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Oddly enough…

Canadian town donates $10,000 to Tsunami fund, wants it back for fireworks display

The Canadian Red Cross will return a $10,000 tsunami relief donation to a northern Saskatchewan town after its council said the motion to approve the expenditure passed accidentally.

On Jan. 10, three members of Meadow Lake's council voted in favour of dipping into the town's $30,000 centennial fireworks fund to make the donation to victims of the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tragedy. Two councillors voted against the motion. The vote passed 3-2. Meadow Lake's mayor, who was in hospital at the time, later challenged the validity of the vote.

By that time, the cheque from the town of 5,000 residents had been handed over to the Red Cross. However, Red Cross spokesperson said the agency had no problem refunding the donation. - CBC News

Robber asks out victim for a date
Police say a man involved in the recent robbery of a Domino's Pizza delivery woman would be a good candidate for ``World's Dumbest Criminal.'' After two men robbed the woman, one of them called the victim on his cell phone to apologize - and to ask her out on a date.

The victim declined the request, instead giving the cell phone number to police, who arrested Brent Brown, on Thursday.

Officers searched a residence and found the pizza boxes in the trash can with the original receipt still attached. - AP

The absolute worst person in the world
A British man who sent hoax e-mails to relatives of people missing since the Asian tsunami, saying their loved ones had been confirmed dead, was sentenced Monday to six months in prison.

Christopher Pierson, from Lincolnshire, eastern England, targeted people who had placed appeals for information about relatives and friends on the Web site of Sky News, claiming to be from the "Foreign Office Bureau" in Thailand.

He told the judge he was remorseful over what had happened and was visibly distressed during sentencing at London's Bow Street Magistrates Court. Pierson, bankrupted in 1998, was depressed over the death of his son and the court heard another son had been diagnosed with unstable diabetes that required 24-hour care.

A picture of a father grieving on television prompted him to send the e-mails, as he wanted the family to have closure over the death of their loved one, the court heard. - Reuters

Half-ton man drops nearly 500 pounds, and is still fat
Patrick Deuel talks at Avera McKennan Hospital, in Sioux Falls, S.D., about how he has lost 321 pounds since June after checking in at 1,072. Deuel, 42, was scheduled to leave the hospital, seven months after he checked in grave condition, at 1,072 pounds. After undergoing stomach-reduction surgery in October, he is down to 610 pounds and is healthier.

Now, the man looks forward to the simple things others take for granted, such as taking out the trash and shovelling snow. "We've given him (another) shot at life ... and I hope he seizes on it," said Dr. Fred Harris, leader of the nine-person medical team responsible for Deuel's care at the Hospital.

Deuel could someday go back to work if he sticks to his diet, keeps building his strength and increases his level of activity, his doctor said. "My hope is Patrick will be able to remain mobile enough to get out of the house and get a job," he said.

He said eventually he would like to get down to 240 pounds -- although the last time he saw that on the scale was when he was in sixth grade. - Wftv.com

Compiled by Niloy

Music and film cronies
better and bigger!

Of the three major Bangladeshi music sites, "Music and Film Cronies" (MAFC) is often taken to be the third largest after "Amader Gaan" (AG) and "Altermetal" (AM). Recent developments however, change most of our views on that matter. The popularity of "AG" has receded somewhat over years of usage and "AM" seems to be going through some technical difficulties and therefore at the moment the MAFC sites are rapidly gaining popularity.

Currently going under the URL of www.mafcevents.com, this site features a forum, where musicians and other people can get together and discuss various topics, like movies and music etc. An online edition of MAFC's magazine is available, as is news about all the MAFC events taking place throughout the month. Unfortunately, the site is still under construction, and so users will not be able to access these topics yet. However, the forum is fully functional, and is already being put to good use! MAFC regrets that this site is still a demo site, but assures its users that it will set up the corrected site (under the URL www.mafcgroupsbd.com) as soon as possible!

For years music fans have been awaiting a MAFC concert, and it seems that they have finally decided to end that wait! MAFC is now doing a series of promotional shows at "Kabab E Q" which is located at Banani on Road 11. The concerts take place every week on Wednesdays and features totally new, young, and promising bands, hoping to release them to the public, and help them get more concert offers.

The Co-director of MAFC, Rayan Ali, feels that Bangladesh has upgraded itself in the music category far more than it has in other cases, and says that there are so many new bands being formed every day...it is almost as if a new band is being formed every minute of everyday, and therefore most of these bands do not get enough exposure, or any chance whatsoever to be exposed. He thinks that as an organization based on music and films, it is MAFC's duty to try and help the best of these youngsters to reveal themselves, and to launch their careers for them. This is why he and a group of other youngsters have set out to organize these concerts every Wednesday.

MAFC has also brought out a magazine called "The Break." The magazine staff comprises of Editor Rayan Ali and Managing Editor Ashraful Islam, along with Gibran Tanwir as Senior Writer and Nawajesh Karim, Raffan Imam, Robin and Tisha as correspondents. The first issue has already come out on September 5 last year.

The magazine is supposed to come out every three months, but due to some difficulties, they have only brought out one issue thus far, but they hope that this year they will be able to publish the magazine as planned.( For the internet edition, please visit www.mafcevents.com)

MAFC seems to be becoming more active and soon enough they will probably be even bigger than they were previously. Hopefully we will be able to go to even bigger MAFC concerts in the future. Till then…cheers to the MAFC team for this amazing recovery!

By Rohini Alamgir

BD Bytes

Zainul Abedin

An artist and a visionary

Imagine yourself browsing through the San Francisco Museum of Arts in USA. Picture yourself marvelling at great works by great artists, until you stumble on a painting by a Bangladeshi artist. Now, who amongst our local greats could have managed to find his way into such an esteemed position? The answer's obvious…it's our very own Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin.

Zainul Abedin was the artist of the struggling people of rural Bangladesh. He played a cataclysmic role in the modern art movement in Bangladesh, which began with the setting up of the Govt. Institute of Arts and Crafts (now Fine Arts Institute) in 1948 in Dhaka. He was the founding principal of this institute.

Zainul Abedin was born in Mymensingh in 1914. His childhood days were spent amidst the tranquillity of nature and the placid surroundings of the river Brahmaputra. His parents wanted him to be a police officer, but a teacher, observing the boy's passion for art, suggested that he be admitted into an art school.

In 1933, Abedin was admitted into the Calcutta Govt. Art School, from where he graduated first class first in 1938. The same year, he received the Governer's Gold Medal in the All India Arts Exhibition, while still a student, and was appointed as a teacher at that school even before he appeared for his final exams. During this period, he drew some magnificent landscapes of Dumka, Bihar, and Mymensingh. At age 24, his paintings were selected by the then British-Indian government for exhibition at Burlington House in London.

Abedin's natural style was neither strictly Oriental nor strongly European. Instead of following an orthodox path, he melded local tradition with modern international techniques to create his own unique signature.

The great famine of 1943 that plagued Bengal left a poignant impression on this artist. He travelled through the countryside and saw millions of starving people dying by the roadside on their way to the cities in search of food. This inspired a series of sketches called Chiyattorer Monontor, which captured the sufferings of the masses in this famine. The sketches, rendered in Chinese ink and brush on cheap packing paper, were first published in a Calcutta daily called Swadhinota, and catapulted him to fame.

In 1951, he went abroad to the Slade School of Art, London, for a two-year training. This was the beginning of a new style. Folk forms emerged in his work, with geometric and semi-abstract features. Use of primary colours and a lack of perspective were typical of his style. Two Women (1953), and Woman (1953), were some notable works of this period. In 1957, an exhibition of his 52 works was held at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA.

Abedin always had a preference for realism. His predilection for folk forms gave his work a new dimension. He protested against the Pakistan Government through his paintings in his Nabanna exhibition in 1970. Manpura, done in black ink over a wax outline, depicts the 1970 cyclone.

Zainul Abedin passed away in 1976, and was buried in the Dhaka University campus, beside the mosque, with access from the Charukola Institute of Fine Arts. The works of this eminent artist are preserved as permanent collections in the National Museum of Brussels, the Cincinnati Museum, and, as mentioned before, the San Francisco Museum of Arts.

By Durdana Ghias
Source: The Banglapaedia

The complete story

Bangladesh has been debating at the Worlds' Debating Championship from the 80s but this year's participation and achievements have been overwhelming.

34 participants from 8 institutions from Bangladesh participated in this year's WORLDS held in Malaysia and hosted by the Multimedia University. This year's tournament was the largest ever having more than 1000 participants from 52 countries.

Dhaka University, North South University, IUB, East West University, IUT and IBA were the six Universities from Bangladesh that debated, and we were under the able guidance of two of the best debaters and adjudicators the country has ever produced:

Mr. Shamim Reza(DU) and Mr. Sarfaraz Ahmed(Secretary, WORLDS Debating Council).

Turkish Hope School and College(THSC) and Notre Dame College also sent their students as observers to gain experience. THSC had the opportunity to debate as a 'swing team' and startled the universities with their performance.

We were very proud to see Bangladeshi students representing several foreign universities like Victoria University(NZ) and the Singapore Management University.

Two of our teams debated at the Worlds Masters debates. The first team comprised of Sarfaraz Ahmed and Ershad(IBA) while the other was the NSU duo of Nawaz and Nayeem.

Rashedul Islam Stalin (EWU) was the elected leader of the Bangladesh contingent. I caught up with him and he said: " Bangladesh has a very bright future if the recent achievements and the budding talents are anything to go by."

Points Table
IUB-A 13
IUB-B 13
IBA-A 13
IBA-B 12
NSU-B 12
NSU-C 12
NSU-A 11
IUT-A 11
DU-A 10
EWU-B 10

By Mabroor Wassey


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