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Magh 9, 1420 Rabiul Awal 20, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 1 No 298

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2014 | www.dhakatribune.com | SECOND EDITION

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Padma bridge funds diverted

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War Crimes Tribunal stuck in maybes

LOST TO A DANGEROUS WORLD

n Udisa Islam

Tk4,600cr shifted to pay dearness allowances for govt employees n Asif Showkat Kallol The government diverted Tk4,600cr from the budget allocation for the Padma bridge, to pay 20% dearness allowances that it had promised public servants in its last term – because of a shortage of funds. Many said this was a clear violation of the Budget Management Act. Finance Minister AMA Muhith admitted that the 20% dearness allowances had been paid out of the Padma bridge fund this fiscal year. After a meeting of the non-concession loan committee at the Finance Division yesterday, Muhith said a large portion from of the Padma bridge funds would hopefully cover the dearness allowances of the government staff this year.

Officials at the Finance Division said it was a gross violation of the public Moneys and Budget Management Act 2009 and no capital expenditure fund can be diverted for revenue expenditure He also said the Padma bridge fund would not be of any use this year as the main physical development of the Padma bridge project may not start before the end of the fiscal year. As per provisions 14 (1) and (2) of the Public Moneys and Budget Management Act 2009, without the approval of the parliament and prior endorsement of the Finance Division, no capital expenditure fund can be diverted for revenue expenditure. Officials at the Finance Division said it was a gross violation of the act to divert the Padma bridge funds for the payment of dearness allowances. Sources in the Budget Division said the size of the 20% dearness allowanc-

INSIDE Business

B1 Negligible presence of foreign visitors-cum-buyers has utterly frustrated the export-oriented manufacturers who are exhibiting products at the Dhaka International Trade Fair that began on January 11.

International

8 Former international prosecutors said Tuesday they have evidence from a defector proving that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has systematically killed and tortured around 11,000 people.

es is estimated to total Tk2,400cr this year, whilst the total amount of salaries and wages to be paid to the public servants is Tk12,000cr. Moreover, this year the government will pay an additional Tk2,000cr in dearness allowances, as it has also promised the allowance to semi-government staff. Muhith’s last budget, for the fiscal year 2013-14, allocated Tk6,852cr for the Padma bridge project under the Bridges Division. He had told the parliament the allocation was made to facilitate the initial work on the bridge and avoid unnecessary delays. Former adviser to the caretaker government AB Mirza Azizul Islam said the government could not divert development project funds that were specifically allocated to revenue expenditure, and that this would be a violation of the Budget Management Act. The government announced a 20% dearness allowance last year and formed a Pay Commission, which is supposed to submit a report on revising the salaries of the 13 lakh government staff. Last week, the government diverted the unspent management funds to pay the salaries and allowances of the Pay Commission for the next six months, which was also said to be a violation of the Budget Management Act. The finance ministry, on January 16, disbursed Tk1.99 crore for the payment of salaries and allowances for the Pay Commission through a circular. Last month, the government diverted a portion of the Tk900 crore stock market refinance scheme to Bangladesh Commerce Bank Ltd (BCB) for the issuing of a rights share. Of that amount, Tk67.5 crore was invested in Bangladesh Commerce Bank Limited, who issued one rights share of Tk100 against existing ones – to increase its paid up capital. l

Restructuring of the war crimes tribunals and the prosecution team has been stuck in a “maybe” situation after the retirement of Justice ATM Fazle Kabir as the chairman of tribunal 1 last month. Proceedings in several cases at the tribunal 1 have remained pending as the government is yet to appoint a new chairman. In this situation, everybody related with the war crimes trial is searching for answer to questions and getting no clear answer from the authorities. Justice Kabir retired on December 31 while keeping the case against Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami in CAV (waiting for judgement). It made everyone puzzled about the verdict. Even the prosecutors are unclear whether they need to place closing arguments in the case again.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 1

ACC to probe ‘illegal’ wealth of ex-judge Motahar n Syed Samiul Basher Anik

A woman walks down the railway track listening to music with earphones stuffed into her ears, completely oblivious to any approaching train. The photo was taken from Karwan Bazar yesterday SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

AL to Khaleda: Apologise in 24hrs n Emran Hossain Shaikh

The ruling Awami League has given BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia 24 hours for withdrawing her statement and apologise to the nation for questioning the country’s sovereignty and interfering in the operations of patriotic armed forces. General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam made the announcement yesterday while expressing his party’s reaction over Khaleda’s speech given at a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on Monday. Also the LGRD minister, Ashraf said the BNP chief had made the comments by not heeding to the apology the daily Inqilab sought for the “false news” it had published on January 16. Khaleda delivered a similar speech on the law enforcer’s crackdown in Satkhira on the people responsible for violence before and after the election saying that the Indian army had carried out the operation together with the Bangladeshi law enforcers. Issuing a note of warning to the BNP chairperson, the AL leader said: “Withdraw your false statement within 24 hours and apologise to the nation. Oth-

erwise, the government will take necessary steps.” He was speaking at a press conference held at the party chief’s Dhanmondi office when party leaders Nul-Ul Alam Lenin, Mahbub-Ul-Alam Hanif, BM Mozammel Haque, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and Hasan Mahmud were present.

‘It is difficult to believe that our law enforcers have conducted such violent drives against their own countrymen.’ The joint forces comprise members from the Border Guard Bangladesh and the police, and sometimes the Rapid Action Battalion. While addressing the party rally, Khaleda said: “It is difficult to believe that our law enforcers have conducted such violent drives against their own countrymen.” She hinted the involvement of outsiders with the joint forces operation in Satkhira district. After the daily newspaper published the report, quoting little-known on-

line media, the law enforcers raided its office, arrested three journalists and sealed off its press. Later, the newspaper apologised for publishing the report without proper verification. “Does she want a fight with our neighbouring countries? A political person cannot make such fearsome comments. The nation did not expect such irresponsible language from a former prime minister,” the AL spokesperson said. “Where does she want to take the country by making this attacking comment on a friendly country?” He said no one had the right to play with the country’s sovereignty, “it is a matter of national security.” Criticising the 18-party chief for her speech “full of lies,” Ashraf said: “She intentionally tried to instigate the neighbouring country by questioning the role of our law enforcers. “Khaleda has a great spleen over everything.  We want immediate stoppage of such situation. None can hinder the strengthening of democracy,” he added.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 4

The Anti-Corruption Commission began an enquiry into “illegal” wealth of retired special judge Motahar Hossain who had acquitted BNP Senior Vice-chairman Tarique Rahman from a money laundering case. “The commission launched the probe following an allegation, scrutinised by three-member ACC team, that found evidences of irregularity,” ACC Commissioner M Shahabuddin yesterday told reporters. The investigation team requested the commissioner concerned to approve the enquiry against the judge. The allegations brought against him are laundering money, amassing illegal wealth beyond known sources of income and abuse of his judicial power, the commissioner said.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 4

Onus on government to hold talks: BNP n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla As part of its strategy the BNP finally dropped the Jamaat and three other political parties from Monday’s Dhaka rally to send a positive message to the ruling party and also to international community that they were sincere about holding talks. Some party insiders said the full responsibility of holding talks now lies with the ruling party Awami League. Despite being a key ally of the BNPled 18-party alliance the exclusion of the Jamaat-e-Islami from Monday’s rally boosted up the party leaders and activists to organise public rally and wage movement alone, they said. A number of senior leaders said they were thinking of leaving out the Jamaat, Islami Oikyo Jote, Khelafat Andolon and Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam from the black flag procession programme on January 29, the first day of the parliament session.

The BNP will observe some more programmes alone in the coming months and will watch the government’s attitude towards the BNP and then they will take the decision on the right wing Islamists political parties. The party, however, will not cut the tie right now as they are yet to get any positive response from the government over the dialogue to hold a fresh elections which the ruling party has hinted earlier. “About 90% people of the country want election under a non-partisan government and the Jamaat is part of it. It is a strategic alliance, not a permanent one. The party on Monday proved that it can organise any sort of programme alone,” Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, adviser to the BNP chairperson, said. A senior leader of the party seeking anonymity said the government had mainly set two conditions for talks –  PAGE 2 COLUMN 1


2

DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

255 Bangladeshi workers detained in Malaysia n Rabiul Islam A total of 255 Bangladeshi workers were detained on the first day of a nationwide crackdown to nab illegal foreign nationals in Malaysia yesterday, reported the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama. It said the illegal immigrants detained under the second phase of the 6P Integrated Operation would be enlisted in the biometric database system to ban their re-entry to Malaysia. Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said all illegal foreign nationals held in the nationwide crackdown which began late last night, would be deported to their countries of origin within seven days. “Their repatriation will not be borne by the Malaysian government, but by their employers or the respective foreign embassies,” he told reporters at the Police Training Centre yesterday. He said among the 1,565 illegal immigrants held in 107 operations nationwide, 695 are Indonesians, 255 Bangladeshis, 157 Myanmarese and the rest are from Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, China, Nigeria and Thailand. Hamidi said the illegal immigrants

who had no valid travel documents or work permits, were detained under the Immigration Act 1959/63, Passport Act 1966, Immigration Regulations 1963 and Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007. The operation carried out by relevant law enforcement agencies would continue until the year-end to detect, detain, charge and deport foreign illegals, according to the report. Meanwhile, Bangladeshi Minister for Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune on Monday that the government had nothing to do with those who failed to become legalised. He asked the undocumented Bangladeshi workers to return home to avoid harassment and punishment. According to the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia, around 5,00,000 Bangladeshis currently are working in Malaysia. The Malaysian minister said the operation involved 2,015 personnel from various agencies including the Immigration Department, Rela, police, Civil Defence Department, National Registration Department and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. l

General Secretary of the Awami League Syed Ashraful Islam speaks at a press conference at the party’s Dhanmondi office yesterday

RAJIB DHAR

Upazila polls: AL opts for single candidate EC to rule out loan defaulters for upazila poll n Emran Hossain Shaikh The ruling Awami League has asked the party grassroots to support single candidate in the upcoming upazila parishad elections. The instruction was given through a letter signed by General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam to the presidents and secretaries of district units, party insiders confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune.

The letters could be sent today. The Election Commission has declared schedule for polls in 102 upazilas on February 19. Sources said the grassroots leaders had been asked to choose party candidates through joint meetings of the districts committee with the presidents and secretaries of ward, union and upazila units. Organising Secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tri-

bune that as a local-body election, there was no scope for a party to interfere officially. He said the party’s central committee had decided to support a single candidate in each upazila parishad. Khalid, however, said he was not aware of issuance of letters. Sources said the last working committee meeting, headed by party President Sheikh Hasina, made the decision on January 18. l

n Mohammad Zakaria The Election Commission has sought a list of the loan defaulters from the financial division of the Bangladesh Bank prior to the upazila parishad poll slated for February 19. EC officials said the commission sought the information as the loan defaulters would not be allowed to take part in the poll. Signed by EC Secretary Muhammed

Sadique, the commission yesterday sent the letter to the Credit Information Bureau of Bangladesh Bank requesting to send the list to the returning officers. Upon receiving the information, the returning officers would cancel nominations of those found to be defaulters. The EC also sent a letter to the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, directing them not to take up any development

project in their respective areas until completion of the poll. It also sent a letter to the Home Ministry to take preparation for ensuring security during the poll, keeping the law enforcers on alert. The commission sent a letter to the public administration and the cabinet division asking for sufficient manpower to hold the polls and not to reshuffle posts under the administration ahead of the poll. l

2 murdered in 2 districts Special security to prevent

‘Tarique may get bail after surrender’ n Tribune Report n Rabiul Islam Two people were killed in Jhenaidah BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman can secure bail if he surrenders to the trial court in the money laundering case following the High Court order. Law Minister Anisul Haque said this while answering queries of reporters about brining Tarique Rahman from the United Kingdom. The law minister was talking to reporters after the meeting with British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Gibson at his office at secretariat yesterday. “It is Tarique’s own matter if he will surrender but as part of legal process he can get bail after surrendering to the trial court,” Anisul said. On Sunday, the HC ordered Tarique to surrender before the Dhaka court that acquitted him in a Tk20 crore money laundering case. The HC bench of Justice Nizamul Huq and Justice Jahangir Hossain passed the order accepting the appeal for hearing filed on December 5 by the Anti-Corruption Commission for convicting Tarique. The bench also directed the trial court to release Tarique after his surrender subject to its own satisfaction. l

and Brahmanbaria yesterday. Both the victims were missing on the previous day and later found dead, report our correspondents. In Jhenaidah, an abducted easy bike diver was hacked and burnt to death at village Udoypur under Jhenaidah sadar upazila on Monday night. The massacred body was recovered from a tobacco field in the village yesterday. The deceased was Rasel Ahmed, 20, of village Kumrabaria. Rasel might be killed by the miscreants who tried to snatch the batteries of the easy bike, the police suspected. Jhenaidah police station Officer-in-Charge Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury said Rasel left his house around 9am in the morning of Monday for professional purposes. But he did not return accordingly. The law enforcers have recovered the body severely affected with a number of stab injuries and burn signs, while there was no battery in the three-wheeler. The burn incident of a youth has created panic among

the three wheeler drivers and common people, the OC said. A case was filed with Jhenaidah police. The body was sent to Jhenaidah Sadar Hospital morgue for post mortem examination. No one was arrested till filling of this report on Tuesday afternoon, the police said. In Brahmanbaria, a girl was found dead in a graveyard in village Kalishimul in Sarail yesterday. The deceased was Farzana Akhtar Moyna, 19, of the village. Locals said the family members of Moyna went to a village fair on Monday night. They did not find her in her room when they came back on yesterday morning. Later, locals spotted the body in the graveyard and informed police. Family members said Moyna was kidnapped by Alfaj Mia, of village Lopara, about three months ago. They filed a GD and rescued her after 12 days of the incident. Alfaj might have killed her, they claimed. SI Forhad Abbas of Sarail police station said they did not find any sign of raping during the primary investigation. The body was sent to a morgue for post mortem examination, he added. l

the BNP has to shun violence and cut its tie with the Jamaat. “By holding rally alone yesterday we have showed our positive gesture and now the government has to respond positively. We are planning to hold January 29 programme alone too,” he said. The BNP leader also said: “If you listen to the speech carefully you will see

the party chairperson stressed on the word “peaceful” and expressed eagerness for talks.” The BNP has already backtracked from announcing any tough programme like hartal and blockade and decided to go for soft programmes in the coming months like demonstrations and meetings and hinted at rallies in districts across the country, said party insiders.

However, the party is not willing to leave Jamaat right now. But as the European Union parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday urging the BNP to distance itself from the Jamaat and Hefazat the party planned to observe its programmes for the next few months alone, they said. The EU parliament stressed that “parties which turn to terrorist acts should be banned.” l

War Crimes Tribunal stuck in maybes  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali answered in the affirmative: “Maybe we need to argue again before the new tribunal.” When asked about formation of the new tribunal, he said: “We may get a new chairman this week.” About re-hearing in Nizami case, prosecutor Tureen Afroz said: “A new judge may invite new arguments but it is not mandatory.” Defence counsel Tajul Islam claimed that the new chairman should hear both parties as “he has to take part in the judgement.” Meanwhile, the prosecution thinks some rearrangement may happen in their team as some prosecutors has no work to do.

Source said it could not be confirmed who would get the chance to continue and who not. Those who have not conducted any case may be dropped. Currently, there are 22 prosecutors for the six cases at the two tribunals. The team conducted the Nizami trial now has no work and it maybe reshuffled. Sources said some prosecutors had not conducted any case since the formation of the tribunal in 2010 and had no involvement with cases or as researchers. Prosecutor Shahedur Rahman said: “We are not sure about this. The prosecution always works as a team. So, 22 members are not too much.” He, however, agreed that all prose-

n Mohammad Zakaria The Election Commission has planned to take special security measures in the upcoming upazila parishad polls to prevent any kind of violence. A senior EC official yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune that the commission would prepare the security plan for deploying law enforcement in the upazila parishad polls at a meeting tomorrow with the law enforcement agencies. Then the commission would hold another meeting with the returning officers and heads of the law enforcement agencies, he said. The senior official also said the commission would decide at a full commission meeting whether it would deploy the army in the polls. The commission would take that decision by examining intelligence reports and the views of senior law enforcement officials, he said. Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), police,

ansar, VDP, Armed Police Battalion and the Coast Guard will be deployed in the polls. Striking and mobile forces will be deployed two days before the polls and stay for a day after, the official said. Election Commissioner Mohammad Abu Hafiz yesterday said the EC would take special security measures to hold upazila parishad polls in a free and fair manner. The commission will hold a meeting with the principle staff officer of the Armed Forces Division, senior secretary of home ministry, IGP, director generals of BGB, Rab, Ansar and VDP and Coast Guard, NSI and DGFI tomorrow. The EC would deploy additional police, ansar and VDP at vulnerable polling centres. At ordinary polling centres, 21 law enforcement personnel will be deployed and 25 personnel will be deployed at vulnerable polling centres. Besides, 25 personnel will be deployed in Chittagong Hill Tracts area and Haor

areas, EC officials said. They also said BGB and Coast Guard will be deployed for five days and Rab and armed police battalion will be deployed for seven days in the upazila polls. The commission has decided to hold the 487 upazila parishads polls in phases across the country. The first phase of the election, at 102 upazilas, will be held on February 19. Election Commissioner Md Shah Newaz yesterday said the commission may announce the schedule for the second phase of upazila parishads tomorrow. EC sources said the chief election commissioner would announce the schedule of the second phase of the upazila polls after the meeting with the law enforcement agencies. Shah Newaz said the commission would set up polling centres for holding the upazila polls at the same venues that were used in the 10th parliamentary polls. l

ACC to probe ‘illegal’ wealth of ex-judge Motahar

Onus on government to hold talks: BNP  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

violence at upazila polls

cutors had not been active. “Maybe the newly-appointed officials will think about it. If the government thinks to cut or reshuffle the team, we have nothing to do.” When asked about the appointment of a new chairman, Arunav Chakrabarty, deputy register of the tribunal, said: “Maybe it will happen this week or the next. The government is taking all required steps they need to.” This month, the tribunal 1 deferred the proceedings in cases against Mobarak Hossain, Zahidul Islam alias Khokon Razakar and two contempt cases. Everybody is assuming that the government may appoint a new chairman before the next hearing date, January 24. l

 PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

ACC sources said the commission had already appointed its Deputy Director Harun-ur-Rashid as investigation officer to probe the matter. It also imposed a bar on the foreign trip of the former judge. Motahar bought a house in London where his son is studying. He also bought two apartments in Dhanmondi and he owns a lot of land in his village Natore. In regards to another query the commissioner said ACC is a prosecution organisation and it had appealed to the court after the acquittal of Tarique

Rahman in the money laundering case in which his friend was found guilty.  “Following ACC’s appeal, the court directed him [Tarique] to surrender before the court. It is on him now whether he would follow the directive of the High Court,” he said. The HC on Sunday asked BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman to surrender before it in the money laundering case. The court accepted the petition lodged by the ACC that appealed against the lower court verdict that acquitted Tarique Rahman in the afore-

mentioned money laundering case. While contacted, Commission Chairman M Bodiuzzaman told the Dhaka Tribune that they had heard about the allegation against the judge earlier and therefore decided to an enquiry into the allegation. Replying to a query, he said the appeal has got to do nothing with any political connection. The ACC appealed to the court as it was not clear to the ACC as to why Giasuddin Mamun was found guilty in the same case while Tarique was acquitted. “Now it is the matter of the court,” he said. l

AL to Khaleda: Apologise in 24hrs  PAGE 1 COLUMN 4

Ashraf alleged that the Jamaat-Shibir activists had joined Monday’s rally though no identified leaders were seen on the dais. “They joined the rally with arms and the government has evidence,” he claimed. Regarding the interference of foreign diplomats in the country’s politics, the minister said: “Khaleda Zia has surrendered to ambassadors for power. She thought some ambassadors will make her the country’s prime minister. It is not good for our country.” Khaleda failed to uphold the image of the country, he said. “Apart from affect-

ing her own image, she also ruined the credibility of the country by involving foreign powers into our internal matters.” He claimed: “We do not have image crisis and not in shortage of friendly countries. So why will we allow the interference of foreigners in our internal political issues?” Mentioning about several meetings of the AL with foreign envoys, he said: “We talked about bilateral issues with them. Some time, they [envoys] want to discuss about our politics but we have not allowed this.” Regardless country or alliance, the AL would not let them indulge in Ban-

gladesh’s politics. Ashraf claimed that the people were confused about the BNP’s actual political stance as its central leadership was divided into many streams. There were two high-commands within the party. “Their politics is being operated by two heads.” Regarding dialogue between the two major parties, the AL leader said: “Few days ago, Tarique Rahman [Khaleda’s son and senior vice-chairman of BNP] said no dialogue will be held with the government while Khaleda Zia said holding a dialogue is a must. They could not come to a consensus on whether they actually want a dialogue.” l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

3

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Six BNP leaders refused bail, remain in jail Sakib and n Nazmus Md Sanaul Islam Tipu Six detained BNP leaders have to remain behind bars as their bail pleas in different cases were rejected yesterday. Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Asaduzzaman Noor denied bail to BNP standing committee members Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar and Rafiqul Islam Miah, vice-chairman Hafizuddin Ahmed and chairperson’s special assistant Shimul Biswas. Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Md Jahrul Haque refused bail to ASM Hannan Shah, who is accused in three cases filed during recent anti-government protests. However, Moudud, Anwar, Rafiqul, Shimul and  BNP chairperson’s adviser Abdul Awal Mintoo were granted bail by the High Court bench of Justice Nizamul Huq and Md Jahangir Hossain in two other cases filed with Motijheel police station. Of them, only Mintoo could be released from jail any time as no other case remains against him. In another HC ruling yesterday, the bench of Justice Salma Masud Chowdhury and Justice Md Habibul Gani directed the law enforcing agencies not to harass Hannan Shah or show him

arrested in any new case without due process. The same bench ordered law enforcers not to harass BNP joint secretary Salauddin Ahmed or search his residences without a warrant. Salauddin was freed on bail in all the six cases lodged against him, his lawyer, Kaisar Kamal, said. The court also issued a rule seeking an explanation from the government and law enforcers within four weeks on why raids conducted recently at Salauddin’s residences without search warrants should not be declared as illegal, Kaisar said. Another High Court bench, comprising Justice Naima Haider and Justice Zafar Ahmed, found the two-day police remand order of BNP leader Khandker Mahbub Hossain illegal. On January 8, a Dhaka court granted the remand order against Mahbub in a case related to blasting crude bombs near the Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Ramna office on January 4. The order was stayed by the HC on January 9. BNP leaders Moudud, Anwar and Rafiqul were arrested in front of the Sonargaon Hotel on November 8, while Mintoo and Shimul were picked up outside BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan residence a few hours later the same day. l

Gibson calls for dialogue n Abu Hayat Mahmud

British High Commissioner Robert Gibson has urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to take concrete steps towards engaging in dialogue to solve the political crisis as soon as possible. The British envoy made the statement after attending a meeting with Communications Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday at Setu Bhaban in the capital. The British High Commissioner said in the meeting he had requested the communications minister to go through the statement of British Senior Foreign Office Minister Syeda Hossain Warsi on the January 5 poll and the transcript of the UK parliament debate on Bangladesh. “The debate addressed issues of democratic accountability of the country and urged the government to take rapid steps to address political differences through a dialogue involving all political parties,” he said.

Gibson further said the statements of the chiefs of two major political parties after the January polls seemed to show that they were interested in dialogue. He urged the government to take rapid steps to hold dialogue with all political parties and ensure everyone’s voting rights. “The UK is a large investor in Bangladesh and we hope to continue that,” he added. Obaidul met reporters after two separate meetings with envoys of the UK and South Korea. Quader said the UK envoy talked about the current political situation, and the Korean ambassador had discussed investment in the Padma Bridge. The minister said he had discussed the Padma Bridge with Korean Ambassador Lee Yun Young. Two Korean companies – Samsung Engineering and Terim Construction – have applied for the construction of the bridge. “The construction will start by June this year,” he said. l

Winter vegetables pour in at a kitchen market in the capital yesterday. However, consumers complained that the prices were still too high

BNP: AL has to pay n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla The BNP yesterday warned that the ruling party would have to pay dearly in future for the one-sided parliamentary election. The BNP’s warning came hot on the heels of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s statement that the BNP has to suffer for boycotting the polls. “When 95% people boycotted election mockery the Awami League president said BNP would have to pay for not participating in the polls. Her statement proves that she wants to go with the unelected clowns,” Asaduzzaman Ripon, international affairs secretary of the party. It cannot be a people’s government as they did not go to cast their votes. The prime minister is not saying it in public but she is certainly realising the truth. And that’s why the ruling party has to pay politically in future, Riponn said this to ournalists at a press briefing at party’s Nayapaltan headquarters. l

Bangladesh worse in human rights: HRW n Tribune Report The US based watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its World Report 2014 said the Bangladesh had tumbled backward on human rights in 2013. The report, released yesterday, accused the government of engaging in a harsh crackdown on members of civil society, the media, and the political opposition. The report said, “The authorities arbitrarily arrested members of the main opposition party, the BNP.” The report said violent street protests broke out in Bangladesh in February and continued throughout the year, killing nearly 200 and injuring thousands. “The earlier protests were linked to decisions by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a domestic court set up to put

on trial those responsible for war crimes and other abuses during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971,” said the report. Street violence continued after the main opposition alliance decided to boycott elections scheduled for January 5. While the political parties failed to restrain their supporters from engaging in violence, state forces, on occasion, used excessive force to restore law and order, said the report. It said convicted war criminal and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla’s execution led to further protests and violence at the end of the year. The authorities often employed violent and illegal measures against protesters, and failed to initiate any investigations into credible allegations of unlawful deaths at the hands of its security forces, the report said. l

SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

HC stays proceedings in Adilur case

n Nazmus Sakib

The High Court yesterday halted for three months the cyber crimes case lodged against Adilur Rahman Khan, secretary of rights body Odhikar, and ASM Nasir Uddin Elan, director of the organisation. The bench of Justice Borhanuddin and Justice KM Kamrul Kader passed the order following an appeal filed under the Code of Criminal Procedure to discharge them from the case. Confirming to the Dhaka Tribune, Md Asaduzzaman, lawyer for the petitioners, said the court had given the stay order and summoned the case details from the trial court. The case was filed for providing distorted information regarding the law enforcers’ operation on Hefazat-e-Islam’s Motijheel rally on May 5 last year. On January 8, Dhaka’s Cyber Crime Tribunal Judge KM Shamsul Alam indicted the duo in the case after dismissing a discharge petition. They appealed against the order with the High Court. l

‘Interrogate Moudud at jail gate’ n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu

A Dhaka court yesterday fixed January 27 for hearing a graft case against senior BNP leader Moudud Ahmed and his brother Monjur Ahmed filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission. ACC Deputy Director and investigation officer of the case Harunur Rashid filed a petition before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court to show Moudud arrested in the case and quiz him for

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina talks to the Ambassador of United Arab Emirates at her office yesterday

BC

Solar panels not mandatory for new power lines n Aminur Rahman Rasel The government is considering withdrawing the requirement to install solar panels for new electricity connections to households. State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid yesterday said the alternate power method will not be encouraged in urban areas anymore; rather, its use will be encouraged in rural areas. He was speaking to officials of the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) at a meeting at the Power Division. The REHAB members urged the state minister to fix the commercial price rate of electricity for developers during construction of buildings.

There is no fixed rate for the construction period at present, and the government charges real estate companies double the commercial rate during construction of a building. Nasrul, who is also the president of REHAB, assured the officials of considering their demand. According to the Power Division, new domestic connections consuming up to 2kW of electricity do not require installation of solar panels, but exceeding that range requires installing solar panels producing 3% electricity of the demand. REHAB Vice-President Abdur Rashid told the meeting that the government had started giving new connections to households on November 7, 2011 after a gap of several months. The

government asked consumers to install solar panels as a requirement for new connections, but it also seemed that it was not mandatory. “But we have seen that consumers have been compelled to install solar panels,” he said. The Power Division in an order on that date said it would ask consumers to install solar panels as a prerequisite to getting household electricity connections, but it also said in another clause that it would “request” consumers to set up solar panels. Power Secretary Monwar Islam, REHAB Vice-President Liakat Ali Bhuiyan, acting general secretary Md Sydul Islam Badal, executive member Sheikh Md Shoyeb Uddin, among others, were present at the meeting. l

Argument in Sayedee appeals case starts Jan 28 n Nazmus Sakib The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday set January 28 to begin arguments in the appeals case of death row convict war criminal Delawar Hossain Sayedee. The five-member top court bench headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain passed the order in response to a defence time plea that sought four weeks. The arguments were supposed to begin yesterday as the defence the same day completed reading out the testimonies of 28 prosecution witnesses and 17 of the defence given at the International Crimes Tribunal. Abu Bakar Siddique, a defence lawyer, told the Dhaka Tribune that they had sought time as two of their senior counsels were not available. Chief defence counsel Abdur Razzaq, also a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, was abroad while another counsel Khandker Mahbub Hossain, also an adviser to the BNP chief, in prison, he said. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and Deputy Attorney General Ekramul Hoque represented the government during yesterday’s hearing. l

three working days at the Jail gate. Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the order for hearing the petition on January 27 with the presence of the accused. According to the case statement, on December 17 last year, ACC Deputy Director Harunur Rashid filed the case with Gulshan police against Moudud and his brother Manjur Ahmed for occupying government land worth Tk300 crore in Gulshan, abusing power.

The land belonged to Inje Maria Flaz and her husband M Ehsan, Pakistani citizens, who left the country before the Liberation War in 1971, the case statement said. The property, declared abandoned, was seized by Moudud Ahmed with forged documents using his position as a civil servant during 1978 to 2006. Moudud Ahmed defended the property several times producing documents that his brother had rented the land from its previous owners. l


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Private varsities hiring more full-time faculty New trend reducing dependency on part-time, visiting teachers n Mushfique Wadud Private universities that used to depend mostly on part-time and visiting teachers from public universities are now appointing a significant number of faculty in full-time positions. According to the recently released University Grants Commission 2012 annual report, about 68 percent of the teaching staff in the country’s 78 private universities is now engaged full time. UGC officials said the trend was significant and would help to ensure quality education in the private universities. In 2012, the total number of teachers in private universities was 12,113, with 8,178 full-time teachers and 3,935 in parttime or contractual posts, the report said. Of the full-time teachers, 623 were professors, 421 associate professors, 1,508 assistant professors and 5,268 lecturers, while the rest were teaching assistants. The part-time teachers included 1,066 professors, 605 associate professors, 757 assistant professors and 1,274 lecturers and 233 teaching assistants. The report said 1,181 more full-time teachers were appointed in 2012 than

the previous year. It also said the teacher-student ratio had improved over the years. In 2012, the average teacher-student ratio was 1:26, an improvement over the 1:40 ratio in 2011. “The number of full-time teachers has been increasing in private universities over the years,” said Atful Hye Shibly, a UGS member who is in charge of private universities. “These are very positive developments. Ensuring good quality education would be impossible if private universities did not have adequate number of full-time teachers,” he added. Shibly said the commission had been putting pressure on private universities to increase the number of fulltime teachers, and now they were at a satisfactory level. Since private universities started their journey in 1992, the institutions were mainly dependent on part-time and visiting teachers from state-run universities. Leading educationists have long recommended increasing the number of full-time teachers in private universities to ensure better education. l

Members of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front bring out a procession on Dhaka University campus yesterday to mark three decades of their political movement

Arms, explosives, seized; four arrested

College girl rescued three months after abduction n Tribune Report teenage Islami Chhatra Shibir activist, n Our Correspondent, Lakshmipur Awho sustained bullet wounds during a A college girl was rescued from the city’s Rayerbag area on Monday three months after her abduction from Mandari Bazaar of Lakshmipur sadar upazila. Police arrested two persons in this connection. The arrestees were Sohag, 25, and his father Abdur Rab, 50, of Somaspur village under Lakshmipur sadar upazila. Acting on a tip-off, police conducted a drive at the house of Sohag at Kadamtali in the city on Monday afternoon and arrested him along with his father. Later, they were sent to Lakshmipur Sadar police station on Tuesday. Sub-Inspector of Lakshmipur sadar police station Razib Sharma said Sohag had abducted the girl of the same locality from Mandari Bazaar on October 20, 2013. Afterwards, father of victim lodged a case with Sadar police station on October 22 against five people under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act. Officer-in-charge of Lakshmipur Sadar police station Md Iqbal Hossain said the arrestees would be produced before a court. The victim was sent to Lakshimpur Sadar Hospital for medical test. l

WEATHER

Dry weather likely n UNB Weather is likely to remain dry with temporary partly cloudy sky over the country in next 24 hours till 6pm today. Moderate to thick fog may occur over the country during night till morning, said sources at Met Office. Night temperature may fall slightly and day temperature may remain nearly unchanged over the country. The sun sets in the capital today at 5:37 pm and rises tomorrow at 6:42am. Country’s highest temperature 28.9 degree Celsius was recorded yesterday in Sylhet and lowest 10.2 degrees in Srimangal. Highest and lowest temperature and humidity recorded in some major cities and towns yesterday were: City

High

Low

Dhaka Chittagong Rajshahi Rangpur Khulna Barisal Sylhet Cox’s Bazar

22.4 25.0 20.5 23.3 18.4 22.6 28.9 27.5

13.2 15.0 12.6 13.0 13.0 13.2 13.1 17.5

PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha

5:24am 6:43am 12:10am 4:02pm 5:37pm 6:56pm

Source: IslamicFinder.org

Police also detained three men who were residing in the room. They were identified as Ismail Hossain, Nurer Safa Master and Faruq Hossain. Bhuiyan said they suspect that Jamaat-Shibir activists had stored the explosives for sabotage in the area. Meantime, Rab 7 personnel discovered two abandoned tin pots, wrapped in red duct tape, from the 9th floor of a private medical centre in the port city’s Pobartak intersection around 10 am. The elite force’s bomb disposal unit later found the pots to be empty, said Major Mohammad Jahangir Alam, commanding officer of Rab 7 Chandgaon Camp. He added that someone likely left the pots _ wrapped to look like crude bombs _ for creating panic in the area. Our Chittagong correspondent adds: Police arrested a Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal leader with two light guns, a one-barrel gun and 10 rounds of cartridges from

Chittagong City Gate area last night. Acting on a tip-off, a team of Sitakunda police conducted a drive in the area around 7:30pm and nabbed Shahadat Hossain Chhoton alias Chhottu, 35, who is allegedly the second-in-command of a notorious local gang, known as “Yiakub Bahini”, said Iftekhar Hasan, officer-in-charge of Sitakunda police station. Police seized the firearms and ammunition from Chhottu and took him to the police station. A case was lodged with Sitakunda police in this connection. The officer said Chhottu and his gang were involved in committing robbery in the area for a long time. In a separate incident, police in Brahmanbaria nabbed three Jamaat activists with a large number of books and leaflets from an office of Islamic Life Insurance at Banchharampur upazila. l

clash with law enforcers on Sunday in Sundarganj upazila of Gaibandha, died at a Bogra hospital early yesterday. Sohanur Rahman Sohag, 14, was a class 8 student and a resident of Ramvodrorajbari village in Sundarganj, according to police. He was also reportedly a member of Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami. Confirming Sohag’s death, Mir Rayhan Siddik, a sub-inspector at Silimpur police outpost in Bogra town, said the boy was admitted on Sunday to the Shahid Ziaur Rahman Medical College and Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries around 3am yesterday. On Sunday, activists of JamaatShibir, armed with bamboo sticks and sharp weapons, confined a police team that had gone to Kadamtala and

Khanabari villages, known as JamaatShibir strongholds, to arrest suspects in cases filed in connection with a violent attack on a police outpost at Bamondanga that left four policemen dead on February 28, moments after Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee was given the death penalty for war crimes. Later on Sunday, the armed activists clashed with members of joint forces sent to rescue the police team, leaving 50 people, including 22 cops, wounded. Meanwhile, law enforcers in Chittagong in separate drives yesterday seized explosives, guns and fake bombs and arrested four suspects, including a Jubo Dal leader. Imtiaz Bhuiyan, officer-in-charge of Mirsarai police station, said they recovered explosives from a Muslim graveyard, and found three signal flares along with a large number of JamaatShibir leaflets and books from a room next to a mosque at Mayani area.

16 injured in attack on wedding convoy n Our Correspondent, Cox’s Bazar

Barguna upazila chairman, 4 BNP leaders sent to jail

Contempt rule against N'ganj DC n Nazmus Sakib

At least 16 persons including policeman were injured as robbers attacked a bridal convoy on the Cox’s BazarTeknaf Highway in Panerchhara area yesterday. The gang of robbers put up barricade on the way highway. The robbers spared nobody. Babul, brother of the bridegroom Shyamol, also a policeman, was also injured. A total of 16 bridal party men received injuries. The robbers also beat up women. The attack continued for more than one hour. They robbed over 15 bhori gold ornaments, mobile phones including valuables. After the incident, the robbers disappeared into the nearest hill. When contacted, Appela Raju Naha, acting office-in-charge of Ramu upazila confirmed the incident. l

n Our Correspondent, Barisal

The High Court yesterday issued a rule on the Narayanganj deputy commissioner and six others asking why it should not take legal steps on charge of contempt of court relating to a land suit. The bench of Justice Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Ashraful Kamal ordered the respondents to explain the matter in two weeks. The order came in response to a contempt petition filed by Ibrahim Molla, a local in Narayanganj. The petitioner said in the plea that he had bought 40 decimal land in 1975 from one Satyaranjan Das Gupta. But since it was under possession of others, he could not enjoy the property which prompted him to lodge a suit. l

A Barguna court yesterday rejected the bail petitions of Sadar Upazila Parishad Chairman and four other BNP leaders and sent them to jail. The five jailed BNP leaders are: Lt Col (retd) Abdul Khalek, chairman of Barguna Sadar Upazila Parishad and convener of district Krishak Dal, Rashedul Hasan, organizing secretary of municipal BNP, Mainul Islam, district president of Matsyajibi Dal, Shahjalal, president of district Olama Dal, and Mojibor Rahman, vice-president of Ward No 2 of municipal BNP. Court sources said BNP leader

Khalek was accused in four cases, which includes arson on voting centers, buses and assault on law enforcers. Three other BNP leaders have been accused in two cases, including arson, attack on buses and assault on law enforcers. After surrendering to the court yesterday, the accused BNP leaders appealed for bail. However, Senior Judicial Magistrate Md Masum Billah rejected their petitions and sent them to jail, as the cases filed against them were lodged under the non-bailable sections of the Special Power Act and the Speedy Trial Act. l

Jamaat calls half-day hartal n Our Correspondent, Meherpur Jamaat-e-Islami Meherpur unit has called a half day hartal in the district today protesting the murder of its Assistant General Secretary Tariq Muhammad Saiful Islam. Islam, 35, died on Monday in a gun fight with the members of the joint force at the Shwashan ghat area on the outskirt of the town. The deceased’s wife and family members alleged that members of the law enforcement agencies murdered him in a pre-planned manner and coloured it as a “gun fight.” Police arrested Tariq from Islami Bank area on Sunday afternoon in nine cases filed for vandalism during BNPenforced hartal and blockade, Reazul Islam, officer-in-charge of the Sadar police station said. l

SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

DU BCL assault 4 'Shibir' activists n Arif Ahmed

Members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Dhaka University unit yesterday assaulted four university students and handed them over to police, saying they were members of the Islami Chattra Shibir. The detainees are fourth year student Borhan, third year student Moudud and second year student Faruk of the Islamic History and Culture department, and Rakib, a fresher. Witnesses said, a group of Chhatra League activists from the Shahid Sergeant Zahurul Haq Hall unit, led by its secretary general Al Naihiun Khan Joy, swooped on the four suspected Shibir activists and severely beat them with wooden stumps and iron rods at around 4:00pm in the afternoon. Later, the Chhatra League men handed over the four suspects to the police. l

Former SEC chairman Sultan-uz-Zaman Khan dies n Tribune Report

Day labourers work at Sirajganj town embankment on the west side of the Jamuna River yesterday. The project, financed by the World Bank, is going on slowly DHAKA TRIBUNE

Sultan-uz-Zaman Khan, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, died yesterday at the age of 83, says a press release. Sultan, who joined the Pakistan Civil Service in 1955, served as the commissioner for Khulna division in 1970. After the country's independence, he served as the secretary for the shipping, inland waterways and aviation in 1973. From 1977 to 1992, he was a senior international civil servant for the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok. Sultan served the Securities and Exchange Commission of Bangladesh from 1993 to 1996 as its chairman. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and two granddaughters. His family requests all friends and well-wishers to join the Qulkhwani at Gulshan Azad Mosque today after Maghrib prayers. l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

IRREGULARITIES AT BANGLADESH ROAD TRANSPORT AUTHORITY

Licence without driving skills available for some extra bucks Brokers, corrupt officers, and a bit of money make you a certified driver in no time Firoz Alam, who needs to ride a mo- takes around five to seven months and You have to fill up the learners form n Tazlina Zamila Khan and the rest of the work will be done torcycle for his job as a medical repre- costs around Tk7,500. Illegal backdoor channels have become a popular choice for people without driving skills to skip the required tests and acquire driving licenses for additional fees. Brokers, usually posing as internal officers of the BRTA, constantly lurk around the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) office in the capital’s Mirpur 13 area, looking for licence-seekers who might be willing to pay some extra cash to skip the lengthy official processes. It was around 10am yesterday when SM Sumon, who was waiting in front of the information booth at the BRTA’s Mirpur office, was approached by a broker. Shahin, the broker, asked Sumon if he wanted to be issued a licence. When Sumon replied that he did not know how to drive, Shahin said: “It is okay.

by us. But you have to pay extra money to get a license through backdoor channels. “It will cost over Tk10,000 for an illegal licence but you will get it within two months. You also do not need to go for the driving test, as we will manage it. Around 15-20 brokers like Shahin operate outside the BRTA office, with each individual securing the service of potential clients from respective territories that include the car parking lot, both sides of the entrance and in front of the information counter. Monir, another broker, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We usually get two or three clients every day. Every group usually has a minimum of two members and takes minimum Tk1,000 from each client. So, we can earn Tk2,0004,000 per day.”

sentative, said: “I went to the BRTA for driving license and a broker did all the things. I only filled up a learners form and provided attested medical certificate.” Another applicant, Hanif Sarker, said he had learnt a little driving during his six-month stint as a pickup van helper. Later, he made a deal for Tk10,500 with a broker and got the driving licence within two-and-half months. Rajib Rahman, another licence-seeker, however was determined to get his documentation through the legal channels. “Although brokers tried to lure me, they failed. I will wait whatever time it takes to be issued a legal driving license. I have passed five months roaming around the office,” he said. The legal process of issuing license

5

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Applicants require passing a driving test for their licences, but the test can be bypassed if brokers are hired to acquire the licence. According to the BRTA, the country has 45 driving schools and the number of authorized driving license is 982,475. BRTA Director (engineering) Saiful Haque said: “The BRTA established a board called Driving Competency Test Board for issuing licences. The board issues certificate for those who pass the driving test. So, it is not possible for anyone to get a licence without knowing how to drive.” Saying he was not aware of any backdoor channels, Saiful added that punishment would be handed out if there was proof against anyone or if anyone was caught red-handed for being involved in illegal business. l

RU students issue ultimatum against evening courses n RU Correspondent The students of Rajshahi University yesterday gave the authorities seven days’ ultimatum demanding that the authorities withdraw plans to introduce evening masters courses in seven departments. They observed a half an hour sit-in programme in front of the administrative building. Later, they submitted the memorandum to Vice-Chancellor Prof Mizanuddin and gave seven days to meet their demands. They also vowed to launch tougher movement if the demands were not met. Around 11am, over 100 students and teachers under the banner of “Teachers-Students against Evening Courses” initiated by the Progressive Students’ Alliance brought out a protest procession on the campus. The authorities recently took the measures for social sciences faculty, nearly three years after a similar mea-

sure had been shelved upon students’ opposition. Currently, evening courses are ongoing in BBA and law faculties. The students have been demonstrating over the demands since Saturday. The two other demands are stopping further admission of students in the evening programmes under BBA and law faculties, and to stop increasing fees. University unit Kendriya Sangskritik Jote expressed solidarity with the demands. Meanwhile, the admission test for first year Honours courses at Rajshahi University (RU) for the 2013-14 academic year will begin from 23rd January and continue till 27th January. The 2013-14 admission exam schedule for the university can be downloaded from the university’s website at http://admission.ru.ac.bd This year, around 1, 68,224 students are competing for a total of 3,600 seats from 49 departments under eight faculties. l

Fake cigarettes worth Tk2 crore seized in Pabna n Our Correspondent, Pabna

Woman found dead in Old Dhaka

Police sized fake cigarettes worth Tk2 crore and unearthed a fake cigarette factory at Ishwardi in Pabna on Mondy night. Two persons were arrested in this connection. Police said the owner of the factory Md Gias Uddin was producing fake cigarettes using British Tobacco Company’s brand since long on airport road at the upazila. Police seized cigarettes and cigarette manufacturing machines from the factory. Police said the arrestees— Hasanul Haque Uzzal and Al Amin— were the workers of the factory, but the owner fled. l

A woman was found dead at her flat in Jurain area of Old Dhaka yesterday. Her husband was found unconscious by her side. The deceased was Samartha Begum, 50, and her husband was Nurul Islam, 65. Monir Hossain, a relative of the couple, said the couple lived on the second floor of the house. They had a tenant named Abdur Razzak. Razzak found them unconscious in the morning and informed Monir. Razzak and Monir brought a local doctor who declared her dead but they took Samartha to Dhaka Medical College Hospital to reconfirm. Razzak has been missing since the incident, said Monir. “Some of the neighbors saw Razzak talking to Nurul around 12:30am in front of the house,” he claimed. Mazharul Islam, officer-in-charge of Kodomtoli police station, said Nurul was under treatment at the DMCH. “The whole thing will be revealed after Nurul gets back to sense. The body was sent to DMC morgue for post mortem examination,” he said. DMCH doctors suspected that the victims were doped. l

n Tribune Report

Youth jailed for stalking

n Our Correspondent, Natore A mobile court yesterday sent a youth to jail for six months for harassing a female college student at Agran village of Baraigram upazila in Natore. The offender, identified as Saddam Hussein, 22, is a resident of the same village and reportedly just returned from Malaysia. l

Purbachal Housing A mobile court demolishes makeshift shops during a drive at Karwan Bazar in the city yesterday Project likely to compensate affected residents Overpopulation, lack of medical facilities pose serious health hazards n Mohosinul Karim total of 204 prisoners are detained in solitary cells for psychological and party sources said. n Anisur Rahman Swapan, Barisal at AJhalakathi Advocate Mojibor Rahman Sarwar, district jail against the security causes, which could not be Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakkha (Rajuk) MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Inmates squeezed into subhuman life in Barisal division

would compensate people who lost their assets because of the ongoing construction work of its “Purbachal New Town Project,” said Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain. He made the remark while a visit to the project’s construction site in Borokau and Parabartha areas under Kaliganj in Gazipur. Rajuk would construct a number of high-rise buildings inside the project area to accommodate around 62,000 residents, he said. The minister said none of the victims would go unaddressed by the rehabilitation programme adding that most of them had already been allotted plots. “The construction work of the project would be finished within next five years. The government has given emphasis on protection of environment during construction. The rivers and wetlands would be protected inside the 6,150 acres of project area,” he said. Quoting the minister, the ministry’s Senior Information Officer SM Golam Kibria said forests situated inside the area would remain untouched. Moreover new tree plantation programmes would be launched. In April last year, the High Court directed Rajuk not to cut any tree in its Purbachal housing project area till further notice. The court passed the order after hearing a petition which claimed that Rajuk has been chopping trees from some areas in Kaliganj for the housing project without any clearance from the Department of Environment. The minister visited the six-kilometer road under construction connecting Madani Avenue under Baridhara to the eastern part of the Balu River.l

Prisons in six districts of Barisal division are overcrowded with more than twice as many prisoners than the allowed capacity. Such overcrowding may be a potential health hazard for the prisoners, and the facility as a whole. According to prison sources, 3,187 prisoners are now living in six prisons of Barisal region, against the capacities of 1,463 prisoners. The 183-year old Barisal Central Jail has been designed to accommodate 633 prisoners, while currently it houses 1,237 and often the numbers increase to 1,600 during political turmoil, said Fakhruddin, deputy jailor of the jail.

capacity of 155, 417 prisoners at Pirojpur district jail against the capacity of 177, 419 prisoners at Bhola district jail against the capacity of 100, 440 prisoners at Patuakhali district jail against the capacity of 278 and 470 prisoners at Barguna district jail against the capacity of 120. Jail sources said at least 36 square feet space is required for each non-criminal prisoner; 24 square feet for each convicted and under trial prisoner, 54 square feet every death-sentenced prisoner as per jail code. According to the normal procedure, death row inmates have to be confined

possible in overcrowded prisons. None of the six jails has any room for division held prisoners, BCJ sources told.

Jail sources said at least 36 square feet space is required for each non-criminal prisoner; 24 square feet for each convicted and under trial prisoner, 54 square feet every death-sentenced prisoner as per jail code More than half of the prisoners are opposition political activists and they are under-trial prisoners, jail and political

central BNP organising secretary and convener of divisional 18-party alliance, claimed that more than 35,000 of their activists were accused in about 600 political cases in six districts of the division and 1,280 of them detained in prisons. Enayet Hossain Chowdhury, a human rights activist, said the problem of overcrowding in prisons should be addressed properly and speedy bail and trial could lessen the accommodation crisis. The prisoners have no bed to sleep on, and have to sleep on damp floors in the cold weather, said Advocate Parvez Akon Biplob, city BNP education affairs

secretary, who recently was detained in jail for political causes. Aside from the accommodation problem, the prisoners are bereft of any nutrition, health, sanitation, and sports facilities, said AG Mahmud, Pirojpur district jailor, adding they were also facing corruption, inhuman behaviour and torture in absence of legal aid. Condition of different jail hospital beggar description, as sick and ailing prisoners stay there without any permanent medical and pathological facilities, causing contagious diseases. Only the Barisal Central Jail has two six-bed prison cells at Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital, the jail and prisoner sources said. l

Solar power on fishing boats n Our Correspondent, Chandpur Fishermen in the Meghna River under the district started use solar electricity as the price of Kerosene soared up. The fishermen said they had started using solar electricity as they had to spend a huge amount of money every night for Kerosene. They also said the only capable fishermen could use kerosene. As the price of Kerosene soared up, fishermen got into trouble to cope up with their income and cost for hurricane lamp or lantern. Solar electricity is very convenient for them as a small solar tube light or energy bulb provides more light than the general lamp or lantern. Fisherman Zia Biswas of Majherchar village under Haimchar upazila said; “At least 50 boats use the electricity in the river under the upazila.”

A fisherman has to spend over Tk 100 for kerosene per night. But the electricity is cheaper than kerosene and it has many advantages. They can recharge their mobile phones with it in boats and contact with their families as they usually have to stay in the river for two to three days. A solar panel costs Tk 10,000 to Tk 26, 000 and the fishermen can purchase it in installment system. The fishermen said it had reduced their expenditures. It was also found the solar electricity is still unknown to some fishermen. District fishery official Ratan Dutt was not even aware of the use of solar electricity in boats. Haimchar upazila Awami League general secretary Nur Hossain said many fishermen could not use the solar electricity as it was not in their ability albeit some has started using it. l

Fishermen of Chandpur start using solar power as prices of kerosene have increased recently

DHAKA TRIBUNE


6

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Nation

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Plainclothes police harass Cox’s Bazar locals

Hindu home attacked over land dispute

n Our Correspondent, Cox’s Bazar

Miscreants attacked the house of a bank employee in Lalmonirhat on Monday causing damage worth Tk50,000. The gang entered the house located in the Northbengal area in the town around 11pm breaking two fences, walls and two other structures. The attack was alleged to be centred on a land dispute. The affected family members claimed they did not dare protest as the miscreants had sharp weapons. They lodged a complaint yesterday accusing three named and eight unnamed persons with Lalmonirhat sadar thana. The house belonged to Manindra Nath Barmon, 55, an employee of Lalmonirhat branch of the Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank who has been suffering from cancer for last one year. Manindra’s wife Maya Rani alleged they had donated one decimal land for a link road in the area but the local goons demanded two more decimals. As Manindra denied such claims,

Plainclothes personnel who form the “civil team” of the police force in Cox’s Bazar have reportedly become a source of fear for the local residents, because of their alleged harassment of innocent civilians. According to reliable sources, the plainclothes team has been extorting the locals, instead of trying to tame narcotics trade or maintain law and order. The rise of Yaba trade in the district, coupled with beefed up drives to arrest Jamaat-Shibir activists, had caused plainclothes personnel to step up their activities in recent times. However, doubts have been raised about their integrity, after miscreants – identifying themselves as plainclothes Detective Branch officials – stopped passenger vehicles on Ramu Bypass and Marine Drive Road areas and snatched cash, mobile set and other valuables on several occasions during

the last six months. A police officer however defended the civil team’s importance as a strategic force, saying that the DB, Criminal Investigative Division (CID), RAB Intelligence Wing and Department of Narcotics Control also used plainclothes forces to arrest criminals. According to sources, the police organogram or the operation structure of Police Regulation of Bengal (PRB) do not allow police stations to form civil teams or to make arrests with plainclothes officials. However, in practice, the officers-incharge allegedly go outside the law to form several civil teams to assist in law enforcement activities. There are claims that plainclothes personnel roam around on requisitioned vehicles, often outside the jurisdiction of their own police stations, and detain innocent locals on charges of suspicious activities. The civil teams also detain Malaysia-bound passen-

gers, only to hand them over to different brokers for a fee. On January 11, Cox’s Bazar Model police station Sub-Inspector Sunil Chandra Sutradhar allegedly kidnapped an Australian tourist from the town’s Mishuk Hotel and grabbed cash and valuables worth Tk9 lakh from his possession. Police started investigating the incident after the victim, Sabir Mohammad, filed a complaint with the Australian embassy. Although Sabir’s wife filed a written complaint against the SI and the station’s “source” Absar, officials omitted the name of the SI while recording a case. The accused SI however was later closed. Cox’s Bazar Assistant Police Superintendent (Chief of Media Cell) of Model Circle Chhatrador Tripura claimed that civil teams of police are not usually active on the field, but were now working to thwart subversive activities by Jamaat-Shibir. l

n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat

the gang of miscreants led the attack and threatened them not to inform police or the media. “As my husband is very sick, I, along with three of our unmarried young daughters, am feeling insecure,” she said. She feared another attack anytime. She sought security, especially for the daughters.

‘As my husband is very sick, I, along with three of our unmarried young daughters, am feeling insecure,’ she said. She feared another attack anytime. She sought security, especially for the daughters Lalmonirhat Sadar thana Officer-inCharge Jamir Uddin said police would take necessary actions after investigation. Police went to the spot immediately but the miscreants fled, the OC said adding that proper measures had already been taken to ensure security for the affected Hindu family. l

Re-polls in two centres in Kurigram 4 tomorrow n Mohammad Zakaria The Election Commission will hold re-poll tomorrow in two centres in Kurigram 4 constituency as the polls were suspended in those centres because of violence on Election Day on January 5. Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad said the commission had made adequate preparations to avoid any untoward incidents during the re-poll. The commission will not request the government to deploy army in these areas during re-poll, but a huge number of police, RAB and BGB members would be positioned there. By sending a letter yesterday, The Election Commission instructed the Kurigram returning officer to take preparations to hold the re-elections. Polling will be held from 8am to 4pm at the centers. Earlier, the commission wanted to hold the poll at the two centres on January 16, but failed to do so as the High Court issued a stay order regarding holding the re-poll. In Kurigram 4 seat, Awami League candidate Jakir Hossain pleaded the Election Commission to hold a re-poll in some centres. Jatiya Party candidate Ruhul Amin bagged 30, 544 votes and Awami League candidate Jakir Hossain bagged 23, 946 in the last poll. l

Sixteen shops gutted in 2 districts n Tribune Report At least 16 shops were gutted in separate fires in Chittagong and Narayanganj yesterday. The reason behind the fire in Narayanganj could not be determined yet, report our correspondents. Fire Service and Civil Defence sources said a fire originated from an electric short circuit at a grocery shop at Bakerali area in the city at around 3:30pm. The flame engulfed to the adjoining seven shops, leaving valuables worth Tk1 lakh burnt to ashes. Receiving information, two fire fighting units from Bandar and CEPZ fire stations rushed to the spot and doused the blaze after a one and a half hour attempt, said Md Jashim Uddin, deputy assistant director of Fire Service and Civil Defence Headquarters in Chittagong. Earlier, another electric short circuit occurred at  a medicine shop in CEPZ area around 2am and burn down the shop. Medicines worth Tk2 lakh were gutted in the incident. Fire fighters from CEPZ fire station extinguished the fire within an hour. Meanwhile, in Narayanganj, goods and properties worth about Tk10 lakh were gutted when a fire broke out in seven tin-shed shops at Panchabati on Dhaka-Narayanganj-Pagla road under Fatullah police station yesterday. Narayanganj Fire Service and Civil Defence sources said the shops were set up at Panchabati Gafur Market area and the flame was extinguished within half an hour of the incident which originated at 2am. The shops included confectionery, audio-video and mobile recharging shops. The cause of fire was stated to be electric short circuit, the sources said. But the local people claimed that the shops have been set up over disputed land and the incident might have been a deliberate one. l

Eight Jatra artists jailed for ‘obscene’ performance n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat Eight Jatra artists including four women were held yesterday for performing obscene dances on stage at Harinchawra char on the bank of Teesta River in Khuniyagachh union under Lalmonirhat. During a raid, Sanaullah Haque, executive magistrate of a mobile court convicted them on the spot in the presence of police and locals and sent them to the district jail for a month, said Jamir Uddin, officer-in-charge of Lalmonirhat sadar thana. The convicted are Jhumur Begum, 29, Ratna Rani,25, Sumi Khatun,23, Rani Begum, 25, Mofazzal Hossain, 40, Moksedur Rahman, 45, Tara Miah, 38, and Liton Miah, 36, all residents of Balubari village in Dinajpur. The OC said the convicted were hired for performing obscene dances in the illegal Jatra programme at the remote char area where gambling was going on. No permission was taken from the administration to arrange the programme in the village. The Jatra committee members and the gamblers fled from the spot sensing the raid, he said. The detained artistes said they were hired only for performing a “Jatra pala” and had been victimised. l

Jubo League leader snatches tender n Our Correspondent, Lakshimpur

Labourers are engaged in sand lifting from the Padma River at Gahamabuna in Rajshahi city. Some local influential people are indiscriminately lifting sand from the river, although district administration often fines sand lifters, which seems not to be enough to stop such activities DHAKA TRIBUNE

Lack of elected body halts Khagrachhari growth n Jasim Majumder, Khagrachhari

Regular activities at Khagrachhari Hill District Council is being hampered since it is running without an elected body. Frustration amongst the hilly people has deepened as they have not witnessed any major development in the district over the last 15 years for lack of an elected executive body. According to section 4 of Khagrachhari Parbattya Zilla Parishad Ain-1989, the district council should run with 34 members led by a tribal chairman. Other 33 members includes 21 tribal members, nine non-tribal (Bengali) members, two tribal women and one non-tribal member. According to section 16 (Ka) of the same act, if election commission fails to hold an election during the stipulated time, the government would form an interim council comprising four se-

lected members and one selected tribal chairman. But defying the law, the district council is now running its activities with acting chairman Chai Tow Aung Marma and two other members, Biro Kishor Chakma Atal and Mohammad Shahabuddin.

Dearth of leadership, manpower shortage mean important decisions are swept aside General Secretary of Bangladesh Human Right Foundation, Khagrachhari district unit Abu Bakar Siddique said the activities of the district council are being greatly hampered due to manpower shortage, preventing any substantial development activities within the region. President of Sushasoner Jonno Na-

gorik, Khagrachhari district unit Dr Sudin Kumar Chakma said for the overall socio-economic development of the area Khagrachari Local Government Council was established by the then government on March 6, 1989. Then, a 34-member elected body started their job on July 10, 1989 and continued till July 5, 1997. Pointing to a different crisis, the then government had formed first interim council following section 16 (Ka) and appointed one chairman and four members on July 7 that continued till October 10, 1998. But the practice of interim council is still going on, depriving hill people’s development aspirations, Dr Sudin added. The government should hold elections, aiming to form a full elected body for smooth activities of the council, he said. Former KHDC Chairman Monindra Lal Tripura said after signing the peace

accord, the government had taken various steps for strengthening the Hill District Council and as a part of the development of disadvantaged hill people, the government had handed over some 22 government departments to the district council. “A three-man KHDC body cannot monitor 22 government departments. I am urging the government to go for election and ensure elected representatives for KHDC that view development activities of the locals as their main focus. Acting KHDC Chairman Chai Tow Aung Marma also acknowledged that activities of the organisation were going at snail’s pace for lack of required members. The newly elected government must reform the KHDC, either by an elected body or by an interim body aiming to expedite the development process, he added. l

A local Jubo League leader snatched a tender box from the LGED office in Raipur upazila in the district yesterday. Local contractors brought the allegation against the upazila Jubo League convener Kamrul Hasan Rasel and his men. According to sources, Rasel and his men broke the tender box at 11am and snatched away the tender forms of LGED office. According to The LGED office sources, the tender, worth about Tk 2.15 crore was asked in two packages under PDP-3 project for the construction work of the buildings of Udamar Government Primary School, Purbo Charpata Government Primary School and Char Mohona Government Primary School. Upazila LGED office assistant confirmed the sale of 33 forms till January 20. Ismail Hossain Khokon, owner of Asia Enterprise, allegedly said Rasel and his men had snatched away the tender forms. Seeking anonymity, another contractor said, at first Rasel and his men had threatened to severe hands of the contractors if they wished to submit tender. Some contractors submitted tenders defying the threat. Later, submitted tenders were snatched away breaking the tender box. Upazila engineer of LGED Akter Hossain Bhuyian said police were not present in the place albeit they were informed earlier. Officer in-Charge of Raipur police station Rupak Kumar said, “We will take action after investigation.” Departmental action would be taken against ASI Mohsin and three constables for the negligence of their responsibilities, he said. According to sources, the district unit of Jubo League suspended the upazila convener Rasel, its joint convener Arif Hossain and the municipality convener Shamsul Islam. The upazila and municipality Jubo League committees were also postponed. l

NEWS IN BRIEF Expired drugs seized from Barisal stores Three drug stores have been fined in Barisal for stocking expired drugs. A mobile court led by administrative magistrates, Rubel Mahmud and Tahmina Parvin, conducted the drive at different drug stores situated in the Sadar Road areas near the city centre. The court fined Tk5,000 to Vishnupriya Pharmacy while Tk2,000 to Mamata Medical Hall and New Medical Hall each and seized huge amount of expired drugs from the pharmacies. Such drives would continue in future for the sake of health security of hundreds of patients, court sources said. – Our Correspondent

Cotton worth Tk15 lakh gutted in Barisal A fire broke out at a cotton warehouse at Marich Patty of Hatkhola— a densely populated commercial area in Barisal city— damaging properties worth Tk15 lakhs yesterday. Witnesses said the fire broke out at Tajmahal Stores around 11am. Fire fighting units of Barisal Fire Service Local people try to extinguish the blaze that broke out at a cotton factory in Barisal city yesterday

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Station extinguished the flame around 1pm after a frantic effort. Hasib Akan Dipu, station-in-charge of Barisal Fire Service Station, said they are suspecting that the fire originated from an electric short circuit. Abul Hossain, owner of Tajmahal Stores, said the loss caused by the fire worth at least Tk15 lakhs. – Our Correspondent

Arrest of Fanu’s killers demanded

Union Parishad chairmen of the district formed a human chain at Kanaikhali in Natore yesterday demanding arrest of the killers of Kalam union chairman Fazlar Rahman Fanu. The UP chairmen of 52 union parishads also demanded exemplary punishment for the killers. The human chain was formed under the banner of union parishad chairmen’s forum. Among others Tebaria UP Chairman Golam Sarowar and Bramhapur UP Chairman Sarder Afzal Hossein spoke in the event. The speakers gave the government an ultimatum of 72 hours and declared to start an indefinite work off until the demand would be fulfilled. - Our Correspondent, Natore


DHAKA TRIBUNE

Interview

7

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

‘No magic bullet’

Interview with Dr Hassan Zaman, chief economist, Bangladesh Bank

Hassan Zaman is the chief economist of Bangladesh Bank as of November 1, 2012. Prior to this role he worked as a senior advisor to the governor. Before joining Bangladesh Bank he worked at the World Bank in various capacities, starting as a Young Professional in 1998 and most recently as a Lead Economist in Washington DC. He has worked at BRAC for three years. He has a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex, and has an MSc and BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics.

n Nofel Wahid What is your outlook for economic growth this year given all the difficulties we have faced? Our current forecast is that economic growth is likely to range between 5.8%-6.1%. Setting growth target is the Ministry of Finance’s prerogative during the annual budget but it is good to have a range of professional economists engaged in growth forecasting during the year, whether they are in different government agencies or in thinktanks. That is why the Bangladesh Bank is now investing in growth forecasting – just like other central banks have their own growth forecasts which are often different from other government agencies. It is then useful for policy purposes to have coordination meetings between Ministry of Finance, BB, Planning etc, which we have quarterly to share these forecasts and views on economic trends. In general, as we look to Bangladesh becoming a middle income country, it will be important to strengthen analytical capacity within key government institutions, as people in the information age will increasingly want to see the rationale behind policy and spending decisions which are being financed out of their tax resources.

Having built our foreign exchange reserves to a more comfortable level, we are now in a position to relax foreign exchange restrictions further. Over the past year, we have taken several important steps including greater flexibility in the use of the Exporters Retention Quota

What does the current outlook for the economy mean for the performance of the financial sector? The financial sector has faced a number of issues over the past year. Firstly, the BB has tightened loan provisioning and classification standards to make them consistent with international standards and thereby improving the transparency of the industry. This has led to a oneoff jump in the gross non performing loans (NPL) ratio by 2-3 percentage points. Secondly, financial scams within specific banks have led to a rise in NPLs mainly in the state-owned banking sector. And thirdly, recent blockades have made it genuinely difficult for businessmen to operate and repay their loans. Following the scams, BB has tightened performance agreements with the state owned banks to set specific targets for net loan growth and strengthen internal controls in order to lower their NPLs and also to serve as the basis for fresh capital injections. Turning to the impact of the recent disruptions, we have asked banks to make concessions in the form of rescheduling and restructuring of loans where otherwise-sound businesses are facing cash-flow difficulties. We are aware that there will be some who take unfair advantage of this facility, but we felt its important to give some breathing space to the many genuine businesspersons who were adversely affected. Finally BB has also tried to strengthen its supervisory capacity by investing in technology. We can now get information from banks within a 24-hour timeframe that previously would have taken 3-4 months to collect. This has allowed us to follow up with specific banks and problem branches. It has sent the signal that we are now on top of these issues, and the banks are somewhat more careful as a result. Obviously, the main responsibility is with the banks themselves. We are regulators, not a fraud detection agency. These IT systems are a step in the right direction, but are not a solution to issues of governance in bank boards, which are a critical area of reform. Let’s be clear, there is no magic bullet.

Turning to monetary policy do you not consider limiting inflation your most important priority? We are always trying to juggle between limiting inflation, avoiding excessive exchange rate volatility, and trying to support economic growth. They call this the “impossible trinity” because you cannot achieve all three of these objectives at once – something has to give, as there are trade-offs. That said, in general, reining in inflation is BB’s most important priority. After all, inflation hits the poorest the most – especially those on fixed incomes. We are aiming to keep

inflation around 7% this fiscal year (2013 14). However there are many factors beyond monetary policy which affects inflation on which we have little influence – in fact, food prices are typically determined by other factors. We have more of a role in determining non-food inflation, which currently is at a reasonable level, averaging below 5%. At the same time we have tried to do our bit to cushion the impact of the recent shutdowns on businesses through a range of measures as part of our growth-supportive role.

Is the BB’s focus on maintaining a relatively weaker Taka against the US dollar leading to greater inflation, especially food price inflation, given our reliance on food imports from countries such as India? We have experienced some loss in external sector competitiveness over the past year due to a 5% appreciation in the real exchange rate, especially with the slide of the rupee value. However, if we had not intervened in the foreign exchange market, and bought close to $8bn in the last 18 months, there would have been a much greater appreciation of the Taka, and the exporters would have encountered serious losses. The trade-off is that a larger appreciation of the exchange rate would have made imported goods cheaper. We have analysed the components of the CPI (Consumer Price Index) basket to assess which items are affected by the exchange rate, and our conclusions were that the changes in the exchange rate we have seen over the past year did not greatly affect CPI. More importantly there are few items in the typical consumption basket of the poor whose price was significantly affected by keeping the exchange rate where it is now. The bottom line is that we think the loss to exporters if for example the exchange rate were to appreciate from its current level of Tk77 per US dollar to Tk70 per US dollar will be much greater than the loss to consumers because of the incremental inflation it would generate.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently announced that the RBI was looking to setup currency swap lines with other central banks. Is the BB interested in establishing such a swap facility? There is already an agreement among SAARC central banks for this sort of SWAP facility, which could be useful during periods of external stress. Right now, ofcourse, we are accumulating reserves rapidly, and potentially we could be lenders in this facility. A somewhat related point worth mentioning is that BB has expanded access to foreign currency loans for importers and exporters. Moreover there is a Board of Investment term loan facility which allows foreign funds to be brought in with final approval coming from

the BB Governor. Total capital inflow approved under this facility in the past fiscal year (2012-13) was US$1.8bn. One of the reasons why private sector credit from domestic sources has slowed to 11% is because more people are now using lower cost borrowing from abroad, and when you include those figures, private sector credit growth is around 13.8%.

The feedback from the market is: a lot of the US dollar financing obtained from overseas markets is being facilitated by foreign banks based in Bangladesh. Does that put domestic banks at a competitive disadvantage? Many local banks have provided financing under the Buyer’s Credit facility for importers with US$2 bn in loans outstanding at the end of November 2013. With respect to the Discounted Export Bills facility for exporters, it is mainly the foreign banks

responsibilities of forex transactions of commission agents, representative offices etc to banks from BB. We have also setup an internal committee to thoroughly review our foreign exchange rules. We are first assessing whether further liberalisation is needed in the current accounts, as well as things like foreign currency limits for travelling. We are going through a systematic review process and I do not want to pre-empt that process by stating what the exact next step will be. We are also jointly reviewing the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (Fera) with the Ministry of Finance.

What is your view on the medium run outlook for Bangladesh? I think the data speaks for itself. Over the past twenty years, poverty has halved, infant mortality has dropped by a third, and female literacy rates have doubled – we have surpassed

If we had not intervened in the foreign exchange market, and bought close to $8bn in the last 18 months, there would have been a much greater appreciation of the Taka, and the exporters would have encountered serious losses

that have provided the financing, which amounts to a total of US$130mn at the end of November 2013. So it is a misperception that domestic banks are at a disadvantage because the bulk of the trade financing in foreign exchange is under the Buyer’s Credit facility.

The IMF recently reported that the BB has committed to further capital account liberalisation over a period of time. What are the next steps the BB is likely to undertake by way of reforms? We have taken a series of steps over the past year with the aim to gradually liberalise capital account restrictions. The critical thing here is that all organisations, including the IMF, agree that a sudden opening up of the capital account is very dangerous for any economy. A gradual move is always recommended. Having built our foreign exchange reserves to a more comfortable level, we are now in a position to relax foreign exchange restrictions further. Over the past year, we have taken several important steps including greater flexibility in the use of the Exporters Retention Quota; raising yearly repatriation of foreign employees salaries from 50% to 75%; and delegating some approval

India in most of these indicators and prestigious publications like the Lancet and the Economist have covered this angle. Bangladesh has averaged over 6% growth over the past decade, its GDP of around $150bn has more than tripled since 2000, and the volatility of its growth is one of the lowest. So when you see this level of progress, its hard not to be optimistic about the next 10-20 years. I also see from close quarters that there are a lot of competent, motivated young people in the public sector who with the right mentoring will be able to develop and implement sensible public policy in the years ahead. That said optimism shouldn’t mean that the various parts of society which have contributed to this success, be it Government, NGOs, the private sector, development partners etc, should be complacent as there are also challenges ahead – immediate ones like infrastructure and skill deficits and medium run ones like climate change and a new demographic which will eventually see fewer working age people. But there is no reason why these challenges can’t be addressed; overall I’m optimistic about our prospects. l Nofel Wahid is an enonomist.


8

DHAKA TRIBUNE

International

Syria photos prove mass torture by Assad regime: report n AFP, London Former international prosecutors said Tuesday they have evidence from a defector proving that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has systematically killed and tortured around 11,000 people. A report by three top investigators commissioned by Qatar, which backs the Syrian rebels, examined thousands of pictures said to have been smuggled out by a former military police photographer. The report, which was first released in the Guardian and on CNN, shows evidence of starvation, strangulation and beatings, and features pictures of emaciated corpses with livid wounds. The release came a day before talks were due to begin in Geneva aimed at negotiating an end to Syria’s bloody civil war. Syria denies torturing detainees. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the report “offers further

evidence of the systematic violence and brutality being visited upon the people of Syria by the Assad regime.” The report was written by Desmond de Silva, former chief prosecutor of the special court for Sierra Leone; Geoffrey Nice, the former lead prosecutor in the trial of former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic; and David Crane, who indicted Liberian president Charles Taylor. It also features testimony from a forensic pathologist, an anthropologist who investigated mass graves in Kosovo and an expert in digital images. De Silva said the report was the “smoking gun” showing evidence of “industrial-scale” killing by the Syrian regime. The defector, identified only as “Caesar” for his own safety, presented forensic experts commissioned by a London legal firm representing Qatar with around 55,000 digital images of 11,000 dead detainees since the start of the uprising in Syria in March 2011. The images were on memory sticks.

He claims the victims all died in captivity before being taken to a military hospital to be photographed. “The pictures show over a period of years the systematic murder of detainees by starvation, by torture, the gouging out of eyes, the hideous beating of people, the mutilation of bodies,” De Silva told the BBC on Tuesday. The report says that all but one of the victims were male. Most appeared to be aged between 20 and 40 and a “very significant percentage” showed evidence of starvation. The defector “informed the inquiry team that there could be as many as fifty bodies a day to photograph which required fifteen to thirty minutes of work per corpse,” the report said. He said the purpose of the photos was firstly to be able to issue death certificates – falsely saying that the victims had died in hospital – and secondly to confirm to the regime that executions had been carried out. The bodies would then be buried in rural areas. l

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Iran invite to Syria talks withdrawn after boycott threat n Reuters, UN/Ankara U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon withdrew a last-minute invitation to Iran to attend peace talks on  Syria  on Monday after the Syrian opposition threatened to boycott this week’s conference if President Bashar al-Assad’s main sponsor took part. Ending nearly 24 hours of confusion that dismayed diplomats who have spent months cajoling Assad’s opponents to negotiate, Ban’s spokesman said Iran was no longer welcome at the initial day of talks at Montreux, Switzerland on Wednesday. The opposition immediately withdrew its threat to stay away from the conference known as Geneva-2. But the uproar over  Iran, which has provided Assad with money, arms and men, underlined the difficulties of negotiating an end to a bloody, three-year civil war that has divided the Middle East and world powers. Ban, his spokesman said, made the invitation to Iran after Iranian officials

assured him they supported the conclusion of a U.N. conference in 2012, known as Geneva-1, which called for a transitional administration to take over power in  Syria  - something neither Assad nor Tehran have been willing to embrace. Throughout Monday Iranian officials made clear that they were not endorsing that conclusion as a basis for the talks. “The secretary-general is deeply disappointed by Iranian public statements today that are not at all consistent with that stated commitment,” Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters at a briefing. “He continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva Communique. Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran’s participation. While rebels and their Western and Arab allies see the 2012 accord as obliging Assad to step down, the Syrian leader has support from Iran in rejecting that view.  Russia, too, though a participant

in the 2012 accord and co-sponsor of this week’s first direct peace negotiations, says outsiders should not force Assad out. Moscow has said Iran should be at the talks. Syria’s opposition National Coalition had said it would not take part if Iran did, threatening to wreck painstaking months of diplomatic effort in bringing representatives of the two sides to the table. It welcomed Ban’s change of heart. “We appreciate the  United Nations  and Ban Ki-moon’s understanding of our position. We think they have taken the right decision,” Monzer Akbik, chief of staff of the coalition’s president, told Reuters. “Our participation is confirmed for 22 January. Expectations are low all round, but Western diplomats, some of whom had spoken of a “mess” and “disaster” after Ban’s unexpected invitation to Iran late on Sunday, said the talks could now provide some start to easing a conflict that has killed over 130,000 Syrians and made millions refugees. l

Yemen national dialogue hit by killing, car bomb attack n AFP, Sanaa

Rescue teams and residents of the Haret Hreik neighbourhood gather at the scene of car bomb explosion in Beirut’s southern suburbs on January 21, 2014. The Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, believed to be a franchise of the Syrian Al-Qaeda-linked group, claimed a bomb attack in Beirut that killed at least four people AFP

UAE jails 30 Emirati and Egyptian Islamists

‘Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon’ claims Beirut car bombing

n AFP, Abu Dhabi

n AFP, Beirut

A court on Tuesday jailed a group of 30 Emiratis and Egyptians to terms ranging from three months to five years for forming a Muslim Brotherhood cell, a judicial source said. The cell comprised 10 Emiratis and 20 Egyptians, including six who remain at large and were sentenced in absentia. The Egyptians will be deported after serving their sentences, the source told AFP. The group is banned in much of the region, and the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt after the military in July overthrew president Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood, and launched a brutal crackdown on his supporters. The Egyptian defendants, including doctors, engineers and university professors, were arrested between November 2012 and January 2013, according to Human Rights Watch. Amnesty International warned on Monday that the defendants faced the “risk of being wrongfully convicted following a grossly unfair trial marred by a catalogue of human rights violations.” “The list of failings in the trial so far has been astonishing,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. “Arrests without judicial warrants, allegedly falsified arrest dates in court documents; months of secret detention and solitary confinement with no access to a lawyer; show that the fundamental rights of the defendants have been completely disregarded,” he added in a statement. The 10  UAE  citizens were among 69 nationals jailed in July for up to 15 years on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. They belonged to a group of 94 defendants, including 13 women. Prosecutors said the accused were linked to Al-Islah, a group with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. l

The Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, believed to be a franchise of the Syrian Al-Qaeda-linked group, on Tuesday claimed a bomb attack in Beirut that killed at least four people. “With the help of God almighty we have responded to the massacres carried out by the party of  Iran  (Hezbollah)... with a martyrdom operation in their backyard in the southern (Beirut) suburbs,” the group said in a statement posted on its Twitter account.

The car bombing, apparently carried out by a suicide attacker, hit the southern Beirut neighbourhood of Haret Hreik, which is considered a stronghold of Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah. The Lebanese group is a staunch ally of the Syrian regime, and has dispatched thousands of fighters to battle alongside Syrian troops against a Sunni-dominated uprising. Its involvement in the conflict has seen Hezbollah increasingly targeted at home in bombings claimed by different

Sunni extremist groups. Al-Nusra Front is the official branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria, and late last year a group calling itself the Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon emerged. Tuesday’s attack was the sixth time that areas considered to be Hezbollah strongholds have been targeted since the group acknowledged sending forces to Syria. The group is believed to be the target of such attacks, but they have regularly killed civilians rather than Hezbollah members. l

Lebanon’s Hariri says ready to form govt with Hezbollah n AFP, Beirut Ex-premier Saad Hariri has said his bloc is prepared to form a government with Hezbollah to resolve Lebanon’s months-long political deadlock, although they back opposite sides in the Syrian conflict. The shift by Hariri, who heads a socalled March 14 coalition, comes despite a Beirut car bombing last month that killed a Hariri adviser, Mohammad Chatah, that his bloc blamed on Syrian-backed Shiite movement Hezbollah. Hariri, in an interview with his Future TV broadcast late on Monday, also stressed that Hezbollah ministers in any future government he heads must not have veto powers. For nine months, since the resignation of prime minister Najib Mikati, Lebanon has been in political paralysis, with March 14 on one hand and Hezbollah and its allies on the other unable to agree on the formation of a new government. Chatah’s was the latest in a string of high-profile assassinations in Lebanon of anti-Damascus politicians that began

in 2005, with the killing of Saad Hariri’s father, Rafiq Hariri, another former premier. “We have been targeted with assassinations for nine years, and we have waited and waited. But will we wait for

The car of Yemeni law professor Ahmed Sharafeddin, who has been representing Shiite Huthi rebels at Yemen’s reconciliation talks, after he was shot dead by gunmen AFP

Egypt’s Morsi faces spy trial on Feb 16

the country to burn down?” Hariri told Future TV. “I have made this decision (to accept forming a government with Hezbollah) for the sake of Lebanon’s interests, rather than my own,” Hariri added. l

Saad Hariri, son of slain former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri

Gunmen on Tuesday killed a key figure of the Shiite Huthi rebels’ delegation to Yemen’s reconciliation talks, while an Islamist party’s representative was targeted by a car bomb, security officials said. The attacks in separate areas of the capital Sanaa came as delegates to the national dialogue were convening for a final working session ahead of an expected ceremonial conclusion to the talks on Saturday. Ahmed Sharafeddin, a law professor, was shot dead as he drove from his house in the capital Sanaa to the hotel where the talks are being held, a security official said. He was attacked at the Saba roundabout in central Sanaa and died instantly, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity. Sharafeddin is the second Huthi representative to the talks to be killed after MP Abdulkarim Jadban was shot dead in a similar attack in November. Shortly after the attack on Sharafeddin, a car blast targeting the secretary general of the Al-Islah (Reform) party badly injured his son Omar Abdelwahab al-Ansi in another area of Sanaa, a security official said. Omar’s father, Abdelwahab al-Ansi, is leading his party’s delegation at the

Yemen’s thorny reconciliation talks, but rarely attends sessions due to poor health. “The attack was targeting the father but injured the son,” a security official said. Yemen’s national dialogue is part of a transition backed by the United Nations and the Gulf countries which saw president Ali Abdullah Saleh step down after 33 years in power following massive Arab Spring-inspired protests in the region’s poorest country. It aims to draft a new constitution and prepare for general and presidential elections to replace interim president Abrabuh Mansur Hadi, who arrived at Tuesday’s dialogue session after he heard of Sharafeddine’s killing. In a passionate speech, Hadi told delegates that “the dialogue will continue, and evil forces will fail,” as some Huthi members walked out on receiving news of the killing. The UN representative to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, also condemned the attack, slamming it in a statement as a “desperate attempt to jeopardise the dialogue.” Al-Islah also “condemned in strongest statements” the “terrorist cowardly crime” that targeted Sharafeddine and which aims at “hampering the ending of the national dialogue.” l

AFP

n AFP, Cairo The trial of Egypt’s deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and 35 others on charges of espionage in collaboration with Palestinian Hamas movement will start on February 16, judicial sources said Tuesday. It is the third Morsi trial for which a date has been fixed and is part of a relentless government crackdown on the ousted leader and his Islamist supporters since his July 3 ouster by the army. If found guilty, the defendants could face the death penalty. Morsi and others including former aides and leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood have been accused of launching a “terrorist” campaign inside Egypt in collaboration with the Islamist movement Hamas and jihadists, the sources said. They are accused “of spying for the international organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood, its military wing and Hamas movement, and carrying out terror attacks inside the country against state property, institutions and their employees to spread chaos,” state news agency MENA said.

It said the defendants have also been charged with carrying out terror attacks in collaboration with Lebanon’s Shiite militant movement Hezbollah and the elite Revolutionary Guards of Iran. Morsi, toppled by the military after a single year of turbulent rule, is already on trial for his alleged involvement in the killing of opposition protesters during his presidency. A second trial on jailbreak charges during the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak is set to start on January 28. He is also to be tried separately for “insulting the judiciary.” A date for that has yet to be set. Egyptian authorities had been probing Morsi’s alleged links to Hamas during mass jailbreaks in the 2011 uprising, when he and other Islamist prisoners escaped. The spy trial will also see Brotherhood’s supreme guide Mohamed Badie and other top Islamist leaders of the movement in the dock. The spy trial against Morsi and his co-defendants is the culmination of accusations that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind violence in Egypt over several years. l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

International

9

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

India top court commutes 15 death sentences due to delays

Shahshi Tharoor’s wife died of drug overdose

n AFP, New Delhi

n AFP, New Delhi

India’s Supreme Court commuted the sentences of 15 death row convicts on Tuesday, ruling that “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in their execution were grounds to change their sentences to life imprisonment. Human rights lawyers hailed a decision which puts strict new conditions on carrying out the death penalty, and could dramatically reduce its use. “Unexplained delay is a grounds for commuting death penalty to life sentence,” read a ruling from a three-judge panel headed by Chief Justice Palanisamy Sathasivam. The court clarified that delays needed to be “inordinate” and “inexplicable”, but it also said that mental illness such as schizophrenia and the use of solitary confinement could make a convict eligible for a reduced sentence. “No death row convict can be kept in solitary confinement and it is unconstitutional,” it said. India  has more than four hundred people on death row but has carried out only three executions in the last decade. “This is a landmark judgement that will inch India closer to abolishing the death penalty altogether,” Asian Centre for Human Rights director Suhas Chakma told AFP. India would probably continue to execute those prisoners convicted of crimes relating to national security, he said. “But 90 percent of the others have been convicted of murder and rape, and these people cannot all be executed,” he said. Human rights lawyer Colin Gon-

The wife of Indian minister Shahshi Tharoor, found dead in a luxury hotel after accusing her husband of being unfaithful, appeared to have died of drug overdose, news agency Press Trust of India said Monday. Tharoor, 57, the junior human resources development minister, found his wife Sunanda Pushkar dead on Friday in her five-star hotel room in New Delhi after he returned from a Congress party meeting. An autopsy report, which was submitted on Monday to a magistrate charged with investigating her death, cited a drug overdose as the cause of death, PTI reported. According to PTI, Magistrate Alok Sharma refused to elaborate the details of the report, saying he would study it along with recorded statements of others, including that of Tharoor. “On this basis I will conclude what was the cause of death and submit a report to the police whether a case is made out or not surrounding the death and whether police should carry out further investigation or not,” Sharma was quoted as saying by PTI. Tharoor recorded his statement on Sunday, hours after he pledged full cooperation with investigations and urged a speedy inquiry into his wife’s death, which came after she exposed his alleged affair on Twitter with a Pakistani journalist, Mehr Tarar. The death was a tragic twist in a tale of apparent marital strife that has played out in full view of the public’s

Indian human rights activists light candles during a vigil in Bangalore as they condemn the death sentence of Dhanajoy Chatterjee in 2004 – India’s Supreme Court commuted the sentences of 15 death row convicts on January 21 AFP salves, founder of the Human Rights Law Network, told the CNN-IBN television network: “I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am, how happy I am.” Tuesday’s ruling came in response to a petition from 15 death row convicts who challenged their sentences due to the time taken for the president to consider their mercy petitions. They include four associates of  India’s slain “bandit king” Veerappan who were sentenced to death in 2004

for a deadly blast in southern India. The ruling will probably also affect the high-profile case of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a militant from the northwestern state of Punjab who was convicted over a New Delhi car bombing that killed nine people in 1993. In April 2013 his appeal to the Supreme Court for clemency on the grounds of mental illness and delays was rejected. Indian courts regularly hand down

death sentences for the “rarest of rare” crimes but the country had an informal eight-year moratorium on executions until November 2012, when it put to death a gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Another militant convicted for his role in an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 was executed in February last year after his appeal for clemency was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee. l

Pakistan ‘disappointed’ Vietnam hands death penalty to 30 as US ties aid to bin drug smugglers in biggest ever case n Laden doctor

Delhi minister vows to escalate protest

n AFP, New Delhi

AFP, Hanoi

n

AFP, Islamabad

Pakistan  on Monday criticised the US over legislation linking $33 million in aid with the release of a doctor who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden, saying it was “disappointed” by the move. Shakeel Afridi is awaiting retrial on a treason conviction under the country’s tribal justice system for alleged ties to militants. Angry lawmakers in the US saw his original sentence as retaliation for the raid on Al-Qaeda leader bin Laden’s Pakistan compound, and had threatened to freeze millions of dollars in vital aid to the country. On January 17, President Barack Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Bill 2014, which covers a raft of policies including State Department aid to Pakistan. The bill states: “Of the funds... that are made available for assistance for  Pakistan, $33,000,000 shall be withheld from obligation until the Sec-

retary of State reports to the Committees on Appropriations that Dr. Shakil Afridi has been released from prison and cleared of all charges relating to the assistance provided to the United States in locating Osama bin Laden.” Afridi was arrested after US troops killed bin Laden in May 2011 in the northwestern town of Abbottabad. Islamabad branded the raid a violation of sovereignty, and relations with the US fell to an all-time low. The doctor had been recruited by the CIA to run a vaccination programme in Abbottabad in the hope of obtaining DNA samples to identify bin Laden, although medics never managed to gain access to the family. Afridi was convicted not for working for the CIA, for which the court said it had no jurisdiction, but for alleged ties to militants. The Pakistani foreign ministry in a statement Monday said it was “disappointed” at the condition. It said that Afridi, a citizen of  Pakistan, was accused of having violated the country’s laws. l

Vietnam on Monday sentenced 30 drug smugglers to death in the communist country’s largest ever narcotics case, involving scores of defendants and nearly two tons of heroin, a judge said. The 30 men and women, all Vietnamese, were found guilty of drug trafficking and given the death penalty while a further 59 defendants were handed sentences ranging up to life in prison, presiding judge Ngo Duc told AFP. “This was Vietnam’s largest ever trial in terms of defendants, the number of death penalties given out and the amount of heroin involved,” Duc told AFP after the verdict was read out in the northern province of Quang Ninh – which borders China. “Because of the large number of defendants and the seriousness of the case, the trial was held at the prison,” Judge Duc added after the 17-day trial. Investigators said the defendants belonged to four international smuggling rings responsible for trafficking heroin and other drugs from neighbouring Laos into  Vietnam  and China since 2006.

Defendants stand and listen to their verdicts after a two-week long trial “All the defendants are Vietnamese and most of them came from Vietnam’s northwestern provinces,” court clerk Nguyen Trung Hieu told AFP. Vietnam’s remote northwestern region, which borders both China and Laos, is poor and populated by a patchwork of ethnic minority groups. There have been previous smuggling cases in the area, which is far from the control of Hanoi.

Protest-hit Thailand imposes emergency rule

AFP

According to a list of the defendants’ names seen by AFP, some of the 89 people were from ethnic minority groups but court officials could not confirm their status. One of the leaders of the four smuggling rings broken up by the police remains at large, state media reported. Police disrupted the rings in August 2013, making mass arrests and seizing large quantities of illegal drugs. l

n AFP, Beijing

Thai anti-government protesters wave national flags as they march in downtown Bangkok avoid jail for a corruption conviction. Yingluck’s supporters have accused the protesters of trying to provoke another coup. It was not immediately clear how the government would implement the emergency decree, which enables authorities to impose a curfew, ban public gatherings of more than five people,

detain suspects for 30 days without charge and censor media. “We will not use force. We have no policy to disperse them (the protesters) and we haven’t announced a curfew yet,” said Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who will oversee its implementation. Yingluck has called an election for

New Delhi’s chief minister vowed to escalate his sit-in protest on Tuesday after sleeping overnight on a pavement despite warnings that he is risking the gains of his new anti-corruption party. Arvind Kejriwal, formerly a grassroots campaigner against corruption, declared himself an “anarchist” on Monday as he began a 10-day demonstration to demand police reforms. He defied police lines and barricades to reach a place near the home ministry in central New Delhi, a high-security zone of grand sandstone buildings that houses the parliament, various ministries and the presidency building. “How can Home Minister (Sushilkumar) Shinde sleep when so many crimes are happening in Delhi? When women are unsafe in the city? We won’t negotiate,” Kejriwal told reporters. Kejriwal was sworn in as chief minister of the city of 17 million on December 28 after his new Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party made sensational gains in elections earlier in the month. His protest is to demand that control of the New Delhi police force, widely viewed as corrupt and inefficient, is transferred to the state government from the national home ministry. l

China executes man for rape, murder of ‘sex slaves’

n AFP, Bangkok

Thailand  Tuesday declared a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas to tackle mass protests aimed at overthrowing the government, but ruled out using force to end the rallies. The move follows weeks of mass demonstrations that have paralysed parts of the capital and sparked several bouts of deadly violence, including grenade attacks and shootings. The last time a state of emergency was imposed in Bangkok, to deal with opposition protests against the previous government in 2010, dozens of people were killed in a bloody military crackdown. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said there was no plan to give the army a leading role under the decree, which will come into force from Wednesday. “That’s why we’re focusing on the police force, to avoid violence like in 2010,” she told reporters. “The authorities will start with negotiations.” Yingluck is under intense pressure from demonstrators to step down after more than two months of street protests aimed at ousting her elected government and installing an unelected “people’s council.” They accuse her of being a puppet for her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, a controversial tycoon-turned-politician who was ousted as premier in a military coup in 2006 and who lives in Dubai to

gaze, both in  India’s newspapers and on social media. Sunanda Pushkar, 52, died an “unnatural, sudden death”, said doctors who performed an autopsy on Saturday, adding that more tests were needed to determine the exact cause. Pushkar’s body had “some physical injuries”, but it was unclear whether they were related to her death, Sudhir Gupta, one of three doctors who performed the autopsy, had said. Her body was cremated according to Hindu rites on the weekend. Accusations of an affair first surfaced on Wednesday when unusual messages appeared on the Twitter account of the thrice-married Tharoor, who is also a novelist, a government spokesman and a prolific tweeter. They showed private exchanges purportedly between the minister (@ shashitharoor) and Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar (@mehrtarar), in which she professed her love for him and he said his wife had discovered their relationship. Tharoor quickly responded by saying his Twitter account had been hacked, but Pushkar told two newspapers that she was the author of the messages. Tarar strongly denied having an affair with the former high-flying UN diplomat. Seeking to draw a line under the Twitter row, Tharoor issued a statement Thursday in which he blamed unauthorised tweets and distorted media reports for the “unseemly controversy.” The statement said the couple were “happily married.” l

AFP February 2 but the main opposition party is boycotting the vote. ‘We will not stop’ The demonstrators have staged a self-styled “shutdown” of Bangkok since January 13, erecting roadblocks and rally stages at several main intersections, although their number has steadily fallen. l

Chinese authorities on Tuesday executed a man who held six women as sex slaves in his basement and murdered two of them, a court official and state media said. Li Hao, a 36-year-old former clerk, was put to death after being convicted of “murder, rape, illegal detention, organised prostitution and manufacturing pornography for profit”, the state news agency Xinhua reported. An official at Luoyang Intermediate Court in the central province of Henan confirmed to AFP that “he was executed today.” In 2009 Li dug a “dungeon” in his basement and confined six women there for periods ranging from two to 21 months, where he “repeatedly raped” them, Xinhua said. Five were prostitutes whom he tricked into his prison by soliciting their services, and one was selling birth control products, the People’s Daily website reported, adding that Li installed seven metal doors to prevent their escape. The victims ranged from about 16 to 23 in age, and one who was 20 at the time of kidnap became pregnant, it added. Li also forced three of the women to

kill two of the others -- one was strangled and another died after being repeatedly beaten, the reports said. One woman who participated in both murders was sentenced to three years’ prison while the rest were put on probation. In 2011 Li had his surviving captives make obscene videos online and have sex with customers. He spent two weeks a month with the women while telling his wife he worked nights as a guard, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported in 2011. Li was caught in September that year after one captive escaped and went to the police. The case recalled the actions of Austrian Josef Fritzl, who held his daughter Elisabeth as a sex slave in a cramped windowless dungeon for 24 years and fathered seven children with her. He was jailed for life on rape and murder charges in March 2009. Also in Austria, Natascha Kampusch was kidnapped at the age of 10 and held captive in a tiny cellar for eight and a half years until she escaped in August 2006. More recently former US bus driver Ariel Castro hanged himself in his cell in September after being jailed for life for kidnapping and raping three young women he held as sex slaves for a decade. l


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

Editorial

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Letters to

www.dhakatribune.com

the Editor

LETTER OF THE DAY

India should keep its word on LBA

Low voter turnout

I

t is nearly 40 years since Bangladesh ratified the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with India in 1974. Despite repeated talks ever since the agreement was first reached between Sheikh Mujib and Indira Gandhi, India’s ratification has remained in abeyance. At his meeting with Bangladesh commerce minister Tofail Ahmed in New Dehli this week, India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh said his government will now take the necessary steps to approve the LBA. He promised that the LBA bill will be placed before the coming sessions of India’s upper and lower houses of parliament. We hope that this step will help bring forward the full implementation of the boundary agreement. The lives of people living in border and enclave areas are still drastically impacted by India’s failure to ratify the agreement. Ratification is essential to ensure the long overdue implementation of this treaty and to resolve the highly sensitive concerns relating to killings of Bangladeshi civilians by Indian border forces. Just as important, it will provide more confidence that India and Bangladesh can fairly work together on issues relating to water sharing and the Teesta agreement. Both Bangladesh and India potentially have much to gain by trading more together. However, without satisfactory settlement of the LBA and water issues, India’s relations with Bangladesh may continue to be seen as one-sided and unfair. Ratifying the LBA is vital to building confidence and improving bilateral relations.

Without implementation, India’s relations with Bangladesh may continue to be seen as one-sided and unfair

January 20 A report on this matter was published on January 9, but it did not reflect the reality of what we face. Apart from some die-hard opposition supporters, no one in his or her sane mind would risk life or limb to vote, given the mindless violence and killings of ordinary people by the opposition party’s so-called activists. Given this threatening public stand, most ordinary people would choose “Discretion being the better part of valor,” under these ugly circumstances. I would appeal to this parliament to pass a law that would make them reconsider opting for violence as the way for politics, perhaps by having the opposition literally pay for the damage they cause during a hartal and oborodh, or similar measures. Also, a quarterly bank statement should be publicly given through national dailies, of all parties’ incomes and expenditure summaries for every quarter. Elderly Bangladeshi

Sheikh Jinat Mahmid What hard work they do! No words to explain this picture.

Choosing politics, choosing democracy January 12

shevil Very fine writing. nds Admittedly AL stands opposed to the freedom of not taking any side. But what about BNP-Jamaat? They declare oborodh, hartal, march for democracy, and such other things according to their choice, which they claim to be their democratic right, but the AL asks us not to respond to such calls. It is accepted that both the parties are within their right to what they asking the people to do. But according to the author, the people also reserve the right not to respond to either party’s call. But did the BNP-Jamat allow the people that right not to respond to their call? Why did they engage in carrying on killings, burning and looting of innocent people’s lives and property, for choosing not to respond to their call? Did BNP allow them the freedom to not take any side? Irrespective of their election victory or defeat, they started attacking

the Hindus immediately after the election was over, for what they considered the audacity of that community of choosing not to vote in their favor. Does the author sincerely believe that BNP-Jamaat epitomises democratic principles and values? Mephisto Mr Ahmed, we live in difficult times. It appears as if the country has lost its moral bearing. Today, you cannot voice an opinion without being labelled AL or BNP-Jamaat sympathisers. And the first casualty of this deep chasm in our society is reason, propriety, and common sense. In this critical time of our nation, you would expect some space, some bandwidth accorded to the saner voices of society, but instead, you see seemingly smart, perfectly rational people whose opinions you had held dear, are changing their tunes to defend the indefensible. Thank you for your alternative, or shall I say, dissenting views, and thank you DT for the courage to publish it.

E

This author seems to have taken some false and fabricated assumption to be revealed as truth and therein lies the root of the problem. This assumption is that Sheikh Mujib and Ziaur Rahman are two national heroes having equal contribution for the liberation of the country and deserve to be given equal status as the national heroes. This assumption is absolutely false. The second false assumption is that what is

Nazmul Huda Pgarh This is called real life. Motaher Mona This is real. This is what hard work means. I like this photo.

Khaleda’s press brief in the afternoon January 15

Dark Sajjad Am waiting for that. Zihad Naime Please, madam, don’t call any program that hampers our studies so that we can lead our normal lives peacefully.

Be Heard

January 13

xport industries have been reassured by the EU ambassador that the European Union is not currently considering suspension of duty-free access for Bangladesh. Bangladesh will continue to enjoy the most beneficial level of “Everything but Arms” access under the EU’s GSP rules. As the European market accounts for over 50% of exports, it is vital for Bangladesh to retain duty and quota-free access to the EU. Any sudden change would have grave consequences for the RMG sector and the four million jobs it provides and supports. EU support is especially important for the garment sector in order to further encourage the brands involved in the key stakeholder Accord and Alliance safety initiatives, to continue supporting improvements in the industry. The EU ambassador has rightly highlighted safety as the critical issue for the RMG sector. According to the Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation, at least 1,727 workers were killed in workplace accidents in 2013, the majority of which occurred in the RMG sector. It is essential that every effort be made to speed up the pace of recruitment of factory inspectors and the implementation of transparent factory monitoring and improvement systems. The continuation of GSP privileges is a welcome expression of support for the ongoing safety initiatives. We hope that it helps to stimulate new investment and that the government and BGMEA can work with all stakeholders to ensure improvements and to sustainably grow exports further.

January 15

SK Does this man care about democracy?

The postman knocks twice

EU decision boosts safety

Father and son farmers

happening in this country is the battle of egos of two ladies. And if both of them are sent to exile, everything will be hunky dory. This assumption is too simplistic to deserve any consideration. Suppose the two ladies voluntarily decide to retire. Will the nation get united and all political conflict be resolved? If things had been so easy and simple the last military government’s attempt to do exactly that would not have failed. Nds

Write to us at: Dhaka Tribune FR Tower, 8/C Panthapath Sukrabad, Dhaka-1207 Email us at: letters@dhakatribune.com Send us your Op-Ed articles: opinion@dhakatribune.com Visit our website: www.dhakatribune.com Come join our Facebook community: https://www.facebook.com/DhakaTribune

CALVIN AND HOBBES

This is especially important for the garment sector to further encourage the brands involved in the key stakeholder Accord and Alliance safety initiatives

PEANUTS

CROSSWORD

SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Insane (3) 3 Move about restlessly (6) 8 Prayer ending (4) 9 Beverage (3) 10 Place or worship (6) 11 Tarry (6) 14 Jobs undertaken (5) 17 Bring upon oneself (5) 20 Lubricating (6) 24 Complete agreement (6) 26 Cricket score (3) 27 Jump rope (4) 28 Makes into a statute (6) 29 Transgression (3)

DOWN 1 Public walk (4) 2 Daybreak (4) 3 Festivity (4) 4 Resting (5) 5 Stares openmouthed (5) 6 Old cloth measure (3) 7 Swarms (5) 12 Tavern (3) 13 Wildebeest (3) 15 Boring tool (3) 16 Relatives (3) 17 Accustom (5) 18 Country (5) 19 Henhouse (5) 21 Writing fluids (4) 22 Little devils (4) 23 Profit (4) 25 Sister (3)

YESTERDAY’S SOLUTIONS Crossword

How to solve Sudoku: Fill in the blank spaces with the numbers 1 – 9. Every row, column and 3 x 3 box must contain all nine digits with no number repeating.

Code-Cracker


DHAKA TRIBUNE

Op-Ed

Why should they get a second chance?

RAJIB DHAR

N

n Brian Shoesmith ormally I would not comment publicly on Bangladeshi politics for the simple reason that I am an outsider. As it happens though, having spent seven years here – off and on – since 2006, I have grown particularly fond of Bangladesh and its people, and the quirks of both. The impasse that led to the last Emergency in 2006 was quite an education for me in the politics of this country. To watch a comparable impasse play out again, though with so far a different outcome, has been fascinating to watch. I am confounded, however, by the reaction of large segments of the public and the punditry. It is entirely understandable that BNP supporters are full of venomous condemnation of the elections that just transpired, and that AL supporters are full of self-satisfied mirth, even if some of them have the grace or smarts not to gloat openly. What is perplexing is that a swathe of people who are not hard-core supporters of either party, the socalled swing voters along with a set of non-partisan commentators, seem to be enjoying blaming the government for somehow staging and pulling off what they regard as a sham election. The Awami League has, in cricketing terms, played a straight bat.

Everything the BNP has bowled up has been blocked or flicked to the boundary with ease. The BNP had only one kind of bowling – concede to our demands for a caretaker government, or we will bring the country to its knees. The AL imperiously refused to concede this demand, out-politicked the BNP at every turn, and, despite enormous violence by BNP’s leading ally, eventually held the election, leaving the BNP bereft. The BNP had no strategy beyond a stubborn demand, no Plan B, and as a consequence finds itself excluded from parliament.

tion. Yet I cannot think of any instance in developed democracies where the disastrous and self-defeating policies of any party is rewarded with fresh polls, let alone an outpouring of sympathy from local intelligentsia or foreign diplomacy. I don’t wish to sound like an AL apologist, heaven forbid! There have been scandals aplenty during its tenure (though even that kind of corruption is not unique to them). There is also a tendency towards authoritarianism, which also makes the main opposition’s self-implosion a concern.

Bangladesh needs a political future in which no mainstream parties are attached to terrorism So why now is AL cast as the villain of the piece? It seems there is a concerted campaign to paint the election as a farce. However, if it was a farce, it was because the BNP refused to present candidates – not because the AL had the temerity to ignore the strident BNP demands. Even stranger is the eagerness of notable sections of Bangladeshi intellectuals and the international press to argue that a new election is required so that the BNP can recuperate its posi-

But how is it AL’s fault that BNP has been such a miserable failure? Why should AL give BNP voters a second chance? Why don’t BNP voters force their party to adopt better policies or start finding a new horse to back? BNP had stuck to the demands of the caretaker government, which was a total aberration for a place that, in all other aspects, tries to follow the Westminster system. BNP supporters have made much of the fact that allegedly the polls were heavily rigged.

11

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In truth, all independent observers have placed turnout estimates far closer to that of the Election Commission than to the claims of BNP. There may be a case to be made for irregularities or even the EC being too compliant to the party in power. There are definitely grounds for devising a better election-time administration that both will accept. But given that BNP’s only contribution to the pre-electoral process was to boycott the election and encourage violence among its allies, they are hardly blameless for the situation. The most disturbing aspect of the election from my point of view was the escalation and stridency of the rhetoric of the BNP, which in many respects advocated violence as the only solution to the impasse. This nexus between violence and rhetoric is one of the major points of difference between the two parties. I’m not saying that the AL does not use violence, but I can find no evidence of AL spokespeople talking of “civil war.” The AL too has used hard programs when it was in opposition. But there is such a world of difference between people killed during political clashes in designated places versus commuters burned in their buses. What I find appalling and what has compelled me to write this piece, is the degree to which BNP seems to be given a free pass by so many – intellectuals and citizens – for the enormous and unique sort of violence it has wreaked on the people in the name of political programs. The fact that over 500 people have been killed over the election, mostly it seems at the hand of Jamaat-Shibir, should not be glossed over. To emphasise a rush to fresh polls is in fact to minimise the violence that marred much of last year. I have read in the American press that the BNP-Jamaat coalition is a tactical alliance. Why is a tactical alliance okay but an ideological one not? As I write this piece, the hartals and blockades have been cancelled and the streets of Dhaka have returned to their normal state of chaos. It is as if nothing has happened. The resilience of the people has reasserted itself and life returns to something approaching normality. Will it last? Will fresh polls alone solve everything? Will Hindus be safe in a Bangladesh ruled by a BNP more deeply obligated to ever more aggressive Islamists? The emerging evidence seems to suggest that the folly of their stance has penetrated BNP thinking. Khaleda Zia is still demanding a fresh election but with a much softer agenda, but the fact that India and China and others have endorsed Sheikh Hasina as the new prime minister makes the possibility of a fresh election remote. Bangladesh needs a durable solution to democratic transitions for sure. But it also needs a political future in which no mainstream parties are attached to terrorism. To conclude on an optimistic note, it is possible that the electoral suicide of the BNP has created the opportunity for a new political paradigm to emerge in Bangladesh, one not based on dynastic politics or corruption. One certainly hopes so. l

What are the kids learning? n Mehrin Chowdhury

O

ur childhoods were filled with paperback books with fantastic characters. I still remember the enchanting times I experienced, when every character came alive in my mind. It is commonly believed that the perception skills displayed by young children do not merely suggest roots of later literacy, but also act as building blocks in the development of the child’s capacity to comprehend complex relationships and reasoning. In other words, the process of imagination helps to increase a child’s understanding of real life, and increases his or her ability to communicate better.

Surely, we want people better than us to rule this society in the future

Every country’s future depends on its children, their education, and how their young minds are being nurtured. Every nation’s dream and hope depends on the children of today and tomorrow. Having said all that, the governments should look into the children’s future; provide them the route to explore their thoughts and ideas while giving them a way to channel their enormous energy. Children learn from their surroundings or the graphic details of TV programs. A day of outdoor adventure and fun can have greater effect on their minds and learning ability than any conventional day at school. Today’s children are exposed to bad cartoons and programs on a daily basis that are slowly rotting their beautiful and fragile minds. The mainstream cartoons of today display pointless characters and subject matter. Children’s shows are filled with violence and crime. Children learn from a young age to disrespect their elders and how to skip school. One such cartoon goes to the extent of showing the everyday life of cockroaches, or the issues of a dog which is also half cat. The strange mix in these cartoons can be harmful to a young one’s understanding of the concept of

animals in the first place. The alarming rate at which children are getting hooked to these dirty cartoons is high. Parents cannot fight it, especially with the nonstop political turbulence confining the children within the boundaries of their small homes. The saddest part for any Bangladeshi parent is that they are facing equal amounts of madness inside and outside their homes. The fight to raise upright and honourable children is getting harder each day. Children need to use their imaginations. They need to get out of their couches and explore the world. There should be science centres in the city where they can go and spend an entire day learning new things. The government-funded children’s parks can be extended, cleaned, and upgraded to meet the standards of today. The countless low-quality private English medium schools with no playing fields, springing up like mushrooms all over the different cities of the nation, should not be allowed to do business. These harmful teaching institutions have proliferated solely driven by the profit motive, and do not hold, in any way, even the minimum intention to nurture and cultivate young minds. Schools should allow children to be introduced to varied subjects so that they are able to discover their gifts, rather than be forced to study things that do not nurture them. Athletics, music, dance, and art need to be introduced at an early age to nourish these young minds. Children may even find their natural but hidden talent amongst these options. They may discover their flair while playing in the fields, swimming in the pools, or experimenting in the confines of the chemical labs at schools. Recreation camps can be opened for children, where they can be engaged in outdoor activities and realise their dreams and potential for the future. What we need to realise is that these very kids that we nurture today will be the prime ministers, the presidents, leaders, and light-bearers of the days to come. Surely, we want people better than us to rule this society in the future. We want to see our country progressing, not falling back. For that, we need to rethink how we are enlightening the kids, and take proactive action. l Mehrin Chowdhury is a freelance contributor.

WIKIMEDIA

Brian Shoesmith is a Professor at ULAB.

The road back to sanity n Shahin Islam

I

was driving back from Florida last week. While passing through the gorgeous plantation-style homes and palm trees in my route, it suddenly came to me what Khaleda Zia should have actually said on December 29. Instead of attacking the people of an entire district, which is unfair, since they do not bear collective responsibility for the action of certain individuals, she should have lamented: “Gopalganj is too small to be its own country, and too large to be a mental asylum.” But Ganabhaban, I think, is just the right size to be a mental asylum. And the current occupant of Ganabhaban is now spreading her own brand of insanity to the rest of Bangladesh. Exhibit A in this spread of dementia is, of course, the insistency by those defending this government as one necessary to “protect the continuity of the constitution.” An election in which 154 seats are not contested may be good for several things, but they do not uphold the constitution. The Constitution of Bangladesh calls for free and fair elections in which voters are presented a genuine choice. What took place on January 5 is the antithesis of such an arrangement.

Sheikh Hasina now has crossed a line that many people had hoped, perhaps naively, that she would not cross. She has shed off the role of a democratic prime minister.

An election in which 154 seats are not contested does not uphold the constitution This change, for the head of Bangladesh’s oldest political party, and for a leader who asserts herself as an icon of democracy every chance she gets, will be difficult to process for many Bangladeshis. It will produce mental dissonance and a lot of hand-wringing. But the bottom-line, unfortunately, is – Bangladesh is no longer a democracy. I fervently hope that Bangladesh does not lose any trade access because of a single person’s ambitions. I don’t want to read about Bangladesh in foreign publications as a country that is headed towards civil war. Finally, I believe that this mess has been created by Bangladeshis, and must be solved

by Bangladeshis. Much has been written about BNP’s lackings as a political party. But the sad truth is that Awami League is not in much better shape. At the recently-concluded rally in Suhrawardy Udyan, the two largest groups present were supporters of Haji Selim and Shamim Osman. And good luck to Sheikh Hasina if she thinks that she can run a government, much less a country, for five years on the backs of those two. AL, as an organisational party, is semi-decayed. Except for the cooperation of the police, RAB, and other security forces, it has no capability of its own. I think a truth that is always underappreciated is how willing Sheikh Hasina is to cross boundaries; she has a knack for doing the very thing that her sincere well-wishers ask her not to try. After coming to office with overwhelming and absolute support in 2009, she couldn’t resist the temptation to take down Dr Yunus, perhaps the only thing that could have made her international supporters turn away from her. Similarly, in the just-concluded election, Bangladesh’s thought-leaders and a large part of the international community were ready to accept the election if the percentage of votes cast was anything above the 25% mark.

Instead, she oversaw an election with 154 uncontested seats, which was too much for anyone to swallow. The current composition of her ruling coalition is simply not built to last five years. Hasina would have been better advised to give JSD and Worker’s Party 20 seats each – instead of depending on Jatiya Party to be the rump opposition. To those asking for fresh dialogue or chiding BNP for not joining this election, it should be apparent by now that there was never a possibility for Hasina to voluntarily hand over power to BNP, or anyone else, for that matter. Going forward, this is a truth that bears repeating: Sheikh Hasina will not voluntarily hand over power to anyone else, not even a fellow AL leader such as President Abdul Hamid or Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, let alone some technocratic figurehead. In her side, Hasina has the bogey of Jamaat – although it is becoming clearer and clearer that to those asking for Jamaat to be banned, the logical next step is asking BNP to also be banned. By the beginning of June, Hasina will likely lose whatever international cover she now possesses as a new government looks set to take power in India. She is now in the position where she cannot afford to let BNP arrange

even a single meeting in Dhaka – because she is, and from now, always will be, just one tactical defeat away from a complete collapse. Furthermore, waiting in the wings is the dark horse of Bangladeshi politics. As his opening act, Mahmudur Rahman published a damning corruption report about Sajeeb Wazed, Hasina’s unimaginative and disappointing son and heir, which earned him a direct one-year sentence from Bangladesh’s Supreme Court.

time and place. Forty-one years after it first happened, Bangladesh is again faced with a dictator with the trappings of, but little interest in, democracy. The massacres of August to November 1975 were mistakes, for which the country paid a high price. The challenge this time will be to solve this puzzle without bloodshed. Those interested in the furthering of Bangladeshi democracy should seize this opportunity as a teachable

Hasina will not voluntarily hand over power to anyone else, not even a fellow AL leader such as President Abdul Hamid let alone some technocratic figurehead Last year, he took on and dismantled the Ganajagaran Mancha, proving more than equal to the greatest assemblage of cultural and soft power in Bangladesh’s post-independent history. If and when he gets out this time, he will be salivating to take on this government at its weakened state. History often rewards, not the most deserving, nor the most diligent, but the most daring, especially in the right

moment. Democracy is not a fancy parliament building or some words on a page – it is a concept that is enshrined in the hearts of a republic’s citizens. How much the citizens of Bangladesh are willing to sacrifice for democracy will, in the final count, be the only determinant of how soon it returns to the country. l Shahin Islam is a blogger.


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Entertainment

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Suchitra Sen’s film retrospective begins tomorrow n Entertainment Desk The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre pays tribute to Bengali screen goddess Suchitra Sen by organising a film retrospective which begins tomorrow. The three-day retrospective presenting a total of six timeless films of the Mohanayika will be held at the IGCC auditorium in Gulshan-1. The Suchitra Sen Film Retrospective will commence at 6:30pm tomorrow with a brief discussion on the life and works of the legendary actor. Eminent Bangladeshi film and cultural personalities, Syed Hasan Imam, Pijush Bandyopadhyay and Abdur Razzak will participate at the inaugural event which will be followed by the screening of her first film Saptapadi. The second day’s programme features Uttar Phalguni, Shat Paake Bandha and Andhi at 10am, 4pm and 6:45pm respectively. On the concluding day, two films—Devdas and Pothe Holo Deri—will be screened at 10:30am and 3pm respectively. Suchitra Sen passed away early in the morning on 17 January, 2014 in Kolkata at the age of 82. Her demise left a big void in Indian cinema, but she will remain in the hearts of cinema-lovers forever. l

Porobashi performs at EMK Center today n Entertainment Desk Folk rock band Porobashi will perform live this evening at the EMK Center in Dhanmondi. Porobashi is a collaboration between singer-songwriter Sumel Chowdhury and guitarist-composer Victor Das, who have been performing together since 2001 as the members of band Shunno. Throughout 2004 and 2005, the band slowly got inactive and finally ended all activities.

TODAY IN DHAKA Exhibition

In 2008, Victor and Sumel together worked for acclaimed director Nurul Alam Atique’s film Dubshatar. The reunion of the two old friends gave birth to Porobashi. Their first studio album Shunyo Dia released last year and received positive reviews from the music lovers here. In today’s performance, Porobashi will be accompanied by a number of celebrated musicians: Buno on guitars, Bart on bass, Nazrul on dhol and Pantha Kanai on drums. l

Gravity-Free World By Artist A Rahman Time: 12pm – 8pm Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, House 42, Road 16 (New) / 27 (old), Dhanmondi DeReal By BahramWhen Time: 3pm – 8pm Dhaka Art Center (DAC) House-60 Road-7A Dhanmondi

Theatre

Payer Awaj Pawa Jae By Theatre Baily Road Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm Experimental Theatre Hall Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Konjush By Loko Natyadol National Theatre, Shilpakala Academy

Film

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thor: The Dark World, Pacific Rim in 3D, The Conjuring, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Escape Plan Time: 10am – 10pm Star Cineplex Dutta Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm National Music and Dance Centre Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pratham Partha unveils n Hasan Mansoor Chatak

Buddhadeva Bose’s witty adaptation of the Mahabharata, poetic play Pratham Partha was staged by Abdullah Al-Mamun Theatre School Praktani at the Experimental Theatre Hall of Shilpakala Academy on January 20 in the capital. The play is directed by Joyita Mahalanbish, a member of theatre troupe Prachyanat and executive member of Theatre School Praktoni. The one hour and 20 minute long play focuses on the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata and is full of incidents appertaining to negotiations for peace. It presents the efforts made by Kunti, Draupadi and Krishna, persuading Karna to avoid the Kurukshetra War the following morning. The play, however, does not highlight the war, it takes rather an anti war stance in an emotional manner. A heartbroken mother, goddess Kunti first tries to dissuade her elder son Karna from joining the war against Arjun, who is also born to Kunti. The stage revealed that Karna was born to Kunti through her invocation of Surya, before her marriage to Pandu. The emotionally-conflicted mother does not wish to see her children tear at each other. But, the emotion did not deter the strong-minded Karna from the war, who considered it as the war for upholding the truth.    Enchanting Draupadi enters the scene as the distressed mother leaves and tries to allure him with her friendship and love on the condition that Karna does join the war against the Pandavas. However, Karna remains on his path with unwavering determination, to establish the truth. Finally Krishna, the lord of the universe comes to the stage and proclaims that he’ll make Karna lose the war with his divine power. But Karna sees his joining the war as his destiny. The role of Karna in the epic story is confidently carried out by Noor Jaman Raja, a member of the theatre school. The character of Kunti was performed by Shirin Bakul, a member of Nagorik Natya Sampradaya and first batch pupil of Theatre School. Another member of Nagorik Natya Sampradaya, Tania Hossain played the enchanting role of Draupadi. Krishna is another crucial character of Mahabharata and was played by Golam Shahriar Sikto, the chief coordinator of the production.

SADIA MARIUM

The ambience of the play is beautifully in sync with the brilliant background music by eminent musician Partha Barua. Rifat Reaz Joyti is the choreographer and wardrobe for the actors is designed by Shamima Shawkat Lovely. The play will be showcased from the second week of February in the capital, this was a technical show staged only before the media and other theatre persona. The Theatre School Praktani was established in 1992 to convene the alumni of Theatre School. After Abdullah Al-Mamun’s demise, who was the heart of the theatre school and a notable person in Bangladesh theatre arena, the theatre school was renamed Abdullah Al-Mamun Theatre School Praktani, cherishing his memory, in 2008. Ramendu Majumder, another notable theatre personality of the country is currently the principal of the theatre school. l

Maago Tomar Jonyo airs today

Conductor Claudio Abbado dies at age 80 n Entertainment Desk

n Entertainment Desk

Claudio Abbado, who decided to become a conductor after hearing a concert at La Scala at the age of eight and went on to lead the Milan opera company and top orchestras for more than half a century, has died aged 80, La Scala said on Monday. Abbado, who was known as a musician’s musician, shunned the publicity and pomp often associated with leading conductors and staunchly supported young musicians. He died in the northern city of Bologna in his native Italy after a long illness. In addition to serving as music director of La Scala for two decades, Abbado led the Vienna State Opera, the Berlin Philharmonic and made guest appearances throughout the world. La Scala was forced to cancel concerts when Abbado succumbed to another bout of illness in May 2010. He also worked in the United States, often serving as guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra. l

New drama series Maago Tomar Jonyo directed by Mahfuz Ahmed started airing yesterday on ATN Bangla. It will air from Tuesdays to Thursdays every week at 9:20pm on ATN Bangla. The drama is a sequel of Tomar Doyay Bhalo Achhi Maa which was an acclaimed and popular drama series. Written by Prosun Rahman, the drama series features popular soap actors such as, Doli Johur, Tanvin Sweety, Runa Khan, Nova Firoz, Orsha, Mita Nur, Dihan, Tamalika Karmaker, Bhabna, Mir Sabbir, Fazlul Rahman Babu, Maznun Mizan and many more. A group of youngsters are sent abroad by their parents, who sold almost all their belongings in order to finance their move. But, when the group reach their destination, they find that in reality, life abroad is tougher than what they assumed it to be. Their far-fetched dreams of earning a lot of money and becoming rich in a short time seem su-

perficial and more out of reach as they start to work and earn a measly amount. But alas, they do not lose hope in the face of adversity and keeps on with their optimistic thoughts. They hope to save their earnings for their family and also expects to earn more as time passes and return home to the awaiting arms of their mothers. The families also wait for the return of their children, but it seemed to be a long wait. Little did this band of workers know the measly savings that they sent home contributed to the overall development of the country. The drama series will focus on the lives and stories of these hardworking expatriates. l

9:30pmStar Movies

11:00am Comedy Central

9:30pm Star Plus

How I Met Your Mother season 9 not up to mark

9:30pm HBO

9:00pm Star World

11:30pm Colors

n Entertainment Desk

ON TV MOVIE Mr Beans Holiday

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

COMEDY

DRAMA

Ridiculousness

Two And A Half Men

Diya Aur Bati Hum Balika Vadhu

Aishwarya to make a comeback n Entertainment Desk Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who has been on a sabbatical after the birth of her daughter Aaradhya two-years-ago, is all set to make a comeback on the big screen in a film directed by her favourite filmmaker Mani Ratnam. “Mani is planning to direct a film which has a strong female protagonist’s character. He feels there is little room for Abhishek in his next,” said a source. “Aishwarya was very clear about her priorities after she became a mother. She gave hundred per cent of her time and concentration to her daughter Aaraadhya for two years. Now that Aaraadhya is ready for play school, Aishwarya can start thinking of coming back to acting,” the insider added. Previously, it was reported that filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali had approached her to do an item song in his film Ram Leela. However, the former Miss World Priyanka Chopra took the role instead. In November, Aishwarya told NDTV that filmmaker Farah Khan had approached her for Happy New Year which she refused since she would be paired with Shah Rukh Khan. “Yes, I was approached for the film but I wasn’t working opposite Abhishek in it, and it really wouldn’t work out that way, so things didn’t fall into place but soon, I will be back,” Aishwarya said.

According to reports, Aishwarya Rai has given her consent to Mani Ratnam’s film. There has been much speculation as to when the former beauty will make a comeback on the silver screen, who was last seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzarish. Even though Aishwarya has not been seen in films for the past three years, she has remained in limelight via her presence in various ad campaigns and international film festivals like Cannes. Aishwarya Rai, who is very close to Mani Ratnam, has worked with him in Iruvar, Guru and Raavan. Aishwarya was seen with hubby Abhishek in  Raavan  but reports suggest that Mani Ratnam only wants Aishwarya Rai for this movie. A source said to several Indian news portals: “Mani Ratnam shares a fabulous equation with Abhishek and Ash. But this time, he’s planning to direct a film which has a strong female protagonist’s character. Mani feels there is little room for Abhishek in his next.” Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was keen to return with a film directed by either of her two favourite directors, Sanjay Leela Bhansali or Mani Ratnam. The director has kept mum since his last two films  Raavan and Kadal bombed and were panned by critics as well. l

How I Met Your Mother season 9 is the show’s last season and it seems that some fans are not happy with it. Not because How I Met Your Mother is ending but to them the quality of the episodes are dropping. Recently, season 9 episode 14: Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmara was under fire from the Asian community for having racist portrayals of Asians. The show’s creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas apologised on twitter for the episode. Aside from that snafu, fans are not happy with how things are going with How I Met Your Mother season 9. Dan Hajducky of Den of Geek! Made an article

about this and asked “How I Met Your Mother is one of the best sitcoms of this generation. So why is the ending of the love story so disappointing?” He said that season 9 has been “downright unenjoyable” noting that every episode so far has been “forced.” He then goes on ask that “Is it the fact that the mystery of the mother being resolved has taken away the intrigue of the show? Or is it the fact that the writers of the show seem to be stretching out the story arc with plotlines that are missing entirely?” He points out that the midseason break episode had the lowest amount of viewers for a midseason break with 7.7 million viewers compared to last season’s 8.7 million viewers. l


Did you know? The winners of the singles events of the 2014 Australian Open will pocket A$2,650,000

Sport

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

0 5 3

14 West Brom stand

by Anelka despite sponsor snub

DAYS TO GO

DHAKA TRIBUNE

13

15 Djoker falls to

‘Wow’rinka in quarters

SRI LANKA TOUR OF BANGLADESH

Tickets available through U-Cash n Mazhar Uddin

Bangladesh Cricket Board will go hi-tech to ensure highest level of security by inserting Drone Camera during the Bangladesh Sri Lanka series, the test flying took place at SBNS yesterday MAZHAR UDDIN

Muktijoddha beat Russell

Mahmudullah’s 12 snatches win for Central Zone

Nitol-Tata set to return to football n Raihan Mahmood

n Shishir Hoque

n Mazhar Uddin

Nitol-Tata is likely to return to the Bangladesh football arena as the sponsors of the Bangladesh Premier League football. Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), struggling to find a sponsor for the top flight football league of the country, may find the solace within the next week. BFF senior vice-president and the chairman of the Professional League Committee Abdus Salam Murshedy looked confident about inking the deal. “They have happily stepped up to be tagged again with the football, we hope we will reach the final stage of an agreement within a few days,” said Murshedy. Nitol-Tata sponsored the now defunct National Football League in from 2001-2005. It was learnt the BFF is expecting a purse of Tk10m for the league. Among the last six editions of the BPL Grameenphone sponsored the league three times, Citycell sponsored twice while the inaugural edition was remained sponsor less. The ongoing seventh edition of the league has no sponsors as well. l

Former national forward Enamul Hoque was on target as Muktijoddha SKC returned to winning ways in style by beating defending champions Sheikh Russell KC 2-1 in the Bangladesh Premier League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. A first-half screamer by Enamul put the All Reds ahead in the opening half, before Nigerian forward Nkwocha Kingsley doubled the lead early in the second. For Russell, Moroccan forward Youness Roux reduced the margin with a strike in the 73rd minute. Muktijoddha’s second victory in the league saw them jump three spots to fourth place with seven points from five games. Most of Muktis games have been against big teams like Sheikh Jamal, Abahani and Mohammedan. Sheikh Russell remained in third place with nine points and they have also played five games. The champions controlled the midfield, held possession most of the time but were unable to create any clear cut

Mahmudullah’s twelve-wicket haul helped Walton Central Zone win an incredible match against Prime Bank South Zone by 37 runs in the Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) at the BKSP-3 ground yesterday. Prime Bank South Zone started the fourth and final day on 159/3 needing another 150 runs with seven wickets in hand but on a pitch helping the spinners, were bowled out for 272. Overnight batsmen Mithun and Taibur Parvez managed to spend some time at the wicket but left arm spinner Elias Sunny got the breakthrough for Central Zone by clean bowling Mithun for 14 and soon after his departure, Shuvagata Hom and Taibur also fell to leave South Zone at 181/5. All-rounder Ziaur Rahman and Sohag Gazi tried to hold the innings together, but Sohag was dismissed by pacer Shahdat Hossain for 23 runs and later, it was Mahmudullah who took the last three wickets - Abdur Razzak (7), Ziaur Rahman (45) and Rubel Hossain (0) – to end

with five in the innings and bowl out South Zone for 272. The 27-year old also took seven wickets in the first innings and his performance will give the selectors food for thought ahead of the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.

BRIEF SCORES

Walton Central 165/10 and 374/10 Marshal Ayub 126 Prime Bank South 230/10 and 272/10 Imrul Kayes 74 Mahmudullah 96/5, Elias Sunny 81/3 Walton Central zone won by 37 runs

Earlier Central Zone finished their second innings at 374, after having made 165 in the first innings. Prime Bank South Zone had posted 230 in their first innings. After the second round of the BCL, defending champion Walton Central Zone are at the top of the table with nine points, BCB North Zone are second with seven points,Prime Bank South Zone have three points and Islami Bank East Zone, who yet to register a win, are on one point. l

United Commercial Bank (UCB) remained as the ticketing partner for the upcoming home series against Sri Lanka and to make the ticket buying process an easier experience the bank introduced U-Cash mobile finance service for the first time. Cricket lovers can easily open an account free of charge from their cell phone and the confirmation SMS, sent from the service holders, can be used to collect the ticket from a designated outlet. Meanwhile, the normal buying procedure will also be open from selected branches of the bank. A total of seven ticket-selling branches including five in Dhaka and two in Chittagong have been designated for the series. Dhaka branches in Dhanmondi (Mirpur road), Bashundhara, Bijoy Nagar, Uttara and Mirpur and Dampara and Hilishahar branch in

Chittagong will sell the tickets. The minimum cost for a Test ticket is Tk20 while the least price of an ODI or Twenty20 ticket is Tk50. However, an individual can buy maximum two tickets for an ODI and five tickets of a day of the Test matches. Kazi Inam Ahmed, chairman of BCB commercial committee, Mirja Mohammad Rafiqur Rahman, additional managing director of the UCB, BCB acting CEO Nizam Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury and Javeed Iqbal, head of Corporate (UCB) were present during the press conference. Meanwhile, the official declaration of the omission of Sylhet’s venue for the Sri Lanka series was also made by Jalal Younus during the conference. The chairman of the media and communication committee also informed that the first ODI has been shifted to Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. l

chances. On the other hand, Muktis’ Nigerian attacking duo Eleta Kingsley and Nkwocha Kingsley persistently threatened the goal. With 20 minutes on the clock, Eleta tried his luck from 30 yards out but caused no trouble for Biplob, who made a decent save at the near post. Enamul Hoque, who once played as striker and now plays in midfield, scored for the first time in almost two

RESULT Sk Russell

Youness Roux73

1-2

Muktijoddha

Enamul 22, Kingsley 50

years to put Muktis ahead two minutes later. Eleta’s shot deflected off a defender and Mamun Mia’s subsequent clearance fell to the feet of Enamul. The former national forward unleashed a powerful grounder from 20 yards out that went past Biplob. Russell’s Ricardo Cousins attempted a looping shot from 35 yards out in the 39th minute which was gripped by Muktis keeper Rasel Mahmud Liton at the goal line. Three minutes later, Biplob

rescued Russell from conceding another goal by tipping away Nkwocha Kingsley’s close-range header for a corner. Nkwocha Kingsley brought more miseries for Russell by extending Muktis’ lead to 2-0 five minutes into the second half. The unmarked Nigerian forward showed great technique to hold a through pass from Mohiuddin Ibnul Siraji and beat the off-side trap to score the second. Russell went all out to get back into the match and were more organized and composed afterwards and finally found the net in the 73rd minute. Moroccan Youness Roux received a defence splitting pass from Mithun Chowdhury inside the penalty area and shot the ball home to put Russell on the scoreboard. Russell almost equalized the margin in the 85th minute when Jamaican midfielder Ricardo Cousins curled a free kick from 25 yards that hit the top of the far post after keeper Liton got a finger on the ball. Onrushing Russell’s veteran custodian Biplob made a stunning save in the injury time, punching away Eleta Kingsley’s powerful strike from the box. l

Manik credits team effort Maruf soul searching n Raihan Mahmood

Foreign players made all the difference was the assessment of both the coaches - Shafiqul Islam Manik of Muktijoddha who was the winner and Maruful Haque of Sheikh Russell who tasted his second defeat in the Bangladesh Premier League yesterday. On the field, the Nigerian attacking duo of Muktijoddha, Elita Kingsley and Nkowcha Kingsley aided by their compatriot defender Eleta Benjamin and Egyptian Egilank Nagi arrived as a lethal force and probably appeared tougher than Russell had anticipated. “I did not have any specific plan towards the foreign players of Russell. Only the Uruguayan midfielder was marked toughly to stop his distribu-

tion, my forward duo played well and I think we are the deserved winners,” said Manik. “I think we were not getting the goals but today, we scored two goals in a match against the defending champions. The team also absorbed considerable pressure, but the players kept their cool to shrug the pressure off,” he added. Forward Enamul was also jubilant with the result. The former national forward scored a league goal after a span of nearly two years. “I am enjoying my new role as the attacker behind the forward line. My coach has given me all the liberty and he instructed me to take long range shots, I obeyed him and the goal after a long time definitely raised my confidence. I want to continue scoring and help my team to success,” said the forward, who missed a whole season

due to injury. Russell coach Maruful Haque, who won a treble last year, seemed to be going through a tough time. “I have missed my best eleven in the last three matches. French midfielder Maxim is still unfit, Francisco just took the field today, so it was not possible to put out our best. Pascal Millien, the Haitian forward who just arrived, is in the hospital with food poisoning. I had to go with what I have,” said Maruf. Mithun Chowdhury, the national forward who paved the way for Moroccan Younnes Roux for the lone goal said there is a problem of communication. “I admit that with Roux we have some problem as he does not understand English. In fact, he does not understand anything apart from Arabic so I think there’s some problem in communication on the field,” said Mithun. l

Muktijoddha’s Nigerian forward Nkwocha Kingsley signals his strike while right back Siraji, who provided the through pass, bows to the scorer at the BNS yesterday MUMIT M


14

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Sport

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Albion rally to earn new boss Mel a point against Everton

Anelka charged by FA over ‘quenelle’ salute

n Reuters, West Bromwich

West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka faces a lengthy ban after being charged by the Football Association yesterday over an allegedly anti-Semitic salute. The 34-year-old French striker performed the ‘quenelle’ salute, putting one arm across his chest and straightening the other, during West Brom’s 3-3 draw at West Ham United in the Premier League last month. The FA said that Anelka had made a gesture that was “abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper” and included “a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief”. Anelka has until 1800 GMT on Thursday to respond to the charge and if found guilty he faces a minimum five-game suspension, under new antidiscrimination measures introduced by the FA in May last year. An independent three-person commission will be appointed to deal with the case, which will be decided by a disciplinary hearing if Anelka contests the charge. West Brom said in a statement that Anelka was “considering his options” after receiving a 34-page document from the FA explaining the charges facing him. l

West Bromwich Albion marked Spaniard Pepe Mel’s first home game in charge by retrieving a one-goal deficit to draw 1-1 with Everton in the Premier League on Monday. Former Real Betis manager Mel, who picked Nicolas Anelka despite a club row with sponsors Zoopla over the former France striker’s alleged anti-Semitic gesture in a match last month, watched his side go behind in the 41st minute. Romelu Lukaku headed the ball down just outside the penalty box for fellow Belgian Kevin Mirallas and the winger ran on to beat West Brom keeper Ben Foster. Uruguayan Diego Lugano equalised for the hosts in the 75th minute with a near-post header following a right wing cross by James Morrison. Everton thought they had grabbed the winner with the final kick of the game but defender Sylvain Distin was ruled offside after touching in Gareth Barry’s shot from close range. The draw lifted West Brom from 14th to 13th in the table while Everton stayed in sixth position, nine points adrift of leaders Arsenal with 16 games remaining. l

n AFP, London

West Bromwich Albion's Nicolas Anelka is seen in front of their sponsor's advertising board during their English Premier League match against Everton at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England on Monday REUTERS

Season at stake as United seek cup comeback n AFP, London Their Premier League title defence in tatters, Manchester United approach the second leg of their League Cup semi-final against Sunderland today conscious that it could define their domestic season. Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Chelsea left David Moyes’s side 14 points off the pace in the league and having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea City, United need success in the League Cup like never before. It is a competition that United occasionally treated with disdain under Moyes’s predecessor, Alex Ferguson, but the new manager knows that he

cannot afford to pick and choose when the club’s fans are in the doldrums. “We will try and do everything we can to get through,” Moyes told United’s in-house television channel, MUTV. “I want to give the supporters something to cheer about. There has not been an awful lot. I am fully aware of that.” However, in order to book a likely final date with Manchester City, who lead 6-0 at the halfway stage of their last-four tie against West Ham United, Moyes’s men must overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg. Including that result at the Stadium of Light on January 7, United have lost four of their five games to date in 2014, and midfielder Michael Carrick says that the players are desperate to get back to winning ways.

“We want to play again as quickly as possible,” he said. “Wednesday is another big game. It is a huge game for us. It is an opportunity to get to a final. You can’t take that lightly. “We will get over this (losing to Chelsea), dust ourselves down, and be ready again for Wednesday.” Urging the club’s supporters not to desert the team, the England midfielder added: “The fans have been unbelievable, over the last month or so especially. “Times have been difficult. Performances have not been that bad actually, but results have been pretty awful for us to take. “We are giving everything at the minute. It is just not going our way. If we all stick together, I am sure it will

Del Piero linked with Thai club n AFP, Bangkok

Barca bosses propose new stadium at Camp Nou

A wealthy Thai football team is trying to lure former Juventus star Alessandro Del Piero to the kingdom from the Australian league, the manager of PTT Rayong said yesterday. The 39-year-old Italian is currently in his second season at Sydney FC but there has been speculation he is unhappy at the club, despite being the Aleague’s record earner. “We have sent him (Del Piero) a letter to ask what conditions – including details of his salary – he would want if he came here to play,” PTT Rayong’s manager Prawut Thavornsiri told AFP. “We sent the letter two days ago and Del Piero said he needed a few days for consideration... I think it’s 60 percent possibility (he will join).” PTT is one of the biggest firms in Thailand, owning major oil and gas assets in the region. l

n AFP, Madrid Barcelona president Sandro Rosell on Monday dismissed the idea of building a new stadium elsewhere in the Catalan city and instead proposed that the Spanish club build on the site of the Camp Nou. “The Board has unanimously decided to put the plan to build a new stadium on the structure of the Camp Nou to the shareholders,” Rosell told a press conference. “The option of building a new stadium in a new location has been ruled out ... the final cost of the operation could jeopardize the club,” said Rosell. “The cost of going to Diagonal (the proposed new location) is very high, almost double,” he said. “It has been a difficult decision, the

Bolivia's President Evo Morales (C) kisses the football World Cup trophy while flanked by Bolivia's national team coach Xabier Azcargorta (3L) and former players that participated in the USA 94 World Cup, at the presidential palace in La Paz on Monday. The trophy arrived in Bolivia as part of an international tour organized by Fifa REUTERS

two projects were extremely attractive,” he said, stressing that the responsibility of management “was to present viable project.” FC Barcelona director for economic and strategy Jordi Moix explained that the plans for the Camp Nou was a “complex technical project” which would cost an “acceptable” 600 million euros and would extend the venue’s capacity from 99,000 to 105,000 spectators. The new stadium would cost about 400 million euros and the remainder would cover the upgrading of facilities, club economic vice-president Javier Faus said. FC Barcelona members can vote on the project in a referendum on April 5 and 6. If approved, the project will take place over the next six or eight years, said Faus. l

turn soon.” Moyes will be obliged to make changes to his back four for the visit of Gus Poyet’s side, with Nemanja Vidic suspended after being sent off at Chelsea and Patrice Evra a doubt after hobbling off early in the second half. The game will also come too soon for strike pair Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, who were expected back in training this week after spells on the sidelines. Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher is a doubt for the trip to Old Trafford as he nurses an Achilles injury. The 26-year-old Scot played for 18 minutes in Sunderland’s 2-2 draw at home to Southampton on Saturday, but Poyet is unwilling to take risks with last season’s top scorer. l

West Brom stand by Anelka despite sponsor snub n AFP, London

West Bromwich Albion kept faith with Nicolas Anelka on Monday after losing their main sponsor in the wake of the striker’s controversial ‘‘quenelle’’ gesture. British media reports suggested property website Zoopla had called on West Brom to drop Anelka for a gesture regarded in some quarters as anti-Semitic when the club played Everton in the Premier League on Monday. However, the former France striker took the field and made a lively start before, having failed to score, he was substituted shortly after Diego Lugano equalised for West Brom 15 minutes from time in a 1-1 draw at the Midlands club’s Hawthorns ground. New West Brom manager Pepe Mel, who saw the build-up to his first game in charge of the club overshadowed by Zoopla’s decision, insisted he’d no problems in working with Anelka. “I don’t know. I am only head coach,” Mel told Sky Sports when asked

about Anelka’s situation. “He is a good personality. He needs a goal and he will work for me very well,” the Spaniard added after a draw that left his side four points above the relegation zone. Hours before it became clear whether Anelka would play, Zoopla announced they would not be renewing their reported £3 million ($4.9 million) sponsorship, which runs out at the end of this season. “In recent weeks we have decided to re-evaluate this sponsorship and as a result we will focus our attention on other marketing activities from the end of the season,” said Lawrence Hall, Zoopla’s head of communications. “West Bromwich Albion has been fully aware since the sponsorship agreement came into force in June 2012 that its partnership with Zoopla could expire this summer and therefore has been planning accordingly,” a club statement said. l

Zuma defends footballers after minister criticism n Reuters, Cape Town

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo poses with Real Madrid President Florentino Perez after being decorated by Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva with the Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, Order of Prince Henry, at the Belem presidential palace in Lisbon on Monday AP

Swansea confirm Flores-Monk bust-up

Ronaldo honoured by Portuguese President

n AFP, London

n AFP, Lisbon

Swansea City confirmed yesterday that police were called to the club’s training ground last week following a trainingground row involving defenders Garry Monk and Chico Flores. The pair clashed on Friday, a day before Swansea’s 3-1 loss at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. Reports in the British media claimed Spanish centre-back Flores had threatened Monk with a brick during the incident, but Swansea denied the allegation. “Chico Flores and Garry Monk had an exchange of words, which is not uncommon between players in training grounds across the country, but no threats or altercations took place between the players in question,” said a club spokesman. l

Cristiano Ronaldo was on Monday awarded one of the most prestigious honours in Portugal from the country’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva. The Portugal captain and Real Madrid forward was awarded the Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, the Order of Prince Henry, in the presidential palace in Lisbon. Silva paid tribute to “the extraordinary talent of Ronaldo ... who brings prestige to Portugal around the world.” He congratulated Ronaldo for “his talent, discipline and the determination he has always shown ... an example for young generations.” The 28-year-old received an honour that was created in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of one of the most important figures in the

Portuguese Empire. The ceremony took place at the presidential palace in Belem, just outside Lisbon, a week after Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or title for the second time, and the world’s top footballer brought his new trophy with him. The trophy will now go on display in the museum opened last December in Madeira, the Portuguese island from where Ronaldo comes. “It gives me great pride to represent Portugal in the world,” said Ronaldo. “This distinction is a source of additional motivation to continue to work harder and represent Portugal at the highest level.” Silva had intended to award the honour to “CR7” on January 7 but the cememony was pushed back following the death of Portuguese football legend Eusebio. l

South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma has rallied to the defence of the national football team after the country’s sports minister called them “useless” and a “bunch of losers”. Bafana Bafana were booted out in the first round of the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) after they lost 3-1 to Nigeria in Cape Town, a fourth tournament failure in 12 months for beleaguered coach Gordon Igesund. That led to a furious outburst from sports minister Fikile Mbalula at a press conference on Monday, calling on the country to “forget this generation of players” and build a new team. However, Zuma has clashed with Mbalula in the past in the African National Congress’s leadership race in 2012. l

Beckham off to Peckham in British sitcom n AFP, London

Football icon David Beckham is to appear in a one-off special of “Only Fools and Horses”, one of Britain’s best-loved television comedies, the BBC said yesterday. The former England captain joins the show’s wheeler-dealer Trotter brothers in a “greasy spoon” cafe in their native Peckham in south London. Pictures show the ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder joining the Trotters at a table with mugs, sauce bottles and a copy of the Peckham Echo local newspaper. The sketch will be screened on March 21 during the BBC’s “Sport Relief” charity fundraising weekend. It is a first outing in 11 years for “Only Fools and Horses”, the show about flashy Peckham market trader Derek “Del Boy” Trotter’s attempts to get rich. l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

Sport

Djoker falls to 'Wow'rinka

QUICK BYTES

Geography emerge champions in DU Inter Department T20

The Department of Geography clinched the title of the Inter Department T20 Cricket of the South Zone of Dhaka University by beating Department of Law at the Jagannath Hall ground yesterday. Batting first, Geography posted a total of 146/8 in the stipulated 20 overs. Law replied strongly but fell four runs short of the target, stopping on 143/8. Mahbub of Geography was adjudged man of the final. DU Pro-VC Shahid Akhtar Chowdhury distributed the prizes as the chief guest. –RM

n Reuters, Melbourne

Condolence The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) yesterday expressed deep sadness at the passing of Del Ara Zaman, mother of former national players Dr. Asad-UzZaman Misha and Tariquzzaman Munir. Mrs Zaman, 82, breathed her last in Dhaka yesterday. The BCB extended heartfelt sympathies to the family of the departed and prayed for the salvation of her soul. –Tribune Desk

Livorno dispense with second coach in eight days

Serie A newcomers Livorno on Tuesday announced the appointment of Domenico Di Carlo, the club’s second new coach in eight days and third of the season. Livorno, promoted from Serie B at the end of last season, sacked Davide Nicola last Monday after the side’s seventh defeat in eight games left them second bottom of the table. Nicola was replaced by Attilio Perotti but, days after a 3-0 defeat away to title challengers Roma, Perotti – who had coached the Tuscan side in 2012 –has been replaced by Di Carlo. –AFP

Mourinho has elbow operation Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has undergone an operation on his elbow in a bid to cure a longstanding complaint, the Premier League club announced Monday. The 50-year-old Portuguese boss oversaw Chelsea’s 3-1 Premier League defeat of champions Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday before receiving a tribute award from the Football Writers’ Association at London’s Savoy Hotel. He then had the operation on Sunday, with Chelsea’s Twitter feed saying Monday: “Jose Mourinho today underwent a minor arthroscopic procedure on a long-standing elbow complaint. He will return to work tomorrow (Tuesday).” –AFP

Glamorgan bid to be new home of ICC County side Glamorgan announced Monday they’d submitted a joint-bid with the Welsh Government and Cardiff City Council to provide a base for the headquarters of the International Cricket Council (ICC) from 2015. Recent reports have suggested next week’s ICC executive board meeting will consider a radical revamp of cricket’s global governing body, including moving its headquarters from Dubai, with Colombo and Singapore also said to be vying with Cardiff to become the new administrative home of the organisation. –AFP

DAY’S WATCH Sony Six 7:00AM New Zaland v India 2nd ODI Star Sports 4 6:00AM & 2:00PM Australian Open 2014 Star Sports 1 2:40PM Big Bash T20 Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Renegades Ten Golf 4:00PM European Tour 2014 Qatar Masters, Day 1 Ten Action 1:45AM Capital One Cup 2013/14 Semi-final: Man United v Sunderland Ten HD 10:00PM Ram Slam T20 Challenge Dolphins v Lions 3:00AM Coppa del Rey 2013/14 QF 1: Lavate v Barcelona

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in their quarterfinal at the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday AP

Akmal, Malik return in initial T20 squad n AFP, Lahore

Wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal and former captain Shoaib Malik were Monday named in Pakistan’s preliminary 30-man squad for the World Twenty20 to be held in Bangladesh. Malik led Pakistan to runners-up spot in the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007 and was part of Pakistan’s Twenty20 squad to South Africa last year but was sent back home after suffering a finger injury. Kamran had not been selected since being omitted from the one-day squad which lost all three matches in the Champions Trophy in England in June last year. Allrounder Abdul Razzaq failed to find a place in the initial squad after being sent home from the South Africa tour due to hamstring injury last year. The fifth edition of the World Twen-

ty20 will be held in Bangladesh from March 16-April 6. Mohammad Hafeez is expected to lead the team. He led Pakistan to a semi-final finish in the last World Twenty20 held in Sri Lanka in 2012. Pakistan won the 2009 event held in England. l

PRELIMINARY SQUAD Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmad Shahzad, Sharjeel Khan, Shahzaib Hasan, Nasir Jamshaid, Khurram Manzoor, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Harris Sohail, Yasir Arafat, Yasir Shah, Hammad Azam, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Khan Afridi, Zohaib Ahmed, Sohail Tanveer, Mohammad Irfan, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Bilawal Bhatti, Anwar Ali, Asad Ali, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Talha, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Raza Hasan, Abdul Rehman, Sarfaraz Ahmed

A brilliant Stanislas Wawrinka ended Novak Djokovic’s three-year reign at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, closing out a five-set classic at a heaving Rod Laver Arena to sensationally dump the Serb from the Australian Open quarter-finals. Heartbroken by Djokovic in two fiveset epics in Melbourne and the U.S. Open last year, the eighth-seeded Swiss played out of his skin to upset his grand slam nemesis 2-6 6-4 6-2 3-6 9-7 in an exhilarating four hours. Wawrinka stayed cool in a deciding set of unrelenting tension, sealing it when the former world number one pushed a shot wide on match point. His triumph blew the tournament wide open, setting up a semi-final with Czech Tomas Berdych while snapping the Serb’s 28-match winning streak. “He’s an amazing champion, he never gives up. I’m really, really, really happy,” Wawrinka said in a courtside interview. “I was really focused point after point. I had to stay aggressive, not to give up. I was tired, I was cramping a bit, I was nervous too. But now I’m going to have an ice bath for a very long time. “Last year was really tough, this year it’s a new year.”

Wawrinka’s bid to claim a maiden Melbourne Park semi-final appearance started nervously as he notched a trio of unforced errors to gift the Serb the opening break in the sixth game. Djokovic knuckled down to hold serve and prised two set points off his opponent’s serve. The Swiss saved one but was powerless to save the second as a jet-heeled Djokovic rushed in to retrieve a kind net-cord and whipped a drop-shot cross-court. Wawrinka regrouped during a break, found his first serve and went toe-to-toe against Djokovic, edging the Serb in a series of thrilling rallies. The Swiss blasted an imperious backhand down the line at the end of a 26-shot point to break Djokovic in the seventh game of the second set. After prevailing in another epic 29shot rally in his following service game, Wawrinka threw an icy glare at the Serb. The Swiss thumped a first serve targeted at Djokovic’s body to raise two set points and sliced a second serve into the Serb’s midriff on the second to level the match. Thriving in the electric atmosphere, Wawrinka rolled on, breaking a rattled Djokovic in the third game of the third set. The pressure told on the Serb, and after conceding another break point at 3-1, Djokovic roared in frustration, shooting a beleaguered look at his new coach Boris Becker. l

Djokovic magnanimous as ‘epic’ run ends n AFP, Melbourne Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic was magnanimous in defeat on Tuesday as his golden run at the Australian Open was halted by Stanislas Wawrinka in a pulsating fiveset quarter-final. “Yeah, it’s an amazing court, probably the court where I had most excitement in my tennis career. I mean matches with Rafa (Nadal), with Stan last year and this year, some epic battles,” Djokovic said. “I’ve won many trophies in Australia. I love Rod Laver Arena. These are kind of matches that you work for, you live for, you practice for. “I have to be very proud of my accomplishments in my whole career, and especially in this tournament. This is definitely by far my most successful Grand Slam. l

SA slams ‘flawed’ ICC plan n AFP, London South Africa have become the first major cricket nation to call on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to withdraw a draft plan that would give greater control of the world game to England, Australia and India. A “position paper” outlining the proposed changes is due to be discussed by the ICC’s executive board next week. But, ahead of that meeting, Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Chris Nenzani published an open letter to ICC president Alan Isaac on Monday urging the “fundamentally flawed” plan be taken off the table. One key proposal is for a four-man executive committee where the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Cricket Australia (CA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the three countries that bring most

revenue into cricket, would all be guaranteed a place, with the other position selected by the trio annually. On the field, there is also a suggestion of the creation of two divisions for Test cricket but with England, Australia and India all guaranteed to avoid relegation from the top tier because of their commercial importance. The proposals need seven votes from the ICC’s 10 leading nations to pass. According to some forecasts South Africa, currently the world’s top-ranked Test side, could see their share of future revenue fall below that of Pakistan if the new set-up, labelled “unconstitutional” by Nenzani, is adopted. “These proposals should first be referred to the relevant ICC committees or sub-committees for proper consideration and to make recommendations to the ICC Board,” Nenzani’s letter to Isaac said.

It added: “The proposal self-evidently is inextricably tied up with a fundamental restructuring of the ICC, which has far-reaching constitutional implications. “The draft proposal is, therefore, fundamentally flawed as regards the process and, therefore, in breach of the ICC constitution. “In the circumstances we propose that the draft proposal be withdrawn immediately given that the proper procedures have not been followed. “In our respectful opinion, a more considered, inclusive/consultative, and properly constitutionally-ordained approach is required.” But not all boards from amongst ‘the seven’ were as scathing, with New Zealand Cricket director Martin Snedden, a compatriot of Isaac, saying of the BCCI-CA-ECB plan: “Don’t jump to the conclusion what they’re doing is not good for world cricket.” l

Pakistan tenure ends ‘on a happy note’: Whatmore n AFP, Sharjah Departing Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore said he ended his tenure on a happy note with his team winning the third Test, and admitted he may still return in another capacity. The 59-year-old ended his two-year stint at the helm with the three-match series against Sri Lanka, which Pakistan levelled 1-1 by winning the third and final Test in Sharjah on Monday. Pakistan chased down a daunting 302-run target for the loss of five wickets, with Azhar Ali scoring his fifth Test hundred while Misbah-ul Haq finished with 68 and Sarfraz Ahmed hit 48. Sri Lanka won the second Test by nine wickets in Dubai while the first

Test ended as draw in Abu Dhabi. Whatmore, a former Australian batsman who coached Sri Lanka to World Cup glory in 1996, said he was happy with the win. “(I am) absolutely delighted, it’s a satisfying win... and a perfect gift the boys have given me on my departure,” said Whatmore. I am leaving on a very happy note,” he added.

Whatmore, who also coached Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup, took over as national coach in March 2012. Last month announced he would not renew his contract. He has been criticised by former players for the team’s lack of progress. “I am leaving the Pakistan Cricket Board on amicable terms, but it’s not a case of leaving Pakistan and not wanting ever to come back,” he said. “I am sure that I will be back in different capacity, sooner rather than later. I will always look forward to coming back to Pakistan.” During his tenure Pakistan failed to win a Test series, losing to South Africa 3-0 in 2013 and Sri Lanka 1-0 in 2012, and drawing with Zimbabwe and South Africa 1-1 last year. l

Fixing tribunal trying to keep it dark n Minhaz Uddin Khan The three-member tribunal formed by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has adopted a tight-lip stance in dealing with fixing allegations from the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League. It was learnt that revealing Dhaka Gladiators coach Ian Pont’s involvement in the scandal and the ICC (International Cricket Council) overlooking the matter was not taken lightly by the tribunal. Barrister Nauroz MR Chowdhury, lawyer of the Dhaka Gladiators owner, was the one who revealed Pont’s involvement to the media after the second hearing on January 19, terming it “discrimination”. “The tribunal has imposed rules on

us for not disclosing the discussions taking place in the hearing to the media,” barrister Nurus Sadik, lawyer of Mosharraf Rubel and Mahbubul Alam – two off the nine individuals charged of corruption, told the media yesterday. Asked about the hearings, Sadik said, “The hearing taking place is on the objection we raised against the preliminary issues. The hearing will go into further proceedings once the ongoing process is completed. The accusations that the ICC and BCB made will be discussed after that.” It was learnt from sources that the tribunal censured barrister Nauroz verbally for revealing information of the hearing to the media and has also asked others involved to not discuss such matters. l

BCB director Kazi Inam Ahmed (2R) speaks during a press conference of the ULAB Fair Play Cup Cricket at the ULAB premises yesterday MUMIT M

ULAB Fair Play Cup begins today n Shishir Hoque

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar looks at an infant during a promotional event in Mumbai yesterday AP

The 7th ULAB Fair Play Cup Inter-Private University Cricket Tournament, hosted by the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), will get underway at the ULAB ground in Mohammadpur today. ULAB will take on State University of Bangladesh (SUB) in the inaugural match of the Twenty20 tournament at 11am. A total of 12 private universities, split into four groups, are taking part in the 15-day meet. Apart from ULAB the other participating teams are defending champions North South University, BRAC University, East West University, Northern University Bangladesh, United International University, State University of Bangladesh, Manarat International University, Independent University Bangladesh, University of Asia pacific, Southeast University and Eastern University. The details of the tournament, which has been successfully organised every year since 2006, were re-

vealed through a press conference at the ULAB premises yesterday. The champions of the tournament will get Tk40000 while the runners-up will receive Tk25000 as prize money. ULAB Board of Trustee member and a director of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Kazi Inam Ahmed, Prof. Imran Rahman, Vice Chancellor, ULAB, Lt. Col. Foyzul Islam (Retd.), Registrar, ULAB, and Taufiq Aziz, manager, External Affairs and Advisor, ULAB Field Sports Club were present on the occasion. Inam, during the press briefing, explained why sport is important and how it increases the bonding among the youth society. “As we have our own tournament-standard playground, our main purpose is to create opportunity for other university students to play here and establish good relations among private universities. This time the tournament is big with 12 teams participating. We hope everyone have fun and enjoy the tournament,” he said. l


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

Back Page

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Heart hospital clogged with overcrowding Number of NICVD patients exceeds more than double its capacity n Moniruzzaman Uzzal The National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) is struggling to ensure proper treatment to all its patients, with the hospital currently admitting more than twice as many patients than its capacity. Md Shahid Mia, a South Keranigonj resident who came to the NICVD yesterday morning with chest pain, was told by doctors that he needed an angiogram to check whether his heart had a blocked artery. However, he had to roam around the hospital until 3:30pm, as no bed was available for him.

A record number of around 900 patients were currently admitted to the indoor section of the 431-bed hospital Sumi, a relative who accompanied Shahid, told the Dhaka Tribune that the doctor could not assure a bed, but admitted Shahid as he needed emergency examination. Offers of handsome amounts of money to the hospital staff were also unable to secure a bed, Sumi said, expressing her dismay about the possibility of the patient having to stand throughout the night. Montu Mia, a 75-year-old patient from Feni’s Chhagalnaiya upazila, was forced to secure a place on the floor beside a lift, after being unable to manage a bed in the 24 hours since he was admitted to the hospital on Monday.

Sources said a record number of around 900 patients were currently admitted at the indoor section of the 431-bed hospital. Different wards of the hospital were found to be fully occupied, with patients being forced to stay on the floor. All available spaces on the corridors, and in front of stairs, lifts, and even toilets, were occupied by patients. Most of these patients, who came from outside Dhaka, were concerned about the winter chills they would have to suffer during the night. Sources said around 800-900 patients received treatment every day at the emergency and outdoor services, with around 150 patients being both daily admitted and released. Seeking anonymity, a senior doctor told the Dhaka Tribune that although emergency patients were not usually kept on the floors, there was no alternative available now. He also said there was no space for doctors or nurses to move around the post-coronary care unit yesterday, as the 54-bed unit had around 90 patients admitted. Prof Dr Abdullah Al Shafi Mazumder, director of the NICVD hospital, said: “I have never experienced such a huge number of admitted patients during the last three years of my directorship. “Usually we have 600-650 admitted patients. On Monday, the number of admitted patients was 841. Today (Tuesday) the number of patients was more than previous day,” the director added. He said previous years saw the number of patients decrease during winter; but the scenario was different this year. The director said the situation had

At one stage of altercation over a familial matter, a housewife was cut off into pieces by her husband on Sunday. Police recovered six pieces of her body after she was allegedly killed by her husband in the Rowshan Road area of Chandina in Gazipur yesterday. The deceased was Chaina, 27, wife of Reazul Karim Ranju. Locals called the police after sensing malodor coming from the rented house of Ranju. Upon receiving information, police went to the house and arrested Ranju and recovered six of Chaina’s limbs kept in sacks, Sub-Inspector of Joydevpur police station Ekram Hossain said. He said: “At one stage of the altercation over familial matter, Chaina was killed and cut to pieces by her husband on Sunday night at their rented house in the Barabari area of Gazipur Sadar upazila.” Later on Monday, Ranju left the area and rented another house in Chandina in Gazipur with the pieces of his wife’s body, he added. Chaina hailed from Lohagara of Narail, while Ranju hailed from Pangsha of Rajbari district. l Patients are forced to stay in the corridors of the National institute of Cardiovascular Diseases as overcrowding left no beds available at the hospital. The photo was taken yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE gone beyond the hospital’s control and capacity, and serious patients had to be kept on the floor, as bed could not be provided. The hospital would be able to man-

Mysterious murder in police barrack n Kailash Sarkar

The beheaded body of an unidentified man was recovered from the traffic police barracks located behind the Paltan Police Station in the capital yesterday. Wearing trousers and a vest the body of the unidentified victim aged about 35 years was recovered around 11:30am from the roof of the six-storey building of the barracks. The man was suspected to have been killed at any time during the night. Police living in the barrack are clueless about the mysterious murder. Police recovered a white-coloured shirt from a drain near the building with Tk935 in its pocket. “We suspect the shirt was of the victim. After the killing the killers might

have dumped the shirt,” said Jahangir Hossain Matubbor, the DC at the East Division of the DB. Asked, the DC-DB (East) told the Dhaka Tribune: “We are yet to ascertain whether the victim was a policeman as we have not heard about any policeman missing.” He also said they were yet to ascertain the reason behind the murder and the perpetrators. Morshed Alam, officer-in-charge of the Paltan Police Station, said they were searching for the head of the victim to identity him. He said the brutal murder took place at some time during the night and the killers took away the head of the victim. The building is located in a very restricted place. Anybody who wants to

reach the building either he has to go through the Paltan Police Station or through the Police Staff Quarters at Rajarbagh. An iron ladder is used to go to the roof. A canteen is located on the ground floor of the building in which traffic policemen reside on the 1st and 2rd floors while players and workshop employees live on the rest of the floors. Some of the boarders of the building said they had heard footsteps on the floor in the early hours of Tuesday. Fifteen years ago decomposed body of another man was found in a water tank of the roof of a building at the Detective Branch office on Minto Road on March 25 in 1999. The man was dumped into the tank before he was killed. l

age more patients after the completion of a 200-bed expansion that was included in the annual development programme, he said. A relative of a patient, preferring to

stay unnamed, sought the attention of the health ministry for supplying a few movable beds for the seriously ill patients who would not be able to tolerate the cold. l

TELECOM CONNECTIVITY IN 8 STATES

India eyes routing through Bangladesh Shahariar Zaman and n Sheikh Muhammad Zahidul Islam India is exploring possibilities to improve telecom connectivity in its northeast region through alternate routing from Akhaura in Bangladesh to Agartala in Tripura. The discussion came up at a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the chief ministers of the eight northeastern states. The meeting in New Delhi reviewed the progress of infrastructure projects in the region, said a press release issued by his office. Official sources said India had submitted a proposal last year to import bandwidth from Bangladesh through Akhaura, but no development had taken place so far. “We have telecom cooperation [between the two countries] and under that Bangladesh is connected with Indian terrestrial cable through Benapole and it is also possible to replicate the same features in Akhaura,” said an official of the telecom ministry. Northeastern India could be a lucrative market for Bangladesh as it had un-

utilised bandwidth of about 160GB out of its total capacity of 200GB, he said. He added that a joint telecom working group had been formed in 2003 but it had had its last meeting in 2008. The connectivity issue could be discussed in the forum. Bangladesh’s bandwidth capacity will stand at 2,000GB when the second submarine cable’s operation is commissioned in the first half of the next year. The official said Bhutan and Nepal were also interested in importing bandwidth from Bangladesh under a regional initiative and they were already pursuing the matter. The meeting between Manmohan and the chief ministers also discussed electricity issues: that the northeastern region currently had a capacity of generating 4,080MW of electricity and another 6,810MW was under development, the Indian PMO press release said. “Untapped hydro potential is 55,561MW and development of this potential would generate surplus power, meeting the energy needs of the nation and also generating resources for the region,” it added. l

Muhith: Government to stay for 5 years About the resolution adopted in n Tribune report European Union parliament on Bangla-

Detectives look into a water tank of a building at Rajarbagh traffic police barracks, searching for the missing head of a decapitated body, which was recovered from the rooftop yesterday RAJIB DHAR

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday said the government would complete its five-year tenure and it was working to this end. Muhith said no foreign countries had put pressure on the government to hold an early election. He said this to journalists after a non-concession loan committee meeting at the finance ministry auditorium. “What is outside pressure? There is no pressure. We have invited the BNP to the negotiation table to settle the election issue,” he said.

desh he said the EU parliament stated that the election was internal matter of Bangladesh. Muhith asserted that the present government would complete its five years tenure. He, however, on January 4, a day before the parliamentary poll, said the new government would not stay in power for five years. Talking to journalists after a visit to the under-construction bridge on River Surma in Sylhet, Muhith said it was foolish act of the BNP not to take part in the election. l

Buriganga waters unable to support living organisms n Tribune Report

A study conducted on the waters of the Buriganga River has revealed an inadequate presence of dissolved oxygen to support the existence of fish or other living organisms. The survey, conducted yesterday by a group of specialists from Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba), collected water samples from different spots between Sadarghat and Pagla, and revealed that the presence of intoxicants in the water was higher than the level suitable for living organisms, according to UNB.

Water treatment plants were failing to purify the Buriganga River, and the water had lost all its aquatic life because rampant waste dumping, the study observed. It also said the Pagla Water Treatment Plant processed only 50,000 cubic metres of the 13 lakh cubic metres of human waste created every day in the capital. The rest of the waste was dumped directly into the water, turning the river to a dead water body. The Poba team tested the dissolved oxygen and acidity (ph) levels at different points on the river and found that the dissolved oxygen level was not

Husband held with 6 parts of wife’s body in Gazipur n Our Correspondent, Gazipur

high enough to support aquatic life. In every litre of water, the dissolved oxygen should be minimum of 5mg; whilst the Buriganga waters did not exceed 0.62mg at eight places, said a press release of Poba. The release added that the tanneries of Hazaribagh dumped 21,000 cubic meters of waste – containing chromium, lead, and sulfuric acid etc – in the Buriganga River every day, resulting in the pollution of the water, the riverbed and the soil on both banks. Ninety thousand cubic meters of waste from textile and other factories are also dumped in the Buriganga Riv-

er every day. Much is dumped directly into the river, as most factories ignore the mandatory use of treatment plants. Poba urged people to be cautious and asked the authority to take steps to save the Buriganga from further pollution, the release added. The dissolved oxygen (DO) levels were much lower than the permissible limit mentioned in the Environment Conservation Act 1997, while the presence of intoxicants was much higher than the permissible limit of the act. According to Environment Conservation Act 1997, the permissible level of DO in water must be higher than 5mg

per litre and the permissible limit of intoxicants must be around pH 7. After examination of the water samples, it was found that the DO levels were between 0.21mg per litre and 0.55mg per litre. The government also estimates that about 21,000 cubic metres of untreated industrial sewage is released into the Buriganga every day. In a report published in October 2012, Human Rights Watch observed that residents in the slums near the river regularly suffered from fevers, skin diseases, respiratory problems, and diarrhea. l

Father accused of killing son n Kailash Sarkar The mysterious death of a class VII student in the capital’s Jurain sent his fellow classmates and locals into a rampage yesterday, demanding punishment of the father for killing his 13-year-old son. Several hundred students of Jurain High School and locals went into rampage, attacking and vandalising the residence of the father of Mohammad Shihab, 13, last evening at Pokar Bazar, Jurain under Kodomtoli police station. The protests forced the father, Md Ripon Miah, 45, to bury his son, Mohammad Shihab, under police escort at the Jurain Graveyard last night, said witnesses and local people. A tense situation was prevailing in the area among the students and locals over the incident. The students and locals alleged that Ripon Miah had killed his son as the boy was the lone witnesses to the killing of his mother by his father three years ago. His fellow classmates told this correspondent Shihab was not the kind of person who would commit suicide. He was meritorious and the 1st boy in his class, they said. Talking to journalists at the Dhaka Medical College morgue, Md Russell, a classmate of deceased Shihab, claimed Shihab earlier had told them that his father had killed his mother while they were staying in Saudi Arabia three years ago and Shihab was the lone witness. “Shihab was killed to silence the only witness to his mother’s killing before he could speak out,” he alleged. Mazharul Islam, the officer-in-charge of Kodomtoli police station, said police provided escorts during the burial to avert any untoward incident. OC Mazharul said police had recovered Shihab’s body on Monday night around 9pm from their residence after his father informed them that his son had “committed suicide as he did not wish him on his birthday.” The OC, however, could not say how the boy had committed suicide. He confirmed that Shihab did not hang himself. “Perhaps he took sedatives or poisonous medicines,” he added. “Although the body was buried after filing an unnatural death case, the cause of the death will be known after the autopsy report is received,” said the OC. l

Australian envoy meets Khaleda n UNB

Australian High Commissioner in Dhaka Greg Wilcock met BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday. The hour-long meeting that began around 8pm was held at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office. However, neither the BNP nor the Australian envoy briefed the reporters waiting outside the office. Party sources said the BNP chief had discussed with the envoy about the country’s latest political situation, the January 5 parliamentary election and various other bilateral issues. l

Editor: Zafar Sobhan, Published and Printed by Kazi Anis Ahmed on behalf of 2A Media Limited at Dainik Shakaler Khabar Publications Limited, 153/7, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Dhaka-1208. Editorial, News & Commercial Office: FR Tower, 8/C Panthapath, Shukrabad, Dhaka 1207. Phone: 9132093-94, Advertising: 9132155, Circulation: 9132282, Fax: News-9132192, e-mail: news@dhakatribune.com, info@dhakatribune.com, Website: www.dhakatribune.com


Continue to the Business section...

Business


B3 MHSML stocks shine as it

B4 Dhaka, Islamabad

debuts

help Delhi rescue cotton export

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2014 www.dhakatribune.com/business

DITF exhibitors frustrated at less foreign visitors this year n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi Negligible presence of foreign visitors-cum-buyers has utterly frustrated the export-oriented manufacturers who are exhibiting products at the Dhaka International Trade Fair that began on January 11. The country’s biggest trade fair that attracts visitors from both home and aboard so far failed to attract the visitors especially the foreigners, up to the expected level. Local manufacturers usually get some export orders from the month-long event. Participating export-oriented man-

ufacturers have expressed their frustrations and feared getting less spot orders this year, as the fair has so far witnessed fewer foreign visitors due to the delayed start amid political unrest. Bangladesh had bagged spot orders worth Tk157 crore from both domestic and foreign buyers last year. “It will take little time to see more visitors and we are hoping to see more visitors in the coming days as the political situation has been improved,” AFM Manzur Kader, secretary of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) told the Dhaka Tribune. “We are hoping for more spot orders

from the buyers this year as a European union team has confirmed us to visit the fair tomorrow (today),” he added. Generally, Navana Furniture exports its products to India and had got very positive response in the last year’s fair. “We have not yet welcomed any foreign visitor from the neighboring countries. Let alone rest of the world,” said Md. Manik Dewan, assistant manager sales of Navana Furniture. “Although one or two visitors visited our pavilion, they did not place any order,” said Ashok Kumar, an assistant manager (Retail Sales) of Partex.

Visitors increasingly crowding the Dhaka International Trade Fair being held at the capital’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. The photo was taken yesterday, the 11th day of the month-long event DHAKA TRIBUNE

Committee formed to identify causes of public account deficit n Asif Showkat Kallol The government has formed a six-member committee to find causes of deficit in the public account in the beginning of every fiscal year. Such mismatch in cash and debt accounts of the republic might be a reason of pension money crisis in the start of a year, officials suggested. Finance Division issued a circular yesterday stating the formation of the committee. An official said although the country’s cash and debt management showed Tk600 crore surplus in December last year, the situation might worsen in next couple months due to fallout of the prolonged political turmoil. He said investment has dropped because of the unrest, which may start casting a negative impact on the cash and debt situation. However, in January 2013, there was Tk1,000crore deficit in the cash and debt management, added the official. Finance Division sources said sometimes the government’s withdrawal of money from the national pension fund causes crisis while distributing money among the receivers. “The government, for exam-

ple, spends Tk2000 crore from the pension fund, but it doesn’t repay the amount to the respective bank, which later leads to the problem,” said an official. Such fund is available in Bangladesh Bank or the state-owned Sonali Bank. The transfer of guarantee money of a project to another project in the hope of profit is also responsible for the account crisis, the officials think. Besides, the local administrations’ people also sometimes shift fund money of development projects to their own private accounts for making bank interest. The officials said such practice is also responsible for the shortage of fund during the beginning of a year. Last fiscal year, International Monetary Fund advised the finance division to keep the public account updated. Usually, a government fund transfer requires a two-month time. In the FY2013-14, the public account shows Tk33,796.50 crore receipt and TK 25,825.50 crore expenditure. The surplus is TK7,971 crore. The sectors include national saving schemes, state provided fund, renewal, reserve and depreciation fund, deposit account and current assets. l

STOCKS DSEX DS30

4584.63

0.75%

1614.7

0.34%

▲ ▲

CSEX

8996.92

0.74%

EXCHANGE RATES Average selling rates to public in BDT Banks Rupali Bank Currencies SELL BUY USD 77.4 78.4

Sonali Bank SELL BUY 77.4

78.4

EURO

126.6295

107.5228

104.3141

106.7316

INR

1.1881

1.3445

1.19

1.29

SAR

20.5377

21.0049

20.5341

21.0095

Consultative committee of businessmen soon to help adopt policies n Tribune Report The government would soon form a consultative committee comprised of business community members to accommodate their recommendations in formulating policies to boost the country’s trade and commerce. “The committee will help make major business decisions,” Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed told a meeting in Dhaka yesterday. The minister spoke about the committee at his maiden meeting with the country’s top business leaders after taking charge of the ministry.

'As the businessmen are the main driving force of our economy, they will have to continue efforts in the country’s economic development that has been badly hampered in the wake of devastating political unrest' Floating the idea, the minister urged the businessmen to work together and diversify products for increasing the country’s export earnings. “As the businessmen are the main driving force of our economy, they will have to continue efforts in the country’s economic development that has been badly hampered in the wake of devastating political unrest,” Tofail said. Commerce Secretary M Mahbub Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICC,B) Mahbubur Rahman, presidents of DCCI, BGMEA, BKMEA, MCCI and leaders of other trade associations, among others, attended the meeting. Meanwhile, BSS adds, Tofail proposed to form a regional forum named Bangladesh-India-China-Myanmar (BICM) to boost the trade in South Asia. “India and China have already started dialogue to form the regional forum ... we too gave them our consent,” he said. l

In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, Bangladesh exported furniture worth $15.36m, which is 15.32% higher as compared to $13.32m of the same period in 2012. Home Tex, an export-oriented home textiles manufacturing company, witnessed not a single foreign visitor or buyer. They usually come to place orders during the trade fair, said H.M. Ali Imama, a sales executive of Home Tex at DIFT. The country’s home textile exports have already seen a 6.30% decline comparing with the earning of previous year. This sector has been able to earn $350.20m in the first half of the current fiscal year. The turnout of the visitors, both the local and global, is still low comparing to the previous years due to the political unrest, Md Zakaria, in charge of stall of Bexi Fabrics, told the Dhaka Tribune. “Though the fair is branded as ‘International Fair’ but it has so far failed to upgrade its level in terms of quality and facilities, which is vital for attracting overseas visitors,’’ said a sales executive of plastic product producer on condition of anonymity. Export earnings from plastic products also marked a 7.73% decline to $38.22m in the first half of FY2013-14 compared to $41.42m in July-December 2012. Every year, the Export Promotion Bureau and the Ministry of Commerce jointly organise the month-long DITF at the capital’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area. The trade show was scheduled to start from January 1 as usual, but it opened on January 11, as the commerce ministry had to defer following a request from around 100 participants in the wake of the political unrest. l

Biman gets state guarantee of $290m loan Muhith asks management to prepare 10-year business plan to making it profitable

n Tribune Report Finance Minister AMA Muhith has asked the management of Biman Bangladesh Airlines to prepare a 10-year business plan for making it a profitable enterprise from its sorry state. He directed the authorities of the national flag carrier after approving a state guarantee against a commercial loan of US$290m taken from a multinational bank to help survive the state enterprise. “Biman has become a dysfunctional organisation since its inception due to constant losses over the years,” he told reporters after a meeting of non-concessional loan committee at the finance division yesterday. “We cannot also avoid our own responsibilities in building up its own capacity to run the national flag carrier on its own.” The airline is taking the loan from Standard Chartered Bank to pay Boeing for two aircrafts bought earlier for the national flag carrier. Presided over by the minister, the meeting was attended by Bangladesh Bank Governor Aitur Rahman and Biman Managing Director Kevin J Steele. “The government did not give facilities to enhance the financial capacity of Biman. As a result, the fleet is still

unable to fly on its own wings,” said the minister, defending the need for fresh financing to the enterprise. “However, it will not be possible to make it profitable over night.” Biman bought two aircrafts during the last caretaker government under an agreement with Boeing and the government is now giving the guarantee against the loan so Biman could pay Boeing. Last month, Biman authorities had expressed its utter fear of becoming a bankrupt airliner soon as it apprehended relevant companies such as Boeing, general electric, leasing companies and fuel companies might put cash-hit Biman on “cash only” categories as the financial deficit of the company rose to over Tk1,500 crore. It would virtually force the company to cease its operations in the coming days, it apprehended. Kevin stressed on the need for injecting around $200m as soon as possible to face the ongoing financial crisis and sought government help in arranging a commercial loan in preferential term. Total deficit of Biman now stands Tk1,502 crore while the outstanding dues stands at Tk1,589 crore and available funds stands at Tk87.31 crore, according to a Biman statement as of December 15 last year. l

BTRC’s revenue earning doubles n Muhammad Zahidul Islam Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has earned Tk6,126 crore revenue in the first half of the current fiscal, a figure which is more than double compared to the earning one year ago. The jump makes the telecom regulator anticipate a record high revenue earning in this fiscal, which could even exceed Tk10,000. “There is a high possibility that we are going to exceed Tk10,000crore in annual revenue income for the first time,” a top official of BTRC told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. The commission is the highest earner of non-tax revenue for the government. According to the BTRC officials, the auction of third generation mobile broadband spectrum was a large contributor to the revenue surge. The watchdog earned more than Tk2,550crore from the auction and licence fees, they said, adding that BTRC will bag another amount of over Tk1,500 crore by April this year. Mobile operators’ revenue sharing, awarding new licences and international call termination fees are also

playing role in revenue surge. The telecom operators are required to share 5.5% of their revenue earnings with BTRC. Apart from that, different telecom companies owe hundreds of crore to the regulator. If the dues are paid, the income is said to be further boosted. Official data showed the telecom watchdog earned Tk3,051 crore in the first half of last fiscal year. The earning of the whole year was Tk5,404 crore with 22% decline from the previous year’s Tk6,957 crore.

According to a high official, BRTC was not worried about the fall of revenue in last fiscal as it saw the market would be expanding for next couple of years, which along with 3G would spike its revenue earning. The main sources of BTRC’s revenue income are licence fees, licencerenewal fees, revenue sharing and frequency charges. Data showed the regulator earned Tk3,047crore in FY2010 11, Tk2,370crorein FY2009-10 and Tk3,195crore in FY2008-09. l

20 apparel makers to take part in Berlin fair n Tribune Report A total of 20 Bangladeshi apparel manufacturers will participate in a threeday fair in Berlin, Germany beginning on February 18. Asia Apparel Expo-Berlin will be held at Messe Berlin Exhibition Ground. Bangladesh’s Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) officials said the participation is to display the country’s garment products and to explore new markets. Of the 20 participants, 17 are woven and three are knitwear factory owners. EPB said they have confirmed about their participation in the expo. It said the third Asia Apparel Expo will bring together over 250 experienced

suppliers from the world’s largest clothing producing countries and regions including Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam and Thailan. “We will be there to demonstrate our products to the present and potential buyers,” said Akter Ali Sarkar, director (fair) of the EPB. He said a total of 20 readymade garment makers will take part in the expo under the EPB supervision as part of a promotional campaign. This is also a part of efforts to narrow the country’s trade deficit, according to the director. He thinks through the participation, a knowledge on international trade rules and regulations can be acquired. Bangladesh takes part in different

fairs held in different countries to promote its products in the international market. “The participations will help Bangladesh explore new destinations for its apparel products. It will ease dependency on the traditional markets,” said Shahidullah Azim, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). RMG exports grew over 20% to reach nearly $12bn in the first half of the current fiscal from one year ago. During the first of last fiscal year, the figure was $10bn. The country’s total export earnings rose 16.6% to $14.68bn in the July-December period from $12.6bn a year earlier. l


B2

Stocks return to green n Tribune Report

'Investors seem to react positively on growth stocks while monetary policy statement for H2 FY14 is expected to focus on exploring the private sector investment by increasing credit growth'

The Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, rallied nearly 66 points to close at 8,996. Mozaffar Hossain Mills Ltd making its debut dominated both the gainer and turnover charts, gaining 353% to Tk45.3 from its IPO price of Tk10 each and shares worth more than Tk34 crore changing hands. Trading of the new stock gave a slight boost to the total turnover at DSE by 16% to stand Tk700 crore

DSE LOSERS

4584.62683

(+) 0.75%

947.69534

(+) 0.68%

1614.69727

(+) 0.34%

14193.5679

(+) 0.80%

8996.9245

(+) 0.74%

Stylecraft -A Modern Dyeing -Z Standard Ceramic -A 2nd ICB M F -A Kohinoor Chem -A GSP Finance-A National Life I -A GeminiSeaFood-Z Golden Son -A

-6.72 -6.29 -5.39 -4.07 -3.90 -3.90 -3.51 -3.18 -2.78

Average (% change) -6.67 -6.82 -4.90 -4.09 -4.08 -0.58 -2.29 -2.99 -2.87

Samata LeatheR -Z

-2.77

-2.93

Closing (% change)

CSE LOSERS Company 8th ICB M F-A Imam Button -Z Kay & Que (BD) -Z Hakkani P& Paper -B Delta Brac HFCL-A Rangpur Foundry -A Monno Ceramic -B Bank Asia -A Maksons Spinning-A

Delta SpinnersA

-26.58 -8.33 -5.99 -5.92 -2.94 -2.88 -2.86 -2.74 -2.42

Average (% change) -26.58 -0.20 -5.86 -5.49 -2.53 -2.88 -2.86 -4.23 -1.12

-2.40

-2.18

Closing (% change)

Closing average

7,108.94

Closing

159,037

Traded Issues

293

Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)

185

Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)

103

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

5

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)

2,202.02

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)

26.69

Turnover (Million Taka)

644.41

Turnover (Volume)

17,015,769

Number of Contract

25,859

Traded Issues

235

Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)

149

Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)

84

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

1

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)

2,102.54

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)

25.49

Turnover in million

Daily low

Latest EPS

Latest PE

826.00 82.00 38.80 273.33 366.80 32.42 311.53 143.57 63.65

825.50 82.00 38.60 273.40 367.50 32.00 308.20 143.20 63.00

835.00 82.00 39.00 275.00 370.00 33.50 320.00 148.90 68.00

822.60 82.00 38.00 271.00 352.00 30.00 307.00 142.00 59.00

0.413 0.004 0.097 0.205 0.397 18.120 8.793 0.201 122.914

20.50 1.44 1.01 63.48 9.80 1.47 12.46 -15.39 3.35

40.3 56.9 38.4 4.3 37.4 22.1 25.0 -ve 19.0

28.15

28.10

29.00

28.00

0.183

-0.08

-ve

Closing average

Closing

Daily high

Turnover in million

Daily low

Apex Tannery -A Pragati Gen. I -A Miracle Industries -B I P D C -A Midas Financing-Z ICB Islamic Bank-Z Meghna PET Ind. -Z Meghna Con. Milk -B Takaful Islami Insu-A Northern G Insur-A

Latest EPS

Company Prime Islami Life -A Northern G Insur-A Miracle Industries -B Apex Tannery -A Pragati Gen. I -A Paramount Insur-A I P D C -A Meghna Life Ins. -A IFIL Islamic M.F.1-A Premier Leasing-Z

Sector Bank NBFI Investment Engineering Food & Allied Fuel & Power Jute Textile Pharma & Chemical Paper & Packaging Service Leather Ceramic Cement Information Technology General Insurance Life Insurance Telecom Travel & Leisure Miscellaneous Debenture

DSE Million Taka 513.23 529.79 214.44 943.56 186.93 707.79 3.25 1077.41 605.24 1.11 27.56 304.68 33.97 640.08 44.12 407.38 411.34 154.91 131.66 170.36 0.13

58.00 9.90 20.40 33.40 66.00 101.00 34.00 21.30 20.20

58.00 9.90 20.40 34.00 67.50 101.00 34.00 21.30 20.80

58.00 9.90 20.40 33.00 65.50 101.00 34.00 20.00 20.10

0.058 0.005 0.010 0.101 0.597 0.051 0.020 0.039 5.986

3.48 -2.20 -0.89 0.44 4.72 3.03 0.64 1.41 0.55

16.7 -ve -ve 76.3 14.0 33.3 53.1 14.9 36.9

40.90

40.60

41.40

40.40

3.227

1.16

35.3

Trading of the new stock gave a slight boost to the total turnover at DSE by 16% to stand Tk700 crore over the previous session

% change 7.22 7.45 3.02 13.27 2.63 9.96 0.05 15.16 8.51 0.02 0.39 4.29 0.48 9.00 0.62 5.73 5.79 2.18 1.85 2.40 0.00

Million Taka 49.97 52.07 13.72 113.59 21.40 42.55 149.05 37.15 0.17 2.34 9.05 4.49 41.52 7.53 18.78 18.23 9.31 20.36 33.33 0.00

CSE

% change 7.75 8.08 2.13 17.62 3.32 6.60 0.00 23.12 5.76 0.03 0.36 1.40 0.70 6.44 1.17 2.91 2.83 1.44 3.16 5.17 0.00

Million Taka 563.20 581.85 228.17 1057.15 208.33 750.34 3.25 1226.46 642.40 1.28 29.90 313.72 38.46 681.59 51.65 426.16 429.57 164.22 152.02 203.69 0.13

Total

Closing (% change) 10.00 9.91 9.87 9.83 9.64 8.37 8.13 7.96 7.81 6.73

Average (% change) 6.65 6.83 8.03 8.49 7.32 5.38 5.62 4.58 5.38 5.79 Average (% change) 4.19 9.01 8.22 5.47 9.73 5.35 8.09 3.48 7.39 6.29

Closing average 178.08 64.93 24.21 22.87 33.56 6.46 9.02 14.16 42.67 45.89

Closing average 115.34 45.38 24.23 176.26 64.85 26.58 22.58 138.72 6.83 10.99

Closing 183.60 67.10 24.30 23.50 33.70 6.50 9.10 14.50 43.80 46.90

Closing 121.00 46.60 24.50 184.40 64.80 27.20 22.60 147.90 6.90 11.10

Daily high 183.80 67.20 24.40 23.60 34.00 6.60 9.20 14.70 44.40 47.50

Daily high 121.00 46.60 24.50 184.60 65.00 27.60 22.90 148.00 7.00 11.40

Mozaffar Hossain Spinning Mills Limited: (Q1): The Company has reported its net profit after tax Tk. 24.23 million and basic EPS Tk. 0.69 for the 3 (three) months ended on 30 September 2013 (July 2013- September 2013) as against profit after tax of Tk. 18.83 million and basic EPS of Tk. 0.54 for the same period of the previous year. It is to be noted that basic EPS has been calculated based on weighted average Pre-IPO paid-up number of shares i.e. 34,975,000 shares both for 2013 and 2012. However, considering Post-IPO 62,475,000 number of shares the Company's basic EPS for the 3 (three) months ended on 30 September 2013 would be Tk. 0.39. Moreover, considering Post-IPO 62,475,000 number of shares, the company's NAV would be Tk. 16.48 as on 30 September 2013. The last AGM of the company for the year ended on 30 June 2013 was held on 28 August 2013 and the Company has not declared any dividend for the year ended on 30 June 2013. BRACBANK: The Company has further informed that the subscription period for rights issue will be from 20.04.2014 to 15.05.2014. Record date for entitlement of rights share: 10.02.2014. The purpose of issuing Rights Share is to meet the regulatory

requirement for capital adequacy. ENVOYTEX: The Company has informed that it has credited the bonus shares for the year ended on September 30, 2013 to the respective shareholders' BO Accounts on December 29, 2013. Cash dividend including sale proceeds of fractional shares has been disbursed by fund transfer and BEFTN system to the respective shareholders' Bank Accounts within stipulated time. Cash Dividend Warrant has already been sent through courier to those shareholders whose accounts were not credited due to inadequate information in their Bank Accounts/out of BEFTN services/Non-resident. MAKSONSPIN: As per Regulation 30 of DSE Listing Regulations, the Company has informed that a meeting of the Board of Directors will be held on January 28, 2014 at 4:00 PM to consider, among others, audited financial statements of the Company for the year ended on September 30, 2013. BDCOM: The Company has informed that it has credited the bonus shares for the year ended on June 30, 2013 to the respective shareholders' BO Accounts. PREMIERCEM: The Company will be placed in "A" category from existing "N" category with effect from January 21, 2014

Daily low 166.70 60.80 20.00 20.00 28.00 5.80 8.60 12.10 39.80 40.00

Daily low 115.00 43.00 21.00 168.00 62.50 25.80 21.20 132.50 6.20 10.40

Turnover in million 93.029 39.521 14.614 22.857 1.511 5.583 0.451 1.218 27.965 28.613

Turnover in million 0.089 1.180 3.618 3.613 0.318 0.585 0.881 1.075 2.032 2.159

Latest EPS 6.28 4.19 0.12 0.91 -2.48 -0.26 -0.52 -4.60 2.64 3.04

Latest EPS 4.95 3.04 0.12 6.28 4.19 1.51 0.91 6.45 1.32 0.04

Latest PE 28.4 15.5 201.8 25.1 -ve -ve -ve -ve 16.2 15.1

Latest PE 23.3 14.9 201.9 28.1 15.5 17.6 24.8 21.5 5.2 274.8

as the Company reported disbursement of 40% cash dividend for the year ended on June 30, 2013. Primary Status of IPO of Emerald Oil Industries Ltd.: All concerned are hereby informed that the primary status of the IPO of Emerald Oil Industries Ltd.: Total amount of subscription (excluding NRB)=Tk.7,665,315,000.00 & Total No. of application=1,152,166. Total amount received from NRB Tk. 175,000,000.00 & Total application from NRB=35,000 up to 20 January 2014. RIGHT SHARE: ARAMITCEM: Subscription 23.03.2014 to 17.04.2014. Record date for entitlement of rights share: 09.01.2014. RUPALILIFE- Subscription 06.04.2014 to 05.05.2014. Record date for entitlement of rights share: 16.01.2014. IPO Subscription: Emerald Oil Industries Limited subscription date 06-12 January 2014, NRB upto 21 Januray 2014. At per, face value taka 10 and market lot 500. Matin Spinning Mills Limited subscription date 26-30 January 2014, NRB upto 08 Feburay 2014. @ Tk. 37/-, face value taka 10 and market lot 200. Hwa Well Textiles (BD) Limited subscription date 17-23 February 2014, NRB upto 04 March 2014. At per, face value taka 10 and market lot 500.

Latest PE

58.00 9.90 20.40 33.55 66.28 101.00 34.00 21.06 20.29

SECTORAL TURNOVER SUMMARY

9.87 9.82 9.46 9.30 8.36 8.33 8.33 8.21 8.15 8.06

CSE GAINERS

DSE TURNOVER LEADERS

ANALYST

Closing (% change)

News from trade server

CSE key features January 20, 2014

▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ Daily high

153,243,294

Number of Contract

Weekly capital market highlights DSE Broad Index : DSE - 30 Index : CSE All Share Index: CSE - 30 Index : CSE Selected Index :

Company

Turnover (Million Taka) Turnover (Volume)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DSE GAINERS

DSE key features January 20, 2014

over the previous session. Lanka Bangla Securities in its market analysis said after mild correction, the market opened red. However, huge turnover in the second half of the session has brought the index up, it said. “Investors seem to react positively on growth stocks while monetary policy statement for H2 FY14 is expected to focus on exploring the private sector investment by increasing credit growth.” Among the key sectors, investors took bank, engineering and power stocks in their buying interest, thus rising market capitalisation by more than 3%, 1% and 0.8% respectively. IDLC Investment said market started with a sloppy attitude, continuing previous session’s dim mode. However, as the session approached mid-day, enthusiasm resurfaced leading to a strong turnaround in the bourse. Small cap companies also dominated the trading as investors became inclined to book some quick profit. Non-life insurance appeared lucrative to the investors, gaining over 4%, followed by cement almost 3%, pharmaceuticals 1%. The other large capitalised sectors, including banks, financial institutions and telecommunications were mostly flat. After Muzaffar Hossain, other top turnover leaders were Confidence Cement, Apex Adelchi, Meghan Petroleum, Lanka Bangla Finance, Appollo Ispat, Padma Oil and Olympic Industries. l

Stocks returned to green with having increased turnover yesterday, a day after marginal fall on profit-booking. The benchmark DSEX index ended at 4,584 with a gain of 34 points or 0.8%. Shariah-based DSES index edged 6 points or 0.7% higher to 947. The blue-chip comprising DS30 index rose marginally 5 points or 0.4% to 1,614.

Company

Stock

DHAKA TRIBUNE

% change 7.26 7.50 2.94 13.63 2.69 9.68 0.04 15.82 8.29 0.02 0.39 4.05 0.50 8.79 0.67 5.50 5.54 2.12 1.96 2.63 0.00

Prepared exclusively for Dhaka Tribune by Business Information Automation Service Line (BIASL), on the basis of information collected from daily stock quotations and audited reports of the listed companies. High level of caution has been taken to collect and present the above information and data. The publisher will not take any responsibility if any body uses this information and data for his/her investment decision. For any query please email to biasl@bol-online.com or call 01552153562 or go to www.biasl.net

Company Mozaffar H.Spinning-N ConfidenceCement A ApexAdelchi Ftr -A Meghna Petroleum -A LankaBangla Fin. -A Appollo Ispat CL -N Padma Oil Co. -A Olympic Ind. -A UCBL - A Golden Son -A

Square Pharma -A Bengal Windsor-N LafargeS Cement-Z Generation Next-A S Purbanchol Power-N Grameenphone-A Active Fine Chem.-A UNITED AIR-A Apex Tannery -A Paramount Textile Ltd.-A CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Mozaffar H.Spinning-N Appollo Ispat CL -N BSC-A Golden Son -A UNITED AIR-A UCBL - A LankaBangla Fin. -A Paramount Textile Ltd.-A S Purbanchol Power-N ConfidenceCement A

Generation Next-A BD Building Systems -A National Bank - B Square Pharma -A

Volume shares 7,401,500 1,925,517 359,800 631,920 2,056,360 4,014,200 441,152 778,192 4,431,432 1,930,995

555,177 1,654,840 3,007,000 3,285,980 1,426,120 467,594 1,004,715 5,416,058 522,400 1,645,230 Volume shares 1,945,500 1,126,600 40,430 293,000 1,010,453 492,270 181,888 240,200 162,330 82,515

321,240 156,625 785,450 35,227

Value in million 341.24 275.62 198.75 158.59 157.06 149.27 145.32 134.35 127.89 122.91

122.21 119.66 116.27 114.83 105.31 97.04 96.74 96.02 93.03 85.70

Value in million 90.07 42.05 19.82 18.69 17.92 14.21 13.94 12.56 12.00 11.81

11.26 10.63 9.90 7.72

% of total turnover 4.80 3.88 2.80 2.23 2.21 2.10 2.04 1.89 1.80 1.73

1.72 1.68 1.64 1.62 1.48 1.37 1.36 1.35 1.31 1.21

% of total turnover 13.98 6.53 3.08 2.90 2.78 2.21 2.16 1.95 1.86 1.83

1.75 1.65 1.54 1.34

Daily closing 45.30 145.10 560.10 253.00 76.30 36.90 331.80 172.30 28.70 63.00

221.00 72.30 39.10 34.70 73.60 207.50 97.30 17.70 183.60 51.70

Daily closing 45.40 37.00 491.00 63.00 17.80 28.80 76.40 52.00 73.80 145.20

34.90 68.10 12.70 219.00

Price change 0.00 3.87 3.61 1.40 0.00 -0.54 1.34 -0.35 0.00 -2.78

Daily opening 0.00 139.70 540.60 249.50 76.30 37.10 327.40 172.90 28.70 64.80

219.00 71.00 37.50 35.40 74.70 207.10 95.60 17.90 167.10 52.70

Price change 0.00 -0.80 4.91 -2.33 -1.11 0.35 0.26 -1.52 -1.47 3.94

Daily opening 0.00 37.30 468.00 64.50 18.00 28.70 76.20 52.80 74.90 139.70

0.91 1.83 4.27 -1.98 -1.47 0.19 1.78 -1.12 9.87 -1.90

-2.24 -0.58 2.42 -0.77

35.70 68.50 12.40 220.70

Daily high 48.00 146.80 563.80 254.70 77.20 37.70 335.00 175.00 30.90 68.00

238.00 73.70 39.60 35.70 75.00 208.30 98.00 18.50 183.80 53.40

Daily low 40.00 135.00 542.00 240.00 70.00 36.80 320.00 163.00 26.00 59.00

205.00 64.10 37.20 32.00 68.00 195.00 88.00 16.20 166.70 47.50

Daily average 46.10 143.14 552.39 250.96 76.38 37.19 329.40 172.64 28.86 63.65

Daily high 47.80 37.80 498.00 64.70 18.20 29.10 77.20 53.30 74.90 146.80

Daily low 42.00 36.90 480.00 62.70 17.50 28.30 74.00 51.80 73.60 140.00

Daily average 46.29 37.32 490.19 63.80 17.74 28.87 76.66 52.28 73.90 143.13

35.90 69.00 12.90 222.00

34.70 67.00 12.30 218.00

220.13 72.31 38.67 34.94 73.84 207.52 96.28 17.73 178.08 52.09

35.06 67.84 12.61 219.05


DHAKA TRIBUNE

Business

16 firms warned of violating min shareholding rule n Tribune Report Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) warned 16 companies of delays to comply with the minimum shareholding norms by the sponsors and directors. Barakatullh Electro Dynamics Ltd faced Tk1 lakh fine for violating the directive on minimum shareholding.

The companies were warned due to non-compliance with the directive within the stipulated time. It did not mention the deadline for compliance of its directive The commission in a statement yesterday said the companies were warned due to non-compliance with the directive within the stipulated time. It did not mention the deadline for compliance of its directive, however. Earlier, the BSEC asked the companies to provide information about the latest status of shareholding position of directors, sponsors and promoters. The directive says the sponsors, di-

rectors and promoters, who are now jointly holding less than 30% and individually less than 2% shares, to acquire the rest of the amount. The companies that failed to follow the directive are Ambee Pharmaceuticals, Anlimayarn Dyeing Ltd, CMC-Kamal Textile Mills Ltd, Padma Islami Life Insurance Ltd, Pragati Life Insurance Ltd, Quasem Drycells, Rangpur Dairy & Food Products, Beach Hatchery, Imam Button Industries, Pragati Insurance, Standard Ceramic Industries, Global Insurance, Information Services Network, Intech Online, Islami Insurance Bangladesh and Monno Ceramic Industries. On November 22 in 2011, the regulator through a directive made it mandatory for the sponsors and directors of listed companies to hold a minimum stake of 2% individually and 30% collectively. The directive on minimum shareholding was meant to stop sales of shares by sponsors and directors and to create a buying pressure in the stock market for the benefit of general investors. There were also allegations that many sponsors and directors sold off their shares but still holding the controlling power of the company. l

FAR Chemical IPO approved n Tribune Report

MHSML stocks shine as it debuts n Tahmidur Rahman Mozaffar Hossain Spinning Mills Limited made its debut at the bourses yesterday, riding on the bullish market trend. The 32nd stock in the textile segment closed at Tk45.3 each, registering a gain of over 353% on its offer value of Tk10 each at the Dhaka Stock Exchange. Its price movement ranged between Tk40 and Tk48 during the session. Shares worth more than Tk34.1 crore changed hands to make up 4.8% of the total DSE turnover. First quarter profit, as on September last year, of the textile sector company

stood at Tk2.4 crore after tax against a profit of Tk1.9 crore during the same period in 2012. The Q1 profit is almost equal to the company’s 2012 profit of Tk2.5 crore, which is 56% higher than Tk1.6 crore of profit recorded in 2011, according to the IPO prospectus. The company used the IPO fund to repay its term loan that would help increase the company’s profitability, analysts say. As on December 2013, the company had a long-term loan of Tk26.2 crore. A high borrowing cost - Tk6.4 crore in 2012 and Tk4.4 crore in 2011 – had an adverse impact on the profitability

in the earlier years. The 100% export-oriented company reported annual sales of Tk39 crore in December 2012 as against Tk26.6 crore in December 2011. The company raised Tk27.5 crore through initial public offering of 2.75 crore ordinary shares at an offer price of Tk10 each. The company previously mentioned its intention to use the raised fund to repay its term loan and meet the IPO expenses. According to unaudited financial report of the company ended on September 30 last year, the net asset value per share of the company is Tk16.48. l

Global Internet companies see rapid evolvement of 3rd Platform n BSS

Global Internet companies see continuing rapid expansion of the 3rd Platform, or the next phase of the IT revolution, at DLD conference in Munich on Monday. DLD, which stands for Digital, Life and Design, is Hubert Burda Media’s international conference and innovation platform. It has been serving as one of the most renowned get-togethers of the industry. Developing from the first platform, which was the mainframe computer, and the second, which as personal computers, the 3rd Platform is being built on mobile computing, social networking, cloud service and Big Data analytics technologies. With 1.83 billion smartphones in 2013 and an average phones check of 150 times per people in a day, mobile is

changing every aspect of our lives, said Hubert Burda Media. By the end of this year, the mobile Internet usage will outperform desktop for the first time. And by 2017, the global mobile data traffic will grow 13-fold, reaching 134 exabytes annually, with mobile video representing 66% of all mobile data traffic, said Stefan Winners, executive board member of the media group. Meanwhile 4G connections will account for 45% of global mobile data traffic, and mobile wallet usage will increase to over 40% of smartphone users, data showed by Winners. Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Yelp, said during the event, “We made an early decision to bet big on iPhone.” Now 46% of advertisement is shown to Yelp’s mobile users, and the new trend for the Internet services companies would be go big, Stoppelman said.

B3

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yelp, a local business finding company based in America and founded in 2004, developed its first mobile application in 2006, and has been improving its quality ever since. Now it had an average of about 117 million monthly unique visitors in the third quarters of 2013. The mobile device onslaught will continue this year with sales of tablets growing by 18% and smartphone by 12%, according to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) top 10 technology prediction for 2014 that released last December. Markus Braun, CEO of Wirecard AG, a global financial services and technology company, sees a brilliant future of the mobile payment and payment habits changes is approaching. Braun said the mobile payment technology will reduce check-out time by 25-30 percent at retail stores, and “in five year from now, we will make 80 percent of our payments mobile.”

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, however, announced at the conference that Wikipedia has joined The People’s Operator (TPO), a UK-based mobile provider focused on raising money for charity. And Wales is now serving as co-chairman of TPO. Paul Gerhardt, co-founder of Lockitron, an intellectual lock gadget maker company, said: “to have Internet connection that you carry with you is part of a next wave of the Internet of Things (IoT).” One of the advices Gerhardt gave is to learn Chinese “if you’re in the industry of Internet of things as well as making best use of a network,” in order to stay in touch with what trends will have longevity. The IDC predicts that the 3rd Platform will continue to expand beyond smartphones, tablets and PCs in 2014 to the IoT, and will also deliver the next generation of competitive advan-

tage applications and services that will significantly disrupt market leaders in virtually every industry. Jan Koum, CEO of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service company, announced that the company now has more than 430 million monthly active users globally, which means it has added over 30 million monthly active users in just one month, from the 400 million it claimed last December. “We are profitable, but our priority currently is expanding the business. We want to be on every single smartphone in the world,” said Koum. With the motto of “Content and Context”, the DLD innovation conference will focus on the future of the consumer Internet and the impact of digital media on social change. The 2014 conference takes place from Jan 19 to 21, attracting over 1,000 attendees and 150 speakers. l

FAR Chemical Industries, a textile chemical manufacturer and a concern of FAR Group, has received IPO (initial public offering) approval from the securities regulator yesterday. The company would raise Tk12 crore through issuing 1.20 crore ordinary shares of Tk10 each to purchase capital machinery and increase production capacity, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission said. Located at Comilla EPZ, the company produces all types of textile chemicals needed the Group’s 100% export-oriented textile sector. According to the company’s as of June 2013, The earnings per share of the company was Tk5.01 and the net asset value per share Tk15.55 at the end of June 2013, according to audited financial statement. l

Yen weakens in Asia as BoJ meet starts n AFP, Tokyo The yen weakened in Asia yesterday with a Bank of Japan (BoJ) two-day meeting in focus as investors wait to see if policymakers unveil fresh measures as part of its stimulus programme. In Tokyo afternoon trade, the dollar rose to 104.65 yen, from 104.10 yen in London late Monday. US markets were closed Monday for a public holiday. The euro also firmed to 141.74 yen from 141.19 yen, while the single currency weakened to to $1.3546 from $1.3563 ahead of a German investor sentiment survey later in the day. Investors are waiting to see if the BoJ adds to its vast asset-buying scheme launched in April and which is a cornerstone of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign to kickstart the world’s third-largest economy. However, most analysts expect the bank to hold steady on new measures until it can gauge the effect of an April sales tax rise. The rate hike, seen as crucial to containing Japan’s massive national debt, has stoked fears it could derail the country’s recovery and lead to a further expansion of its monetary easing. The meeting “is unlikely to result in any significant changes to the asset purchase programme”, Capital Economics said in a report. l

Davos dilemma: How to help, not harm, world’s fragile recovery n Reuters On the face of it, a combination of record low interest rates, ample liquidity and faster economic growth should sustain the world’s recovery from financial crisis this year. Confident that the outlook for the world’s biggest economy is brightening, the Federal Reserve has paved the way for an end to its stimulus programme and, after a bout of market turmoil last year, investors seem prepared for the shift. But the US central bank’s effort to return to pre-crisis policy settings still represents a huge leap in the dark as it exits from an unprecedented bout of money printing. An ill-judged move could threaten economic revival worldwide, just one of the dilemmas facing policymakers from America, Europe and Asia as they gather this week for an annual meeting in Davos. Protagonists will include US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and central bankers Mark Carney, Mario Draghi and Haruhiko Kuroda. A “senior leader” from China is also expected. Broadly, the risks they face are slower-than-expected US growth, euro zone deflation, an absence of structural reforms in Japan, and bad loans in China. There will doubtless be others. “While the Fed is trying to normalize monetary conditions to avoid a credit bubble, China is trying to implement financial sector reforms to bring one to an end,” said Michael Spencer, economist at Deutsche Bank. “Both potentially threaten the sustainability of growth.” The balance of risks for this year may be tilted towards the United States and the euro zone, even if the policy challenges facing Japan and China appear greater. Investors have already priced in a lot of good news, with European shares hitting a 5 and a 1/2 year high last week. The risk is that weaker-than-expected growth could knock markets and un-

A person walks past the entrance of the congress centre for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 in the early morning in Davos REUTERS settle the global recovery. “What could trigger a correction is that growth turns out to be weaker than markets have discounted,” said Andrew Bosomworth, a senior portfolio manager at Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund. “In the case of equities, markets have discounted some pretty rosy economic conditions.”

The genie and the ogre

The challenge for policymakers in the United States and Europe is to manage policy expectations at a time when inflation is not performing as expected. Some Fed officials worry tepid price

rises mean the US recovery is not as solid as it seems. With growth and job creation should come inflation. Given that uncertainty, US central bankers must convince hesitant consumers that even if the era of quantitative easing is drawing to a close, an interest rate rise remains a long way off. “The Fed’s next challenge is not over tapering, it’s over rates and guidance,” said Sassan Ghahramani, CEO of New York-based SGH Macro Advisors, which advises hedge funds. If it fails to convince, market interest rates which often set the cost of borrowing could rise too quickly and

choke off recovery in the United States and beyond. If that happens, investment will leach out of emerging markets as US funds return home lured by higher returns. “It’s a corollary of quantitative easing and easy money going to emerging markets,” said Ghahramani. “Now that there is less of that QE and easy money, where does it come out of? It comes first out of those markets.” If low inflation is a puzzle in the United States, prices could actually start falling in Europe. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, who speaks at Davos tomor-

row, expressed concern last week. “If inflation is the genie, then deflation is the ogre that must be fought decisively,” she said. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi - feted at Davos last year as the euro zone’s saviour - draws a distinction between deflation as a protracted fall in prices, and necessary internal price adjustments in some countries allowing them to become more competitive. “The risk is that the internal devaluations that need to be done in these countries morph into deflation,” said Bosomworth. Draghi is talking up the ECB’s readiness to act but it shows little appetite to embark on a round of Fed-style quantitative easing to stimulate the economy. In the meantime, the deflation threat stalks the bloc. Euro zone inflation is running at 0.8%. That is well below the ECB’s target of just under 2% but it stands at almost minus 2% in Greece. In Italy, the bloc’s third largest economy, the rate is just 0.7% and if Rome gets serious about tackling its towering debts - at 130% of GDP - inflation and growth could evaporate and make paying down that debt even harder. “We can’t just look at deflation risk in isolation,” said Bosomworth. “It’s linked at the hip to debt sustainability.”

Abenomics: time to deliver

In Japan, policymakers have had some success with their efforts to fight deflation after years of economic stagnation. Their plan - dubbed “Abenomics” is to combine fiscal spending, economic reforms and monetary stimulus to pull the world’s third-biggest economy out of its long slump. Premier Abe’s efforts have paid dividends with Japanese growth outpacing its G7 counterparts in the first half of 2013. However, some policymakers beyond Asia see the policy cocktail as a high-risk strategy about which they have doubts, particularly as progress on reforms aimed at boosting the econ-

omy’s long-term growth potential has been slow. A Reuters poll of economists conducted last week found a consensus that Japanese companies are unlikely to raise wages much this year and inflation will remain well below the official target of 2%. With a few high-profile exceptions, businesses are cautious about passing on higher profits to their employees, which is seen as vital to Abe’s hopes for sustained growth. Abe has also yet to deliver on promised long-term reforms to counter the drag of Japan’s ageing and falling population and to reduce the country’s massive public debt. Having said that, the poll predicted the economy will continue to recover this year as companies and consumers rush to beat a planned rise in sales tax. And unlike much of the world, Japan will avoid any US backwash from its policy shift, rather its exporters will benefit if the dollar strengthens as US market rates rise. “The Japanese rates market does not track the US rates market at all, so they don’t get hurt by rising US rates but they benefit from the rising dollar, so they get a nice free ride from the US” said Ghahramani. Perhaps of even greater importance than Japan’s policy mix is China’s ability to take excess credit out of its economy without causing a crash. The Chinese economy grew 7.7% in 2013 but slowed in the final three months. There is little sign of a sharp tightening in monetary policy, but rising money market rates and bond yields in recent months indicate the People’s Bank of China is committed to removing excessive debt from the economy. “Rumours of an imminent financial crisis in China have been around for years,” said Berenberg bank economist Robert Wood. “But China can deal with these problems,” he said. The government seems ready to accept lower rates of GDP growth as long as that growth is sustainable and does not cause politically dangerous mass unemployment.” l


B4

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Business

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dhaka, Islamabad help Delhi rescue cotton export n Reuters A spurt in demand from Bangladesh and Pakistan for Indian raw cotton will help New Delhi offset falling exports to its top client China, traders said. A bountiful crop and a weaker rupee have made Indian cotton cheaper for overseas textile and clothing makers, many of which are rushing to meet increased orders from the United States and Europe as the global economy picks up. India, the world's No 2 producer and exporter of cotton, has seen growing appetite from its second and third largest customers, Bangladesh and

Cotton imports from India to Bangladesh are rising because of competitive prices and a short lead time

Pakistan, as well as other key clothing producers such as Turkey and Vietnam, the traders said. "Our company's exports to Bangladesh have doubled between November and January from the year ago period," said an official from a leading cotton exporter in the eastern city of Kolkata. He declined to be named. This pick-up in buying will help stem an overall decline in India's cotton exports as Beijing prepares

to scrap its controversial stockpiling scheme. That step could boost volumes of locally-grown cotton available in Chinese markets, curbing demand for imports. Indian exporters told Reuters they expected to ship 8 million to 9 million bales of the fibre in the crop year to September 2014, down from 10.1 million bales the year before.

Go east

The weaker rupee and a good harvest have been key in boosting exports to destinations other than China, said Suresh Kotak, chairman of Mumbai-based brokerage Kotak Commodities. The Indian rupee fell 11% in 2013, while better yields have helped Indian farmers churn out 37.5 million bales of cotton so far in the year that started in October, nearly 3% more than a year earlier. "Cotton imports from India to Bangladesh are rising because of competitive prices and a short lead time," said Mohammad Ayub, president of the Bangladesh Cotton Association. Indian exporters are currently offering cotton at around 93 cents per pound, while competitors such as the United States, South Africa, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are selling at 97 to 102 cents. Bangladesh's readymade garment exports soared 20% to nearly $12bn for the six months to December, according to the latest data from its government, despite a spate of deadly accidents that have hit the country's multi-billion textile industry. l

Putin orders lower borrowing costs for 'productive' Russian companies n Reuters

President Vladimir Putin has instructed Russia's central bank to reduce borrowing costs for "productive" companies, the Kremlin said on its website on Monday. The directive may increase the pressure on central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina to soften the bank's tough anti-inflationary policy. The bank has resisted cuts in its key policy rate for over a year despite an abrupt economic slowdown. However, the phrasing of Putin's order, one of several issued to governmental bodies for implementation this year, suggests that he wants the central bank to come up with a targeted scheme. The order recommends the bank to work on "stimulating a lowering of the level of interest rates on rouble loans provided to organizations active in the productive sphere".

It did not elaborate further, except to say that Nabiullina is responsible for presenting proposals by September 1. Russian policymakers have long been concerned by the small role of manufacturing in an economy heavily dependent on commodity exports. While many Russian companies complain of high borrowing costs, the central bank has insisted that lowering policy interest rates would be counter-productive at present, fuelling inflation without boosting long-term economic growth. But the central bank has said it favours improving the link between policy rates and actual borrowing costs, implying a convergence in high lending costs faced by companies with the much lower rates charged on central bank loans to banks. Although the bank's key lending rate is 5.5%, below inflation, the average interest rate on loans to companies is almost twice as high at around 10%. l

A labourer pulls down a handcart after loading a bundle of processed cotton at a processing unit in Kati town, 50 km (31 miles) north of Ahmedabad

IEA sees oil use rising as global growth picks up n Reuters Global oil demand will increase more quickly this year as economic growth accelerates, outstripping supply even as shale oil production in the United States reaches record highs, the West's energy watchdog said yesterday. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said world oil consumption would increase by 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, 50,000 bpd higher than previously forecast. "Global oil demand growth appears to have gradually gained momentum in the last 18 months, driven by economic recovery in the developed world," the IEA said in its monthly report. "Most OECD economies have by now largely exited the restraints of recession, with strong gains in some countries in the energy-intensive manufacturing and petrochemical sectors." US oil production is increasing rapidly and is forecast to rise by 780,000 bpd this year, but the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will also have to pump more to meet increasing demand. The IEA, which advises most of the largest energy-consuming countries on energy policy, raised its forecast of demand for OPEC oil this year by 200,000 bpd to 29.4 million bpd. Last year, political unrest led to a plunge in Libyan exports, at times to less than 10% of capacity, and more

Iranian barrels disappeared from the market due to sanctions. But OPEC crude oil supply edged higher in December, reversing four months of declines, it said, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates leading the increase. Libya saw a modest rise and Iraq was the only member to post a fall.

'Most OECD economies have by now largely exited the restraints of recession, with strong gains in some countries in the energyintensive manufacturing and petrochemical sectors'

Iranian supplies contracted by 320,000 bpd last year but edged higher in December as diplomatic activity aimed at halting Tehran's nuclear activity gained momentum. The IEA said rising US crude production helped balance the effects of supply disruptions among some OPEC countries.

"Most prominent among those shifts was the relentless rise in US crude production, whose 990,000 bpd growth, one of the largest annual gains on record for any country, helped blunt the impact of supply declines elsewhere, notably Libya and Iran," the report said. The loss of oil production from Libya and Iran has helped keep a floor under prices, but the increasing US output has limited rises. Brent crude averaged around $108.70 a barrel last year, about $3 less than in 2012, and yesterday traded around $107. US production growth in 2013 far surpassed the IEA's own projections, registering the fastest absolute annual supply expansion of any country in the past two decades, the report said. However, the IEA said the energy industry had absorbed the extra supply through refinery and pipeline expansions and growth in crude rail transport. "The trend in US production looks set to continue in 2014 and beyond, providing once again the largest changes in the market," the report said. Demand over the last few months has depleted oil inventories despite rising production, it said. The Paris-based agency said commercial oil stocks in the world's industrialised nations plummeted in November by 53.6 million barrels, the biggest monthly decline since 2011. l

Pakistan again halts gold imports to stem smuggling into India n Reuters

Pakistan has temporarily banned gold imports for the second time in six months as it tries to stem smuggling into India, which has clamped down on its own bullion buying to rescue state finances. India's import duty stands at a record 10% and tight restrictions on supplies have virtually dried up legal imports into what used to be the world's biggest bullion buyer, spurring a surge in smuggling and recycling to meet persistent demand. "Credible reports have indicated that in the wake of steep increase in duty on import of gold in a neighbouring country there has been a surge in its smuggling activity," Pakistan's finance minister said, according to a statement on the ministry website. It said the ban would be for 30 days and exports, mostly jewellery, would not be restricted. Pakistan last banned imports for a month in August, 2013. Official imports into India shrank almost 90% in the six months to November as restrictions tightened. Between April and September - the latest data available - customs officials seizures of

illegal gold nearly doubled compared to all of 2012. The World Gold Council puts the amount smuggled into India at up to 200 tonnes in calendar 2013. Pakistan usually imports tiny amounts in comparison with its much larger neighbour, although imports surged last year and purchases in July the last month before the previous ban - amounted to $514 million. Pakistan said the ban would also check speculation on its currency. Gold is India's most expensive non-essential import and helped to swell its current account deficit to a record last fiscal year. But restrictions have worked and the deficit is now expected to be about $50bn in the current fiscal year, down $20bn from earlier estimates. That has prompted the government to consider relaxing curbs, according to government sources speaking earlier this month. With India's wedding and festival season in full swing, demand remains strong, keeping premiums near record highs at around $130 per ounce. That has encouraged recycling of existing jewellery to meet demand and also boosted smuggling. l

REUTERS

NEWS IN BRIEF European shares hit five and a half year high, dollar gains European shares hit fresh 5 and a 1/2 year highs yesterday, tracking Asian shares higher as Chinese money rates eased, while the dollar got a boost from a report the Federal Reserve would again trim its bond buying next week. – Reuters

Lenovo restarts talks to buy IBM server unit: source China’s Lenovo Group Ltd has resumed talks to buy International Business Machines Corp’s (IBM) low-end server unit, a source familiar with the matter said, a purchase that would bolster its efforts to diversify beyond a shrinking PC market. – Reuters

Unilever beats forecasts as emerging markets rebound Consumer goods maker Unilever reported better-than-expected 2013 results yesterday, with an improved performance in emerging markets after currency devaluations earlier last year hurt demand. Turnover for the full year fell 3%, hit by foreign exchange rates and divestments. But underlying sales rose 4.3%, slightly ahead of analysts’ expectations for a 4.2% gain. In the fourth quarter, underlying sales rose 4.1%, fuelled by 8.4% growth in emerging markets. – Reuters

Ford’s ‘quality’ push comes at busy time for automaker Ford Motor Co is betting that the tight bond between two of its senior executives can help the automaker prevent quality missteps from derailing its busiest-ever year for launching new vehicles Joe Hinrichs, head of North and South American operations, and Raj Nair, Ford’s global product development chief, are two of the key players in what has been an all-out push to stamp out problems that have dogged the automaker in the last few years. – Reuters

BSE Sensex ends higher; banks gain The BSE Sensex edged up yesterday as interest rate-sensitive companies such as Tata Motors and ICICI Bank extended recent gains amid rising expectations that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will keep monetary policy unchanged next week – Reuters

China can keep economy stable in 2014: Premier Li China is confident it can sustain stable economic growth this year, Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying on state television yesterday. Li’s comment follows data on Monday that showed China’s economy growing 7.7% for the whole of 2013, narrowly missing market predictions for growth to hit a 14 year low of 7.6%. – Reuters

Singapore drops plans for gold fix amid London pricing probe Singapore has dropped plans to set a daily reference price for gold, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter said, as regulators in Europe investigate suspected manipulation of precious metals prices by banks. – Reuters A man displays gold bangles at a jewellery shop in Karachi

REUTERS


January 22, 23014  
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