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Better tomorrow: A reality?

As the cricket on TV went into the lunch break, I changed the channel to NTV and started reading the newspaper. The ongoing 'Shuvo Shondhya' programme was suddenly snapped off from telecast and it was shown that a special news bulletin would be followed. The way the whole thing was done was enough to tell that something very serious must have happened. I put down the paper and wondered what disaster or catastrophe could have taken place.

Next, when the newscaster lady came on air with a smile, I was completely lost in my thoughts. When she read out the headline, I heard nothing but 'Nobel Prize', and to my utter dismay, started wondering what the Nobel Prize had to do with 'our' special bulletin. Thankfully, my father was sitting next to me, and it was not before he repeated the news twice to me that I finally got the message.

Nevertheless, it took me another few minutes to somewhat grasp what I had just heard. The Nobel Prize, the most coveted international recognition for over a century, had finally come to us, the Bangladeshis. At a time when everything seems to be going wrong for a country, a golden citizen has raised his head high over the entire population of the world, making us (for at least now) the proudest nation of all.

I have always felt that amongst all six categories, the Nobel Peace prize is particularly special. After the Swedish scientist Sir Alfred Nobel invented the dynamite, he became alarmed at the increasing military use of explosives. Fearing his invention might be used in the wrong purposes, he decided to institute the Nobel prizes, international recognitions that would be annually awarded to those who have made the greatest services to mankind in the then 5 fields*. And in a world where peace has long become a scarcity, what could be nobler than the efforts to establish it.

What makes it all the more special for Dr. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, and consequently Bangladesh, is that the award was given to him not in the expected Economics criteria, but in Peace. Already an internationally renowned economist, Dr. Yunus will now also be known to the world as the man who has established peace by successfully starting the process of poverty eradication; a challenge to which even the 'developed' world does not have much answer to. He will be known to the world as the person who first believed, and subsequently realised, the fact that the so-called 'poor' population possesses an invisible wealth, which can materialise if they are just given an opportunity. And microcredit has given them that much needed opportunity.

Dr. Muhammad's vision and perseverance, and the brave efforts of the financially challenged rural women, have brought Bangladesh a long way forward. Now the question comes to mind, what next? Do we celebrate for a week, forget all about it and go back to our lives ridden with a thousand problems? Or do we look upon this achievement, and start believing again that we still can change this country, change the lives of our people? Let us unite on this occasion of great joy, and promise that each of us will make our own contribution, in order to take this country forward. Dr. Yunus thinks we need 25 years for a poverty free Bangladesh. Not too far, is it?

The Nobel Prize in Economics was instituted in 1969 by the Central Bank of Sweden. It is neither willed by Sir Alfred Nobel nor funded by his bequest.

By Tausif Salim

Great sites for admission seekers

There are some helpful online resources that can assist you a great deal with your college search and applications. But it's difficult to find the right stuff amongst all kinds of junk sites that only care about your credit card number. Apart from information on foreign admission, some of these sites are locally created and contains helpful information and resources that could help you with your admissions to local universities as well.

1. Varsity Admission (www. varsityadmission.com): This locally created site is especially helpful in providing up-to-date information on admission tests for local public and private universities. In addition to that, it contains info of more than 3000 scholarships provided by 375 international institutions, as well as admission and scholarship information on various foreign universities. The scholarship listings can prove handy as you can get all the information you need at a glance.

2.College Board (www.college board.com): Must be already familiar to anyone who has taken, or will be taking the SATs. In addition to the most reliable resources for preparing for the SAT, this site has a large database of U.S. colleges, with very good search options. In the 'College Matchmaker' you can start with a total of almost 4000 U.S. colleges and then start narrowing down your list by choosing different criteria, i.e. geographical & financial factors, available majors, etc. The search system basically leaves no stone unturned so this could be a great place to start off for those who are planning to apply to U.S. colleges.

3. Admission Chances (www. admissionchances.com): This is basically very simple. You make your student profile containing 4 key factors (test scores, GPA, ECAs and class rank), and get reviewed by the computer, or by other people who are doing the same as you. Although not always reliable, peer evaluation can prove handy collectively (if you can get it from a lot of people). To see evaluations made on your profile or essay, you need review points which you can earn in turn by reviewing other people's profiles, essays, or answering their questions. Overall, I should say this is quite a good site for anyone who would like an outside opinion on his or her profile.

4.Education.com (www. education.com.bd): Created by the local coaching academy Mentors education, education.com is one of the best Bangladeshi educational websites. It contains information on admission to colleges in over 30 countries, country wise scholarship information & contact info of consulting firms. In the local education scenario, the website contains lists and contact info of all local schools, colleges, coaching centres, and other educational institutes categorized according to their respective types. You can check the admission notice board for the upcoming registration deadlines and test dates in various local public and private universities. The online tests range from the TOEFL, SATs to the NSU & IBA admission tests. Overall this is an awesome site for students of all levels and all backgrounds.

5.College Confidential: (www. collegeconfidential.com) Last but on no account the least, college confidential is one of the best sites to visit for admission seekers to U.S. colleges. Although the site offers various services such as essay help and online advising & counselling, its most popular feature is its online forum with over thousands of participants from all over the world. Arguably one of the most popular college forums, college confidential has plenty of categories where you could discuss college options, exchange information, get your essays, profiles evaluated from peers, and in short get all the information you ever needed about U.S. college applications. This vast hub of information is not only invaluable to starters, but also to those who already have some idea about applying. It would have been really great had there been a forum such as this where all the Bangladeshi applicants could participate and share their views and ideas. So if any of the webmasters and online geeks is reading this, please take note.

I hope this proves helpful to all you admission seekers out there. If anyone of you knows of any other websites and online resources, please share it with the readers and us. I hope to keep you updated in the future with more info on applications. Till next time, it's goodbye.

By Tausif Salim

Did you know why Friday 13th is considered unlucky?

I like Fridays, but on Friday 13th, for some reason or the other, my day doesn't go well. Unlucky Friday as it is called, is one of the most commonly held superstitions in our so-called civilized, educated society is that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. The modern basis for the aura that surrounds Friday the 13th stems from Friday October the 13th, 1307. On this date, the Pope of the church in Rome in Conjunction with the King of France, carried out a secret death warrant Against "the Knights Templar". The Templars were finished as heretics, never again to hold the power that they had held for so long. Their Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay, was arrested and before he was killed, was tortured and crucified. Superstitions regarding Friday being lucky or unlucky have existed since ancient times, beginning with the northern nations.

From a religious standpoint, legend has it that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the apple, on a Friday, and later died on a Friday, and Christians consider Friday as the day on which the Romans crucified Christ.

The Scandinavian belief that the number 13 signified bad luck sprang from their mythological 12 demigods, who were joined by a 13th demigod, Loki, an evil cruel one, who brought upon humans great misfortune. The number 13, in the Christian faith, is the number of parties at the Last Supper, with the 13th guest at the table being the traitor, Judas. When Christians combine this day and number, the combination can only hold special significance.

Whether or not a person considers Friday the 13th as unlucky, he or she must understand that this superstition, as well as others, merely stem from beliefs or practices man used, and continues to use, to explain, and to protect himself, from events beyond his control in his complicated world. He worked, and works only with the bag of knowledge he has on hand.

Only when factual, scientific bases for these beliefs are unearthed, and people do not dispel the beliefs, but instead cling to them, the beliefs become superstitions. Today's beliefs may very well be tomorrow's superstitions. Until then, however, don't step on a crack!

More information on onlinetrivia
By Shamma M. Raghib


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