The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Friday, October 31, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 19th of December, 2012

Front Page

Metro rail gets go-ahead

In a major breakthrough following a nearly three-year hiatus, the government yesterday approved a project to set up the country's first metro rail system in Dhaka at a cost of Tk 21,985 crore.

ACC now looks at Canadian trial

The Anti-Corruption Commission is now looking at the trial of SNC Lavalin scam in the Canadian court so that it can obtain documentary evidence of Syed Abul Hossain's alleged involvement in the Padma bridge project graft.

1.09cr new voters in next JS polls

More than one crore new voters across the country will be entitled to exercise their franchise in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Sabotage, really?

Rights activists and worker leaders yesterday rejected the sabotage theory of a government probe committee on the Tazreen fire and termed its report incomplete and contradictory.

Negligence a big factor

Apart from blaming the owner, the government probe team has held responsible mid-level managers of Tazreen Fashions for their "unforgivable negligence," causing last month's fire that killed at least 112 workers.

Autopsy report finds 1 severe stab mark

Bishwajit Das, according to his autopsy, died of excessive bleeding from a single stab injury under the right arm.

Future funding to depend on panel's report

The World Bank will decide on financing the Padma bridge project after getting an assessment from its external panel about the Anti-Corruption Commission's investigation into the graft case.

Peaceful hartal a surprise

A countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal was enforced yesterday by two left-leaning parties and an alliance apparently with the support of law enforcement agencies and pro-government transport organisations.

Cost of being a minister

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir may lose the chairmanship of the proposed Farmers' Bank, as rules do not permit a minister to hold a position in a profit-making venture.

JU punishes 11 BCL men

Jahangirnagar University authorities yesterday expelled 11 students, also the activists of Bangladesh Chattra League, on different terms in connection with separate incidents of assault on cultural activists and teachers, and factional violence.

Fog, cold disrupt public life

People across the country experienced bitter cold due to a slump in temperature since yesterday morning.

Tortured war hero testifies at court

Freedom fighter Zahir Uddin Jalal again testified, this time against war crime accused Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami before the International Crimes Tribunal-1.

Prosecution claims to have enough proof

An investigator yesterday testified that he had found evidence of killings, genocide and other crimes committed by expelled Jamaat-e-Islami member Abul Kalam Azad in Faridpur during the Liberation War.

Nuke deal at final stage

A 15-member delegation led by Board of Investment Chairman Syed Abdus Samad left for Moscow yesterday to finalise the modalities for a Russian credit for setting up a nuclear power plant in Rooppur of Pabna.

UN adopts Hasina's proposal

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's proposal for People's Empowerment has unanimously been adopted in the 67th UN General Assembly (UNGA).

Colon cancer risk tied to certain foods

Among people who have a genetic susceptibility to colon cancer, those whose diets are heavy in junk food have an even higher risk, according to a new study.

Iran mine collapse kills four workers

A coal mine collapsed in central Iran yesterday, leaving four miners dead and another four missing, Iranian media reported, quoting officials.

ADB unveils $525m aid plan for Cambodia

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday announced a $525 million aid plan for Cambodia over the next three years to promote the country's economic growth.

Editorial

Committee fails to trace the money trail

After much hype, the committee entrusted to track down the single largest banking scam in the country has nothing much to report, save the fact that a mere Tk. 400cr has been traced. The bulk of the siphoned off cash to the tune of some Tk. 2,700cr remains elusive. It is intriguing to see the managing director of Hall-Mark group being treated with such leniency. Apparently the gentleman has neither answered queries of the committee nor furnished any documentation.

Stop bullying Viqarunnesa School

Some influential quarters have allegedly threatened Viqarunnesa School and College authority with dire consequences unless it met their demand to admit children of their own choice into the school.

Sports

'Constitution changes unethical'

Former Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Saber Hossain Chowdhury said that the recent amendment of the BCB constitution was done in an undemocratic way and a couple of clauses drafted in it were immoral. He also said that it will create disharmony among different stakeholders of the country's most affluent sport federation.

BPL player list released

A stark difference prevailed between the base prices of the international and local players in the preliminary list of players for the auction of the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 released yesterday.

NTC to be reorganised

Following poor performance of the national football teams in the recent past, the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) has recently dissolved the National Teams Committee (NTC) and gave authority to its chairman Kazi Nabil Ahmed to reorganise it.

‘If safe, why not full tour?'

Former president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Saber Hossain Chowdhury raised concerns regarding Bangladesh's proposed tour of Pakistan in a press conference organised at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel yesterday. Saber stated that while the progress of cricket in South Asia is important, nothing should 'take place at the risk of the safety of the players'.

SL melt in Siddle & Starc heat

Pacemen Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc bowled Australia to victory over Sri Lanka in the first Hobart Test on Tuesday, claiming six wickets in the final session for a thrilling win.

Pioneer League final today

The Dhaka City Corporation (North & South) U-16 Pioneer Football League comes to an end today when Khilgaon Football Academy take on Matuail Udayan Sangsad in the final at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

V-Day tennis underway

Runner Victory Day Open Tennis Tournament got underway yesterday at the National Tennis Complex in Ramna where ten players moved to the second round in the men's singles.

Anderson, Trott rested for ODIs

England have rested fast bowler James Anderson and batsman Jonathan Trott from the ODI series in India in January and replaced them with Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler. They have also included batsman Joe Root in the Twenty20 squad for the two matches in December before they return home for Christmas.

'India paid the price'

India paid the price of thinking that preparing turning tracks would be enough to beat England in the just-concluded Test series as the visitors had better tweakers to exploit the dustbowls, feels former England captain Nasser Hussain.

Clarke hails Siddle

Skipper Michael Clarke paid tribute to his lionhearted fast bowler Peter Siddle and his player-of-the-match performance in Australia's gripping win over Sri Lanka in the first Hobart Test on Tuesday.

Rakib on top

Grand Master Abdullah Al Rakib maintained his solo lead in the Shaheed Muktijoddha Mufti Mohammad Kased International Rating Chess Tournament at the close of the seventh round at the Bangladesh Chess Federation hall room yesterday.

Asian school chess

Mohammad Fahad Rahman shared the second position in the U-9 age-group of the Asian School Chess Championships at the close of the seventh round in New Delhi, India yesterday.

Women's h'ball team finish 2nd

Bangladesh national women's handball team became runners-up in the IHF Trophy Tournament as they suffered a 16-44 defeat against eventual champions India in the final in Kathmandu, Nepal on Monday.

Cazorla lifts Arsenal

Santi Cazorla scored a hattrick to lift Arsenal's spirits as the Gunners bounced back from their League Cup humiliation with an emphatic 5-2 victory at Reading on Monday.

Fellaini given 3-match ban

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini was given a three-match suspension on Monday after accepting a charge of violent conduct for headbutting Stoke's Ryan Shawcross.

Spain reign supreme

With a performance of breath-taking technical mastery in their Euro 2012 final humbling of Italy, Spain proved this year that they are one of the greatest national teams ever to have graced the game.

Messi signs new deal

Barcelona's star Argentinian striker Lionel Messi has pledged to stay with the Spanish giants until June 2018 by renewing his contract, the club said Tuesday.

Napoli docked two points

Napoli have been docked two points and fined 70,000 euros ($92,000, 57,000 pounds) in connection with a long-running probe into illegal betting, the Italian football federation (FIGC) said on Tuesday.

Bin Hammam steps down

Mohamed Bin Hammam on Monday announced that he had resigned from his roles on FIFA's executive committee and as president of the Asian Football Confederation.

Samp sack Ferrara

Sampdoria have sacked coach Ciro Ferrara and replaced him with Delio Rossi, the Serie A side said Monday following a weekend loss to Catania which left the Genoans just three points off the drop zone.

Business

100 garment factories take a hit from hartal

Production in at least 100 garment factories in the Tongi-Gazipur industrial belt came to a halt yesterday due to the countrywide shutdown enforced by left-wing political parties.

Migrant workers drive economy

Bangladesh's economic development largely depends on remittance sent by migrant workers, which is one of the sources of earning foreign currencies, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday.

Dhaka bourse set for a new price index

A fresh index with a base point of 1,000 will be introduced to the Dhaka Stock Exchange early next year to replace the flawed existing indices.

Forex reserves hit new high of $12.4b

Bangladesh's foreign exchange reserves hit a record high of $12.4 billion yesterday, breaking the October figure of $12.36 billion, a senior Bangladesh Bank official said yesterday.

Stocks back in the red

Stocks returned to the red yesterday, driven by the lure of profit-booking, to break the four-day gaining streak.

Report details Walmart bribery in Mexico

Retail giant Walmart aggressively bribed Mexican officials to get the necessary permits to open more than a dozen supermarkets across the country, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Republicans offer 'Plan B' in US 'fiscal cliff' talks

House Speaker John Boehner told Republican colleagues Tuesday he is shifting to a "Plan B," allowing tax breaks to expire for millionaires as a way to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, his office said.

India clears way for bigger foreign investment in banks

The Lok Sabha passed a bill on Tuesday aimed at drawing foreign investment to the banking sector by increasing shareholders' voting rights, after dropping a controversial clause allowing banks to trade in commodity futures.

Labour strike takes toll on Benapole port

Loading and unloading activities remained stopped at Benapole land port since December 10, as labourers went for a strike on various demands, creating many reasons to worry for the port's mill owners, Bangladesh Auto Re-Rolling & Steel Mills Association yesterday said in a statement.

Expensive power and price adjustment

Electricity coverage in Bangladesh is among the lowest in South Asia. However, this statistics hides an important fact that there is a correlation between access to utilities and the level of income. In the case of key South Asian economies, this relationship is quite strong. Sri Lanka has the highest level of electricity coverage followed by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Consumption bets will outperform in India

The Indian economy has at least another year of poor-quality GDP growth ahead of it, even if the pace of expansion is somewhat faster than the 5.5 percent expected for 2012.

The colour of money shouldn't be blood red

HSBC's $1.92 billion payment to US authorities to avoid prosecution for money-laundering practices, including transferring funds for Mexican drug cartels, raises serious questions about the flow of narco-cash in the international banking system. The time has come to tackle the culture of impunity that allows these illegal transactions.

Metropolitan

Students to get free textbooks on time

Primary school students across the country will receive textbooks in due time as all primary textbooks have already reached upazila level for free distribution, said Primary and Mass Education Minister Afsarul Ameen yesterday.

Tasneem, Mollah's wife on remand

A Dhaka court yesterday placed Tasneem Alam, central publicity secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami, on a three-day remand in a case filed against him for possessing anti-government leaflets and booklets. Tasneem was detained at his Uttara residence on Monday.

Inter-district gang leader Kalu, 5 associates arrested

Police early yesterday arrested the alleged top leader of an inter-district robbery gang “Kalu Bahini” in Chittagong with his five accomplices following a gunfight with the gang in the district's Hathazari upazila.

Documentary film seeks to capture thoughts of FFs

Leaving behind the warmth of family and love of his wife and little children, Col Khandaker Nazmul Huda set out on war to liberate his homeland in 1971. Finally, the nation got independence, but the family did not get him back.

270 Jamaat-Shibir men sued

Police filed two cases against 270 activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-backed Islami Chhatra Shibir regarding their clashes with police on Monday in Kodomtoli and Shibganj areas of Sylhet which left at least 25 injured including 7 policemen.

2 Tunisian NGO staff awarded

The government yesterday awarded two officials of a non-government organisation of Tunisia for their contributions to providing shelter to Bangladeshi workers at the borders of Egypt and Tunisia during the political uprising in Libya last year.

Bangabandhu corner opens at DSHE

A corner for Bangabandhu and Liberation War, and a library have been launched at the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) in the capital.

Int'l Migrants Day observed in Ctg

The “International Migrants Day-2012” was observed with various programmes in Chittagong city yesterday.

Judge Javed Imam denied bail again

A Dhaka court yesterday rejected a bail petition of a senior assistant judge of Bhola District Judge's Court, who was sued for carrying illegal drugs.

BNP to accord reception to freedom fighters today

The main opposition BNP will accord a reception to the freedom fighters today on the occasion of the country's 41st anniversary of victory in the Liberation War.

Hearing on Fakhrul's bail petitions Dec 24

A Dhaka court yesterday fixed December 24 for hearing the bail petitions of BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in two cases filed against him for torching vehicles during the December 9 road blockade.

First polls to Rangpur City Corporation tomorrow

Voters will pick their representatives in the maiden election to Rangpur City Corporation (RCC) tomorrow.

Fugitive convict with life sentence held

Police arrested an absconding convict with life sentence in a murder case at Sikderpara in Satkania upazila of Chittagong early yesterday.

Missing schoolboy found dead in Ctg

A schoolboy was found dead yesterday in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong, a day after he had gone missing.

College student hit by train dies

A college student died after a running train hit him at Tejkunipara Boubazar in the capital yesterday.

Warehouse, shops gutted in Ctg

A warehouse and some tin-shed shops were gutted in two separate incidents of fire in Chittagong city yesterday.

Housewife's body found in capital

The decomposed body of a housewife was recovered from a room at Fayedabad Dakkhin Khan in the capital on Monday night.

DBBL official killed in road accident in Ctg

An official of Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited was killed in a road accident in Monsurabad area of Chittagong city yesterday.

Passing out parade of navy held

The passing out parade marking the induction of the Bita Batch 2012 of new entry sailors of Bangladesh Navy was held in Khulna yesterday.

National

Most of 33 mass graves in Dinajpur, Joypurhat in utter neglect

Most of the 33 mass graves in Dinajpur and Joypurhat districts, bearing testimony to the brutalities of the Pakistan occupation forces during the 1971 Liberation War, hardly see any maintenance by the authorities concerned.

Banker's wife, son murdered

Wife and son of a private bank manager were murdered at their apartment in Ukilpara area of Naogaon town on Monday evening.

30 Jamaat-Shibir men sent to jail in Pabna

Thirty Jamaat-Shibir men, accused in a case for attacking policemen and vandalising vehicles in Ishwardi on December 4, were sent to jail yesterday.

PSTU staff assault 3 newsmen

A few teachers and officials of Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU) assaulted three journalists yesterday noon, in reaction to a newsman's question regarding appointment of some teachers and staff at the institution.

Abducted schoolboy killed

An abducted schoolboy was found murdered at Darirajnagar village in Singair upazila yesterday afternoon.

Police foil processions, arrest 13 Shibir men in Natore

At least 13 Shibir activists were arrested in Natore town and Lalpur upazila of the district on Monday night.

20 injured in Satkhira clash

At least 20 people were injured in a clash between two rival groups over taking possession of a cow shed at frontier Taluigachha Uttarpara in Sadar upazila yesterday.

Two boys drown

Two minor boys drowned in a pond at Taltola village in Sadar upazila on Monday evening.

Robbers loot two houses

Robbers looted cash, gold ornaments and other valuables from two houses at Kachihati village in Begumganj upazila early yesterday.

77 union info centres in Habiganj earn Tk 76 lakh

The 77 union information and service centres (UISCs) in eight upazilas of the district earned more than Tk 76 lakh in the last fiscal year (2011-12) by providing services to more than 1.50 lakh people.

Poor people cry for warm clothes

A bone-chilling cold wave coupled with dense fog for the last three days has disrupted life in the district.

30 hurt in clash

At least 30 people were injured in a clash between two rival groups over catching fish in Bashgram union of Sadar upazila on Monday noon. Police and witnesses said one Lablu of Dariapur village and Salim of Dowlatpur locked in an altercation over catching fishes in a local beel. At one stage, supporters of the duo attacked each other with lethal weapon, leaving over 30 from both sides injured. The injured were admitted to Narail Sadar Hospital.

BSF picks up Bangladeshi

A Bangladeshi farmer was abducted allegedly by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on Doikhowa border in Hatibandha upazila yesterday morning. The victim was identified as Shawkot Ali, 46, son of Syed Ali of Doikhowa village. Subedar Ruhul Amin, camp commander of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Doikhowa, said the BSF men picked up Shawkot Ali at around 7:45am when he went to his paddy field near the border area. “A flag meeting between BGB and BSF was held but BSF denied handing over the farmer,” he said.

Indian clothes seized

Members of Bangladesh Coastguard seized 80 sacks of Indian saris, three-piece sets and other clothes worth Tk 2 crore at Chalna Launchghat in Dacope upazila early yesterday. On secret information, a team raided the area at about 2:00am and seized the contraband clothes, said operation officer Mostafizur Rahman. However, none was arrested, he said.

Ferry service resumes

Ferry services on Mawa-Kawrakandi route resumed yesterday morning, after a six hours of disruption due to dense fog. Eight ferries carrying around 3,000 passengers anchored in the mid-Padma for poor visibility due to the fog, causing untold sufferings to the people. Sirajul Haque, manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation, said they were compelled to halt the ferry service around 2:30am due to the fog. Around 300 vehicles got stuck on both Mawa and Kawrakandi terminals due to the disruption of ferry service, he said.

Phensidyl seized from egg cages

Police recovered 263 bottles of phensidyl from egg cages at Kalpir village in Pirganj upazila on Sunday night. They also arrested one Rafiqul Islam, 35, son of late Samsuddin of Milonpur village in Sadar upazila in this connection. Acting on a tip-off, a team led by Sub-Inspector of Pirganj Police Starion Abu Hasan Kabir raided a rickshaw-van and seized the phensidyl from seven egg cages. The law enforcers then arrested Rafiqul, who was carrying the cages, from the spot.

Letters

Commemorating our foreign friends of independence

Many years ago when George Harrison passed away, I wrote an email to a friend in Dhaka lamenting how we neglected to honour many of our Liberation heroes including Harrison. He subsequently printed it in The Daily Star. Almost eleven years later, another trinket in our national treasure has left us. The men and women who gave our struggle for freedom legitimacy, who brought before the rest of the world the plight of the innocent people and exposed the brutality of the Pakistani military, must not be forgotten. Aside from the monetary help, the famous concert in New York also kindled rays of hope for struggling millions and questioned the consciousness of the US population whose government was supporting our enemies as part of global chess game for supremacy. The truth was revealed, public opinion coalesced and the Congress relented, thanks primarily to Senator Kennedy and the Democratic Party. Public opinion created pressure on the US government.

Ill-fated families of Ashulia fire

“Ma, I am going to die. You will find me in a toilet”, Palash Mian, an unfortunate victim of Ashulia tragedy, called his mother Moyna Begum to say a final goodbye before his death. Mizan, 11 months old, and Masum, 18 months old, are now too exhausted to cry for their mother. They can't understand what has been lost from their life. Two reports published in The Daily Star on 30th November were such heart-breaking that it left me in tears. Nothing indeed could be more agonising for a family than this.

Pandit Ravi Sankar a real friend

Indian iconic Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Sankar died on 12/12/12 in San Diego, USA at the age of 92. During the time of our Liberation War in 1971, Pandit Ravi Sankar arranged the Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden, New York, USA along with American singer-cum-guitarist George Harrison, Bob Dylan and others. The concert not only raised fund for Bangladesh but was also a great way to generate world support for Bangladesh. He received Padmavushan, Grammy, Doctorates, Deshikottom, etc awards. He has left world but he will live in the hearts of all Bangladeshis forever.

NU should hold exams timely

National University plays an important role in our education. Many meritorious students who fail to get admitted to public universities, choose NU for admission. But it is a matter of regret that NU doesn't follow its academic calendar. I am a student of NU (session 2010-11). A few days ago, my 1st year final examination was held while my batch mates, who are studying at public universities, will complete their 2nd Year soon. Besides, NU is also late in publishing results. So, we can not concentrate on our studies properly. On behalf of the students, I beg to the NU authorities and the controller of examinations to consider our case and take necessary steps.

Pakistanis regret their role in 1971

First of all, let me congratulate all Bangladeshi people on their Independence Day. As a Pakistani expatriate, I meet Bangladeshi friends in Australia and don't see in them any hatred for general Pakistanis. But every year one hears calls from Bangladesh to Pakistanis to apologise for what they did in 1971. This disturbs us who were born after 1971. I can tell the Bangladeshi people that most Pakistani people deeply regret the unfortunate incidents of 1971 and often criticise the irresponsible elements within the administration for the excesses.

Show no mercy to Bishwajit killers

A civilized society should never tolerate acts of such brutality as it happened to Biswajit Das, an innocent civilian. A young life was cut short, a bright future destroyed. Every conscious citizen should raise his/her voice against such criminality. I wonder why the present government is not being able to bring the killers to justice. Are they incapable of arresting the murderers? Or is it that the culprits have link with the ruling party?

Take immediate measures against corruption

We, the Bangladeshis living in foreign lands are observing that some people in the present government are involved in corruption for their own interest (e.g. Padma bridge corruption, Hallmark's money laundering, etc.). It is a great problem for the country. We expect immediate measures against corruption from the government to save Bangladesh and its people.

Now coaching centres in schools!

In order to stop the unethical practice of compelling students to receive coaching outside the classroom, our government has given a guideline for the teachers. Under the guideline, a teacher can not tutor the students of his/her own school, but can do it for students of other institutions. However, they can teach the weak students taking extra fees under the institution's supervision. This permission has brought blessings for them because now they have made coaching mandatory for all students. Now they are focussing more on coaching activities, neglecting the regular classes. As a guardian, I visited some schools at Mirpur-10 for getting my sister admitted in class V. The schools demanded admission fees as well as mandatory coaching fees from next January. I refused to pay this extra fee and so they denied my sister the opportunity to get admitted there. So, this new policy has not brought any good for the students and guardians, rather it has legalised coaching centres in schools and colleges.

Destiny scamsters should get exemplary punishment

It is a very shocking piece of news for the investors that their money was lost but good news for the embezzlers. They did it smoothly and top officials helped them in pursuing this evil work. Common people bear the brunt of it as usual. The embezzled amount is 3,350 crore. It is hard to calculate but imagine how one group of people stole such a large amount of public money. It seems cheating is the easiest way to be rich in Bangladesh nowadays.

Readers Respond

Here are some comments that came in response to Tuesday's The Daily Star news report headlined “Abul spared, for now”

International

Delhi gang-rape rocks India

There has been an uproar in India's parliament yesterday over the gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a city bus in the capital, Delhi.

Six polio workers shot dead in Pakistan

Gunmen in Pakistan have killed six health workers at the start of a nationwide polio vaccination drive, officials said yesterday, highlighting resistance to a campaign opposed by the Taliban.

Obama to move swiftly on gun control

The White House promised a comprehensive series of measures, including gun control legislation, on Monday to prevent a recurrence of mass shootings such as the "horrific" attack in Connecticut that left 20 children and six teachers dead.

America's unique gun culture

For many Americans, the right to bear arms is not only enshrined in the constitution, it is a key civil liberty.

Palestinians flee as clashes rock camp

Syrian rebels made advances yesterday in fierce fighting for a Palestinian refugee camp in south Damascus that sent tens of thousands of residents fleeing as the army prepared a counter-attack.

Coal use set to surpass oil in a decade

Coal is set to surpass oil as the world's top fuel within a decade, driven by growth in emerging market giants China and India, according to a report published yesterday.

Congolese ex-militia boss acquitted of war crimes

The International Criminal Court acquitted Congolese ex-militia boss Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui of war crimes yesterday, saying prosecutors failed to prove his commanding role in the murder of 200 people in a 2003 attack on a village using child soldiers.

Iraqi president in coma after stroke

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who has mediated among the country's Shia, Sunni and Kurdish parties, was in hospital yesterday after suffering a stroke that left him in "critical but stable condition", government sources said.

Incoming Japan PM in Obama-Bush gaffe

Japan's presumptive premier Shinzo Abe got his US leaders mixed up yesterday, when he told business chiefs he had been speaking to "President Bush" after a phone call from Barack Obama.

Our democracy is not perfect: Indian VP

Stressing on need for acceleration in electoral reforms, Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Monday questioned the current system of elections in India casting doubt on representativeness of elected candidates.

Fresh Myanmar protest against Chinese mine

Opponents of a Chinese-backed copper mine in northern Myanmar have resumed their protest just weeks after a violent police crackdown on demonstrators at the site, an activist said yesterday.

India lost $123b in black money in a decade

The Indian economy suffered $1.6 billion in illicit financial outflows in 2010, capping-off a decade in which it experienced black money losses of $123 billion, according to a new report.

Israel weighs 5,000 new settler homes

Israeli planning committees are to weigh several plans for nearly 5,000 new settler homes in neighbourhoods of annexed east Jerusalem this week, with at least one major project set for final approval.

Kabul sets peace roadmap with Taliban

Kabul has laid out an ambitious and contentious five-step plan that could bring hardline Taliban Islamists into government as efforts to broker peace accelerate ahead of the withdrawal of Western troops.

Prosecutor general resigns in Egypt

Egypt's prosecutor general named by President Mohamed Morsi last month as he temporarily assumed sweeping powers handed in his resignation on Monday, a judicial source told AFP.

Benghazi attack probe complete: US

A keenly awaited investigation into a deadly attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi is complete and has been given to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a spokeswoman said.

Zuma secures leadership in South Africa

South African president Jacob Zuma scored a thumping victory in an ANC leadership contest yesterday, opening the way for him to lead Africa's largest economy until 2019.

Putin to visit India on Dec 24

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit India on December 24, according to an announcement made by the Kremlin.

World's oldest person, 115, dies

The world's oldest person -- an Iowa woman who scrubbed floors until she turned 90 -- died Monday at age 115, less than two weeks after earning her venerable distinction.

Christianity most populous religion

Christians are the world's biggest religious group, numbering some 2.2 billion people, according to a study released yesterday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Cold wave kills 37 in Ukraine

Nineteen people died of exposure in Ukraine in the last 24 hours amid temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit), bringing the toll this month to 37, the health ministry said yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Liberation War on celluloid

In four decades of independence, the Bangladeshi film industry has taken giant strides. Although the number of annual movie titles has experienced a decline in recent years, the industry previously enjoyed a boom -- when the cinema halls used to be packed to the brim. However, only a handful of movies have been made so far on the Liberation War, all of which have gained much acclaim from both critics and the audience.

Anti-corruption cartoons and photographs on the Liberation War

An exhibition of anti-corruption cartoons and photographs on the War of Liberation drew a huge crowd cutting across all ages on the concluding day of the exhibition December 17.

Farooki's "Television" bags Jury Award in Dubai

Renowned Bangladeshi director Mostafa Sarwar Farooki's film "Television" has received the Special Jury Mention Award at the 9th Dubai International Film Festival, says a press release. South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk won the Best Director Award for his film "Pieta", while "Inside"-- a film by Turkish director Zeki Demirkubuz-- received the Best Film Award.

Joler Dhara Art Group organises watercolour camp

Joler Dhara Art Group has organised a one and a half month watercolour workshop at Shilpanu Academy of Fine Arts, Lalmatia in Dhaka. The workshop began on December 15, and will continue till January 30. Veteran painter Samarjit Roy Chowdhury inaugurated the workshop. Chowdhury also briefly discussed watercolour techniques, process and style of application.

Barisal Reporters Unity holds exhibition on Liberation War

Barisal Reporters Unity (BRU), arranged a three day-long exhibition and video show on documents and books on the Liberation War at BRU premises. Sohidul Islam, Deputy Commissioner Barisal inaugurated the event on Sunday. Around 100 pictures, documents and books were on exhibit. A sizeable number of viewers attended the exhibition.

Battle for the crown of dessert master

New Zealand Dairy Products Bangladesh Ltd. announced the winner of the "Diploma Mishti Lorai 2012" at Pan Pacific Sonargaon recently, crowning Masuma Ali Rekha the dessert expert in a grand gala, says a press release. The competition that began earlier this year had a huge response, with 30 participants selected for the televised rounds from more than 22 thousand recipes.

Film festival held in Dinajpur

A two- day film festival for children kicked off at Hakimpur upazila of Dinajpur to create awareness among minors about the deleterious impact of child marriage, human trafficking and drug addiction.

Tarantino film latest to be pulled after US shooting

A Hollywood premiere of notoriously violent director Quentin Tarantino's latest film "Django Unchained" was cancelled Monday, the latest such response to the Connecticut school massacre.

University of Asia Pacific celebrates Victory Day

Teachers and students of University of Asia Pacific (UAP) celebrated the 41st Victory Day through discussions, storytelling and cultural programme at its auditorium on December 17th. Invited freedom fighters, along with teachers - spoke on the Liberation War, while students took part in the cultural programme featuring songs and dance performances on the theme of the war.

OP-ED

Pakistan . . . in December 1971

The moment is appro-priate to revisit Pakistan as it was in December 1971. Given that we have a clear perspective on what went on in Bangladesh in that month of triumph, it follows that people in Bangladesh should also remember, or be enlightened on, how Pakistan coped with its collapse in its former province of East Pakistan. For students of South Asian history, it is important that the incidents, minor as well as major, which occurred in December 1971 be recalled in the interest of academic analyses in the future. People in Bangladesh know how their country came into being. People in Pakistan need to know why their state came to grief in Bangladesh barely a quarter century after it had been cobbled into shape.

Asean welcomes rising India as it looks east

India's decision to accede to the 1976 Asean Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in July 2003 was considered a major milestone in its diplomatic annals due to its swiftness and timeliness. Immediately, it upgraded India's status as well as its role in Asean. Being the same country as China pledging to respect and sign on to the regional code of conduct helped instill the two Asian giants as the most trusted dialogue countries of Asean throughout the 2000s. However, change is in the air.

Thai PM's visit: Ushering in a new horizon

The forthcoming visit of the Thai Prime Minister H.E. Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra to Bangladesh on December 21-22 demonstrates the time-tested friendly partnership between the two countries and ushers in a new horizon for areas of cooperation. In July last year Prime Minister Yingluck, a US educated business executive, won a landslide victory in the election. Diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Thailand commenced on October 5, 1972.

Do climate change conferences serve any useful purpose?

The latest round of talks under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) has just come to an end. Delegates from more than one hundred and ninety countries attended the meeting in Doha, Qatar, which by the way, happens to be the largest emitter of greenhouse gases per person in the world.

How will I be remembered?

Recently, former Prime Minister of India, I.K. Gujral, a leader, a visionary, and an iconic figure of many talents, passed away at the age of 92.

Thousands now growing chili bombs

Huge amounts of military funds are being diverted from the nuclear arms race to finance a new, terrifying weapon: Mrs. Baruah's curry sauce.

This Day In History

December 19

1920
King Constantine I is restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander I of Greece and a plebiscite.



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