The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Saturday, December 27, 2014


News of: Friday, 21st of December, 2012

Front Page

Govt appoints 31 directors

The government yesterday appointed 31 directors of seven state-run banks and financial institutions.

Martial law is no law

The Supreme Court's full judgment on the seventh amendment to the constitution comes at a time when efforts towards strengthening democracy are well underway, given especially the long fallout of military rule in the country.

SC lambasts judges in past cases

In its judgment in the historic seventh amendment case, the Supreme Court blasted and overruled some of the apex court's earlier verdicts and observations on martial law in late 70s and 80s.

Big flop for Bapex

The Petrobangla forecast 'discovery' of a gas field having no less than two trillion cubic feet of reserve in a potential spot in Netrakona-Sunamganj area on the basis of a seismic survey two years ago.

At $365,000 Shakib the costliest

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan turned out to be the most expensive buy when the players' auction of the second edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 was held at a posh city hotel yesterday.

JnU expels 4 more students

The Jagannath University (JnU) authorities yesterday expelled four more students for good on the grounds of their alleged involvement in the killing of Bishwajit Das, a tailor by profession.

Abuls under ACC watch

Former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain and former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury are under the watch of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Ghostly payment

The BTCL says it did not pay a single panny to advocate Anisul Haque, but the lawyer says he received Tk 5 lakh in cash as the company's payment for dealing with its case in the Supreme Court.

Friends indeed

As soon as the civil war raged in Libya last year to oust strongman Gaddafi, thousands of migrant workers including Bangladeshis started fleeing the North African nation. One of the largest concentrations of refugees was at Choucha on the border of Libya and Tunisia. The suddenness of the exodus from Libya puzzled the world communities. The Tunisians opened their borders and heartily extended hospitality to whom they called their guests. Aid agencies from around the world also started to arrive there.

Jhantu set to win Rangpur polls

Sharfuddin Ahmed Jhantu looked certain to become the first mayor of Rangpur City Corporation, as he continued to lead in 170 of the 178 centres in yesterday's maiden city polls.

Subscribe from five newspapers

In a rather unprecedented move, the information ministry has selected five national dailies for subscription by all government and semi-government offices and autonomous bodies.

Another Dhaka market declared formalin-free

Traders in the capital yesterday declared Mohammadpur's Town Hall kitchen market formalin-free so that more people can buy unadulterated fish and vegetables there.

12 US lawmakers urge review

Twelve Democratic lawmakers of the United States yesterday urged a quick review of the duty-free access granted to many products from Bangladesh, voicing alarm over labour conditions after a fire at Tazreen Fashions Ltd killed 112 workers.

Govt wants 'to remove confusion'

The government has decided to counter allegations made by the BNP-Jamaat opposition in connection with the ongoing war crimes trial after the resignation of Justice Md Nizamul Huq.

Arguments continue in Mollah's case

The prosecution yesterday continued placing argument in the war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah at International Crimes Tribunal-2 for the fourth day.

Thai PM due today

Dhaka and Bangkok will ink two deals on cooperation in agriculture sector and foreign office consultation during a brief visit of Thai premier to Bangladesh beginning today.

Doomsday today?

There may be no one left on earth to say "Thank God It's Friday" this week.

Queen's Xmas speech goes 3D first time

Queen Elizabeth II will broadcast her annual Christmas message to Britain and the Commonwealth in 3D television for the first time, Buckingham Palace announced yesterday.

US to deploy newest weapons to Asia-Pacific

The United States plans to deploy some of its newest warships and other high-tech weapons to the Asia-Pacific as part of a strategic shift to the region, a US defense official said Wednesday.

33 dead in Sudan bus collision

Thirty-three people were killed and 24 injured when two inter-city buses collided in Sudan late Wednesday, in one of the country's worst road accidents in years, police said.

India allows Italian marines home for X-mas

An Indian court yesterday allowed two Italian marines awaiting trial for shooting two fishermen to go home for Christmas, despite prosecution fears that they will not return.

Nine killed in Laos bus accident

Nine Vietnamese construction workers were killed when their bus skidded off the road and plunged into a valley in southeast Laos, state media in Hanoi said yesterday.

Savile Report: Review slams BBC

An official report on Wednesday strongly criticised the BBC's handling of allegations of child sex abuse against late presenter Jimmy Savile, but cleared the world's biggest broadcaster of a cover-up.

Russia's Putin denies propping up Assad

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday denied propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and stressed that Moscow was only seeking to avert a perpetual civil war.

Editorial

Declaration of ML and act of high treason

We most heartily welcome the Supreme Court (SC) judgment declaring Martial Law (ML) as illegal and promulgation of ML as an act of High treason. The recently released full verdict of the Supreme Court on the historic Seventh Amendment to the Constitution has ruled that the violation of the Constitution is the gravest of all offences and shall remain illegitimate for all time to come.

State-owned banks in management crisis

It is hardly surprising to find that state-owned banks are in doldrums. As pointed out in national media, never have so many directors been appointed in these banks as has been during the tenure of the present government. The problem is that most of these directors have no inkling as to how a bank operates. Such appointments have opened the flood gates to sanctioning unworthy loans based on political considerations rather than due banking procedures. It is little wonder that most state-owned banks are facing a rating crisis.

Sports

Shakib the big fish

Star Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was bought for a mammoth 365,000 dollars by Dhaka Gladiators as he hogged the spotlight during the players' auction of the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20.

A sense of vulnerability

The bidding prices of the local players during the auction of the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), till a certain extent, did overshadow the international players. It was a case which should have ideally pleased majority of the local cricketers. However, despite the high bids, there seemed to be a sense of vulnerability that prevailed throughout the auction.

Abahani's chance to break away

Holders Abahani will be looking to extend their dominance over Sheikh Russel KC when the four-time champions take on one of the pre-league favourites in a crucial encounter of the 6th Bangladesh Premier League today.

India draw first blood

Yuvraj Singh's decade-long attempt to secure a permanent spot in the Test team may have been thwarted once again this month, but he showed why he is indispensable in limited-overs formats with a virtuoso all-round performance.

Fahad gets 2nd gold

Fahad Rahman achieved another gold medal in the Under-9 age group at the close of the sixth game in the Blitz games of the 8th Asian Schools Chess Championship held in New Delhi, India on Wednesday.

Indian bowling looks bleak, says Akram

As Indian pacers failed to make an impression against England, former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram says the future of Indian bowling looks "bleak" and it's time that the new faces get a chance in the team.

Ziaur the champ

Grand Master Ziaur Rahman became champion of the Shaheed Muktijoddha Mufti Kased International Rating Chess Tournament at the close of the ninth and final round at the Bangladesh Chess Federation Hall Room yesterday.

MSC rout Karnaphuli

Mohammedan SC posted a victory in the CJKS Exclusive-Arriel Hockey League with an emphatic 6-1 win over Karnaphuli Sports Club at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.

Khulna lift nat'l title

Khulna became champions in the 3rd Women's National Cricket Championship as they beat Narsingdi in the final at the Moulvibazar Stadium yesterday.

V-Day tennis semifinalists confirmed

The men's singles semifinal lineup of the Runner Victory Day Open Tennis Tournament was completed yesterday with Amol Roy, Anwar Hossain, Alamgir Hossain and Delwar Hossain moving to the last four at the National Tennis Complex in Ramna yesterday.

Chess team UAE bound

The Bangladesh national chess team will leave today for the United Arab Emirate to take part in the World Cities Chess Champion-ship to be held in Al-Ain from December 21-29.

Ribery slapped with 2-game ban

Bayern Munich's French winger Franck Ribery was banned for two German Cup matches on Thursday after being sent off against Augsburg.

Pay rise at Aus Open

Australian Open organisers increased prize money for the early losers at the opening Grand Slam of the season to record levels on Thursday, a move which is likely to quell player unrest and end talk of a strike.

Southee outof SA Tests

Tim Southee, the New Zealand fast bowler, has been ruled out of the Test series in South Africa because of a thumb injury. He needs surgery for a ruptured ligament and is likely to be sidelined for six-eight weeks.

Early starts for Indo-Pak matches

The one-day international matches of the much-anticipated cricket series between India and Pakistan beginning next week will have early starts, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Thursday.

It's Real vs Man Utd

Manchester United have been drawn against Real Madrid in the stand-out tie of the Champions League last 16. Cristiano Ronaldo will return to Old Trafford for the first time since his £80m move to Madrid in 2009 in a meeting that also pits Sir Alex Ferguson against Jose Mourinho.

Vilanova sidelined

Barcelona will have to continue their march at the top of La Liga with coach Tito Vilanova sidelines after the club revealed Wednesday he has suffered a relapse of a tumour on which he was operated just over a year ago.

Door opens for Riquelme

New Boca Juniors coach Carlos Bianchi has opened the door for the return of former Argentina playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme who walked out on the club in July.

Five-star Chelsea

Chelsea eased the pressure on Rafael Benitez and sealed their place in the League Cup semifinals thanks to an emphatic 5-1 victory over old rivals Leeds at Elland Road on Wednesday.

Goetze fires Dortmand

Holders Borussia Dortmund thanked a hattrick from Mario Goetze as they thrashed Hanover 5-1 on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the German Cup.

Bologna stun Napoli

Lazio and Fiorentina reached the Italian Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday - but Napoli fell by the wayside after a 2-1 home loss to Bologna in the round of 16, Greek star Panagiotis Kone netting an injury-time winner.

Eric returns to training

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal returned to training with his teammates Wednesday for the first time since undergoing a liver transplant in April, the club said.

Chiellini out for 2 months

Serie A leaders Juventus will go into Friday's clash with Cagliari (1945 GMT) without defender Giorgio Chiellini, after he was ruled out with a calf injury on Wednesday.

Wolves set to appoint Schuster

VfL Wolfsburg look to have ended their search for a new coach with German media reporting ex-Real Madrid boss Bernd Schuster will take charge in a three-year deal set to be announced on Friday.

Business

35 industrialists get CIP cards

The industries ministry yesterday handed over special cards to 35 commercially important persons, known as CIP, for their contribution to job creation and economic growth.

BB appoints fraud detection adviser

Bangladesh Bank has appointed a fraud detection adviser and taken some other supervisory steps to stop irregularities in the banking sector in the backdrop of the recent Hall-Mark loan scam.

HSBC arranges $420m loans for Ashuganj Power Station

HSBC Bangladesh has arranged $420 million loans for Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd (APSCL) to help the state-run electricity producer set up a 450-megawatt combined cycle power plant.

BB to follow constitution for bank chairman: Atiur

The constitution does not allow a minister to hold the position of chairman of any bank, Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman said yesterday. The central bank will go by the constitution, he said.

Bangladesh to harvest more rice this year: FAO

Rice production may rise 1.2 percent to 51.3 million tonnes in 2012 due to favourable rainfall, distribution of high-yielding seeds and subsidised fertilisers, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said. The volume of milled rice is likely to be 34.2 million tonnes for the full year from the three crops -- aus, aman and boro.

Quader: tougher law to curb formalin misuse

The government is going to enact a new law with tough provisions to curb the import of formalin widely used in sales of perishable food items, Commerce Minister GM Quader said yesterday.

Kingfisher applies for licence renewal

A bid by grounded carrier Kingfisher Airlines to renew its operating licence, which expires at the end of the year, will not succeed until it submits a turnaround plan, a senior aviation regulatory source said on Thursday.

Stocks finish flat

Dhaka stocks ended flat yesterday thanks to investors' selling spree during the half-day strike enforced by Islamist and likeminded parties.

Metropolitan

No graft in AL regime

Launching a scathing attack on Khaleda Zia for massive corruption during her regime, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said no one could say there had been corruption in the Padma Bridge project, there was only an allegation of a conspiracy to commit corruption.

Verdict of Khalaf murder case on Dec 30

A speedy trial tribunal of Dhaka will deliver verdict on December 30 in the Saudi official Khalaf Al Ali murder case.

Dhaka College student shot

Unidentified criminals shot and injured a student of Dhaka College at Nilkhet intersection in the capital early yesterday.

Stand against campaign maligning Bangladesh

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni alleged that an orchestrated campaign was on to malign the country's image and urged the Bangladeshi community abroad to stand against those vested quarters.

Isolated incidents mark hartal

Apart from some stray incidents of vandalism and attacks on police, yesterday's countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal, enforced by four Islamist parties, was observed peacefully.

Anti-drug stall attracts visitors

Aiming at educating people about the deadly consequences of drug abuse, four former addicts have launched an anti-drug campaign by setting up a stall at the month-long 6th Int'l Women SME Expo-2012.

Kaler Kantho editor, publisher sued

Local leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) filed four defamation suits against five staff of the Kaler Kantho, including its editor and publisher, in four districts yesterday, a day after the Bangla daily published a report exposing the alleged corruption and extortion by the pro-Awami League student body leaders.

Two killed in road accidents

Two people were killed and two others injured in separate road accidents in Jhenidah and Jhalakathi yesterday.

Woman, son die in Gazipur fire

A woman and her son died as a fire broke out in their house in Shwashanghat area in Joydevpur of Gazipur yesterday.

Attempts on to kill PM to foil war crimes trial

State Minister for Liberation War Affairs Captain (retd) AB Tajul Islam yesterday alleged that a quarter was engaged at present in efforts to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to foil the war crimes trial.

Japan to give $2.26 lakh grant for agricultural development

Japan will provide a grant of US$ 2,26,186, approximately Tk 1.81 crore, for two agricultural development projects in rural areas of Bangladesh.

Charge sheet filed against arrested judge

Police yesterday charged the detained senior assistant judge of Bhola District Judge's Court, Javed Imam, with carrying illicit drugs.

Brac, Dhaka universities become champions

Brac University (BU) and Dhaka University (DU) became the champions of a debate competition among 19 universities yesterday.

Robbers injure four in Keraniganj

Robbers looted cash, gold ornaments and other valuables and injured four people at Kadampur in south Keraniganj of Dhaka early yesterday.

Sylhet BNP leaders get bail in cop assault case

The High Court yesterday granted Sylhet district BNP leaders eight weeks' bail in connection with a case filed for vandalism and assault on police on January 11.

Hemanga Biswas' 100th birthday celebration starts today

A four-day programme to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of the late folk musician, lyricist and singer Hemanga Biswas begins at the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital today.

Int'l confce on statistical data mining begins at RU today

A four-day international conference on statistical data mining starts at Rajshahi University (RU) today.

Body of unidentified man found

The body of an unidentified man, around 27, was found in Lohagara in Chittagong yesterday morning.

Shahnaz Faruk passes away

Shahnaz Faruk, daughter of late Golam Mostafa and Fatema Khatun, passed away at Virginia Hospital in the US yesterday. She was 58.

Death anniversary

Today is the first death anniversary of Dr Syed Kamaluddin Ahmed, professor of Psychiatry at Holy Family Medical College and Hospital.

Sekander Husain Meah

Today is the 23rd death anniversary of Sekander Husain Meah, a former lawmaker, businessman and social worker.

National

Wetland leased from WDB being filled up to set up market, park

Ignoring objection from locals, Bera municipality authorities have started development work on a vast tract of cultivable land beside the flood protection embankment on the Hurasagar River, much to the grievance of affected people.

Robber ringleader killed in Noakhali 'shootout'

A ringleader of a robbers' gang was killed in a 'shootout' with Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) at Charbata village in Subarnachar upazila of the district early yesterday.

6,077 Jamaat-Shibir, BNP men sued in Pabna, Bogra

As many as 6,077 Jamaat-Shibir and BNP men have been sued on charges of attack on policemen and torching a cotton-laden truck in Pabna and Bogra on Wednesday.

Bangladeshi found dead in India

A Bangladeshi national was found dead inside the Indian territory opposite to Hakimpur frontier early yesterday.

Violence against women on rise in Sylhet

Incidents of violence against women have marked a sharp rise in Sylhet in the last 11 months.

Robberies in 3 districts

A gang of masked robbers injured three people and looted cash from two bankers at Kachirchar in Phulchhari upazila of Gaibandha on Tuesday.

Satkhira brickfields set to use rice husks, defying ban

Owners of the brickfields in the seven upazilas of the district are preparing to use rice husks to burn bricks in place of using coal, defying restrictions of the Department of Environment (DoE).

17 sued in Bogra

A case was filed with Bogra Sadar police station against 17 people on Tuesday night on charge of killing Khairul Anam Rekkat.

6 suspected JMB men held

Police arrested six suspected members of Islamist outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) from the district town's Dakkhin Courtgaon bus stand on Wednesday. They were identified as Mamunur Rashid, 24, of Kurigram, Islam Hossain, 24, and Iliyas Mahmud, 23, of Natore, Jahangir Alam, 23, of Sirajganj, Monirul Islam, 22, of Bhola and Rony Islam of Magura. All the youths were residing at a rented house near Haraganga Govt College since December 3, police said.

BSF kidnaps boy

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) kidnapped a Bangladeshi along Chanduria border in Kolaroa upazila on Tuesday evening. The kidnapped Bangladeshi was identified as M Abu Sayeed, 14, son of Jamal Uddin of Kadpur village of the upazila. BGB sources said several Bangladeshis, including the boy, were returning to the country from India after enjoying a cultural programme in the neghbouring country. BSF members of Porandupur camp of India chased them and caught Sayeed from the Zero Point of the border and took him to camp. Others managed to return to the country.

'Criminals' held with arms

A Rab-9 team arrested two alleged criminals from the playground of Susang Degree College in Durgapur municipal area on Wednesday night and recovered two foreign made revolvers with four bullets from their possession. The arrestees are Tajul Islam, son of Azizul Haque of Bagichapara and Abdul Mojim, son of late Raju Mahmud of village Bairaura under the upazila. During the operation, Tajul hit Rab member ASI Nasir with a sharp weapon leaving him seriously injured.

Schoolboy murdered

Police recovered the body of a nine-year-old boy from a sugercane field in Madererchar Masterpara village under Dewanganj upazila of the district on Wednesday morning. The deceased, identified as Abdur Rahim alias Babu, son of Sabur Ali of the village, was a Class Two student of Madererchar Masterpara Registered Primary School. Victim's father said, Babu went out of the house to attend a function at the village on Tuesday evening. As Babu did not return home even after the programme was over at around 2.00am, the family members looked for him here and there for a couple of hours. Finally locals found the body lying in cropfield, around 300 metres away from the boy's house at around 10.30am. Police said that the boy was hacked to death.

School's golden jubilee

Both former and present students, teachers and staff of Government Coronation Girls High School will celebrate the golden jubilee of the institution for two days from today amid fanfare and festivity. To mark the occasion, the golden jubilee celebration committee has chalked out an elaborate programme, said Saira Rahman, convener of the committee, also former headmistress of the school. The programmes include colourful procession, discussion, memorial meeting and cultural function.

Letters

Publish more Liberation War writings

QSA Zahir's interesting write-up, published in your pages on 16th. December, deeply moved me; for our kindness extended to the mother of a soldier who died fighting for the birth of Bangladesh! I also thank our top authorities for fulfilling the cherished desire of a grieving mother. The writer of the piece has surely earned the heart-felt good wishes and gratitude of the elderly mourning mother who finally got peace of mind, by praying for the salvation of her son's departed soul at Gangasagar, Bangladesh, where Ekka (the Falcon) made the ultimate sacrifice for winning our freedom!

We mourn Sandy Hook schoolchildren's death

We are still grieving for those kids who died in the shootout at Sandy Hook Elementary School at Newtown in Connecticut, USA. Adam Lanza nipped 20 innocent lives in their buds and also killed 6 adults including teachers of the school.

Improve running between the wickets

The Tigers played well against the West Indies and they really deserve to be praised for their individual performance. I have always believed that it is from criticism that one always learns more. In the only T20 match played against the West Indies, Bangladesh lost by only 18 runs. First of all, I would like to commend them for how valiantly they chased a steep target set by the West Indians and also the fact that no one threw away their wickets needlessly. Secondly, I think that running between the wickets was very poor. They relied too much on hitting boundaries which were not coming easily; but when it came to running between the wickets, they ran very slowly. They took singles when they could have easily taken 2 or 3 runs if they had run faster. I firmly believe they could easily make 18 more runs if they ran faster. Many of the shots played were fielded near the boundary and there was ample time to take a second run but they did not do so. I feel that an improvement in this sector would enable our players to pile on more runs and have a better-looking scorecard.

When they forgot they were enemies…

British soldiers were spending Christmas Eve 1914 on a French battlefield during World War I. After four months of fighting, over a million men had perished in the bloody conflict. The bodies of dead soldiers were scattered between the trenches of the opposing armies. It was in the middle of a freezing battlefield in France, that a miracle occurred! British troops watched in amazement as candle-lit trees appeared above the German trenches. “From the German parapet, a rich baritone voice had begun to sing a song I remember my German nurse singing to me ... the grave and tender voice rose out of the frozen mist. It was all so strange ... like being in another world,” a young British soldier wrote in his diary. “Silent Night, Holy Night. All is calm. All is bright.”

What's home ministry up to?

When people all over the country were still in shock after the brutal murder of Bishwajit, another drama unfolded. Top terrorist Bikash Kumar Biswas was released from Kashimpur jail under strict secrecy. It has been reported that it was done by a special order from the home ministry.

PM's greetings on V Day

It is heartening that prime minister Sheikh Hasina is communicating with the common citizens by sending a short message of greetings on the Victory Day, 2012. In her message, the PM sought continuous cooperation of the people for the betterment of the country and its people. This message of greetings reflects the PM's goodwill which definitely deserves appreciation. Nowadays, many world leaders are communicating with their people using digital facilities (sms, e-mail, etc.) for reducing the gap between government and citizens. I sincerely hope that our esteemed prime minister will work towards resolving the ongoing political crisis for strengthening democracy in Bangladesh.

Getting out of denial mode

The whole world - including all the NGOs, charities and government agencies active in this dear country and millions of Bangladeshis themselves - want Bangladesh to be able to run its own affairs independently. Before I came here, in 1999, I taught schoolchildren about aid to poor countries and helped an international charity by door-to-door collections and by shaking tins outside supermarkets. When 'Bangladesh' is mentioned, hands go into pockets! Hence, the frustration at how responsibility for problems is ignored or avoided by blaming 'conspiracies', 'sabotage' and the 'forces of evil'. Now, it seems the terrible garment factory fire was because FOREIGN CUSTOMERS signed contracts with the owners to produce goods at a price too low for the 'poor owners' to afford the necessary safety requirements! Whose fault was THAT? Now, some countries are being told to change trading arrangements to give greater priority to 'poor Bangladesh' …. Yet the fact is that Bangladesh is rolling in money! The Bangladesh Bank declared that there are 23,212 multi-millionaires in Bangladesh and the National Board of Revenue say that the number of people paying more than 100,000 taka as personal income tax in the 2011-2012 taxation year did not go over a thousand!

Victims of madness

I have deep sympathy for the victims of the school killings in Newtown, Connecticut. However, I feel greater sympathy for those Afghan families that are butchered in silence by American drones. They are not mourned by the world, nor even noticed by the media. Yet their lives are equally valuable. The same blood flows in their veins and the same flesh adorns their skeletons. But to the US, if they are anything at all, they are mere statistics.

A significant call from opposition leader

We learnt from a report of this daily recently that leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia urged the garment factory owners, their trade body, the government, the financial institutions and the buyers in the closing ceremony of the Batexpo-2012 to ensure compliance at the factories to keep the sector competitive in the global market. She also added, “Not the machines, the workers behind the machines are the lifeline of the sector. Justice cannot be ensured without giving importance to their life, safety and better working conditions.” Her comments came in the wake of a deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions that killed at least 112 workers last month.

Online Voices

Full verdict on 7th amendment released

International

Crisis become overtly sectarian

Violence in the Syria conflict has become openly sectarian and threatens whole communities, UN investigators reported yesterday following a visit to the region.

Four US officials suspended

The scandal over the Benghazi attack grew Wednesday as a top State Department official resigned and three others were suspended when a probe uncovered major security failures and mismanagement.

Rape outcry shines light on India's 'misogyny'

Despite an outpouring of anger at a student's gang-rape, observers say misogyny remains widespread in India where sex assaults are often dismissed as "teasing" and victims find themselves blamed for attacks.

Modi wins big in Gujarat

Narendra Modi yesterday performed a hat-trick retaining power for the third time in Indian state of Gujarat and propelled himself as a strong contender in the Indian prime ministerial race in 2014 while Congress ousted BJP from office in Himachal Pradesh.

Israel okays new W Bank 'city'

Israel has approved plans to build 523 homes in the West Bank, Jewish settlers said yesterday, in the first step towards a new settlement "city" that drew furious condemnation from the Palestinians.

Obama wants gun control measures in a month

President Barack Obama put ending an "epidemic" of gun violence at the top of his second term agenda Wednesday, denying he was "on vacation" on the issue before last week's school massacre.

Pak clerics call for protests

An alliance of Pakistani clerics will hold demonstrations across the country against the killings of polio eradication campaign workers, leaders said yesterday, as the death toll from attacks this week rose to nine.

UN court jails Rwanda's ex-minister

The UN tribunal for Rwanda yesterday handed a 35-year jail term to a former minister found guilty of genocide, in the court's final trial ruling.

Egypt prosecutor retracts resignation

Egypt's new public prosecutor yesterday retracted an offer to resign he made on Monday following protests about his appointment, Egyptian media report.

India test-fired nuke capable missile

India yesterday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile with a strike range of 350 km from a test range at Chandipur near.

Flash floods kill 25 in Sri Lanka

Flash floods have killed at least 25 people in Sri Lanka and left more than a quarter of a million marooned in their homes, disaster officials said yesterday.

Khamenei opens FB page

A new Facebook page dedicated to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quickly attracting supporters and comments on Wednesday, despite questions about its authenticity.

Yemen sacks Saleh generals

President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has dramatically restructured Yemen's military to curb the influence of those linked to toppled strongman Abdullah Ali Saleh with the strong backing of Yemen's Gulf neighbours.

Arts & Entertainment

Alif Laila's expressive ragas

The elegant Alif Laila, nicknamed Kumkum, in a maroon Jamdani took the stage with her sitar on the last day of the Bengal ITC-SRA Classical Music Festival in Dhaka. She has been instrumental in initiating the festival. She has plans to perform soon at the prestigious Purcell Room, South Bank Center, London where she will be presenting her music -- her expressions of the ragas -- with her watercolour paintings. Alif Laila is one of the very few, internationally performing, sitar artistes of Bangladesh today.

Chirokaaler Rabindranath -Timeless Rabindranath

Music, recitation and songsreputed Rabindra Sangeet singer Lily Islam brought this interesting mix of art forms to Delhi with her production, “Chirokaaler Rabindranath” (Tmeless Rabindranath). The multi-media presentation encompassed the period of 1880-1941 in Tagore's life, when his creativity was at its peak.

12th Int'l Short Film Fest ends in Dhaka

Ishtiaque Zico's five-minute-film “720 Degrees” received the “Tareque Shahriar Best Independent Short” award at the 12th International Short and Independent Film Festival. His film is among five winners that the organisers announced at the closing ceremony held at the Shawkat Osman Auditorium, Central Public Library on December 19.

Starry eyed Ishana

Within a span of just a few years, Lux beauty star Ishana has made her mark in the media. Of late, she's been busy with TV plays, including an ongoing mega-serial “Khonikaloy” on Maasranga TV. Ishana spoke to The Daily Star (TDS) over the phone recently, on "Khonikaloy", and her busy schedule with other dramas.

Game of nerves

A lively lathikhela (mock-fight with sticks) was held recently at the premises of Satdoha bazaar premises in Magura municipality area in observance of Victory Day.

Pita: Story of war-time father releases today

Impress Telefilms latest movie "Pita", a story against the backdrop of the Liberation War, is set to release today in 40 movie theatres across the country. The film, written and directed by Masud Akand and made in digital format, has already premiered. The cast of the film includes Jayanta Chattapadhyay, Bonya Mirza, Shayla Amin, Shamima Naznee, Upoma, Moin Durrani and Jewel Rana, while director Masud Akand himself also plays an important role on screen.

An evening of rock music by Chandrabindoo

Indira Gandhi Culture Centre, Dhaka in association with the State Bank of India in Bangladesh and Channel i, is organising an evening of Rock Music by popular rock band from Kolkata, India, says a press release. Chandrabindoo led by Upal Sengupta and Channel i, “Shera Kontho”, will perform at 4pm on December 21, at the Fantasy Kingdom at Ashulia, Dhaka and at 4pm on December 22, at Foy's Lake in Chittagong.

Miss USA crowned Miss Universe in eighth American win

A 20-year-old beauty queen who plays the cello and is a breast cancer advocate was crowned Miss Universe on Wednesday, the eighth time an American has won the pageant where the world's most beautiful women parade.

OP-ED

When in a hole, stop digging

This country last week looked like a deer in the headlights. Truth and falsehood lit up in full glare over the shocking death of a young man who was guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The media insisted that the killers were members of the student wing of the ruling party. The home minister denied, other party leaders protested and the Prime Minister's Office sanctioned that nothing could be farther from the truth. An entire nation watched in dazed stupor as the authorities behaved like an ostrich in their state of denial and buried their heads in the sand.

Japan elects new government

On December 16, while we were celebrating the 41st anniversary of our Victory Day, the people of Japan went to the poling booths, voting the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) back to power just in three years.

What is the end game?

Incurable cynics and their audience have had enough doom and gloom predic-tions. It maybe difficult for them to see beyond the hovering clouds or a gathering storm. But as a sage said: "What cannot be seen is present." This is true about a whole lot of things happening beyond our horizon of knowledge, or shall we say, a sum-total of news and views coming our way.

Another charade of active inaction?

The answer to the question above is both "yes" and "no" for a diabolical problem like climate change. This time also, the Eighteenth Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP18) continued into an extra day. The decreased number of participants shows that COPs are losing the luster and excitement they once enjoyed. The "Doha Climate Gateway," as proudly dubbed at the closing by the Qatari President of the COP, does not seem to befit the pompous structure of the National Convention Center. Four items were key deliverables in Doha -- operationalising the second commitment period (SCP) of the Kyoto Protocol (KP), climate finance, the means to address loss and damage from climate change, and operationalising institutional arrangements like the Standing Committee on Finance and the Green Climate Fund.

I. K. Gujral: An embodiment of the South Asian dream

It should perhaps come as no surprise given the skullduggery, brinkmanship, and distrust colouring relations between South Asia's three largest nations -- India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh -- that arguably the greatest proponent of peace and unity among its leaders -- former Indian premier Inderjit Kumar Gujral, who passed away in Haryana on Thursday -- lasted barely a year as prime minister of its most important nation. The end of his premiership in April 1998 was a precursor to the deadly Kargil conflict soon after, when India and Pakistan fought a brief war along the front in Kashmir that both sides claim to have won. In truth, neither side could point to enough tangible, or even intangible, gains that in their sum could be said to constitute a victory.

This Day In History

December 21

1832
EgyptianOttoman War: Egyptian forces decisively defeat Ottoman troops at the Battle of Konya.

StarTech

Bangladesh shows the way

“Ensuring quality services for safe motherhood” was the theme for the Safe Motherhood Day celebrated in 2012. However, do the Bangladeshi mothers still know that safe motherhood is not just a one-liner theme?

Apple losses bid for US ban on Samsung smartphones

A judge late Monday denied Apple's request to ban a set of Samsung smartphones from the US market after a jury found the South Korean electronics titan guilty of patent infringement.

Oracle releases new product

Oracle has announced the new release of Oracle Big Data Appliance and Oracle Big Data Connectors empowering organisations to capitalise on the opportunity of big data to help transform their businesses.



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