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What's the plan?

I couldn't believe myself. I actually read the whole damn thing. From page one to the last word, “Reality”. Yes, it is the finance minister's speech on Budget 2009-10. But trust me, reading the elaborate game plan of the government for the next one-year isn't that bad an experience. I'm not some kind of hardcore economist who can figure out all the intricate details of each and every line. But finding out little things about the finance and economy of our country is a really interesting experience. As the maiden budget for this new government, finance minister AMA Muhith said this budget is aimed to protect local industries; agriculture and the most important one, promote “Digital Bangladesh”.

With a huge 113819 TK crores to spend, this budget wants to make a boom in “Public Private Partnerships' (PPP). But to translate the written words into reality will be very hard work because the over all deficit including grants in this budget is 29228 TK crores. Just to borrow the money from banks by the government won't solve this problem.

Another welcome tune from the government is the expansion of the safety net. Increasing budgetary allocation and number of beneficiaries to protect the poor from current vulnerable socio-economic conditions is the main concept of safety net programs. And for the implementation of this project our government has a hardcore plan. Guess what the name of this project is. “Employment generation for the Hardcore poor”.

The government is also emphasizing upon the electricity generation and power sector. With a plan to add another 5000MW in the grid a multidimensional approach will be taken by our government. The most interesting part about this sector is that the government is actually providing 105 crore taka to produce energy saving bulbs. As our reserves of natural gas will be depleted within the year 2011the renewable energy sector will surely have some good days. It is really unfortunate that this sector was neglected for a long lime. We are producing only 20MW electricity by renewable energy sources, which is 0.4% of our total demand.

And some other new additions to this budget are:
1. Budget is going green. More importance in saving natural resources and climate.
2. Self-sufficiency in food within 2012 and safe water for all by 2011.
3. Happy days for the railway sector with a 20-year master plan. Trans-Asian railway is coming too.
4. Through “Ghore Fera” (returning home) project people will actually go back to village from urban areas.
5. Still, three cheers for people with black money, for three years. It will turn white with only 10 percent tax, where legal taxpayers pay 20 percent.
6. And finally some real good news. Within the year 2021 life expectancy will go up from 64 to 70.

How can we finish the budget talk with out digitalizing this article? With a plan to make information technology accessible to everyone the government is working the way toward the great goal, Digital Bangladesh. As per government's plan, automated systems will be introduced in administration, education, health and tax sectors. E-governance, a second submarine-cable link, compulsory computer education, these are few of the major changes that we might see within a few years. But with a 25% tax increase in mobile phones and additional tax implementation in all luxury items (yes, luxury items are digital) the government already created a paradoxical situation.

Finally, we will talk about the new price tags. First lesson for you people, from now cars are expensive luxury items. But if you go green and clean with hybrid cars you can save some bucks. Bad luck for the ladies. The price of vanity bags and imitation jewellery will increase.

And now you can't chill even if you want to. There will be a substantial increase of the prices of air conditioners and there is no back up plan. You can't use refrigerators to cool your self because it will be pretty costly too. Happy times for hijackers, mobile phones are getting costly. And tobacco products will make you pay more bucks for this season.

But don't lose your hope. There are things for you to play with, as their prices will go down. So any one want any books, solar power lamps, ocean going vessels or Dioctyl Orthophthalates / DOP (no, not dope)? Taxes will be withdrawn from Internet use in educational institutions but not from others. That's a good sign, right?

By Zabir Hasan

Unique Universe

Making Life Better
So the wheel was invented, and it made life a lot easier. After a series of inventions, we made things that looked like us, started making alternative life forms, and what not. This week, we'll see how much is left for us to invent and discover. Who knows, someday you'll find a way to make cute little bunnies from tree trunks or something, or musical food…

Poison breathers
Researchers are studying some common soil bacteria that “inhale” toxic metals and “exhale” them in a non-toxic form. The bacteria might one day be used to clean up toxic chemicals left over from nuclear weapons production decades ago. Using a unique combination of microscopes, researchers at Ohio State University glimpse how the Shewanella oneidensis [lets call it x] bacterium breaks down metal to chemically extract oxygen.

The study provides the first evidence that X maneuvers proteins within the bacterial cell into its outer membrane to contact metal directly. The proteins then bond with metal oxides, which the bacteria utilize the same way we do oxygen. The process is called respiration, and its how living organisms make energy, explained a researcher. We use the oxygen we breathe to release energy from our food. But in nature, bacteria don't always have access to oxygen.

Flying Cars!
A project started four years ago by students in MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which stated that cars could fly, and that project had significant success quite a few days ago. You can see the video on Youtube with the link


A street-legal Transition is powered on land and in the air by a recently developed 100 hp Rotax engine that gets 30 mpg on the highway using regular unleaded gasoline. As a plane, its 20-gallon tank gives it a 450-mile range with a 115 mph cruising speed. The pilot can switch from one mode to the other from the driver's seat, simultaneously folding up the wings and shifting the engine power from the rear-mounted propeller to the front wheels in about 30 seconds.

Turtles joining tissues
Using the natural glue that marine mussels use to stick to rocks, and a variation on the inkjet printer, a team of researchers led by North Carolina State University has devised a new way of making medical adhesives that could replace traditional sutures and result in less scarring, faster recovery times and increased precision for exacting operations such as eye surgery.

Traditionally, there have been two ways to join tissue together in the wake of a surgery: sutures and synthetic adhesives. Sutures work well, but require enormous skill and longer operating times. Synthetic adhesives are also widely used, but they are the source of increasing concerns over their toxicological and environmental effects. One such concern with some synthetic medical adhesives is that, because they are not biodegradable they do not break down in the body and therefore may cause inflammation, tissue damage, or other problems. But new research shows that adhesive proteins found in the "glue" produced by marine mussels may be used in place of the synthetic adhesives without these concerns, because they are non-toxic and biodegradable, according to study co-author Dr. Roger Narayan.
Source: physorg.com, news.yahoo.com

By Raida Kifait Reza

Pink Panther in town

STEVE Martin, Jean Reno, Andy Garcia, John Cleese, Aishwarya Rai…not quite the acting ensemble but it's a star cast that works for the film. Since its theatrical release in February 2009, Pink Panther 2 has received varied response from the audience and a mixed review from the critics. A meager box-office success the film has earned a little over 40 million dollars.

Currently, the film has been released by Star Cineplex for the local audience. For the first time a Hollywood production has been released within months of its World Premiere. The plot is simple and comical: Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Steve Martin) teams up with a squad of international detectives who are just as bumbling as he is. Their mission is to stop a globetrotting thief who specialises in stealing historical artifacts. Star Cineplex opened its door to the Bangladeshi audience with a promise of quality entertainment; a pledge which some view has not been kept. Its effort towards promoting quality, local productions deserve much appreciation. They have proved once again that audiences give favourable response to good films, whether they are made in Hollywood, Bollywood or the local scene. Recently, the company has entered into contract, which will allow them to screen Hollywood motion pictures from Universal, Dreamworks and the likes within weeks of their release.

For more information on upcoming movies and show timings log onto www.cineplexbd.com

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif



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