The Daily Star

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Monday, April 23, 2018

News of: Tuesday, 25th of December, 2012

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Hall-Mark not alone

The Anti-Corruption Commission will file 26 cases against several top officials of Sonali Bank and five business entities for misappropriating more than Tk 345 crore of depositors' money, said an ACC high-up.

Abuse of law

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, now in jail, faces some cases that are quite interesting in nature.

Fakhrul denied bail again

A Dhaka court yesterday again rejected two bail petitions of BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in as many cases for torching vehicles during the opposition's road blockade this month.

Sonali trio hid forged papers

The general manager of Sonali Bank and two of his deputies used to hide the forged documents of Hall-Mark Group from the bank's top authorities to help it get a loan of more than Tk 2,600 crore, said a high official of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday.

Textbook job done well

With seven days to go before the start of distribution, free textbooks for primary school students have reached upazilas across the country while 11 percent of secondary school textbooks are about to reach there.

Xmas today

The Christian community of the country, as elsewhere across the globe, celebrates Christmas today commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Mercury to dip further

A cold wave may grip the northern region including Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions today with the temperature falling below 10 degrees Celsius, forecasts the Dhaka Met Office.

How could you know, Suranjit?

The International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday asked Suranjit Sengupta, a minister without portfolio, to explain his “imaginary comment” on the date of verdicts in the cases pending with the tribunal.

Plea for contempt charge against law minister

War crimes accused Salauddin Quader Chowdhury yesterday filed a petition with the International Crimes Tribunal-1 for initiating contempt of court proceedings against Law Minister Shafique Ahmed in connection with the Skype scandal.

Lobbying on for central posts

Lobbying for a berth in the central leadership of the Awami League has gained momentum in the last few days with the ruling party set to hold its national council on December 29 which will elect new leaders for the next three years.

Muggers push two engineers off train

Muggers pushed two textile engineers off a running train near Tejgaon Rail Station in the city on Sunday morning after snatching away valuables from the two.

Duty-free access must continue

The commerce ministry in a letter yesterday urged the US to continue granting duty-free access for Bangladeshi products after 12 Democrat lawmakers last week had called for quick review of the facility.

Trojan horse therapy can cure cancer

An experimental "Trojan-horse" cancer therapy has completely eliminated prostate cancer in experiments on mice, according to UK researchers.

Afghan female cop kills US contractor

A female Afghan police officer shot and killed an American contractor in the Kabul police headquarters early yesterday, authorities said.

Mali fighters destroy more Timbuktu tombs

Armed groups occupying Timbuktu in northern Mali used pickaxes on Sunday to smash up any remaining mausoleums in the ancient city, an Islamist leader said.

Mexican police official resigns ahead of shake-up

One of Mexico's top federal police officials has announced his resignation, rejecting charges of corruption and promising to elaborate on his motivation after he steps down in January.

Pirates kidnap 4 sailors off Nigeria

Pirates attacked a supply vessel off Nigeria and kidnapped four sailors in the latest such incident off the country's oil-producing southern coast, the International Maritime Bureau said yesterday.


Irregularities in handing public money

It is absolutely mind boggling that there has been irregularity in the expenditure of nearly Tk.5,000 crore all public money, by various ministries, over the fiscal years between 2008 and 2011. This has been revealed in the audit report by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG).

Another Pinky ends her life

The story of yet another Pinky's suicide in the news is like a déjà vu. In 2010, 14 girls, including 13-year-old Nashfia Akhand Pinky, who were victims of sexual harassment, committed suicide within a span of four months. Two days ago, 15-year-old Sadia Akhter Pinky's family, after her being abducted by an 18-year-old classmate and local thug last month, was threatened by the man's family 'with dire consequences' to withdraw a case filed against him. Unable to cope with the fear of their threats, Pinky hanged herself.


Cycling strong at 47

Winning a gold medal in cycling at the age of 47 is unusual, but it was not out of the ordinary for Akashi Sultana, who added another jewel to her crown by winning gold in the 20 kilometre Mass Start event of the Dr Abdul Basit 36th National Cycling Championships at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

New deals, old issues

The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Governing Council completed the signing of the two-party agreement with all seven franchisees when Barisal Burners and Sylhet Royals put pen to paper at the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) headquarters in Mirpur yesterday.

BCL franchisees announce squad

The squads for the newly-designed franchise-based 4-day cricket league named Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) were announced yesterday by the respective franchisees.

Hafeez happy to be in India after long

The Pakistan team is delighted to be in India again after five years, albeit on a short visit to play two T20s and three one-dayers in five cities across the country from December 25 (Christmas night).

Dav demands consistency

Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore has said that his team will have to show consistency in order to achieve good results against India, ahead of their opening Twenty20 fixture in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Div I cricket

Dhanmondi Progoti Sangha managed an exciting two-run victory against Uttara Sporting Club in the First Division Cricket League at BKSP yesterday.

Dhaka falter in 2nd round

Dhaka stumbled in the second round of the World Cities Team Chess Championship when they lost to London 3-1 in United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

BGB retain h'ball title

Boarder Guard Bangladesh retained the title of the Exim Bank 22nd National Handball Championship beating Bangladesh Police by 31-26 goals in the final at the Shaheed Captain M Mansur Ali Handball Stadium yesterday.

Sunday Times sues Lance

British newspaper The Sunday Times said on Sunday that it was suing Lance Armstrong for over 1 million pounds over a libel payment made to the disgraced cyclist in 2006.

He taught us humility: MS

It's not only the nuances of the game but also the quality to treat success and failure equally which the young India cricketers learnt from Sachin Tendulkar, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Monday.

Walk to fight drug abuse

APONGAON, a drug rehabilitation centre founded in 1994, in partnership with the Gregorian Association and Class of 1967, has organised a 5 km walkathon-race that will take place on December 28. The proceeds from the walk will go towards the APONGAON Foundation to help raise awareness about drug abuse in society, especially among the marginalised street children.

Bomb squads, sniffer dogs comb venue

Police bomb squad officers and sniffer dogs combed Bangalore stadium Monday as part of a massive security operation for the start of the first Pakistan cricket tour to India for five years.

Taylor-made Kiwi win

Advice from former captain Ross Taylor helped Martin Guptill to hit a thrilling century and clinch a last-ball, eight-wicket victory for New Zealand in the second Twenty20 International against South Africa at Buffalo Park on Sunday.

Blackout once more

Pakistan's first cricket tour to India in five years faced a media blackout Monday after international news agencies, including AFP, suspended coverage over a decision to bar their photo counterparts.

Local Snippets

Jatrabari Krira Chakra recorded a lone-goal win over T&T Club in the Popular Life Insurance Senior Division Football League at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur yesterday.

Chelsea annihilate Villa

Rafael Benitez took a big step in his efforts to win over doubting Chelsea fans by overseeing a stunning 8-0 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday that moved the Spaniard's side back up to third spot.

'RvP could've been killed'

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson claimed Robin van Persie could have been killed after the Dutch striker was hit on the back of the head with the ball in the 1-1 draw against Swansea.

Marseille keep the heat

Marseille remained in a three-way tie for the lead of Ligue 1 on Sunday after a 1-0 win over St Etienne, extending the visitors' miserable record at Stade Velodrome where they haven't won since 1979.

Jose under the cosh

Jose Mourinho's future as Real Madrid coach looked virtually untenable on Sunday as press and players alike took aim at him especially over his dropping of iconic goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas.

Balotelli's brother arrested

The brother of Italian striker Mario Balotelli was placed under house arrest on Sunday for allegedly assaulting two police officers during a street brawl, Italian media reported.

Casillas vows to prove Jose wrong

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas vowed Sunday to prove Jose Mourinho was wrong to drop him from the Real Madrid starting line-up for the first time in 10 years.

Huntelaar pens new deal

Schalke 04's prolific Netherlands striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has extended his contract by two years until 2015, the Bundesliga club said on Sunday.


Capital through rights shares falls in gloomy market

Nine listed companies raised about Tk 865 crore, including premiums, through rights shares this year, which is 63 percent lower than last year.

Dhaka trade fair: shop online

Imagine being able to explore a massive trade fair from the comforts of one's home, without the crowd, long tailbacks and the tussles with the vendors.

Shipbuilders offer new prospects for furniture makers

The rising shipbuilding industry has created a niche market for the local furniture makers, who can increase their exports by supplying furniture to the export-oriented shipbuilders.

Forex reserves only for rainy days: Atiur

Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman has ruled out using the country's healthy foreign exchange reserves for long-term investment, saying those funds are saved for 'rainy days'.

DSE: the world's second worst

Dhaka Stock Exchange became the second worst performer in the world in November with a fall of 6.30 percent, according to Bloomberg data. China's CSI 300 Index was the worst performer with a 7.09 percent fall.

Stocks end flat

Dhaka Stock Exchange ended flat yesterday as institutional investors remained inactive in the market.

Pizza Hut launches year-long celebrations for 10th anniversary

Pizza Hut started year-long celebrations to mark the 10th year of the brand's presence in Bangladesh by holding a ceremony on Saturday.

BKMEA doubles workers' insurance claims

Members of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) have unanimously decided to double workers' insurance claims for death to Tk 2 lakh.

Fear, finger-pointing mount over US 'fiscal cliff'

Some US lawmakers voiced concern on Sunday that the country would go over "the fiscal cliff" in nine days, triggering harsh spending cuts and tax hikes, and some Republicans charged that was President Barack Obama's goal.

New president for Gulshan Club

Irshad Hossain has recently been elected as the president of Gulshan Club for 2012-13. The election took place at the club premises on Saturday, the club said in a statement yesterday.

Three decades of banking reforms

Prior to the initiation of reforms in the 1980s, Bangladesh's financial system constituted typical examples of what economists dubbed 'financial repression'. The system, both the market and institutions, in the post-independence period faced major structural problems, evident both in banking and other components of the money market as well as the capital market.

India's wait for rate cut

At its mid-quarter review on Jan. 18, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did not cut the repo rate and also left the CRR unchanged. But it raised hopes that policy easing can follow in the fourth quarter.

Can mobile phones improve factory fire safety?

In the wake of the fire at a Bangladesh factory that killed at least 112 garment workers on November 24, US and European retailers who buy from the South Asian country have said they will drastically improve safety checks at the factories they use.


Foolproof security for ICT demanded

The government must ensure foolproof security for International Crimes Tribunals (ICT) and persons working with it to save the tribunals, demanded Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee yesterday.

Mobile court fines food co in Ctg

A mobile court yesterday fined a food manufacturing company in Chittagong city Tk 1.5 lakh for using harmful textile dye and substandard ingredients in different food items, producing the products in an unhygienic environment, and marketing those using the label of the BSTI monogram illegally.

JU students vow to uphold Liberation War ideology

Hundreds of Jahangirnagar University (JU) students yesterday took an oath to uphold the ideology of the Liberation War in their thoughts and practical lives.

Khaleda to join 6 rallies in capital tomorrow

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will address six roadside rallies during a daylong mass contact programme in the capital tomorrow as part of her movement for restoration of the caretaker government system to oversee the next parliamentary elections.

CCC health workers demand arrear wages

Staff of Urban Primary Health Care Project in the port city yesterday staged a demonstration before Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) building, demanding payment of their arrear wages.

Schoolmate's two sisters sued

A case was filed yesterday against two sisters of schoolboy Rony for pushing his schoolmate Sadia Akhter Pinky into committing suicide.

Cabinet hails PM as UN adopts her model

The cabinet yesterday adopted two felicitation motions greeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the recent adoption of Bangladesh's two resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on "People's Empowerment and Development Model", and on autism.

Left parties protest decision to hike power price again

Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, an alliance of some left-leaning parties, yesterday protested the government's recent decision to hike power price for yet another time.

NGOs to start governance reform campaign Jan 1

Governance Advocacy Forum, a platform of NGOs, will start a fortnight-long campaign in the country from January 1 demanding formulation of policies to strengthen local government administrations and decentralise power in every tier of administration.

Jobs for returnee female migrant workers sought

The government should formulate a policy to reintegrate into the job market female migrant workers who return home from abroad, said speakers at a discussion yesterday.

Ex-BTCL official confesses graft

AKM Asaduzzaman, former divisional engineer of Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL), yesterday confessed before a magistrate that he along with several other officials misappropriated government revenue totaling Tk 204.91 crore.

Lawyers, politicians call for culture of abiding laws

Lawyers and political leaders at a discussion yesterday stressed the need for building a culture of obeying laws in every sector to establish the rule of law in the country and suggested that the culture should start from within family.

Dipu Moni lauds Korean help

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni yesterday lauded continued Korean cooperation in the areas like human resources development, IT, power and energy, and infrastructure development in Bangladesh.

Community based rehab must

Rehabilitating people with disabilities only with healthcare reforms is not possible and their rights will not be recognised if not provided opportunities to be rehabilitated within their own communities, stated speakers at a discussion yesterday.

Road crashes kill 7, injure 18

Seven people were killed and 18 others injured in separate road accidents in Gazipur, Netrakona, Jessore and Pabna yesterday.

ACC sues ex-director of RMCH

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday sued former director of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital Brig Gen (retd) Abdul Latif and seven others on charge of misappropriating Tk 2.13 crore in 2009-10 fiscal.

Execution of verdict demanded

Teachers, students and staff of Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday demanded immediate execution of the verdict that gave capital punishment to two killers of its professor, Muhammad Yunus.

Jewellery shop 'looted' in capital

Burglars allegedly looted gold ornaments from a jewellery shop in the capital's Bhasantek yesterday.

Schoolgirl 'commits suicide'

A schoolgirl allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling fan of her room in the capital's Rampura yesterday.

Man shot in capital

Unidentified miscreants shot and injured a man in the capital's Pallabi yesterday.

Two robbers held in Ctg

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab-7) arrested two members of a robber gang “Baissha Bahini” at Banshkhali of Chittagong on Sunday night.

Koica to give $12.8 million grant for nurses' education

Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica) will provide a grant of $12.8 million for the establishment of a national institute of advanced practice nurses in Bangladesh.

Jamaat leader Shafiqur on remand

A Dhaka court yesterday sent Shafiqur Rahman, acting secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, on a three-day remand in an arson case.


Nusrat Jahan Mohima, daughter of journalist late Golam Mostafa, passed away due to irreversible cardio-respiratory failure at her Eskaton residence in the capital early yesterday.

Death anniversary

Today is the 19th death anniversary of advocate Asaduzzaman, an organiser of Liberation War and former lawmaker.

Dr Sofia Hasna Jahan Ali

Today is the 16th death anniversary of Dr Sofia Hasna Jahan Ali, former professor of Department of Economics, Dhaka University.


Migratory birds chirping in thousands in coastal areas

Vast coastal areas, especially the forests and marshy lands in Patuakhali and Bhola districts, are now lively with fluttering and chirping of thousands of winter migratory birds.

200 sued in Rangpur on killing charge

As many as 200 people have been sued on charge of killing a supporter of a defeated councillor candidate during a post-election clash in Rangpur city on Saturday morning.

Students again block road

The agitating general students of Islamic University (IU) again blocked Kushtia-Khulna highway yesterday, demanding immediate resumption of their classes and examinations.

BSF torures 2 youths of C'nawabganj

Indian Borders Security Force (BSF) picked up two youths from Masudpur frontier, tortured them and left them in serious condition at a point of the border in Shibganj upazila early yesterday.

For whose mistake they suffer?

Hundreds of teachers of 50 institutions in Adamdhigi upazila have been facing untold sufferings as they could not draw their salaries of November allegedly due to faulty monthly payment order (MPO) sheet.

Future of Khulna textile village hangs in balance

Future of the proposed Khulna textile village hangs in the balance leaving the people of the district doubtful about the project.

Now flags flutter on encroached WDB land as nobody stops it

The influential businessman, who earlier started earth-filling in the restricted area of four-vent Nabaganga regulator near Dhaka road bus stand in the district town, yesterday hoisted colourful flags apparently to 'establish' his claim on the land belonging to the Water Development Board (WDB).

Four arrested in Bogra Rekkat murder case

Detective Branch (DB) of police here on Sunday arrested four people on charge of killing Swechchhasebok League leader Khairul Anam Rekkat.

Jute godown, six shops gutted in fire

A devastating fire brunt to ashes a huge quantity of jute products at the warehouse of a mill in Dighalia upazila of the district on Sunday afternoon.

10 injured in Pabna AL infighting

At least 10 people were injured in a gunfight between two rival factions of ruling Awami League in Ananto area of Sadar upazila on Sunday night.

Girl commits 'suicide'

A college girl allegedly committed suicide over a trifling matter at Rahelapur village in Sadar upazila early yesterday. The deceased was identified as Tazrin Khatun, 16, daughter of Robiul Islam of the village. Police said Tazrin locked in an altercation with her mother over her study at night. Incensed, she killed herself by hanging from a ceiling fan early in the morning. On information, police recovered the body and sent it to the hospital morgue for autopsy.

Indian goods seized

Members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) seized huge Indian goods worth Tk 48 lakh from Chhoyrosia area in Sadar upazila on Sunday morning. A gang of smugglers left 25 sacks in Chhoyrosia field at around 11:00am, sensing a patrol team of BGB-9, said Lt Col Manzurul Alam of the battalion. The sacks were full of shawls, jackets, sweaters, shits and pants, various types of cosmetics and electronic products, he said.


India PM appeals for calm

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday appealed for calm and vowed to protect women as police struggled to quell increasing outrage over sex crimes following the gang-rape of a student.

Russia's only Hindu temple faces demolition

A year after Russia sought to ban the Bhagavad Gita, the Iskcon Krishna temple in Moscow is facing closure by the Russian government. By January 15, 2013, Iskcon monks said their Moscow temple, the only Hindu temple in Russia, would be demolished by the city authorities.

Curfew imposed in Manipur

Indefinite curfew was yesterday imposed in the entire Manipur valley as roads were blocked and tyres set ablaze as part of protests against the alleged molestation of a film actress by a Naga militant and the killing of a journalist in police firing, official sources said.

Pak coal mine accident kills seven

Seven miners were killed when the roof of a coal mine collapsed in a tribal region of northwest Pakistan, officials said yesterday.

Egypt waits on referendum results

Egypt yesterday was awaiting official results of a referendum on a new constitution reportedly backed by two-thirds of voters but which the opposition alleged was riddled with fraud.

Afghan policewoman kills US adviser

An Afghan policewoman shot and killed an American adviser outside the police headquarters in Kabul yesterday, the latest in a rising tide of insider attacks by Afghans against their foreign allies, senior Afghan officials said.

Air strike at Syria bakery kills dozens

Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi yesterday held talks with Syria's president on the "worrying" situation in the country, as Damascus fended off accusations its forces bombed a bakery killing dozens of civilians.

Russian opposition leader faces new probe

A prominent Russian opposition leader faces his third investigation in five months as authorities intensify pressure on the opposition.

Prince Harry kills Taliban commander in Afghanistan

Prince Harry who is an RAF helicopter pilot deployed in Afghanistan, has killed a Taliban leader in an airstrike, notching up his first 'kill', British media reported yesterday.

Russia, India sign $3b defence deals

Boosting their military ties, India yesterday inked deals worth around $ 3 billion with Russia to procure 42 new Su-30 MKI combat aircraft and 71 Mi-17V5 medium-lift helicopters.

11 kids killed in China road crash

Eleven young children died yesterday when the overloaded van they were travelling in plunged into a pond in east China's Jiangxi province, state press and a rights group said.

N Korea slams South's Xmas lights

North Korea yesterday slammed a display of Christmas lights staged by a South Korean church group near the tense border as an "unacceptable provocation".

Chile volcano alert raised

Chile issued a top-level red alert Sunday for its Copahue volcano, in the south on the Andean border with Argentina, as it rumbled to register a greater potential threat.

India test-fires Astra missile

India yesterday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed Astra air-to-air interceptor missile from a defence base in Odisha for the third time within a week, an official said.

4 Mexico police killed in ambush

Four municipal policemen were killed in an ambush by a local organized crime group in Mexico, officials said Sunday, without identifying the group.

Arts & Entertainment

Christmas Revel and rejoice

Christmas means joy on earth. It is the Yuletide season when the three kings found baby Jesus with his parents in the stable, following the star -- or so the Bible story goes. Here in Dhaka, the head of the church welcomes Christmas carols. These timeless songs are also heard at hotels and international schools. Having participated in some of these events with my friends, it seems that Yuletide isn't quite complete without these songs. Papers are given to get the right words in the carol singing, and Santa Claus is there at the hotel with his red and white costume, with the inevitable reindeer sledge at the back. Big malls in Dhamondi celebrate the event with bright, glittering posters and letterings. It is not only the Christian community that enjoys the event with cakes and pitha of various size and colour.

Christmas in rural Pabna

Last minute touches to usher in Christmas are underway in 25 villages in Pabna district. Thirteen churches, including Baptist and Catholic houses of worship have been beautifully decorated with the narrative of Christ's nativity, predominantly in Pabna Sadar upazila, Chatmohar upazila, Ishwardi upazila, Ataikula and Atghoria upazila.

Yuletide memories

Andrew Kishore, Singer
I was born and raised in Rajshahi, and spent some wonderful childhood years there. Those carefree times make me nostalgic. Every year during Christmas, I look back at those days and reminisce the great moments.

Udichi holds its national council

Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Goshti recently held its two-day national council in Dhaka, says a press release.

“Muktijudder Natyatshab-2012” comes to an end

With a call to all patriotic people of the country to stand united against all communal forces, a three-day drama festival titled “Muktijudder Natyatshab-2012” concluded in Chittagong last Sunday.

Sylhet Station Club observes 125th anniversary

The three-day celebration of Sylhet Station Club's 125th founding anniversary ended on Saturday night by handing out of honorary awards to several illustrious personalities of the region for their outstanding contribution to different fields at the national level.

BTV, almost half a century later

How BTV has changed! When it was launched in 1964 (under the name of Pakistan Television Corporation), people would excitedly flock in front of their TV sets, waiting expectantly, looking at a blank screen with the words PTC on it. The title music “Apache” by the Beatles was a household tune.

Cultural programme at “Manikganj Bijoy Mela”

A cultural function was held at the “Bijoy Mela” (Victory Fair) stage in Manikganj last Saturday night. Manikganj Samity in Dhaka arranged the events where singers Romana Islam, Farzana Chumki, Siddikur Rahman and

Shilpakala Academy produces jatrapala Isa Khan

As part of the year long project to celebrate the declaration of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, as the “2012 Capital of Islamic Culture for the Asian Region” by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in association with Ministry of Cultural Affairs undertook different initiatives and arranged programmes. As part of the initiative, the academy has produced a jatrapala.


Admission fee galore

The medical college education sector is booming. According to health directorate data, there are 22 government medical colleges in the country with a capacity to enrol 3,389 students. Number of private medical colleges stand at 53 which admit every year, 5,175 students. Hence each year, the country witnesses intense competition among prospective medical students to get enrolled in preferably a medical institution.

Cash transfers are misguided

India's United Progressive Alliance government is launching a massive project to transfer cash instead of providing public services to people. It's rushing to introduce the project, based on the controversial Aadhaar unique identity (UID), on January 1 in 51 districts for 34 schemes like old-age and widow pensions, maternity benefits and scholarships.

Christmas brings the Gospel of grace and change

Bishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Prize winner said: “I preached my only sermonthat God loves us freely as an act of Grace.” Ideally, Christianity is the Gospel of Grace, God's unmerited loving kindness to sinful mankind. John wrote: “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given thorough Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-17). This is the Christmas theme.

Padma Bridge: Between denial and dadagiri?

Much has been talked about and written on the Padma Bridge project since it became clear that the government of Bangladesh succeeded in negotiating the $2.9 billion loan agreement with 4 donors led by the World Bank (WB). Where the fate of the project stands today is anybody's guess.

One starlit night

Years ago one starlit night, Heaven shone

This Day In History

December 25

Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin meets in Egypt with President of Egypt Anwar Sadat.

A perilous journey through the anti-joke zone

My face brightened as I saw the sign at the security check area at an airport in Australia. In large letters on a board were the words: "We Take Jokes Seriously".Air_security_2_2

Science & Life

Night sky in winter

Against the ebony darkness of space, the night sky in winter blazes with dazzling display of heavenly objects - bright stars, constellations, supergiants, stellar nursery - that cannot be seen at other times of the year. Out of the few thousands of stars visible with naked eye, the ones that will stand out are in the constellations Orion the Hunter, Taurus the Bull, and Auriga the Charioteer. Two of the signposts that you can use to navigate the “diamond-studded” night sky are Orion and Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major. While Ursa Major and its sister Ursa Minor are on one side of the sky, two lesser known star groups, Canis Major and Canis Minor, the Big and Little Dogs, respectively, can be found on the other side.

Super-fine sound beam as scalpel

Acarbon-nanotube-coated lens that converts light to sound can focus high-pressure sound waves to finer points than ever before. The University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed the new therapeutic ultrasound approach say it could lead to an invisible knife for noninvasive surgery.

500 phases of matter?

Condensed matter physics -- the branch of physics responsible for discovering and describing most of these phases -- has traditionally classified phases by the way their fundamental building blocks -- usually atoms -- are arranged. The key is something called symmetry.

Bionic man a reality

Outfitted with a bionic eye, arm, legs and fantastic '70s hair, Steve Austin was a cyborg whose implants allowed him to recover stolen atomic weapons, fight aliens and protect cryptographers in distress. Finally, real life is starting to catch up with the Six Million Dollar Man. In one of this year's bionic breakthroughs, a paralyzed woman carried out her own superhuman feat: Using an implanted brain chip, she controlled a robotic arm with her mind (SN: 6/16/12, p. 5). She used the arm to grasp a cuppa joe and take a long, satisfying sip of coffee through a straw, an act she hadn't done on her own for nearly 15 years.

Disposable gecko tail

Like a pair of Velcro stripper pants, gecko tails come off easy. The lizards have pre-formed score lines in their tail that allow them to quickly rip off their tails when a predator has grabbed it, according to a new study.

A memorable year

Drought, wildfire, hurricanes, a deadly typhoon and cold snap this year had a lot to offer in terms of weather news.

What's dendrochronology?

Dendrochronology or tree-ring dating is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings, also known as growth rings. Dendrochronology can date the time at which tree rings were formed, in many types of wood, to the exact calendar year. This has three main areas of application: paleoecology, where it is used to determine certain aspects of past ecologies(most prominently climate);archaeology, where it is used to date old buildings, etc.; and radiocarbon dating, where it is used to calibrate radiocarbon ages.

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