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Magh 30, 1420 Rabius Saani 11, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 1 No 320




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US: Jan 5 election may have serious ramifications

Former ministers, deputy speaker, senior MPs to head JS bodies n Tribune Report At least three former ministers, the deputy speaker of ninth parliament and senior lawmakers are likely to become chairmen of the parliamentary watchdogs set to be formed by Monday. Former foreign minister Dipu Moni is likely to be made the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign ministry while former home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir head of the public accounts committee. An ex-primary and mass education minister Afsarul Amin is expected to be the head of the parliamentary standing committee on education ministry. Col (retd) Shawkat Ali, then deputy speaker, is likely to be the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on public undertaking. The Dhaka Tribune has obtained a list of the MPs, set to become chiefs of the standing committees, from the Awami League sources. “The honourable prime minister and leader of the house is trying to accommodate some former ministers and senior MPs in the standing committees,” ASM Feroz, the chief whip, told the Dhaka Tribune but he declined to confirm the names. “I hope the committees will be formed on Sunday or Monday,” he said. Abdul Matin Khasru, who was the chairman of the parliamentary  PAGE 2 COLUMN 3

Nisha Biswal briefs US Senate Committee token opposition. “The election did not n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman credibly express the will of the Bangla-

Friends of slain journalist couple Sagor-Runi hold a protest rally, demanding arrest of and punishment to the killers, in front of the Saarc Fountain at the capital’s Karwan Bazar yesterday. Even after two years, investigators are still in the dark SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN


Riverbank work to cost 9% extra n Asif Showkat Kallol The cost of constructing a yard for building bank protection at the Janzira point for the proposed Padma bridge is likely to go up by 9.17% because of delay in work by the Indian construction firm and the Bangladesh government’s failure to acquire land. A senior official of the Bridges Division yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune: “We would extend the deadline for the

Indian firm Bhartia-MBEL (JV) Ltd to build the 2,163km river bank protection yard. In that way we can save the time that would be needed if we floated tender again.” According to the initial contract, the total cost of building the yard at the Janzira point was estimated at over Tk135.97 crore. However, because Bhartia-MBEL failed to bring in all the necessary heavy equipment during the rainy sea-

Government to sign deals for four offshore blocks n Aminur Rahman Rasel The government is set to sign deals with two international oil companies (IOCs) and a joint venture (JV) firm of the IOCs this month to start oil and gas exploration at four offshore shallow blocks in the Bay of Bengal. “The government and Petrobangla will jointly sign a production sharing contract (PSC) for two blocks with India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd on February 17,” Energy and Mineral Resources Division Secretary Md Mozammel Haque Khan told the Dhaka tribune yesterday.

Deals were supposed to be penned on December last year, but political turmoil held back signing “We will also sign [PSC for] one block with the joint venture Australia-based Santos and Singapore-based Kris Energy Limited, and another block will be signed with the US-based ConocoPhillips on February 25.” he said. Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith is expected to be present at the signing ceremonies as the chief guest, while Prime Minister’s Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and State Minister for Power, Energy

INSIDE Business

B1 Grameenphone has recommended distributing 28.6% higher dividend than the net profit the company earned in 2013. Sceptics question sustainability of strategy.



6 Book store owners in several upazilas in Gopalganj have continued to sell several banned academic and guide books, which have already been disqualified by the Education Board.

and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid would be present as special guests. Although the deals were supposed to be penned on December last year, it was not possible because of political turmoil, said a director-level official of Petrobangla. After participating in an international tender, India’s state-owned ONGC obtained the exploration rights to block 4 and 9, ConocoPhillips got block 7, while Santos and Kris Energy obtained block 11. Meanwhile, Petrobangla officials said the exploration would aim to meet the demand for gas in the Chittagong region, which is suffering from an acute energy shortage. Earlier, the cabinet committee on economic affairs had allowed Petrobangla to sign the initial deals with the companies. ConocoPhillips had previously received exploration rights to two deep sea blocks in 2011, while the ONGC is going to operate in Bangladesh for the first time. India’s ONGC has offered to invest $38.4m to conduct 2D-seismic survey of 2,700 linekm, 3D-seismic survey of a 200sq-km area and drill two wells in block 4. The government’s profit-sharing ratio will be 60%-85% for gas and 70%-90% for oil. It has also offered to invest $64.8m to conduct 2D survey of 2,850 line-km, 3D survey of a 300sq-km area in block 9 and drill three wells.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 2

son and the Bangladesh government has still not managed to convince a private owner to give up his land for the bridge, the construction of the yard will cost the government an extra Tk12.47 crore. Communications Minister Obaidul Quader refused to make any comment when asked about the extra cost in building the yard at Janzira point. The Bridges Division official said  PAGE 2 COLUMN 1

The United States has termed the January 5 election flawed as it “failed to express” the will of the Bangladeshi people and feared that it could have “serious ramifications for stability” in the country and the region. “Immediately after the election, we issued a strong statement noting that the election was not a credible reflection of the will of the people and called for immediate dialogue to agree on new election as soon as possible,” said Nisha D Biswal, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs. She made the remark yesterday at a testimony, the third of its kind in one year, before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Biswal said the US interest in holding new election was to ensure a “free and fair” process and that Washington “has not taken sides or played favourites” in who should lead the country. “That decision should be left to the Bangladeshi people, whose voices were not fairly heard on January 5,” she said in her written testimony. The US official said over half of the 300 lawmakers were elected unopposed, and most of the rest faced only

deshi people. This could have serious ramifications for stability in Bangladesh and the region.” Terming Bangladesh a development and economic success story, she said: “Bangladesh has come too far and has too much to lose.” She also condemned the election-related violence strongly when over 100 people were killed. “We are also concerned by recent reports of continuing extrajudicial killings and disappearances allegedly committed by security forces.” She urged the opposition not to resort to shutdowns. “While estimates vary, one source estimates the economic cost of the general strikes called by the opposition at approximately $200 million per day.” Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan W Mozena said the relationship between the Bangladesh government and Washington would not be “business as usual.” “She [Nisha Biswal] will underscore that the America’s interaction with the sitting government is not business as usual,” Mozena said after a meeting with BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at  PAGE 2 COLUMN 2




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Selim urges Mamata not to shelter ‘militants’ He warns that the terrorists may put India in trouble n Emran Hossain Shaikh Senior Awami League leader Sheikh Selim has urged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee not to shelter Bangladeshi “terrorists.” He also requested her and the Indian government to take necessary steps so that the Bangladeshi “militants and terrorists” could not get any scope to operate in their country. Selim, also Presidium member of the ruling AL, made the statement at an unscheduled discussion in parliament. Referring to the recent remarks by CPM leader of West Bengal Biman Basu, the AL leader said the “militants and

terrorists” of Jamaat-Shibir had taken the protection of Ahmed Hassan, the local representative of Trinamool Congress and Naya Diganta correspondent (Bangladeshi newspaper), at the time of joint forces’ operation in Satkhira. Selim alleged that with the help of the BNP-Jamaat, separatists had announced war against the Indian government. But the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had not allowed anyone including the Ulfa who were involved in separatist movements. He also said none would be able to locate a separatist on the land of Bangladesh. “It is a matter of regret that the

Hefazat warns against an ‘unlawful’ force in media n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong Hefazat-e-Islam leaders in Chittagong yesterday alleged that a vested interest in the media had been running a propaganda against the group, the Qawmi madrasa system and the Islamic scholars with an ill-motive to instigate communal unrest. As a result, an “unlawful” force would get the chance to create trouble, the leaders said at a press conference held at the auditorium of the Chittagong Metropolitan Union of Journalists. Hefazat Organising Secretary Azizul Haque Islamabadi read out a written statement at the conference on behalf of Secretary General Junaid Babunagari. The statement said a private television had recently broadcasted a controversial report named “Hefazatnama’’ aiming to confuse people. The statement added that it was part of “in-

formation-terrorism” by anti-Islamic quarters from home and abroad. The statement also said a number of other media houses – both electronic and print – had followed suit by publishing false and fabricated information against Hefazat, Qwami madrasa and Islamic scholars. The leaders of the Chittagong-based Islamist outfit urged the government to take legal action against those media houses. Babunagari said Hefazat was a non-political organisation and its movement was not for implementing the agenda of any party; rather it was for implementing of the ideals of Allah and Prophet Muhammad. He said Hefazat would hold an Islamic conference at Chittagong’s Hathazari – the home of Hefazat – on February 14 and a two-day “Shane Risalat Sammelan” (an Islamic conference) on April 3-4.l

Bangladeshi militants and terrorists enjoy shelter in India,” the former minister said. “Now that the India-Bangladesh relation is very excellent, we have to be aware about those who want to fissure it.” Selim said: “I request Mamata Banerjee not to assist the Bangladeshi militants. Please arrest them and hand over to our government. They are militants and terrorists. They have no country and have networks all over the world. They may put India in trouble.” He also urged Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Sing to take effective steps to address the issue. l

n Tribune Report

Abdus Sobhan Sikder, senior secretary of the public administration ministry, was appointed as prime minister’s principal secretary yesterday. He will replace Shaikh Md Wahid Uz Zaman who will go on post-retirement leave today. The ministry yesterday issued a gazette notification in this regard. The ministry earlier issued an order approving Shaikh Wahid’s post-retirement leave. He is too sick to perform his duty, said the notification. Sobhan earlier worked as home secretary and later was made secretary to the public administration ministry. He was promoted to senior secretary after the government created 10 posts for senior secretary. l

CJ: Communal attacks unacceptable n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu

Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain yesterday urged all lawyers to jointly resist communalism, saying that the recent attacks on minority communities across the country were “unacceptable.” “The country’s people are naturally secular. No religion allows violence," he siad while addressing a programme orgainsed by the Dhaka Bar Association (DBA) to mark Bijoya Dashami, Buddho Purnima and Christmas, the main festivals of three religions, held on the premises of the Dhaka Judge's Court. l

her Gulshan office last night. Mozena was talking to reporters while Biswal was making the testimony. The ambassador appraised Khaleda about the testimony and told reporters that they had discussed the strategies “for the leading opposition party [in Bangladesh] in the days and weeks and months ahead.” When asked what would be the new chemistry between the government and the US, he said: “We will continue to engage with this government in support of all of our programmes that work directly with the people of Bangladesh. But regarding other programmes we will assess on a case by case basis.” Regarding USAID’s decision to cut aid to Bangladesh parliament, Mozena said: “I think [we are] likely to end engagement with some of our programmes related to parliament.” New USAID Mission Director Janina Jaruzelski on Monday said: “In light of what happened in the election, we are

Government to sign deals  PAGE 1 COLUMN 2

Meanwhile, ConocoPhilips has offered to invest $23.5m to conduct 2D-seismic survey of 2,347 line-km, 3D-seismic survey of a 500sq-km area and drill one exploration well in block 7. The profit-sharing ratio for the government would be 55%-80% for both gas and oil. Santos and Kris Energy have offered to invest $32m to conduct 2D seismic survey of 870-line km, 3D seismic survey of 300sq-km and drill one well. The profit share ration of the government would be 55%-85% for both gas and oil. Earlier, international biddings were called under the PSC in 1993, 1997 and 2008. l

Riverbank work to cost 9% extra  PAGE 1 COLUMN 4

the revised costing proposal would be placed at the next week’s meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase. He also said the government wanted to build the bridge over Padma River as early as possible because it was one of its six “fast-track” projects. Other fast-track projects, which the government decided to implement last week, include a deep sea port in the Bay of Bengal and metro rail in Dhaka. The six projects, estimated to cost $15.5bn (over Tk119,000 crore), are expected to reshape the economic outlook

of the country by improving communication and accelerating GDP growth. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the construction of the yard on March 2, 2013. Later last year, she said in parliament that 65% of the yard’s construction work had already been completed. Official documents that the Dhaka Tribune has accessed, show that only about 10% of the overall development of the proposed Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project has so far been completed. That 10% mostly comprise acquisition, development and rehabilitation works related to land. l


India for new waterways with Bangladesh

HC questions JS polls to two constituencies

India will soon ask Bangladesh for three new waterways with a view to facilitate the movement of goods and machinery between the two next-door neighbours. “The proposed waterways between the north-eastern states of India and Bangladesh would boost trade and economy between the two countries,” a top central government official, not wishing to be identified, told a news agency, said a Zee news report. The waterways would be rivers with developed navigation facilities for smooth movement of vessels. The official said: “India had earlier informally proposed to Bangladesh about the new waterways. The formal proposal would be officially submitted before the Bangladesh government soon.”

In response to separate writ petitions, the High Court yesterday wanted to know why the parliamentary elections to Mymensingh 9 and Lakshmipur 4 constituencies should not be declared illegal. The bench of Justice Soumendra Sarker issued two separate rules on the two petitions, Deputy Attorney General Runa Nahrin told the Dhaka Tribune. Abdus Salam, a former lawmaker of the Awami League, challenged the legality of Mymensingh 9 poll held on January 5. He alleged that the Election Commission in connivance with Md Abdullah, the current lawmaker, had annulled his candidacy on a false loan default allegation. Abdullah was elected uncontested. The EC, the lawmaker and seven others have been asked to respond to the rule by four weeks. The other petition was filed by independent candidate of Lakshmipur 4 constituency Azad Uddin Chowdhury who raised the allegation of vote rigging during the election. The EC and current MP Anwarul Abedin Khan have to respond to the rule by three weeks. l

n Tribune Report

Abdus Sobhan US: Jan 5 election made principal secretary  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

Thick smoke comes out of a slum beside Mirpur’s Janata Housing following a devastating fire yesterday

refocusing our democracy and governance programme. We, among other things, expect that we will be reducing assistance to parliament that assists directly to the members of parliament.” During the testimony, Biswal said there had been some incremental progress in the readymade garment sector in last year as nearly 100 unions were registered, compared to one in each of the two years preceding. The government had completed over 200 structural soundness and 120 fire safety inspections, filled 42 vacant inspector positions and would recruit more, she said. “However, there is still much to be done and Bangladesh still has not fulfilled the many commitments it made to improve working conditions. “No action has been taken to bring Export Processing Zones into conformity with international standards, and concerns remain over harassment of labour activists and the investigation of the murder of Aminul Islam,” she said. l

The two countries – having 2,979km of land border and 1,116km reverine boundary – share 54 rivers, including eight flowing from Tripura. Tripura Transport Department Secretary Kishore Ambuly said stateowned Rail India Technical and Economic Services (Rites) recently conducted a survey for the new waterways between Tripura and Bangladesh. “The Rites has conducted the feasibility study to make new waterways between Tripura’s Gomti and Howrah rivers and Bangladesh’s Meghna and Titas rivers,” Ambuly told a news agency. The Rites after an in-depth study has prepared a detailed project report and it was submitted before the Union Ministry of Shipping through the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).

HC: Include 280 indigenous candidates in 34th BCS result n Tribune Report The High Court yesterday directed the Public Service Commission to publish the results of 34th BCS preliminary test including 280 indigenous candidates who had been left out in the revised result published on July 14 last year. The bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Zafar Ahmed delivered the judgement on a writ petition registered on July 28 last year. In the first results published on July 8, a total 12,033 candidates passed on priority of quotas. However, following mass protests, the PSC published a revised result, declaring 46,250 candidates qualified. Although it said all the 12,033 from the first list were included in the revised result, the 280 indigenous candidates alleged that they were dropped

Former ministers  PAGE 1 COLUMN 1

committee on private-member bills and resolutions in the 9th parliament may be elected as the chairman of the committee on estimate. Kazi Keramat Ali (Rajbari) is likely to be the chairman of the Committee on government assurance. He was the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on cultural affairs ministry. Pabna’s Mokbul Hossain may become the head of the parliamentary standing committee on agriculture minister while Abdul Wadud (Rajshahi) on food ministry. Zahid Ahsan Rassel, the former chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on youth and sports ministry, is likely to become chief of the parliamentary standing committee on housing and public works ministry. Parliamentary standing committee on post and telecommunications ministry is likely to be headed by Imran Ahmed (Sylhet). Khandker Asaduzzaman and AKM Rahmatullah are likely to retain their posts in the parliamentary standing committees on public administration ministry and information ministry respectively. Former home minister Major Rafiqul Islam is likely to be the

A government enterprise under the aegis of railways ministry, the Rites has suggested a fund of Rs47 crore (Tk58.5 crore) for developing three waterways including navigation on the Gomti and Howrah rivers. Tripura and other north-eastern states are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China on three sides and the only land route access to these states from within India is through Assam and West Bengal. The lengthy route through Assam passes through hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends. India has long been pressing Bangladesh for using its waterways and ports, especially for easy transport of Indian goods from Kolkata and other mainland cities to the north-eastern states through Bangladesh. l

chief of the parliamentary standing committee on shipping ministry and BH Haroon on religious affairs. Dabirul Islam is set to become the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on jute ministry while Tajul Islam on energy and mineral resources ministry. Rebecca Momin is set to become the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on women and children affairs ministry. Ekabbar Hossain and RAM Obaidul Muktadir are thought to be the heads of the parliamentary standing committee on railway ministry and local government ministry respectively. The rules of procedure of parliament has the provisions for the formation of 11 legislative committees. Besides, parliament elects one standing committee for each of the ministries. Each of the standing committees on the ministries comprises of 10 MPs. The standing committees are for ensuring transparency and accountability of the ministries. On February 5, the House formed five committees – four legislative committees and a parliamentary standing committee on law ministry. The public accounts committee has 15 members. l

out. Later, 49 of those candidates filed the writ plea. Supreme Court lawyers BM Elias Kachee and Jyotirmoy Barua argued for the petitioners, while Deputy Attorney General Mokleshur Rahman represented the government. Following the petition, the same bench on July 31 directed the PSC to submit a report by three weeks explaining the reasons for deducting the 280 indigenous candidates including the petitioners. Because of the order, the PSC could not proceed with the BCS exam, Jyotirmoy told the Dhaka Tribune. The court then also issued a ruling, seeking explanation from the authorities. The High Court made the latest directives yesterday by disposing of the previous ruling. “Now, there is no legal bar to taking the written test,” Jyotirmoy said. l

n Tribune Report

Correction The news item titled “Decision on trial of Yusuf likely tomorrow” published yesterday in the Dhaka Tribune mistakenly quoted prosecutor Tureen Afroz as saying: “The order [on trial against Yusuf] will include some observations on the case.” Her full quotation was: “There is no provision for posthumous trials under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973. This may leave the AKM Yusuf Case to be without any verdict. Nevertheless, the honourable tribunal may record the relevant case proceedings and the findings on his death before it may close the case.” We regret the inadvertent mistake. l




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2 rental plants likely to get extension n Asif Showkat Kallol

Police officials load steel barricades, used for blocking roads or providing security during political demonstrations, onto a truck for repairs from in front of the International Crimes Tribunal building in the capital yesterday RAJIB DHAR

Government served legal notice on Rajshahi University violence n

But, our clients have reason to believe that no such warning was given. The law further requires that the police prepare a short report and thereafter, an extensive report, including the reasons for firing, the number of bullets used and the casualties, and then send it to the higher authorities.” On February 2, police and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the ruling party’s student wing, attacked student demonstrators at the RU campus. Scores of protesters were injured, including 20 who were shot. After the incident, the university authorities, Motihar police, and the BCL filed six cases against 475 general students, specifying 105 names. l

A legal notice was served on the government yesterday seeking an explanation as to why police fired on student demonstrators at Rajshahi University on February 2 and requesting clarification on whether the relevant laws were followed by law enforcers. The notice, served by Supreme Court lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua on behalf of a group of human rights activists and public university teachers, also threatened to take the matter to the High Court if the authorities fail to reply within 24 hours. The notice was sent to the home secretary, inspector general of police,

commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, and the officer in charge (OC) of Motihar police station. “The firing at the general students during their peaceful protest against the increase of tuition fees and the introduction of evening courses at their university is alarming and has been done in gross violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution,” the legal notice stated. The document also stated that: “As per the Police Regulation of Bengal 1943, the police were supposed to get a formal order from an OC or a magistrate before opening fire to disperse the assembly and also give repeated warning to the participants before firing.

Ex-ward councillor denied bail n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu

ACC grills PS of ex-state water resources minister

A Dhaka court yesterday sent former councillor of the then undivided Dhaka City Corporation’s ward 83 Saidur Rahman Shahid to jail after rejecting his bail plea and remand petition regarding his arrest in relation to arms charges. Metropolitan Magistrate Md Hasibul Haque passed the order after the investigation officer of the case, Sub-Inspector of Gendaria police station Md Atiqur Rahman, produced Shahid before the court after the completion of a five-day remand and sought a further five days of remand to allow for further interrogation. Meanwhile, defence counsel Md Shahadat Hossain also filed a bail plea on behalf of Shahid. This was also rejected. Later, the court sent Shahid to jail. l

n Syed Samiul Basher Anik

Nazmus Sakib


Dry weather likely n UNB Weather is likely to remain mainly dry with temporary partly cloudy sky over the country having chances of light rain or thundershowers at one or two places over Khulna, Barisal, Chittagong and Sylhet divisions until 6pm today. Light to moderate fog might occur over the river basins of the country during midnight till morning, Met Office said. Night and day temperature may remain nearly unchanged over the country. The sun sets in the capital at 5:52pm today and rises at 6:34am tomorrow. Country’s highest temperature 30.5 degree Celsius was recorded in Khulna and lowest 10.2 degrees in Dinajpur yesterday. Highest and lowest temperatures recorded in some major cities yesterday were: City



Dhaka Chittagong Rajshahi Rangpur Khulna Barisal Sylhet Cox’s Bazar

27.7 28.0 26.5 24.0 30.5 28.3 28.3 29.2

17.4 21.4 14.0 10.7 16.5 16.0 13.5 21.0

PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha

5:17am 6:33am 12:13am 4:15pm 5:52pm 7:08pm


The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday questioned a personal secretary to former state minister for water resources Mahbubur Rahman in connection with an allegation of illegal accumulation of wealth. The commission has already sought information by February 16 about the former minister’s wealth from seven organisations including Rajuk, Dhaka City Corporation, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, Dhaka Stock Exchange and the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh. On January 22, the graft buster assigned Khairul Huda, one of its deputy directors, to investigate the allegations against Mahbubur, who is also an MP from Patuakhali.

The investigator has already visited a number government offices in Patuakhali to gather information on the assets owned by the lawmaker, his wife Preeti Rahman and their children. He also talked to local Awami League supporters and Mahbubur’s business partners. Sources in Patuakhali have told the Dhaka Tribune that Mahbubur and his wife own hundreds of acres of land in various areas of the district. The couple also own several companies including Gangamoti Traders and Andharmanik Traders. Some of their construction firms have been reportedly implementing projects on behalf of government bodies like the Water Development Board, Local Government and Engineering Department and municipality offices. l


Defence questions witness testimony in Bisabali killing n Tribune Report The defence of war criminal Delawar Hossain Sayedee yesterday told the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court that a prosecution witness had given two different statements on the killing of Bisabali, on which the Jamaat-e-Islami leader was given death penalty. According to the defence, witness Mahbubul Alam Hawlader at the International Crimes Tribunal said Bisabali tied with a tree had been shot dead upon Sayedee’s order. But Mahbub earlier told the investigation officer that Bisabali had been killed on the bank of Baleshwar River in Pirojpur. Sayedee, the Jamaat nayeb-e-ameer, was sentenced to death on February 28 last year for the abduction, torture and

murder of Ibrahim Kutti and the killing of Bisabali. Both prosecution and defence appealed with the Appellate Division against the verdict on March 28. The prosecution sought death sentence in the six other charges he was found guilty while the defence for his acquittal. The arguments began on January 28. On Monday, the defence argued that the name of Sayedee had not been mentioned as an accused in the case filed over Ibrahim Kutti killing lodged by Mamtaz Begum, wife of the victim, in 1972. The top court bench led by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain yesterday heard the arguments of the defence for the seventh day. It would resume hearing today. l

The government is likely to allow extension of two more rental power projects for five years during which it will purchase electricity worth Tk4,408 crore from these projects. The Power Division has proposed extending the three-year tenure of the 50MW DPA Power Generation Ltd run by the Bangladesh Armed Forces in Narayanganj and the 78.5MW Max Power Ltd in Ghorashal for another five years. It has already sent the proposals to the cabinet committee on public purchase for approval next week. Power Division Secretary Monowar Islam said the government had no alternative to extending the rental power projects up to 2018.

Habib, Babu get bail in one case each, denied in others n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court yesterday granted bail to Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) General Secretary Habibur Rashid Habib and Swechchhasebak Dal Organising Secretary Shafiul Bari Babu in two separate cases. Dhaka Metropolitan Session Judge Md Jahurul Haque granted the bail to the leaders in the cases filed with Sabujbagh and Motijheel police stations respectively. The court, however, rejected the bail pleas of Habib in 10 other cases filed with Motijheel, Sabujbagh, Paltan and New Market police stations. Earlier police arrested the JCD leader from the city’s Shantinagar area on November 17 of last year. On the other hand, the court rejected the bail petitions of Babu in three other cases filed with Mirpur, Paltan and Motijheel police stations. The police arrested the Swechchhasebak Dal leader from the city’s Bangla Motor area on November 13, 2013. l

He said the power generation capacity of the plants were good standing above 70%.

‘The extension of rental power projects would go against the financial model in terms of negotiation’ Prof M Tamim, then special assistant to the last caretaker government, said it was time the government looked for base power plants, “which will obviously affect the country’s economy.” He said the extension of rental power projects would go against the financial model in terms of negotiation.

A number of officials said the 50MW DPA Power Generation Ltd, which had achieved a performance efficiency level of up to 78%, might be considered to have 80% efficiency and get the rate of rental power. The government is going to purchase electricity from the project in Narayanganj for Tk19.99 a unit – a cut in rate by Tk0.413 from the existing Tk20.40. On the other hand, the Power Division revised the tariff for the Max Power Ltd at $15 per month, reducing the rate by 39.15% from the existing $30.47. The proposal says the government will save Tk583 crore in purchasing electricity from the Ghorashal project in the next five years. The project’s performance efficiency level was up to 91%. l

200 shanties gutted in Mirpur blaze n Mohammad Jamil Khan A devastating fire that broke out at a slum in the capital’s Mirpur 2 yesterday noon razed over 200 shanties and 15 shops. No casualty was reported. However, at least 10 dwellers were injured when they tried to bring out valuables from their houses. The incident took place at Janata Housing slum only three days after a devastating fire had destroyed around 600 shanties of Modhubagh slum in Maghbazar and a child burnt alive while sleeping. The fire erupted around 12:30pm yesterday. Fire fighters from 12 units doused it after around one and a half hours of frantic effort, Maj Mohammad Mahboob, director (operation) of fire service and civil defence, told the Dhaka Tribune. He added that the reason behind the fire could be known after proper inquiry. An investigation committee would be formed shortly. Dwellers and local people joined hands with the fire fighters to tame the fire. The fire spread across the slum where

most of the over 1,000 shanties are contiguous and made of inflammable materials like wood, bamboo and tin. Salauddin Ahmed, officer-in-charge of Mirpur model police station, told the Dhaka Tribune that at the time of fire almost all the slum dwellers were out of home. For that reason, there had been no deaths reported. Cleaners and low-income staff of the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) had been living at the slum for almost three decades. The dwellers said they had experienced such devastations at least four times and once they started their journey, fire broke out again because of some unknown reasons. He was at a loss as to how he could start regular life with his family. About the reason behind the fire, slum dwellers alleged that some local influential people with the blessing of some land developers might have set fire to the slum. Some others said it might have originated from an electric short circuit. Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner Benazir Ahmed visited the spot and distributed blankets and foods to the affected families. l





Wednesday, February 12, 2014



Rayer Bazar kitchen market DU students strike against extra fees lies in sorry state n Arif Ahmed

n Abu Hayat Mahmud

The Rayer Bazar kitchen market in the capital has been in sorry state for a long time, as traders have stood against the repair of the buildings. The traders filed two separate cases, in 2004 and 2008, trying to stop the city corporation’s initiatives. According to sources, the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) declared the buildings unsafe about eight years ago. Although the market was declared unsafe, thousands of shoppers and several hundreds of shopkeepers still attend the vulnerable market. After inspecting the market’s old buildings, DCC officials, in April, 2006, posted a notice on the buildings, warning people that the building might collapse. About a year ago, the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC, formerly a part of DCC), took steps to demolish the abandoned buildings in the market. Senior DNCC officials claimed that they had failed to demolish the buildings, because two cases had been filed by the traders. Md Fosi Ullah, chief estate officer of DNCC, told the Dhaka Tribune; “The buildings in the kitchen market are extremely unsafe.” “We took steps to demolish the vulnerable buildings,” he said. “But, it was not possible to demolish the buildings due to a barrier erected by the traders,” he said. “A trader from the market has also asserted that he is owner of a piece of land in the market, and he has filed a case against the city corporation,” he added. The DNCC chief estate officer also said they had made a deal with a construction firm to reconstruct the buildings in the market, but that they could not take further steps due to the cases. Most shoppers come to the kitchen market from Rayer Bazar, Hazaribagh, Jigatola and Zafrabad. The market is popular among the middle and lower income groups in the area, as the prices of commodities are cheaper here than at other markets. During a recent visit it was found that

Firearms recovered at Rajshahi University n RU Correspondent Members of Detective Branch of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police recovered two foreign made pistols on the Rajshahi University campus early yesterday. Officer-in-Charge of DB Metropolitan area Saidur Rahman Bhuyian told reporters that after being tipped off, law enforcers conducted a raid behind the Nawab Abdul Latif hall around 1:30am. Sensing police presence the miscreants fled the scene, he said, adding that the firearms were recovered at the spot. “We are trying to identify the criminals and a general diary was filed with Motihar police station,” the OC added. l

The Progressive Student Alliance yesterday enforced a daylong student strike at Dhaka University, demanding the cancellation of additional tuition fees for the Television and Film Studies department, as well as extra fees being charged by other departments. The students started their scheduled programme early in the morning, locking all the gates of the Arts and Social Science faculties’ buildings, barring everyone from entering the buildings. DU acting proctor Amzad Ali requested that the agitating students unlock the gates to allow other students to attend examinations. His request was rejected. The students brought out several processions on the campus, chanting slogans against the move to charge extra fees. Rashed Shahariar, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front DU unit president, said: “Public universities cannot be run with

n Mohosinul Karim

the DNCC has erected two notice boards to raise awareness of the situation. The city corporation also told the traders not to use the abandoned buildings. Fatima Begum, a resident of Zafrabad, said; “I worry about the market’s dilapidated condition.” A trader operating his business in the vulnerable market, said, seeking

Government, BGMEA dillydallying with payment of compensation n Tribune Report Two apparel workers organisation yesterday called on to the authorities concerned to provide proper compensation to the Rana Plaza victims and publicise the list of people who were still missing from the deadly collapse on April 24. The speakers made the call at a press conference, jointly organised by Garment Sromik Trade Union Kendra and Rana Plaza Garment Sromik Union at Mukti Bhaban in the capital. They alleged that the government and owners of the factories were dillydallying in paying the compensation to the affected workers and

their families and publishing the list of missing people in the collapse. “From the very day of the collapse, the government and the BGMEA are promising compensation, but were yet to pay the affected families,” Emdadul Islam, president of Rana Plaza Garment Sromik Union, said. Though the committee concerned proposed Tk14 lakh as compensation for the victims’ families, it was not appropriate, he said, and added: “The compensation must be equal to the total income they would have earned in their whole life. In addition, proper rehabilitation should be ensured for the affected families.”

Tribune Report

The 7th National Aloha Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Festival will be held at the city’s Shaheed Sarwardi Indoor stadium, Mirpur, on Friday. The Aloha Bangladesh is organising the competition where children will show their mathematical skills by calculating 70 sums within 5 minutes, says a press release. Abdullah Abu Sayeed, national professor and also chairman of Bishwa Shahitta Kendra will attend the competition as chief guest. Rubaba Dowla, chief service officer, Airtel Bangladesh, and Loh Mun Sung, founder of Aloha International, Malaysia, are expected to attend the event as special guest. Over 1,000 students from 300 different schools from Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Comilla and Rangpur will participate in the five-minute competition and it will be followed by an award-giving ceremony. Aloha Mental Arithmetic is an internationally recognised programme operating in 27 different countries, including the USA, Australia, Spain,

anonymity, that chunks of plaster often fall down. “We have requested the market committee to undertake an urgent repair, but they have not acted becasue of their personal interests,” he said. Md Nazimuddin, president of the kitchen market’s traders’ association, and other leaders of the association, have not commented on the matter. l

Communication Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday said the renovation works of the Gabtoli-Sawarighat roadwould be completed by the end of next May. The government has allocated Tk14 crore to repair the road, said the minister, while informing the media about the renovation works of the road, which is now in dilapidated condition, during his visit across the embankment of the Buriganga River. The renovation works would be done by Roads and Highway Division under Communication Ministry. Earlier, Water Development Board under the Water Resources Ministry was entrusted with maintenance of the road, which may play a vital role in reducing traffic congestion in the city.


Aloha Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Festival on Friday n

the students’ money.” Samajtantrik Chhatra Front DU unit General Secretary Ruhul Amin said: “We will announce tougher programmes if the university authorities do not accept our demand by the end of the day.” Shafiul Alam, chairman of the Television and Film Studies department, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We have only charged the students the minimum fee. It is impossible for us to provide adequate facilities to the students taking less fees.” As a result of the protest, all scheduled classes were suspended for the day and exams started later than scheduled. The Television and Film Studies department, which was established in 2012 with a masters course, launched their first undergraduate course this year. According to the announcement made by the department, students would have to pay Tk137,000 to complete their full undergraduate programme. l

‘Gabtoli-Sawarighat road to be repaired by May’

The building of Rayer Bazar kitchen market, which has been announced abandoned a few years back, is still in use, amid risk of collapsing at any moment MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan and Philippines and more than 50 lakh students got benefits out of it since its inception. A research conducted of late by Japanese Medical Research team revealed that ABACUS education immensely helps children develop brain and enhance performance in every subject of school.  The Aloha Bangladesh is the first company to bring internationally recognised and accepted Aloha Mental Arithmetic programme from Malaysia to Bangladesh for the total brain development for children aged between 4 and 14. l

He also emphasised making public the list of missing people. At the press conference, the organisations placed a ten-point demand, including publication of a list of the deceased, injured and missing workers, compensation for all, identification of the bones of the workers found later, re-search into the debris, and proper punishment for the owner of Rana Plaza, apparel company owners and the officers who approved the design of the building. The press conference also announced they will “lay siege” to the Prime Minister’s Office and the BGMEA building to realise their demands. l

Heritage site at odds with local development committee n Tribune Report Construction of a new mosque is impossible at the site of the 300-year-old Hinga Bibi Mosque without destroying the Mughal-era monument in the old part of the capital, said an environmentalist group. Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba) made the observation yesterday after an investigation team visited the heritage site at KB Ghosh Street in Old Dhaka. The team said the mosque committee began constructing a new multi-storey building at the site a week ago by destroying the ornamental architecture of the Hinga Bibi Mosque, also called Mawlana Mosque. Led by Shamsul Wares, the team included architect Sajjadur Rashid, Poba chairman Abu Naser, and convener Atiq Morshed. According to local residents, a woman named Hinga Bibi built the mosque 300 years ago and dedicated it as a waqf (donated) property. Lack of maintenance


Wednesday, February 13, 2014

and repairs have made the ancient building vulnerable. Reasoning that the building was derelict, the mosque committee has started constructing a new structure by pulling down the old part. The committee began demolishing the old building after reportedly getting permission from the government’s waqf administrator, although the Department of Archeology had requested it to stop. Meanwhile, the local people alleged that 21 shops and a three-storey house have already sprung up on the mosque land. They suggested that the committee could remove the shops and the house and construct a new mosque in their place, instead of demolishing the heritage building. In news published on Friday, a Dhaka Tribune correspondent found workers demolishing the roof of the mosque, with only the walls remaining. However, the workers stopped working as soon as they saw the reporter. l

“Some portion of the road have been occupied by influential quarters and the grabbed portion will be recovered soon,” said the minister. Additional Chief Engineer of the RHD Habibul Haque and Executive Engineer Ahsan Uddin Ahmed, among others, accompanied the minister. Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday ordered the ministers concerned to take initiative for recovering the land from grabbers and constructing the walkway across the embankment of the Buriganga River. The minister earlier visited the road on September 24, 2012. Then he announced that tender would be floated within next 15 days to upgrade the road into four lanes. The road has become narrow because of mindless dumping of wastes, especially from Shyambazar wholesale market, on its both sides. l

SUST students suspend demo n Our Correspondent, Sylhet Anthropology students in Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) suspended their demonstration after getting assurance of publishing the honours result within the next 10 working days. According to sources, the students of the department under 2008-09 academic year went on a sit-in strike on Tuesday at 9am by keeping all the classes and faculty rooms of the university under lock, demanding their honours results be made published. A team of teachers of behalf of the university’s administration held a discussion with the students around 10am. Dr Himadri Shekhor Ray said; “The result will be published within next 10 working days.” Mithun Goshwami, a student of the department said; “We suspended the programme after getting teacher’s assurance.” The protesters opened the rooms of the departments at 11.30am. l

Chittagong Bar Association poll results announced n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong Anwarul Islam Chowdhury and Md Abdur Rashid were elected as the president and general secretary of Chittagong District Bar Association respectively. Chief Election Commissioner Syed Sirajul Islam announced the poll results early yesterday. Both Anwarul Islam and Abdur Rashid contested the polls under the banner of Sammilita Ainjibi Samannay Parishad backed by the ruling Awami League. Meanwhile, Sudhir Chandra Talikdar, Surat Jamal and Tipu Sultan Khan of Sammilita Ainjibi Samannay Parishad were elected as senior vice president, vice president and library secretary respectively. Three panels – Sammilita Ainjibi Samannay Parishad, Ainjibi Oikya Parishad backed by BNP-Jamaat and left parties backed Samomana Ainjibi Sangsad – contested for 18 posts of the executive committee. l




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Banned textbooks still on sale

Touchstone statue of Tk1 crore seized in Magura

n Our Correspondent, Gopalganj

n Our Corresponfen, Magura

Book store owners in several upazilas in Gopalganj have continued to sell several banned academic and guide books, which have already been disqualified by the Education Board. During a visit to such book shops, this correspondent noticed most of these textbooks for sale, violating the directives of Education Board. In most cases, they charge double for these illegal books. Sources have said the local teachers’ committee have included these banned guidebooks and textbooks, such as grammar books, into the curriculum and thus book stores continue to sell them. Guardians also said the banned textbooks are of low quality and are riddled with errors. Earlier in 2012, the National Curriculum and Textbook Board

(NCTB) issued an order directing deputy commissioners and upazila nirbahi officers to take actions against those involved with the production, marketing and selling of these banned books. “We have to pay the teachers’ committee so that we can sell these books. Thus, we are compelled to charge higher for these books,” said Obaidur Rahman, owner of Kashiani Islamia Book Store. However, President of Kashiani Upazila Teachers’ Committee Jain Uddin refuted the allegation and said, “The committee did not include the banned books into the syllabus. Also we did not pressure anyone to sell these textbooks.” Meanwhile, Upazila Secondary Education Officer Abdur Rahim said no institutes can use or sell the banned books. “Actions will be taken after we receive a complaint,” he added. l

An indigenous woman collects water from a fountain, which has almost dried up, at Chaikhhang union under Alikadam upazila in Bandarban. Water crisis has turned acute in the locality DHAKA TRIBUNE

Workers block highway for 2 hours n Our Correspondent, Habiganj A group of labourers yesterday blocked a highway in Habiganj for two hours in protest over a recent incident in which one of their fellow workers was allegedly beaten by police. Hundreds of vehicles were brought to a standstill due to the protest, gridlocking traffic in both directions on the highway. Police were called to the scene and brought the situation under control after coming to a consensus with labour leaders. Workers’ claim that, at around 8am yes-

terday, Chunarghat police severely beat bus driver Salek Mia, 30, near Habiganj-Shayestaganj road in the Notun Bridge area. Both parties reached an agreement at a meeting led by Assistant Police Super Mojammel Haque and the General Secretary of the District Road Transportation Labour Union. The injured labourer was admitted to Habiganj sadar hospital. Confirming the matter, Mojammel Haque said a group of labourers had misunderstood the police, and that the matter was eventually resolved jointly by both the police and the workers. l

Traders demand gold recovery n Our Correspondent, Feni A committee of local businessmen in Feni submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner and Police Super yesterday, demanding the recovery of 800 tolas of gold that was looted from Abedin Jewellers in the city on Saturday. The memorandum also demanded the immediate arrest of the robbers. The businessmen said they would undertake tougher measures if the gold was not recovered and the robbers were not ar-

rested within two days. A team led by the committee’s president Faruq Harun submitted the memorandum. Police Super Poritosh Ghosh and Additional Deputy Commissioner Safiul Alam received the memorandum on behalf of the deputy commissioner. Around 6.30pm on Saturday, robbers exploded 25-30 crude bombs and looted approximately 800 tolas of gold jewellery from Abedin Jewelers, situated on Khaza Ahmed road in Feni. l

30 injured in clash over land n Our Correspondent, Hobiganj At least 30 people were injured yesterday in a clash between two rival groups over land dispute in Baniachang upazila of Hobiganj district. Sources said there had been longstanding enmity between Kobir Mia and Alam Mia of Gunoi village over possessing a

piece of land. On the day, supporters of both groups attacked each other leaving 30 injured. Shamsul Arefin, officer-in-charge of Baniachang police station confirmed the incident. The injured were admitted to the hospital. On information, police went to the spot and brought the situation under control. l


ARLA FOODS BANGLADESH LIMITED is inviting applications from qualified candidates for position of “Deputy General Manager” for its Bangladesh Operation: The Position will require vigilant effort in marketing operation and should have substantial experience of 15 years plus on dealing with dairy products (FMCG). He / she should have a good track record of success in Sales & Marketing and be familiar to working in strategy formulating roles for the company. Interested qualified candidates are requested to apply within 7 days of this publication with an updated resume to the following address. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interview. Human Resource Department Arla Foods Bangladesh Limited Silver Tower (13th Floor) 52, Gulshan South Commercial Area Gulshan-1, Dhaka-1212.

A touchstone statue weighing 25kg was seized in Magura in the early hours of yesterday. Officer-in-Charge Magura police station Rezaul Karim said acting on a tip off, a team of police raided the house of Shona Mollah at Abalpur village under Magura sadar upazila and recovered the statue. Police arrested Shona Mollah, Shabuz Shikder, Vorasha Mollah from the spot. Acting on their statement, police arrested Ranju Mollah at Ghoramara village under Magura sadar upazila. Police also recovered two machetes from the spot. The OC said worth of the statue was about Tk1 crore. The syndicate has been running illegal bussines in the distrcit for long. Two separate cases were filed in this connection with Magura police station. l


Is a transition to mobile wallets underway?

Long Form


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

13.2 m Registered accounts



BDT 66b Transactions per month


Average growth rate per month

(As of December, 2013. Source: Bangladesh Bank) PHOTO: COURTESY

December 2013

83m April 2014 (FORECAST)

(ASSUMPTIONS: (1) Banks earn 8% of 1.85% of total Cash-out amount. (2) Banks earn 50% of P2P fee. (3) Revenue calculated only from fees.)

about 180,000 agents transacting over Tk65 bn (6,500 crore) per month. In 2013, the number of registered mobile banking users grew at about 12% each month (CAGR 267%). At the start of the year there were only 3.6 million registered users, but that number reached 13.2 million by the end of December 2013. Pi Strategy Consulting in partnership with CGAP of World Bank, conducted in-depth research on MFS consumer needs over a 6-month period in

MFS platforms in different forms. For this particular study, the transactions were categorised into three different transaction modes. If neither the sender nor the receiver uses his own mobile banking account (or wallet) to complete the transaction, it is categorised as a Pure OTC transaction. If either the sender or the receiver uses his own wallet for a transaction it is categorised as Partial OTC. And if both the sender and the receiver use their own wallets for a transaction, it is cate-

Instant transfer is the most prominent factor for OTC. For Pure Wallet, trust is reported to be most important.

2013. This research, focusing solely on the consumer needs of MFS end-users, is the first of its kind in Bangladesh. The research findings were launched officially on February 6, 2014, at an event at the Westin. The Chief Guest at the event, Dr Atiur Rahman, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, said this work was “the most comprehensive study on mobile financial service customers’ insights that has ever been conducted in Bangladesh.” The research indicates that the revenue stream for banks have also

gorised as Pure Wallet. This survey found that the most popular mode of transaction is Pure OTC (52%), followed by Partial OTC (35%) and Pure Wallet (3%). Post office and courier services collectively were used by 10% of those surveyed. Nearly 48% of the MFS users reside in urban areas while 32% in rural and 20% in semi-urban areas. Though the sender receiver split is roughly 50-50 across the nation, the research suggests that rural users are more likely to receive money, rather than

Figure 2: Trust Factor


Figure 3: Wallet Adoption Rate Majority of wallet owners have opened accounts in Q3 of 2013



21% 19%




2012 2013 of same economic households. 90% of Pure Wallet, 86% of Pure OTC and 81% of Partial OTC users transfer funds between the same economic household members. The study affirms that a transition from OTC to wallet usage is well underway in Bangladesh. Different factors are driving this transition. 95% of the users cited trustworthiness as the most important influencing factor

ously try out multiple transfer modes for transaction • In stage 3, customers settle down with wallets for all of their transactions In the random sample, 25% were found to have wallets. A large number of them have opened wallets very recently – in Q3 of 2013 (see Figure 3), which indicates there has been a recent shift to wallet opening. However,

new products and focused awareness building, may prove to be effective tools to encourage a large number of people to open and use wallets. Early differences are showing up in certain characteristics of wallet owners and those without wallets. Typically, wallet owners are comparatively more educated, younger, earn more, and already have bank accounts. This raises some important questions about the reach of MFS to “base of the pyramid” population segments. Are the unbanked and poorer segments of our population being served through MFS in a significant way just yet? On the flip side, there are some positive signs of MFS contributions at a national level. As stated earlier, most of the funds flow is from urban and semi-urban to rural destinations. A reversal of the long-established trend of funds flow from rural to urban centers is being observed. This has the positive impact of funds transfer to rural communities, where it can contribute to enhancing the living standards of people and fueling equitable economic activity

Figure 4: Recent Shifts

Wallet users are more educated. Wallet owners earn more. Younger people are more open to wallets. People with bank account are more inclined to open wallet.


35% 7% 3%

81 and 86% of courier service, Pure OTC and Partial OTC respectively were able to read in English. As a whole 84% of the MFS users are able to read English text. The average ticket size of the mobile banking transactions is Tk3,370, which is much lower than other platforms. Ticket size of courier service transactions is five times that of mobile banking. Much of the low value transactions are flowing through mobile banking. The cost associated with the transfer is certainly a factor for this trend. It is cheaper to send smaller amounts of money through mobile banking than through other modalities such as courier service. More than four-fifth of users transfer funds between the members

towards wallet usage (see Figure 2). However, wallets are yet to be perceived as savings tool, with only 5% of the wallet users viewing it as such. Retail mobile banking agents interact directly with the users and they are expected to assist with wallet adoption. This research finds that agents are positively influencing customers to open wallets. But because of their personal financial benefit from OTC transfers, agents are not encouraging wallet usage as strongly. The transition to wallets is happening slowly but surely, and it is happening in three stages: • In stage 1, customers open wallets • In stage 2, customers simultane-

only 3% of them conduct Pure Wallet transactions. The remaining 22% are conducting Partial OTC or Pure OTC transactions. A large portion (nearly 70%) of customers who are conducting Pure Wallet transactions is found to have already reached the third stage of transition (see Figure 4). Many who are not opening wallets just yet are citing inadequate need as the primary reason (see Figure 5). However, this may be viewed in at least two ways. First, there actually may not be as strong a need. Second, there may be latent need for wallets, but this has not translated into explicit need in the minds of the consumers. And in this case, a number of things, such as

Figure 5: Reason For Not Having A Wallet

Why don’t you have


a wallet?

don’t have Wallets

42% I don’t require it




Time Consuming

Seems Complex

Don’t know how to open account



Before 1 year

3% 6 months -1 year

Non-mobile By hand Post office Courier


April 2013


Post Office



Figure 1: MFS Revenue (per month BDT)

send money. The research shows a big gender gap among the users, only 18% of them are female. The average monthly income of MFS users is about Tk8,000, which is lower than the national average, and nearly three times the poverty line average income. Majority of the MFS users don’t have bank accounts in formal financial institutions. Pure Wallet users have higher individual income (Tk10,642) compared to others. At the other end of the spectrum, Pure OTC users earn the least (Tk7,093). Partial OTC users earn Tk8,361, post office users earn Tk8,475 and courier service users earn a slightly higher amount of Tk9,650. The study also found that people with academic qualifications higher than 10th grade are more likely to open a wallet. Nearly 70% of the Pure Wallet users have studied beyond tenth grade. It can also be noted that, in the current context, people who haven’t studied beyond 10th grade are more likely to use Pure OTC. Nearly 56% of Pure OTC users have not studied beyond grade ten. Pure Wallet users can read in English better than others. About 94% of the users were able to read in English. Post office users showed the least level of English proficiency, only 60% of the users were able to read in English. 80,

Pure Wallet

angladesh began its mobile financial services (MFS) journey in 2011. The primary goal of MFS is financial inclusion – reaching the unbanked population with appropriate financial services. At the broadest level, MFS constitutes offering financial services that include, but not limited to, funds transfer, savings products, insurance products, paying fees of various forms (utility, education, etc.), and receiving payments (from employers, government, etc.). However, at the initial stages of market development, funds transfer services have been the most common form of MFS in Bangladesh. And yet, it seems to be quite a growth story already. By the end of December 2013, there were more than 13 million registered users served by

experienced significant growth (see Figure 1). To date, Bangladesh Bank has approved 28 banks to operate as mobile financial service providers in the country. Of which 19 banks have been able to officially launch the service so far. In the current market only three players have widespread presence. The top three players are BRAC Bank’s bKash, DBBL Mobile Banking and Islami Bank’s mCash. Customers seem to have adapted their own ways of using MFS platforms. A few people are opening wallets to conduct person-to-person (P2P) transfers or merchant payments, most people are transacting through agents without using personal wallets, some are doing both based on the situation and personal need. There are also some traditional platforms used for transactions, such as post office and courier services. The consumers have leveraged the

What do you trust most?


n Pial Islam and Sudip Chowdhury


Last 6 months

Mobile Pure OTC Partial OTC Pure Wallet

and growth. MFS is a rapidly growing market segment in Bangladesh. New regulatory guidelines, strategy shifts among the key MFS providers, increased awareness among the public, have all contributed to significant growth of the market even during the time this research was conducted. For example, Bangladesh reached the 10 million registered customers mark in early November 2013, and by end of December 2013, that number had experienced a 30% growth. While metrics such as transaction volume and customer base is expected to enjoy strong growth over the coming months and years, some of the fundamental insights generated through this research are expected to prevail well into the future. For example, young people will continue to contribute disproportionately to MFS growth, and most people will continue to use a variety of different modes of funds transfer (Pure OTC, Partial OTC, Pure Wallet, and non-mobile). Moreover, issues like instant transfer and trust will continue to be key influencing factors in the wider adoption of MFS. l Pial Islam is Managing Partner and Sudip Chowdhury is Engagement Manager at pi Strategy Consulting, a specialised firm that provides advisory services at the confluence of strategy and innovation. A Research Brief on MFS Consumer Needs is available for download at




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rouhani calls for ‘fair’ talks as Iran marks revolution n AFP President Hassan Rouhani called for “fair and constructive” nuclear talks Tuesday as Iranians marked the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution amid recent progress in negotiations with world powers. Rouhani, a moderate elected last year on vows to pursue a diplomatic solution to the decade-long impasse over  Iran’s nuclear programme, also warned that Western nations should not have “delusions” about having a military option. He spoke as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to mark the anniversary of the revolution that ousted the US-backed shah, with many railing against the United States, still commonly referred to as the “Great Satan.” Iran is set to resume talks in Vienna next week with the P5+1 group of world powers on a comprehensive nuclear accord following a landmark interim agreement reached in November in which it agreed to curb some nuclear activities for sanctions relief. But Tehran has laid out a series of “red lines” regarding the talks, and in a show of defiance on the eve of the anniversary announced it had successfully tested a long-range missile and a laser-guided projectile. “Iran  is committed to fair and constructive negotiations within the framework of international regulations; we hope to witness such a willingness in the other party in the upcoming talks,» Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television. “I say explicitly, if some have delusions of having any threats against  Iran  on their tables, they need to wear new glasses. There is no military option against Iran on any table in the world,» he added.

n AFP An Algerian military aircraft crashed in the east of the country on Tuesday killing all 103 people on board, an Algerian security source said. The C-130 Hercules aircraft, which was flying to the eastern city of Constantine crashed “in poor weather conditions” in Oum El Bouaghi, around 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of the capital, Algerian radio said. The plane was carrying 99 passengers -- soldiers and their families -- as well as four crew members, the source told AFP. “There were no survivors,” the source added. l

NATO gets first US destroyer for missile shield n AFP

An Iranian female student holds up her hand painted in the colours of her national flag during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to mark the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 11, 2014 AFP Western nations have long suspected Iran  of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its civilian programme, allegations denied by Tehran,

which insists its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful. Neither the United States nor Israel has ruled out military action to pre-

Serbs jailed for the murder of more than 100 Kosovars n AFP Serbia’s war crimes court on Tuesday sentenced nine Serbian members of a paramilitary force to up to 20 years in prison for killing at least 109 ethnic Albanians during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict. The nine “committed murders, rapes and robberies in an extremely brutal way, with the main goal to spread fear among Albanian civilians in order to force them to leave their homes and flee to Albania”, judge Snezana Nikolic Garotic said in her verdict.

Sudan, Egypt officers collude in migrant abuse: rights group n AFP Egyptian and Sudanese security officers have colluded with traffickers accused of holding Eritrean migrants for ransom and torturing them, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday. Victims accused the traffickers of raping both women and men, administering electric shocks and burning genitalia and other body parts with hot irons, boiling water and molten plastic, the New York-based rights group said. Migrants said they had been abused for weeks or even months, and several said they had witnessed captives die under torture. The loosely governed desert region stretching from eastern Sudan up through Egypt to the Sinai Peninsula is a major trafficking route for African migrants seeking jobs. Thousands of Eritreans flee each year, with many heading for Israel. Human Rights Watch said it had recorded 29 incidents dating back to 2010 in which victims accused Sudanese and Egyptian security officers of facilitating traffickers’ abuses rather than rescuing victims. “Both Egypt and Sudan need to put an end to torture and extortion of Eritreans on their territory, and to prosecute traffickers and any security officials colluding with them,” Gerry Simpson, a senior refugee researcher for the group, said in a statement. Egyptian and Sudanese officials could not immediately be reached for comment. The report is based on the testimonies of 37 Eritreans interviewed by the international rights group and 22 others interviewed by a non-governmental organisation in Egypt. l

103 dead in army plane crash in east Algeria: security

Prosecutors had charged the defendants, members of the Serbian Sakali (Jackals) paramilitary unit, with killing 120 ethnic Albanian civilians in the villages of Cuska, Zahac, Pavlin and Ljubenic near the western Kosovo town of Pec, in April and May 1999. However, only 109 victims have been identified so far. “They are guilty of breaching the Geneva convention during the armed conflict in Kosovo as members of the Serb armed forces,” Garotic said. Defendant Toplica Miladinovic was sentenced to 20 years in jail, along with

two others. Seven defendants were sentenced to between two and 15 years in jail, while two were cleared of all charges. At least two more men from the unit initially charged were set free having agreed to testify against the others. All defendants had pleaded not guilty at the beginning of the trial. Miladinovic said he had never heard of the crimes before reading the indictment. “I did not commit this crime,” Miladinovic told the special war crimes court in Belgrade at the start of the trial. l

vent Iran  from developing a nuclear weapon, if diplomacy fails. Rouhani delivered the speech in honour of the anniversary at cen-

tral Tehran’s Azadi Square, where huge crowds had gathered, many of them chanting against the United States. l

Shirley Temple dead at 85 n AFP Shirley  Temple, the Hollywood child star who captured hearts in Depression-era America with her trademark blond ringlets and dimpled smile, has died at the age of 85, her family said Tuesday. Temple, who started acting at the age of 3 and shot to stardom with songs including her signature tune “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” died of natural causes on Monday night in her California home, surrounded by her family and caregivers. “We announce with great sadness that ambassador Shirley Temple Black, former Hollywood child star and forever ‘America’s little darling,’ peacefully

passed away at her Woodside, California,” a family statement said. Her death, announced at 3:00 am local time (1100 GMT), triggered an outpouring of tributes on social media and elsewhere. “The Good Ship Lollypop has sailed today with Shirley  Temple aboard a true 1 of a kind,” tweeted Oscar-winning actress and TV star Whoopi Goldberg. Delighting audiences with her singing, dancing and sweet and simple innocence at a time when money and jobs were scarce and everyday life in America was especially challenging, the star of “Curly Top” and “The Little Princess” became, at 6, the youngest person ever to win an Oscar. l

Yemen rebels, southern group slam federation plan n AFP

Northern Shia rebels and a faction demanding southern autonomy Tuesday rejected a six-region federation plan for Yemen, which was agreed by parties during the “national dialogue” aimed at securing the country’s political transition. A panel headed by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi on Monday agreed the plan, which will be inserted into a new constitution and will divide Yemen into six federal regions -- four in the north and two in the south. But Shia rebels in the north claimed the division of the republic would not distribute wealth evenly, while a southern faction said the plan did not meet their aspirations for autonomy. “We have rejected it because it divides Yemen into poor and wealthy” regions, said Mohammed al-Bakheiti of the Shia rebel group Ansarullah. The six regions laid out in the plan include four in the north comprising Azal, Saba, Janad and Tahama, and two in the formerly independent south, Aden and Hadramawt. Under the plan the northern province of Saada, bastion of Ansarullah

An anti-government protester with his face painted with a stripe in the colours of his national flag attends a demonstration marking the start of the 3rd anniversary of the uprising that toppled Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh AFP rebels, also known as Huthis, is part of the Azal region -- a zone that also includes Sanaa, Amran and Dhamar -that has no significant natural resources or access to sea. “Saada has stronger cultural, social and geographical links with (coastal)

Hajja, and Jawf” on the border with Saudi Arabia, Bakheiti said. Mohammed Ali Ahmed, head of the People’s Congress of the South -- a Southern Movement faction, told AFP that “our positon is clear... We reject these decisions because they do not

meet the aspirations of our people in the south.” Southerners are demanding “the right of self-determination and regaining a sovereign state,” said Ahmed, who headed a delegation that withdrew from the national dialogue in November in protest at proposals for multiple units for the north. Yemen’s parties had been divided on whether to split the future federation into two or six regions. Sanaa feared that a straight northsouth divide could set the stage for the disgruntled south to secede. The southern question has been a major stumbling block in the talks, with hardline factions of the Southern Movement boycotting the discussions since the beginning of talks and demanding complete secession. After the former North and South Yemen united in 1990, the south broke away in 1994, triggering a brief civil war that ended with the region being overrun by northern troops. The national dialogue was stipulated by a Gulf-brokered and UN-backed roadmap that ended a year of Arab spring-inspired protests against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down in 2012 after 33 years in power. l

60 more works found in German’s ‘Nazi art trove’ n AFP The art hoard of an elderly German recluse suspected to contain Nazi-looted paintings and drawings is bigger than first thought, his spokesman said Tuesday. More than 60 additional works have been discovered in the Austrian home of Cornelius Gurlitt, among them works by masters Picasso, Renoir and Monet, said his spokesman Stephan Holzinger. He said after a first inspection there was

no indication that any of the newly-discovered works were Nazi loot, a term for artwork that the fascist regime stole from Jewish owners or bought from them cheaply under duress. The Gurlitt case first made headlines late last year when it emerged investigators had found 1,400 artworks in his Munich flat, including long-lost works by masters also including Matisse and Chagall. Gurlitt, 81, is the son of Nazi-era art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, who acquired the

paintings in the 1930s and 1940s and had been tasked by the Nazis with selling stolen works and art the Hitler regime deemed “degenerate”. Germany earned criticism for dragging its feet on the case. Although the works were discovered in early 2012, the spectacular find only became known to the public late last year through a news magazine report. On Tuesday, Gurlitt’s spokesman said in a statement that “more works were located in Cornelius Gurlitt’s house in Salzburg”.

“They are more than 60 works, including by Monet, Renoir and Picasso,” the statement said. “At the request of Cornelius Gurlitt, the works are being examined by experts on whether they include possibly stolen art. A preliminary assessment based on an initial screening did not substantiate such a suspicion.” Berlin said last month it will boost funding for efforts to return Nazi-looted art to their rightful owners and may invite Jewish representatives to join a mediation body. l

The first of four US high-tech destroyers arrived in Spain Tuesday to form a key part of a ballistic missile shield for Europe which Russia says directly threatens its security. The USS Donald Cook took up station in the southern port of Rota from where it will operate as an anti-missile platform and take part in other tasks such as maritime security and NATO deployments, a statement said. “For the first time, a ship of the United States Navy equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile-defence system is permanently based in Europe” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. “The arrival of the USS Donald Cook marks a step forward for NATO, for European security, and for transatlantic cooperation,” Rasmussen said. Three other Aegis destroyers will be deployed over the next two years as the missile shield takes form after NATO agreed its deployment at a summit in 2010. The system is designed to “protect all NATO European populations and territory,” the statement said. Supporters cited a major concern as being the threat to Europe from Iranian missiles, especially if Tehran were to acquire nuclear weapons. Russia however says the system directly threatens its security and the issue has become a major bone of contention with Washington which in turn insists that Moscow’s fears are groundless. The Aegis ships will operate in tandem with land- and other air- and space-based systems to monitor for possible hostile missile launches and then direct missiles to destroy them. l

Genocide tribunal acquits former Rwanda general, major on appeal n AFP The UN-backed court for Rwanda on Tuesday acquitted on appeal former paramilitary police chief Augustin Ndindiliyimana and ex-elite battalion commander Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye of charges related to the 1994 genocide. The Arusha, Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) reduced the sentence of a third officer Innocent Sagahutu, a squadron commander in the elite reconnaissance unit, from 20 years behind bars to 15. The ICTR said it would hand down its decision on a fourth officer, former army chief Augustin Bizimungu, at a later date. The court had in May 2011 sentenced Ndindiliyimana to 11 years imprisonment for genocide crimes, a term he had already served in preventive detention since his arrest in Belgium in 2000. Nzuwonemeye and Sagahutu had both been sentenced to terms of 20 years for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bizimungu had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The UN-backed court was set up to try the alleged masterminds behind the genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 people, the overwhelming majority of them ethnic Tutsis, were killed. Other perpetrators have been tried before other jurisdictions, either in the formal court system in Rwanda or before thousands of grassroots tribunals called gacacas. l



China and Taiwan hold historic talks n Agencies China and Taiwan held their first government-to-government talks since they split 65 years ago after a brutal civil war - a symbolic yet historic move between the former bitter rivals, AFP news agency reported. Wang Yu-chi, who oversees Taiwan’s China policy, arrived in Nanjing on Tuesday for a meeting with his Beijing counterpart Zhang Zhijun on the first day of a four-day trip, a Taiwanese official said. “That we can sit here today, formally getting together, formally holding meetings, together exploring issues that people on both sides of the strait care about - this represents a new chapter for cross-strait relations, and is a day worth recording,” Wang said in initial remarks, AFP reported based on a statement. Wang said he hoped Zhang could visit Taiwan “in the foreseeable future”. Taiwan is likely to focus on reaping practical outcomes from the discussions, such as securing economic benefits or security assurances, while China has one eye on long-term integration of the island, analysts say. Tuesday’s meeting is the fruit of years of efforts to improve relations. But Beijing’s communist authorities still aim to reunite all of China under their rule, and view Taiwan as a rebel region awaiting reunification with the mainland. “For us to simply sit at the same table, sit down to discuss issues, is already not an easy thing,” Wang said. Nanjing was China’s capital when it

Fifteen drown after boat sinks in India n AP At least 15 people have drowned after a boat overcrowded with holiday revellers capsized on a river in India’s eastern Odisha state, reports say. Police, firefighters and emergency workers rescued dozens of people from the water, after the boat sank on Sunday in Odisha’s Sambalpur district, about 1,300km (800 miles) southeast of New Delhi, state government official Pradeep Kumar Mahapatra said. Rescuers used flashlights to search overnight for six or seven people feared trapped in the hull, Mahapatra said. Odisha Sun Times, a local news website, said 16 people were still missing. Survivors said the boat had been carrying more than 90 people back from a picnic on the opposite banks of the Hirakud reservoir. Authorities were investigating the accident. l

Indian youth call for change of government n AFP, Mumbai More than half of young Indians would emigrate to the United States if given the chance and 80 percent want a change of government, a survey showed Tuesday, just months before national elections. Seventy-two percent also said politicians’ children should not enter politics, suggesting Rahul Gandhi, scion of India’s renowned political dynasty and frontman for the Congress campaign, may not fare well at the polls. The results of the survey of young smartphone users -- conducted by The Economist and mobile phone messaging platform Nimbuzz -- are another ominous sign for Congress, tipped to lose the elections due to take place by May. Some 77 percent said a strong leader was the answer to India’s problems, which The Economist said could be read as support for Narendra Modi, the “strong-man candidate” of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). More than 80 percent of those surveyed said they would vote in the coming elections -- the last time they were held was in 2009. There are 120 million people in  India  aged 18 to 22 who are eligible to vote for the first time at the elections, according to The Economist. Some 71 percent agreed big political parties were part of the problem, which could bode well for upstarts like the anti-corruption Aad Aadmi Party that came to power in Delhi after state elections in December. The new party, which rode a wave of popularity in December for its anti-graft stance, is now planning to take on the major parties at the national level. l

Taiwanese official Wang Yu-chi (center L) who is in charge of the islands China policy meets with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun from the Taiwan Affairs office (center R), at the Purple Mountain Guest House in Nanjing on February 11, 2014 . China and Taiwan on February 11, held their first government-to-government talks since they split 65 years ago AFP was ruled by Wang’s Kuomintang, or Nationalist, party in the first half of the 20th century. When they lost China’s civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists in 1949, two million supporters of the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan. The island and the mainland have been governed separately ever since,

both claiming to be the true government of China and only re-establishing contact in the 1990s. Over the decades Taiwan has become increasingly isolated diplomatically, losing the Chinese seat at the UN in 1971 and seeing the number of countries recognising it steadily decrease. However, its military is supplied by

Pakistani Taliban concludes negotiations n Agencies Two days of talks between the Pakistani Taliban and their intermediaries in the tribal Waziristan region have concluded. The discussions, which ended on Monday, were part of ongoing peace negotiations with the Nawaz Sharif government, which began last week. Mohammad Ibrahim, a senior member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) dialogue committee, and leader of the northwest Afghanistan branch of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was at the talks and held a news conference in the northwestern town of Akora Khattak on his return from North Waziristan. Since July 2007, Pakistan has been gripped by a TTP-led insurgency, concentrated largely in the northwest. Ibrahim said he was feeling positive that progress was being made. He said that he conveyed the government’s demands to the TTP leadership and received demands from the group, but declined to disclose them. Pakistan’s military entered the tribal areas in 2003 after the US invasion in

2001 of Afghanistan, launching operations against homegrown and foreign fighters. Ibrahim said “both the committees have requested both the sides to take care and to avoid any violent activities ... which can spoil these negotiation processes”. The Taliban committee is likely to hold a meeting with a government committee on Tuesday in Islamabad. The TTP says it wants security in the tribal areas taken out of the hands of the army and given to local security and administrative officials, a move which would strengthen the fighters’ control. There is widespread scepticism about the chances of ending the TTP’s violent campaign, particularly since regional deals have quickly broken down in the past. Underscoring the shaky nature of the peace negotiations, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the house of a pro- government tribal elder in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday, killing four women, according to police. l

the United States and has enjoyed a long economic boom. Speaking to Al Jazeera, China analyst Andrew Leung said the talks were “by no means” aimed at unification. “Most of the Taiwanese people want status quo and China knows that time is on her side. So China’s in no hurry.” ”Most Taiwanese do not want to

provoke China and all they want is for Taiwan businesses to grow. There’s this very strong demand for closer ties with the mainland. Not for immediate unification, but for much closer ties. “The closer the two sides are tied together, the better it is for Beijing...the better it is also for Taiwan economically.” l

China accuses US man of gang crimes n AP A Chinese court has put an American businessman on trial, rejecting his US citizenship, for allegedly heading a violent mob that kidnapped rivals and operated illegal casinos, AP news agency reported. Vincent Wu, who has said he was tortured into confessing the charges, appeared before the judge in the southern city of Guangzhou on Monday as his family claimed he was a law-abiding businessman whose rivals have framed him to seize his assets. Wu is charged with getting an associate to throw acid at a judge who ruled against him in a lawsuit, and with ordering thugs to set fire to sheds owned by farmers who refused his offer of compensation to clear off land he wanted to develop. He is also accused of operating illegal casinos that earned $7.8m, and of attacking or kidnapping people who crossed him in various disputes. “We are still very confident, because our lawyers have all the evidence to prove that he is innocent,” Wu’s daughter, Anna Wu, told the Associated Press news agency. “We believe we still have a chance and so we’ll hope for the best.” Wu has been denied US consular access since his detention in June 2012 despite being a US passport holder who shuttles between his family in Los Angeles and his business in China. China refuses to acknowledge Wu’s US citizenship because his last entry into mainland China was made on his Hong Kong residence pass. The businessman has alleged that he was tortured in detention, telling his lawyers he was beaten, kicked and strung by his arms from a ceiling beam as police tried to coerce him to sign a confession. l

Grenade attack Thailand to hold polls re-runs on Pakistan cinema February 2, Election Commission secren AFP tary general Puchong Nutrawong told kills 11: Officials Thailand will hold election re-runs in AFP. Another round of advance voting April in constituencies where voting was will take place a week before. n AFP But there is still no decision on what obstructed by opposition protesters earA triple grenade attack on a cinema showing pornography in northwest Pakistan  killed 11 people on Tuesday as government and Taliban negotiators met for a second round of peace talks. It was the second such attack within two weeks on a cinema in the city of Peshawar, which has been on the front line of  Pakistan’s homegrown Islamist insurgency. The attack came as negotiators representing the Pakistani government and Taliban militants met for a second time as part of efforts to end the bloody seven-year insurgency. After the meeting in Islamabad the chief negotiator for the Taliban, hardline cleric Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, said the two sides had proposed a ceasefire “to make the atmosphere for talks more conducive”. Peshawar city police chief Mohammad Ijaz Ahmed said three grenades were used in the attack and up to 80 people were in the Shama cinema at the time. The cinema is known for showing explicit erotic movies as well as regular films. l

lier this month, poll officials announced on Tuesday. Millions were denied the opportunity to cast ballots, with blockades by demonstrators seeking to prevent the re-election of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra causing the closure of some 10 percent of polling stations. Voting will be held on April 27 for polling stations that were unable to open on

n AFP, New Delhi Indian leaders are set later Tuesday to celebrate the eradication of polio, marking one of the country’s biggest public health success stories which was once thought impossible to achieve. President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as the health minister and the head of the World Health Organisation are all due at a New Delhi stadium to celebrate “India’s victory over polio”, the information ministry says. India, long one of the biggest sources of the paralysing virus, has gone three years without a new case, which means it will soon be certified as having wiped out the scourge. On the three-year anniversary of the last case, on January 13, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad hailed the “monumental milestone” and promised a celebration in honour of the officials, volunteers, NGOs and UN agencies which made it possible. Polio is a virus spread through faecal matter that affects the central nervous system and can leave its victims with withered limbs or paralysis. There is no cure but it can be prevented through mass vaccination programmes. India’s poor sanitation, mass internal migration and dilapidated public health system made experts once fear it would be the last country to eradicate the disease. There are now only three countries where polio is endemic -- Pakistan,

to do about 28 constituencies that have no candidates because protesters blocked the registration process. Yingluck called the February 2 snap election to try to end months of mass rallies against her government, but the main opposition Democrat Party boycotted the vote and protesters have refused to end their action. l

Malaysian Indian minister quits over ‘betrayal’ n AFP An ethnic Indian minister has resigned from Malaysia’s cabinet in an apparent blow to efforts by the Malay-dominated government to halt a slide in support from the country’s sizable minority groups. Prime Minister Najib Razak had received the resignation of P. Waytha Moorthy, a spokesman for the premier confirmed on Tuesday.

Indian leaders to celebrate ‘victory over polio’

India Congress party President & United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi (R) watches as Indian President Pranab Mukherjee gestures a greeting during a ceremony to celebrate the country's eradication of polio in New Delhi on yesterday AFP


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Afghanistan and Nigeria -- and health workers say progress is being made towards global eradication. Isolated polio outbreaks in the Horn of Africa and war-racked Syria emerged as new causes for concern in 2013, however, and polio vaccination workers in Pakistan are still being killed by the Taliban. The wretched sight of crippled street hawkers or beggars on wheeled trolleys will also endure in India as a legacy of the country›s time as an epicentre of new cases. In the absence of official data, most experts agree there are several million survivors left with withered legs or twisted spines who face discrimination and often live on the margins of society. India reported 150,000 cases of paralytic polio in 1985 and still accounted for half of all cases globally in 2009, with 741 infections that led to paralysis. In 2010 the number of victims fell to double figures before the last case on January 13, 2011, when an 18-monthold girl in a Kolkata slum was found to have contracted it. The girl, Rukshar Khatoon, is now attending school and leads a “normal life”, although she still suffers pain in her right leg, doctors and her parents have told AFP. Tuesday’s celebration in New Delhi will be held in the Talkatora indoor stadium at 05:00 pm (1130 GMT). Official certification by the World Health Organisation that India has eradicated polio is likely to come next month. l

A firebrand leader of the Hindu Rights Action Force, or Hindraf, Waytha Moorthy had angered many Indians by accepting the cabinet post last year, ostensibly to address their community’s social problems from within the regime. “Waytha Moorthy tendered his letter to the prime minister yesterday,” Najib’s spokesman told AFP, declining further comment. l

Polio returns to Afghan capital after 13 years n AFP Afghanistan has launched an emergency polio vaccination campaign in Kabul after a girl contracted the disease, the city’s first case since the Taliban were ousted in 2001. The three-year-old from a nomadic family living on the northeastern edge of the city was diagnosed after being admitted to hospital in neighbouring Pakistan, a spokesman for the Afghan public health ministry said Tuesday. The spokesman, Kaneshka Baktash Turkistani told AFP it was not clear whether the girl had contracted the virus in Kabul or Pakistan. The highly contagious polio virus remains endemic in both countries, but Kabul city has not had a reported case since the Taliban regime was ousted by a US-led invasion more than a decade ago. Turkistani said the Pakistani authorities had informed his ministry of the incident. “After this, we launched an emergency polio campaign in Kabul and luckily so far, we have not found any other cases of polio,” he said. Besides Afghanistan and  Pakistan, Nigeria is the only other country in the world where polio, a disease that paralyses children, is still endemic. Due to massive internationally-backed efforts the number of cases has dropped significantly in Afghanistan in recent years, with most reported from the insurgency-hit south. l




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Letters to

the Editor


Export growth needs productivity to rise as well as GSP

AL and BNP neck and neck February 4

It would have been more interesting to have had these voting intention percentages among those polled to be further sliced representing demographics/gender/age, ie the people favouring either party on or before January 5, and post-1/5, among men/women, urban/rural etc. In any case, the BNP must seriously set out to sway the “undecided”/“swing” voters in its favour, until the next proper, fully participatory general election is held. Ronnie


ccording to the government, 13 of the 16 conditions set out by the US to regain the GSP facilities have been fulfilled and the remaining three conditions are due to be met by

April. This is welcome news for moves to reinstate GSP privileges to the US market. Regaining GSP status for the US is vital and has more than symbolic value in moves to help raise labour standards. However, much more needs to be done to ensure long-term sustainability and growth for exports from Bangladesh. In the long term, it is important for Bangladesh not to have to rely on these types of trade privilege. Firstly, because it is still necessary to make improvements to modernise the industry and raise productivity in order to meet the stiff competition which the garment sector is already facing from other countries. Just as important potentially, new free trade agreements may extend the same access to goods from competitor countries such as India. It remains crucial then to go beyond simply meeting the current GSP action plan and working to reduce corruption and provide a less risky environment to investors. The government should support and undertake comprehensive reforms to improve productivity, modernise factories and reduce systemic barriers such as corruption, not only in the garment sector but across the economy. Otherwise, piecemeal efforts such as restoring GSP privileges will not have a lasting impact on export growth.

Limits of acceptability February 5

In the long term, it is important not to have to rely on these types of trade privilege

Fahaad Very well said! With the lack of an opposition, it is high time AL finally looks to its own problems and fixes them. I shudder to think what could happen if they do not, although one would hope that the lack of a target in the form of the BNP-Jamaat means there will now be greater scrutiny on the actions of those in charge. Tashfia Most functioning governments - emphasis here on “functioning” - need an opposition to balance them out, whether it is the checksand-balance system in the US or the Shadow Cabinet in the UK. In Bangladesh’s case, the opposition barely amounts to anything more than a scapegoat and it would indeed be interesting to see how a government sans opposition manages itself.

Be Heard Write to us at:

BNP threatens with unstoppable movement February 5

one If Mr Rizvi hints at future chaos and further carnage, then he’s obviously being daft and irresponsible. And I can’t imagine he comes even close to speaking for official BNP policy plans for the near future. However, it’s easy to understand Mr Rizvi’s justifiable rage and frustration at the blatantly systematic and unrelenting government repression on Opposition activists, nationwide. It’s a grave error to imagine that the BNP can be intimidated and bludgeoned into submission. And there are purely political and peaceful means to robustly resist the repression of the current AL government. I’d like to believe that Mr Rizvi would readily agree. Akhtar Shah There you go. More threats. Can you please not think of other ways of politicking? These threats don’t cut the mustard anymore. Start thinking of other nonviolent ways of getting back to Parliament. Having killed and burnt 300+ people, your talk of “heinous” activities sounds very empty. At the same time, my last statement does not condone the BCL goons’ behaviour at Rajshahi University.

Dhaka Tribune FR Tower, 8/C Panthapath Sukrabad, Dhaka-1207

One law to stop violence against women


here is a need for a single, nationally recognised rule of law in matters pertaining to combating violence against women. At present, various arbitration bodies, many of them self-appointed, are interfering with proper legal processes and obstructing the path to justice. These bodies, sometimes called “shalish committees,” comprise of local influential, religious, traditional and political leaders. These bodies do not have jurisdiction over serious crimes such as rape, but often deal with such matters. The government has no mechanism is place to monitor the activities of such local committees. We need watchdogs and proper enforcement in place to stop these extra-judiciary bodies from forming and operating. There already exists a 2010 High Court directive to hold responsible those who impose and abet the imposition of extrajudicial punishment. One of the problems in monitoring these bodies is that information about them comes only from union parishad and municipality members on a voluntary basis. Since the reporting of these matters is not mandatory, the practice continues unabated. Innumerable cases of violence against women are not getting proper legal attention due to the interference of unsanctioned local arbitration bodies. We must protect the victims of violence, and extend the reach of the law of the land fully enough to bring to an end to this outmoded and illegal practice.

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Why the dialogue? February 4 Neither the ruling party nor its rival will agree to hold any dialogue until and unless under compulsion. They would never sit together voluntarily on persuasion. Peace and stability are the least of their concerns. Their only concern is to capture power. nds

Number of students decreasing in public universities February 8

Shamiul Adnan The main reason is student political clashes on the university campus. Our student leagues are mainly responsible for this unexpected situation. Am I right or not? Nazmul Khair Dirty politics. Once it’s banned for both students and teachers, the situation will improve.

Monetary policy and increase of price level February 9

Bangladesh Bank on January 27 announced a monetary policy for the second half of the political crisis-hit financial year 2014. It targeted a lower GDP growth at around 6% and inflation at 7%. If anyone looks back at January 2009, when the AL-led government assumed administration, the exchange rate of the taka against the US dollar was around Tk69; now it’s around Tk79. The government should try to drive the exchange rate back to Tk69 against $1. As claimed on a Statics Department statement, the local market price level has gone up about 45% from the price level of 2009. At the end of the current financial year, 2013-14, it will increase a further 7%. That is, the taka will lose about 52% of its purchasing power at the end of this current financial year in relation to the start of 2009. Losing purchasing power of the taka would affect the general populace as a whole. Inflation helps businesses to increase profit and growth, but hurts those with fixed incomes. In this paradoxical situation, inflation must remain below 5%. In a democratic country, a government should not make a decision that makes its citizens unhappy. The government and Bangladesh Bank should take measures that help its citizens. Md Ashraf Hossain


We need to stop unsanctioned bodies forming and operating



SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Blemish (4) 4 Brave man (4) 8 Mingle (3) 9 Level (4) 10 Encourage in crime (4) 11 Company of lions (5) 12 Part of a church (4) 14 And not (3) 15 Bath (3) 17 No score (3) 19 Hairpiece (3) 21 Dash (4) 23 Play for time (5) 26 Ineffectual (4) 27 Form walking surface (4) 28 Female swan (3) 29 Copied (4) 30 Fasting period (4)

DOWN 1 Pollen-bearing organ (6) 2 Augury (4) 3 Saturn’s largest satellite (5) 4 Pronoun (3) 5 Expel by legal process (5) 6 Colour (3) 7 United (3) 11 Danger (5) 13 Speech sound (5) 16 Robber (6) 18 Permission (5) 20 Chairperson’s hammer (5) 22 Not any (4) 23 Mineral spring (3) 24 Faucet (3) 25 Was ahead (3)


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.




Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Setting a dangerous standard n Tom Felix Joehnk


Might this be a good thing for the country?

Sajib Arman is a political and security analyst.

or more than two decades, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia have ruled Bangladesh. They hate each other viscerally, and refuse to communicate, much less negotiate. Both women inherited their political followings from relatives who were assassinated. They have since turned the country’s two largest parties into patronage-based personality cults that specialise in looking backwards. Bangladesh is the world’s eighth most populous country. It has made tremendous progress in recent years – very much despite its appalling leaders. Their greatest feat might have been when they joined hands in 1990 to oust Ershad. Ever since, the two autocratically inclined “Begums” have given Bangladeshis no choice but the choice between the two of them. The incumbent prime minister has always lost – until now. Now Bangladesh is entering a new phase. In a farce of an election on January 5, Sheikh Hasina won a second consecutive term as prime minister. She laid the ground for this victory in 2011, by junking a provision added to the constitution in 1996 which had called for neutral, caretaker governments to oversee elections. So the BNP, sitting in opposition, boycotted the poll. They might or might not have won a fair election, had they contested. In either case, they convinced a majority of Bangladeshis that the election would be unfair without a caretaker to supervise it. For the 20 million-odd voters who showed up (out of 92 million eligible) the choice was even more limited than usual: The only candidates were either in the ruling party or beholden to it. In the majority of seats, no voting took place at all. There is a big difference between two lousy candidates and just one. Nor was the boycott the only problem. Before the polling, the government had put Khaleda under house arrest. Ershad was held at a hospital. The next-biggest party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, had been banned from taking part on the ground that its overtly Islamic charter is in breach of Bangladesh’s secular constitution. On the world stage, Hasina has joined a short list of leaders who have been elected technically but without an electoral mandate. Like the rest, she has silenced critics in the media, captured the courts, and ensured that only her supporters are entitled to a fair hearing. Her government has branded the opposition, the BNP and its Islamist allies, as “terrorists.” Among the first to congratulate her were China, Russia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Belarus. But India has also sent its best wishes, favouring Hasina. America has called for fresh and credible polls within six months. The EU is less impatient. But it is wishful thinking anyway, and everybody knows it. Foreign powers are loath to cut foreign aid, or the trade that underpins the country’s booming

intended by the artist. Then there was of course the work of Shazia Sikander. I, along with a roomful of people, sat entranced through the showing of this vast multi-screen projection. The complexity and beauty of the forms, the naturalness with which the spectacle unfolds despite its elements being clearly arbitrary, the odd juxtapositions which somehow make sense, all these combined to make this a major work.

the domain of art. I was among the probably 99% of people whose first thought was that Rashid Rana’s large empty room was pretentious nonsense, and the verbiage about the work in the catalogue only reinforced such an impression. Rashid Rana’s empty room resembles nothing so much as a dull corporate office of some kind. Could this mean then that the artist’s work is like a lament for the way in which the


A new deal?


n Sajib Arman here are politically-motivated doomsayers, not to mention a section of our self-serving civil society, determined to look at the glass half empty and condemn the powers-that-be. They find every opportunity to condemn the government, but remain dubiously silent when it comes to its positive successes and achievements. There are three recent news items worth noting that will hopefully set the tone for the next five years, and have far-reaching implications in our governance. First, the prime minister is reorganising her office, inducting people with experience and clean images to avoid controversies and expedite development activities. She has dropped a few senior officials and is likely to replace them with those known for clean track records and competence.  Second, the police arrested a leader of the Rajshahi University Chhatra League on February 5 in connection with the violence on February 2. The Home Ministry earlier ordered the police to arrest those responsible for attacks on students.  Third, RAB arrested Saidur Rahman Shahid alias Shahid Commissioner, a notorious criminal in Dhaka who identified himself as either an Awami League or Jatiya Party supporter. His group was involved in criminal activi-

ties, including murder, and extortion. I don’t know about you, but I see change. I see reforms by a government conscious that its credibility and survival will ultimately depend on its performance. The people are willing to give the benefit of the doubt, but want to see results in return: A visible change in the style of governance we have seen for the last two decades to ensure greater transparency, accountability, and development.

governing party, including former ministers, for the dramatic increase in their wealth, allegedly by corruption. An arrest warrant was issued against a top leader of the AL in Chittagong. The PM and the Home Ministry have ensured AL student activists involved in Rajshahi violence are arrested to be brought to justice. Top criminals are being arrested, notwithstanding their political affiliations.

I see reforms by a government conscious that its credibility and survival will ultimately depend on its performance

The people hope to see better service delivery through honesty and efficiency more than anything else. Let us not forget that elections are not an end itself, but the means to an end. It is too early to say whether the government of the day can deliver such a tall order, but there is reason to be hopeful if morning shows the day. In the first month, the PM warned her colleagues that there would be zero tolerance to corruption. The Anti Corruption Commission is investigating top leaders of the

These are undoubtedly positive steps, sending a strong and decisive message that there would be no protection to those involved in corruption and violence by a government determined to keep its popularity ratings high. Let us rise above our political bias to be impartial and objective, appreciating the government’s positive steps. If we remain silent for opportunistic and partisan reasons, will there be any incentive for this government (or for that matter any government) to continue undertaking people-oriented reforms?

It is evident from the news items above that there is at least an effort for qualitative change in the style of governance for the better. Given the social and economic dynamics of our country, it is perhaps unrealistic that we will be able to wipe out corruption and violence entirely in the short-run, but the government must demonstrate the political will to crack down on the perpetrators irrespective of their political identity. The people are willing to give the newly elected government a chance, recognising that fully participatory elections do not necessarily guarantee any significant improvement in governance. And so far, the government has been highly responsive to public opinion. To me, this is a significant positive development for Bangladesh – our New Deal, indeed. They have not only sent a clear message that there will be no impunity for corruption and violence, but have also undertaken six mega projects in the very first cabinet meeting that will change the face of the country. If this trend of development and accountability continues, nothing could be a better deal for the nation. “Egiye jacche Bangladesh” (Bangladesh marching forward) can be a reality when our leaders (as well as civil society) put the nation over political expediency and personal interest. Let us keep our fingers crossed. l

garment sector. The UN does not want to risk losing access to Bangladesh’s bountiful blue-helmeted peacekeepers. The only thing that could bring real pressure to the ruling elite – a ban on their travel privileges – is no more likely than fresh elections. Bringing the leaders to the negotiating table looks even trickier than forging peace with the Taliban. In Afghanistan, the late Richard Holbrooke was said to have drawn Venn diagrams to illustrate how much the opposing sides had in common.

The sets of its Venn diagram are mutually exclusive. The only thing both sides want is for the other not to rule

On his way to China, Nixon asked, “What do they want, what do we want, what do we both want?” The problem in Bangladesh is that the sets of its Venn diagram are mutually exclusive. The only thing both sides want is for the other not to rule. It would not be fair to pin all the blame on Hasina. Khaleda chose the road that undid her. While the Western powers and 80% of Bangladesh’s population agreed that Zia should have the fair elections she was demanding, she went further and set the course for deadly street violence and crippling hartals. The BNP is now in disarray, and has no better option than to wait out Hasina’s new government, hoping they bring about their own downfall. If voting were fair and mandatory, the AL would probably win every time. But it enjoys a popularity that does not always translate into turnout, much like the Democrats in America. And the next time Bangladeshis pick their government, the AL will almost certainly lose. It is now setting the standards by which it will be treated when the BNP come back to power. In 2013, 500 or so people were killed in political clashes, one of the most violent years since independence. Bangladesh is uniquely imperiled by climate change. One half of its 160 million citizens live on a delta close to sea level. By the middle of the century, it will be home to as many people as live in Brazil today. It would be a miracle if its battling, small-minded politicians were to adopt policies capable of bringing the population to live together, in peace, behind the dykes – that are yet to be built. l Tom Felix Joehnk writes for The Economist. This article was first published in East Asia Forum.

Beyond the canvas n Sal Imam


o, another edition of the Dhaka Art Summit comes to a close, and we are once again overwhelmed by the visual treasures that were on display over the three days. I can’t begin to explain, on behalf of everybody, how grateful we are for the efforts of Diana Campbell’s team, led by Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani, which successfully carried out this massive operation with such precision, and all for no reason other than to give us a feeling of the trends which permeate today’s international art scene. Just as our cricket Test team can never improve unless it continues to play Test cricket with the leading teams, our artists also need to be in constant, challenging interplay with all the modern currents in the realm of arts plastiques, as the French put it, so as to learn from, and in turn enrich, global artistic output. And it seems this cross-fertilisation process is already at work. As I was told by Deepak Ananth (who curated with great sensitivity the Exhibition of Emerging Bangladeshi and Contemporary Art), there is a difference of “night and day” in the works of Bangladeshi artists since the first edition of the Art Summit two years ago. However the object of an art

extravaganza is to engage with the works on show, and it is in this spirit that I would like to set out some of my personal likes and dislikes. The most striking thing about the show was the vastly increased number of artworks which went beyond the boundaries of the classic canvas-ina-frame. It seems that artists of the whole South Asian region have taken on, with a will, the possibilities granted to them to let their imaginations roam out of the box. From video or dynamic performance, to sculptured objects or multi-modal assaults, we were spared of nothing. The trouble though, is that this level of unlimited degrees of freedom comes with an in-built tradeoff, namely that any mediocrity in the artist’s imagination is all the more severely punished. Thus, blurred photographs of people walking in the streets of a city is a theme (amazingly, encountered on no less than four separate occasions in the show) which represents so weak an artistic conception that these photographs get summarily brushed off the eyes of the onlooker. As a counter-example, let us take almost the very first piece on Level 1, by Mithu Sen. It is an unusual book, almost five times thicker in terms of pages than normal, with a sensuous

red cover, and golden edges which shine under dramatic lighting. Then one looks at the title of the piece: “Poems Declined.” The gentle humour shines like the golden edges. I like this kind of unity of the thought and its execution. A still greater unification of thought and execution was the work which Tayeba Begum Lipi showed at the 2012 Dhaka Art Summit, the bed made of gleaming stainless steel blades with the chilling title “Love Bed,” which subsequently made its way to international fame. I hope it is not too harsh of me to point out that her offerings at this Summit, using the very same stainless steel blades but this time to make objects such as a paan-daan and a glamorous handbag, veered off a bit into gimmickry and did not do justice to her talent. There were other successful installation pieces in which all the elements worked together. The giant grenade adorned with white roses presented by Promotesh Das Pulak. The large hanging banner with writing in black, which writing turns out on second look to be made up of our good old Bangladeshi crows. The baskets of Rana Begum, best viewed with sunlight streaming through the crevices, which together form a really cosy warm space within, exactly as

It seems that artists of the whole South Asian region have taken on the possibilities granted to them to let their imaginations roam out of the box

Another startling video work was “Birth of Brainfly” by Nandita Kumar in which the soundtrack played an even more important role. There is always a danger in such works of crossing that exquisite line which separates design from art, but I think that in both these cases that line was finally not crossed and we remained in

modern world has managed to desacralise everything, even that which is most not deserving of such desacralisation? As far as I am concerned, this is the story, or at least a story, of Rashid Rana’s “Large Empty Room” whether the artist intended it exactly that way or not, and that is its real merit, that it

permits alternative answers. Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the works of the upcoming younger generation of Bangladeshi artists: Ayesha Sultana, Naeem Mohaiemen, Biswajit Goswami, Ronni Ahmed, Shumon Ahmed, and a number of others. They seem to have truly embraced the wide-open experimental spirit which is the defining feature of 21st century art, and their early works to date give real promise that they could become founts of world originality in time. Just one word of caution to them not to be totally swept away by the winds emanating from the metropolitan regions of the world, some of which, like notions of minimalist pointlessness, may need to be resisted with ideas nurtured in our own Bangladeshi environment, ideas which, I am convinced, retain at base a nurturing and sustaining force. Above all, may they remember that an artist is judged on the depth of his or her work, and the irresistible energy emanating from it. l Sal Imam has an art gallery at Radius Centre, which is currently housing an exceptional exhibition based around works originally presented at the Dhaka Art Summit by Saidul Haque Juise, Uttam Kumar Roy and Biswajit Goswami.




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jon, Tahsan and Elita appear in Closeup Kachhe Ashar Golpo-2 n Entertainment Desk Popular singers Tahsan, Jon and Elita will be seen in three different love stories compiled in a single-episode play titled Closeup Kache Ashar Golpo-2. How lovers win barriers to come closer to their special ones is the key theme of the TV play especially made to inspire young hearts in love. It will be exclusively aired on this Valentine’s Day on BanglaVision at


8:45pm. The play is an outcome of a competition by Closeup which included common people to share their own love stories. Through TV, radio and press ads, everyone was encouraged to share their own stories and participate in the competition. There was a huge response from all the romantic individuals from all over the country. The three selected stories are Otopor… starring Jon and Aparna,

Kothabondhu Mithila starring Tahsan & Agnila and Why So Serious? starring Abir and Elita. And the writers of their unique stories Anisul Haque Sagor, Md Sakawat Hossain and Khandakar Noushadur Rahman have worked with renowned directors and celebrities to bring the stories to silver screen. Shafayet Mansoor Rana, Masud Hasan Ujjal and Ashfaque Nipun are the directors of the play. l

Lobhe Paap Paap-e Mrityu

Four films hit cinemas this Valentine’s Day n Afrose Jahan Chaity A total of four films are going to hit the cinemas across the country on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. Dhallywood gears up to release Iftakar Chowdhury’s Agnee, Samia Zaman’s Akash Koto Dure, Shohanur Rahman Shohan’s Lobhe Paap Paap-e Mrityu and Jadu Azad’s Prem Ki Oporadh. Agnee, the most awaited action-thriller film of this year has already created a buzz through its trailer. It is rare for any Dhallywood movie to catch the attention of web browsers, who are usually busy with viewing stunning videos from Hollywood, Bollyood and others. When the 3-minute trailer of Agnee went viral on Face-

book and Youtube, it crossed 1 million hits on Facebook. The big-budget film produced by Jaaz Multimedia stars Mahiya Mahi and Arefin Shuvo. The film will be screened in 80 cinemas across the country. The industry’s most wanted duo Riaz-Purnima will cast a spell on the audience with their magical chemistry in the romantic film directed by Shohanur Rahman Shohan, titled Lobhe Paap Paap-e Mrityu. The Dhallywood fans are eagerly waiting to watch the on-screen chemistry of the dynamic duo once again. The film will be screened around 70 cinemas across the country. According to the director, it is a romantic-action film. Samia Zaman’s Akash Koto Dure is

being released at Balaka Cineworld, Bashundhara Star Cineplex and Jamuna Blockbuster. The film features both veteran and debut actors. Rajjak is a prominent actor and had a significant role to play in the film while Mostafa and Fariya, both are two new faces in the film industry to debut on the silver screen. Prem Ki Oporadh is another typical commercial film. But the attractive aspect of the film is its debutant actor Hridoy Khan, who has already won the hearts of the audience through his skills as a singer. Along with Hridoy, the lead female actor of the film is also a debutant, Priyanka Shadin. The film will be released in 50 cinemas. l


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, Level 8 Bashundhara City Panthapath

Film Festival

Time: 3pm – 7pm National Art Gallery Auditorium, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Shegun Bagicha


Celebrated Violence Time: 3pm – 8pm Dhaka Art Center (DAC) House-60 Road-7A Dhanmondi R/A A Life Like that of a Dragonfly By Sanjib Datta Time: 12pm – 8pm Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts House 42, Road 16 (New) / 27 (old) Dhanmondi Duet Art Exhibition

A television drama titled Lal Kham Bonam Nil Kham will air on Valentine’s Day at 8:15pm on NTV. The drama is written and directed by Mostafa Kamal Raj and features popular actors including Chanchal Chowdhury, Agnila, Sohel Khan and Tasnuva Tisha in the lead roles. The drama is set in the backdrop of 1980s. A rural girl played by Agnila lives with her grandfather, who is the chairman of the village. She is the doting granddaughter of the old man and for her wellbeing and learning,

he hires a lodging master played by Chanchal Chowdhury. At first there was little chemistry between the two. But, Agnila falls for the lodging master and faces rejection. In her determination to win his affection, Agnila keeps up her campaign to make Chanchal fall for her. Finally he caves in and they get involved. Chanchal approaches the chairman for his approval to marry his grandchild. At first the old man reacts negatively, but on seeing their love, he consents. On the wedding day, Chanchal disappears, leaving just a letter behind. l

MOVIE 7:20pmZee Studio The Grudge 3

9:30pmWB xXx

DRAMA 5:30pm Star Plus

Diya Aur Bati Hum

8:45pm Star Movies The Sixth Sense

COMEDY 10:30pm Comedy Central


Two And A Half men

World’s Craziest Fools

9:00pm Star World

Theatre Festival Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm TSC Auditorium, Dhaka University Meraj Fokirer Ma By Theatre Baily Road Time: 7pm – 9pm Experimental Theatre Hall Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy

Anushka Sharma denies lip job Anushka Sharma has surely had more than her share of limelight in the past few days. The Jab Tak Hai Jaan actress, who has been at the receiving end of much criticism due to her apparent “lip job,” finally released a statement denying the rumours saying she is just using “lip enhanching tools.” Anushka Sharma, who recently appeared on the controversial chat show Koffee with Karan along with filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, took to social networking site Twitter, saying that though she is a very private person and felt it necessary to release a statement about her much talked-about lips, owing to the “scary direction” that the story has taken. Anushka’s Twitter post on Monday begins: “Hellooooo everyone !! Today I am here to talk about my lips !! Yes ! There ! I said it .. My lips !” “Lately there has been a LOT of talk about me in this particular episode of Koffee with Karan. Mainly regarding my lips. I am here to just convey what I have to say regarding the same. I am talking about it only because this story has taken a scary direction and things have been ‘blown out of proportion’ ( pun intended ;) ),” she says. She also wrote: “For a short while now I have been using a temporary lip enhancing tool and that along with make-up techniques

n Entertainment Desk


By Hashem Khan and Mohammad Iqbal Time: 12pm – 8pm Gallery Twenty One, Taj Lily 751 Satmasjid Road (level 11), Dhanmondi

Rabindranath Tagore’s Dak Ghor by Theatre ULAB was staged in an event Tumi Robe Nirobe: In Remembrance of Khaled Khan. The programme was organised by University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) on February 9 at its campus auditorium. Additionally, ULAB’s Shangskriti Shangshad also paid their tribute to the late actor at the event

n Entertainment Desk

Agnila wins Chanchal’s heart on Valentine’s Day

(I have learnt over the years) is the reason why there might be a change in the appearance of my lips. Having stated this fact let me very vehemently assure everyone that I have by no means gone ‘under the knife ‘ or done any kind of ‘plastic surgery’ or undergone any intrusive procedure. This was my decision and was done for the sake of my look in my upcoming film Bombay Velvet, a period drama where I play a jazz singer in the 1960s—70s.” l

MISC 12:00pm Discovery Factory Made

8:30pm AXN

The Amazing Race

Chanchal and Agnila in Lal Kham Bonam Nil Kham

Theatrecanfund celebrates 5th anniversary n Entertainment Desk

Theatrecanfund (Theatre for cancer foundation), the sister concern of Natuke Theatre Group is celebrating their fifth birth anniversary today through the staging of Thakur Ghore Ke Re. The play will be showcased at the Studio Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy at 7pm. The story is an adaptation of Marc Camoletti’s Don’t Dress for Dinner, translated and directed by AL Noman. The plot centers on Samuel and Jacqueline, a not-so-happily married couple. Both of them are involved in extramarital affairs. As Jacqueline prepares to go out of town to visit her mother for the weekend, Samuel invites his girlfriend Suzanne, along with his best friend Patrick. What he does not know is that, Patrick is Jacqueline’s lover.

He hires a chef, Suzette, to cater for the evening. When Jacqueline discovers that Patrick is coming to town, she cancels her trip, causing her husband to panic. When Patrick arrives, Samuel asks him to pretend act as Suzanne’s boyfriend. Patrick mistakes the chef Suzette as Suzanne. The resulting dinner turns into a hilarious yet complicated and slapstick comedy. The director Al Noman said: “I have focused on each character to uphold the features of human nature and behaviours. Since everyone is playing a hidden game with one another, I made changes at the end. I compared human behaviour with wild animals. The drama has been designed on a western concept, it was my attempt to stage the production to relate with the audience.” l

Musical show at American Standard International School

n Entertainment Desk American Standard International School in Baridhara hosted a Western Classical Music Night on Saturday at its campus. The performers included a trio of local and international artists—Lena Olausson on flute, Saad Chowdhury on piano and Towfiq Lena Olausson performs at the Murshed Khan on cello. programme Lena Olausson is a celebrated artiste from Kungälv, Sweden. Saad Chowdhury is a British-Bangladeshi pianist and musician based in Dhaka. Towfiq is a student of American Standard International School who has done diploma in music from the Malaysian Institute of Art. The show was attended by First Secretary and Consul Mohd Noordin Lomondot and his wife along with other diplomats from the Philippine Embassy, Korean Embassy and Russian Embassy, among others. l

Game of Thrones season 4 preview released n Entertainment Desk

Great news for Game of Thrones fans, prepare yourself for the “over the top” preview of season 4, where the dragons get bigger and the story takes more unexpected turns. HBO finally released their highly anticipated season four preview, which highlights the series’ most monumental moments and teases what’s coming us for your favorite Westereos residents. Complete with candid commentary from the cast, Game of Thrones Ice and Fire: A Foreshadowing, gives fans a spoiler-filled first look at some of season four’s biggest moments. “There is tremendous clamor for revenge, especially in the wake of the Red Wedding,” executive producer David Benioff explains.

“Some of the most shocking and mind-blowing scenes of the entire series come at the end of this coming season. Some very bloody confrontations.” Star Peter Dinklage promises that the newest season will focus on the revenge and retribution that so many fans are looking for following season three’s shocking endings. “I know how important the Red Wedding is to so many fans of the show and the books, but we pick up the pieces and top it in many ways.”

And now onto one of the most important and amazing aspects of the series: Daenerys’ dragons. “When the dragons were first born they were adorable little babies and completely devoted to their mother and couldn’t even eat without her.” Benioff says, “With each season they grow and each season they become a little bit more dangerous. And they’re at the point where they’re not babies anymore.” Game of Thrones’ fourth season will premiere April 6 at 9pm on HBO. l

Did you know? QPR’s starting eleven on Monday had more Premier League experience (2,203 games) than 18 of the 20 EPL sides this weekend


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

0 3 2

14 Arsenal, United


seek solace in Emirates

Top versus bottom When the number one side in the T20 format face against the number ten there must be no debate in terms of results but as they say cricket is a funny game. Bangladesh are capable in the shortest format of the game and the home side will be eyeing a big scalp when they face Sri Lanka in the first of the two match T20 series at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium today. However the recent issue regarding Tamim Iqbal’s resignation from the vice captaincy has cast a cloud over the Bangladesh camp and it will be a test of character as the home side also go into the game without their regular captain Mushfiqur Rahim due to injury.  ZACS will host its first ever T20 match and the wicket will offer runs for the batting side. Arafat Sunny the left arm spinner and Mithun Ali the wicketkeeper-batsman replacing skipper Mushfiq are likely to make their T20 debuts.  Arafat Sunny who has been successful in the domestic circuit for some time has T20 experience in the Bangladesh premier League and will be a player to watch.Mithun Ali has the ability to score quick runs along with keeping wicketand has performed admirably in recent domestic tournaments.  Bangladesh have not been very successful in the shortest form of the game and will be looking to utilize the series for the upcoming World T20 competition.

Chandimal balanced ahead of T20s Dinesh Chandimal, the captain of the Sri Lankan T20 side, said yesterday that his top ranked side going up against bottom placed Bangladesh would be good practice for the visitors for the World T20, many of the matches of which would take place at the same Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, but added that he was not taking Bangladesh lightly. “It is a really good opportunity for us before the World Cup, we have two more games. We are playing in the World Cup venue, so we are looking forward to take advantage. We are trying to keep our No 1 ranking “We never underestimate Bangladesh, especially in the shorter format. I think they have good quality batters and bowlers like Shakib and Tamim. We never underestimate their team. We are looking forward to winning the series,” said Chandimal. The 24-year old skipper went on, “We have only two games. We don’t want to do some experiment, not enough time to do that. We want to have our best team on the field.” Chandimal was also aware of the benefits the youngsters in his side would reap from playing alongside veterans like former captains Mahlea Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan. “There’s a lot of experience in this team. We have three former captains so there are a lot of good ideas. I really enjoy that as a captain. They always give me good ideas. That helps me as a young captain. They work very hard in the training. I am learning every day from them. As a youngster it is a great opportunity as a captain,” he said. Having struck a hundred in the second Test, Chandimal felt uplifted personally. “The 100 helped me get some confidence. I am looking forward to do good things in the Twenty20 series, ODIs, Asia Cup and World Cup. I am looking to keep my form,” he said. The young captain went on to express confidence in the abilities of Ajantha Mendis, who proved to be penetrative in the recently concluded second Test, “He is a match-winning player. Mendis is a world-class bowler, he can change the game any time. I am hopeful he will do good things in these two games.” l


Bangladesh Tamim Iqbal, Shamsur Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan ,Mominul Haque, Mithun Ali (wk), Nasir Hossain, Mahmudullah/Sabbir Rahman, Farhad Reza, Sohag Gazi, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt),  Arafat Sunny Sri Lanka Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal (capt & wk), Angelo Mathews, Seekuge Prasanna, Angelo Perera, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachitra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga

this format of the game while skipper Mashrafe Mortaza will lead the bowling attack for the home side. However Mashrafe is yet to deliver when it comes to bowling at the death. Off spinner Sohag Gazi, Shakib al Hasan and Arafat Sunny will have to take the responsibility along with Farhad Reza who is set to make a comeback to the national side after his recent domestic performances. Mominul Haque will hold the responsibility in the middle order with

Shakib and Nasir Hossain while the team management may go for Mahmudullah or new comer Sabbir Rahman who is a handy batsman who also bowls leg spin. While Mithun Ali will be keeping wicket and batting in the middle order if Tamim does not play because of his neck injury Anamul Haque will get the opportunity to open the innings with Shamsur.  So far the home side will be heading into the game with only one fast bowler in the line up with Mashrafe. Al Amin’s chances of playing appear slim as Bangladesh will be heavily relying on their all rounders when they come out today.  Meanwhile Sri Lanka received a last minute blow as Mahela Jayawardene injured the webbing between his third and fourth finger while taking a high catch at practice and hee was rushed to the Metropolitan Hospital where they gave him stitches. This is the same area where he split the webbing while trying to grab a low chance in the slips in the first innings of the Dubai Test against Pakistan last month. The visiting side will retain their number one position if they manage to win the series 2-0 however if they lose the series by same margin they will lose their number one spot to India. Sri Lanka has a nice mixture of youth and experience with young opener Kusal Perera will open the innings with experienced Dilshan while Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews will hold the ship in the middle order while fast bowler Lasith Malinga will be leading the bowling attack for the visitors. l

Tamim Iqbal (L) and Arafat Sunny share a light moment during their practice at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesteraday COURTESY

Mashrafe bin Mortaza believes the Bangladeshi players have developed their skills through a good domestic season while the international tournaments also helped them grow in recent times. The captain for the twomatch Twenty20 series against the world No 1 ranked T20 side Sri Lanka, Mashrafe said they can upset their opponents today if they play to their strengths.   “Obviously they (Sri Lanka) are number one in T20s and last few tournaments they have played well, at the same time we are passing a stage. A few days ago we didn’t play T20 that well but we had a few good home tournaments and at the same time we performed in the international arena. We are becoming a good team. “Unfortunately because of the injuries some players can’t play but T20 is such a game, that the one who plays well on the field has more chances of winning. If we can put our best tomorrow (today) then we can, play a good match,” said Mashrafe, ahead of their first T20 match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, yesterday.

Bangladesh slowly climbed the ranks in the 50-0ver format and made a name for them, and Mashrafe thinks they are passing a similar stage in the T20s and more games will help them grow faster.   “When a team is weak in any area spot, they work harder on that aspect and that’s what we are doing. It’s a process. For instance, in one-day cricket there was a time when we couldn’t finish matches and now we play very well and can finish them. In T20 we are going through such a phase, the only way we can get out of this process is by playing more competitive matches. Before the World Cup, this series will be a good practice for us,” he said.   Bangladesh plays very few T20Is and they last played in Zimbabwe last year. However, despite missing few big names in the squad this time Mashrafe believes the new faces – Arafat Sunny, Mithun Ali, Sabbir Rahman – deserved their place and are well capable of performing in the big stage.   “A few players got injured that’s why there have been replacements. At the same time, those players played well at home T20 tournament, so they have the experience and it will be a good practice before the World Cup. I

Mashrafe relies on team spirit

Munna’s death anniversary Today is the 9th death anniversary of the legendary footballer and former national captain Mohammad Monem Munna. Munna, one of the greatest defenders the country has ever produced, died of kidney complications in 2005 this day at the age of 39. Munna’s surviving family, his wellwishers and teammates have been remembering the legendary centreback on his death anniversaries at his home Narayanganj every year. This time, Narayanganj District Sports Association (DSA), in cooperation with Monem Munna Smriti Sangsad, also took the initiative to pay tributes to the legend with organising commemorative meeting at the Narayanganj Osmani Municipality Stadium today. Yasmin Monem Surovi, the widow of late Munna, his son and daughter Azman Salid and Yusra Monem Dania are expected to attend the meeting. “We want to move forward keeping the memory of Monem Munna in our

heart. That is why we are organizing the event,” said AZM Ismail Babul, vice president of Narayanganj DSA. Sonali Otit Club and Monem Munna Smriti Sangsad will also organize a milad and provide food to the poor people at the Alauddin Khan Stadium. Munna started his career with Pioneer Division club Gulistan Club in 1981. After playing for Muktijoddha and Brothers Union, the star centreback joined Abahani Limited in 1987 where he spent the rest of his career till 1997. Munna earned the Sky Blues premier division league titles both as captain and as manager. At the age of only 18, Munna was picked for the national team for the first time in the Seoul Asian Games in 1986 and led the national team defense line for 11 years. Bangladesh achieved their first-ever international triumph under his captaincy in the 4-nation Grand Royal Challenge Cup in Myanmar in 1995. Munna also played for Kolkata giants East Bengal Club in the years 1991-92 where they emerged champions. l


15 South Africa

happy with favourites tag

‘We are united as a team’

Mahela uncertain in first T20, Arafat and Mithun likely debutants Though there are concerns over the dashing opener Tamim Iqbal who is suffering from neck strain a final decision is likely to be made in the morning.However it is still yet to be confirmed that Shamsur Rahman will be his partner when Bangladesh start their innings.   Shakib al Hasan will have to play a vital role in the Bangladesh line up both with bat and ball as the left hander is the most experienced cricketer in


believe that the team is really good,” said Mashrafe. However, the stand-in Bangladesh captain was still uncertain of whether he will have Tamim Iqbal in the playing XI today as the left-handed opener is suffering from a neck strain.  “We haven’t spoken anything about this, but I believe that after practice today (yesterday) everything will be finalised. Tamim’s issue is still under the physio. The physio will see what’s up with him and then a final decision will be taken,” he informed.   The Chittagong venue has always been considered as a lucky ground for the home side and today’s match will be the first T20 played there. However, despite having full support from the crowd Mashrafe insisted that it will be the nerves during pressure situations that will decide the match.   He was also well aware of the Sri Lankan spearhead Lasith Malinga and said, “Obviously Malinga is one of the best bowlers of the world in T20 cricket. We have a plan against him. Particularly our batsmen have planned how to handle him. Hopefully we will be successful. If we think about him too much it will only be a negative impact,” said the Narail Express. l

Bangladesh’s stand-in Twenty20 captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza has finally spoken to the media after a 48-hour media embargo on the players ended yesterday. The veteran fast bowler, who had earlier carried the responsibility in different stint, said the team is not concerned about the off field issues and they are concentrating on the upcoming matches. After an impressive draw in the second Test the atmosphere in the Tigers camp was expected to be on a high, but the announcement of Mashrafe as the T20 captain rather made the air around the dressing room heavy. Regular skipper Mushfiqur Rahim suffered from a hairline fracture on his left hand little finger during the second Test and he was kept out of the T20 squad against Sri Lanka keeping in mind the wicketkeeper-batsman’s importance for the upcoming home matches. As the system goes the vice-captain is suppose to take the place but however, Bangladesh Cricket Board named Mashrafe as the captain. Tamim Iqbal, who was recently handed the deputy job, later said he wants to leave the vice-captaincy role and concentrate on his batting. “Honestly speaking I didn’t have to speak with him (Tamim) separately, because he is a very professional cricketer and he has played all around the world. He knows the process very well,” said Mashrafe at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday. “It’s only natural for it to be spoken of outside but amongst us we didn’t face any friction. And because I have been given the duty, I feel that it is my duty and at the same time, Tamim and other senior players are helping me and everything is happening in a professional manner. “I want to tell all the fans of Bangladesh that we haven’t been concerned at all regarding this issue. We are united as a team and we are focused completely on the match tomorrow (today). There is no problem at all,” said Mashrafe. The 30-year-old said there has been no influence from any corner over the team selection and explained the reason behind restricting the media access is mainly because they have “plenty of young players in the side.” “There are few players who don’t have the previous experience in international cricket and the ban from talking to media is was mainly because they could concentrate more on practice,” he said. Mashrafe reflected on the absence of Mushfiq as a heavy loss for the team but at the same time also insisted that they have performed well without key players earlier and it should not be a big problem. “Firstly, Mushfiq was our key player and as a captain he has been leading from the front, losing such a key player is not good. At the same time at that point of time captaincy was not announced and our focus was to play as a team. Even before this when key players didn’t play we performed well.” l

Jamal cruise to IFA Shield final Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd continued their fairy tale run in the IFA Shield as the Dhaka powerhouse stormed into the final by overpowering Kolkata giants East Bengal 3-0 in the first semi-final at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Salt Lake yesterday. The success can be dubbed as the finest in the last nine years because after losing the Saff final to India 2-0 at Karachi, Bangladesh football has struggled to carve any success at the club or international level. Jamal will be the second Bangladesh club to feature in the final of the IFA Shield, the fourth oldest football tournament of world, after Dhaka Mohammedan lost in the 1995 final against East Bengal in a shootout after the stipulated time ended 1-1. Jamal earlier had won titles in Nepal in the Budha Subbha Gold Cup in 2000 and the Safal Pokhara Gold Cup in 2011. No doubt, if they win the IFA Shield on February 15 against Kolkata Mohammedan it would be the finest achievement of the Dhanmondi based club.

Jamal’s win over another Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan in the last group match maybe was favoured by luck and it was a solitary goal win but yesterday Jamal was visibly the better outfit on the pitch. The defence, dubbed as a weak point, was compact and hardly provided any space to East Bengal’s forward James Saeed Moga. Under the woodwork Himel, who replaced first choice Zia, was also efficient. With the defence doing a good job, the midfield led by charismatic Mamunul Islam and hardworking SohelRana stepped up to provide sufficient resources to the three pronged attack of Haitian Sony Norde, his compatriot Wedson and Nigerian Emeka Darlington, Jamal proved to be too hot to handle for the team that has won the IFA Shield 20 times. It was also leant that East Bengal had never before lost the shield semis by a 3-0 margin. Sony Norde again produced a brilliant show with his controlled footwork and vision and left the opponent defence clueless on a number of occasions. However Wedson also showed good pace in the right flank.

Jamal took the lead in the 22nd minute when Wedson ran down the right flank and cut a neat cross in the middle of box, Emeka’s glancing header beat East Bengal goalie Gurpreet at the near post. The lead was doubled by Sony Norde who showed his cool temperament in the 36th minute. Playing a one-two, Sony was perfectly provided with a precise chip by Emeka and Sony produced superb footwork to put the ball into the far post net via the sidepost. The fate of the match was sealed in the 67th minute when Wedson sneaked through the East Bengal defence with a solo effort and his shot deflected off the foot off defenderRaju past a diving Gurpreet. East Bengal’s notable attacks were in 32nd minute when Dika’s 20 yard shot went straight to goalkeeper Himel, Khabrain the 55th minute was well dealt by a diving Himel, defender Nasir dispossessed Nigerian forward Chidi at the top of the six yard box in the 66th minute and Arnab’s header off a Dika corner hit the top of the side post in the 74th minute. l



Ribery misses Arsenal clash Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery will miss next week’s Champions League clash at Arsenal after undergoing surgery on bruised buttocks. The France international was confirmed an absentee for the last 16 first leg game at the Emirates Stadium in a statement on the German champion’s website on Monday. “Ribery will miss upcoming matches, notably the last 16 Champions League game against Arsenal in London,” it read. Ribery, 30, who had the operation last Thursday, is “on the mend” the statement added, and will resume training next week. –AFP


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Neymar back in training Barcelona forward Neymar has trained with the squad for the first time since injuring his ankle last month and is close to a return to action, the club said on Monday. The Brazil international damaged tendons in a King’s Cup tie against Getafe on Jan. 16, the latest setback for the 22-year-old who had not started a match since Christmas due to lack of fitness and a stomach bug. “Neymar Jr has taken one more step in his recovery and had his first training session with the team on Monday morning,” La Liga leaders Barca said on their website ( –Reuters

Arsenal fan kills Liverpool supporter An Arsenal fan in Kenya stabbed a Liverpool supporter to death on Saturday while they were watching on television as the Merseyside club beat the Londoners 5-1 in the Premier League, said a local police chief. Tom Odera, police chief in the north eastern region of Meru, said “the assailant and the deceased had a bitter argument over the match”. “The assailant, David Mwangi, drew out a knife and stabbed Anthony Mutethia,” Odera told Reuters by telephone on Monday. –Reuters

Monaco prepare for Cup derby Fresh from holding Paris Saint-Germain in the league at the weekend, Monaco make the short trip to Cote d’Azur rivals Nice in the last 16 of the French Cup on Wednesday. Claudio Ranieri’s side are not yet out of the Ligue 1 title race after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with PSG on Sunday, a result which left them five points off top spot. And they are arguably the favourites to lift the Cup for the first time since 1991 following PSG’s surprise exit to Montpellier in the last round. The principality club, who are unbeaten in 2014, will travel along the Mediterranean coast to face Nice at the Allianz Riviera stadium, where they won 3-0 on league duty in December. However, Ranieri will rotate his squad, with Argentine international Sergio Romero again set for a run-out in goal at the expense of Danijel Subasic and numerous other alterations likely, including a possible first start for January signing Dimitar Berbatov. “The French Cup is not our objective,” admitted the Italian. “Our objective is to qualify for the Champions League. But I play to win so I want us to qualify. “It will be very difficult in Nice. We must forget about our 3-0 win there in the league. If we think this game will be identical, then we have already lost.” l

Violence stains Brazil’s love affair with football

An artist carries an effigy of Russian President Vladimir Putin near representations of football players Argentina's Lionel Messi and Brazil's Neymar, during preparations for the Jewish festivities of Purim in the Israeli central town of Jaljulia on Monday. The carnival-like Purim holiday starts on March 16, with parades and costume parties to commemorate the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to exterminate them in the ancient Persian Empire 2,500 years ago, as described in the Book of Esther AFP

Arsenal, United seek solace Both reeling from embarrassing weekend results in the Premier League, Arsenal and Manchester United will each be determined to restore credibility when they meet at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday. While Arsenal ceded first place to Chelsea after being blown away in a 5-1 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday, United could only record a 2-2 draw at home to Fulham, who had started the game at the foot of the table. Arsenal’s capitulation ended a run of 10 games without defeat in all competitions, but manager Arsene Wenger can at least console himself that it left his side only a point off the summit. Silver linings are not quite as easy to find for United, who trail fourth-place Liverpool by nine points and therefore

seem destined to miss out on a place in next season’s Champions League. The defending champions dominated Sunday’s game against Fulham at Old Trafford, enjoying 75 percent of possession and sending no fewer than 81 crosses into the visitors’ box. They would have prevailed had it not been for a 94th-minute equaliser scored by Fulham’s Darren Bent, but record signing Juan Mata says that his side must develop a keener cutting edge. “It seems that luck is not on our side, but I don’t like to give excuses,” the former Chelsea midfielder wrote on his personal blog on Monday. “We have to get better and improve our shooting accuracy, because we got many times to the box and could have scored more than two goals. “I’m sure we will make it, but there are less and less games to play so the sooner the better.”

Michael Carrick, who scored United’s second goal, said the result was “hard to explain”, but he warned that he and his team-mates were desperate to take their frustrations out on Arsenal.

FIXTURES Arsenal Everton Man City Newcastle Stoke City Fulham

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Man United Crystal Palace Sunderland Tottenham Swansea City Liverpool

“We’ll be ready,” said the England midfielder. “It’s one of those seasons -- setback after setback. We have to believe that with performances, things are going to change. “There’s no better place to do that than on Wednesday night at Arsenal.

We still believe we can go there and get the result we want.” United won 1-0 when the sides met at Old Trafford in November and Arsenal have occasionally fallen short against their supposed peers this season. Although they beat Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at home, they dropped points against Everton and Chelsea at the Emirates and were thrashed 6-3 away to Manchester City in mid-December. Wenger’s side currently find themselves amid a daunting run of games, with Sunday’s FA Cup tie at home to Liverpool followed by the home leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against reigning champions Bayern Munich. Midfielder Mikel Arteta has urged his side to channel the frustration from Saturday’s result at Anfield, telling his team-mates: “We have to react. l

Brazilians famously love football. But sometimes fanaticism goes overboard and violence results, as recent outbreaks of hooliganism and a fan attack on players attest. Last December saw one of the worst incidents of hooliganism in years when fans of Atletico Paraense clashed with visitors Vasco da Gama. Television footage showing fans attacking each other flashed round the world, focusing on one bloodied man being mercilessly kicked in the body and head. The December violence was all the more shocking, occurring just six months before Brazil stages the World Cup. President Dilma Rousseff reacted sternly by insisting Brazil would not tolerate such behaviour. But last weekend, Brazilian fans were in the news for all the wrong reasons once again after dozens of Corinthians supporters invaded the club’s training complex and attacked players. They threatened to break the legs of at least two players and grabbed Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero around the neck. Former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato, one of those targeted for poor recent form, promptly left the club on Wednesday to join Sao Paulo with Jadson going the other way. l

Liverpool thrashing an 'accident', says Wenger Arsenal’s season will not be defined by their thrashing at Liverpool but how they respond to the setback, starting with Wednesday’s visit of Manchester United, manager Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday. The Gunners’ previously rock-solid defence was torn to shreds on Saturday, with Liverpool blasting four goals past them in a stunning opening 20 minutes before cruising to a 5-1 victory. Arsenal surrendered their place at the top of the Premier League, slipping one point behind new front-runners Chelsea, and left many questioning whether they had the quality to last the distance in a tight battle for the championship. Wenger’s side have come in for flack for the manner of the defeat, but the Frenchman said it was simply an “accident” and to be treated as a one-off.

“It’s always a disappointment to lose a game but I think it was an accident because we have been very stable defensively and we have to treat it like that,” he told a news conference. “We’ve just come back from a tengame unbeaten run, you cannot consider one game as the trend, the pattern of our season. It’s an accident, not welcome of course, a very disappointing one, but a successful season is decided how you respond to that. “In any season you have disappointments. It’s always down to the team to respond in a very positive way, that decides the success of the team.” Wenger was reportedly furious with his players during halftime at Anfield after two goals to Martin Skrtel and one each to Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge effectively sealed the points with less than a quarter of the match completed. l

Lukaku wants Chelsea return to play Champions League Romelu Lukaku wants to return to Chelsea next season to play in the Champions League but says his future depends on what manager Jose Mourinho thinks about his ability, the striker said in an interview published on Tuesday. The Belgian international striker is on loan at Everton this season but says it is high time he played in continental competition. “I’m turning 21, I’ve been a professional for five years already. It is time,” he said in Tuesday’s edition of the Bel-

gian daily Het Laatste Nieuws. “It is high time that I play in the Champions League. It is the next step I need in my development. Full stop. “Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney were experienced already at that level when they were just 23-24 years old. I want to play Champions League football now. I must now show I’m ready for it. “I still have two years on my contract and I know Chelsea follow my development. In the end it depends on what the manager thinks about me.” Mourinho had previously said Lu-

kaku would need to publicly explain why Chelsea did not keep him but instead sent him on loan for a second successive season, after playing at West Bromwich Albion in the last campaign. Asked to provide the explanation, the striker told the newspaper: “After the season I had at West Brom (17 goals in 35 appearances), it was important that as a young player I kept developing. That means to play. “To me there is difference between playing in 20 or 45 matches a season and scoring 10 or 20 goals. Mourinho eventually understood that. l

African migrants, members of the ASD Mineo team, play against Massiminiana in the Sicilian village of Mineo January 26, 2014


Toure escapes FA charge African asylum seekers in Sicily dream of soccer glory despite Mourinho plea Jose Mourinho’s plea for Yaya Toure to be suspended fell on deaf ears as the Football association announced Monday that no disciplinary action would be taken against the Manchester City midfielder. Toure appeared to kick out at Ricky van Wolfswinkel during his side’s scoreless draw away to Norwich City last weekend that allowed Chelsea to move above Manuel Pellegrini’s men at the top of the Premier League table. Ivory Coast international Toure escaped punishment during the game

because referee Jon Moss did not see the incident. But under a new system being trialled in the Premier League this season, if an incident has not been seen by the match officials, a three-man panel of former elite referees will be asked by the FA to review it and advise what, if any, action they believe should have taken had it been witnessed at the time. That could have seen Toure on course to receive a three-match ban at a crucial stage of the title race but, as the panel failed to agree, he escaped punishment. l

Like many young men in Italy, the soccer players who put on their cleats for an afternoon match in this small Sicilian town dream of international stardom on the field. But for this group, having made it this far is already an achievement. Each member of the 25-man amateur squad ASD Mineo is African. They risked their lives to cross the sea from Libya in overcrowded boats last year, a journey that killed hundreds of others in shipwrecks, in the hope of finding political asylum. Their team - the first of its kind in Italy - was created and funded by the managers of the Mineo centre for asy-

lum seekers, one of Europe’s largest such shelters. ASD Mineo, as the team is called, is registered in the lowest category of Italy’s official football pyramid, which groups 600 divisions and in which, in theory, any team can rise to the top of the league, or Serie A. The team is on track to advance to the next division in its first season. “We can make it all the way to Serie A,” 19-year-old Musa from Gambia said after defeating another - all-white - local team 4-0 on a recent Sunday. Like his teammates, Musa declined to give his full name for fear of reprisals against family members back home as he seeks political asylum.

In this country of soccer fanatics, ASD Mineo has become a test of racial integration. Though many Sicilians criticise local, national and European authorities for failing to provide enough resources to cope with the influx of immigrants, ASD Mineo has not suffered public resentment. That’s not always the case at the national level, where racism has been a constant problem in football. Though top-flight teams include black and Muslim players, stadiums often echo with monkey chants. One of Italy’s best footballers, Mario Balotelli, a Sicilianborn son of Ghanaian immigrants who plays forward for AC Milan and Italy’s national team, has sometimes been on

the receiving end. Some argue that the problem is made worse by immigration rules which make it difficult for those whose families come from abroad to be accepted as Italians. Balotelli, for example, was not able to gain citizenship until he was 18. Italy’s first black government minister, Cecile Kyenge, has tried to introduce a law allowing anyone born on Italian soil to become a citizen. She herself has been a target of racists - likened to an orangutan and pelted with bananas in public. “Immigration is a terrible battleground for politicians,” says Maurizio Ambrosini, sociologist at the University of Milan. “But soccer can be a very effective tool in the fight against racism.” l



South Africa happy with favourites tag


School Hockey Ahmed Baowani School, Police Lines High School, Narayanganj and Fatullah Pilot School registered victories in their respective First Security Islami Bank National School Hockey matches at the Maulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium yesterday. Ahmed Baowani School defeated Motijheel Govt High School 2-0, Police Lines School thrashed Rahmatullah Model High School 12-0 and Fatullah Pilot School humiliated Harihor Para High School, Narayanganj 13-0. –Tribune Desk

Shirin draws game, retains lead Reigning champion Sharmin Sultana Shirin was held to a draw by WFM Nazrana Khan Eva in the 5th round of the Sultana Kamal 34th National Women Chess Championship-2014 at chess federation hall-room yesterday. Shirin, however, remained at the top of points table with 4.5 points at the end of the 5th round. Last-year’s runner-up WIM Shamima Akter Liza and WFM Zakia Sultana were in joint second place with 4 points. Liza beat WIM Rani Hamid and Zakia defeated Samiha Sharmin Shimmi in the fifth round. –Tribune Desk

Bellamy charged by FA over Guzman clash Craig Bellamy was charged with violent conduct by the Football Association on Monday following the Cardiff forward’s clash with Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman in last weekend’s south Wales derby. Bellamy appeared to catch de Guzman with his arm during the second half of Swansea’s 3-0 victory at their Liberty Stadium ground on Saturday. The incident was not seen by referee Andre Marriner and his linesmen, with an FA statement on Monday saying: “Cardiff City’s Craig Bellamy has been charged by the FA for violent conduct following an incident which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.” –AFP

Surrey agree KP deal Kevin Pietersen will remain with Surrey for the 2014 season, the English county announced Monday. England controversially called time on star batsman Pietersen’s international career last week after he was omitted for reasons of team morale from the squads for the upcoming tour of the West Indies and the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. However, Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart, a strong supporter of Pietersen throughout the furore, had no qualms in retaining the services of his fellow former England captain for a revamped domestic Twenty20 season of 14 matches. –AFP

DAY’S WATCH BTV & Maasranga Tv 5:00PM Bangladesh v Sri Lanka 1st T20 Sony Six NBA 2013-14 7:00AM Chicago v Atlanta 9:30AM Pepsi IPL 2014 Player Auctions: Day 1 Ten Cricket 02:30PM South Africa v Australia 1st Test, Day 1 Star Sports 4 1:00PM Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Games Day 5 1:45AM English Premier League Arsenal v Man Utd Star Sports HD1 8:30PM Hockey India League 1:45AM English Premier League Newcastle v Tottenham Star Sports HD2 1:45AM English Premier League Everton v Crystal Palace Star Sports 1 2:00AM English Premier League Fulham v Liverpool Star Sports 2 1:45AM English Premier League Man City v Sunderland Ten Action 3:00AM Copa del Rey 2013/14 Semi-final, 2nd Leg Real Sociedad v Barcelona


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

South African captain Graeme Smith and Austalian team's captain Michael Clarke (R) pose with the trophy at the SuperSport Park, in Centurion yesterday on the eve of their first Test AFP

Sri Lanka says it had to abstain from ICC vote Sri Lanka has defended its decision to tacitly support a controversial shakeup of cricket’s world body, saying it was left with no choice after South Africa broke ranks over the move. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa all opposed the revamp of the ICC's governance and structure when it was debated last month. But Sri Lanka decided to abstain from voting on the move during an ICC board meeting on Saturday, along with Pakistan, after South Africa switched to vote in favour. Eight of ten Test nations in total approved the plans, despite concerns it gives too much power to the “Big Three” of India, England and Australia. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage accused South Africa of letting Sri Lanka down at the ICC meeting held in Singapore, saying “we had no choice but to abstain”. l

South African captain Graeme Smith said his team were happy to be regarded as favourites ahead of the first Test against Australia which starts at SuperSport Park on Wednesday. “If you are the number one team in the world you have to be favourites,” Smith said on Tuesday. “It’s something we have become accustomed to and we feel very comfortable with it. We’ve been number one for a period of time and we’ve travelled to some tough places to get it and to defend it.” South Africa have not been beaten in a series since Australia defeated them in South Africa in 2008/09 and have built up a formidable record to open a sizeable gap at the top of the International Cricket Council Test rankings. Australia go into the three-match series on the back of a 5-0 whitewash over England but Australian captain Michael Clarke acknowledged that the series would provide his team with a major challenge. “South Africa have earned the right

New Zealand drop pair over late-night drinking antics Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell have been dropped from the New Zealand squad for the second test against India starting on Friday as punishment for going on a late-night drinking session on the eve of the first test in Auckland. New Zealand coach Mike Hesson told reporters in Auckland on Monday that team officials had lost confidence in the pair and they would not be considered for the Wellington match, although Bracewell was already ruled out with a broken foot. “We need to make sure that all our players prepare themselves accordingly for test cricket, and at the moment we don’t have confidence that that’s the case,” Hesson said of the visit to an Auckland bar until the early hours of Thursday. “Both Jesse and Doug did not pre-

pare themselves well for the test match and we’re certainly very disappointed about that. “We’re dealing with grown men. If a player was to have a beer with their meal before a game, we don’t have an issue with that at all. “But there’s a big difference between that and what occurred the night before the test match.” New Zealand won the first match of the two-test series by 40 runs late on the fourth day on Sunday and Hesson was annoyed that Ryder and Bracewell’s behaviour was still detracting from that performance. “The fact that we’ve won a test match yesterday and the fact the first few questions are based around offfield incidents is clearly an extreme disappointment for the team,” Hesson said. “It takes away from a superb effort

over the last four days.” Batsman Ryder and bowling allrounder Bracewell had not been in the starting team for the clash at Eden Park but had been expected to be ready to play last Thursday. Bracewell was on standby in case one of the bowlers got injured in the final warm-ups while Ryder had to be ready to come into the team for Ross Taylor, whose wife is expected to give birth to their second child this week. Until last week’s indiscretion, Ryder had been expected to be included in the starting side at the Basin Reserve for the Feb. 14-18 clash as Taylor can not be replaced once the game started. Hesson added that Bracewell’s broken foot had meant he would not have been available for the second test anyway. New Zealand are due to announce the side on Tuesday. l

India keep faith in Yuvraj for World T20 All-rounder Yuvraj Singh’s limited over prowess secured him a place in India’s 15-member squad on Tuesday for the World T20 in Bangladesh next month. One of the cleanest strikers of the ball and more than a handy left-arm spinner,


Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron

Singh, 32, was instrumental in India’s triumph in the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 where he hit England paceman Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over. Though he could not cement his place in the test squad, Singh, 32, was also the architect of India’s 50-over World Cup 2011 victory at home where his all-round exploits earned him the player of the tournament award. Singh was not part of the Indian 50-over squad in New Zealand which lost the five-match series 4-0. Stuart Binny, son of former India all-rounder Roger, was also named in the squad to be led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni who would be seeking his third world title in Bangladesh. l

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh along with his mother Shabnam Singh paying obeisance at Golden Temple in Amritsar yesterday AP

Pakistan PM sacks board, appoints committee to run sport The Pakistan government dismissed the country’s cricket board on Monday and appointed an ad-hoc committee to run the sport. Following an order from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, an 11-member committee will run cricket in the country, replacing the Zaka Ashraf-led Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), of which Sharif is the chief patron. “Zaka Ashraf has been dismissed on several charges by the Prime minister, who is a great lover of the sport,” Shakil Sheikh, a member of the committee, told Geo News channel. “The charges include that he (Ashraf) left Pakistan isolated in world cricket with his mishandling of the big three issue and there were also financial mismanagement and appointments in his tenure.” Pakistan and Sri Lanka abstained

from voting on Saturday when the International Cricket Council board passed structural and financial reforms

New Pakistan coach will not be foreigner

The Pakistan Cricket Board has ruled out appointing a foreign coach for the national team. Former test captains Intikhab Alam and Wasim Akram, who are on the four-member committee formed to evaluate and recommend the new coaching team, said none of the shortlisted candidates were foreigners. “We received a total of 25 applications and after evaluation we have shortlisted some candidates and none are foreigners,” Alam told a news conference in Lahore on Sunday. The PCB is due to appoint a new head coach, batting coach and fielding coach for the national side on Monday. –Reuters

to effective place India, England and Australia in charge of the game. The new committee includes former test players Zaheer Abbas and Iqbal Qasim and former board chiefs Shaharyar Khan and Najam Sethi. According to a government notification, the committee will nominate a chairman to head the administration. Ashraf was reinstated as the PCB chairman last month by the Islamabad High Court after filing an appeal against his dismissal by a single bench of the same court in May last year. The single bench had declared the election process during which Ashraf was elected last year as malafide and polluted and dismissed him, following which the government appointed Sethi as acting chairman. “I am still the chairman of the board and this notification has no bearing on my position,” a defiant Ashraf told Geo News. l

to be the number one team in the world,” said Clarke. “They are extremely tough to beat anywhere in the world but especially in their own backyard.” Clarke said his team were looking forward to the series. “That’s the challenge you want as a player, you want to be playing against the best to see how you measure up individually and as a team. “It’s a great challenge, test and opportunity for an Australian team who are high on confidence at the moment through the success we had during the Australian summer.” With both teams boasting formidable bowling attacks, Clarke said batting would be crucial. “Both teams are going to have to bat well because there are two very good bowling attacks. “It’s going to be a challenge for batters. Wickets (in South Africa) have been conducive to fast bowling in the past, which makes it a little bit tougher. “It’s going to be a really good challenge for the Australian batters to come up against probably the best bowlers that I have faced in my career.” l

Australia calls up veterans for T20 World Cup Evergreen veterans Brad Hogg and Brad Hodge, with a combined age of 82, were Tuesday called up to the Australian squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next month. The sprightly Hogg, 43, has been in top form in the domestic Big Bash League with his wrist spin proving hard to handle, while Hodge, 39, has been prolific with the bat for the Melbourne Stars in the same competition.

SQUAD George Bailey (capt), Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Glenn Maxwell, James Muirhead, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White If he takes the field, Hogg is set to become the oldest player in the history of international T20 cricket as Australia look for their first trophy after four unsuccessful attempts. Another veteran, wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, 36, is also included for the March 16-April 6 tournament in a 15-man squad skippered by George Bailey and featuring Test stars Mitchell Johnson, David Warner, and Shane Watson. Hogg effectively drew the curtain on his international career following his final one-day international for Australia at the end of the 2007-08 summer, but he returned to play a handful of T20 internationals for Australia in 2012. “Once again Brad bowled very well for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League and many batsmen found him difficult to read,” said National Selector John Inverarity. “Despite his age, his enthusiasm and fitness are undiminished.” l

Delighted Mamunul praises teamwork Sheikh Jamal skipper Mamunul Islam thought the time has arrived to win the silverware of the IFA Shield after his team produced an electric performance in the 3-0 win over Kolkata giants East Bengal in the 1st semi-final of the IFA Shield yesterday. Mamun owed it to the teamwork. “It was a superb teamwork, everybody put their best in the crunch match, the way the team absorbed the pressure was wonderful. We are now fully focused to win the title for the sake of the football of Bangladesh,” said the midfielder. “The defence rose to the occasion, it put up a splendid job. Our attacking line was good in both the last two matches but it was the defence that I was a little worried, the defence line was superb,” he added. He did not forget to name the off-field contribution of the team management,

“The BFF president’s inspiration - club president (Monjur Kader) and director Showkat Aziz Russell has inspired the team, the players are motivated.” Manager Abdul Gaffar said the proposed incentive bonus of USD10,000 had already been distributed among the players and another purse of USD25,000 is still on the line for winning the tournament. l



Back Page

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fiction and poetry preferred n Ahmed Zayeef

Milan Kanti Nath, publisher of Anupam Prokashani, said: “It is true that fewer number of books on politics, research, history and science have been published, but situation will change in a day or two.” A total of 99 new books were published yesterday, including Shahaduzzaman’s “Adho Ghum Castror Shonge” from Oitijhho Prokashoni, Subhash Mukhopadhyay’s “Che Guevara’s Diary” from Ghash Phul Nodi Prokashoni. A total of 13 new books were unveiled at Nazrul Mancha on the Bangla Academy premises. A discussion on Habibullah Bahar Chowdhury was held at the central stage presided over by Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith and attended by human rights activist Khushi Kabir among others. l

Fiction and poetry topped the priority list of publishers this year as buyers are AMAR EKUSHEY more interestB O O K FA I R 2 0 1 4 ed in buying books on these genres, opined a number of publishers at the Amar Ekushey Book Fair yesterday. Till date, a total of 859 books have been published in the fair. Among them, poetry is most popular choice in comparison to translations and research articles. Although politics remained a popular topic of discussion during recent times, the number of books pub-

lished on politics has been meagre. Only five books on politics have been published in the fair so far. However, like other years, novels and fictions have been selling well. According to the department of co-ordination and public relations of Bangla Academy, 199 poetry books, 163 novels, 114 story books, 58 compilations of articles, and 29 autobiographies came into the fair yesterday. Hasan Jahedi, publisher of Pearl Prokashani, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Readers prefer novels and story books.. That is why publishers are more interested to bring in those.” Twenty-seven travelogues, 22 books on the liberation war, 19 children’s literature, 12 books on rhymes, were published in the first 11 days.

15 selected for Ekushey Padak n Mohosinul Karim

Vaccination campaign targeting global record

The Ministry of Cultural Affairs yesterday announced the names of 15 individuals selected for this year’s Ekushey Padak (Award), one of the country’s highest civilian awards. This year’s selected awardees are: Shamsul Huda and the late Badrul Alam in recognition for their roles during the language movement; Samarjit Roy Chwodhury, Ramkanai Das, the late SM Solaiman and Keramat Mawla for their contributions to the arts; Daily Samakal Editor Golam Sarwar for his contribution to journalism; Dr Enamul Haque and Dr Anupam Sen for their contributions to research and education respectively; Jamil Chowdhury, Belal Chowdhury, Rashid Haider, Biprodash Borua and the late Abdus Shakur for their contributions to language and literature; and Professor Mujibur Rahman for his contribution to social welfare. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to hand over the awards to the awardees at a ceremony to be held at the capital’s Osmani Memorial Auditorium on February 20. l

n Moniruzzaman Uzzal Bangladesh is set to reach the target of providing vaccination to over 5 crore children through its three-week long national measles-rubella (MR) vaccination campaign, an achievement which officials concerned say is an unprecedented feat anywhere in the world. The campaign started on January 25 and is slated to end on February 13, and so far has been able to vaccinate around 4.8 crore children until February 10. To reach the target of vaccinating 5.2 crore children between ages of nine months and 15 years 66,993 skilled vaccination officials and 241,000 trained volunteers are working relentlessly. Dr Shafiqur Rahman, deputy director and programme manager of the Expanded Immunization Program (EPI) and Surveillance, said the campaign had been able to generate a massive response from all quarters of society. He said initial estimated target of vaccinating 5.2 crore children is likely to be exceeded. There is no other country that has

been able to vaccinate such a large number of children within only three weeks. Dr Abu Zafor Md Musa, director of Primary Health Care (PHC), said an all-out effort had been made to create awareness and promote guardians to bring their children for the MR vaccination. The help of the media and different behavioral change communication initiatives by the health ministry have made people more aware about their children’s health issues, he said. Harun-or-Rashid, president of Bangladesh Health Department Employees Association, said health officials had never seen such a huge gathering of children for a vaccination programme. When asked how the number of vaccinated children was measured, Dr Shafiqur said two lines of supervisors and other senior-level national supervisors monitored the nationwide MR campaign. Asked about deaths of two children suspected to be caused by MR vaccines, EPI Dr Shafiqur said both children were asthma patients and the deaths were coincidental. 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:,, Website:

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B3 The 20-year-old MS memo that came true

B4 India warns US about

dumping investigation in solar trade spat


300 apparel GP dividend higher than profit Over factories sued for ‘It may not be sustainable in the long run … they are giving it from retained earnings’ n Muhammad Zahidul Islam Grameenphone’s performance in figures (crore Taka) Grameenphone has recommended distributing 28.6% higher dividend than the net profit the company earned in 2013. It reported an after tax profit of over Tk1,470 crore in the year, about 16% down from the previous year, but recommended dividend of Tk1,890.42 crore, according to financial disclosure made at a press conference in Dhaka yesterday. “It may not be sustainable in the long run that a company would be able to maintain higher dividend than profit as they are giving it from retained earnings,” said Khaiul Bashar, an analyst at Asian Tiger Capital Partners. The earnings per share (EPS) of the country’s largest mobile phone operator in 2013 stood at Tk10.89, but their dividend stands at Tk14. In 2012, the EPS was Tk12.96. The company, having only 10% general shareholders, would seek approval to the dividend by the shareholders at the annual general meeting scheduled to be held at Bashundhara Convention Center-2, Baridhara on April 9. Mother company Telenor holds 55.8% stake and Grameen Telecom 34.2%. It recommended 50% cash dividend on Monday, making a total of 140% cash dividend for the last year. Earlier, they distributed an interim cash dividend of 90%. Not only in 2013, lone listed mobile phone operator also distributed higher dividend than their profits bagged in last couple of years. Senior executives of the operator said they were spending extra money from their reserve and surplus fund, which was Tk1,411 crore after 2012 and



Bangladesh is now set to get a fresh loan worth $310m from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to further enhance its power generation capacity to meet the growing demand for electricity. An agreement was signed between Bangladesh government and ADB for the loan yesterday. Saifuddin Ahmed, joint secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Stefan Ekelund, deputy country director and now officer-in-charge of ADB’s Bangladesh Resident Mission, signed the deal on behalf of their respective sides at the ADB office in Dhaka. The other co-financiers include Agence Française de Développement (AFD), European Investment Bank and Islamic Development Bank (IDB). “Deficiencies in power generation, supply and distribution are constraining businesses and undermining people’s quality of life, with poor communities suffering the most,” said an ADB press statement released yesterday quoting Stefan Ekelund. “Increased access to power and energy is critical for further growth and development of Bangladesh,” it added. This is the second tranche of ADB financing under an overall multi-donor-supported project entitled Power System Expansion and Efficiency Improvement Investment Program of $1.6b, with ADB contributing $700m.

8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0


would come down to Tk991 crore after the next AGM. Three years back, the fund was more than Tk2,500 crore. “We have a dividend policy. We have distributed it according to the policy,” said Mainur Rahaman Bhuiyan, acting chief financial officer (CFO) of Grameenphone, replying to a question at the press conference. As they have a handsome amount of reserve and surplus fund, it is possible for them to distribute more dividends than profit, he told the Dhaka Tribune. In 2011, Grameenphone earned Tk1,750 core profit and distributed cash dividend of Tk1,890 crore. In 2011, the operators net profit stood at Tk1,889 crore and they distributed the highest amount of cash

The investments are part of a broader government plan to reform and strengthen the power sector, tapping private sector financing. The goal is to raise generating capacity to more than 12,500 megawatts and the rate of electrification to 68% by 2015. According to the lender, the second tranche of ADB assistance will help increase transmission and distribution capability in the power system. This will also allow increased power transfer from Ghorasal to Tongi and to increase transmission capability to satisfy the increasing power demand in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet areas, it said. ADB said the investments will also allow improved distribution networks in the Dhaka region to meet increasing demand in the system to ensure no load-shedding due to network constraints by 2018. The overall Power System Expansion and Efficiency Improvement Investment Program will connect 450,000 households to the power grid and reduce carbon emissions by almost 2.5m tons per year when the project is completed in 2018. Power system and financial management training will be given to the staff in sector institutions, and a pilot project with around 200 solar energy-driven irrigation pumps will be established, benefitting around 4,000 poor farming families, ADB statement said. l



dividend Tk2,768 crore or 205%. In 2009, Grameenphone enlisted as the biggest company in the stock market and showed profit of TK1,071 crore in 2010, but distributed Tk1,620 as cash dividend. At the press conference Grameenphone declared Tk9,660 crore in annual revenue for 2013 with 5.1% growth from last year. They said this growth momentum has been achieved amidst disruptions and lower economic activities in the run-up to the national election. The growth is accredited by new customer acquisition, usage increase and competitive value for money market offerings. Higher device sales with the advent

A three-day textile and garment technology exhibition starts today in the city, which will display the latest versions of capital machinery and technology. The 11th exhibition titled Dhaka International Textile and Garment Machinery Exhibition (DTG 2014) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre is being organised by the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) in association with the Chan Chao Int’l Company Ltd and Yorkers Trade and Marketing Services. Finance Minister AMA Muhith is expected to inaugurate the fair as chief gust and State Minister for Ministry of

Textiles and Jute Mirza Azam will also attend the function. “The fair is aimed at introducing the latest machineries and technologies to Bangladesh’s textile and garment industries to keep abreast of global trends,” BTMA president Jahangir Alamin told a press conference yesterday. Some 850 exhibitors from 31 countries will display “the state-of-the-art textile and garment machinery as well as spare parts and equipment,” he said. The technologies to be displayed are related with spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing-printing and textiles finishing etc, Replying to a query, Alamin ruled out the claim that the country’s textile sector did not see any investment last

2013 of 3G era, growth in both local and international interconnection minutes, wholesale and financial services also contributed. Making a presentation at the press conference, Grameenphone CEO Vivek Sood said: “On previous year we acquired 3G spectrum, restored revenue growth momentum, revitalised market machineries and partnering with Accenture to gain competitive advantage in IT.” He said, during the year, they performed as activist of challenges amidst adverse externalities, innovated with customer centric offers and steered the business in the right direction towards enhancing value for the shareholders. l

n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi The government has filed cases with Labour Courts against more than 300 apparel factories which were found short of adequate fire and building safety measures during inspection, said labour ministry officials. The factories were sued on the basis of findings by the labour and employment ministry inspections recently to a number of over 3,460 factories across the country. The inspection was conducted in a seven-month period after the Rana Plaza collapse, which found over 300 factories keeping fire exits locked during working hours, having escape gates not clear, skipping appointment letters to workers and not maintaining regularity in salary payment etc. “Inspection focused on fire and building safety especially, as it is a main concern now after several deadly incidents,” said Mikail Shipar, secretary of labour and employment ministry. The inspection teams saw whether the factories were compliant with as many as 50 issues. The issues are like factory registration, structural integrity, Rajuk approval, child workers, maternity leave, fire safety, emergency exits, fire escape gates, fire fighters’ entrance, giving appointment letter to workers and placement of generators. The regularity of salary payment by the factories was also examined. “Before taking action, the non-compliant factories were given 10 days to correct their faults, but nothing they did,” said Mikail Shipar.

According to the inspection data, the country has a total of 3,460 clothing factories in operation now, although Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) claims the number is 3,600.

Before taking action, the non-compliant factories were given 10 days to correct their faults, but nothing they did As of December 31 last year, the BGMEA has 5,674 members while Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) is 1,931. The European and North American retailers’ alliances and the International Labour Organisation are working in Bangladesh to improve safety standards in the garment factories. Under a tripartite agreement, the two alliances will inspect a total of 2,200 factories from where their members source garment products and the ILO in collaboration with the government will check the remaining factories. Following the deadliest garment sector incident, the Rana Plaza collapse, in April last year, the United States suspended generalised system preferences (GSP) facility for Bangladeshi products last year as the country “failed to improve working conditions and ensure workers’ rights in the readymade garment sector within a deadline. l

DSE beefs up trade surveillance n Tribune Report The Dhaka Stock Exchange has launched a new surveillance software to detect trading anomalies. Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman M Khairul Hossain inaugurated the new software called “Instant Watch Market Surveillance Software” yesterday at the DSE. “This is a new milestone for the stock market. It will help reduce manipulation in the secondary market,” he said. Highlighting some new rules and regulations framed by the regulator, he said the country’s stock market is going through a lot of changes, which will attract foreign and local investors. The BSEC chairman said the watchdog has detected 44 kinds of manipulations through the software. “DSE’s software is also like BSEC’s one. It will be able to identify abnormal trading.” After the market crash in late 2010, the BSEC on December 17, 2012, launched the same software and detected 2,974 suspicious transactions in just 30-minute run on the opening day. The DSE in November 2012 purchased the surveillance software from a Trapets AB, a Swedish IT firm. “It is a red letter day for the DSE as it is a new addition to the bourse’s ongoing efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in the stock market,” said DSE President Ahsanul Islam Titu. He said this software would boost our governance and operational system in line with the demutualisation. l

Textile tech fair begins today n Tribune Report



$310m ADB loan for power generation n Tribune Report

Pro t


year. He said: “Investment was there, but the growth of textile industry was slow due to political unrest, higher interest rate and infrastructure constraints.” He said last year some Tk2,200 crore was invested in the sector and capital machinery worth about Tk2,400 crore was imported to set up new factories and expand the units. Referring to the McKinsey report on Bangladesh’s RMG sector, he said it was quite possible to earn $40bn by exporting textile products by 2020 if the situation remains as investment friendly. In the 10th textile and garment technology fair, the machinery worth $175m was sold on the spot. l


Bangladesh Railway wants tariff cuts on equipment import n Syed Samiul Basher Anik The Bangladesh Railways (BR) has requested the National Board of Revenue (NBR) for reducing the existing tariffs on the import of railways products including locomotive, slipper, coach, rail line etc. Claiming BR as a service-oriented public organisation, the authority argued that the purchases of BR, especially in the donor-funded projects, are being severely hampered due to the high-tariffs and the lengthy payment process, said a high official of NBR yesterday. The NBR has been requested to reduce the customs duty at 2.5% from 10%

while value added tax at 10% from the existing 15% for smoothing the purchase process. In a recent letter to NBR, the railway authority claimed that the purchase process of railway products had been facing a setback as Total Tax Incidence (TTI) for such imports varied from 30% to 40%. Because of higher tariffs rates in the import of railway materials, overall expenditures of many projects virtually go beyond the budget, reads the letter. According to the BR letter, “To implement the donor-funded projects, we face shortage of funds in local currencies to purchase necessary materials. The problem results in delay of releasing

products from the ports for which, banks often imposed more interests, which is also hindering the smooth functioning of BR.’’ The BR, in its letter, has also urged the NBR to submit a counter-proposal to the railways ministry as to how much custom duties and VAT can be reduced in a rational way as per tariff schedule. Earlier on January 30, 2014 a meeting was held at railway ministry on the same issue. After the meeting, the railway ministry on February 2 sent a similar letter to the NBR asking for preparing a fresh proposal on how much revenue authority can reduce its customs duty and VAT on railway products import. l


(-) 0.50%

CSE All Share Index:


(-) 0.78%

CSE - 30 Index :


(-) 0.48%


(-) 0.78%

CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS

Brac Bank -A Bangladesh Lamps -A Libra Infusions-A PragatiLife Insu. -A Shahjalal Islami -A Meghna Con. Milk -Z National Bank - B Padma Islami Life*-N Renwick Jajneswar-A NCCBL Mutual Fund-1-A

Closing (% change) -7.08 -5.00 -4.24 -3.96 -3.78 -3.64 -3.60 -3.39 -3.22 -3.16

CSE LOSERS Company Eastern InsurA Prime Islami Life -A PragatiLife Insu. -A Brac Bank -A Aziz PipesZ Bata Shoe Ltd. -A MutualTrust Bank-A Apex Foods -A Ambee Pharma -A Standard Ceramic -A

Closing (% change) -10.00 -8.98 -8.59 -7.96 -5.60 -4.91 -4.26 -4.25 -4.03 -4.00

Average (% change) -7.80 -2.05 -4.18 -2.42 -2.69 -3.09 -3.14 -0.30 -4.97 -1.70 Average (% change) -6.17 -8.98 -8.57 -7.71 -5.30 -4.91 -4.73 -7.79 -2.83 -4.00


Closing average 31.34 144.08 469.50 221.91 18.10 10.67 13.58 95.85 170.07 9.27

Closing average 44.10 116.50 219.33 31.13 21.98 825.00 17.91 102.07 294.11 36.00



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 517.62 212.43 79.59 386.75 269.20 669.46 2.09 330.37 1053.89 0.44 23.64 67.61 53.51 151.68 64.62 95.35 329.14 438.75 82.26 74.56 2.90

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


% change 10.55 4.33 1.62 7.88 5.49 13.65 0.04 6.73 21.48 0.01 0.48 1.38 1.09 3.09 1.32 1.94 6.71 8.94 1.68 1.52 0.06

Million Taka 58.22 25.91 3.81 38.28 14.21 31.91 32.33 109.65 0.28 3.32 2.55 4.75 10.63 13.94 3.08 12.45 43.31 14.83 12.68 0.02

26.40 96.70 28.00 123.70 49.40 51.00 324.80 79.00 17.10 6.20

26.40 89.90 28.00 125.00 49.80 51.00 325.00 79.30 17.20 6.20

Turnover in million

25.40 100.10 28.00 121.00 43.10 49.00 322.00 78.50 16.90 6.20

0.091 0.145 0.028 0.371 3.002 0.076 1.932 0.239 0.205 0.009

Turnover (Million Taka)


Turnover (Volume)


Number of Contract


Traded Issues


Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)


Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)



Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


Turnover in million

Daily low 27.50 138.00 462.00 210.00 17.00 10.10 12.90 88.00 167.30 9.10

Turnover in million

Daily low 44.10 116.50 219.00 30.00 21.90 825.00 17.00 100.10 290.00 36.00

Latest EPS

68.958 6.211 0.939 15.672 23.561 0.144 38.772 109.519 3.903 0.102

4.11 -0.77 3.04 2.38 1.67 -4.58 -3.63 1.10 5.32 0.87

Latest EPS

0.009 0.006 0.329 3.414 0.007 0.165 0.010 0.015 0.588 0.036

% change 13.35 5.94 0.87 8.78 3.26 7.32 0.00 7.41 25.14 0.06 0.76 0.58 1.09 2.44 3.20 0.71 2.85 9.93 3.40 2.91 0.01

Million Taka 575.84 238.34 83.40 425.03 283.41 701.37 2.09 362.69 1163.54 0.72 26.96 70.16 58.26 162.30 78.55 98.43 341.59 482.07 97.09 87.25 2.92

2.60 4.95 2.38 4.11 0.59 52.75 -0.52 3.56 5.01 1.06


-0.04 2.36 2.26 -0.89 1.12 3.04 6.54 28.52 -4.02 0.54

Latest EPS -0.04 2.74 1.49 9.21 1.12 3.04 12.46 5.89 0.04 0.62

-ve 15.7 47.0 -ve 43.9 16.7 9.4 33.8 -ve 16.9

Latest PE -ve 35.3 18.8 13.4 43.6 16.6 26.1 13.4 426.5 10.0

SUN 09-Feb

THU 06-Feb

TUE 11-Feb

News from trade server

CSE key features February 11, 2014

44.10 116.50 220.00 32.00 22.00 825.00 18.00 106.00 296.10 36.00


26.00 96.70 28.00 123.67 48.86 50.33 324.77 78.98 17.06 6.20

Daily low

WED 05-Feb


Daily high

10.00 5.68 5.66 5.64 3.35 2.62 2.59 2.20 1.79 1.64

Daily high

0.700 10.251 35.774 0.090 23.196 3.721 3.106 0.482 0.014 0.005

Latest PE

MON 10-Feb

Latest PE 7.6 -ve 154.4 93.2 10.8 -ve -ve 87.1 32.0 10.7

Latest PE 17.0 23.5 92.2 7.6 37.3 15.6 -ve 28.7 58.7 34.0

A crisis for long term and stable investment among general traders is awkwardly visible



Samata LeatheR -Z Samorita Hospital -A Mercantile Insur -A Dutch Ban. Bnk- A Envoy Textiles Ltd-N Northern G Insur-A National Life I -A Rupali Bank - A In Tech Online -A Prime Bank 1st MF-A


TUE 04-Feb

32.00 148.10 482.00 228.70 19.00 11.00 14.40 100.00 173.40 9.40

44.10 116.50 219.30 31.20 21.90 825.00 18.00 106.00 290.50 36.00

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

Daily high

31.50 140.70 469.20 218.00 17.80 10.60 13.40 94.00 168.20 9.20


Closing average

23.50 32.00 94.70 20.10 43.20 48.90 60.90 960.00 8.50 9.10

Latest EPS

% change 10.78 4.46 1.56 7.96 5.31 13.13 0.04 6.79 21.78 0.01 0.50 1.31 1.09 3.04 1.47 1.84 6.39 9.02 1.82 1.63 0.05

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 or call 01552153562 or go to

GP: The Board of Directors has recommended 50% final cash dividend (i.e. total 140% cash dividend for the year 2013 inclusive of 90% Interim cash dividend which has already been paid) for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 09.04.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: Bashundhara Convention Center-2, Block-C, Bashundhara R/A, Baridhara, Dhaka-1229. Record date: 20.02.2014. The Company has also reported net profit after tax of Tk. 14,701.57 million, EPS of Tk. 10.89, NAV per share of Tk. 23.06 and NOCFPS of Tk. 27.46 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. AFC Agro Biotech Limited: (Q3): The Company started its commercial operation on 07 October 2012, as stated in the prospectus. The Company has reported that its net profit after tax has stood at Tk.

19.07 million and basic EPS is Tk. 0.50 for the 3 (three) months ended on 30 September 2013 (July 2013- September 2013). It is to be noted that basic EPS has been calculated based on the weighted average Pre-IPO paid-up number of shares i.e. 38,000,000 shares. However, considering Post-IPO 50,000,000 number of shares the Company's basic EPS for the 3 (three) months ended on 30 September 2013 would be Tk. 0.38. Whereas for the period of 9 (nine) months (Jan 2013 to Sep 2013) ended on 30 September 2013 profit after tax was Tk. 57.59 million and basic EPS was Tk. 1.52. It is to be noted that the said EPS has been calculated based on weighted average Pre-IPO paid-up number of shares i.e. 38,000,000 shares. However, considering Post-IPO 50,000,000 number of shares,

Company's basic EPS would be Tk. 1.15 for 9 (nine) months ended on 30 September 2013 (Jan 2013 to Sep 2013) and NAV would be Tk. 11.04 as on 30 September 2013. MPETROLEUM: The Company has requested the concerned shareholders to collect their dividend warrants for the year ended on June 30, 2013 from Registered Office of the Company, 58-59, Agrabad C/A, Chittagong (shareholders of Chittagong, Sylhet Division and Non-Resident Bangladeshi of this region) and Dhaka Regional Office, Meghna Bhaban, 131, Mothijeel C/A, Dhaka (shareholders of Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal Division and Non-Resident Bangladeshi of this region) from 11 February 2014 to 13 February 2014 between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Change of DSE Broad Index vs Sectoral Index 4%

Pharma & Chemical Index

DSE BroadIndex

3% 3% 2% 2% 1% 1% 0% - 1%


DSE - 30 Index :

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

Average (% change) 8.42 5.68 3.78 3.02 1.31 1.21 2.57 2.44 0.59 0.49

Closing (% change)


25.90 38.00 107.80 20.10 50.00 51.90 62.30 975.00 8.80 9.10

Turnover in million



25.20 37.00 106.70 20.10 49.60 50.60 61.90 964.10 8.60 9.10

Daily low


(-) 0.50%

Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)


Daily high



DSE Shariah Index :




Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)

24.56 37.11 106.25 20.10 49.13 50.63 61.75 964.00 8.75 9.10


(-) 0.72%




Traded Issues

Capital Market Highlights:

Daily capital market highlights DSE Broad Index :



Stocks fell for the third session in a row amid volatile trading yesterday, with poor turnover. The market moved between red and green with intra-day volatility of 42 points. The benchmark DSEX was down 34 points or 0.8% to end at 4,763. The Shariah based DSES index fell slightly by 5 points or 0.5% to 990. The blue chip comprising index DS30 shed 8 points or 0.5% to 1,682 The Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, was down 73 points to 9,358. The total turnover at DSE dipped to Tk490 crore, which was 18.7% lower over the previous session and lowest in one month, indicating lack of selling interest at lower prices. “Sell off pressure continued, over profit booking, as two negative sessions stirred sentiment regarding market direction,” said IDLC Investment. “However, participation was low, as worries were less severe regarding major correction, while upcoming earning declarations continued to fuel hope, making investors stay watchful than panicking.” Lanka Bangla Securities said the market has taken a pummeling as some major sectors routed into red in continuation of previous trading session. “Economists are expecting better economic results in the second half of 2013-14 as economy is now running smoothly without any po-

Number of Contract

6.78 6.02 4.81 4.69 3.55 3.05 3.00 2.57 2.38 2.25

Closing average


litical hassle. This will reflect positively on corporate profitability, specially the cyclical ones.” AFC Agro Biotech, in its debut trading day at DSE, gained 550% to close at Tk65 a share from its offer price of Tk10 and posted a turnover worth more than Tk29 crore, which is the second best turnover. All the major sectors ended in red except telecommunications, driven by Grameenphone that gained 1.6% on its better-than-expected dividend declarations. The GP, lone company in the telecommunications sector, declared 50% cash dividend. The financial sectors – banks and non-banking financial institutions – performed poorly. Power, pharmaceuticals, and food and allied sectors edged lower. Zenith Investment said indices have not yet recovered from its illness of market correction, as stocks continues to bleed over profit taking tendency of investors, disrupting the flow of a clear and stable direction. “A crisis for long term and stable investment among general traders is awkwardly visible.” Square Pharmaceuticals, the country’s top pharmaceutical company, continued to top turnover leaders for the third consecutive session with shares worth almost Tk35crore changing hands, followed by AFC Agro, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, Grameenphone, Meghna Petroleum, Olympic Industries and Active Fine Chemical. l



n Tribune Report

Samata LeatheR -Z Prime Insur -A National Tubes -A Kay & Que (BD) -Z Envoy Textiles Ltd-N Northern G Insur-A 6th ICB M F-A Reckitt Benckiser -A Dulamia CottonZ BD Fixed Income MF-A


Average (% change) 3.76 4.48 4.46 3.08 1.87 2.93 2.64 2.55 3.55 4.96

Closing (% change)


Turnover (Million Taka) Turnover (Volume)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


DSE key features February 11, 2014

Stocks fall for 3rd day amid volatility






- 1%

DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Square Pharma -A AFC AgroBiotech-N BD Submarine Cable-A Grameenphone-A Meghna Petroleum -A Olympic Ind. -A Active Fine Chem.-A

Padma Islami Life*-N Jamuna Oil -A Padma Oil Co. -A

Renata Ltd. -A Sun Life Insurance-N Brac Bank -A LankaBangla Fin. -A Delta Life Insu. -A Generation Next Fashions-A Aftab Auto.-A Summit Purbanchol Power-N Southeast Bank-A Orion Pharma-N CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company AFC AgroBiotech-N

BD Submarine Cable-A Grameenphone-A Square Pharma -A aamra technologies-A LankaBangla Fin. -A UCBL - A Appollo Ispat CL -N UNITED AIR-A Aftab Auto.-A National Bank - B Unique Hotel RL - A BEXIMCO Ltd. -A Generation Next Fashions-A BD Building Systems -A Padma Oil Co. -A Keya Cosmetics -A Mozaffar H.Spinning-N Olympic Ind. -A Mercantile Bank -A

Volume shares 1,369,054 4,646,000 1,190,968 992,400 690,695 951,155 1,422,973 1,142,640 463,077 277,357

74,316 897,675 2,200,315 926,049 227,250 1,819,100 600,144 745,040 2,283,760 791,240

Volume shares

1,090,000 120,181 95,600 72,146 288,900 148,892 344,823 304,000 533,926 83,503 513,318 70,795 181,249 177,180 79,225 16,491 203,060 144,000 27,500 261,648

Value in million 350.20 294.11 233.12 205.63 195.88 181.55 131.95 109.52 107.10 92.88

69.84 69.73 68.96 67.35 60.13 58.16 56.93 53.28 51.96 51.67

Value in million

68.92 23.64 19.68 18.40 11.79 10.83 9.88 9.60 8.52 7.90 7.01 6.31 6.21 5.70 5.59 5.52 5.51 5.33 5.30 5.16

% of total turnover 7.14 6.00 4.75 4.19 3.99 3.70 2.69 2.23 2.18 1.89

1.42 1.42 1.41 1.37 1.23 1.19 1.16 1.09 1.06 1.05

% of total turnover

15.82 5.43 4.52 4.22 2.71 2.49 2.27 2.20 1.96 1.81 1.61 1.45 1.43 1.31 1.28 1.27 1.26 1.22 1.22 1.18

Daily closing 259.70 65.00 199.60 209.30 283.60 193.80 93.10 94.00 232.40 333.10

938.40 78.30 31.50 72.30 263.00 31.90 94.40 71.30 22.50 65.10

Daily closing

64.30 200.30 208.10 259.60 40.30 72.30 28.40 31.40 15.90 94.10 13.50 88.70 34.10 32.00 70.00 333.50 27.00 36.90 194.10 19.60

Price change 0.46 0.00 1.58 1.60 0.11 1.31 -0.64 -3.39 0.04 -1.33

Daily opening 258.50 0.00 196.50 206.00 283.30 191.30 93.70 97.30 232.30 337.60

Price change

Daily opening

-1.55 -0.13 -7.08 -1.63 -1.02 -1.85 -2.18 -0.97 -2.17 -0.76

0.00 2.09 0.82 0.74 -1.95 -1.63 -2.41 -2.18 -0.63 -2.18 -3.57 -1.77 -1.16 -1.54 -1.69 -0.74 -1.82 -0.54 1.41 -2.49

953.20 78.40 33.90 73.50 265.70 32.50 96.50 72.00 23.00 65.60

0.00 196.20 206.40 257.70 41.10 73.50 29.10 32.10 16.00 96.20 14.00 90.30 34.50 32.50 71.20 336.00 27.50 37.10 191.40 20.10

Daily high 265.00 66.50 200.10 210.70 286.10 197.00 94.60 100.00 233.40 338.00

951.90 80.60 32.00 74.80 269.00 33.00 105.00 72.70 23.40 65.70

Daily low 240.00 48.00 188.00 199.00 259.00 174.00 90.00 88.00 215.00 315.00

920.00 71.10 27.50 68.00 262.50 31.00 88.00 65.00 21.50 60.00

Daily average 255.80 63.30 195.74 207.21 283.60 190.88 92.73 95.85 231.28 334.88

Daily high

Daily low

Daily average

67.50 201.80 210.00 262.00 41.60 74.00 29.30 32.30 16.20 95.70 14.00 90.80 35.00 32.70 71.90 338.50 27.60 37.40 195.90 20.10

53.00 191.00 195.00 250.00 40.00 71.60 28.00 31.20 15.80 93.50 13.40 88.10 31.10 31.80 69.70 332.10 26.00 36.50 187.80 19.50

939.82 77.68 31.34 72.73 264.59 31.97 94.85 71.52 22.75 65.30

63.23 196.68 205.82 255.00 40.80 72.73 28.64 31.59 15.95 94.59 13.65 89.11 34.25 32.19 70.56 334.77 27.11 36.99 192.73 19.71




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The 20-year-old MS memo that came true n Reuters About 20 years ago, Nathan Myhrvold, then Microsoft’s chief technology officer, composed a 20,000-word piece of prophesy titled “Road Kill on the Information Highway” that reads as fresh today as it did then. One of many memos the polymath was churning out for Microsoft bossman Bill Gates at the time, “Road Kill” deserves our renewed attention for at least three reasons: 1) many of the market, media and tech dislocations Myhrvold predicted have come true, so he’s owed credit for his sharpness; 2) the tech forces Myhrvold identified have continued their romp, making some of his come-true predictions even truer as time has passed; and 3) though Microsoft embraced much of his futurology at the time, it still missed the market in many places where companies like Google, Apple and Amazon hit. Rereading the memo, you feel a pang of sympathy for outgoing Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, who has been criticized for not overtaking Google, for not inventing the iPhone, not creating Facebook, and other transgressions. You also feel 10 tons of trepidation for incoming CEO Satya Nadella, who faces the same tech market realities that blunted Ballmer. Myhrvold’s memo, dated Sept. 8, 1993, repeatedly warns that computer speed and computer storage were to grow exponentially for decades, making the computers of the near future a million times fast and then a trillion times faster. Every tech know-it-all was harping on the mayhem Moore’s law would unleash, but Myhrvold’s essay made the coming revolution palpable. He wrote: It is extraordinarily difficult for people to really grasp the power of exponential growth. No experience in our everyday life prepares us for it. The numbers become so astronomically large so quickly...that it is easy to either dismiss them outright, or mentally glaze over and become numb to their meaning. It is incredibly easy to fool oneself into thinking that you do understand it, but usually this just means that you’ve mentally done a linear extrapolation from the recent past. This works for a little while, but then rapidly becomes out of date. Exponential growth had allowed minicomputers to edge by makers of mainframes who didn’t make the “exponential extrapolation” and act on it fast enough. Exponential growth simi-

larly allowed microcomputers - personal computers - to blow by minis, enriching Microsoft, which soon become the dominant maker of PC software. “The growth curve of Microsoft is unprecidented in the annals of business, and seems quite miraculous until you realize that what we have done is ride the exponential growth curve of computer price/performance,” Myhrvold wrote. The Myhrvold memo recites a Microsoft catechism that the hardware business must be avoided because its profit margins were too thin and the speed at which technology moved put hardware makers at perpetual risk of becoming obsolete. Better to concentrate on software and its higher margins, which Microsoft largely did until 18 months ago when the company produced its Surface computers, and then last fall when it purchased the Nokia handset business. But in his own way, Myhrvold, who left the company in 1999 for other business and personal enthusiasms, anticipated the day that Microsoft might have to become Microhard, too. “The only hardware companies that have ever made significant money are those that managed to create an asset the hardware architecture - which was above the fray of individual implementations and thus could enjoy a longer life span,” he wrote, presaging the success of Apple’s iPod, iPhone, and iPad businesses. “The bulk of the worlds’ computing cycles come near the low end, high volume part of the market,” he continued, paving with words the road Apple would later take with its handheld computers. “Any software company that wants to maintain its relative share of total CPU cycles must have products that are relevant to the high volume segment of the market. If you don’t, then you are vulnerable to a software company that does establishes a position there and then rides the technology curve up to the mainstream. This is what the PC industry did to mainframes and minicomputers, and if we in the PC industry are not careful this fate will befall us as well.” If Myhrvold were writing this memo today, he’d acknowledge that smartphones are close to seizing the bulk of the world’s computing cycles, and the smartphone is doing to the PC what it did to the mini and what the mini did to the mainframe. He’d add that Apple (and Google, with its Android operat-

AFC Agro Biotech Limited makes a happy debut in the capital market as the stock closed at Tk65 each at Dhaka Stock Exchange and Tk64.3 at Chittagong Stock Exchange. The face value of the share is Tk10 each. Its total trade value stood at Tk29.4 crore or 6% of the total trade value at Dhaka Stock Exchange. The stock price ranged between Tk48 and Tk66.5 during the entire session yesterday at the bourse. Previously, the management said the raised fund is to be used for purchasing new machines and meeting IPO expenses. The company has also reported its restated quarterly net profit after tax stood at Tk1.91 crore and basic EPS is Tk0.5 for the three months ended on September 30, 2013. l

Banglalink turns 8 n Muhammad Zahidul Islam Black Friday shoppers check out Microsoft Surface tablets at the Glendale Galleria ing system) and not Microsoft were riding the technology curve in the smartphone mainstream. It’s not that Microsoft never competed in the itsy-bitsy computer space. It obeyed Myhrvold’s dictim that “Anything which isn’t exponential in growth, or which is exponential but with a slower growth rate, will quickly and inexorably be overwhelmed.” It built operating systems for PDAs and cell phones, produced software for the SPOT smartwatch, manufactured Zune music players, and went large to produce the Xbox for gamers. (Anticipating the PDA, the smartphone, and an “always connected” device, Myhrvold pitched his company a tiny “digital wallet” in 1991.) But Microsoft mostly missed the waves or fell off them, and those failures help explain why Apple and Google have higher market caps than Microsoft. Today, we’re probably just a couple of product cycles away from your smartphone (connected to a full-sized keyboard and monitor) being a solid substitute for your laptop and desktop computers. Unless Microsoft or its hardware allies produce a comparable product, the company could lose its already slipping primacy. Although Myhrvold never mentions the Internet by name, he correctly

predicted that an “information highway” selling goods and services would wreck the Blockbuster video chain business as movie rentals go online, with similar transitions in banking, newspaper classifieds (“Newspapers are in probably the worst situation of any form of print media”), retail shopping, Siri-like speech recognition software, crimefighting (he makes an early call for ubiquitous video surveillance), media time-shifting, outsourcing, the retail stock market, and the rise of realistic video games - “you won’t be able to tell the difference between the game and a movie.” Granted, he didn’t predict cloud computing in his memo (although you could say that he implies it), sense the eventual rise of social media, or anticipate the “piracy” of music and movies. He also missed the mass migration of advertising to Google, which ordinarily collects about 90% of its revenues from ads. You could also knock Myhrvold for wrongly predicting the collapse of conventional broadcast and cable TV, although charitable readers will say his burial of the industry was just a tad premature. In one laugh-out-loud passage, he states with supreme confidence that the Microsoft At Work cam-


paign would “unify PCs with the telephone, FAX and copier.” Yeah, right. My phone, fax and copier still don’t get along. Maybe the new Microsoft CEO will pay for group counseling? Still, Myhrvold’s hits dwarf his misses. Other Myhrvold memos, analyzed by Ken Auletta in a May 12, 1997, New Yorker profile, reiterated the death-of-the-middleman themes etched in “Road Kill.” He correctly predicted the demise of Egghead Software and Tower Records in the face of online competition, but in an uncharacteristic miscue, he pooh-poohed the Internet “hype.” Myhrvold cheerfully conceded his fallibility to Auletta: “When you predict the technological future, as I do, you basically are like an insurance salesman, futures trader or gambler.” As a historic document, “Road Kill on the Information Highway” deserves your attention. But its underlying message about exponential effects of modern technology remains so timeless that new CEO Nadella should keep a copy on his smartphone for inspiration, highlighting this memento mori codicil: “Our own industry is also doomed, and will be one of the more significant carcasses by the side of the information highway.” l

Oil prices mixed Europe and India: new destinations for Colombian oil in Asian trade n Reuters

n AFP, Singapore US oil prices remained above $100 a barrel in Asian trade yesterday on stronger demand, but trading was subdued ahead of new Fed chief Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress. New York’s main futures contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in March, was down five cents to $100.01 a barrel in mid-morning trade, but was see-sawing in volatile trade. WTI closed above $100 on Monday, bolstered by falling US inventories which indicate bigger demand. l

Colombia, which in recent years stole market share from other Latin American countries exporting crude to the United States, is now finding itself diverting oil to distant markets like India and Europe as US imports slide. After tripling its oil sales to the United States between 2007 and 2012 to 403,000 barrels per day (bpd) and displacing Ecuador and Brazil, Colombia’s shipments to the North slid 6.5% last year, the first drop in six years, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). At the same time, Colombian oil

AFC Agro stock sees a flying start n Tribune Business Desk

sales in 2013 to China rose 73% to $3.84bn. Exports to India more than doubled to $2.71bn and shipments to Italy, Switzerland and United Kingdom climbed, Colombia’s statistics office said. “U.S. demand for all Latin American crudes has declined and they are being replaced by cheaper Canadian ones. But Colombian ones have lost market share much faster because of quality issues,” a trader who places Latin American grades told Reuters. Colombia’s move to diversify its oil exports away from North America comes relatively late. Well before the US onshore production boom started

eroding demand for imports, leftist leaders in Venezuela and Ecuador started sending ships to China for ideological reasons in credit-for-oil deals. But Colombia’s export blends were tailored for the US market. Offering them to far-off consumers makes logistics more challenging and could lower the price Colombia can command. Colombian oil companies blend a big portion of their heavy crudes with naphtha, a lightening agent, to produce grades such as heavy Castilla and medium Vasconia that once were highly popular among US refiners. But the US shale revolution recon-

figured the diet for refiners by flooding them with light crudes and condensates - which refineries prefer to mix with well-known heavy crudes, like Canadian or Latin American benchmark Mexican Maya. “Traditional heavy crudes are better to combine with lighter crudes, instead of blends,” a source from a US refiner said. Venezuela also produces blends by mixing the Orinoco Belt’s extra-heavy crudes with heavy naphtha, though its refining branch in the United States, Citgo, is taking most of them, so it does not have to resort to offering them on the open market. l

Banglalink today celebrates eight years of operation, becoming the fastest growing mobile phone company in Bangladesh. According to officials, those eight years were successful for Banglalink Digital Communications Ltd, a sister concern of the Russian VimpelCom. As of 2013, the operator has base of 2.93 crore adding about 10,000 every day after the launch, data showed. In February 12, 2005, the operator ventured into a nascent market offering a call rate half the amount others were charging. Such call rates attracted the lowerincome people to subscribe, making Banglalink the second largest operator in the country in terms of active users, believe the company officials. “We are very close to reach 3 crore subscribers, which within next one month might be achieved,” Ziad Shatara, chief executive officer of Banglalink, told the Dhaka Tribune on the eve of the celebration. He said they had conducted study on the market every month and every quarter. “The customers are satisfied with us, and we are growing faster.” Banglalink said the celebration would not be a luxurious party, but wanted to congratulate its customers. VimpelCom is one of the world’s largest integrated telecommunications services operators providing voice and data services. l

Dollar dips n AFP, Singapore

The dollar eased against the euro and yen in Asian trade yesterday as investors cautiously await US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen’s inaugural testimony to Congress. The euro rose to $1.3667 in Singapore mid-morning trade from 1.3642 in New York late Monday. The dollar also eased to 102.15 Japanese yen from 102.18 yen. The euro bought 139.64 yen from 139.46 yen. Japanese financial markets are closed Tuesday for a public holiday. French bank Credit Agricole said markets were “taking on the appearance of grounding to a halt” ahead of Yellen’s first semi-annual testimony on the state of the US economy and monetary policy to Congress later Tuesday. l


BRAC Bank Limited has recently inaugurated an Apon Shomoy outlet, a dedicated customer service centre at Citygroup factory premises in Rupganj, Narayanganj. Syed Mahbubur Rahman, the bank’s managing director and CEO and Fazlur Rahman, chairperson of Citygroup, inaugurated the outlet that will provide the company’s employees banking services at their convenience

IDLC Finance Limited has recently signed an agreement with Dutch Development Bank, FMO for a $20m 5 year term loan. Under this agreement, FMO will provide IDLC Finance funds to invest in SME, consumer and corporate client segments to meet their longer term funding requirements

The induction ceremony of the training on foundation course in banking for 10th batch probationary officers of Social Islami Bank Limited was held at the training institute of the bank recently. Managing director Md Shafiqur Rahman was present in the programme as chief guest

Md Mozibar Rahman, MD of BRB Polymer Ltd, Md Parvez Rahman, MD of BRB Cable Industries Ltd, Md Shamsur Rahman, MD MRS Industries Ltd and Md Mizber Rahman, MD of KIAM Metal Industries Ltd have received CIP (Industrial) award for the year 2013 from Minister Amir Hossain Amu at the Ministry of Industries at BIAM auditorium in Dhaka yesterday in recognition of their outstanding performances in line with the CIP Policy (Industrial) 2012

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited was awarded the best pavilion prize of the month long Dhaka International Trade Fair 2014. Tofail Ahmed, minister for commerce handed over the prize to AKM Abdul Malek Chowdhury, the bank’s deputy managing director at a ceremony held on Monday at the fair premises

The 565th meeting of the Executive Committee of Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited was held recently at the bank’s head office. The meeting was presided over by Alhaj Mohammad Younus, the committee’s chairperson



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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

India warns US about dumping investigation in solar trade spat n Reuters, New Delhi India said yesterday it was investigating US policies supporting solar panel makers, the latest move in an escalating row over renewable energy that has worsened already strained ties between the two countries. The Obama administration said on Monday it was filing a second case at the World Trade Organisation over the domestic content requirements in India’s solar programme, which aims to ease chronic energy shortages in Asia’s third-largest economy. US Trade Representative Michael Froman said making Indian solar developers use locally made equipment discriminated against US producers and could hinder the spread of solar power.

'We have clear evidence of 13 odd (US) states which follow equally restrictive policies as they challenge against us. So, we are examining those policies' Indian Trade Secretary Rajeev Kher said his country, too, had raised complaints about the United States at the WTO. “We have clear evidence of 13 odd (US) states which follow equally restrictive policies as they challenge against us,” Kher told reporters. “So, we are examining those policies.” Kher said India was also probing possible dumping of solar equipment as well as China and a few other countries. The trade spat between India and the United States follows the recent arrest and strip search of a female Indian diplomat in New York in connection with visa fraud charges. The arrest prompted retaliatory measures against US diplomats in India and plunged US-India relations to their lowest point since India tested a nuclear device in 1998. With general elections due by May, politicians are under pressure to show that they do not pander to US interests. As coal and gas shortages and populist tariff regimes hobble the

performance of thermal power stations, Indian solar equipment manufacturers such as Moser Baer India Ltd and Welspun Energy want to expand their capacity. India has argued its solar policies are legal under WTO government procurement rules and last year imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese and Indonesian solar equipment firms. In addition to the United States, China and Indonesia, Indian solar power producers import equipment from Malaysia and Germany, industry officials said.

Looking locally

The United States has twice in the past year sought a consultation at the WTO - the first stage in a dispute process that can lead to sanctions - over India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which aims to double the country’s renewable energy capacity by 2017. New Delhi last year invited bids from firms to set up projects with a capacity of 750 megawatts to further expand the solar programme. The government, however, said locally made content had to be used to generate half of this new capacity. The US International Trade Commission is scheduled to hold a hearing into complaints of trade barriers erected by India today and on Thursday. US environmental groups have urged the Obama administration to back off from any WTO action, arguing that building up India’s solar power industry will help it cut high greenhouse gas emissions. But the administration has come under growing pressure from lawmakers and business groups to take a tougher stance on perceived Indian protectionist measures and intellectual property rights abuses by Indian drug companies. There are 14 past or current WTO cases between India and the United States, whose bilateral trade in goods measured $63.7bn last year, not including the latest case. “This action is a reflection of the growing stress in the India-US trade relations and both sides are expected to take a tough stance,” said DH Pai Panandiker, president of New Delhibased think tank RPG Foundation. “The two nations have large markets and I hope they will be able to sort out these irritants.” l

India says to respond to US trade action at WTO n Reuters

India's Trade Minister Anand Sharma gestures as he speaks with the media after interacting with students at a college in Mumbai REUTERS

US takes India to WTO on solar energy n AFP, Washington

The United States said Monday it was taking India to the WTO to open up its solar industry, raising a new dispute weeks after a bitter feud over a diplomat’s arrest. The United States asked for talks under the World Trade Organisation to change India’s requirements for the use of domestic content as part of the energy-hungry country’s ambitious plan to boost solar power.

I think it sends a very damaging signal for the industry at a time when, if anything, we should be working to support the industry, essentially, at a wartime footing “This kind of discrimination is against WTO rules and we are determined to stand up for US workers and businesses,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters. Froman insisted that the action was consistent with calls by President Barack Obama’s administration to work with India on renewable energy. The world’s two largest democracies have both identified climate change as a major area for cooperation. “Domestic content requirements detract from successful cooperation

on clean energy and actually impede India’s deployment of solar energy by raising the cost,” Froman said. Under the WTO process, the Geneva-based body would set up talks between the United States and India to find a solution. If the consultations do not succeed within 30 days, the United States could ask the WTO to set up a panel to settle the dispute. The move comes after US authorities in December arrested a New Yorkbased Indian diplomat on charges of underpaying her servant and lying on the worker’s visa application, setting off one of the worst rifts in years between the countries. The row abated a month ago when the diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, was allowed to return to India just as she was indicted. Indian lawmakers and commentators accused US authorities of humiliating the diplomat through a strip-search. Froman said that the Obama administration considered discussion of disputes part of “maturing” trade ties and that Monday’s action “in no way detracts from the importance we attach to this relationship” with India. An attorney at the US Trade Representative’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that WTO cases take time to complete and that the timing was not linked to other issues in US-India ties.

Major investment at stake

India is the biggest foreign market after Japan for the US solar industry, which supports an estimated 12,000 jobs but whose domestic growth has been in question. The United States has also taken aim at China, accusing Beijing of

unfairly subsidizing green technology and dumping certain solar cells into the US market. Justin Guay of the Sierra Club environmental group said that the latest action had “no rhyme or reason” as it comes at a time that the United States is trying to protect its own solar industry. “I think it sends a very damaging signal for the industry at a time when, if anything, we should be working to support the industry, essentially, at a war-time footing,” he said. The action marks the second time that the United States has sought WTO consultations over India’s solar program. Environmental groups criticized the previous challenge in February 2013, saying that a robust domestic solar industry in India was critical for global efforts to combat climate change. The two countries held consultations under the WTO last year, but Washington held off on further action as it had hoped that a second phase of India’s solar program would address its concerns. India has some of the world’s most ambitious goals for solar energy, with plans for the world’s largest plant at Sambhar in the desert state of Rajasthan. Since 2010, India’s solar power capacity has grown from just 17.8 megawatts to more than 2,000, with a target of 20,000 megawatts of grid-connected solar power by 2022. India has reduced costs by using cheap solar technology, mostly from China. The Indian embassy did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Monday’s action. l

India said yesterday it will respond to any US trade action, a day after Washington said it would take India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in order to gain a bigger foothold for US manufacturers in its fast-growing solar products market. “India will respond at the WTO adequately,” Trade Minister Anand Sharma told reporters. “We may also have some issues with them with regard to solar. We may also have an application or may move the WTO.” The Obama administration said on Monday it was filing its second case at the WTO over the domestic content requirements in India’s massive solar program, which aims to ease chronic energy shortages in Asia’s third-largest economy. l

USTR has not warned India about threatened trade enforcement action n Reuters The US trade representative has not warned India about a threatened trade enforcement action linked to the country and due to be announced later on Monday, India’s trade minister said. Anand Sharma told reporters on Monday he had not been informed about the move, which could further rile ties after an incident last year involving the arrest and strip-search of an Indian consul.

Last week, the US Chamber of Commerce called on Washington to ratchet up pressure on India over intellectual property rights US Trade Representative Michael Froman will discuss the action at a news conference at 2 pm (1900 GMT), his office said on Sunday night. The Office of the US Trade Representative said it could offer no additional details. Last week, the US Chamber of Commerce called on Washington to ratchet up pressure on India over intellectual property rights, reflecting US corporate anger at Indian companies that produce cheap generic versions of medicines. l

FT: Eurozone watchdog says some banks should go under n Reuters

An Indian model poses on a Mahindra racing motorcycle during the public opening day of the 12th Indian Auto Expo in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi on Feb 7. Global car manufacturers jostled for attention at the opening of the Indian Auto Expo, attempting to revive buyers' interest in a local market that is contracting for the first time in a decade AFP

Some of the euro zone’s lenders have no future and should be allowed to go under if they fail a health check, the bloc’s new banking supervisor told the Financial Times, underscoring a tougher approach to banking oversight. Daniele Nouy told the newspaper that if any of the region’s participating banks fail the European Central Bank’s comprehensive assessment then they could be wound down, and that merging them in order to save them was not an option. “We have to accept that some banks have no future,” Nouy, head of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), told the FT. “We have to let some banks disappear in an orderly fashion, and not necessarily try to merge them with other institutions.” Nouy’s comments echo ECB President Mario Draghi’s speech at Davos in January, in which he said banks that are found to be unviable by the asset quality review and stress tests this year should be shut down. The SSM oversight is part of a push for closer integration of the banking system to avert future crises. Before it starts its supervisory role in November it is running the rule over the balance sheets of the bloc’s 128 biggest banks. The banks will also be put through a stress test to see how they hold up in shock scenarios. The results will published in October, showing whether a bank meets a required capital threshold. “I do not have any idea of how many banks have to fail,” Nouy told the FT.

“What I know is that we want to have the highest level of quality. A failure of a bank may happen.”

We have to let some banks disappear in an orderly fashion, and not necessarily try to merge them with other institutions “We are well equipped to face whatever situation we encounter in the exercise,” she told the paper.

Swedish banks

Nouy’s appointment comes as the ECB is putting its credibility on the line after past tests failed to root out problems, notably in Ireland’s banking sector. ECB is handling the balance sheet review and the stress tests itself, bypassing national regulators and challenging banks directly over their figures. The checks will include subsidiaries of banking groups outside the bloc, including Sweden’s SEB. Sweden’s finance minister Anders Borg said he was not concerned about the country’s banks, but he conceded that some banks in Europe would be found to not have enough capital. “If these are smaller regional banks, I do not think this will pose any significant problem. But you will have to accept that a number of banks will be subject to a bail-in, or that they will be restructured,” Borg told reporters in the Swedish town of Linkoping. l

12 February 2014  
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