News of: Wednesday, 12th of December, 2012
International Crimes Tribunal-1 Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq resigned yesterday amid controversy over the leak of his Skype conversation with an expatriate Bangladeshi legal expert.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was yesterday denied bail and sent to jail in two cases filed with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar and Paltan police stations Sunday night.
Two lives have been lost, assets worth millions destroyed, hundreds of millions of productive hours lost, thousands arrested and the whole country is experiencing a tense situation. All this is for what? For whose benefit? To what end?
Ansar Mia could not believe what he was watching on television.
Moshura Ghosh Para in Shariatpur is full of sighs and cries as villagers and family members mourn Bishwajit Das.
In an unprovoked attack on newsmen, police yesterday beat up and detained two photojournalists of The Daily Star and the New Age when they were covering the opposition's hartal in Siddhirganj of Narayanganj.
Proceedings of 117 cases against some 200 alleged terrorists of several militant organisations have become uncertain, as the trial court judge did not follow the relevant law properly.
Driver of a pick-up van sustained severe burn injuries when pro-hartal activists set the vehicle on fire at the capital's Nayabazar area on Monday night.
A thick blanket of fog caused disruption in all modes of transport movement in many areas across the country, causing sufferings to thousands of passengers between Monday night and yesterday morning.
Condemning the recent spate of violence and hartals, the United States yesterday asked the ruling Awami League and the BNP to hold dialogues and work out a mechanism for conducting the next parliamentary elections.
The High Court yesterday directed the law enforcers not to expose detained or arrested persons in any case before the media, saying such acts are illegal and unconstitutional.
A war-wounded freedom fighter yesterday testified that Abul Kalam Azad used to select detainees of a torture centre in Faridpur for Pakistani army to kill them during the Liberation War.
Transparency International Bangladesh yesterday expressed concern over a government initiative to buy a railway engine from a particular company ignoring the procurement act.
Justice Md Jahangir Hossain Selim at the International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday said the news reports on him published recently in the Bangla daily Amar Desh were totally false.
Grameenphone won the HSBC-The Daily Star Climate Award in 2011 in Green Operations category for its responsible approach to energy conservation and reduction of carbon footprints.
Despite an easing of tensions with the United States, Pakistan is persistently undermining security in Afghanistan by permitting safe havens for insurgents, a Pentagon report said Monday.
We have been observing with deep concern for the last few days the spate of vandalism, mayhem and anarchy on the streets. The opposition-called blockade and hartal and counteracting of those by the pro-government activists have made politics extremely violent. In other words, the excesses from both the opposition and the ruling parties are leading to highly explosive and violent consequences.
We note with dismay that a German citizen, an architect by training, on an official visit to the country was on her way back to the capital city when her car was attacked. The fact that her vehicle was vandalized by the protesters goes to illustrate a departure from the standard practice of keeping foreigners out of harm's way. These people are here as guests and need to be shown the hospitality that is synonymous with Bengali culture.
The Bangladesh cricket team ended their year with a series against the West Indies that can justifiably be called a fruitful one. Not many gave the Tigers much of a chance against a West Indies side that had recently regained the services of explosive opener Chris Gayle, whitewashed New Zealand in a home Test series and won the ICC World Twenty20. The highlight of Bangladesh's campaign against the men from the Caribbean was their 3-2 ODI series victory, but there were positives to take from the Test series that preceded it and the lone T20I that followed.
India have big questions to answer in the aftermath of the Kolkata Test and the biggest surrounds the attitude of their near god-like top names.
There was a time when Shahid Afridi's name would have been the first on Pakistan's one-day international teamsheet, but the all-rounder's future looks uncertain after he was dropped for this month's series against arch-rivals India.
The Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League resumes today, after a 12-day gap due to the national U-23 team's engagement in the Mahinda Rajapakshe International Football Tournament in Sri Lanka, as Feni Soccer Club host Team BJMC at the Shaheed Salam Stadium in Feni.
The players' auction for the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 is all set to take place on December 19. The new governing council of the BPL has decided to stage the opening ceremony of the T20 tournament on January 17, with the first match scheduled to take place the very next day.
Injured India batsman Manoj Tiwary has been replaced in the India squad for the Twenty20s against England by Ambati Rayudu. Tiwary's injury was diagnosed as a side strain. He had picked up the injury, which will keep him out of action for six weeks, during a Ranji Trophy game on Sunday, while batting in Bengal's first innings against Saurashtra.
Chittagong Mohammedan Sporting Blues defeated Customs SC 2-1 in the Chittagong Premier Division Football League at the MA Aziz Stadium yesterday.
Shuttler Enayetullah Khan, national champion, was eliminated from the quarterfinal stage of the Knit Concern Badminton Tournament after losing to youngster Shuvo yesterday.
A bus containing 15 cricketers who played for Sylhet in the recently concluded National Cricket League (NCL) almost plunged off a bridge in Bhairab on its way back to Dhaka. Players stated that the bus had hit the railing of the bridge after which the front tire of the vehicle nearly went over the edge.
Chelsea star Fernando Torres has revealed the inspiration behind his medal-laden career -- not Pele, Diego Maradona or Johan Cruyff, but a Japanese cartoon called Captain Tsubasa.
Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria's appeal against the lifetime ban given to him by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was adjourned on Monday.
Former world number one Rafael Nadal has confirmed he will return from knee trouble in the Mubadala Championship in Abu Dhabi over December 27-29.
Fast bowler Stuart Broad has been sent for scan on his left heel and is a doubt for England's two T20 matches against India.
Comfortably into her third decade on tour, Serena Williams remains the dominant power in women's tennis with her eyes firmly fixed on overhauling Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert's Grand Slam record in 2013.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic and US player Serena Williams were on Tuesday announced as this year's International Tennis Federation world champions, based on their performances in tournaments throughout 2012.
Bangladesh's national men's and women's handball team leave here for Nepal today to take part in the IHF Trophy Tournament to be held in Kathmandu from December 12-18.
GM Enamul Hossain Rajib was again forced a draw in the Rose Valley Open International Chess Tournament as Indian IM Dinesh Kumar Sharman held Razib in the ninth round in Kolkata yesterday.
Hugo Rodallega fired Fulham to their first win in eight matches as the Colombian ended his goal drought to seal a 2-1 victory over Newcastle at Craven Cottage on Monday.
Lazio were lucky to escape with a share of the points from a lacklustre scoreless draw away to Bologna which left them three points behind third-placed Napoli in Serie A on Monday.
UEFA president Michel Platini Tuesday stood firm against the use of goal-line technology in Europe despite FIFA tests of Hawk-Eye and GoalRef at the ongoing Club World Cup in Japan.
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos revealed on Monday that he wants to finish his playing days at the Santiago Bernabeu, as he released a book about his ongoing career.
Manchester United players cannot afford to blow their six-point lead in the Premier League because manager Alex Ferguson would sack them, according to defender Patrice Evra.
Italian football federation (FIGC) prosecutors on Monday demanded Napoli be docked one point and captain Paolo Cannavaro banned for nine months for their role in the "Calcioscommesse" match-fixing affair.
The country's export earnings increased by about 11 percent year-on-year to $1.76 billion in November, thanks to growth in readymade garment shipments.
In line with an IMF prescription, the government has decided to set the exposure limit of a commercial bank in the stockmarket at 25 percent of the bank's total capital.
A government agency assigned to ensure labour-law compliance will begin inspections of around 600 garment factories in Ashulia today.
The United States yesterday again called for selecting a highly qualified managing director for Grameen Bank who will ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the Nobel-winning microcredit lender.
The Dhaka Stock Exchange has formed a five-member panel to investigate a delay in the start to share trading on two alternate working days.
Governments, parliamentarians and civil society and non-governmental organisations should join hands together to accelerate achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and the post 2015 development agenda, said a declaration of lawmakers and citizens groups yesterday.
Stocks returned to the black yesterday, breaking a three-day losing streak, as investors went on a buying spree despite the political instability in the country.
Grameenphone has completed its yearlong network swapping activities, which will develop its call and data quality and made the country's biggest mobile operator ready for better telecom services.
Women have always faced higher unemployment rates than men, and the sluggish global economy in recent years has only made the situation worse, the International Labour Organisation said Tuesday.
Opec maintained Tuesday its oil demand growth forecasts ahead of a meeting to discuss output levels and pick a new secretary-general for the cartel that pumps out more than a third of the world's crude.
NOVO Nordisk, the world's leading insulin producer, has recently launched three locally-produced insulin products not only to consolidate its geographical footprint but also to transfer technology and know-how to Bangladesh, a top official said.
HSBC Holdings Plc has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to settle a multi-year US criminal probe into money-laundering lapses at the British lender, the largest penalty ever paid by a bank.
A factory fire that killed more than 100 garment workers in Bangladesh has led the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, to concede that it needs to do more to control its supply chain and keep unauthorised manufacturers out.
A Russia-led coalition on Monday withdrew a proposal to give governments new powers over the internet, a plan opposed by Western countries in talks on a new global telecom treaty.
Bangladesh will confer awards on 65 more foreign friends in the fourth phase on December 15 for their outstanding contributions to the country's Liberation War 41 years ago.
The Daily Star speaks to the winner of the HSBC-The Daily Star Climate Awards 2011, Bengal Glass Works Ltd, about its “People, Planet, Profit” model.
The Supreme Court yesterday adjourned till today the hearing of an appeal filed against a High Court verdict that acquitted six former army personnel in the jail killing case.
A total of 82 turtles of two species were recovered from the possession of illegal traders in the capital's Kataban area on Monday.
An anti-communal national conference will be held at Mohanagar Natya Mancha at Gulistan in the capital tomorrow.
International IT experts have observed that Bangladesh's advancement towards digitisation at even lower tiers of administration is fantastic as it enabled millions of rural people to get quick and hassle-free public services.
Bangladesh Chemist and Druggist Association has called upon all medicine store owners across the country to observe an eight-hour strike from 6:00am today to demand reducing drug licence fees and holding pharmacy registration examination immediately.
Barisal Veterinary Institute was declared indefinitely closed yesterday after activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League took control of the campus and cordoned the institute's teachers and officials for three consecutive days.
Musa Ibrahim, the first Bangladeshi to conquer Everest, yesterday reached Rajshahi University to campaign for awareness about Liberation War among the youth.
Today is the 41st death anniversary of four martyred brothers -- Mukarram Hossain Mukul, Mansur Hossain Manju, Mastaque Hossain Anju, and Mosharraf Hossain Ranju -- and their brother-in-law, Yusuf Ali.
Dr Najma Heptulla, a member of Indian Rajya Sabha and also former president of inter-parliamentary union, made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office in the capital yesterday.
A two-day long youth festival titled “Confidence Cement Prothom Alo Youth Festival” started in Chittagong city yesterday.
A much-awaited Shaheed Minar was inaugurated on the campus of Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (Cuet) yesterday.
Different socio-political organisations will hold several programmes in the capital today in support of making the December 18 hartal a success.
ANM Alamgir, managing director of Aloco Securities, a stockbroker, passed away at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore yesterday. He was 63.
Jubo League leader Palash Karmaker, who sustained bullet injuries during a gunfight with BNP in the town on Saturday night, died at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital early yesterday.
The countrywide daylong shutdown enforced by BNP-led 18-party alliance passed off amid vandalism, arson attacks, bomb blasts and clashes between pickets and law enforcers in different districts yesterday, report our correspondents.
Widow of a freedom fighter is living amid misery in a makeshift room on a railway land in Bangalipur Mahalla of Saidpur municipality under the district as she is yet to get possession of a government allocated house, despite receiving its official documents 20 years ago.
A BGB member was injured in an attack by a gang when the border guards tried to foil human trafficking by them at Baro Achra of Benapole yesterday.
A 10-year-old girl was killed allegedly by her father in Netrakona yesterday while a woman was held for allegedly trying to sell her 4-year-old boy in Jessore on Monday.
A young housewife was killed allegedly by her husband at Dublia village in Sadar upazila early Monday.
At least 12 people were injured in a clash between two rival groups over a piece of disputed land at Balarchira village in Sundarganj upazila yesterday.
People are already over-burdened with steep rise in the price of essentials. Nowadays, most middle-class as well as poor people can barely afford the bare necessities and when VAT is added to the food bills, they are forced to cut down further on essential items. Even countries like USA, where there is sales tax on most items, do not charge sales tax on grocery items. At present there is no tax on computer mainly because it's connected with education. I believe if the government exempts food and other essential items from VAT, it would give people some relief.
The recent tragic fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd. that killed more than 111 garment workers has raised many questions. This is not the first incident of fire at a garment factory. Very often we hear about fires at garment factories. But still there is no safety measures found in the factories. The result was the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions on November 24. Most of the entrepreneurs are more keen on making profit rather than improving the working conditions of their factories. In Bangladesh more than 4,000 readymade garment factories of different size are earning more than three-quarters of the country's export revenue. Most of the workers of these factories are women. Over the last two decades, these garment factories contributed to changing the role of poor Bangladeshi women who mostly used to work as housemaids. Although the wages are low, this industry has a positive impact on the families of the poor female workers and it has been playing a vital role in empowering them. The factories which do not have sufficient fire escape must arrangements must be shut. The government should not sit idle. It must take necessary steps for improving the working condition of the factories. Why is the factory a prison? Working in a lockup is not at all acceptable. Moreover, action must be taken against the inspectors who issued licenses to those factories without verifying the fire safety measures.
Ex-prime minister of Israel Ehud Olmert recently criticized the present government of Israel for planning new settlements in the West Bank. He also said that Israel had no reason to oppose Palestine's UN observer state membership. Rather it will be an historical mistake that will be disastrous to the life, to the people and to the future of the state of Israel.
Bangladesh Agricultural University is nowadays giving extra pressure of academic work on the students. As a result, students are remaining busy all day with their academic work and not having enough time to take part in any extracurricular activities. Even they hardly get time to skim through the daily newspapers before 5 PM as classes start from 8 AM and ends at 4.30 PM. I think the result of this pressure will not be as good as expected. If this extra pressure is not reduced to a tolerable level, it will destroy the creativity of the students.
The banking system of Bangladesh needs to be upgraded to the international standard, according to the World Bank. The framework followed for the banks in our country needs to be upgraded. Although there are many private and public banks in the country, most of them lack efficiency and stability. There is lack of active state involvement in the financial sector, which if ensured can help maintain the economic stability of the country, stimulate growth and also create employment opportunities. Moreover, the various services provided by the banks like loan classification, provisioning, rescheduling, etc., need to be strengthened in order to reach the global standard. The role of the state needs to be adjusted from direct intervention to less direct involvement as the crisis subsides.
I am a mother. I have to take my daughter to and from school at Uttara every day and on our way we have to cross the road underneath the airport road flyover 4 times a day. Every time I cross that road I read doa and sura. I wish I knew more doa. I feel that the poles which are supporting the girder are very weak and any time these may collapse on us. I always ask my driver to drive fast at that part of the road. But it is not always possible due to traffic jam. I am more afraid now after the incident of Chittagong. Is Dhaka's Kuril-Airport flyover safe? We request the government to please inspect the flyover with an expert team to know whether it has been built with good quality materials and by maintaining the construction rules and if thit is safe for people. If not, the government should let us know that too and do the construction again.
I am writing with reference to the Op-Ed: "Conspiracy theory: Fig leaf of an excuse," by Brig Gen Shahedul Anam Khan (Nov. 29).
Thank you for the article from the New York Times captioned "Walmart blocked safety push in Bangladesh", reprinted in the Business section of The Daily Star of December 9. In view of the importance, and urgency of the subject matter, relevant extracts are given below.
Here are some comments that came in response to Tuesday's The Daily Star news report headlined “Of The Murderers”
Egypt's army chief called for talks on national unity to end the country's mounting political crisis after a vital loan from the IMF was delayed and thousands of pro- and anti-government demonstrators took to the streets.
Russia has resisted the most recent US appeals to Moscow to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to quit and threaten Damascus with sanctions in hopes of ending Syria's civil war, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported yesterday.
Israeli forces raided the West Bank offices of three Palestinian non-government organisations overnight, confiscating computers and other material, one of the groups said yesterday.
A landmark US intelligence report released on Monday says the "current Islamist phase of terrorism" might end by 2030, but violent terrorism itself is unlikely to die completely and might evolve into bloodless forms of economic and financial terrorism.
The prime minister of Mali yesterday resigned on state television, hours after being arrested by soldiers who were behind a military coup in March.
Clothes that could literally light up your life were unveiled yesterday by Japanese researchers who said their solar-cell fabric would eventually let wearers harvest energy on the go.
His mind has grappled with space and time, and explored the strange beauty of black holes aglow, but in recent days a more earthly problem has occupied the world's most famous scientist.
Asia will wield more global power than the US and Europe combined by 2030, a forecast from the US intelligence community has found.
India's foreign minister has said New Delhi must accept China's growing presence in its own backyard as Beijing steps up its investments and diplomatic efforts in South Asia.
West Bengal state legislature in Kolkata yesterday plunged into bedlam with ruling Trinamool Congress and Left parties' lawmakers trading blows.
The leader of Nepal's ruling Maoists put up the bail money yesterday to free a young chef who is awaiting trial for slapping him in the face, the party said.
Former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country for over 30 years before he was unseated by Mohamed Nasheed in the 2008 elections, has said that he may consider running for president again.
The death toll from the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has climbed above 700 with hundreds more missing, many of them tuna fishermen feared lost at sea, the government said yesterday.
An Australian radio station yesterday pledged at least Aus$500,000 (US$523,600) to help the grieving family of a nurse duped by a royal prank phone call, after coming under sustained scrutiny over the hoax.
A top UN official yesterday claimed that some Taliban leaders, who issued fatwa against girls' education during their rule in Afghanistan, have themselves sent their female children to schools run with the support of the international body.
The US military will retain a "strong presence" in the Middle East despite a strategic shift to Asia, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said yesterday during a visit to Kuwait.
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Monday agreed a financial settlement with a New York hotel maid who had accused him of sexual assault.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who is 94 and has been in hospital since Saturday for tests, has suffered a recurrence of a lung infection but is responding to treatment, the government said yesterday.
Two more Tibetans burned themselves to death in protest at China's rule of the Himalayan region, a rights group said yesterday, as state media accused the Dalai Lama of turning Tibetan Buddhism into "an evil cult".
A major 7.1-magnitude earthquake shook eastern Indonesia's Maluku islands yesterday but there was no tsunami alert, the US Geological Survey said.
The father of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban for advocating girls' right to education, has been named as the Special UN Advisor on Global Education. The announcement was made by Gordon Brown, who is the United Nations' Special Envoy for Global Education. He said that once Malala gets well, she too will join the campaign.
Arts & Entertainment
The award ceremony for 17th Berger Young Painters' Art Competition (BYPAC) was held on December 10 at Winter Garden, Hotel Ruposhi Bangla in Dhaka. Rupali Chowdhury, managing director of Berger Paints Ltd, inaugurated the event. In her speech, she said, “Berger Young Painters' Art Competition is one of the significant events in our cultural scene. BYPAC is a platform that recognises young artists and offers them exposure at national level. Berger hopes that this recognition will inspire young talents to work harder and bring pride and glory for the nation.”
A two-day Anti-corruption Theatre Festival ended at the Barisal Ashwini Kumar Town Hall on Monday night.
A discussion and cultural programme organised by Anti Violence Alliance for Women was held in Pabna Town Hall premises recently with the theme, “Ensure safety and protect women from violence”.
'Sahitya Adda' (an open literary session) on National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, titled 'Nazrul Sandha', was held recently at Nazrul Pathagar (library) in Panchagarh. The event included song renditions, a discussion and recitation.
Veteran Indian theatre director Bansi Kaul was in Dhaka recently. His troupe Rang Vidushak staged two plays -- “Saudagar” and “Sidhi dar Sidhi urf Tukke pe Tukka” -- at Theatre Art Unit's 20th anniversary celebration festival. Both plays were directed by Kaul. A brightly coloured stage, clownish costumes and painted faces of the performers in both plays aroused questions -- does the troupe give priority to colours? Is that why they call themselves “Rang Vidushak” (painted wise men, who pretend to be a buffoons)?
One of the leading bands of Bangladesh, Feedback, is going to perform at Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) in Dhanmondi, Dhaka. The concert will be held on December 14, according to a press release.
Twelfth December 2012 -- a trio of 12s -- makes the day significant on the pages of calendars. Many have made special plans to make the occasion more memorable. The gorgeous and popular model-actress Mojeja Ashraf Monalisa is one of those people, as she had chosen this date to tie the wedding knot.
International Human Rights Day was observed in Manikganj with a seminar, play and songs.
In recent times, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has warned the government that no dynasties would be permitted in the politics of the country. That statement was significant, not to say intriguing, coming as it did within days of the forty-eighth birthday celebrations of her exiled elder son. A very large number of people in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party went quite overboard in singing paeans to the young man, to a point where a senior figure in the party took it upon himself to inform the nation that the elder child of General Ziaur Rahman and Khaleda Zia was the leader of the sixteen crore people of the country. On what basis he made that revelation remains unclear.
The Eighte-enth Conference of parties (COP18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ended 24 hours over time on December 8 in Doha, Qatar with the adoption of the "Doha Climate Gateway." Even though the package consisted of decisions which were of very low ambition on several key issues some countries, including Russia and Ukraine, tried to stop their adoption and the Qatari President of the COP had to force it through despite their objections. The compromise package emerged after 36 hours of non-stop negotiations at ministerial level on the three critical issues being discussed in Doha.
India and China are recognised as two significant powers of the "Asian Century." China is India's largest trade partner, but the trade deficit between the two is highly in favour of China.
Safe migration of Bangladeshi workers to foreign countries has become synonymous with prosperity of their families and growth of the national economy. In October 2012 alone, for example, remittance from migrants reached $1,453 million. Ironically, however, Bangladeshi migrants' rights continue to be violated. Over the past few years, some have even become victims of trafficking. The phenomenon of migration fraud is so pervasive that hundreds of men and women face serious exploitation overseas and/or return with nothing in their hands but nightmarish experiences.
We at the BDI, Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI), express deep sorrow at the tragic loss of lives, and offers sincere condolences to the families of the garment workers who died in the recent accidents involving fires in garment factories.
First Crusade: Massacre of Ma'arrat al-Numan Crusaders breach the town's walls and massacre about 20,000 inhabitants.