This phenomenon is visible in the occurrence of frequent natural disasters (recent cyclone Sandy in the USA is an example,) which are due to the adverse impacts of climate change.

Waiting for the next Hay Festival

I am one of those lucky persons who participated in the Hay Festival and got the opportunity to meet many distinguished personalities of the country and abroad. The whole programme was organised in a very systematic way. I have found many foreigners who were very pleased to have joined the festival. This festival will definitely encourage many new writers of the country. I came to know that our country has already progressed a lot in the field of English literature. I am eagerly waiting for the next Hay Festival to and strongly believe that next time there will be more participation. I feel this festival is a great achievement for our country.

Citizenship of Rohingyas

History tells us that Rohingya people's ancestors lived in the western part of erstwhile Burma even before the first Anglo-Burmese war that broke out in 1823. Since then the Rohingyas have been living there generation after generation. By any standard or consideration, the Rohingyas are the true sons of the soil and deserve to be treated as full citizens of Myanmar.

Replace the defective lights

Kanchpur, Meghna and Daudkandi are three important bridges at different points on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway. I recently noticed that some of the lights on these bridges are not working, which may cause serious accidents. Therefore, I, on behalf of the people, draw kind attention of the authorities concerned to the matter and urge them to replace the lights.

Save our culture

I have been noticing for some time that some cinema posters and billboards of diamond jewellery, body spray, boutique, beauty products, etc., are really objectionable. The general public feel ashamed to look at those billboards. Not only that. Advertisements of these products are also being aired on television channels regularly. In the entertainment pages of some newspapers, obscene photos are published. Our culture is being influenced by foreign culture in such a way that it has become hard to find a movie or entertainment programme that we can watch together with our families.

Provide Braille books for free

We have learnt from a report of this daily on a roundtable entitled “Barriers to mainstreaming of children with disabilities in education” held at The Daily Star Centre in Dhaka that Braille books which are used by the visually challenged students are pretty expensive. The report also reveals that there is no specially designed curriculum in schools for the physically challenged children.

Break the deadlock at IU!

After a long vacation, Islamic University opens, but regretfully our honourable teachers have declared not to take classes sine die. They are on a strike demanding the resignation of the present vice chancellor along with pro-VC and treasurer. A handsome amount of public money is being spent for our education every year. Moreover, the hard-earned money sent by our parents is being wasted. If this situation continues, meritorious students will be reluctant to get admitted to IU. I urge the university authorities to break the deadlock as fast as possible considering the sufferings of the students.

Repair the Khulna-Satkhira road

It takes almost 3 hours to go to Satkhira from Khulna due to the bad condition of the road. If the road was in good condition, it would take 45 minutes. Several reports were published on the matter in the national dailies but no steps have been taken to repair the road. We, the people of this area, have tried many times to draw the MP's attention to this major problem but didn't get any response from him. MPs forget their voters after winning the election. Should we vote for him in the next election? No one can blame us if we don't. MPs should always keep in mind that people are no fools. They now have options to make a better choice.

Readers Respond

Here are some comments that came in response to Sunday's The Daily Star news report headlined “Fire check frustration”

International

Egypt power struggle deepens

Egypt's top court yesterday began an open-ended strike in what it called a "black day" for the judiciary after supporters of President Mohamed Morsi blocked the courthouse ahead of a key ruling, amid a tense standoff between the president and the judges.

Yes, now we have a state

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas returned to the West Bank yesterday after winning upgraded UN status for the Palestinians, telling cheering crowds: "Yes, now we have a state."

Syrian forces hammer rebels near Damascus

President Bashar al-Assad's forces yesterday hammered rebel positions with artillery and air strikes around Damascus, in a strategic assault aimed at securing the Syrian capital as phone and internet services returned after three days.

Afghan Nato base attack kills five

Taliban suicide attackers struck at a Nato base on an Afghan city airport yesterday early morning, killing five people and wounding several foreign troops in a two-hour battle, officials said.

US to expand intel gathering: Report

The Pentagon, in a major expansion of its intelligence gathering activities, plans to assemble an espionage network rivaling the Central Intelligence Agency in size, The Washington Post reported late Saturday.

Israel halts tax transfer to Palestinians

Israel will not transfer tax and tariff funds its collects for the Palestinians this month in response to their successful bid for upgraded UN status, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said yesterday.

Top US official signals end to war against al-Qaeda

The United States must prepare for a time when it no longer is at war with al-Qaeda, and when sweeping federal powers ushered in after the September 11, 2001 attacks come to an end, the Pentagon's top lawyer said.

Modi fit to become prime minister, says Sushma

The tussle in India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party for its prime ministerial candidate in next parliamentary elections due in two years got an interesting turn on Saturday when its senior leader Sushma Swaraj saying Narendra Modi was fit for the top job.

Indian political parties evaded tax Rs 2,490cr

Ten main political parties in India had a whopping Rs 2,490 crore of tax-exempted income in the last five years, according to information from the Income Tax department through an RTI plea.

Two arrested from Yangon rally

At least two people have been arrested at a rally in Yangon held to condemn a violent police crackdown on protesters at a Chinese-backed copper mine, an activist and an AFP reporter said yesterday.

Drinking ban for US troops in Japan

US troops in Okinawa, southern Japan, have been banned from drinking off base, a US military statement said, following a spate of crimes including the alleged rape of a local woman in October.

UPA confident over FDI vote

The government yesterday said it was confident of its numbers ahead of a crucial debate with voting on FDI in multi-brand retail in the Lok Sabha Dec 4-5.

Malala death threat dropped in UK

UK Muslim extremists have withdrawn their threat to behead a teenage girl who is recovering in a British hospital after she was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan.

26 killed in Somali clan battles

Fierce fighting between heavily armed rival clans in war-torn Somalia has killed at least 26 people in a dispute over grazing land and water, officials said yesterday.

Assange vows more leaks

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange vowed to keep exposing secret documents and defended his controversial website, two years after it published a massive trove of sensitive US diplomatic cables.

Kuwait opposition ups ante

The Kuwaiti opposition yesterday vowed to press on with its protests until a newly elected parliament is abolished and a disputed electoral law is scrapped, a day after a vote they boycotted.

‘Fatima Bhutto to contest Pak poll’

Fatima Bhutto, the writer-activist niece of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto, will contest Pakistan's upcoming general election from a constituency in Punjab province, her mother has said. 30-year-old Fatima, the daughter of Benazir's brother Murtaza Bhutto, has for long said that she has no plans to enter politics.

Slovenia chooses new president

Slovenians yesterday voted in a presidential run-off with opinion polls favouring former premier Borut Pahor, despite his support for government austerity plans that have brought thousands of protesters on to the streets.

Arts & Entertainment

Legends are made of moments like these

Dhaka Music enthusiasts and connoisseurs were in a musical high. Instrumental recitals and vocal renditions coupled with stirring Kathak performances by Pandit Birju Maharaj and his main disciple Saswati Sen went on, one after another, on the penultimate night (December 1) of 'Bengal-ITC SRA Classical Music Festival 2012', held at Bangladesh Army Stadium in Dhaka.

Of Men and Music

Those of us who have been living in Dhaka uninterrupted since the '50s will agree that despite the hassles in our daily lives due to traffic congestion, poor supply of utilities, mosquito menace and garbage, the city still has a unique character. Here are some of the finest architectural beauties in the form of buildings, a gourmet's paradise and a cultural arena that beats many. Once a city in slumber, Dhaka is now a bouncy capital making news; the latest being classical music.

Norwegian music in port city

Music enthusiasts of the port city were recently enthralled by the performance of Trio Nattergale, a troupe consisting of three Norwegians baroque musicians,

OP-ED

Ashulia garment fire and after

The issue of safety in garment factories has again been brought to the fore after the horror of Tazreen Fashions fire. The result of the inspections carried out at the garment belt in the Ashulia area by fire service officials has provided the answer as to why the factories are so susceptible to fire.

Caretaker government issue: Back to square one

When the idea of the caretaker government system was floated in 1996 by Jamaat and then picked up by Awami League, it was fiercely opposed by the BNP which was in power. And now that it has been cancelled, demand for its restoration is being opposed tooth and nail by the government again, only the party that leads the government is Awami League.

Is human life worth less than the price of a Louis Vuitton handbag?

I wouldn't be surprised if on Valentine's Day, a garment factory owner in Bangladesh gift's his wife or mistress or girlfriend a Louis Vuitton handbag priced anywhere between $30,00 and $5,000. That's cheap! If he has class, he may serenade her in a $50,00 a night hotel suite with a partial view of the Central Park in New York, take her out for dinner at the Maxim's, and go on a diamond-buying spree at the Tiffany's. If he is really romantic and at the same time wants to announce loudly to his fellow kin how much he is worth, he will rent the yacht "Monkey Business" and sail to Bimini Island in the Bahamas with his lady love. If he is a stag, he may spend $1,250 per hour for a female escort's company in New York City or Las Vegas.

The Ashulia Disney combo

As I pen this article I notice a piece in the Wall Street Journal detailing the recent fire disaster at the Ashulia garment factory. The title "Why Bangladesh Keeps Burning" catches my attention. In my experience of keeping a close tab on news from Dhaka, this one incident has been receiving relatively wide coverage -- and scrutiny -- from the US press. It is ironic this accident took place at about the same time as Black Friday in the US. The day after Thanksgiving, referred to as Black Friday, is the biggest sales event for shoppers when retailers mark down prices on every item from the 42 inch TVs to winter jackets. It is hard to miss the connection that like in every holiday season, this year as well a large number of retailers were stocking their shelves with clothing made in Bangladesh when the factory fire broke out in Dhaka twelve time zones away.

Disability issue: Development or charity?

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is a worldwide annual commemoration authorised by United Nations to focus on the theme of "removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all." This day was first observed on December 3, 1992 as "International Day of Disabled Persons."

This Day In History

December 3

1925
World War I aftermath: The final Locarno Treaty is signed in London, establishing post-war territorial settlements.



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