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Sports Watch

The last few weeks have seen a huge amount of sports being played all over the world with Cricket and Football dominating the sporting calendar.

The biggest newsmaker as far as the sporting world is concerned (and the real world also to a certain extent) is the Test and One Day series between India and Pakistan, being held in India. Undoubtedly one of the most passionate rivalries the world has ever witnessed, India V Pakistan matches are a treat to watch. They are as close to derbies, as cricket will ever get. Current form and past results count for little or nothing as the two heavyweights lock horns in what has turned out to be an enthralling series so far.

The first Test match was a topsy-turvy affair. Although India dominated for most of the match, Pakistan's Asim Kamal and Abdur Razzak performed heroics in the last day to tie the Test Match. They way Abdul Razzak batted was enough to show you how much this match meant to both teams.

Normally an explosive batsman who is renowned for his hitting, Razzak batted sensibly and resolutely guiding his younger partner along. The determination and will to win was evident in his face. That is what India v Pakistan matches are all about. Pride is at stake.

The second Test match also followed a similar pattern although India did manage to pull of the victory this time around thanks to some spectacular individual contributions and a very 'helpful' fifth day 'Eden Gardens' wicket. Although Asim Kamal yet again stood resolute in the face of adversity, this time he had no one to accompany him and Pakistan fell to defeat.

Also, in other cricket action around the world, the Trans-Tasman Test Series is in full flow with Ponting's Australia taking on a talented New Zealand team ably guided by Stephen Fleming, who is popularly regarded as the best captain in the world at the current time.

Cricket is also around the corner in the Caribbean, where South Africa and later Pakistan visit the sunny West Indies, for what looks, at least on paper, to be a very evenly contested series.

Australia though, are in a class of their own as they showed while whitewashing New Zealand at their own grounds, in the one-day series. The Test Series looks likely to follow the same trend as well but Fleming, Vettori and co. will do their best to make sure that does not happen.

However, West Indies cricket is in a state of turmoil at present. There have been huge contractual disputes amongst the board and the players and it threatens to tear the West Indies team at the seams. Players like Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chrstopher Gayle & captain Brian Lara are amongst numerous others to have been dropped from the team because they have individual contracts with Cable and Wireless, a rival company of Digicel, which is the current sponsor of the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB).

All the neutral individuals out there will hope that the current situation is resolved as quickly as possible.
As far as the world of football is concerned, this past week has been a special one, less in terms of action on the pitch than action off it. The draw for the Champions League quarterfinal stage was made in the small city on Nyon, on Friday the 18th of March.

A simple meeting, attended only by representatives of the club's concerned, the draw pulled some interesting ties out of the hat.

The first teams picked from the bowl were that of Liverpool FC and Juventus of Turin. Both European heavyweights in their own right, this match will undoubtedly bring back harrowing memories from nearly twenty years back, when the 'Heysel disaster' took place, killing some forty Italian supporters who were clashing with their English counterparts.

Other draws include the enthralling derby between Inter and AC Milan who both share the same stadium, The San Siro in Milan. Both teams have been in stunning form all season and this will be humdinger of a clash.

Another exciting tie, sees Chelsea backed by the billionaire Russian Roman Abrahamovic and coached by self-proclaimed prodigy Jose Mourinho, take on the four time champions, German team Bayern Munchen.

And last but not least, Olympique Lyon from France takes on the unheralded Dutch team from Eindhoven, PSV.

The first legs of the quarters will take place in the first week of April.
For F1 lovers, the season has just begun but already it looks likely that it will be hugely different from the last few years where Ferrari and Micheal Shumacer have had the honors in the pockets even before the start of the season.

That about wraps it up for us this time.

On a parting note, the Pakistan cricket teams tour has done a lot to ease tensions between two countries, which, not five years back looked to be on the verge of a titanic war. Cricket has proved to be an able mediator in resolving dispute and that is in itself a great story indeed. Lets hope that cricket and all other sports contribute to a similar cause in the future.


By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam

He who made it big

It would be too easy to rank the world's richest people today. You could simply take the founders of some of the top firms in the world, sort them by the value of holdings in their company and voila!

After extensive online research and piecing together bits of information, we have compiled a list of the biggest movers and shakers in the wealth arena. Running bi-weekly from this week onwards, we'll be featuring 10 of the top richest men in the world.

Our belief behind making this column is to provide our reader with enough examples to follow. Unfortunately, none of the candidates who would be featured, are from Bangladesh. Hopefully, in years to follow, we will see some of the locals making their names in the chart toppers. So on with this week's real-life Richie Rich.

At the number 10 spot we have Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan with a wealth estimate of nothing less than $23 billion US dollars.

The United Arab Emirates Sheikh has considerable holdings in oil, property and various investments, that boosted his financial wealth to just over $23 billion. In power since 1966, the Sheikh is the man behind the U.A.E.

SHAIKH Zayed was born in 1918 the youngest of four sons of Shaikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and named after his grandfather, Shaikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, who has the longest reign in the emirate's history, ruling Abu Dhabi from 1855 to 1909. His grandfather was also known as "Zayed The Great" and "Zayed the First", and had played a large role in forging unity between the tribes of Oman and leading the Bani Yas tribe.

At the time Shaikh Zayed was born, the Emirates was poor and undeveloped with an economy primary based on fishing and pearl diving. His life even as a young member of a ruling family was simple. His education was based on studying the instructions and the principles of Islam from the local preacher. His transportation was either on camels or boats. The flashy Ferraris, Limousines and Private Jets were only beyond lucid dreams.

Until 1953, there were no schools in the Emirates. Before this time, education was limited to basic math, Arabic and holy Quran lessons, given by Maulanas. With the reality of life in the Emirates and the efforts required to survive, it meant that anything else was a luxury to the people, as they could not afford it. Hard to believe, but is true.

The country's economy was based upon fishing and pearl diving along the coast. The economy suffered when the market for Gulf pearls collapsed in the 1930s after Japanese scientists invented the cultured pearl. At this point, the first oil company teams came to carry out geological surveys, and Zayed was appointed to guide them around the desert.

In 1953 Shaikh Zayed along with his elder brother Shaikh Shakhbut travelled to Europe to appear at a legal hearing on an oil dispute. They also travelled to the United States, Switzerland, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, India, Iran, and Pakistan. On his return, Shaikh Zayed was convinced that it was urgent to develop the area in order to bridge the large gap between it and the rest of the world. When oil was discovered in Abu Dhabi in 1958, economic matters began to improve. The first commercial field entered production in 1962 from the offshore Umm Shaif field, and then from onshore at Bab. On August 6, 1966, Shaikh Shakhbut gave control of Abu Dhabi to his younger brother.

After assuming rulership, Shaikh Zayed introduced a formal government structure, with departments developed to handle specific tasks. Priority was given to building basic housing facilities, schools, health services, and the construction of an airport, a seaport, roads, and a bridge to link Abu Dhabi to the mainland. Financial resources were spent for the planting of trees in Al Ain in order to transform Abu Dhabi into a green city. When Britain announced in January 1968 that it would withdraw its military presence in the Gulf, Shaikh Zayed was the first statesman to call for a union.

Shaikh Zayed has been re-elected as president at five-year intervals by the Supreme Council Members, who are ruling members of each of the seven emirates. Shaikh Zayed continued to utilise the oil revenues of Abu Dhabi to fund projects throughout the UAE, making it one of most sought after nations of the world.

By Taskin Rahman

Book review

Ekatturer Dinguli

These days, it has become harder than ever before to obtain an accurate picture of what happened during The Liberation War of 1971. Thanks to a few writers, we still do have some information of the dates and places important in the history of our Liberation War. However, just knowing what happened, when it happened and where it happened really is not enough. A lot of us know the dates and places, but that is where it ends. We feel nothing about those events. We miss out on the human picture behind those dates and places. That is where true history is. To realize the great cost we paid for our liberation, we need to know the story of the common man, the story of families torn apart, the story of extraordinary sacrifices made by otherwise ordinary people. It is through knowing these stories that we can appreciate all that our ancestors fought for. Maybe then, we will realize how important it is to hold on to the glorious gift that they gave us.

If you want to read only one book about 1971, and feel all the emotions associated with the times, the book I recommend is Ekatturer Dinguli" by Jahanara Imam. I believe the younger readers know little if anything about this extraordinary lady. For them, this book is a must read. "Ekatturer Dinguli" is the story of a son, barely past his teens and yet feeling the prejudice all around him. It is the story of his younger brother, who idolizes the elder in every possible way. It is the story of Mr. Sharif Imam and his wife, proud parents of a brave son.

The diary, for that is what the book actually is, starts in March 1971. It takes us through the different phases of the movement against West Pakistan, giving us a glimpse of public opinion about these phases. From the slow narration of everyday life along with important political decisions, the story changes pace on the night of 25th March. Through this one family, we relive that terrible night. We hear the sounds of death all around. We are told of the stacks of dead bodies all over the streets of Dhaka the next morning. We are told how the military gunned down The Shaheed Minar.

Over the next nine months, the family copes with a lot of changes. They meet a lot of people, all of whom have suffered in some way from the brutal "Operation Searchlight". Through their stories, we feel their pain. We shudder at the thought of what low level human beings can stoop to, all for the sake of power. In these nine months, Mrs. Imam's picture perfect family suffers terrible losses. Their eldest son becomes a freedom fighter, carries out a few successful operations in Dhaka but is eventually caught by the enemy, never to come back. Just days before the victory, Mr. Imam passes away due to a cardiac arrest.

By the end of the war, Mrs. Jahanara Imam had lost her son and husband. In return, she gained a free motherland. She also gained the status of the matriarch to all of her son's friends, brave freedom fighters who put their lives in line to serve the motherland. Even today, she is fondly remembered by all those whose first priority has always been a prosperous Bangladesh. Many of her most devoted admirers have never even met her in person. She may have passed away, but her memory lives on, and one way to try and know the thoughts of this wonderful woman is by reading her books. I strongly recommend the book, once again, to all those who want to not just read about our history, but to actually live through that history.

Book Information:
Available In: most stores in The New Market
Published By: Shondhani Prokashoni

By Mohammad Hammad Ali


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