Falgun 6, 1420 Rabius Saani 17, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 1 No 326
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014 | www.dhakatribune.com | SECOND EDITION
TMAG | ON THE PATH OF KNOWLEDGE
7 | THE ICC AND OUR POLITICS
Dhaka off money laundering list
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9 | TEHELKA EDITOR IN RAPE CASE
13 | MAN CITY ON GUARD
ONLY FOOLS RUSH IN
FATF clearance will lower trade costs n Asif Showkat Kallol Bangladesh has come out of the FATF grey list of poor performers in anti-money laundering activities after five years, clearing its name as a risk country in terms of stability and solidarity in international economy. A planetary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on February 13 in Paris made the decision in favour of Bangladesh. Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday said the international trade cost, which was now above 1%, would cut by 0.5% and the country’s export volume would rise because of the exemption. “Bangladesh came out of the FATF grey list which is a great achievement for the newly elected government,” Muhith told a press conference at the Finance Division auditorium. The government has so far addressed a large portion of its action plans, which include enacting the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2009 and amending the Anti-Terrorism Act 2009, to ensure international standards. Muhith said a national taskforce was also reviewing the anti-money laundering activities every two months
‘Al-Qaeda clip’ uploaded from US n Muhammad Zahidul Islam The so-called al-Qaeda audio clip on Bangladesh that has created concerns was uploaded from Arizona of the US, officials say. A top public relations official of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulator Commission (BTRC) wishing anonymity confirmed this to the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. The telecom regulator has also asked the International Internet Gateway (IIG) operators to monitor the matter. In a letter, the BTRC asked Google to withdraw the clip from the web. A website named “Jihadology” posted the clip on January 14. The site is hosted at a domain located in the US. It came into light on Saturday. Through the audio message (in Arabic with English subtitles) uploaded in video format (having still photos in footage), al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Bangladeshi Muslims to fight against secularists and “atheists.” The website said the video message titled “Bangladesh: A Massacre behind a Wall of Silence” was presented by “As-Sahab Media.” According to “Jihadology,” the clip PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
and the government had established a financial intelligence unit at the Bangladesh Bank. “We have been on the FATF grey list for the last five years and Bangladesh would have been included in the black list if we had failed to make it out of the grey list,” said Muhith. Bank and Financial Institution Division Secretary Dr Aslam Alam, who was present at the press conference, the government had completed the action plan of the FATF International Cooperation Review Group last October, as a result of which Bangladesh had been taken off the grey list. “We will take this opportunity to bargain lowering the cost of opening letters of credit,” he said. In reply to a question, the banking secretary said it was true that Bangladesh might again be included in the grey list if the authorities concerned failed to execute the different anti-money laundering laws. Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman said the government would install software to detect any money laundering activities in the financial sector from March 3. PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
Jaywalkers cross the Sonargaon intersection in the capital yesterday. Although the intersection has an underpass for crossing the road safely, many people still prefer to risk their lives to make a quick getaway SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN
Upazila Parishad polls start tomorrow Bangladesh signs 2 PSCs for off shore exploration n POLLS IN 97 UPAZILAS Mohammad Zakaria
A two-week hectic campaign for the first-phase upazila election in 97 upazilas ended at midnight, with chairmen and vice-chairmen hopefuls making last-ditch efforts to woo voters ahead of the tomorrow’s poll. Almost in all polling areas a festive mood was prevailing and no major incident was reported till filing this report at 8pm. Both major political parties – Awami League and BNP – desperately tried to ensure single candidates in every upazila, but in many cases, they failed to do so. The ruling Awami League and the BNP expelled many of their rebel candidates from their parties, a move that created division among the grass roots. The ranks and files of the parties claimed that this sort of expulsion would have an impact on the poll result. Though this is a local body election, the Awami League and the BNP took it seriously to prove their popularity among the grass roots. Both parties are eyeing the firstphase upazila poll which they believe will help them adopt strategy to contest the other phases of election. In the last minute of their election-
February 19, 2014 Post
432 513 329
Chairman Vice-Chairman Reserved women Vice-Chairman Total Voters Polling centres Polling booths
1,274 1,64,78,172 6,995 43,290
Army deployed eering, the contenders brought allegations and counter-allegations against each other in different upazilas. The Election Commission, however, said the voting atmosphere was fine and law enforcers started keeping a constant vigil to avert any untoward situation. Though the BNP boycotted the January 5 polls, its local level leaders have been vying for the upazila elections and the central leaders campaigning in
Tigers skinned by 13 runs
Titas, AL, BNP men give illegal gas n Mazhar Uddin connection Bangladesh players had only themn Our Correspondent, Gazipur selves to blame after they displayed Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd disconnected several illegal connections in Kaliakoir of Gazipur yesterday. The drive began around 12noon in Mouchak Sadarchala and Lohakoir areas and ended around 3:30pm. Four units of Titas Gas under Gazipur, including the gas distribution units of Tongi and Motijheel, conducted PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
some immature cricket to succumb under pressure and gift Sri Lanka a 13-run victory in the first of the three-match ODI series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday. After roping the Lankans to 180 the home side had the worst possible start to their run-chase losing Anamul Haque, who poked at a ball outside off-stump to second slip, in the second delivery to Lasith Malinga. However, Shamsur Rahman and Mominul Haque steadied the ship and brought Bangladesh back on course for a comprehensive win. The left and right-handed combination of Mominul and Shamsur put on 79 and were impressive in their approach. They took their time and settled in before staging some glorious cuts and drives on both sides of the field. Mominul on 44 off 52 looked more in song with already stroking seven fours, but his powerful square cut off Thisara Perera went straight to point, denying him a fifty. However, Shamsur PAGE 2 COLUMN 3
favour of the party-backed candidates to ensure their victory which they believe will fuel to intensify their upcoming movement. In the last upazila elections in 2009, Awami League-backed candidates won around 400 chairmen posts while the BNP-backed candidates boycotted the polls. The EC has taken all kinds of preparations for holding the poll tomorrow in a free and fair manner in 97 upazilas under 40 districts. The commission had already announced the schedule of upazila poll which would be held in four phases. The commission would announce this week the schedule of fifth phase’s poll, Election Commissioner Md Shah Newaz said. A total of 1,274 candidates are vying for the poll for three posts in 97 upazilas. Of them, 432 candidates are contesting the chairman post, 513 vice-chairman post and 329 reserved women vice-chairman post. Of 1,64,78,172 voters, 81,91,537 are male and 82,86,635 female, and they will be voting in 97 upazila polls. The commission has set up 6,995 polling centres and 43,290 polling booths for the polls. PAGE 2 COLUMN 3
B1 The microcredit regulator has for the first time formulated a guideline on writing off bad loans for micro-finance institutions.
5 The future of the proposed multilane underground tunnel from the capital’s Jahangir Gate to Rokeya Sarani is facing uncertainty
6 Around 20 drug cartels in Lalmonirhat are using women living near the border to carry illegal drugs into the country in a bid to dodge law enforcement agencies.
MISS THE CATCH, LOSE THE MATCH: Bangladesh spinner Shohag Gazi drops Sri Lankan batsman Thisara Perera at the long on boundary off Arafat Sunny at the SBNS yesterday. The hosts dropped three catches to pave the way of their defeat AFP
11 What is it about America and Bangladesh? At times one thinks they look through binoculars but forget to take the lens caps off and see only a reflection of their own geopolitical projections.
n Aminur Rahman Rasel Bangladesh signed two deals with India’s state-owned ONGC Videsh Limited and Oil India Limited yesterday in a bid to start oil and gas exploration in two offshore shallow blocks in the Bay of Bengal. The government and Petrobangla jointly signed the production sharing contract (PSC) for the shallow blocks 4 and 9 under the fourth round of model PSC. The two Indian companies – the first from the neighbouring country to pen deals with Bangladesh for offshore drilling – would invest total $144.8m for the two blocks. “We will be able to decrease the energy crisis if we find gas from offshore wells. In future we will go with more contract agreements,” said Finance Minister AMA Muhith who was present as chief guest at the signing ceremony at the city’s Petrobangla office. “To ensure our energy security we have to drill more wells,” Muhith added. DK Sarraf, managing director of ONGC Videsh Limited, told the Dhaka
Tribune: “In upcoming winter we will start 2D seismic survey in offshore. The deals have been signed today [yesterday] will be a 50-50 share in investment with two Indian companies. “The company is exploring hydrocarbon to ensure energy security,” he said.
Two Indian companies would invest total $144.8m for the two blocks India’s ONGC and Oil India have offered to invest $58.4m to conduct 2D-seismic survey of 2,700 line-km, 3D-seismic survey of a 200sq-km area and drill two wells in block 4. They have also offered to invest $86.4m to conduct 2D survey of 2,850 line-km, 3D survey of a 300sq-km area in block 9 and drill three wells. According to the deal, the government’s profit-sharing ratio of two blocks will be 60%-85% for gas and 70%-90% for oil. PAGE 2 COLUMN 4
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
PM: Find those behind Zawahiri tape n Mohosinul Karim Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked the ministers and officials concerned to investigate and find out who was responsible for the publishing of an audio clip featuring al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri which surfaced on the internet recently. Expressing her concern, the premier said it was too embarrassing for the government, and added that the persons behind the audio clip must be identified soon, as there could be pressure on the government. The PM had given the directive at a cabinet meeting held at the secretariat yesterday, several ministers who attended the meeting told the Dhaka Tribune on condition of anonymity.
They also quoted the premier as saying Bangladesh wanted to prove that there was not a single member of al-Qaeda, an international militant organisation, in the country. “Though the intelligence agencies of the country have already assured the government that there is no al-Qaeda member in the country, it must be confirmed. If there is any presence, tough steps will be taken against them, to save the government from international pressure. The government is also committed to preventing militancy,” the ministers quoted the premier as saying. The discussion on the issue took a long time in the cabinet meeting, but it ended without making any specific decision, a minister said on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the intelligence agencies, including the police and Rapid Action Battalion, have started investigating the issue. Following a meeting at the home ministry yesterday, Mokhlesur Rahman, director general of the RAB, told reporters: “It is a sensitive issue for our country. It may take time to find out who the individuals are behind the message. We are scrutinising all the information we have received from different sources.” The meeting was organised to discuss the preparations for managing the law and order situation ahead of February 21, the International Mother Language Day. State Minister for Home Affairs Asadauzzaman Khan Kamal, who chaired the
meeting, said the preparations and deployment of forces would remain as planned. Regarding the initiative concerning the audio clip of al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri, the state minister said the government had taken some steps in this regard. The law enforcement and intelligence agencies had already started their investigation, he said. He expressed hope that it would be possible to prevent the miscreants from perpetrating any subversive activities. “There is nothing to be worried about. This is not Pakistan or Afghanistan, this is Bangladesh. The people of the country will prevent them from doing such activities, as Bangladeshi’s are believers in religion, but are not blind on religious issues,” the state minister added. l
153 MPs elected uncontested on Allah’s will: AL MP n Tribune Report A ruling party lawmaker yesterday said 153 MPs were elected uncontested in the 10th parliamentary polls according to the "will of Allah." While delivering a speech on the president’s address in parliament, Shamsul Haque Chowdhury also said he would resign from his seat if BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who talks about Islam, could read elementary Arabic, such as the Ampara. At the outset of his speech, the MP from Chittagong read out a verse from Sura Al Emran of the Holy Quran that says: “Allah gives someone the chair and also snatches the chair”. “Allah has given Sheikh Hasina the
chair, she has become the prime minister as Allah has desired,” Shamsul said. “As Allah saved Sheikh Hasina from the August 21 grenade attack, none can kill her.” “Allah has snatched your (Khaleda) chair,” he added. On Rawshan Ershad becoming the leader of the opposition, Shamsul, who was once an MP from Ershad’s Jatiya Party, said: “Why would she be the opposition leader? She has become what Allah has desired.” Observing that the present atmosphere in the house was “very calm and friendly”, he said: “Here the women MPs are not using abusive words, the inter-personal relations among the MPs is good. We want this sort of parliament.” l
Fakhrul: al-Qaeda rhetorics baseless n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla
Condemning the government for implicating the party with al-Qaeda, the BNP on Sunday alleged that such attempts were “baseless and politically motivated.” The party also accused the government of trying to rope in the US in its favour by using the “al-Qaeda audio clip” issue. “The government has adopted a strategy to bring close the international community including the USA which was not in good terms with it,” Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, acting secretary general of BNP told journalists at a presser at the party’s Nayapaltan office yesterday. “In parliament, [Awami League lawmaker] Sheikh Selim pointed finger at the United States saying if one wanted to take a stance against terrorism and militancy, that stance should have to be in favour of the Awami League. This was the purpose of the whole propaganda [of linking BNP with al-Qaeda],”
Fakrul alleged. He warned that it might be possible to wash people’s eyes by forcing media to publish “untrue” reports, but the world opinion cannot be played with. He also claimed that all the international anti-terrorism and anti-militancy treaties that Bangladesh was signatory to, were signed during the tenure of the BNP-led government. Fakrul ridiculed Agriculture Minister Matia Chowhdury, who said al-Qaeda chief Zawahari visited Bangladesh three times under BNP-Jamaat’s supervision. “Who will believe that the chief of an international militant organisation visited Bangladesh three times without the local and foreign media knowing about it? “Why did Matia Chowdhury keep this information secret for such a long time?” He alleged that by associating BNP with al-Qaeda, the government had been trying to cover up for the criticism that it had faced from the international community and rights bodies for ab-
ducting and killing the BNP leaders and activists and the religious scholars. Fakhrul criticised the government for linking BNP and al-Qaeda without still being able to confirm whether the much-talked-about video clip was actually Zawahiri’s or not. “It has become clear that the [government’s] target is to wipe out BNP.” “The country should come together in the event of an international terrorist threat. But the government is not treading that path; instead it is trying to spread propaganda against the biggest political party of the country,” he told reporters. When the US Senate was criticising the situation in Bangladesh and the election that took place, the government had hatched a conspiracy against BNP to lead everyone’s attention astray. In an audio clip said to have been from al-Qaeda chief Zawahiri, circulated widely on mainstream and social media over the last few days, a call was set out for the Islamists in Bangladesh to resist all “anti-Islam” forces. l
A Bangladesh Navy vessel launches a missile during an annual exercise. The navy completed its 16-day long annual exercise yesterday which began on February 2 under the code name 'Exercise Sea Thunder 2014.' Every year the annual exercise is organised as part of strengthening the naval capabilities in sea warfare PID
Upazila polls: Jamaat fails to convince BNP n Manik Miazee
Even though Jamaat-e-Islami claims that the BNP-led 19-party alliance gave support to its chairman candidates in 27 upazilas, it has been found that they got support only in three. The alliance decided to contest the non-partisan upazila polls jointly, but they failed to field single candidate in the 27 upazilas where voting will take place tomorrow. Jamaat, whose party registration was annulled last year, tried desperately to convince the BNP to support it in
some more upazilas. However, the BNP grassroots expressed strong reservations and stood against the Jamaat contenders in many upazilas. Though the Jamaat leaders said on record that this would not have any impact on the national politics, some leaders, seeking anonymity, said the relation between the two parties would be hampered since the BNP had not shown a "friendly" manner. “The BNP suddenly withdrew the support to us, and extended it to their candidates. They did not keep their word. Our candidates will fight
the polls,” Alamgir Hossain, nayeb-eameer of Bogra district Jamaat, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. The Jamaat-backed aspirants got the alliance’s support in Jaintapur of Sylhet, Atgharia of Pabna and Mithapukur of Rangpur. Earlier, the alliance extended its support to the Jamaat candidates in Nandigram, Sherpur and Dhupchapia upazilas of Bogra. But, due to pressure from the grassroots, it later backtracked and extended support to BNP men to contest the chairman posts. Fakhrul Islam, acting secretary of
Jamaat’s Sylhet City unit, said they had tried their best to ensure single candidate in every upazila. "But the BNP was very reluctant to give us any seats. “Even they did not want to give us the seats where Jamaat leaders are incumbent chairmen,” he sais. Nurul Islam Bulbul, Jamaat’s Central Executive Committee member, said they had failed to ensure a single candidate, due to inter-alliance feud. “I cannot say specifically anything about the candidates without first seeing the list. But it will not harm us in national politics,” he said. l
‘Al-Qaeda clip’ uploaded from US Tigers skinned by 13 runs PAGE 1 COLUMN 1
was taken from “alfidaa.info,” which is hosted in Kuala Lumpur. The government on Sunday claimed to have blocked “jihadology.net” in Bangladesh but it could be viewed from Dhaka yesterday too.
The telecom regulator has also requested the National Telecom Monitoring Centre (NTMC) – maintained by the Armed Forces Division – to track down the source of the audio message and confirm whether it is real of false. l
Dhaka off money laundering list PAGE 1 COLUMN 2
He pointed out that the government had already raised the number of reporting agencies – such as the stock market and NGOs – for detecting money laundering activities. The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has signed memorandums of understanding with 16 foreign FIUs and obtained membership of the Egmont Group, which meets regularly to collaborate information exchange,
training and expertise sharing. The government has taken steps to strengthen the FIU and ensure its operational independence. To enhance inter-agency information and cooperation, primary contact points have been established in 21 ministries, divisions and agencies. In November last year, a team of the Asia-Pacific Regional Review Group of the FATF made a two-day visit to Dhaka to verify the measures taken. l
Titas, AL, BNP men PAGE 1 COLUMN 1
the drive, said Titas Gas Manager in Chandra area AM Saiful Islam. “We have found 76 illegal connection spots in Chandra area. More than 200 gas connections were provided from each of the spots,” the official said adding that they had snapped 60 feet of connection line in each of three spots. The drive would continue, he said. Resident of Mouchak Sadarchala area Mridha Asaduzzaman said: “Leaders of both the Awami League and the BNP have provided the illegal connections in exchange of money. Officials of Kaliakoir police station and people claiming themselves as local journalists also have complicity in distribution of these connections.” Shipon Miazee of Bhannara Dhopachala area said he had to give Tk25,000 for pipes and Tk45,000 for a gas riser to Abdur Razzak of Mouchak area. Rabin Chandra Barman said he had given Tk1.5 lakh for the gas riser which connects the subscriber with the main line.
Locals also said Uzzal, Parvez, Kalim Uddin of Bhannara, and Shahidul, Zakir and Jabbar of Mouchak took Tk1.5 lakh for each gas riser and extra money for pipe depending on distance from the main line. The local people admitted that they had opted for the illegal connection as “the authorised connections take more time.” They also accused the Titas officials and staff of awarding the connections. Titas would take departmental actions against its officials and staff if the allegation of taking bribe for providing illegal gas connections were proved, Saiful said. Gazipur Executive Magistrate ANM Badruddoza said: “The drive of disconnecting illegal gas connections has been ongoing for the last few months. We are sealing off every point of illegal connections.” He also said the administration was taking legal actions against the people who had complicity with illegal gas connection.l
AL MP condemns killing of Panama Faruk by RAB n Our Correspondent, Barisal Awami League lawmaker Shawkat Hossain Hiron has condemned the recent killing of Jubo League leader Faruk Ahmed, alias Panama Faruk, during a ‘gunfight’ with RAB members in Barisal last Monday. Hiron, also the Barisal city unit president of the Awami League, made the statement while addressing a special extended meeting of the city unit’s ex-
ecutive committee, in the district town yesterday morning. He also refuted claims, by law enforcers, that Faruk was a top criminal and was accused in more than a dozen cases, including murder, extortion, toll collection. Urging law enforcers not to make any false statements against any innocent citizens, Hiron expressed hope that no other AL activist would be killed in such a way.` l
Earlier, Bangladesh won the toss in the 43-over curtailed game and did everything right to enjoy the upper hand until they lost focus. Tamim Iqbal (neck sprain) and Mashrafe bin Mortaza (ankle) were sidelined with injuries, but Rubel and Al Amin gave the perfect start to the Tigers by claiming the top three visiting batsmen – Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sangakkara – inside 10 overs. The Tigers were on a roll as Shakib trapped debutant Priyanjan leg-before with an arm delivery before a terrific fielding effort in covers saw him runout the Sri Lankan vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal. Arafat Sunny, on debut, bagged his maiden wicket when he cleaned up Matthews followed by the wicket of Nuwan Kulasekara.
Even a “fielder” Mushfiq was on his toes as his direct hit dismissed Kithuruwan Vithanage leaving the islanders reeling on 67/8. Sunny could have had his third victim, but Gazi dropped Thisara on the long-on boundary which literally opened the flood gates. Thisara, the only recognised batsman left, smashed some lusty blows while the Bangladesh fielding standard also dropped immensely. He later survived two more catches to Nasir Hossain and Shakib while No. 10 Sachithra Senanayake was also dropped by Mahmudullah at slips. Thisara, man of the match, remained unbeaten on 80 as the pair added 82 runs for the ninth wicket which took Sri Lanka to 180, a score they successfully defended. l
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next was beyond expectation of the home fans. Shakib al Hasan (3) fell to an unnecessary run-out while Nasir Hossain (8), Mahmudullah (0) and Sohag Gazi (6) also returned cheaply as Mushfiqur Rahim could only stand and watch from the other end. Pressure was creeping on the captain and he too rather than trying to stick till the last ball fancied an innovative shot. He was the ninth wicket to fall trying to move past the off-stump and scoop Angelo Mathews which ended as an easy catch behind the wicket. With 18 runs away from victory it was only a matter of time for the Sri Lankans to wrap it up and another silly calling between Rubel Hossain and debutant Al Amin Hossain resulted in a run-out, ending Bangladesh’s hope on 167.
UP polls start tomorrow
Bangladesh signs 2 PSCs for offshore exploration
did not hold back and after two back to back fours off Malinga in the 16th over, he struck two sixes in the next over to land his fifty. Shamsur was opening up and was middling the ball very nicely as even his miss-hits fetched him boundaries. He skied one over mid-off, which landed in a no-man zone, and an easy two however cost his wicket in a very controversial call from the third umpire. While grounding the bat, it got stuck before the crease and even though it was not clear whether his foot was in air when Kumar Sangakkara dislodged the bells, Anisur Rahman gave the decision in favour of the visitors. At 114 for three, Bangladesh were still the favourites but what happened
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The commission yesterday deployed army in every upazila in the first-phase poll and one platoon army has been deployed in every upazila. Border Guard Bangladesh has been deployed from Sunday. The other law enforcement agencies will also be deployed in the upazila polls. However, our Chandpur correspondent reported that rebel Awami League candidate in Kachua upazila barricaded the road and the upazila became isolated from the rest of the country for around two hours, demanding that a single candidate be immediately picked up from the upazila to vie for the election. Witnesses said supporters of rebel Awami League candidate Shahjahan Shisir and vice-chairman candidate Nazmul Alam Swapan cut trees and barricaded the road. He threatened that the road would be barricaded till announcement of a single candidate in Kachua upazila. In the upazila, Ayub Ali got the party blessing for the chairman post. l
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For both of the blocks, the contract period is eight year each, with the first five years as initial exploration period and rest are subsequent exploration period. The companies would be obligated to use the maximum Bangladeshi working hands, which will be gradually increased to 50% during exploration and to 90% by the 10th production year. The cost recovery will be maximum 55% per year of available petroleum. No cost recovery of expense and provision of compensation would be available if there is negligence from the contractor. The contractors cannot claim compensation if petroleum operation is suspended because of dispute, according to the deal. If the company goes into commercial operation, then Bapex on behalf of the government will bear 10 percent of the total investment cost. Earlier, Energy and Mineral Resources Division Secretary Md Mozammel Haque Khan said: “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.” Three years ago, Bangladesh had signed deals to drill two deep sea blocks with ConocoPhillips, while international biddings were called under the PSC in 1993, 1997 and 2008. Meanwhile, Dhaka University’s Geology Professor Badrul Imam told the Dhaka Tribune that the deal for the two offshore wells would help meet future gas crisis. “Since independence, 19 wells have been drilled offshore, but gas was only found in two fields, Sangu and Kutubdia,” he said. Sangu operations were closed and field was declared abandoned last October and Kutubdia operations were shut down few years back. “Bapex will need to build its capacity to drill wells with its manpower by learning from the companies who are now drilling the wells,” Imam said, adding that Bapex alone was currently not
capable of drilling as the technology was complicated and the expenditure was three times higher than onshore. “This is a risky venture to drill offshore wells. For this reason, many companies do not want to take the risk. But one day our government has to take the challenge,” the geology teacher also said. Senior Assistant secretary for Energy and Mineral Resources Division Khadiza Naznin, Secretary of Petrobangla Imam Hossain, Secretary of Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (Bapex) Md Abdus Sabur, Head of Geo-Science and Business Development of ONGC Videsh Ltd NR Hazarika and Oil India Ltd General Manager (Geology), BD Asia Pacific, AJ Duggal signed the deals on behalf of their respective sides. Prime minister’s Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, and Energy and Mineral Resources Division Secretary Md Mozammel Haque Khan attended the programme.l
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
PADMA BRIDGE PROJECT
Muhith: Big sums of forex needed for next year n Asif Showkat Kallol The government will be needing healthy sums of foreign currency in 2015 for paying the bills of the foreign contractors, who will by then start working on the construction of the Padma bridge, Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said. While addressing a press conference at the ministry yesterday, he said a small amount of money had already been allocated for this year for funding the construction of riverbank protection at the Janzira point. He, however, said the “big foreign contractors” were yet to sign any agreement for the construction work because the tender processes could not be completed within this year. “We will be needing the amount [foreign currency] after finishing the selection of foreign contractors,” he said. The minister also said state-run Agrani Bank had been tasked with raising $2.1bn from the money market in the next five fiscal years (2013-14 to FY2017-18). According to the Finance Division of the Ministry of Finance, around $200m
will be needed during the ongoing fiscal, $700m for the next, $600m for FY16, $500m for FY17 and $100m for FY18. The government will give these amounts to the Agrani Bank, who will pay the bills of the foreign contractors by purchasing foreign currency from the money market if needed. Also present at the press conference, Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman said if the Agrani Bank failed to amass enough foreign currency, the central bank would step in to settle the payments. The governor also said the central bank would be the guarantor for making the payments to the foreign contractors, in case Agrani Bank failed. Originally, the Padma bridge was supposed to be funded by the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Jica. But in 2012, the WB scrapped its $1.2bn financing deal with the government over alleged corruption conspiracy. The other donors soon followed the WB prompting the government to make a decision on implementing the project – said to the biggest ever development project in the country’s history – with its own fund. l
Supporters of a ‘rebel’ Awami League candidate for the Kachua Upazila Parishad in Chandpur blockade a road using tree logs
Hasina directs Most AL MPs defy Hasina over donation ministers to join n JS sessions
BNP-Jamaat violence caused Tk159cr damage
n Tribune Report
n Tribune Report
Emran Hossain Shaikh
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked all ministers, if they were staying in Dhaka, to assure their presence during the parliament sessions. She made the directive at the regular cabinet meeting yesterday, one of the ministers who attended the meeting told the Dhaka Tribune. The ministers were also asked to do their official work, if it was necessary, at their parliament office when the House resumes. The minister also said Finance Minister AMA Muhith came up with the Bangladesh Bank’s governor’s statement on the use of foreign exchange reserves for the construction of the Padma Bridge. Central bank Governor Atiur Rahman said the central bank would not make any direct disbursement from the foreign exchange reserve. It would instead provide support, so that the banks concerned faced no problems with collecting the foreign currency against the budget allocation, he added. The minister said the government was adamant it was going to construct the Padma Bridge from local finances, as most of the investors like the Jica and the World Bank were not interested in investing in the project. The finance minister said the expenditure of the project would come from local foreign exchange reserves, adding that it would not affect the foreign exchange reserves as the government would provide money from the budgetary allocations. Meanwhile, the premier also asked the agriculture minister and others concerned to take steps to save this year’s potato crop, and to assure its price. Atiur said they would remain alert so that there was no volatility in the inter-bank foreign exchange market once Agrani Bank started purchasing foreign currency for the project. The central bank also intended to make some advance payments to the contractor and the consultant, which will take most of the $200m foreign exchange required for this Fiscal Year. Hasina also suggested that the ministers concerned amend the Mobile Court Act, as it could contain some new provisions which could reduce crimes in the country. l
Awami League President Sheikh Hasina has expressed discontent after most of the party lawmakers, who were elected unopposed in the 10th national election, ignored her repeated calls for donating Tk10 lakh to party funds. In a meeting of the AL’s Election Steering Committee on December 21 last year, Hasina instructed the 127 party candidates to donate the amount to party funds, as they did not have to spend money to carry out campaigns. Following the January 5 poll, the Central Working Committee and the Parliamentary Party of the AL also discussed the issue and decided to collect the money. Among the 153 MPs elected unopposed, 127 were AL candidates. Several central leaders told the Dhaka Tribune that the party chief, at the last Central Working Committee meeting on February 12, expressed discontent with those MPs. The meeting discussed that the
shortage of party funds was an impediment to the smooth staging of programmes, such as outstanding venue fare at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
On December 21, Sheikh Hasina instructed the 127 lawmakers elected unopposed to donate Tk10 lakh to party funds The AL president enquired leaders on how to operate without the required donations, and asked the lawmakers concerned why they had refused to donate to the party despite earning enough money during the past five years, several leaders quoted Hasina as saying. In the last two days, this reporter contacted around 20 AL lawmakers who were elected unopposed. Most of
them said they were yet to donate the Tk10 lakh, but claimed that they would pay the money as early as possible as committed. Deputy Office Secretary Mrinal Kanti Das, who was also elected unopposed, refused to comment on the issue, and suggested to communicate with the party treasurer. About the donations, Treasurer HN Ashiqur Rahman yesterday said the unopposed MPs had a scope to pay less than the amount since it was optional. He said some 20 lawmakers had already paid the money while others would follow. “I went abroad and after my return I have been busy with the upazila polls in my constituency. So I cannot ensure the accurate figure of donation,” he said. “Over the phone, a number of MPs has shown interest to donate to the party fund,” said Ashiqur, who himself was elected unopposed, and claims that he donated Tk10 lakh at the initial stage. l
Survivor recalls brutality of Mir Kashem n Udisa Islam
A prosecution witness in a war crimes case yesterday said Jamaate-Islami leader Mir Kashem Ali had instructed al-Badr members to torture and kill Tuntu Sen and Ranjit Das among many others at Daleem Hotel in Chittagong City for supporting the independence of Bangladesh. In his hour-long deposition, fourth witness Sunil Kanti Bardhan alias Dulal told the war crimes tribunal: “I heard from detainees of Daleem Hotel that both Tuntu and Ranjit along with some others were killed on direction of Mir Kashem Ali.” The International Crimes Tribunal 2 led by Justice Obaidul Hassan recorded the testimony. Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah is the other member of the tribunal. Mir Kashem, the Jamaat-e-Islami Executive Council member, was on the dock. He is facing 14 charges of crimes against humanity he had committed during the war in Chittagong when he had been a commander of paramilitia force al-Badr that collaborated
with the Pakistani occupation army. The formal trial against him began on November 18 last year. Sunil said he had been caught at Chaktai of the town by the al-Badr men on a day in late November and taken to their camp at Dost Panjabi’s building of Chamrar Gudam area to collect information about freedom fighters.
Sunil gave a stunning description of how the al-Badr members had shot down the detainees and dumped their bodies The detainees were shot at a hanging latrine on the bank of Chaktai Canal and the bodies dumped in the water. Sunil said he had been taken to the latrine twice, but the al-Badr men did not kill him because they wanted to get information out of him. “On December 13, 1971, I noticed that the lights of the camp were being removed and an al-Badr member named Kamrul said they would transfer me to Daleem Hotel
and that Mir Kashem Ali will not spare me. “And finally on December 14, all the detainees were taken by a truck to Daleem Hotel where Mir Kashem asked us to give information about the freedom fighters.” There were many detainees in a room on the ground floor. “As we were not giving information, Mir Kashem threatened to kill us,” the witness said. Sunil’s mother, with the help of the then Chittagong College principal, managed al-Badr commander Shah Alam to free him from the camp on December 16, 1971. The other detainees were freed on that day too. After the end of his deposition, defence counsel Mizanul Islam began cross examining the witness. The case proceedings were adjourned until today. Also the Jamaat treasurer and key fancier of the party, Mir Kashem was arrested at the newspaper office in the capital on June 17, 2012. He is a director of Islami Bank Limited and chairman of Diganta Media Corporation that runs the daily Naya Diganta and Diganta Television. l
HC summons 2 state lawyers n Tribune Report The High Court yesterday summoned two state lawyers of a Dhaka court to explain why they had failed to produce a witness in a murder case. The two lawyers are Abdullah Abu Dewan Mohiddin. Fifteen days after a petition from the accused Datto Babu, which sought quashing of the case concerning
the killing of Shamim Sobhan in the capital in 1999, the bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Mohammad Ullah ordered Dewan to submit a written explanation. Supreme Court lawyer Shah Mohammad Sirajul Haque, represented the petitioner, while Assistant Attorney General Gazi Mamunur Rashid represented the state. l
Violent activities during recent political protests by the BNP-led 18 party alliance, caused damage worth over Tk159 crore in the railway and road transport sectors, a minister disclosed during a question and answer session in parliament yesterday. The minister also claimed that nine people were killed in the spate of violence that gripped the country, as the then opposition parties staged demonstrations, demanding elections under a non-party caretaker government. The violence peaked after November 25 when the Election Commission announced the schedule of the 10th parliamentary polls. Replying to a question from Nazmul Haque Prodhan, an MP from the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Railway Min-
ister Mazibul Haque said nine people, including seven passengers and two Ansar members, were killed by Jamaat-Shibir activists, after alleged provocation from BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. The minister said Bangladesh Railway incurred losses of Tk90 crore in the violence perpetrated by BNP-Jamaat activists. The railway authorities have filed 62 cases regarding attacks on railway property, and at least 246 suspects have been arrested, he added. In response to another question from lawmaker Israfil Alam of the Awami League, the minister said the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation incurred losses of around Tk 58 crore and 27 lakh. The roads and highway department also suffered damages of over Tk 11crore, he added. l
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Emergency obstetric care inadequate, says ICDDRB n Moniruzzaman Uzzal Bangladesh has yet to ensure the necessary number of Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) for the treatment and management of birth-related complications in the district level health facilities, a recent study has found. According to United Nation guidelines, there should be at least five EmONC facilities for every five lakh people, where Bangladesh only has 2.5 EmONC facilities. The observations were revealed yesterday at the ICDDRB’s Sasakawa auditorium in a dissemination seminar titled “A Needs Assessment Study for EmONC Services in Selected 24 districts in Bangladesh,” conducted by the Center for Equity and Health System of the ICDDRB. Although the country had the necessary infrastructure, service could not be made available in the upazila and remote areas because of the unavailability of doctors and trained nurses. The study also found that because of shortage of skilled health officials, unskilled assistants often stitched the patient after Caesarean section, provided episiotomy, checked fetus position, delivered babies, managed newborns’ breathing, cleaning, weighing, while nurses managed PPH and eclampsia patients. Addressing the programme, Niru Shamshunahar, a joint secretary (planning) of health ministry, said although new findings and recommendations are expected from the ICDDRB, the new study made no new recommendation. However, Health Secretary MM Niazuddin termed the study unique and said they will look into the recommendations, while they will do the midterm review of a different operation plan. The EmONC needs assessment study was conduct at medical college hospitals, district and upazila hospitals
and some private health facilities in 24 districts during May-October 2012. It is learnt that each year in Bangladesh 11,000 to 12,000 women die during delivery with 85% death resulting from complications of childbirth such as hemorrhage and eclampsia and newborn deaths result from infections , asphyxia, prematurity/low birth and other causes associated with unsafe delivery practices. Overall, in the 24 studied districts, about 31% deliveries were conducted in health facilities, out of which about 19% were normal vaginal delivery, 12% were C-section and only 0.2% was assisted vaginal delivery. The study found overall 40% met need for obstetric complications. The overall stillbirth rate in the study districts was around 3%, while the neonatal death rate was above 2% of all facility births. Proportion of maternal deaths because of indirect obstetric care causes was below 9%, but in two districts in Bhola and Sirajgonj was 40%. The country had only one fifth (22%) of the required number of the maternity beds as per WHO requirement (24 beds per 1000 annual delivery) In terms of availability of consultants in district hospital the study found though 90% sanctioned post of obstetricians, gynecologists and pediatrics were occupied, but in case of anesthesia, the post occupancy was only about 65%. Around 80% of senior staff nurse and staff nurse found vacant and overall 50% of assistant nurse found vacant. However, the situation was worsening in upazila level where a substantial proportion of post of medical doctors was vacant. The study found that in upazila health centre more than 60% of sanctioned post of consultant of obstetrician/gynecologist and more than 70% posts for anesthesia and pediatrics consultants were vacant. l
Mufti Wakkas granted bail n Tribune Report The High Court yesterday granted bail to Mufti Muhammad Wakkas, a Hefazat-e Islam Nayeb-e-Ameer, for six months in five cases, including three related to the killing of policemen and violence in Motijheel and Paltan areas on May 5 last year. The government will appeal against the bail, Deputy Attorney General Khandaker Diliruzzaman said. The bench of Justice Naima Haider
Students of Eden Women’s College hold a demonstration in front of their campus yesterday to press home their demands to declare the college as a public university MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
Tk1cr VoIP tools seized in city, 1 held n Tribune Report RAB personnel yesterday seized a huge quantity of VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) tools worth around Tk1 crore in the capital’s Adabar area. Saidul Islam Talukder alias Lincoln, 30, was arrested for running the business illegally for the last three years. Mohammad Badrul Alam, RAB 4 operation officer, said they seized the materials from a flat in Baitul Aman Housing of Adabar in a drive from 2pm to 10pm. l
Weather to remain dry n UNB
n Syed Samiul Basher Anik
Weather may remain mainly dry with temporary partly cloudy sky over the country and chances of rain or thundershowers at one or two places over Barisal, Chittagong and Sylhet divisions until 6pm today. Night temperature might fall by 1-4 degree Celsius and day temperature might rise by 1-3 degree Celsius over the country, Met Office said. The sun sets in the capital at 5:55pm today and rises at 6:29am tomorrow. Country’s highest temperature 25.4 degree Celsius was recorded in Jessore and lowest 14.4 degrees in Syedpur yesterday. Highest and lowest temperatures recorded in some major cities yesterday were: City
Dhaka Chittagong Rajshahi Rangpur Khulna Barisal Sylhet Cox’s Bazar
23.0 21.5 24.4 22.7 23.8 21.5 19.0 21.0
17.0 15.5 16.2 14.7 16.5 16.7 16.0 18.0
PRAYER TIMES 5:13am 6:29am 12:12am 4:19pm 5:55pm 7:11pm
The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday claimed that the anti-graft body’s inquiry into the phenomenal rise of wealth and assets of lawmakers and ministers was not “eyewash.” “We are conducting the inquiry based on specific allegations and these are not eyewash. Wait, you will get the results,” ACC Secretary Faizur Rahman Chowdhury yesterday said. He also hinted that the commission was scrutinising allegations and the figure could be bigger. “The guilty parties will never confess the allegations, but the truth would be revealed if the ACC found evidence of irregularity against them,” he told reporters while giving monthly briefing of the commission. The anti-graft body at this moment is conducting inquiry into the phenomenal rise of wealth and assets of two former ministers, a state minister and four lawmakers namely former health minister AFM Ruhal Haq, former state minister for housing and public works Abdul Mannan Khan, former state minister for water resources Mahbubur Rahman and lawmakers Abdur Rahman Badi of Cox’s Bazar 4, Aslamul Haque of Dhaka 14, Enamul Haque of Rajshahi 4 and Abdul Jabbar of Satkhira 2. The commission is also inquiring into Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s student affairs secretary Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anee (former lawmaker from Laxmipur 3 constituency) and Khulna city Jamaat-e-Islami Chief Mia Golam Parwar (former lawmaker from
One held for torturing house-help at an NGO n Our Correspondent, Cox’s Bazar A 12-year-old girl was rescued by the police yesterday from an NGO named “Nari O Shishu Shurokkha Network” in Cox’s Bazar. Identified as Phool Mala, she was later admitted to a hospital. Police arrested Shushmita Paul, 22, wife of Dr Ranodhir Paul of Ramu hospital, who used to run the NGO. Ranodhir has been hiding since the arrest.
Jamuna Group chairman summoned by court in defamation case n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court yesterday summoned seven people, including Jamuna Group Chairman Nurul Islam Babul, in a compensation case alleging defamation of the Banshundhara Group. The other defendants are Salma Islam, editor of the daily Jugantor, Shamim Islam, son of Nurual Islam Babul and Salma Islam, Shaiful Islam, executive editor of the daily Jugantor, Jamuna Print, Daily Jugantor and Jamuna Future Park. Dhaka First Joint District Judge Fazle Elahi Bhuiyan asked the defendants to appear before the court on March 30 and give written statements. Earlier on the day, Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan filed a case against the defendants demanding Tk1,100crore compensation. According to the case state-
ment, he alleged that the Bangla daily had been publishing false and baseless accusations against the Bashundhara group since October 28 last year. The reports were published with an intention of tarnishing the image of the Bashundhara group, he said. After the reports were published, a written complaint was sent to Jugantor, which the daily newspaper did not publish to the word, the plaintiff said On February 9, the group’s senior Deputy Managing Director Md Balayet Hossein filed another defamation case before a Dhaka court against the daily Jugantor on same charges. Taking the case into cognisance, Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Md Tasruzzaman ordered Bhatara police station to submit an investigation report in this regard. l
ACC inquiry against lawmakers ‘not eyewash’
Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha
and Justice Zafar Ahmed rejected his bail petition in another case, while the file of that other case has gone missing. BNP Chairperson’s Adviser Khandker Mahbub Hossain represented Mufti Wakkas. The Detective Branch of Police arrested the Hefazat leader at the capital’s Malibagh on September 2 last year. He is also the secretary general of Jamiatul Ulema-e-Islam, a member of the BNP-led 19-party alliance. He was a state minister during the rule of military ruler HM Ershad. l
Gonojagoron Moncho protests Zawahiri’s clip n DU Correspondent
Khulna 5 constituency). Last week, the commission also decided to begin probe against six secretaries and top officials of the government who took freedom fighters certificates prior to their retirement. They are health and family welfare secretary Neazuddin Miah, liberation war affairs secretary KH Masud Siddiqui, science and technology secretary AKM Amir Hossain, expatriate welfare and overseas employment secretary Khondaker Showkat Hossain (though the report said housing and public works secretary), former secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office Molla Wahiduzzaman (now chairman of the Privatisation Commission) and liberation war affairs joint secretary Abul Kashem Talukder. The ACC initiated the inquiry following a newspaper report that said at least 11,150 people from different professions took freedom fighters certificates over the last five years. The report also said the certificates were taken by the secretaries at the last moment of their tenure only to extend their incumbency. In his briefing, the ACC secretary also shed light on the regular activity of the commission, saying the commission in January received 618 corrupt allegations, of which, 118 were considered for further investigation after scrutiny. It has approved filing of 18 cases and 38 charge sheets in January. The judgments of six cases investigated by the ACC were pronounced during the month. Of the six, the accused were acquitted from four cases. l
Sub-Inspector Kamal Hossain of Cox’s Bazar sadar police station said the victim had been working at Ranodhir’s house for a year. The doctor was running the NGO on the same building he resided. “We found the girl with her hands broken and injury marks at different parts of her body.” The NGO workers also tortured the girl often, the SI said quoting the victim. Rashedul Mazid, information secretary of the NGO, filed a case. l
Youth-led platform, Gonojagoron Moncho, yesterday protested against al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s audio message, and brought out a candlelit procession at Shahbagh Projonmo Chattar. The procession started around 6:45pm, then marched through different city streets, including TSC Chattar and the Katabon intersection, before ending at the Projonmo Chattar. Terming Jamaat-Hefazat as an ally of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Gonojagoron Moncho Convener Imran H Sarkar said: “Jamaat-Shibir and Hefazat have been working as an ally of such typesw of international criminal organisations from the beginning of their foundation, so Zawahiri’s speech is not surprising to us. “Jamaat-Hefazat’s activities were not political, and it was working only to establish Taliban and al-Qaeda activities in Bangladesh.” Imran urged the government to ban Jamaat-Hefazat from all types of political activities in Bangladesh, and called on all the Gonojagoron activists to protest against these militant and terrorist forces. Bappaditya Basu, president of Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Zawahiri’s speech proved the Jamaat-e-Islami to be international criminals.” Blogger Badhon said: “We have been suspecting that Jamaat-Shibir had links with several international criminal organisations. It is now true that they are a part of such type of organisations that had been committing heinous activities across the world.”l
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Jahangir Gate to Rokeya Sarani tunnel facing uncertainty
Speedy Trial Tribunal Act to stay 5 more years
Bridge Authority reduces length showing fund crisis Saying the project would cost Bridge Authority have failed to ann Abu Hayat Mahmud nounce the start of the tunnel’s con- around Tk500 crore, Mortuja also not-
The government has decided to extend the existing law for Speedy Trial Tribunal by five more years for effective and quick trial for crimes such as extortion, tender manipulation, vandalism and mugging. The regular cabinet meeting yesterday approved the draft proposal for Law and Order Disruption Offence (Speedy Trial) Act placed by the home ministry to extend the term. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting. Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters that it was the sixth extension of the law. The validity of the law expires on April 6. It was earlier extended on April 6, 2012. The Act was first enacted on April 10, 2002 for two years. The proposal says trials of a good number of cases are going on under this Act
The future of the proposed multilane underground tunnel from the capital’s Jahangir Gate to Rokeya Sarani is facing uncertainty due to fund shortages, route design and inefficiency of the Bangladesh Bridge Authority. Earlier, the government decided to construct a multilane underground tunnel, approximately 1.5 kilometres long, from Jahangir Gate to Rokeya Sarani in a bid to cut down traffic congestion and improve living standards of city dwellers. The tunnel was proposed to be built under the Tejgaon Old Airport road. High officials of the Bangladesh
struction work as most of the groundwork required for the project has not been completed over the last two years. When contacted, Bangladesh Bridge Authority Chief Engineer Kabir Ahmed confirmed the Dhaka Tribune that the project was active. He, however, referred the correspondent to Executive Engineer Md Golam Mortuja to know about the progress of the project. “We cannot give you any deadline on the tunnel’s competition as it depends upon the government’s decision and the availability of sufficient funds,” Golam Mortuja said.
ed: “As soon as we send the proposal to the ministry for the approval of the pro forma development project.” Sources said the project was deferred several times due to objections from the Defence Ministry. Later, the Bridge authority was forced to change the course of the tunnel and set a new route between the two points. When asked, Mortuja refuted the claim and said the length of the tunnel was cut short due to a shortage in funds. “We discussed the issue with the Army, and they have no objection over the tunnel,” he added. l
n Tribune Report
now. If the Act is nullified, the proceedings of the cases will stop and it may deteriorate the law and order of the country. The proposal was brought considering the recent law and order across the country, a minister who attended the meeting told the Dhaka Tribune. The proposal would be sent to parliament for a passage. The ruling Awami League stood against the law when it was in opposition in 2002 terming it a “black law.” Under a provision of the law, the Speedy Trial Tribunal, a special court, will have to dispose of a case within 90 working days of the cases being transferred to them. If the case cannot be disposed of in that time, another 30 working days would be granted. Any aggrieved person would be entitled to appeal to the High Court against a judgement of the Speedy Trial Tribunal within 30 days of a ruling. l
MP’s ‘nephew’ enters RHD office with arms
n Our Correspondent, Sirajganj The so-called nephew of Sirajganj 2 lawmaker Prof Dr Habib Millat Munna was prevented yesterday from entering the office premises of Roads and Highways Department with a “licensed” shotgun. Ekramul Haque Rizvi had to leave the place with his followers. The incident took place at noon. Police visited the spot later. Recently, followers loyal to Razib and Shahin had clash over the share of profits from business they had in the recent past. It resulted to the denouncement of MP Munna’s saying that Rizvi was “not his nephew.” Rizvi went into hiding as a case was lodged with the local police centring the clash. However, recently he started moving with arms at the RHD office. Yesterday he was prevented at the office by the ruling party leaders and activists. When contacted, Rizvi said: “Some addicts tried to snatch my licensed shotgun while I was entering the office. I have informed the matter to the police.” Sadar police station OC Habibul Islam said they had not found anyone connected with such incident at the scene. Executive Engineer Moniruzzaman said he had been out of the office at that time. l
20 foreign envoys Potato farmers hold demonstration in the capital’s Paltan area yesterday, protesting the government’s failure to ensure a fair price for their bumper yields in Cox’s Bazar KAMALAPUR RAILWAY STATION VAULT LOOTING n Our Correspondent, Cox’s Bazar Foreign diplomats from 20 countries have reached Cox’s Bazar yesterday on a three-day visit. Among others, the diplomats of Russia, Brazil, North Korea, South Korea, Maldives, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Nepal, Netherland, Myanmar and Bhutan were visiting the tourist town. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam accompanied the diplomats. Mohammad Ruhul Amin, deputy commissioner of the district, said: “The foreign diplomats played football and volleyball in the afternoon after visiting the seashore. They are likely to attend a cultural programme at night.” They are scheduled to visit the newly-built Buddhist temples and monasteries in Ramu, and spend time on Inani Beach, said the DC adding that they were also set to visit the Hatchery Zone in Ukhia today. l
CID claims to have solved mystery, three arrested Family say they are confused about the arrest The arrestees were identified as Abu tendent of the CID, said: “We have unn Kailash Sarkar Taleb Khan, 35, Abdur Razzaq, 48, and raveled the mystery behind the looting Four and a half a months after the October 5 looting of the vault at Kamalapur railway station counter and the killing of its booking clerk, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) personnel are now claiming that they have unraveled the mystery after arresting three people. However, the intelligence department is yet to arrest the mastermind as well as recover the looted money. Israfil Hossain, 59, a booking clerk at Kamalapur railway station, was found dead inside the vault room on the morning of October 5, during the Eid festival. Nearly Tk17 lakh also was also looted.
Book on poet Nazrul unveiled at IUB n Tribune Report The launching ceremony of the book on our national poet “Kazi Nazrul Islam: Man and Poet” written by noted musician Mustafa Zaman Abbasi was held at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) in Bashundhara, Dhaka yesterday. The IUB sponsored the publication of the book. Eminent scholar and Nazrul specialist Prof Rafiqul Islam unveiled the cover of the book as the chief guest. Prof Niaz Zaman, professor of En-
glish department of the IUB wasthe discussant of the book. Towhid Samad, former chairman of the board of trustees, IUB, attended the ceremony as special guest. Among others, Rashed Chowdhury, chairman oftrustee board, IUB and Prof M Omar Rahman,vice-chancellor of IUBspoke on the occasion. There was a recitation of “Bidrohi” by Shafi Kamal. Noted singer Fatematuzohora and Khairul Anam Shakil also rendered songs on the occasion. l
Launching ceremony of the book ‘Kazi Nazrul Islam: Man and Poet’ was held on Independent University, Bangladesh campus in the city yesterday
Md Liton, 22, of Shariatpur. Dr Taniya Akhter, daughter of deceased told the Dhaka Tribune that they were confused about the arrest. “Unless the main criminal is arrested, I cannot come to any conclusion,” she said. The mastermind in the burglary and killing, who was a mason, had hired the three arrestees. He had been working at the railway station on the daily basis, the CID officials said, adding that he had planned to steal the money after seeing a large amount of money on the vault. Abdul Kahar Akand, special superin-
and killing, after arresting three members of the gang.” “Four criminals took part in the burglary and killing,” he said, adding that one of the detainees, Abu Taleb Khan, was arrested on February 11 and placed on a fiveday remand. He already confessed before a court yesterday, admitting his involvement in the burglary and killing. About the two others, Abdul Kahar said they had been arrested a few days ago. They are now undergoing interrogation. Inspector Mejbah Uddin Ahamed of the CID said the masterminded was yet to be arrested.
But both the CID officials declined to elaborate on the confessional statement, the name of the mastermind and even the name of the court and magistrate. Sources said Abu Taleb Khan was a mason, Abdur Razzaq was a van puller and Md Liton was a mugger. Although the railway officials filed a general diary entry on October 5 mentioning that Tk17 lakh was looted, Taleb claimed that there was only Tk12 lakh in the vault. In the confessional statement, Taleb said they resorted to killing Israfil only to obtain the money. He said he had already purchased a piece of land with the looted money and had repaid his loans. l
HSC examinations begin April 3 n Tribune Report The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) 2014, and its equivalent examinations, will begin on April 3, a press release by Education Ministry said yesterday. The HSC exams, which usually begin on April 1, have been deferred this year because of upazila polls. The Education Ministry said the examination time was changed as the Election Commission had requested the ministry to do so because of upazila polls. The detailed timetable is available on the education board website. l
Combating Corruption Bangladesh Media award introduced n Tribune Report An award titled “Combating Corruption Bangladesh Media” has been introduced for inspiring journalists to make report on combating corruption. The objective of the award is to highlight and encourage the coverage of corruption across the country. The initiative was taken in cooperation with German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and Department of Mass Communication and Journalism of Dhaka University. “Combating Corruption Bangladesh Media” awards span in five categories. Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) and Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) will act as host for distributing the awards. The formal announcement to the introduction of the award was given at a press conference at CIRDAP auditorium, reports BSS. Advisory committee members noted journalist Abed Khan, PIB Director General Shah Alamgir, ACC Director General Dr Shamsul Arefin, GIZ senior adviser Tim Fanmullar were present at press conference. They will distribute the awards to the winners. At the press conference, the host committee urged all interested journalist working in newspapers and television channels to submit their corruption reports and features published or broadcast in their respective media to submit before the concerned authorities. The reports and features should be published between January 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. l
42 factories fined for polluting Buriganga River n Tribune Report Department of Environment yesterday fined 42 dyeing and washing factories in Dhaka district Tk 1.26 crore for polluting the water of the Buriganga River. After a hearing at DoE’s Dhaka headquarters, its director (monitoring and enforcement) Mohammad Alamgir fined the factories for operating without effluent treat plants (ETPs) which led to the discharging of huge effluents into the river. The DoE ordered the representatives of the factories to immediately install ETPs and the failure of which will lead to their closure. l
Three fake cosmetics factories sealed off n Tribune Report
A mobile court sealed off three factories for manufacturing fake cosmetics and adulteration in the capital’s Chawkbazar yesterday afternoon. Two of the owners were jailed and seven employees were fined. The mobile court led by Executive Magistrate Sharif Mohammad Farhad also seized various cosmetics worth Tk10 lakh from the factories located in Borokatara of the area. RAB and the Bangladesh Standard Testing Institute (BSTI) accompanied the mobile court in the drive. The mobile court fined Tk3.70 lakh to the three factories and fined Tk50,000 to each of two owners. They were also jailed for 6 months. The seven other employees were fined with different amounts of money. The convicts were Abdus Salam, 60, the owner of Akash Cosmetics, and three of his employees Nuruzzaman, 25, Moni Sarkar, 38, and Purna Burma, 20. Md Yiasin, 32, was the other owner of a company with no name. The employees were Md Meraj, 22, Foja Efa, 22, Md Parvej, 20, and Rafiq. The magistrate told reporters: “The fake companies manufactured and
adulterated various products and also marketed them.” “Some unscrupulous people also had been pocketing money supplying low quality of products causing various
diseases to the users,” he added. According to RAB 10 officials, the three employees of Akash Cosmetics were fined Tk10,000 each. The other company’s employees
were fined with different amount RAB sources said the factories had been manufacturing and marketing products of various famous companies. l
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Border women being used to smuggle drugs About 1,000 women on 22 border routes in Lalmonirhat are working as drug mules
Boro cultivation suffers setback in Rajbari
n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat
n Our Correspondent, Rajbari
Around 20 drug cartels in Lalmonirhat are using women living near the border to carry illegal drugs into the country in a bid to dodge law enforcement agencies. The cartels hire these women at lower wage for transporting Indian contraband drugs through different border routes. At least 1,000 women on 22 border routes of five upazilas in Lalmonirhat have been working as drug mules for the last two years, officials in Lalmonirhat Narcotics Department said. The officials also said 20 women drug transporters were held in possession of Indian phensidyl and hemp at
Lalmonirhat sadar, Patgram and Hatibandha upazilas in the last one month. Afzalur Rahman, a NGO worker in Mogholhat border area in Lalmonirhat sadar upazila, said taking the advantage of bordering people’s poverty, the drugs smuggling cartels pay the families of these poor women handsomely. “We came to know that male persons are mainly pursuing female person to get involved in the drug smuggling,” he said. Two women drug transporters Dulali Begum, 30, and Tahmina Begum, 45, who live in Mogholhat border area in Lalmonirhat sadar upazila were arrested in possession of 80 bottles of Phensidyl by the Narcotics Department officials in Sakoya area on the
Lalmonirhat-Mogholhat road on Friday night. Tahmina Begum confessed to Narcotics Department officials that she was hired for Tk5,000 for transporting
‘For transporting smuggled Indian drugs, all these hired bordering poor women wear veil’ 40 bottles of phensidyl from Mogholhat border to Rangpur city on that day. Earlier, she transported a contingent of 100 bottles phensidyl on Wednesday
night, she said. “I am transporting drugs as I have to run my family,” she said. “Many poor women at Mogholhat border have been working as contraband item drug transporters just to survive,” she said. “We only transport the drugs, we don’t own or sell them. I do this twice a week and get Tk5,000 for transporting 40 to 50 bottles of phensidyl or 10kg hemp from Mogholhat border to Rangpur city,” said Dualali Begum, another female transporter. “Women living in border areas are hired to transport drugs as law enforcers do not suspect us, and we can easily carry the drugs by train or bus,” she said, adding about 20 drug gangs are
active at Mogholhat border for smuggling contraband items like phensidyl, hemp and wine from India. Seeking anonymously, a drug syndicate gang leader at Mogholhat border said they transported 40 to 300 bottles of phensidyl every day, paying the women Tk2,000 to 5,000. Sub-Inspector in Narcotics Department in Lalmonirhat Ataur Rahman said at least 100 syndicate gangs were active along the Lalmonirhat district border to smuggle Indian drugs. “For transporting smuggled Indian drugs, all these hired bordering poor women wear veil,” he said, adding Narcotics Department officials are keeping strong vigilance on veil-wearing women in border areas. l
Boro cultivation is suffering from a setback this season in the district of Rajbari because of a crisis of seedlings and adequate power supply. According to sources, biting cold and dense fog have damaged the boro seedlings around vast areas within the district. On the other hand, an acute shortage of power is hampering irrigation.
‘I have spent Tk4,800 to cultivate boro seedlings over three bighas of land this season, whereas it took only Tk1200 last season’
Illegal stone lifting goes unabated in Bandarban n Our Correspondent, Bandarban Unscrupulous businessmen are lifting stones in various locations of Bandarban district, defyning the law. According to sources, stones are being lifted in Ali Kadam, Ruma, Lama, Naikhongchhari, Rowangchhari upazilas of the district. Local influential Helal Soudagar in Tyn Khan area of Ali Kadam upazila, Sramik League leader Jaheed Hossain in Bagher Jiri of Chykhong union, upazila Awami League assistant organising secretary Mejbah Uddin in Boror Ghori and Choto Ghori areas are lifting stones from hills. Sysha Aung got permission to lift 20,000 square feet stones from the hills in Bolga, Choto Bykhong and Gerau Pransa under Rowangchhari upazila. But he is lifitng stones illegally from Kringdaing and some other adjacent hills. Locals fear hills may collapse in winter due to scarcity of water, which is a consequence of such illegal stonelifting. Probin Chandra Tripura, chief of Bagher Jiri Para, said the environment
was facing degradation due to the digging of hills and scarcity of water. Thui Nu Marma of Kringdaing hill area said most of the stones had been lifted already. „Scarcity of water poses threat to fish,” Thui Nu said. The stones are being lifted from hills using powerful explosives, which is against the law. According to the Mines and Mineral Act 2012, apart from floating stones in canals, fountains and rivers, stones cannot be lifted by digging soil and cutting hills. Md Zahed Hossain, who lifts stones from the locality, said stones were being lifted for the construction of government works which was also followed by law. Ali Kadam UNO Mokakabbir Ahmed said; „Steps will be taken against them who are involved with violating the law.” Locals said if the stone lifting cannot be stopped immediately, environmental disaster would be imminent. They urged the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) to take necessary steps in this regard. l
Stone extracted from Ali Kadam is loaded on trucks to take those to different parts of the city
Upazila election campaign gets momentum in Lalmonirhat n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat The campaign in the upcoming upazila elections in Lalmonirhat, has gained momentum as the candidates work to win the hearts of voters right up until the last minute. According to Election Commission sources, as many as 34 candidates are contesting 9 posts in three upazilas – Lalmonirhat Sadar, Hatibandha and Patgram. Of those, 17 are vying for 3 chairman posts, 10 for vice chairman posts, and the remaining 7 for female vice chairman posts. The candidates are busy meeting people and trying to win their votes. The election will be held on 27 February.
There are a total of 1 1,31,968 voters in Patgram upazila, 1,44,683 in Hatibandha upazila and 2,24,318 voters in Sadar upazila. The candidate’s supporters have been busy campaigning for their candidates. The supporters have been crowding at bazars, small markets, tea stalls, and crossing-points until midnight. While talking to this correspondent, people from all walks of life, including rickshaw-pullers, small business holders, and day-labourers, said that they would elect corruption-free, patriotic people, who would serve as their local representatives with commitment and honesty. Rickshaw-puller Meher Ali of Sarka-
rerhat village under Patgram upazila, said that they did not want make the mistake again of electing a selfish person who was greedy and not interested in the welfare of the ultra-poor. A local trader, Nazar Ali Shaikh, of Goddimari village of Hatibandha upazila said; “I request the low-income people to elect honest, patriotic people who have goodwill.” Abu Noor Mohammad Shamsuzzaman, additional district commissioner (ADC), and also the district returning officer said; “The officials in the district election office and administration are engaged in completing the compulsory arrangements, so that the polls may be held in a free, fair and credible way.” l
Executive Engineer, Manikganj WD Division Bangladesh Water Development Board Manikganj
Invitation for e-Tender
Invitation Reference No.
T-9/139 Dt. 17-02-2014
Tender ID (from e-GP portal) 6279 Name of the Work
Temporary Protective Work to protect Boratia Bazar and adjacent Area From Erosion of Kaliganga River in Charigram Union, Upazilla: Singair in between km 0.069 to km 0.150 = 39 meter Under Manikganj Water Development Division, BWDB, Manikganj During the Financial Year 2013-14.
This is an online Tender, where only e-Tender will be accepted in the National e-GP portal and no ofﬂine/hard copies will be accepted. To submit e-Tender, registration in the National e-GP System Portal (http://www.eprocure.gov. bd) is required. The fees for downloading the e-Tender Documents from the National e-GP System portal have to be deposited online through any registered Bank’s branches up to Banking hours on 31/03/2013. Further information and guidelines are available in the National e-GP System Portal and from e-GP help desk (firstname.lastname@example.org) (01762625528-31). (http://www.eprocure.gov.bd).
Pani-535/13-14 DG-26/14 (6×3)
Md. Mizanur Rahman Executive Engineer Manikganj, WD Division BWDB, Manikganj
40 kidnapped in Sundarbans n Tribune Report Robbers kidnapped 40 fishermen along with 10 trawlers at Katka in the Sundarbans under Sharankhola upazila of Bagerhat yesterday. Coast Guard Mongla zone operation division staff officer Lieutenant Commander M Mohiuddin Majumder said gang members belonging to notorious ‘Rahman Bahini’ and ‘Jahangir Bahini’ swooped on the trawlers while the fishermen were fishing in the early morning. The gang members looted fish and nets worth about Tk 1 crore from 50 trawlers and kidnapped 40 fishermen along with 10 fishing trawlers. They demanded Tk50,000 for release of each fisherman, he said. The robbers stabbed 15 fishermen and threw four of them into the sea, reports UNB. l
The most affected areas within the district are -- Dadshi, Baniboho, Kalibari, Moheeshbathan , Mulghar , Kolerhat , Gabla , Boshontopur and Sultanpur in Rajbari Sadar upazila, Bhorpur Hulail , Islampur , Arkandi , Betenga in Baliakandi upazila , Daulatdia, Chardaulatdia, Betka, Kushahata, Ujanchar and Borat Bhkhala in Goalondo upazila. Kesmot Ali Sardar, from Dadshi union’s Singerbill in Sadar upazila, said; “I have spent Tk4,800 to cultivate boro seedlings over three bighas of land this season, whereas it took only Tk1200 last season.” Abdul Latif, Ahad Ali, Ataur Rahman and Ator Ali, from the upazila, said close to 14 decimals of Boro seedbeds were damaged by the dense fog. They had to purchase seedlings again at higher prices. Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Deputy Director Golam Kibriya said; “Power crisis is one of the main problems within the district.” The deputy director said the farmers had diverted to other cash crops because of the losses accrued in the production of paddy. l
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Ofﬁce of the Executive Engineer Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) Barisal Division, Barisal.
INVITATION FOR RE-TENDER
Re-Tender Notice No. 13(2013-2014) Date: 12/02/2014 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.
Ministry/ Division Agency Procuring Entity Name Procuring Entity Code Procuring Entity Division Invitation for Invitation Ref No. Date Procurement Method Budget and source of Funds Development Partners Project code No. Project Name
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16. 17. 18. 19. 20.
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Ministry of LGRD & Cooperatives / Local Government Division. Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE). Executive Engineer, DPHE, Barisal Division, Barisal. Not used at present. Barisal. GoB Development work. 792(50) (2013-2014). 12/02/2014. National Competitive Tender (Open Tendering Method). GoB Development budget. Islamic Development Bank (IDB). 5200. IDB Assisted Water Supply and Sanitation Project in Cyclone Prone Coastal Areas of Bangladesh. BR-SL-72. BR-SL-72 Installation of 465 nos low cost sanitary latrine at different upazilas in Barisal District.
12/03/2014 13/03/2014 at 1.00 pm. 13/03/2014 at 3.00 pm. a) Ofﬁce of the Executive Engineer, DPHE, Barisal Division, Barisal. b) Ofﬁce of the Deputy Commissioner (DC), Barisal. c) Ofﬁce of the Executive Engineer, Ground Water Division, DPHE Bhaban (4th ﬂoor), Kakrail, Dhaka. No conditions apply for sale, purchase or distribution of Tender Documents 21.
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a) Ofﬁce of the Executive Engineer, DPHE, Barisal Division, Barisal. b) Ofﬁce of the Deputy Commissioner (DC), Barisal. Ofﬁce of the Executive Engineer, DPHE, Barisal Division, Barisal.
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As stated in Tender Data Sheet (TDS) Package No. Description of Works
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Tk.500/Md. Shah Alam.
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Executive Engineer, DPHE, Barisal Division, Barisal.
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Tender Security Amount (Tk) Installation of 465 nos low cost sanitary 60,000/latrine at different upazilas in Barisal District.
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The Procuring Entity reserves the right to accept or reject all tenders.
GC – 12/14 (10x4)
Md. Shah Alam Executive Engineer, DPHE Barisal Division, Barisal
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
The ICC and our politics How an international court is being ‘used’ to score political points in here
n Shah Ali Farhad o, this is not an article on the correlation of politics and cricket vis-à-vis the International Cricket Council. I apologise in advance to anyone who might get that misleading impression from the title. Far from that, the subject matter of my article is actually, how an international court in Hague, Netherlands is being “used” by known players in UK and US to score political points here, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. On February 4, 9 Bedford Row (a barristers’ chambers in the UK) filed a communication with Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in accordance with Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the ICC. The communication asks the prosecutor to open a preliminary inquiry into alleged human rights violations by the current Bangladesh government against opposition activists belonging to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (Jamaat). The time frames which has been suggested include February 2013 onwards generally, and particularly the period of unrest surrounding the Dhaka siege programme by Hefazat-e-Islam in the first week of May 2013 and the weeks preceding and following the January 5 elections. The communication alleges that the government, represented by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her son Sajeeb Wazed and other high ranking officials of the current administration have been involved in the systematic repression of the opposition in several districts of Bangladesh within a span of about a year. It alleges that this was achieved through murder, torture, forced disappearances, arbitrary imprisonment, persecution and other inhumane acts on the opposition activists using state machineries like the police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), and the judiciary. However, before going to the merit and substance of the allegations, it is perhaps best to first refresh our memories regarding the parties involved. 9 Bedford Row is instructed in this matter by a human rights organisation called the International Coalition for Freedoms and Rights (ICFR). Interestingly, 9 Bedford Row has since October 2010 also provided legal assistance to those leaders of Jamaat and BNP who stand accused or convicted of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICT-BD). One of the key members of that defence team is a barrister named Toby Cadman. Apart from being a foreign counsel for Jamaat leaders like Nizami, he is also seen speaking on behalf of other convicted war criminals like UK-based Chowdhury Mueenuddin and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury of BNP. In addition, Mr Cadman is also the founder of TMC Advisory Group, an international consultancy (lobbying) firm which claims to have the capacity to influence decisions in “Downing Street, Brussels, Geneva and the White House.” Thus, the human rights activist-cum-counsel is also an international lobbyist. If you are finding the combination of a lobbyist, activist and barrister strange, then you should know that I did too, and questioned it on a previous occasion as well (“Toby Cadman: A Crusader for Rights or Devil’s Advocate?” bdnews24, Dec 3, 2012). It is of course, not a crime for a counselor or activist to be simultaneously a lobbyist as well. However, questions regarding his motivations can naturally arise though, and quite justifiably so, since the nexus and potential for conflict is too obvious to overlook. Now that we are clear about the lawyers and their background, let us turn our attention to the client instructing the said communication, that is, the ICFR. ICFR was formed
in Istanbul, Turkey in 2013 after a military coup removed Egypt’s former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi from office. According to the Washington Post, the organisation is closely associated with Islamist legal efforts to prosecute the coup leaders (“Islamic Rights Group: Investigate Bangladesh,” Feb 4, 2014). If anyone even gives a cursory glance to the website of the group (www.icfr.info), one would find substance in what was stated in the Washington Post article. The site is dedicated entirely to discussions, reports, evidences and statements on behalf of Muslim Brotherhood. Their members not only include internationally known Brotherhood sympathisers and apologists, but most importantly, Toby Cadman himself. Thus, the instructed is also the instructor in this particular instance. Even more reasons to feel suspicious about the potential for conflict here. As for the merit of the allegations, assuming that Cadman et al are acting on the basis of information and evidence provided by Jamaat and/or BNP, then there is a very good chance that factually the allegations are either outright false, or at the very least,
Protests erupted on December 19 last year after Pakistan condemned the ICT-Bangladesh verdicts on the war crimes trials tries with which both Mr Cadman and the ICFR share such close proximity that openly took a hostile position vis-a-vis these trials, viz Egypt under Morsi and Turkey under Erdogan. As I stated above in another context, the nexus is too visible to overlook. There are also reasonable grounds
With such a coordinated and well-funded international campaign being run against these trials, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between suggestions and/or criticisms that are genuinely motivated
exaggerated, given Jamaat and BNP’s very poor record when it comes to figures of oppression and/or repression. For example, according to Khaleda Zia’s public assertions made on February 4, between December 26, 2013 and January 27, 152 opposition activists were killed in nine specific districts at the hands of the law enforcers. However, investigation in this regard by the The Daily Star (from sources such as the BNP itself, police records and media reports) revealed that only 17 people had been killed during that timeframe in those nine districts. By the same token, while the communication itself specifically refers to the security operation conducted in the early hours of May 6, 2013, and cites Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s calls for investigation in this regard, it conveniently fails to point out that in that very report (“Blood on the Streets,” Aug 2013), HRW itself conceded that the opposition and Hefazat-e-Islam’s claims of genocide, massacre, etc were baseless and unsupported by evidence.
l The communication made an incorrect assertion about the ICT-BD and its founding legislation, the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 (as amended). It stated that the ICT-BD “has been determined to be in breach of international law on a number of occasions.” This is likely to give the impression that an authoritative body has legally ruled upon the validity of certain actions and/or legal provisions of the ICT-BD as being contrary to international law. In reality nothing of that sort has ever happened. In fact, the UN, US, Britain, the European parliament and many others have all lauded the achievements made so far by the ICT-BD. The biggest critics of the trials have actually been Mr Cadman and his associates, their clients, and the clients’ national and international associates. Interestingly, it is only those coun-
to view the other critics with suspicion as those, who want to see the trials derailed, haven’t even spared hiring million-dollar lobbyists in US for attacking Bangladesh’s trial process. Now, one can have his/her doubts about the standards prevailing at the ICT-BD. But one also has to concede that with such a coordinated and well-funded international campaign being run against these trials, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between suggestions and/or criticisms that are genuinely motivated, and those which are induced and/ or influenced by partisan interests or lobbying. Thus, in short, what we have here is BNP-Jamaat’s foreign counsel acting on behalf of the Brotherhood aligned ICFR, talking about the arguable human rights record of the Bangladesh government, while at the same time completely ignoring the gross and wholesale human rights violations which the apolitical people of Bangladesh suffered at the hands of his clients, that is, Jamaat and BNP, in the very time frame suggested in the communication (February 2013 onwards, and most particularly the weeks preceding and following the January 5 elections). Hence, it is my opinion that it would be naivety of the highest order if anyone even entertains the thought that these people are genuinely concerned about the human rights situation in Bangladesh. They clearly are not. They are professional lobbyists who have been paid (quite handsomely presumably) by their clients to go about the business of discrediting the Bangladesh government in general, and the ICT-BD in particular, at international forums. When the communication asks the ICC to investigate the sentences handed down by the ICT-BD, it shows the complainant’s utter disconnect with the national perception of Bangladeshis in this regard. Even amidst the rapidly changing political landscape of Bangladesh, the only constant over the last few years has been the
overwhelming public support that the ICT-BD enjoys. Even the latest opinion poll conducted in January 2014 by Dhaka Tribune revealed that 74% respondents were either “satisfied” or “highly satisfied” with the ICT-BD trials. Moreover, even if one legitimate complaint deserves to be made to the ICC for human rights violations in Bangladesh from recent times, it will have to be the extreme form of political violence unleashed by Jamaat and its student organisation Shibir, following the ICT-BD verdicts from February 2013 onwards, a trend which was subsequently adopted by BNP in their failed lengthy campaign for reinstating the caretaker government. Religious minorities have been targeted, attacked, raped and killed. Awami League supporters have had their tendons slit, their houses torched; ordinary people, going about daily lives, were set ablaze along with their vehicles. Vandalism, arson and Molotov bombs terrorised the streets. Even young children were not spared. Railways were sabotaged; tracks uprooted; fish plates removed. Roads dug up to cut off communications. A perpetual physical siege persisted during that period. A human rights complaint that does not take into account the foregoing is anything but a genuine complaint on behalf of the Bangladeshi people. And hence, I term it “vexatious and frivolous.” Not only does it fail to take into account the real violations, it purports to put the potential offenders in the place of the victims. That is preposterous. The frivolous and vexatious nature of this particular complaint is also apparent from the very much ill-motivated inclusion of Sajeeb Wazed’s
complained of, they would know that it simply dealt with Sajeeb Wazed’s personal outrage and frustration at the resolution that was adopted by the Pakistan National Assembly following the execution of convicted war criminal Abdul Quader Molla, and certainly nothing of the sort suggested in the communication (https:// www.facebook.com/sajeeb.a.wazed/ posts/385431671593262).
l So, what happens now legally? According to Article 15 of the Rome Statute, in order to assess whether to initiate investigations, the prosecutor shall analyse the seriousness of the information received. In order to make this determination, he/she may seek additional information from states, UN organs, NGOs or other reliable sources that he/she deems appropriate. If he/she concludes that there is “a reasonable basis” to proceed with an investigation, a request for authorisation of a formal investigation is made to the Pre-Trial Chamber of ICC, along with any supporting material collected. If, however, the conclusion is that the information provided does not constitute “a reasonable basis,” that will usually be the end of the matter. Pursuant to Article 53, in order to determine whether there is “a reasonable basis,” the prosecutor considers: first, the jurisdiction of the court (including temporal, material, and either territorial or personal jurisdiction); second, admissibility issues (including “complementarity” and assessing gravity of the alleged violations); and lastly, the interests of justice. It should be noted that Article 17(a)
What these ‘complainants’ are failing to see is that their quest of causing embarrassment to the Bangladesh government is only succeeding in permanently tarnishing the image of the entire nation in front of the world stage
name in the said communication. Those who follow the politics of Bangladesh are well aware that Sajeeb Wazed is not, in any manner or mode, involved with law enforcement or security issues of Bangladesh. He discharges his functions as the IT adviser to the PM and has been involved with the party’s publicity and campaign matters only, that too in recent times. The communication referred to a facebook post of Sajeeb Wazed which, according to the complainants, resulted in numerous members of the opposition being killed in the days following the statement. If anyone has actually seen the post
of the Rome Statute provides that a case will be inadmissible where it is being investigated or prosecuted by a state which has jurisdiction over it, unless the state is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution. There are no reasonable grounds to speculate that the state of Bangladesh is unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out investigation or prosecution into the rights violations complained of. To the best of my knowledge, no such indication has ever been expressed or implied on the part of the current government. By the same token, it can also be
SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN
argued that the scale of the violations alleged is most likely not of “sufficient gravity” meriting involvement of the ICC pursuant to Article 17(d). This requires an assessment of the groups of persons or individuals likely to form the object of the prosecutor’s investigations, the nature of the crimes alleged, and their modus operandi through a qualitative and quantitative approach. One must also remember that there is no formal requirement for such communications and anyone can send a communication to the prosecutor, for instance, simply by writing a letter, or by sending an email or a fax. By 2013, a total of 10,470 such “communications” were received by the prosecutor. This is not, however, the first time that “communication” has deliberately been used against the Bangladesh government. For example, a similar complaint was filed against the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and four other members of her government, on January 31, 2012 by some pro-Jamaat expatriate Bangladeshis residing in Britain. On June 27, 2013, another complaint was sent to the ICC by a US law firm on behalf of two virtually unknown US-based human rights organisation against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and 24 other members of her government for alleged “widespread human rights violations.” Needless to say, the prosecutor of ICC has still found no “reasonable basis” to proceed any further than the initial complaint in all of these instances. And most likely, the same fate will befall the complaint made on February 4 as well. However, whatever the outcome, one thing is certain already; any such complaint is in itself bad publicity for the state in question. Something the complainants are well aware and taking full advantage of. However, what these “complainants” are failing to see is that their quest of causing embarrassment to the Bangladesh government by way of vexatious complaints to the ICC, is only succeeding in permanently tarnishing the image of the entire nation in front of the world stage. Additionally, they are forgetting that their conduct is tantamount to abuse of an important international judicial mechanism. l The author is a barrister, academic, writer and a member of International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF).
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Co-pilot hijacks Ethiopian Airlines aircraft
Uganda president to sign anti-gay bill n AFP, Kampala
Seeking asylum in Switzerland cited as motivation for the hijacking
n Agencies Swiss authorities have arrested the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that was forced to land at Geneva’s international airport, airport officials told the Reuters news agency. Geneva airport chief executive Robert Deillon told reporters on Monday that an Ethiopian man took control of the plane when the pilot ventured outside the cockpit. “The pilot went to the toilet and he (the co-pilot) locked himself in the cockpit,” Deillon said. The man “wanted asylum in Switzerland,” he said. “That’s the motivation of the hijacking.” The hijacking began over Italy and two Italian fighter jets were scrambled to accompany the plane, Deillon said. The co-pilot himself alerted authorities to the plane’s hijacking, officials added - though passengers on the plane were unaware it had been hijacked. After landing in Geneva, the co-pilot exited the cockpit using a rope and turned himself in to authorities. Police escorted passengers one by
one, their hands over their heads, from the taxied plane to waiting vehicles. Officials said there was no risk to passengers or crew at any point. Ethiopian Airlines flight 702 bound for Rome from Addis Ababa was reportedly denied permission to land and circled Geneva for several minutes before it was “forced to proceed” to the airport, which had been temporarily closed by authorities. An Ethiopian government spokesman, Redwan Hussein, told Reuters that the flight had made a scheduled stop in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where it was originally thought the hijacker or hijackers may have boarded the flight. “We don’t know where they are from or how many they are but it looks like the hijacker or hijackers boarded the flight in Khartoum,” Redwan added shortly before police announced they had detained the assailant. Reports on social media said Ethiopian Airlines flight was flying over Sudan when it issued a distress signal, Squawk 7500, which is code indicating a hijacking.l
Reports on social media said the plane was flying over Sudan when it issued a distress signal
Morocco police beat Sahrawi protesters as British MPs visit n
Plainclothes Moroccan police violently broke up a peaceful pro-independence protest in the Western Sahara city of Laayoune after a visit by a British MP, a prominent Moroccan rights group said Monday. About 100 activists, including women, gathered on Saturday evening in the neighbourhood of Maatallah, despite police efforts to block the protest, according to Hamoud Iguilid from the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH). “All the citizens who tried to protest were attacked by the police, and especially plainclothes police,” he told AFP, speaking by phone from Laayoune, adding that he had not been informed of any serious injuries. The protesters were demanding the release of political prisoners and an extension of the UN peacekeeping force’s mandate to include human rights monitoring. They were attacked after a car carrying British MP Jeremy Corbyn and a member of the AMDH had left the area, Iguilid said. Corbyn chairs a British parliamentary group dedicated to raising concerns about Western Sahara, and he was visiting the region with a delegation of British politicians and a rights campaigner.
Map of the disputed territory in Western Sahara The deputy regional director of Human Rights Watch, Eric Goldstein, who was in Laayoune at the time, confirmed that more than 100 uniformed and plainclothes police had tried to prevent the protest. Morocco controls most of Western Sahara, which it began annexing in 1975 in a move never recognised by the international community, and which it considers an integral part of its territory. The Algeria-backed Polisario Front rejects Rabat’s proposal of wide au-
tonomy for the former Spanish colony and has campaigned for independence since 1973, fighting Moroccan troops for a decade and a half until the United Nations negotiated a ceasefire in 1991. Morocco has vowed to invest heavily in Western Sahara to boost development and create jobs. But the government has increasingly come in for criticism over human rights violations in the disputed territory, where separatist protests are not tolerated. l
Militants launch rocket attack in northern Mali n AFP, Bamako
Syrian Army sacks chief over battleground failings
Militants launched rockets in a night attack on the Malian desert caravan town of Timbuktu without managing to hit any of their targets, military sources told AFP on Monday. A senior Malian army officer contacted in Timbuktu said three rockets were fired on Sunday night by “terrorists,” the word the military uses to refer to armed Islamist groups, but added that “fortunately there were no casualties.” A source from the United Nations’ MINUSMA peacekeeping force confirmed the attack, which came three days after a similar assault on the northern city of Gao, adding that the rockets fell safely to the ground near the city’s airport. Thursday’s rocket attack on Gao, which also failed to cause casualties, was claimed by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), a splinter group of Al-Qaeda’s regional branch which said such attacks would continue against the “enemies of Islam.” MUJAO has also claimed the kidnapping of a team of Malian Red Cross workers reported missing last week in the country’s north. It is one of the groups that occupied Mali’s vast desert region in 2012 before they were driven out by a French-led military intervention launched in January last year. l
The Free Syrian Army has sacked its military chief after the Western-backed rebels suffered battlefield setbacks, amid signs the warring parties are escalating the fighting that has already killed more than 140,000 people. Activists warned Monday that regime troops are preparing a ground offensive against the town of Yabrud, the last rebel stronghold in the strategic Qalamoun region near Lebanon’s border, after days of aerial bombardments. On the diplomatic front, US Secretary of State John Kerry slammed Russia on Monday for “enabling” Syria’s
n AFP, Damascus
Russia could build a second reactor at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant in exchange for Iranian oil, the Iranian ambassador to Moscow said in remarks published on Monday. Russia could also supply Iran with trucks, railroad tracks, mini-refineries or other goods to pay for the oil, ambassador Mehdi Sanaei told the daily Kommersant, under a deal Reuters revealed was being negotiated last month. Reuters reported Iran and Russia were negotiating to swap up to 500,000 barrels of oil per day for goods in the deal that would undermine Western efforts to maintain economic pressure on Tehran while global powers seek to curb its nuclear program. In an interview published a day before the six powers including Russia resume talks with Tehran on a nuclear deal, Sanaei confirmed Russia and Iran were discussing supplies of “a few hundred thousand barrels per day.” “Iran could use some of the proceeds (to pay for) the construction by Russia companies of a second unit at the nuclear power plant in Bushehr,” he said. Russia built the first reactor at Bushehr, Iran’s sole nuclear power plant. Sanaei said it was possible the oil deal, and a broad memorandum on economic cooperation, could be signed before August. Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev is to visit Iran in April for talks on trade. Asked what Russia could supply in exchange for the oil, Sanaei said the sides were discuss-
ing a number of possibilities including the construction of small oil refineries, Russian investment in gas fields and supplies of electricity. In addition to the possibility of Russia building a second reactor at Bushehr, he said Tehran was interested in supplies of heavy trucks or their assembly in Iran, and other items. “Iran is interested in buying a huge amount of railroad tracks from Russia, as well as Russian involvement in the electrification of its railways. We are also interested in Russian grain.” Western nations fear an oil-swap deal would badly hurt efforts to forge a permanent agreement ensuring Iran’s nuclear program could not be used to make weapons in exchange for sanctions relief. An interim deal was reached in January. A top US official said this month she believed the oil-for-goods swap would not go ahead in the near future after the United States warned both sides it would make reaching a nuclear agreement “more difficult if not impossible.” Sanaei dismissed the US concerns and said Russia should do the same, warning that European nations have sent business delegations to Iran and that Moscow risked losing lucrative opportunities if it failed to act fast. “Our Russian friends, who have stood by us at difficult moments, should have advantages on the Iranian market ... But Russian companies must hurry to get into their niche in our market and not hesitate out of fear of Western sanctions,” he said. l
President Bashar al-Assad to stay in power, after Geneva peace talks broke off without result at the weekend. Moscow quickly dismissed the allegation and launched its own broadside, accusing the US of failing to ensure a “truly representative opposition delegation” attended the talks. The sacking of rebel military commander Selim Idriss was announced Sunday by the FSA, which said he was being replaced by Brigadier General Abdelilah al-Bashir, an army deserter. Colonel Qassem Saadeddine of the rebel coalition said the decision was taken due to “the paralysis within the military command these past months” and the need to “restructure.” l
EU offers 12m euros to destroy Syria chemical arms n AFP, Brussels The European Union signed over 12 million euros to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Monday to help pay for the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons programme. The funds had been pledged to the OPCW in December by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to help cover the 25-million to 30-million euro cost of
Iran says Russia could build nuclear reactor in exchange for oil n Reuters, Moscow
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is to sign into law a controversial bill that will see homosexuals jailed for life, despite international pressure, a government spokesman said Monday. Confirmation of the decision, made following local “scientific” analysis of the issue, came as US President Barack Obama warned Museveni that the legislation was a “step backward” that would complicate ties between Washington and Kampala. “He will ascend the bill. This bill is very popular both within the parliament and Ugandan society. The president is under strong domestic pressure to sign the bill,” Ofwono Opondo said. The Ugandan anti-gay bill cruised through parliament in December after its architects agreed to drop an extremely controversial death penalty clause, although the bill still says that repeat homosexuals should be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays. Museveni, a key African ally of the United States and the European Union, has already been under fire from key Western donors over alleged rampant corruption, and had been under pressure from diplomats and rights groups to block the legislation. l
destroying Syria’s chemical materials. They were signed over to the OPCW by the EU’s Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, the European Commission said. Last week, EU foreign ministers agreed to use Syrian funds frozen under the bloc’s sanctions to help pay for the dismantling of Damascus’s chemical weapons programme – a move that angered authorities in Damascus. l
Poland arrests suspected paedophile priest n AFP, Warsaw
A student holds a sign reading “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. Venezuela wake up!” during a protest in Caracas
Venezuela blasts US interference, expels 3 diplomats n AFP, Caracas Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday accused Washington of plotting with anti-government protesters and expelled three US diplomats in retaliation. Maduro’s order came on the same day that fugitive opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez re-appeared and called for a mass rally on Tuesday and
challenged the government to arrest him at the event. Nearly two weeks of anti-government protests spearheaded by students have become the biggest challenge to Venezuela’s socialist rulers since the death of longtime leader Hugo Chavez in 2013. The oil-rich country is mired in a deep economic crisis critics blame on policies that Maduro largely inherited from Chavez.
Strict controls on currency and prices have created huge bottlenecks that have fuelled inflation and emptied store shelves. “I have ordered the foreign ministry to proceed with declaring those three consular officials persona non grata and expelling them from the country. Let them go conspire in Washington!” Maduro said in a nationally broadcast address. l
Polish police on Monday arrested a Roman Catholic priest suspected of sex offences against children in the Dominican Republic, state prosecutors said. The 36-year-old priest, who served in the central city of Santiago on the Caribbean island and is identified only as Wojciech G for legal reasons, will be formally questioned and charged on Tuesday, said Dariusz Nowak, a spokesman for prosecutors in Warsaw. “We received documents from the Dominican Republic that, among other things, will allow us to press charges,” Nowak told reporters. Wojciech G flatly denied any wrongdoing in an October 2013 interview with Polish media, suggesting he was set up by local drug gangs. Polish prosecutors began independent investigations in September into both him and 65-year-old Polish archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who served as a papal envoy in the Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo. Authorities there also suspect Wesolowski of having sex with boys. Pope Francis suspended him from his duties as papal nuncio and summoned him to the Vatican in August of last year. Nowak said Monday that “all documents from the Dominican Republic were transferred to the Vatican,” though Polish prosecutors continue to investigate the case. Unlike in the United States or Ireland, child sex abuse by priests in Poland remained a largely taboo subject until its influential Catholic Church was hit with a string of child sex allegations in 2013. l
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Top Indian news magazine editor formally charged with rape
Pulp our books, authors tell Penguin in India
n AFP, Panaji
Two Indian writers said Monday they have asked publisher Penguin to pulp their books and return the copyright, in protest at what they see as its failure to defend free speech. Penguin ignited the row last week with its decision to withdraw a 2009 book on Hinduism in India, to settle a court battle with activists who took offence at the American author’s depiction of the religion. New Delhi-based journalist Siddarth Varadarajan said he wanted Penguin to withdraw his own book “Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy” since he no longer had faith in the publisher to defend it against critics. “It is catastrophic for someone in the publishing business to do this,” Varadarajan told AFP. Author Jyotirmaya Sharma, a professor of political science at the University of Hyderabad, said he has also written to Penguin, which has published two of his books, asking for his contract to be terminated. He took exception to Penguin’s stated reasons for withdrawing “The Hindus: An Alternative History” by US author Wendy Doniger. “The reply by Penguin citing the compulsions it has in respecting the law of the land is deeply unsatisfactory,” Sharma wrote in an email to Penguin, a copy of which has been seen by AFP. “Unjust laws have to be fought and
Indian police Monday formally charged a former news magazine editor with raping a female colleague in the holiday state of Goa, in a case that has dominated local media headlines. Tarun Tejpal, 50, the founder of top investigative magazine Tehelka, has been in custody since his arrest after the alleged incident in a hotel lift in the southern seaside state in November. Investigating officer Sunita Sawant filed a 2,684-page charge sheet before a court in the state capital Panaji, laying down charges including sexual harassment, outraging modesty and rape of Tejpal’s colleague. The woman, who has quit the magazine since the scandal broke and who cannot be named for legal reasons, has told police she was molested twice in the lift during a magazine-sponsored event in the state. “There is sufficient evidence available in the form of documents, statements and electronic records on record to prove that... was raped, sexually harassed, and her modesty outraged inside an elevator ... by her own employer Tarun Tejpal,” the charge sheet reads. The case made front-page news in India for days, coming at a time when sexual assault is under the spotlight following the fatal gang-rape of a student on a Delhi bus in December 2012, which sparked widespread protests.
Tarun Tejpal, is escorted by police officials from a courthouse after being remanded in police custody in Panaji The magazine has reported forcefully on gender inequality in India recently, highlighting police and judicial insensitivity to rape victims as well as the misogynistic attitudes of many Indian men.
Gunmen kidnap six-strong polio team in NW Pakistan n AFP, Peshawar Masked gunmen kidnapped a six-member polio vaccination team – a doctor, two local employees of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and three guards – in northwest Pakistan on Monday, an official said. Local administration official Niamat Ullah Khan said the team was seized some 300 kilometres (190 miles) southwest of Peshawar, in Ping village at the border of South Waziristan. A local official of the WHO in Peshawar confirmed the incident.
The kidnapping is the latest setback to efforts to eradicate the disease in Pakistan, and followed a bombing on Sunday targeting a polio team in Peshawar which killed a policeman. Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where the crippling virus is still endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria. Peshawar is considered “the largest polio virus reservoir of the world” by the WHO. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping so far. But militant groups see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage, and there are also long-running rumours about polio drops causing infertility. l
Couple ‘stoned to death’ in southwest Pakistan n AFP, Quetta A tribal couple in southwest Pakistan have been stoned to death allegedly on the orders of a local cleric after being accused of having an extramarital affair, local officials told AFP on Monday. Eight people have been arrested, including the cleric, for the suspected murders in the village of Manzkai, 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Quetta in sparsely
populated Baluchistan province. “Locals have told the authorities that the man and woman were stoned to death. Some people are also saying that they were stoned and later shot,” senior local administration official Zulfiqar Durrani told AFP. He said that witnesses have told authorities that the man and woman, both from a nomadic tribe and married to other people, were found guilty of “illicit relations.” l
It has been accused of hypocrisy and trying to cover up a serious crime after staff were sent an email last week saying Tejpal was stepping down for six months for “misconduct.” Police say their investigation gath-
ty that include exterminating, starving and enslaving its population, a UN team said Monday. A hard-hitting report on the nuclear-armed totalitarian state also strongly criticised its denial of basic freedoms of thought, expression and religion, and its abduction of citizens of neighbouring South Korea and Japan. “Systemic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democrat-
n AFP, Islamabad Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned as “heinous” on Monday the alleged execution of 23 kidnapped soldiers by the Taliban, casting an uncertain peace process with the insurgents into doubt just two weeks after talks began. A faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from the northwestern Mohmand district claimed on Sunday night that they had killed 23 paramilitaries who they seized nearly four years ago near the Afghan border. “Such incidents have an extremely negative impact on the ongoing dialogue aimed at promoting peace,” Sharif said in a statement issued by his office. A four-member government negotiation team immediately pulled out of peace talks with their Taliban counterparts scheduled for Monday in the northwestern town of Akora Khattak. Sharif said that Pakistan “cannot afford such bloodshed” and lamented that previous attempts to start dialogue were “sabotaged whenever it reached an encouraging stage.” He announced the start of talks with the Taliban on January 29 to “give peace another chance” following a seven-year insurgency that has claimed nearly 7,000 lives. Observers says the two sides are far
“In many instances, the violations of human rights found by the commission constitute crimes against humanity. These are not mere excesses of the State; they are essential components of a political system that has moved far from the ideals on which it claims to be founded,” the report said. “The gravity, scale and nature of these violations revealed a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.” l
North Korea rejects UN rights report n Reuters, Geneva North Korea “categorically and totally rejects” a report into its human rights record, which is due to be published later on Monday by a UN Commission of Inquiry, it said in a statement sent to Reuters from its diplomatic mission in Geneva. The two page statement said the report was an “instrument of political plot” and “a product of politicization of human
ered CCTV footage showing the pair entering the elevator – although there was no camera inside it – and other evidence including email and SMS exchanges between them. Tejpal has denied the allegations. l
Pakistan peace talks in crisis after killing of kidnapped soldiers
China rejects N Korea should face ICC: UN sending N Korea to ic People’s Republic of Korea, its institutions and officials,” said the report world rights court n AFP, Geneva North Korea’s leaders should be by the Commission of Inquiry on North brought before an international court Korea set up in March 2013 by the UN n AFP, Beijing for a litany of crimes against humani- Human Rights Council. China said Monday it would oppose any move at the United Nations to refer North Korea’s leadership to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity. In an unprecedented move, according to leaked reports, a three-member UN panel will later Monday recommend the referral of North Korea to the ICC in the Hague. “I myself haven’t seen the report, but our relevant position is clear-cut on this: issues concerning human rights should be solved through constructive dialogue on an equal footing,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing. “To submit this report to the ICC will not help resolve the human rights situation in one country,” she added. The reported move is the culmination of a year-long investigation by the panel into Pyongyang’s human rights record. In September, a UN-mandated investigator spoke of “unspeakable atrocities” in North Korea’s political prison camps, citing survivors who saw babies drowned, had relatives killed before their eyes, and lived on vermin. At the time, North Korean diplomat Kim Yong-Ho denied the allegations, telling the UN Human Rights Council the evidence had been “fabricated.” l
n AFP, New Delhi
rights on the part of EU and Japan in alliance with the US hostile policy.” “However, we will continue to strongly respond to the end to any attempt of regime-change and pressure under the pretext of ‘human rights protection’,” it said. “The DPRK (North Korea) once again makes it clear that the ‘human rights violations’ mentioned in the so-called ‘report’ do not exist in our country.” l
apart on crucial issues and some experts doubt whether Taliban leaders are able to control the whole organisation, in which some factions are believed to be opposed to peace. Excluding the soldiers, some 60 people have died in Islamist-linked violence since the talks began.
‘We regret to say that things are not moving in a right direction,’ chief government peace negotiator Irfan Siddiqui said in a statement Government negotiators declared Monday’s scheduled talks to be “purposeless” after the “sad and condemnable” murders. “We regret to say that things are not moving in a right direction,” chief government peace negotiator Irfan Siddiqui said in a statement. He added that a meeting would be convened on Tuesday to discuss the future course of action. The disappearance of dozens of Pakistani soldiers was reported by AFP
from the Mohmand tribal district on June 17, 2010. Dozens of paramilitary soldiers from the Frontier Corps vanished after the Taliban attacked their checkpost in a remote area of Mohmand near the Afghan border. The killing of the prisoners was to avenge the alleged extra-judicial murder of comrades in government custody, the Taliban faction in Mohmand said in its statement sent to AFP late on Sunday. Peace negotiators nominated by the insurgents said that they regretted that Monday’s talks in Akora Khattak had been cancelled. “The two committees should have sat together and it would have enabled them to find ways to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in future,” the head of the Taliban committee, Syed Yousuf Shah, said from the town. “We were close to reaching an understanding on ceasefire but it is sad that the government committee called off meeting after considering us as Taliban,” he added at a televised press conference. The Taliban’s demands include the nationwide imposition of sharia law, an end to US drone strikes and the withdrawal of the army from northwestern tribal regions – conditions the government and army are unlikely to be able to meet. l
challenged, especially if these are applied and enforced selectively,” he wrote. Penguin has drawn fire from writers and champions of free speech over its decision to pull the US scholar’s book rather than fight the case. Although it said it respected free speech, Penguin stated last week it settled the case because it must comply with India’s laws “however intolerant and restrictive those laws may be.” Doniger has said she was “angry and disappointed” at the decision. Sharma, whose books focus on Hindu nationalism, said he has threatened legal action against Penguin, part of publishing giant Penguin Random House, if it failed to comply with his requests. Varadarajan is a former editor of the Hindu newspaper whose book details riots that killed 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, in the western state of Gujarat in 2002. He said it was an occupational hazard for big publishers to fight such court cases. Many authors and artists practise self-censorship in religiously diverse India, which is about 80% Hindu, due to tough laws against inciting communal violence and a powerful censor. India banned Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses,” which is viewed by some Muslims as blasphemous. l
Pakistan PM condemns ‘heinous’ execution n AFP, Islamabad Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday condemned the “heinous” execution of kidnapped soldiers by a Taliban faction, warning that the deaths could affect ongoing peace talks. “Such incidents have an extremely negative impact on the ongoing dialogue aimed at promoting peace,” Sharif said in a statement issued by his office. A faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from the northwestern Mohmand district claimed on Sunday night that they had killed 23 paramilitary Frontier Corps members who were kidnapped in June 2010. Sharif added that Pakistan “cannot afford such bloodshed” and lamented that previous attempts to start dialogue were “sabotaged whenever it reached an encouraging stage.” Government negotiators were set to sit down for fresh talks with their Taliban counterparts on Monday but they cancelled the meeting after unanimously deciding it would be “purposeless.” Sharif announced talks with the Pakistani Taliban on January 29 to “give peace another chance” following a seven-year insurgency that has claimed nearly 7,000 lives. l
China policeman to die for killing pregnant woman n AFP, Beijing A policeman in China was sentenced to death Monday for fatally shooting a pregnant woman and injuring her husband while drunk, authorities said. Hu Ping was also ordered to pay the victim’s family 73,324 yuan ($12,000), according to the Guigang Intermediate People’s Court in the southern region of Guangxi. The case sparked outrage among China’s Internet users after it was first reported in October. According to the Shanghai Daily, the pregnant woman, Wu Ying, and her husband Cai Shiyong were tending to their rice-noodle store when Hu, drunk and shirtless, entered and demanded milk tea. After the woman responded that the store did not serve milk tea, the officer opened fire, wounding Cai in the shoulder and killing Wu and her unborn child. Internet users welcomed the sentence, with one poster on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, saying: “Death would not be a sufficient punishment for his crime.” Stories of abuses involving police and “chengguan,” or urban management officers, regularly trigger outcries in China. l
Bereaved friends and relatives comfort each other as the bodies of victims of an air crash arrive at the morgue of the Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu AFP
Rescuers find plane wreckage in Nepal n AP Rescuers in Nepal have found the wreckage of a passenger plane that went missing in the western mountains. There is no word yet about the 18 people aboard. Nepal Airlines official Ram Hari Sharma told the Associated Press that a rescue helicopter was able to spot the wreckage on Monday on the side of a mountain near Machinelek and
rescuers on foot are now trying to reach the area. The plane operated by the state-run airline lost contact with the ground control on Sunday while flying in rain and fog. There were 15 passengers and three crew members on board the plane. One of the passengers is believed to be a Danish national, while the rest on board, including a child, are Nepalese nationals. l
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Attacking private healthcare does not serve the public
LETTER OF THE DAY
Equal pay for equal work?
he health minister devoted much of a recent speech to making scathing criticisms of private hospitals and clinics. His remarks went so far as to appear to blame the private sector for the lack of universal health care in the country. This is a disservice to the public interest. It is wrong to criticise the private sector for the lack of universal healthcare in the country. Deficiencies in the public system and the lack of efficiency and investment prevalent in most government controlled hospitals, are the fault and responsibility of government, not the private sector. Private healthcare providers and entrepreneurs have accomplished much to raise the standard and scope of health services available in the country. Their popularity is down to their ability to deliver good services. Attacking or undermining their effectiveness, will not achieve anything to deliver healthcare to people who cannot afford private care, or to raise standards in government controlled hospitals. Clearly, with much of the population currently unable to access good healthcare from either the public or private sector, the government needs to do more to deliver accessible, basic health services to the population of large. This is the area, along with improving standards in public hospitals, where the minister should have focused his attention. Instead he chose to make hectoring criticisms of private hospitals. This was not constructive and comes across as a smokescreen for the government’s failure to root out systemic inefficiencies and problems in public hospitals.
Deficiencies in government controlled hospitals, are the fault and responsibility of government, not the private sector
February 14 Wage discrimination against female workers is a serious issue that needs to be resolved. Women’s organisations and rights groups should look into it. This issue on the principle of “equal pay for equal work” has no scope for discrimination. I would request labour department officials to investigate, and if any discrimination is being practiced, then it should be gotten rid of. As for payment made on a piece rate or weight basis – where payment is based on the quantity of work done – it is quite possible that women are carrying smaller loads than men. However, if that is not the case, then there should be no reason for unequal payment between men and women. If female workers face any deficiencies in payment, or if the work environment is unhealthy, then they should pursue a legal course. SA Mansoor
Bad influences? February 10
Sam Definitely one of the lazier articles here: every generation says the same thing about how “things are so immoral now.” Please! Egotism, materialism, hedonism, and such are part and parcel of our culture despite what we may want to believe about the supposed “good old days.” How many people want to make sure that their son or daughter gets married to a fair-skinned, tall “doctor or engineer with a green card”? Just about everyone, and that has always been the case. The author means well but needs to be a little more original. nds Sam: If by violating all norms of decent life and showing total disregard for social conventions one can prove to be original, then what we can claim to be our specialty is that as a nation we stand unsurpassed in the field of originality and creativity. Best example, our democracy, a real act of our extreme genius in creativity or originality. Sam nds: Your comment, while well intended and passionate, is really not saying much beyond venting. nds Sam: For an ordinary citizen like me going beyond
Protecting domestic workers should be a priority
The murderers of Sagar Runi must be brought to justice
venting is next to impossible, that is I mean saying much beyond is the exclusive preserve of the intellectuals such as yourself. Muhammad Eusha nds: If I may interject, gentlemen, I believe I have the right to defend myself as the writer of this humble piece. While I welcome criticism, Sam seems to be entirely oblivious to the conspicuous effects the Bollywood/Hollywood movies are producing on the young generations. In the 60s, 70s, 80s, or even 90s, Bollywood movies hardly used to condone sexual licentiousness. In other words, they used to depict sexual immorality with disapprobation and abhorrence. Nowadays, it is no longer the same. You can see it even in the perfume ads. Some ads actually say it is commendable to be able to allure others’ wives and girlfriends by flaunting your sexual charm etc. This is unique to this era. It was never this bad. It has crossed the limit now. So your son will suffer from an inferiority complex if he is unable to flirt away and steal women from others since if one cannot be a Don Juan in this strange era, one is regarded as an idiot. I have said enough. Not everything should be said. Some things should be realised in seclusion by sincere pondering. Thank you, gentlemen.
February 11, 2012 was the day when Sagar Sarwar and Mehrun Runi, two very promising journalists, were brutally murdered in their apartment, leaving their son Megh an orphan. The whole country was numb with shock and disbelief; the incident was so macabre. Since then, two years have passed, and the murderers are still at large, as law-enforcing agents could not make any headway about the murders. It is very surprising and unacceptable because they are capable and we have seen many times how swiftly they are able to arrest criminals who are guilty of different felonies. But why are they failing in the Sagar-Runi case? Is the case destined to remain shrouded in mystery forever? What could be the reason behind it? The journalists’ society must not give up its quest for the truth to be revealed and the public is with them in their endeavour to bring the killers to justice. They must not rest until the goal is achieved. Anon
Be Heard Write to us at: Dhaka Tribune FR Tower, 8/C Panthapath Sukrabad, Dhaka-1207
Correctional home’s supervisor suspended February 14
he government is close to finalising a new Domestic Worker Protection Act and Domestic Worker Protection and Welfare Policy. While long overdue, it is encouraging to see some progress towards protecting some of Bangladesh’s most vulnerable workers. The drafts cover important ground such as limiting working hours, stopping the employment of child workers and protecting domestic workers from physical, mental and sexual harassment. Registration of domestic workers will also become mandatory and it will entitle them to identity cards, fixed wages, fixed working hours, leave, education and training and medical care and compensation for accidents. If properly implemented, this will be a huge step forward for the 2 million domestic workers of Bangladesh who currently enjoy little to no rights. The fact is that incidents of abuse, torture and even murder of domestic workers are all too common and deserve far more attention. Many Bangladeshis also work similar or worse problems when working as domestic help abroad. The government should ratify the ILO Convention on Domestic workers to help it to defend citizens rights abroad as well. Domestic workers are not only a huge part of our workforce, they are an integral part of the lives of most Bangladeshi families. Changing the status quo to improve their working conditions will require not only changes in laws but also vigilant implementation and change in societal norms. However, this is a process we must go through if we are to evolve towards a more just and egalitarian society.
A suspension is meaningless for a government job. He can get back the post again may be after two or three years, with all pending benefits. There were rumours about this correctional facility that many young people who went there
came out with enough experience to join a life of violence and crime, rather than a choosing a life of goodness. Thus, a private investigation would be better than a government investigation. Nazmul Khair
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CALVIN AND HOBBES
Incidents of abuse are all too common and deserve far more attention
SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Spoil (3) 3 Diplomacy (4) 6 Sly look (4) 7 Lair (3) 9 Passport endorsement (4) 10 Vegetable (3) 11 Sour (4) 13 Burdened (5) 16 Apple drink (5) 18 This place (4) 19 Boring tool (3) 20 In addition (4) 21 Plant juice (3) 23 Fissure (4) 24 Excuse (4) 25 Was ahead (3)
DOWN 1 Decoration (5) 2 Monkey (3) 4 Greedy (4) 5 Beverage (3) 6 Apple of the eye (5) 8 Lowest point (5) 9 Climbing plant (4) 12 Yields (5) 14 Top fliers (4) 15 Airman (5) 17 Swift (5) 18 Immense (4) 20 Mild explosion (3) 22 Land measure (3)
YESTERDAY’S SOLUTIONS Crossword
How to solve Sudoku: Fill in the blank spaces with the numbers 1 – 9. Every row, column and 3 x 3 box must contain all nine digits with no number repeating.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Getting Bangladesh wrong for 40 years
Ballot boxes burnt by opposition; they chose not to participate
n Brian Shoesmith hat is it about America and Bangladesh? At times one thinks they look through binoculars but forget to take the lens caps off and see only a reflection of their own geopolitical projections. Take the lens cap off, and an unexpected reality emerges that doesn’t fit the view constructed and promulgated by the Washington think tanks, which leads to much hand-wringing and naysaying. William B Milam’s piece from the Pakistani The Express Tribune (reprinted in the Dhaka Tribune, Feb 2) is a spectacular example of this. Milam informs us breathlessly that revolutions in “this century” have occurred largely in Muslim majority countries, and goes on to suggest that the most egregious of all has occurred in Bangladesh, by stealth. The election of January 5 is “most likely to produce
a purely authoritarian state.” He arrived at this startling conclusion after a brief survey, cherry picking really, of Edmund Burke, so beloved of conservative commentators, but with no analysis of the actual events leading up to the election of 2014. Underlying his assertions is an implicit assumption that the BNP is the wronged party in all of the transactions contributing to what has now become almost universally known as “a farcical election.” A term developed and peddled endlessly by the BNP ideologues because they had no other tune in their songbook and adopted, without question it seems, by the commentariat. Maybe it is time to redress the balance. If we are to be balanced then we have to acknowledge that Sheikh Hasina took a calculated gamble and went forward into an election without resorting to a caretaker government, against the wishes of the civil society, which holds great sway with Western policy and news-makers.
It is history n Ikhtisad Ahmed
ichael Gove’s idea of how history should be taught suggests the British education secretary values prevalent principles of developing countries in the Commonwealth above the wisdom of leading scholars. He does not even hide his wish to revise history for political benefit. The celebration he believes to be the purpose of history is designed to steer the common people away from the truth and, in the process, produce an obedient population that feeds a cult. “When politicians pontificate about the past, it is rarely in the disinterested pursuit of a complex truth and more often in order to score party political points,” writes Emeritus Professor Avi Shlaim. “And when politicians invoke the ‘lessons of history,’ they usually have a hidden or not so hidden political agenda.” Bangladesh has bred, and, in many ways, pioneered, this culture, this plague Gove wants to inflict on the UK. History has zealously been written by politicians alone, evidenced by the constant revisionism that goes on under the guise of unwavering patriotism. Any attempt to discuss the truth is dismissed as unpatriotic, leading to severe persecution that silences the unruly few and suppresses the truth forever. Gove desires to import this dystopian present to control and dominate in the future.
It is time for Bangladesh to be honest about its history of the last millennium An oft-ignored fact about the history of Bangladesh is that it did not begin in 1971. The country belongs to the region that was the prized possession of the British Raj, and the Mughal Empire before that. An imaginary
divide created by the Viceroy in 1905 to re-establish control unfortunately dictated the future. The undeniably rich heritage of the people, however, was not defeated. It survives, albeit emaciated, to this day in Bangladesh. It is noteworthy that the country was never heard, never even permitted to speak about its own future during the last days of colonialism. The first time it voiced its will was in 1952.
Milam doesn’t care to mention that this very system was abused during a two-year long military-backed interregnum, initially lauded by the civil society. The BNP asserted that a fair election could not be conducted without a caretaker government without stating why.
If the election was a farce it was because the BNP made it a farce. They were not coerced into abstaining from the election, but chose to
It seems the mutual distrust between the two party leaders is understood by all, which leads to public doubts about a Westminster-style election, as reflected in the Dhaka Tribune’s own polling. But the fact remains that Hasina
is consigned to the blind-spot of the population, is dismissed and overlooked, because the history of Bangladesh has always been written by the ruling class. The people need to be shown to have been powerless and useless to serve the illusion the politicians have designed and implemented for nearly 43 years. The creation of the cults that mock ideology and pass for political parties, legitimate and illegitimate,
The people, not any political party, were responsible for preserving its identity, culture and values The people, not any political party, were responsible for preserving its identity, culture and values. Their efforts, sacrifices, and deaths provided the necessary foundation to the leaders to build on by provoking civil unrest and furthering demands. The bold, united actions of the common men and women, however, was the catalyst. The people, not any political personality, were also amongst the first to posit the theory of independence, 19 years before the leaders took stock and pronounced it. The first poem about the Language Movement, the seminal “Kandte Ashini, Phashir Dabi Niye Eshechhi,” fervently penned by the legendary Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury, documents and spells out this hypothesis in his 17-page long fiery demand for justice and the end of oppressive rule. It has to be noted that he never took ownership of the idea because the people of an unborn Bangladesh were the ones who had conceived it, had allowed it to take shape in their conscience, and strengthen the resilient spirit of the region. The flashpoint of the Language Movement, like the history of Bengal that is integral to the formation of Bangladesh, is known in vague terms,
alone did hand over power to a caretaker government in 2001 only to see her party, after it lost the elections, brutalised by BNP and its Islamist ilk. In a sense, amnesia rules; people conveniently forget it is the BNP that has repeatedly failed to give fair elections. This time Hasina offered a compro-
is attributable to this shameless and deplorable manipulation. Fortunately, this has unwittingly created a safe space for Bangladeshis: The Language Movement and the hundreds of years that came before belong to them. They need to claim them and utilise this haven to be true to their identity. It is time for Bangladesh to be honest about its history of the last millennium; only then can it be honest about the last few decades. It is time for this history to be widely known, for it is not only a source of pride, but of being brave and united. 1952 showed that the people were ready to take ownership of what was theirs, and in doing so, strike a telling blow against the oppressors that would lead to the independence they desired 19 years hence. Let that reminder of real patriotism – that the country belongs to the people – be used as a foothold to learn the history of Bangladesh, sans political revisionism, and, in turn, to the populace laying claim to its irrefutable rights, its indisputable possessions, and the incontrovertible truth. l Ikhtisad Ahmed is a writer and an erstwhile lawyer. He can be contacted on Twitter via @ Ikhtisad.
mise, an all-party temporary government, and even the crucial home ministry for the opposition, which was rejected by the BNP. Interestingly, the same DT poll now shows, after the horse bolted as it were, that 56% of the population
thinks that an all-party government can be an acceptable method of holding the polls. There is no mention of any of these facts in Milam’s strong denunciations of not just the AL but of one of the rare success stories in the developing Muslim world. If the election was a farce it was because the BNP made it a farce. They were not coerced into abstaining from the election but chose to, thereby opening up the field for a masterful display of ruthless politics on the part of Hasina. What’s more, BNP signed on to its Islamist ally Jamaat’s campaign of terror that claimed hundreds of lives. Both the scale and the method of killings - targeting civilians, such as commuters in buses - was unprecedented. Tactically the BNP did not try to leverage public opinion by raising issues of bank scandals, the Padma Bridge scandal, BCL hooliganism, but chose to align itself, when given the opportunity, with the misogynistic rhetoric of Hefazat. While this deeply antagonistic politics is harmful and demoralising, it is hardly grounds for claiming that: “Bangladesh, which was once hailed as a paragon of political and social modernization in the Islamic world, will join the overcrowded ranks of authoritarian states with corrupted extractive institutions.” In any case, this argument is totally ahistorical. When did the US ever regard Bangladesh as a paragon of modernisation? Do we have to remind them of Kissinger’s infamous slogan? Have they forgotten the US role in seeking to prevent the creation of Bangladesh? And how many “authoritarian states with corrupted extractive institutions” have the Americans supported for strategic reasons in the past? The number of countries, from Latin America to Middle East, and farther beyond, who are still reeling from America’s interference in their domestic affairs during the Cold War, makes for a most sobering cautionary tale. So what is it the US wants from Bangladesh, and why is it so unhappy with the current political situation? A number of possible reasons spring to mind. The Awami League is still perceived as too close to India and the
uneasy relationship between India and the US is displaced on to Bangladesh. Possibly. The BNP is seen as being more compliant to American strategic needs in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Maybe.
What would be written if the BNP had acted sensibly and shed its links to the Islamists?
It is clear that there is a multiplicity of factors influencing the US position on Bangladesh. Despite this there remains one overriding issue; the American failure to read the signs and act accordingly. From the outset of the election campaign the Americans seemed to accept implicitly the BNP agenda that it was the wronged party, and, like that party, never countenanced an alternative. One suspects they expected Hasina and the AL to cave into BNP demands in the face of public opinion. When this didn’t happen, like the BNP, they became a policy-free zone. To cover this omission they have to resort to Burke, extrapolate and make wild claims about the future of Bangladesh, conveniently ignoring the fact that of the two parties it is the AL that is most likely to deliver on the Americans’ ongoing “war on terror.” Commentators like Milam consciously omit any reference to the links between the BNP and the Jamaat. One can only wonder what would be written if the BNP had acted sensibly, shed its links to the Islamists, contested the election, and won. Headlines like: “Bangladesh becomes haven for terrorists.” Like all of us, the US has to live with its contradictions, and it doesn’t help when short-term disappointment overrides long-term possibilities. l Brian Shoesmith is a Professor at ULAB.
Is Jamaat still in the game? n Mohammad Ali Sattar
here has been no political party in Bangladesh to have created so much of a storm and rumpus as has Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. Just prior to, and immediately following, the liberation of the country, there were a number of left-leaning parties and underground extremist groups trying to formulate the impossible in the disconcerted situation of the time. The leftists’ role in 1971 also raised questions in many quarters. But those were not taken into cognisance by the state powers. The leftists ran out of steam, but somehow survived in the sidelines of politics. Meanwhile, Jamaat stealthily managed to shape them up. For the majority Muslim population of the country, Jamaat was looked upon as the only Islamic platform expected to bring about a change in the socio-political arena as a peaceful Islamic entity. Meanwhile, secularists had been either trying to position their causes to cast the religious-minded populace out of mainstream politics, or to enhance their standing by way of maligning the genuine figures that did not belong to the secular stream. Separating religion from politics had been their primary agenda. Things did not work for them till now. A large number of people with strong religious conviction still believe that there should be Islamic parties to influence the country, if not politically, socially at least. Bangladesh is a country of peace-loving, religious-minded people. Not only do we see the majority Muslims, we also see Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists living in peace and amity. Maulana Abul Ala Moududi, who was born in 1903 in Hyderabad, founded Jamaat in 1941. His aim was to launch the Islamic movement in India. After partition, Jamaat split into factions. Workers and activists later became Jamaat leaders. Time, place, and context changed. So did their politics.
After what the Jamaat did during our war of liberation, the party should have been dead and buried with the sunrise of December 16, 1971. But Jamaat never perished. It came back bit by bit, shaping up into a force. It made its way into mainstream politics and public minds.
After what the Jamaat did during the war, the party should have been dead and buried That Jamaat was never a peace-loving party is beyond question. It has been gathering strength with the assistance of our own community. One by one, the collaborators of Pakistan popped out from various corners of the land and dared to raise their political flag. BNP was their first refuge, and at a later period, they also teamed up with the Awami League as a partner in a movement for a caretaker government against the BNP. Jamaat did not hesitate to go against the BNP to meet its selfish ends. It engaged Jamaat as its partner in its campaign against the BNP in 1996. So the AL also pampered Jamaat as friends in need. These opportunities gave Jamaat a boost. They thought that since the AL
Time to get rid of violent elements
could treat them as friends, they might now be an authentic force in Bangladesh politics. It again joined the BNP-led front and became partners in government. Posing as an Islamic party, Jamaat expected support in the polls, since the mainstream population was Muslim. However, its share of votes did not pass the 3-4% mark at any time. Jamaat was rejected by the people simply because of their barbaric role in 1971, and the politics of violence that they pursued. After all these years, war criminals are standing trial and are being sent to the gallows. Alas! Jamaat is still in the centre stage of our political discourse. The AL demands of the BNP to spurn Jamaat and come to dialogue with it. The BNP is not interested in following AL’s directives. Even the just-concluded national polls centred around the absence or presence of the Jamaat in the fray. Jamaat has been disqualified from participating in any polls by the Election Commission. There has been demand for outlawing Jamaat. The government, for reasons unknown, is unwilling to oblige. It is time that we deal with the Jamaat issue. Now is the time to get rid of the violent elements in our politics. Don’t we have a finer political vision than Jamaati politics? l Mohammad Ali Sattar is a journalist and DT columnist.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
TODAY IN DHAKA
Sixth death anniversary of Manna observed
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thor: The Dark World, Pacific Rim in 3D, Frozen Time: 10am – 10pm Star Cineplex, Level 8
n Entertainment Desk
Manna, an iconic Dhallywood actor, was remembered yesterday on his sixth death anniversary at Bangladesh Film Development Corporation, his hometown Tangail and other places by his fans, friends and family members. Born in 1964 in Tangail district, SM Aslam Talukder, better known by his stage name Manna, stepped into the world of cinema through the film, Kashem Malar Prem, in 1984 after he was discovered through a talent search programme by the BFDC. From then on, there was no looking back for him. Manna acted in more than 300 films in lead roles, most of which did well in the box office when Dhallywood was facing a serious drought. He is credited with blockbusters like Danga, Deshpremik, Loottoraj, Ammajan, Moner Sathey Juddho, Dui Bodhu Ek Swami and Bortoman, among others. He was elected as general secretary of Bangladesh Film Actors’ Association, and he contributed much to the movement against vulgarity in the Dhallywood film industry. Manna received several prestigious awards, including a National Award for Best Actor Banglavision will air a special episode on Manna on its regular show, Shokal Belar Rodddur, at 11:05am today. Manna’s widow, Shelly Manna, veteran filmmaker Chashi Nazrul Islam and celebrated actress Nipun will talk about the actor. l
Time: 3pm – 7pm National Art Gallery Auditorium, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy
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 Dui Bangal By Hashem Khan and Mohammad Iqbal Time: 12pm – 8pm Gallery Twenty One, Taj Lily, 751 Satmasjid Road (level 11) Solo Exhibition By Proshanta Karmakar Buddha Time: 12pm – 7pm Shilpangan Gallery, House-7, Road-13, Dhanmondi 3rd Kibria Print Fair Time: 3pm – 8pm Dhaka Art Center (DAC) House-60, Road-7A Dhanmondi R/A
Festival Artistes of Shadhona delighted a houseful audience at the premier show of its latest dance production Premamritam at the Music and Dance centre of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Sunday evening. Directed by Sweety Das Chowdhury, Premamritam is based on Baishnab Padabali that depicts the eternal love between Radha and Krishna presented through Bishnupuriya dance, which is traditional form of Manipuri dance of Bangladesh. Besides inclusion of some soulful songs, the dance drama was also enriched with the presentations of dhol and other local instruments QUAMRUL ABEDIN
Chinese New Year By Institute of Modern Language University of Dhaka Time: 2pm to 6pm TSC Auditorium
Akash Koto Dure gives emphasis on human emotions: Samia Zaman
Agnee crosses Tk3 crore mark in 3 days
n Mahbub Hassan Joti
n Entertainment Desk
Samia Zaman’s second film, Akash Koto Dure, was released on Friday in two cinemas of the capital. The film has also been selected for the Festival International du Film Oriental de Geneve (FIFOG), which will be held in Switzerland. Written by famous lyricist Zulfiqer Russell and produced by Impress Telefilm Ltd, the star cast of the film includes Rajjak, Sharmila Ahmed, Mostafa Prokash, Lux Channel i superstar Fariya Hossain, Misha Showdagar, Ankon and child artists from Tokai Natyodol. Recently, Dhaka Tribune caught up with Samia Zaman, who has previously achieved acclaims for her first directorial venture, Rani Kuthir Baki Itihash.
Akash Koto Dure changed its release date many times. What is the reason behind releasing it now? It is true that I took a long time to release the film. I was waiting for the right moment, I wanted the audience to watch my film with happiness. I am very content to showcase this film at a festival. I am hopeful about my film after observing the audience response.
though vital characters in the film are played by child actors. It has romantic elements as well. More emphasis is put on portraying human emotions.
What is the story behind choosing the title?
Akash Koto Dure is about an orphan named Bicchu, who is involved in criminal activity and always wants to reveal the sky, t h e freedom. I have named the film after a song’s title. I proposed the name to my unit and everyone agreed that it was a perfect name for the film.
How did you select the child artist?
The main character of the film, Bichhu, is played by child artist Ankan, who I decided to cast as he has some knowledge about acting. He was a bit experienced and it helped a lot in portraying this character.
The film is being screened at two cinemas only. What are you going to do about making it more accessible for the mass?
It all depends on the owners of cinema halls. Distributors cannot do anything about it. This side of the fence belongs to the Impress Telefilm, as they are taking care of distribution and more. Owners of cinema halls are interested about Akash Koto Dure. Maybe next week, more cinema halls will be added to the list.
Is this a children’s film only?
I would not tag this movie solely as a children’s movie,
Many directors submit their films in international film festivals before they release them in Bangladesh. What do you think about this?
I am interested in this kind of initiatives as it broadens the audience arena. Now, non-resident Bangladeshis are screening Bangladeshi films in many places in the UK and USA. Also, Akash Koto Dure will be screened in a film festival in Switzerland on April 6.
Did you start working on your next film?
Yes, I am working on a creation of Syed Shamsul Haque. I will start shooting for my new film at the end of this year. l
Khude Gaanraj participant Sharan’s debut album releases n Entertainment Desk Channel i’s reality show Khude Gaanraj participant Sharan’s debut album Sharaner Janala was launched through a function yesterday. Released under the banner of Fahim Music, the album consists of 12 songs: Kachhe Ashte Mana, Swapnoshiri, Tumi Bondhu Guitar Bajao, Ato Bhalobeshona, Boishakhi Jhor, Swapno Shey To Ra-
trite, Ami Abar Prothom Theke, Moner Bhetor Arekta Mon, Tumi Chaile, Moner Radio, Adha Diba Adha Nishi and Amar Ek Taratay. The songs have been written and composed by Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul, Binod Roy, Drishan Khan and few others. Cultural personality Asaduzzaman Noor and Impress Telefilms Mangaging Director Faridur Reza Sagar, among others, were present at the album launching programme. l
ON TV MOVIE 6:00pm Star Movies Pearl Harbor
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
DRAMA 9:00pm Sony
Ek Nayi Pehchaan
10:00pm Star Plus
Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hain
COMEDY 12:00pm FX
8:00pm Comedy Central Arrested Development
MISC 11:30am AXN
You Gotta Eat Here
Mahia Mahi and Arifin Shuvoo-starring latest action-thriller Agnee has broken all previous box office records of Dhallywood by collecting over Tk3 crore only in three days, Muntahidul Liton, head of marketing of the film’s production house Jaaz Multimedia, told the Dhaka Tribune. Director Iftakar Ahmed’s big-budget film Agnee, which was released on February 14 simultaneously at 92 cinemas, scored big on the opening day by earning Tk1.25 crore. Before its released, the film generated huge interest among movie-goers and the official trailer on Facebook and Youtube went viral, which was a rare incident for a Dhallywood film. The film has been mostly shot in Thailand and presents some furious action scenes and romantic songs at some beautiful locations. l
Amitabh Bachchan gets 8 million followers on Twitter n Entertainment Desk It was a good day for Bollywood Superstar Amitabh Bachchan as the megastar crossed million followers on Twitter day before yesterday. “Oh Baby !! 8 million on Twitter !! what a compliment to the FmXt .. you are all responsible for this, and this is your victory ! TY,” posted an excited Big B.
One of the most followed celebrities in India, Amitabh Bachchan has easily overtaken Shah Rukh Khan who boasts of 6.78 million followers, while actor Hrithik Roshan has 5.08 million followers. Amitabh Bachchan is extremely active on Twitter, constantly posting about his daily life, shoots, events and current affairs. l
Bafta Awards: 12 Years A Slave Wins Best Film n Entertainment Desk British director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave has been named best film at this year’s Bafta awards. The film was nominated in 10 categories, but was beaten in many by Gravity which claimed six prizes, including best director for Alfonso Cuaron. But the leading actor award went to 12 Years star Chiwetel Ejiofor, who received a standing ovation as he took to the stage to receive his trophy from Uma Thurman at the Royal Opera House in London. Cate Blanchett claimed the leading actress trophy after her acclaimed performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Gravity won the first award of the night, with Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron taking home the outstanding British film trophy. The space adventure, which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, has caused some controversy by being listed as a British film, but it was
Cate Blanchett filmed in this country and the team responsible for its visual effects are UK-based. Among the films it beat were Rush and Philomena. Gravity also collected the awards for best sound, cinematog-
Chiwetel Ejiofor raphy, visual effects and original music. A host of Hollywood stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, were in the capital for the ceremony, which was hosted by Stephen Fry. l
Did you know? Wayne Rooney has scored 150 league goals for Man Utd; only five players have netted more in league competition for the club
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
0 2 6 DAYS TO GO
14 Man City on
20 3 8 13 6 3 7 0 80 30 0 10
Total (all out, 40 overs) 180 Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Dilshan), 2-28 (K. Perera), 3-43 (Sangakkara), 4-52 (Priyanjan), 5-58 (Chandimal), 6-62 (Mathews), 7-64 (Kulasekara), 8-67 (Vithanage), 9-149 (Senanayake), 10-180 (Malinga) Bowling: Al-Amin 8-1-34-1, Rubel 8-0-37-2 (w5), Shakib 7-0-29-2 (w1), Sunny 6-2-31-2 (w1), Gazi 7-0-22-1, Mahmudullah 4-0-26-0. Bangladesh 0 62 44 27 3 8 0 6 5 4 2 6
Total (all out, 39.2 overs) 167 Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Anamul), 2-79 (Mominul), 3-114 (Shamsur), 4-119 (Shakib), 5-133 (Nasir), 6- 133 (Mahmudullah), 7-142 (Gazi), 8-161 (Sunny), 9-162 (Rahim), 10-167 (Rubel). Bowling: Malinga 8-1-37-1 (w2, nb1), Kulasekara 6-0-38-0, Mathews 7.2-1-21-3, Senanayake 9-0-33-2, T. Perera 9-1-35-1 Sri Lanka won by 13 runs Toss: Bangladesh
Sri Lankan cricketers celebrate after winning the first ODI against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka yesterday AFP
Liza, Eva inch closer to title n
WIM Shamima Akter Liza, the last year’s runner-up, and WFM Nazrana Khan Eva are jointly leading the Sultana Kamal 34th National Women Chess Championship with 8 points each at the end of the penultimate round. Three players - reigning women’s champion Sharmin Sultana Shairin, WIM Rani Hamid and WFM Zakia Sultana - shared the 2nd position with 7 points each yesterday. WFM Tanima Parveen was positioned third with 6.5 points. In the 10th round Liza beat Dilara Jahan Nupur, Eva beat Jahanara Haque Runu, Shirin got a walk-over against Kiswara Shajrin Evana, Rani Hamid got a walk-over against Hamida Mahmud while Zakia also got a walk-over against Mahmuda Hoque Chowdhury Moly. l
Mistakes as a team cost us: Mushfiq n
The 13-run defeat to Sri Lanka at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday was the third close defeat for the home side in last six days, the previous two coming in the Twenty20s. The reasons behind the T20 defeats earlier were termed as “small mistakes” by Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim and this time around he said the heart breaking loss was “disappointing” and it was caused by “mistakes as a team.” The home side set the right platform by reducing their opponents to 67 for eight before they literally helped
Thisara Perera, who survived three catches, to blast 80 runs and shift the momentum. Apart from a couple players questions were raised during the postmatch conference regarding the poor body language of the players, but Mushfiq was took the blame and said the result was simply disappointing. “There is no individual concern about anybody rather we went down due to mistakes as a team which includes me, I failed with the attempted scoop which could only reach up to the keeper,” said Mushfiq at the postmatch conference yesterday. “Overall what was disappointing was that, from 67 for 8 it should have never reached 180. It is a very rare case to be honest so we cannot blame one or
two persons for that. Chasing 180 was never impossible. Mominul (Haque) and Shamsur (Rahman) was playing well and I thought we could reach the target easily, unfortunately that didn’t happen. Batsmen didn’t apply themselves properly,” he added. When quarried if it was Sri Lanka who won or Bangladesh that had lost, Mushfiqur said, “It seems as though we lost purposely. To be honest I remember when Bangladesh lost this way before. It’s really disappointing. Few catches were dropped by good fielders which had put us on the back foot. Chasing 180 was possible as there ball was not swinging or spinning. I think the two run outs (of Shamsur and Shakib al Hasan) made us panic.” While for the winning captain, An-
gelo Mathews, it was the team spirit that had sailed the side to the victory in spite being dominated in most part of the game. He also denied that the dropped catches of Thisara had steered them to 180. “Dropped catches are part of game so I should not take away credit from him (Thisara). He batted well and is a much matured player now and one of the best all-rounder that we have. I believe it was the team spirit that made us win the game and hard work of the bowlers which helped us defend the low target,” said Mathews. The Lankan skipper mentioned that seeing the side lose eight wickets with only 67 runs was one of the odd days for batters and the win was like a dream coming true. l
Under-19 cruise to second WC win Sunny side up n Bangladesh rode on an all-round performance from Mosaddek Hossain as the young Tigers cruised to their second win in the Under-19 World Cup beating Namibia by 52 runs in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The right-handed Mosaddek made a valuable 70 before claiming three wickets with his off-spin later. With the win Bangladesh also moved top of Group B as Afghanistan pulled an upset to beat Australia on the same day. Opener Shadman was once again among the runs as he followed his un-
beaten hundred in the previous game with a 65 off 109 balls. Partnerships were the key in the Bangladesh innings as they enjoyed fifty plus stands for the first and second wicket after choosing to bat first. Mosaddek at number four made 70 from just 76 deliveries to stir Bangladesh to 233 for five in their 50 overs before the bowlers defended the total with ease. Left-arm orthodox bowler Rahatul Ferdous shared the new ball with meduim pacer Mustafizur Rahman as both claimed a wicket each to reduce Namibia to 21 for two before they showed some re-
sistance with a 64-run stand. Mosaddek broke the partnership after which Namibia lost wickets in regular intervals as they were eventually bundled out for 181. Mosaddek, man of the match, and Mustafizur bagged three wickets each while left-arm spinner Nihaduzzaman took two. Bangladesh, two wins from two, are almost but through to the cup phase of the mega event. Meanwhile in the days other matches, the Afghans beat Australia by 36 runs, India earned a shaky five-wicket win over Scotland and Pakistan thrashed Papua New Guinea by 145 runs. l
Afusi hails teamwork n Joseph Afusi, the Nigerian coach of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd thought more development is needed in the psychological side of his players to turn them into consistent winners. The IFA Shield runners-up team returned home yesterday. Sheikh Jamal began the tournament with a 1-2 defeat against Kolkata Mohammedan SC, but bounced back in terrific style to reach the final. They could have easily lifted the prestigious shield, but fell touch short of luck in the tiebreakers after a breath taking 120 minutes. “We were just a shot away from making the history but we could not make it, maybe a little more concentration was needed, maybe a touch of luck. However at the end it was a great learning experience for the players who intended
torments India yet again
Four pacers, no way!
Anamul Haque c Mathews b Malinga Shamsur Rahman run out Mominul Haque c Dilshan b T. Perera Mushfiqur Rahim c Sangakkara b Mathews Shakib Al Hasan run out Nasir Hossain c Mathews b Senanayake Mohammad Mahmudullah c Priyanjan b Senanayake Sohag Gazi c Vithanage b Mathews Arafat Sunny c Sangakkara b Mathews Rubel Hossain run out Al-Amin Hossain not out Extras:(b1, lb2, w2, nb1)
guard for Barcelona battle
Sri Lanka K. Perera lbw b Rubel T. Dilshan c Rahim b Rubel K. Sangakkara c Sunny b Al-Amin D. Chandimal run out A. Priyanjan lbw b Shakib A. Mathews b Sunny K. Vithanage run out N. Kulasekara b Sunny T. Perera not out S. Senanayake b Shakib L. Malinga c Anamul b Gazi Extras: (lb1, w9)
to make Bangladesh proud,” Afusi told Dhaka Tribune yesterday. The Nigerian hailed his charges and said, “We showed them our ability. Beating Mohun Bagan and East Bengal and taking the match to the shootout with ten men against Kolkata Mohammedan at Kolkata are a feat no Bangladeshi club has attained in the recent past, it’s a total teamwork and the role of the team management led by the club president should be lauded.” Afusi reminded of the hurdles the team had to go through and said the players adapted very well with the altered strategies they had to make. “We went there knowing that four foreign players are permitted to take the field, you know Jamal play the Bangladesh Premier League with four players. “However we overcame the challenge with our hard work, we had to alter all our plans and we made it through
the final,” added the Nigerian. Afusi thought he requires more work on strengthening the players mentally. “The players don’t see themselves in the international scene very often, the level of concentration was not the same, the goal conceded in the final was a terrible lack of concentration, it is important to know if the players are duly prepared to take big load, we should work on it,” he said. Sheikh Jamal’s Haitian forward Sony Norde’s sent-off was the turning point in the final and though Afusi agreed it affected the performance he however did not say a word against the referee Santosh Kumar. “You know I don’t like to comment upon the refereeing, but all I want to say that everybody saw what happened and it is also available in the video. All that I want to say is that it affected our performance and plans,” said Afusi. l
n It was almost thirteen years back when a small boy from Amin Bazar, Mirpur was taken by his mother to the Dhanmondi Cricket ground commonly known as the Abahani ground a few years after Bangladesh won the ICC trophy. The information which most Bangladeshi fans don’t know about the young boy who was suppose to act in the movies as a child actor is that the boy is none other than Bangladesh cricket’s latest find Arafat Sunny. The young boy with long hair traded in his celluloid dreams for a life of sport and went on to play cricket when he started practicing under Dipu Roy Chowdhury and was almost immediately selected for the Bangladesh U-13 team touring Shiliguri, India in the early 2000. After that there was no looking back for the left arm spinner as he went on to play for all of Bangladesh’s age level teams. At the same time the young spinner started playing first class cricket back in 2001 for Dhaka Division. The left arm spinner soon became a regular performer in the domestic circuit as he played for many big clubs and often stood in the top five wicket takers in club cricket. The 27-year-old has a lot of experience behind him as having played 61 first class matches taking 231 wickets. However Sunny went through a tough period when his bowling action was questioned and the left arm spinner feared it would all come to an end, however he came back strong and worked on his action and returned to perform again in the domestic arena.
Luck was against him as Bangladesh found themselves with a plethora of left arm spinners who were also performing well. His long wait ended during the recent Sri Lanka series and he has already turned a few heads in the process. The seasoned campaigner looked composed on his debut in the T20’s claiming two wickets from his three overs giving away only 17 runs and went on to bowl brilliantly in the second match where the left arm spinner got a wicket from his two overs more importantly gave only eight runs. It was just a matter of time until he made his ODI debut after such performance and the spinner made his ODI debut yesterday in style taking two wickets and was unlucky as Sohag Gazi dropped an easy catch denying his third wicket. The selectors did not pick Sunny for the World T20 Championship squad as they opted to go with four seamers. This is another setback for Sunny but he is used to playing the waiting game. After his recent performances he will have one eye on a permanent place in the Bangladesh team and they may well just rue leaving him out. l
Being the only specialist left-arm spinner in the squad it was obvious Arafat Sunny was making his ODI debut yesterday, but going to sleep the previous night knowing he was not a part of the Bangladesh Twenty20 World Cup team, after a bright T20 debut recently, should have made it a difficult night’s sleep. Sunny, who was handed his T20 debut in the recent two-match series against Sri Lanka after Abdur Razzak was ruled out with a hamstring injury, claimed three wickets while along with a miserly economy rate of five. Bangladesh Cricket Board announced the Tigers squad on Sunday night and though Razzak is the automatic choice when it comes to the front line spinners department, Sunny could still consider himself unlucky to miss out. Sabbir Rahman, batsman cum legspinner, was the only new face in the Tigers squad while all-rounder Farhad Reza also returned to the side after two years. The only debatable choice the selectors could face is their reason behind picking four fast bowlers. Bangladesh are known to be a side bolstered by spinners and given that the tournament is at home it is common knowledge that spinners will play a major role behind any success they register in the mega event. The 27-year-old Sunny had played 61 first-class matches and 42 domestic T20s before making his international debut. Realistically thinking, playing three seamers in a T20 match looks extremely unlikely for Bangladesh and given the experience Sunny carries he could have added that extra edge to the attack. His ODI debut yesterday was as classy as his T20 debut which left only one question for the three selectors Faruk Ahmed, Habibul Bashar and Minhajul Abedin – will they regret the decision of not including him in the World T20 squad. One thinks so. l
Mushfiq, Salma among WT20 ambassadors n
ICC named Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Nasir Hossain as the male ambassadors for the World Twenty20 which is scheduled from March 17 in Bangladesh. Bangladesh women’s team captain Salma Khatun and Ayesha Rahman were named as the female ambassadors for the women’s competition beginning from March 23 in Sylhet. The ambassadors will promote the tournament through a series of appearances at promotional events, including the official trophy tour and processions for the same, as well as a ‘Mini World Twenty20’ tournament that will be held from 23 February to 6 March as part of the School-Contact Programme. The event ambassadors will also participate in coaching clinics, which will be organised by the ICC with its charity partners as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. “I feel privileged and honoured to be appointed as an event ambassador. The fact that this role gives me an opportunity to get closer to fans makes it extra special. I am really looking forward to the variety of activities related to this responsibility,” said Mushfiqur speaking about his role. “As a Bangladeshi, this is a moment to be proud of. We will be the cricket world’s focal point for over three weeks, and that is a testament to our organising capabilities and growing reputation as a cricket nation. This is an incomparable feeling for me,” added the wicketkeeper-batsman. Bangladesh women’s captain Salma Khatun expressing her excitement said, “Playing in the ICC Women’s World T20 and leading the country in front of my home crowd surpasses my wildest dreams as a child, when I was growing up in a rural area and far away from the infrastructure and facilities required to excel in sports. However, I have seen the power of the game first hand, and here I am today wearing Bangladesh colours on an international stage. As an event ambassador, I want to spread this message that the women of Bangladesh can achieve anything with a positive approach.” l
'Mourinho silly and disrespectful'
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
WC coaches gather for workshop
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger continued the war of words with Jose Mourinho on Sunday, calling the Chelsea coach’s criticism of him 48 hours earlier “silly disrespectful remarks”. On Friday, Mourinho dubbed the Frenchman “a specialist in failure” for going almost nine years without winning a trophy. Wenger was then on solid ground to offer a withering response after Arsenal edged a rousing FA Cup fifth-round tie against Liverpool 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium. “I don’t want to get into those silly disrespectful remarks,” Wenger told BT Sport television. –Reuters
City have eclipsed United: Pellegrini
All 32 coaches of the World Cup finalists are scheduled to gather in one of the Brazil’s leading tourist resorts for a workshop this week as the country seeks to put its best foot forward months before the kick off of the 2014 finals. Cloudy conditions and rain on Santa Catalina Island will take some of the shine off the usually hot and humid tropical paradise as participants. Usually the workshop is more of an information seminar for FIFA, which gathers together not only the coaches but delegation leaders, team managers, security officers, team doctors from each qualified nation. –Reuters
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes that his side’s performances this season mean they have usurped Manchester United as the biggest team in the city. United have been the dominant force in English football for the last 20 years, but they have fallen out of contention for domestic honours this season under new manager David Moyes. The defending champions are currently 15 points off the pace in the Premier League in seventh place and have also been eliminated from the two domestic cup competitions. –AFP
PSG out to brush aside off-form Leverkusen n AFP, Leverkusen Bayer Leverkusen must brush off recent poor form if they are to stop Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Paris Saint-Germain’s march to the Champions League quarter-finals in Tuesday’s last 16, first-leg clash. Leverkusen have their work cut out containing maverick Ibrahimovic and overcoming the formidable obstacle of high-scoring PSG if they are to reach the last eight for the first time since 2002. Any side with Ibrahimovic in their ranks is dangerous and the Parisians finished as comfortable winners of Group C, scoring 16 goals in the process. The 32-year-old boasts the superb return of eight goals from five Champions League matches this term, leaving him second only to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who has nine. The Sweden star already has three more than in his previous best seasons in the competition with Inter Milan in 2007/08 and AC Milan in 2011/12. Sami Hyypia-coached Leverkusen have had far from an ideal preparation, crashing to their second straight home defeat, their fifth loss in seven games, when they went down 2-1 to Schalke 04 in Saturday’s Bundesliga match. The defeat followed second-division Kaiserslautern’s shock 1-0 extra
time German Cup win at Leverkusen’s BayArena last Wednesday, but Hyypia refuses to panic. Hyypia will be able to call up Germany winger Sidney Sam, who was rested for the Schalke defeat after announcing in January that he will join the Royal Blues at the end of the season. Having reached the quarter-finals for the first time last season, big-spending PSG are gunning to be crowned European champions for the first time. Leverkusen’s last foray into the Champions League’s knockout rounds came two years ago when they lost 3-1 at home to Barcelona in the last 16’s first-leg, only to be humiliated 7-1 in Spain when Lionel Messi hit a record five goals. With the return leg in Paris on March 12, Leverkusen will need to tighten up at the back. The Werkself need to correct their deep-lying defence, which was punished when Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar headed Schalke’s late winner. Hyypia will be without Australia winger and knee injury-victim Robbie Kruse, who is out for the season, while ex-Bayern Munich midfielder Emre Can is suspended. Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani is missing for PSG with a hamstring injury, while defenders Zoumana Camara, calf, and Christophe Jallet, back, are rated doubtful. PSG head to Leverkusen in buoyant mood after Friday’s win kept them top of the French league with a five-point lead.l
Manchester City's Alvaro Negredo (2nd L) controls the ball during a training session at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England, yesterday
City on guard for Barca battle
Citizens offered chance of Wigan revenge
n AFP, London
n AFP, London
Barcelona appear to have hit form with ominous timing for Champions League knockout-phase debutants Manchester City ahead of Tuesday’s last 16 first leg between the sides at the Etihad Stadium. After a run of one win in four Liga games, including a rare home defeat against Valencia, the Catalan giants have won their last two matches in emphatic style, scoring 10 goals in the process. Following a 4-1 success at Sevilla last weekend, Saturday’s 6-0 demolition of Rayo Vallecano further strengthened their position at the top of the table on goal difference from Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
The game featured a goal-scoring return from injury for Neymar, while the team’s fourth goal, a dizzying passing move finished by Pedro Rodriguez, bore the hallmarks of Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola-era pomp.
FIXTURES Man City v Barcelona Leverkusen v PSG Guardiola is now at Bayern Munich, who demolished Barca 7-0 on aggregate in last season’s Champions League semi-finals, but with his old side having also booked a King’s Cup final berth by overcoming Real Sociedad, belief is building at Camp Nou. “Now the best part of the season, where all the games are important, is upon us,” captain Carles Puyol told Barca TV.
“We played a very good game (against Rayo), as we did against Real Sociedad, and the team has plenty of confidence heading into the tie. “We are facing a very good team with great players, but Barcelona always believe in their own chances. We are in good form and it will be a very even tie.” City could scarcely have asked for more daunting opposition in what will be their first ever knockout game in the post-1992 Champions League era, but Manuel Pellegrini’s side can also take heart from their weekend result. After a run of two games without victory, the 2012 English champions produced a superb display at the Etihad to beat Chelsea 2-0 in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The victory avenged a 1-0 loss to the same side in the Premier League 12 days earlier and goal-scorer Samir Nasri believes it was ideal preparation
for the visit of Barcelona. “It is a massive game,” said the French midfielder, who was making his first appearance after a five-week lay-off with knee ligament damage. “Every player wants to play those kind of games -- Champions League, last 16, against Barcelona. The good thing is we are really strong. We have our confidence back. “I think they are weaker than they were two years ago. I think it is going to be a tight game and an interesting game for everyone.” Nasri will hope that his second-half cameo against Chelsea convinces manager Pellegrini to hand him a starting berth, but he faces competition from Jesus Navas. Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has the rare luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from. l
Manchester City will have the chance to atone for last year’s FA Cup final defeat by Wigan Athletic after being drawn against the holders in Sunday’s quarter-final draw. Wigan, now in the second tier Championship and managed by former City striker Uwe Rosler, will travel to Eastlands where Manuel Pellegrini’s men beat Premier League title rivals Chelsea 2-0 on Saturday. Wigan will be looking to claim another top flight scalp after beating Cardiff in the fifth round. Elsewhere in the last eight Arsenal will face Everton at the Emirates Stadium after a 2-1 win at home to the Toffees’ local rivals Liverpool in Sunday’s late kick-off tie.
Earlier on Sunday, Everton advanced into the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Swansea.
FIXTURES Arsenal v Everton Brighton/Hull v Sunderland Sheffield v Wednesday/ Charlton Man City v Wigan Third-tier Sheffield United, the lowestranked team left in the competition beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 on Sunday and they will now face Sheffield Wednesday provided their arch-rivals defeat Charlton Athletic in a fixture originally postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. Sunderland manager Gus Poyet could return to his former club Brighton provided the Seagulls defeat Hull on Monday. l
Real rejoin Barca and Atletico at top n Reuters, Madrid
Juventus' players celebrate after the Italian Serie A match against Chievo Verona at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on Sunday
Roma down Sampdoria to reduce Juveuntus gap n AFP, Milan Young guns Mattia Destro, with a brace, and Miralem Pjanic were on target for Roma in a 3-0 romp over Sampdoria which kept the Serie A title battle with Juventus ticking over on Sunday. Champions Juventus had accounted for spirited Chievo 3-1 earlier in Turin to take their lead over second-placed Roma to 12 points. However Rudi Garcia’s side, who have a game in hand, further underlined their scudetto credentials with a dominant display at the Olympic Stadi-
um which simultaneously highlighted the talents of his young crop of stars. Roma’s hopes of making amends for their Italian Cup final defeat to Lazio last year were ended by a 3-0 second leg, semi-final defeat to Napoli in midweek. Earlier, Kwadwo Asamoah and Claudio Marchisio struck to give Juventus a 2-0 half-time lead and although Martin Caceres bundled the ball into his own net on 51 minutes, Llorente headed Juve’s third wrap up the points before the hour. Third-placed Napoli extended their lead over Fiorentina to six points with a 2-0 away win at struggling Sassuolo with goals from Blerim Dzemaili and Lorenzo Insigne coming in either half. l
Izco 1, Spolli 48, Peruzzi 58
Konate 45, Gilardino 69, 79
Molinaro 9, Benalouane 74-og, Cassano 77, Schelotto 90+3
1 2 3 3
Emerson 43, Paulinho 53-pen
Basta 35, Fernandes 40, Muriel 48-pen)
Asamoah 17, Marchisio 29, Llorente 58
Destro 44, 57, Pjanic 53
Dzemaili 37, 55 Insigne 55
Real Madrid extended their unbeaten run to 25 matches, rejoining Barcelona and Atletico Madrid on 60 points at the top of La Liga, after Jese, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric scored in a 3-0 win at Getafe on Sunday. Barcelona and Atletico recorded easy home wins on Saturday, the champions thrashing Rayo Vallecano 6-0 and Atletico thumping Real Valladolid 3-0 to leave the title race a tight three-way fight with 14 matches left. Barca, chasing a fifth crown in six years, lead on goal difference from Real and Atletico. But the three teams, who
Real Betis Real Madrid
Jese 5, Benzema 27, Modric 66
Sergio Garcia 6, Colotto 65
have all played 24 games, will be separated by their head-to-head records if they are still tied at the end of the campaign. Real have not lost since a 2-1 La Liga defeat at Barca at the end of October. They were beaten 1-0 at home by Atletico in the league a month earlier while Barca and Atletico drew 0-0 in Madrid in
Struggling Lille slip again n AFP, Paris
Lille’s bid for Champions League qualification from Ligue 1 faltered again on Sunday as they only just scraped a 2-2 draw away to struggling Evian. Rene Girard’s side looked like genuine title challengers at the season’s halfway stage, but have now taken just five points from six games in 2014 to lose touch on top two Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco and allow the sides behind them to close in. They are also being chased hard by Saint-Etienne and Marseille who shared a 1-1 draw on Sunday evening, thanks to a
Fofana 43, Briand 69, Gomis 89 Berigaud 15, Mongongu 64-pen Brandao 90+2
Origi 23, Mendes 90+3
92nd minute equaliser for the home side. Saint-Etienne remain one place and three points behind Lille. Marseille are in fifth place on 40 points, having gone ahead of Lyon on goal difference. Earlier, Lyon boosted their own European hopes as they with a 3-1 win at home against bottom side Ajaccio. l
January. Athletic Bilbao are fourth on 44 points after losing 2-1 at home to Espanyol, the Basque club’s first league defeat at their new San Mames stadium. Sevilla failed to kill off Valencia despite playing most of the second half at their Sanchez Pizjuan venue with an extra man after the dismissal of centre back Ricardo Costa. A poor-quality match littered with yellow cards, and in which home midfielder Ivan Rakitic had a penalty saved by Diego Alves, ended 0-0 to leave the two teams tied on 32 points with Sevilla in seventh position and Valencia eighth. Bottom club Real Betis look destined for the drop after they lost 1-0 in Sunday’s midday kickoff at Andalusian rivals Granada. l
Arsenal’s Giroud says sorry for affair
n AFP, London
Arsenal’s French striker Olivier Giroud issued an apology on Sunday after a British tabloid newspaper alleged that he had an extra-marital affair. The Sun on Sunday claimed that Giroud spent a night in a hotel with lingerie model Celia Kay prior to Arsenal’s 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League earlier this month. “I apologise to my wife, family and friends and my manager, team-mates and Arsenal fans,” Giroud wrote on his Twitter account. "I now have to fight for my family and for my club and obtain their forgiveness. Nothing else matters at the moment.” l
Watson Test return depends on Australia
Safety breaches ruled out in Schumi crash
French investigators said Monday that Formula One legend Michael Schumacher’s ski accident in the French Alps was not due to safety breaches and closed a criminal investigation into the case. Schumacher has been lying in a coma in a French hospital since the December 29 accident when he crashed into a rock so hard that the impact cracked his helmet. He had been skiing with his son and a group of friends. “There were no breaches by anybody. The accident occurred in an off-piste zone,” in the posh ski resort of Meribel, said prosecutor Patrick Quincy. “The signals, markers and the information about the limits of the piste conformed to current French laws,” Quincy said. The investigators also ruled out wrongdoing by the establishment from where Schumacher rented his skis. – AFP
SCORECARD DAY 4 New Zealand 1st innings 192 (K. Williamson 47; I. Sharma 6-51, Shami 4-70) India 1st innings 438 (A. Rahane 118, S. Dhawan 98, M. Dhoni 68; Southee 3-93, Boult 3-99, Wagner 3-106) New Zealand 2nd innings (overnight 252-5) P. Fulton lbw Khan 1 H. Rutherford c Dhoni b Khan 35 K. Williamson c Dhoni b Khan 7 T. Latham c Dhoni b Shami 29 B. McCullum not out 281 C. Anderson c & b Jadeja 2 B. Watling lbw Shami 124 J. Neesham not out 67 Extras (b5, lb11, w2, nb7) 25 Total (six wickets; 189 overs) 571 Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Fulton), 2-27 (Williamson), 3-52 (Rutherford), 4-87 (Latham), 5-94 (Anderson), 6-446 (Watling) To bat: T. Southee, N. Wagner, T. Boult Bowling: I. Sharma 39-4-124-0 (6nb), Khan 43-12-129-3 (2w), Shami 40-5-136-2, Jadeja 49-10-108-1, R. Sharma 11-0-40-0, Kohli 6-113-0 (1nb), Dhoni 1-0-5-0 Toss: India
Berdych wins Rotterdam title Tomas Berdych buried a title drought lasting nearly a year and a half as he defeated Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday to win the Rotterdam World Tennis. The Czech third seed, ranked seventh in the world, handed Croatia’s unseeded Cilic his first loss after nine straight wins which took him to the Zagreb title a week ago. It was the ninth career title for the new champion, off to his best season start with a 12-2 record. Berdych had not earned an ATP trophy since Stockholm, October, 2012, 16 months ago. He suffered through 2013 as the only player in the top 10 not to win a title, losing finals in Marseille, Dubai and Bangkok. “This is a nice trophy to bring home,” said the winner. “Marin played a good match and has had a great two weeks. but there can only be one winner.... He did beat two guys in the top 10 (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray). – AFP
McIlroy, Rose Stenson, Johnson top Match Play seeds Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Zach Johnson were confirmed Sunday as top seeds for the $9 million World Golf Championships Match Play Championship that begins Wednesday. Each of them will top a division in the 64-player field whose bracket was announced after ranking positions were set following worldwide golf events. World number one Tiger Woods, reigning British Open champion Phil Mickelson and reigning Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia are not taking part, opening the door for three players outside the top 64 in the world rankings to move into the lineup. Sweden’s third-ranked Stenson will open against Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the lowest ranked player in the field at 67th. – AFP
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum leaves the field on 281 not out against India at the end of play on day four of their second Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington yesterday REUTERS
McCullum torments India with another double ton n New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum struck a second double century in successive tests to bat his side to safety at the end of the fourth day of the second test against India at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on Monday. McCullum was on 281, his highest test score and the second highest by a New Zealander, at the close of play after having shared a world record stand for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper BJ Watling who was dismissed for 124 in the third over after tea. Jimmy Neesham was on 67 at the close of play with the hosts on 571 for six, a lead of 325 runs and seemingly in a position where they cannot lose the match and series with a day’s play remaining.
DAY’S WATCH Star Sports 4 12:55 PM Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014 Day 11 Ten Golf 6:30 PM European Tour 2014 Day 2: Africa Open Ten Action 1:00 AM Uefa Champions League Manchester City v Barcelona Ten sports 1:00 AM Uefa Champions League Bayer Leverkusen v PSG
New Zealand had won the first test at Eden Park by 40 runs and India had needed to win the game to level the two-match series. “It has been a great day,” an exhausted McCullum told Radio Sport. “Today I thought BJ and myself were able to put ourselves in a really strong position. “The way Neesh came in and we created that partnership we are really pleased with where we are and we have to make some decisions overnight.” McCullum was within sight of Martin Crowe’s New Zealand best score of 299, set against Sri Lanka at the same ground in 1991 and could become the first New Zealand player to score a triple century if he continues to bat on the final day on Tuesday. McCullum and Watling had continued their resurrection of New
Zealand’s innings having been thrust together at 94 for five and in danger of losing the game inside three days. Instead, they combined for a 352run partnership, a world record for the sixth wicket, surpassing the 351 that Sri Lankan duo Mahela and Prasanna Jayawardene scored against India in 2009. It was also the third highest by any New Zealand combination in test cricket. Andrew Jones and Crowe hold the highest partnership for New Zealand after they scored a then-world record of 467 against Sri Lanka in 1991 at the Basin Reserve. Watling, however, fell six balls after they set the world record on the second delivery of the third new ball when he was trapped in front by Mohammed Shami for 124, ending his 367-ball, 510-minute stay. l
Australia face a selection quandary with the return from injury of allrounder Shane Watson for the second test against South Africa, which starts on Thursday. Watson exacerbated a calf injury on the eve of the first test and watched from the stands as two players, selected since the recent Ashes whitewash of England, played valuable innings in Australia’s 281-run win in the first test in Pretoria over the weekend. Shaun Marsh scored a century in his first test appearance in two years while Alex Doolan came within 11 runs of a debut test ton. “We’ll have to see how Shane’s going in the next couple of days. We probably won’t have an idea until we get down there and train and see what’s happening,” said Australia coach Darren Lehmann as the team left for Port Elizabeth on Monday. “Obviously we’ll have to see what the wicket is like; whether we need the extra bowling option. You’d like him to bowl. Firstly we’ve got to get him fit, and then we’ll see what happens from there. He’s pretty close; he was running on Sunday,” he said. l
UCBL to sell Asia Cup tickets n United Commercial Bank Limited (UCBL) was named the official ticketing partner of the 12th Asia Cup and the match tickets of the event will be available at selected booths of the bank from February 22. The Asia Cup will begin on February 25 with defending champions Pakistan facing Sri Lanka in a day-night game at Fatullah’s Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium. The first five matches of the tournament will be held at Fatullah before shifting to Mirpur’s Sher-eBangla National Stadium. The prices of the tickets are Tk 200, 400, 600, 4000, 20000 and 25000 and will be available a day prior to the game. Tickets will be available at the following UCBL branches in Dhaka – Mirpur, Dhanmondi, Bijoynagar and Bashundhara. In Narayanganj tickets
will be available at Sadar Branch, Chashara and Pagla Bazar branch of UCBL. Tickets will also be available online, but it has to be collected from any of the seven branches. However, though the prices are similar to the last edition, one will have to pay 15 percent vat against a ticket. Chairman of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) media and communication, Jalal Younus and chairman BCB marketing and commercial Kazi Inam Ahmed were present during the press conference where the latter said, “Tickets will be available online too besides particular branches of the UCBL. One interested will be able to buy tickets through UKash from any corner of the country. However the ticket will have to be collected from any of the four mentioned branches in Dhaka or from the three branches in Narayanganj.” l
Halep confirms class with crushing win over Kerber
Ferrer lands third Buenos Aires title David Ferrer won his third consecutive Buenos Aires ATP claycourt title, and the sixth in a row by a Spaniard, when he beat Italian Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-3 in the final on Sunday. Ferrer had not planned to return this year but stood in at the last minute following world number one Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal through injury. The 31-year-old will climb to fourth in the world rankings on Monday, displacing Argentine Juan Martin del Porto who played in Rotterdam this week. “This title was very important to me after seven finals without a victory,” said Ferrer after claiming his 21st career win. Fognini had won 10 matches in a row including helping Italy beat Argentina in the Davis Cup first round two weeks ago and victory in the Chilean ATP tournament at Vina del Mar last weekend. –Reuters
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
n Simona Halep confirmed her status as the WTA’s tour’s rising star on Sunday as she collected the biggest prize of her career with an impressive 6-2, 6-3 victory over Angelique Kerber in the Qatar Open. The 22-year-old seventh seed Romanian - who was winning her third WTA title - eased to victory over the
26-year-old sixth seeded German, to add her to other impressive conquests this week the second and fourth seeds, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani. Once again the pace of Halep’s hitting, and her daring play, placed a more experienced and more highly rated opponent under such continuous pressure that she forced uncharacteristic errors. Only briefly did she falter, at the start of the second set when she went 1-2 down, but she quickly regained the momentum. At the end the tenacious and usually consistent Kerber concluded the one-sided contest with a double fault. “I never believed I could win the tournament when I came here,” said Halep, who reached the world’s top ten for the first time only last month. I had been competing indoors, but mentally I am very strong and I got the feel of the balls and the court here very well. I have to enjoy the best moment of my life.” She could hardly have made a better start. She broke Kerber’s serve at once, bulleting ground strokes with the same rifling speed and accuracy as in her conquest of Radwanska on Saturday. l
Canada's Christopher Robanske and compatriot Kevin Hill play with a tennis ball as they wait for the start of the men's snowboarding cross qualification round during a delay at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, yesterday. Thick fog in the Caucasus mountains on morning poses a threat to the men's snowboard cross Olympic competition, which was due to start at 1100 local time REUTERS
Rankings records for China’s Li, Peng Nishikori beats Karlovic n WTA RANKINGS to retain Memphis title Li Na moved to an Asian-record world number two and Peng Shuai was the rated the top women’s doubles player in a big boost for Chinese tennis in the new rankings released Monday. Li, who won her second Grand Slam title at last month’s Australian Open, underlined her status as the best ever Asian women’s player by rising to second behind Serena Williams. The Wuhan native, who turns 32 later this month, had already achieved the highest ranking by an Asian woman by reaching world number three last year. She now moves to second spot with 6,690 points, still some distance behind American great Williams, the 17-time Grand Slam title-winner, on 12,380. Li’s continuing success is a huge plus for women’s tennis, which has bet
1. Serena Williams (USA) points 2. Li Na (CHN) 3. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 4. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 5. Maria Sharapova (RUS) 6. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 7. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 8. Angelique Kerber (GER) 9. Simona Halep (ROM) 10. Sara Errani (ITA)
12,380 6,690 5,705 5,681 5,206 4,710 4,535 4,490 4,435 4,390
big on Asia by organising several tournaments in the region this year including one in Wuhan. “As they have done throughout their careers, both players (Li and Peng) continue to set new milestones for Chinese tennis,” Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief Stacey Allaster said in a statement. “Their accomplishments are truly inspirational and the WTA is fortunate
to have such ambassadors representing the sport around the world.” Li’s rise in the rankings comes despite a blip at last week’s Qatar Open where she was ousted in the third round by Czech unknown Petra Cetkowska. Meanwhile Peng, 28, became the first Chinese player to top the doubles rankings, with her Taiwanese partner Hsieh Su-wei second. “I think this is really amazing and a great moment for me,” said Peng, after she confirmed the ranking by winning the Qatar Open with Hsieh on Sunday. “This is a really special time.” In the new singles rankings, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska lies third with Belarusian Victoria Azarenka fourth and Russian star Maria Sharapova fifth. Czech player Petra Kvitova, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, Germany’s Angelique Kerber, Romanian. l
n Japanese top seed Kei Nishikori won his second consecutive ATP US Indoor Championships crown on Sunday, beating big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 7-6 (7/0) in the final. It was the fourth career ATP title for the 24-year-old from Shimane, including Delray Beach in 2008, Tokyo in 2012 and last year and this year at the $647,000 Memphis tournament. “It’s an amazing feeling,” Nishikori said. “I had never defended a title before.” Nishikori, ranked 16th, took the $103,100 top prize at the first ATP event where he was a top seed and collected his first victory in three career meetings with 80th-ranked Karlovic, who won $54,300.
Nishikori was the first repeat champion at Memphis since Germany’s Tommy Haas in 2006 and 2007. The only other was US legend Jimmy Connors. Karlovic, who fired 56 aces to reach the final without dropping a service game, failed in his bid for a sixth career ATP crown despite blasting 20 aces past Nishikori, who had eight of his own in response. Nishikori inflicted the only service break of the week against Karlovic in the third game of the first set with a backhand winner, then held twice at love and denied Karlovic’s only two break points of the match in the eighth game. It took four set points in the 10th game before Nishikori claimed the opening set after 41 minutes off backto-back netted Karlovic backhands. l
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
A train of hope and amity Midnapore Express shuttling pilgrims between Bangladesh and India for 109 years Reza Chowdhury, n Kamran back from Rajbari Launching of the first-ever crossboundary train Maitree Express that ran between Dhaka and Kolkata in 2008 created much hype among people from all walks, considering it an icebreaker in terms of communications between the two countries. But a train which has been running between two towns of the countries since 1903 surprisingly draws little attention. The train has become a symbol of friendship between the people of Bangladesh and India. On February 15 every year, the train Midnapore Urs Special, carrying over 2,000 Bangladeshis, irrespective of religions, goes to the Urs congregation in Midnapore, Paschimbanga. This year, 2,100 Bangladeshis have
attended the Urs and are set to return, Abdul Mannan, joint secretary of the Anjuman-E-Quadria Committee, told the Dhaka Tribune. An Islamic saint, commonly known as Midnapore Boro Huzur, is at the
Since 1903, two wars, a plague and a riot managed to stand in the way of the train epicentre of the February 17 congregation. People from all faiths from both Bangladesh and India throng the Urs to have a glimpse of the saint whose forefather first came to Rajbari in 1901 during the undivided Bengal. The train starts at 10pm on February 15 from Rajbari station and leaves Mid-
Pilgrims decorate the Midnapore Urs special train at Rajbari. The train has been commuting between Bangladesh and India for over a century KAMRAN REZA CHOWDHURY
napur station at 10pm (Indian time) on February 18 and reaches Rajbari on February 19. Despite a topsy-turvy relationship between Bangladesh and India since 1975, the authorities of both sides allowed the train to operate uninterrupted, excepting for four years. The train could not go to India in 1965 due to the Indo-Pakistan war and in 1971 during Bangladesh’s war of independence. The communal riot following the destruction of the Babri mosque in 1992 led to the suspension of the train operation in 1993. Next year, a plague in India stopped the train. “None of our men (pilgrims) have stayed back in India. This is an assembly of all religions. Our huzur (saint) promotes peaceful message of Islam that never allows violence and vengeance,” said Abdul Mannan. The train crosses Bangladesh border via Darsana-Gede (India) point. Anjuman-E-Quadria selects the pilgrims and sends their papers to the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh for visa. “The train is a bond of friendship and religious harmony. This train is unique in Bangladesh. We are proud of it,” Hasanuzzaman Kallol, Rajbari deputy commissioner, told the Dhaka Tribune. The railway officials said they never faced any hurdle regarding the operation at the field level. “The train has become a tradition; the railway officials extend maximum cordiality for running the train. It has been operating since 1903,” said Hazrat Ali, Rajbari railway station master. Former director general of Bangladesh Railway, TA Chowdhury, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Most people are unaware of the train that has been crossing the border for over 110 years”. “We had to continue a long discussion about launching the Maitree Express, but the Indian authorities never questioned the operation of the Midnapore special train,” he said. l
Book fair turns into mud festival 58
new books published A M A R E K U S H E Y B O O K FA I R 2 0 1 4
n Ahmed Zayeef Although unseasonal rain has stopped and the sky has cleared, muddy areas inside the book fair have frustrated visitors. Scores of book lovers who were strolling inside the Amar Ekushey Book Fair had to tread cautiously to avoid an accident on the muddy field inside both Bangla Academy and Suhrawardi Udyan. However, publishers were found happily attending to customers as they were glad to see attendance rise. Bangla Academy authority placed
bricks at the entrance of Suhrawardi Udyan. However, the field inside and the exit remained slippery because of poor drainage in the area. Some visitors also slipped on the muddy ground. Rejaul Islam, a businessman, slipped on mud while leaving the fair with packets of books on his hand. The books that he just bought got dirty. Annoyed, Rejaul termed the management of the fair as poor. “I was trying to stay cautious while walking, but there is just too much mud inside and I fell,” he said. “The authority should have thought about the situation earlier as it has been raining for quite some time now. They should have taken measures accordingly,” said Rejaul. A few publishers also expressed frustration over the mismanagement as visitors were struggling to stroll around the fair. However, Shaheda Khatun, member
secretary of the fair committee, said: “There is no mud in the field. The authority had spread one truck of sand all over the field.” A total of 58 new books hit the fair on the 17th day. Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman’s “Manobik Banking” from Annayaprokash, Z U Ahmed’s “Drishtir Ontorale” from Bonolota Prokashoni, Selina Hossain’s “Poth Cholatei Anondo” from Jagriti Prokashoni, Dr Emajuddin Ahmed’s “Bangladeser Rajneeti: Shomoshsha O Shomadhan,” Pronoy Kanti Nath’s “Budhhir Mukti O Bedona Madhuri” were among the new arrivals yesterday. A total of 10 books were unveiled at Nazrul Mancha. A discussion on Mahmudul Haqu was held at the central stage of the fair where Abu Hena Mostafa Enam presented the key note paper. Noted writer Anisul Haque and Ahmed Mostafa Kamal attended the discussion. l
Abducted Ctg gold trader Fishing nets a danger for sea turtles n rescued after six days
HC rules on use of Bangla everywhere n Tribune Report
The High Court yesterday ruled that all signboards, number plates of vehicles and the names of mass media should be written in Bangla everywhere. It issued a ruling, asking the government why it should not be directed to take steps for implementing and ensuring the use of Bangla in every sphere soon. Hearing a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Eunus Ali Akond, the bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain also ordered the authorities concerned to inform the court without delay on the compliance of the order. However, the order would not be applicable for the embassies and foreign institutions, the court said. On February 9, 2011, a report of the Bangladesh Law Commission recommended that the government enforce use of Bangla in the judiciary. “If the government issues two circulars on the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure, specifying Bangla as the language of the court, Bangla will be implemented in the courts,” the commission said. Parliament and the executive use Bangla in every proceeding, it said. The writ petition sought the High Court’s directive for enforcing the Bangla Bhasha Procholon Ain (Bengali Language Implementation Act 1987) in all government and semi-government institutions and courts. According to the law, all proceedings at government offices and courts in Bangladesh must be in Bangla. Communication with foreign missions, however, can be made in other languages. The court fixed April 1 for the next order in the plea written in Bangla. l
Our Correspondent, Cox’s Bazar
Gold trader Mridul Chowdhury was rescued from Comilla in the early hours of yesterday, a week after he was abducted from his home in the port city. The investigation officer of the abduction case, Sub-Inspector Kamruzzaman of Kotwali police station of Chittagong, told the Dhaka Tribune the gold trader was left unconscious in Kongsanagar Bazar area of Burichang upazila in Comilla Sunday night. When he got back his sense yesterday morning, a night guard came to his rescue. Mridul called his family and told them about his location, Kamruzzaman said. Later on information, police rescued him from the spot and took him to Burichang police station and contacted his family. Mridul’s brother Shimul Chowdhury was present when Comilla police handed over the victim to Chittagong police. Mridul Chowdhury went missing after he lodged a gold robbery case against RAB 2 Major Rakibul Amin and two others. Mridul said a group of five-six people introducing themselves as Detective Branch of police picked him up and took him to a black microbus from Puraton telegraph road of Chittagong town while going to his shop on February 11 around 10am, according to our correspondent in Comilla. The kidnappers blindfolded and beat him indiscriminately on February 14. They didn’t inform Mridul the reason behind the abduction. He said: “I don’t have any rivalry with anyone. The kidnappers told me to
make preparation for going outside on Sunday.” He thought that was his last day and the kidnappers might kill him. He started calling the name of God. On the day around 2pm, the kidnappers threw him in a paddy field near Kongsanagar Bazar area with hands and legs tied. The abductors rubbed ointment on his eyes before leaving him to the field. Later, a night guard Abdur Rashid Bhuiyan rescued him. Shimul Chowdhury filed a kidnapping case with Kotowali police station against unknown people on February 11. The case statement says, RAB-Police is involved in the kidnapping. It had been alleged that a RAB official has looted around 80 tolas of gold belonging to Mridul. The gold trader filed a lawsuit with Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court against RAB official Rakibul and two others accusing them to have robbed the amount of gold. The case statement said Mridul sent his gold to Dhaka through train on October 3 along with his driver Babul Pal. After coming to Kamalapur Railway Station, RAB 2 Major Rakibul Amin and his fellow RAB member Fahad Chowdhury forcefully picked Babul into a car, and later threw him out of the car and fled by taking hold of the gold. Mridul called Rakibul over phone and requested him to return his gold while Rakibul answered he would return it after investigation. But the RAB 2 major didn’t return the gold. On December 3, Rakibul allegedly threatened Mirdul by saying that the latter would fall in danger if he asked him (Rakibul) to return the gold in future. l
Over 18,000 illegal fishing nets in the deep sea of the Bay of Bengal have become a death trap for sea turtles as around 5,000 mother turtles have died in last one year because of these illegal nets. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Nazrul Islam Sumon, officer for Community-based Adaptation to Ecologically Critical Areas project under the Department of Environment (DoE), made the comment. He also expressed concerns: “Breeding areas of turtles will be destroyed soon if the authorities concerned do not take actions in this regard.” November-March is the breeding season for sea turtles. Mother turtles lay hundreds of eggs in the beach ranging from Sonadia Island to St Martin’s Island during the season. Later the baby turtles hatched out into the sea. Sources said some unscrupulous groups had long been poaching sea turtles and selling it to different markets, adding that some locals had been involved in this illegal business for many years. St Martin’s Island Union Parishad Chairman Nurul Amin told the Dhaka Tribune: “Turtles are laying eggs since November. But I have not seen any turtle dead this year yet.” Specialists expressed concern that breeding could be hampered because of the increasing number of tourists in turtle breeding areas – Sonadia Island and St Martin Island. They said mother turtles would not come to the coast to lay eggs because of sound pollution and usage of generators in the area. Sarder Shariful Islam, assistant director of Cox’s Bazar DoE, said: “St Martin Island and Shahporir Island are restricted areas. We have imposed some bans to maintain a balance
in the environment. Coastguards and the naval force have been assisting in this regard. We also deployed guards to stop stealing turtle eggs.” He also said death rate of turtle had reduced a lot because of growing awareness among the local fishermen. Local fishermen said they used to kill turtles if any turtle got entangled into a net, but they started to release the turtles into the sea after carefully
removing them from the net. Turtle specialist Jahirul Islam said there were around five species of sea turtles. Among those, Green Turtle, Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Olive Ridley turtles usually come to the Bangladeshi coast to lay eggs, he added. The authorities concerned had taken many initiatives to increase awareness among the locals to stop killing turtles since last two and a half year. l
After hatching, baby turtles rush towards the sea. This photo was taken on St Martin’s island DHAKA TRIBUNE
Maritime verdict to benefit Bangladesh and India in Bay n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman Bangladesh and India can cooperate more in the exploration of deep and shallow seas, after getting the verdict on the maritime boundary dispute. “We have cooperation at present, and we can have more cooperation on the exploration of shallow and deep seas, when we get the verdict,” Energy Adviser to the Prime Minister Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury told
the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran, also communicated the same view. “Definitely, we can have more cooperation when the verdict is announced,” Saran told the Dhaka Tribune. Petrobangla yesterday awarded two shallow blocks to an Indian company, ONGC, to search for gas and oil in the Bay. The oral hearing on delimitation of the
maritime boundary between Bangladesh and India was concluded between the parties in December last year, and it is expected that the court will give its verdict by June. On October 8, 2009, Dhaka instituted arbitration proceedings concerning the boundary with the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Bangladesh submitted its initial argument in 2011 and India its initial argument in 2012. Dhaka then submitted a reply
argument last year, soon after which India submitted its reply. Bangladesh and Myanmar resolved their maritime boundary dispute by filing a case with the Itlos and getting verdict in 2012, clearing the way to enhance the medium and long-term energy security interests of the country. Dhaka awarded two deep-sea blocks to US-based company, ConocoPhillips, in 2011 for it to search for gas and oil in the Bay. l
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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014 www.dhakatribune.com/business
Cosmetic surgery helps cut NPL figure Bad loan writing
off norms set for micro lenders
n Jebun Nesa Alo Ending a long continued up trend in default loans, the country’s banking sector witnessed a substantial fall in non-performing loans (NPL) by around 4% or Tk16,137 in the last quarter (October-December) from the previous quarter of 2013, thanks to a relaxed rules on loan rescheduling offered by the central bank. The classified loan reduced to Tk40,583 crore in December as compared to Tk56,720 crore in September, according to Bangladesh Bank figures the Dhaka Tribune obtained yesterday. The total classified loan now stood at 8.93% of the total outstanding loan of Tk454,435 crore during the last quarter which was 12.79% in the previous quarter. The classified loan also known as non-performing loan (NPL) increased 0.88% in September and 0.01% in June quarters of 2013. Of the state-owned banks, Sonali, Janata, Agrani and BASIC recovered the classified loans significantly during the quarter, which were burdened with NPL mostly due to the loan scams. The classified loans of total outstanding of Sonali Bank stood at 32.11% or Tk9,629 crore in December from 42.50% or Tk12,570 crore in September, followed by Janata 10.18% or Tk2,605 crore from 18.69% or Tk4,787 crore, Agrani Bank 18.26% or Tk3,317 crore from 27.05% or Tk5,119 crore and BASIC bank stood at 11.82% or Tk1,282 crore from 18.43% or Tk1,863crore. Bangladesh Bank had earlier relaxed the loan rescheduling rules in December, 2013 to facilitate the businessmen affected by political unrest and help the banks to reduce their NPL rates in
n Kayes Sohel
their balance sheets. As a result, the balance sheets of the banks reflected substantial fall of classified loans which was increasing alarmingly up to third quarter (August-September). “The rate of classified loans reduced just because of flexible policy undertaken by the central bank,” said BB Governor Atiur Rahman. “We have to closely monitor the banks that have taken the opportunity of loan rescheduling so those loans won’t turn classified again.” Unfriendly business climate coupled with large scale financial anomalies in the banking sector had pushed the NPL higher during last year, which
appeared as a major concern to Bangladesh Bank. To tackle the situation, the central bank undertook a move to reduce the default loans by relaxing reschedule policy, a senior executive of Bangladesh Bank told the Dhaka Tribune. The move yielded a good result in reducing the NPL although it face criticism by the financial experts as they feared the banking sector might face huge classified loans in the coming years, if they fail to collect the installments properly from the reschedule facility recipients, he said. Considering the criticism, Bangladesh Bank also planned to form a separate committee soon to monitor the loans
that got the rescheduling facility, he said. The classified loan of state-owned banks reduced by 9% or Tk7,567 crore in December. The classified loans of these banks stood 19.76% or Tk16,606 crore of total outstanding loans in December from 28.76% or Tk24,174 crore in September, 2013. The classified loan of private commercial banks reduced by 2.76% or Tk8,000crore. The classified loans of these banks stood at 4.54% or Tk14,315 crore of their total outstanding loans in December from 7.30% or Tk22,307 crore in September. Foreign Banks’ classified loan dropped by 0.56% or Tk151 crore during this period. l
The microcredit regulator has for the first time formulated a guideline on writing off bad loans for micro-finance institutions. Presently, there is no specific guideline on writing off classified or bad loan for MFIs having loan recovery record of around 90%. The Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA) recently formulated a uniform guideline to bring discipline in the credit disbursement system. Under the new guideline, classified loans that remain as bad loans for two years and are kept as 100% provisioning will be eligible for writing off. The oldest classified loan will have to be written off first and, if any fake or unidentified loan is found, the concerned institutions must inform the regulator before writing it off. Approval of the board of directors of the institution requires before writing off the loan, and such writing off will have to be made either on June 30 or December 31 each year. Even after writing off a loan, the MFIs will have to continue making efforts to realise the loan and after such loan realisation, they have to be shown as earnings. Md Shazzad Hossain, a director of MRA, said microcredit institutions have a recovery record of more than 90% in Bangladesh. “From this point of view, that’s not important to make a write off guideline.”
19 accused factories pledge to allow Mobile operators may get access to NID trade unions for workers n database next month Tribune Report
Nineteen garment factories, which were accused of preventing trade unionism, have assured that they would allow the practice as per laws, said Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed. The assurance came in a hearing with the accused factories yesterday, he said. The commerce ministry organised the hearing after the allegations against the factories that they were barring trade unionism and harassing the workers who intended to form unions. The hearing was held at the commerce ministry office at Secretariat in the city. The factories have been asked to follow the directives of the commerce ministry in resolving the trade union issue. Factories said they would do accordingly and make progress to correct their fault. “The owners have promised us to ensure workers’ right of association,” said Tofail Ahmed. He urged the factory owners to “sympathetically deal with workers’ issue and not to fire on simple grounds.” The government will need to submit progress report on implementation of garment workers’ rights to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) by April 15 under the Action Plan. The Bangladesh Action Plan includes 16 conditions to be full-filled to get generalised system of preferences
n Tribune Business Desk
(GSP) back. According to the commerce minister, Bangladesh has already met 13 conditions and the remaining ones will be addressed within due time. Appointing 200 fire inspectors, preparing a publicly accessible data-base of workers and allowing trade unions at the RMG factories located in export processing zone (EPZ) areas are the three conditions still unmet. Tofail Ahmed said necessary steps had been taken to complete the appointment of fire inspectors
The US has further asked Bangladesh authorities to clarify the allegations of abuse of workers’ rights against some factories. After Rana Plaza building collapse in April, the Obama administration suspended Bangladesh’s trade benefits under GSP due to “insufficient progress” by the government in affording workers internationally recognised workers’ rights and improving safety standards. Bangladesh garment sector employ around 44 lakh workers, 80% of whom are females. l
Cellular phone operators of the country would get access to the Election Commission’s database by next month to verify the subscribers’ information before activating new connections. Officials said the telecom regulator has almost finalised different issues with the Election Commission (EC) for using the database of the national ID. Sunil Kanti Bose, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), said the EC has given its consent to allow the mobile phone operators to its database, reports BSS. “We are optimistic that the operators would get access to the EC’s database from next month to verify the subscribers’ information before activating new connections,” he said. The BTRC chairman hoped the database will help recognise the real identity of the subscribers of the new mobile connections. He said main server for using the database will be set up in the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) while the BTRC will have a link to monitor the process. “We will sit with the operators immediately to finalise the process of using the database.” The operators will have to pay fees for using the EC’s database on voters, he said.
Bangladesh Bank and National Board of Revenue currently use the database after having signed agreements with the EC. Earlier, Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Abdul Latif Siddique after taking charge of the ministry told the representatives of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators Bangladesh (AMTOB) that “Initiatives are being taken so that the operators can confirm a subscriber’s identity by checking with the database on voters before they activate a new connection.” The telecom regulator has stopped selling pre-activated SIM since October, 2012. Operators are supposed to activate a SIM only after confirming the subscriber’s identity, according to the BTRC order. National ID or any other photo-identity provided by the government is now essential to obtain a mobile telephone connection. However, incidents of using fake IDs have been reported frequently. Law enforcing agencies say these types of connections are being often used for criminal activities. According to the EC statistics, there are now over 9.19 crore voters in the country, while the BTRC’s latest statistics indicate 11.37 crore mobile phone subscribers till December 2013. l
PPP on accreditation can diversify export basket n Tribune Report Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative on accreditation might play a crucial role in making the country’s existing testing labs more effective for diversifying the country’s export baskets. Speakers at a seminar on “Role of Accreditation in Export Promotion” came up with the suggestion recently. The seminar was jointly organised by the Industries Ministry, Bangladesh Accreditation Board (BAB), Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) at the DCCI in the city. Accreditation enhances the recognition and acceptance of products and services in international, regional and domestic markets. Bangladesh Accreditation Board (BAB) that was established in 2006 is the
national authority of accreditation. Addressing the seminar, speakers put emphasis on creating awareness about the role of accreditation in promoting exports and addressing the non- tariff barriers. Speaking as chief guest, Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu said, “Maintaining the quality of the country’s exportable goods in the international market is very crucial.” “We have to pay a lot of money for testing our products before sending abroad. To reduce cost of doing business and strengthening private sector labs authorised by BAB, government and businessmen can work together,” he said. DCCI President Mohammad Shahjahan Khan said, “We should get acceptability of our exportable products and services in the international arena for reducing cost of doing businesses and increasing consumers’
confidence.” He said accreditation is very essential for export promotion and creating skilled workforce in accreditation and lab testing units is also important. “Lab testing units could be established through PPP initiative and those should be in line with international standards.” Chairman of BUILD and former DCCI President Asif Ibrahim said through private sector lab outsourcing BSTI can reduce their work load. He said coordination between BSTI and private sector labs is necessary to promote the export. Director General of BAB Md Abu Abdullah called upon the private sector to come forward and establish these testing labs. “At present 11 testing labs have got international recognitions to provide accreditation to our exportable items,” he said. He said Bangladesh will apply for Mutual
Recognition Arrangement (MRA) by April this year for increasing acceptability of the local products in the international arena. MRA is an international agreement by which two or more countries agree to recognize one another’s conformity assessments on goods. BAB member M Liaquat Ali in his keynote paper said BAB has achieved accreditation certification to utilise testing laboratories and calibration laboratories in order to inspect goods produced for export. The 11 national and multinational testing and calibration laboratories that have already received the certification no longer need accreditation certificates from foreign institutions, he said. “Thus relevant industries can now acquire quality certification from these accreditation certified laboratories at comparatively lower costs and less logistic hassle,” he said. “To develop the
nation, there is no alternative to increasing the scope and threshold of the export industry overcoming trade barriers.” Bangladeshi exporters are required to comply with the mandatory requirements of India. He underscored the importance of product diversification of IT, software, agriculture, ceramic, and melamine, he said. Bangladesh has been faced with the need to develop a conformity assessment infrastructure to reduce or eliminate the technical barriers as specified in the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), according to keynote paper. It said Bangladesh can now either have their goods and services tested, inspected and certified within the nations receiving Bangali goods, or they are done in the country, using approaches that are recognised by these importer nations. l
What the MRA has been trying to do is to put the industry on the right track since its inception, he said. “New rules and regulations is a step forward to develop the industry in accordance with the international standards.” Since its inception in 2006, the MRA has been continuously making efforts for creating an enabling environment in the microfinance industry for its sustainable development by formulating new rules and regulations. Bangladesh has become the first country in the world to establish a separate entity, MRA, under a separate act to license, monitor and oversee the MFIs, as microfinance had been a private sector initiative all along and flourished without any formal regulatory entity from the government in most parts of the world. Though Bangladesh has been the pioneer of microcredit, it lagged behind some countries in enacting a regulatory framework for this sector. Over the years, it has brought a number of changes in its rules and regulations. Presently, there are 732 MFIs or NGOs under MRA operating in the country. Of the MFIs, only five are very large, 21 large, 115 medium, and rest are small ones. The country’s first microfinance institution – Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) – was established in 1972 through which microfinance activities had started in Bangladesh. l
NBR to pilot green channels at ports soon n Tribune Report National Board of Revenue will soon introduce green channels at ports on pilot basis to release export-import goods without major supervision. Under the system, only the authorised economic operators (AEO) will release the goods, reducing both time and cost of the traders, said NBR officials. The revenue authority already formed a committee and drafted an action plan to implement the system at sea, air and land ports. Officials will be imparted training soon to start the project, said sources concerned. The training will be conducted in home and abroad with support from World Customs Organisation and Asian Development Bank. In the pilot operation, the NBR will select some business houses as AEOs who will comply with the supply chain security standards of the World Customs Organisation. If the pilot project is successful, the AEO system will be made fully operational from next year. The Authorised Economic Operator programme is a globally used method in international trade to ensure supply chain security for a seamless movement of goods. In March 2011, NBR took a five-year comprehensive modernisation plan to achieve intended goals. The plans include, among others, upgrading of customs and launching AEO system. ADB will support the AEO system under its “Supporting Participation in the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Trade Facilitation Program.” “AEO system will help traders reduce their time and cost in clearance of goods at the ports. It will also help customs have adequate information to ensure safety of the country,” said an official. Under the system, the trading companies will enjoy submission of bill of entry and payment of duties through automated system. “Although the AEO programme has been operational in many countries, it is a new concept in Bangladesh,” said Finance Minister AMA Muhith in a comment on the system earlier. He said the system was playing a role of trade facilitator in those countries who adopted it. Finance minister stressed the need to run system with adequate efficiency as many were ignorant of the laws regarding payment of duty. l
Stocks extend losses in high volatility
DSE key features February 17, 2014
n Tribune Report
Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)
Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)
DSE - 30 Index :
CSE All Share Index:
CSE - 30 Index :
CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS Company Shampur Sugar -Z Maksons Spinning-A EBL NRB M.F.-A RAK Ceramics-A Meghna Con. Milk -B Progressive Life-A National Life I -A ICB AMCL IslamicMF-A GlaxoSK (BD) -A Aziz PipesZ
Closing (% change) -9.52 -8.38 -6.25 -5.44 -4.55 -4.41 -4.06 -4.04 -3.97 -3.70
CSE LOSERS Company Apex Foods -A Maksons Spinning-A BDCOM Online-A Prime Islami Life -A RAK Ceramics-A Meghna Life Ins. -A Padma Islami Life*-N Peoples Insur -A Islami Ins.BD-A National Life I -A
Closing (% change) -9.97 -8.38 -5.52 -4.76 -4.57 -4.39 -4.10 -3.90 -3.53 -3.43
Average (% change) -4.76 -6.41 -6.25 -2.91 -5.85 -4.41 -4.20 -3.22 -3.94 -3.65 Average (% change) -9.94 -6.60 -5.40 -4.76 -4.77 -3.87 -5.58 -2.46 -3.59 -3.32
Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)
Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)
Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)
Closing average 8.00 16.80 7.50 53.77 10.47 138.86 338.17 21.64 1092.00 20.88
Turnover (Million Taka)
93.00 16.70 32.44 120.00 52.76 138.04 88.49 34.53 32.78 338.38
Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)
Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)
Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)
Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)
93.00 16.40 32.50 120.00 52.20 137.30 86.60 34.50 32.80 338.00
Turnover in million
7.70 17.60 7.50 55.50 10.60 141.10 347.70 22.20 1100.00 21.40
Company Prime Insur -A SonarBangla Insu. -A Standard Ceramic -A LR Global BD MF1-A Dhaka Ins. Ltd.-A AFC AgroBiotech-N Samorita Hospital -A Golden Harvest Agro-N Envoy Textiles Ltd-N NCCBL Mutual Fund-1-A
7.60 15.50 7.50 50.00 10.40 132.50 322.00 21.40 1090.00 19.50
Turnover in million
93.00 17.20 32.50 120.00 55.00 140.00 90.00 34.60 33.50 342.90
0.012 23.935 0.011 17.119 0.089 1.458 4.753 2.283 0.273 0.237
93.00 16.20 32.00 120.00 49.30 137.00 85.10 34.50 32.50 333.00
-50.84 0.64 0.44 2.03 -4.58 2.30 12.46 2.56 46.69 0.59
0.009 4.657 0.052 0.120 2.171 0.048 0.619 0.052 0.066 0.085
-ve 26.3 17.0 26.5 -ve 60.4 27.1 8.5 23.4 35.4
Sector Bank NBFI Investment Engineering Food & Allied Fuel & Power Jute Textile Pharma & Chemical Paper & Packaging Service Leather Ceramic Cement Information Technology General Insurance Life Insurance Telecom Travel & Leisure Miscellaneous Debenture
DSE Million Taka 434.91 174.56 84.32 343.48 216.31 643.48 1.18 246.38 522.27 0.21 14.29 42.51 54.50 215.64 28.64 73.29 391.23 286.02 41.60 87.96 0.23
3.56 0.64 1.70 4.95 2.03 6.45 1.10 2.20 1.60 12.46
Million Taka 42.47 19.28 3.40 42.39 16.02 31.98 26.93 50.55 0.09 1.76 3.47 6.72 11.46 3.86 3.21 18.18 43.36 9.59 15.55 0.06
192.70 71.10 67.30 63.90 312.00 31.20 40.60 335.00 26.30 51.10
39.10 27.67 38.41 7.50 45.78 66.24 90.00 41.02 50.76 11.26
39.10 27.70 38.40 7.50 45.80 66.60 90.00 41.60 51.00 11.30
192.70 71.10 67.90 64.00 316.70 32.00 41.00 344.00 27.50 51.50
Daily high 40.00 27.80 38.50 7.50 47.00 67.50 90.00 42.00 51.40 11.40
Turnover in million
192.70 71.10 64.40 63.90 301.30 27.30 35.50 330.00 26.00 45.00
0.964 0.004 100.590 0.035 2.734 22.070 0.293 0.235 0.053 24.865
Turnover in million
37.80 25.50 38.40 7.50 44.00 64.20 90.00 40.00 46.00 11.00
0.117 0.073 0.230 0.008 0.252 23.416 0.045 2.449 3.173 0.220
Latest EPS 6.44 -43.98 1.53 0.60 11.56 1.65 2.96 6.02 -0.04 1.12
Latest EPS 2.56 1.85 1.06 1.52 2.43 1.53 2.74 1.62 1.12 1.03
Latest PE 29.9 -ve 43.4 106.1 26.8 18.8 13.6 55.8 -ve 45.4
Latest PE 15.3 15.0 36.2 4.9 18.8 43.3 32.8 25.3 45.3 10.9
WED 12-Feb 13-Feb
% change 12.12 5.50 0.97 12.10 4.57 9.13 0.00 7.69 14.43 0.02 0.50 0.99 1.92 3.27 1.10 0.92 5.19 12.38 2.74 4.44 0.02
Million Taka 477.38 193.84 87.72 385.87 232.33 675.46 1.18 273.31 572.82 0.29 16.05 45.98 61.22 227.09 32.50 76.50 409.40 329.38 51.19 103.51 0.29
ed) and Tk. (2.73) (restated) respectively for the year ended on December 31, 2012. LANKABAFIN: The Company has informed that the Board of Directors of the Company has decided to issue Non-Convertible Zero Coupon Bond of Tk. 3,000.00 million to meet its ongoing financing requirements subject to the approval of Bangladesh Securities & Exchange Commission (BSEC) and other Regulatory Authorities DELTALIFE: (Q3): As per un-audited quarterly accounts for the 3rd quarter ended on 30th September 2013 (July'13 to Sep'13), the Company has reported an increase in life insurance fund of Tk. 367.32 million as against Tk. 789.38 million for the same period of the previous year. Whereas increase in life insurance fund was Tk. 2,172.52 million for the period of 9 months (Jan'13 to Sep'13) ended on 30.09.2013 as against Tk. 2,370.04 million for the same period of the previous year. Total life insurance fund stood at Tk. 28,504.09 million as on 30.09.2013 as against Tk. 25,652.08 million
as on 30.09.2012. BEDL: The Company has informed that the 50 MW HFO fired power plant owned by 51% subsidiary Company of Barakatullah Electro Dynamics Limited (BEDL) named Baraka Patenga Power Limited has started its test run on February 11, 2014 at 5:57 P.M. Four engines out of total eight engines have fired so far and supplying electricity to the national grid on a test basis. The process of test run will be performed rotationally for all 08 engines until commencement of commercial operation. RIGHT SHARE: ARAMITCEM: Subscription 23.03.2014 to 17.04.2014. Record date for entitlement of rights share: 09.01.2014. RUPALILIFE- Subscription 06.04.2014 to 05.05.2014. Record date for entitlement of rights share: 16.01.2014. BRACBANK: Subscription 20.04.2014 to 15.05.2014. Record date for entitlement of rights share: 10.02.2014. GENNEXT: Subscription 18.03.2014 to 09.04.2014, Record date: 25.02.2014.
26.1 26.1 19.1 24.2 26.0 21.4 80.4 15.7 20.5 27.2
Benchmark index shed a slice of gain on stocks owing to concern over sideway down movement in index and profit booking
% change 11.14 4.47 2.16 8.80 5.54 16.49 0.03 6.31 13.38 0.01 0.37 1.09 1.40 5.52 0.73 1.88 10.02 7.33 1.07 2.25 0.01
192.70 71.10 66.42 63.64 310.21 30.97 40.31 335.71 26.50 50.81
SECTORAL TURNOVER SUMMARY
13.66 9.49 6.67 4.17 4.09 3.90 3.81 3.48 3.24 2.73
Average (% change) 13.66 9.37 6.69 4.17 4.23 6.44 2.83 1.79 2.59 2.36
PRIMEINSUR: The Board of Directors has recommended stock dividend @ 15% for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 23.03.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: Trust Milonayaton, 545 Old Airport Road, Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka-1206. Record Date: 26.02.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 2.56, NAV per share of Tk. 16.69 and NOCFPS of Tk. 2.15 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. LANKABAFIN: The Board of Directors has recommended 15% cash dividend and 5% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 31.03.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Spectra Convention Center, House # 19, Road # 07, Gulshan-1, Dhaka-1212. Record Date: 02.03.2014. The Company has also reported consolidated net profit after tax of Tk. 954.55 million, consolidated EPS of Tk. 4.58, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 32.83 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. (7.94) for the year ended on December 31, 2013 as against Tk. 348.02 million, Tk. 1.67 (restated), Tk. 31.07 (restat-
DSE TURNOVER LEADERS
Closing (% change)
News from trade server
CSE key features February 17, 2014
7.60 16.40 7.50 52.10 10.50 138.70 333.60 21.40 1092.00 20.80
9.99 7.73 5.16 4.07 3.52 3.31 3.31 3.17 3.14 3.02
Average (% change) 9.99 6.64 7.15 2.65 2.23 1.54 3.23 3.61 3.52 2.36
Closing (% change)
Capital Market Highlights:
Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)
GeminiSeaFood-Z Jute SpinnersA AFC AgroBiotech-N Savar Refractories-Z Rahim Textile -A AB Bank - A Standard Insurance-A Eastern Lubricants -A Samata LeatheR -Z Envoy Textiles Ltd-N
Number of Contract
DSE Shariah Index :
Daily capital market highlights DSE Broad Index :
Number of Contract
sentiment and subsequently pulled down the indices for third consecutive session,” said IDLC Investment in its daily market analysis. Since recent sessions have been somewhat downbeat, fresh funds continue to stay on the wane as investors remained cautious, it said. Lanka Bangla Securities said market posted another volatile session closing with consolidation for the third session. “Benchmark index shed a slice of gain on stocks owing to concern over sideway down movement in index and profit booking.” It said with some investors’ attention diverted to macro scenario, market is facing stealthy participation. Zenith Investment said: “Downward trend continued in DSE, as the market fell after heavy fluctuation throughout the day. Along with correction and profit taking, investors were being cautious to view the situation after demutualisation scheme.” Meghna Petroleum was the top turnover leader with shares worth Tk21crore changing hands, followed by Square Pharmaceuticals, Lanka Bangla Finance, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, Olympic Industries, Jamuna Oil, AFC Agro and Delta Life Insurance. l
Stocks extended losses for the third straight session in highly volatile trade yesterday, as investors switched over stocks after booking profits on other stocks. The market moved between positive and negative several times with more than 50 points intra-day volatility. The benchmark DSEX lost nearly 30 points or 0.7% to settle at 4,684. The Shariah based DSES index shed marginally 8 points or 0.9% to 977. The blue chip DS30 index dropped 18 points or 1% to 1,662. The Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, ended at 9,217 with a fall of 52 points. Participation in trading continued to decline with turnover falling almost 12% to Tk344 crore, which was one and a half month low. Marginal rise of the market’s bellwether banking and textile stocks offset losses seen by all other sectors, including life insurance, ceramic, food and allied, telecommunications, engineering and pharmaceuticals. “Volatility made a comeback alongside frequent scrip-wise switching by investors. Selling pressure of certain mid-cap and large-cap scrips depressed market
Turnover (Million Taka) Turnover (Volume)
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
% change 11.22 4.56 2.06 9.07 5.46 15.88 0.03 6.43 13.47 0.01 0.38 1.08 1.44 5.34 0.76 1.80 9.63 7.74 1.20 2.43 0.01
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 email@example.com or call 01552153562 or go to www.biasl.net
Meghna Petroleum -A Square Pharma -A LankaBangla Fin. -A BD Submarine Cable-A Olympic Ind. -A Jamuna Oil -A AFC AgroBiotech-N
Delta Life Insu. -A Padma Oil Co. -A Southeast Bank-A
Grameenphone-A BD Building Systems -A HeidelbergCement -A UCBL - A Titas Gas TDCLA Renata Ltd. -A DESCO Ltd. -A Mercantile Bank -A ConfidenceCement A G Next Fashions-A CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company BD Submarine Cable-A
LankaBangla Fin. -A AFC AgroBiotech-N Square Pharma -A Grameenphone-A Delta Life Insu. -A Meghna Petroleum -A UCBL - A Olympic Ind. -A Golden Son -A BSC-A BD Building Systems -A Padma Oil Co. -A Appollo Ispat CL -N Jamuna Oil -A LafargeS Cement-Z National Bank - B
Volume shares 753,984 790,000 2,609,276 871,689 924,905 650,710 1,514,500 373,100 196,702 2,769,029
301,600 775,725 119,550 1,573,002 516,618 42,350 585,359 1,773,558 218,192 978,300
180,957 336,500 353,500 71,630 62,000 45,600 40,841 343,787 48,000 132,000 14,975 91,750 20,152 193,200 24,742 137,500 386,445
Value in million 213.19 202.47 185.91 183.55 181.34 151.75 100.59 99.86 65.13 63.69
61.78 56.72 52.07 43.99 42.70 39.47 39.36 33.51 31.49 31.02
Value in million
38.23 24.08 23.42 18.43 12.72 12.20 11.53 9.63 9.46 8.12 7.08 6.69 6.68 6.06 5.77 5.25 5.05
% of total turnover 6.20 5.88 5.40 5.33 5.27 4.41 2.92 2.90 1.89 1.85
1.80 1.65 1.51 1.28 1.24 1.15 1.14 0.97 0.92 0.90
% of total turnover
10.50 6.61 6.43 5.06 3.49 3.35 3.17 2.64 2.60 2.23 1.94 1.84 1.83 1.66 1.58 1.44 1.39
Daily closing 280.10 255.20 69.50 209.80 194.90 232.10 67.30 265.60 328.60 23.00
204.70 72.00 431.00 27.90 82.40 931.20 66.60 18.90 143.10 31.40
209.90 69.70 66.60 255.50 205.30 265.30 280.70 28.10 195.00 60.20 467.75 72.10 328.90 31.10 232.20 38.10 13.10
Price change -2.68 -1.96 -1.84 -0.24 -2.26 -1.28 5.16 -2.60 -1.50 -0.86
Daily opening 287.80 260.30 70.80 210.30 199.40 235.10 64.00 272.70 333.60 23.20
-0.44 -2.44 -2.38 1.09 -0.48 -1.36 -0.60 0.00 -0.90 -1.26
-0.33 -1.83 3.90 -1.84 -0.19 -2.53 -2.94 1.81 -1.61 -2.59 -1.48 -2.17 -1.44 -1.89 -1.32 0.53 0.77
205.60 73.80 441.50 27.60 82.80 944.00 67.00 18.90 144.40 31.80
210.60 71.00 64.10 260.30 205.70 272.20 289.20 27.60 198.20 61.80 474.80 73.70 333.70 31.70 235.30 37.90 13.00
Daily high 305.00 265.20 75.00 215.00 201.00 242.00 67.90 271.00 336.00 25.00
205.70 74.40 443.00 28.90 83.20 954.00 68.00 19.10 146.40 32.10
Daily low 265.00 250.00 68.00 192.00 184.50 215.00 64.40 265.00 325.00 21.00
204.00 66.50 425.00 24.90 74.60 921.20 61.00 17.10 137.00 29.00
Daily average 282.74 256.28 71.25 210.57 196.06 233.21 66.42 267.64 331.12 23.00
215.00 74.00 67.50 260.00 206.90 270.90 290.00 28.30 199.20 61.90 483.00 74.00 337.00 31.60 235.00 38.50 13.30
200.00 69.00 64.20 237.60 204.50 265.00 278.00 26.00 194.00 60.10 466.25 66.80 315.00 30.80 216.00 37.70 11.80
204.84 73.12 435.54 27.97 82.65 931.90 67.24 18.89 144.30 31.71
211.27 71.57 66.24 257.33 205.15 267.63 282.23 28.00 197.04 61.50 472.71 72.91 331.40 31.35 233.01 38.17 13.07
US law firm ensnared in NSA surveillance: NYT report n Reuters An unnamed US law firm was caught up in the global surveillance of the National Security Agency (NSA) and its overseas partners in Australia, according to a newspaper report on Saturday. A top secret document obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows the firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the
United States, according to The New York Times. The government of Indonesia retained the law firm for trade talks, which were under surveillance by the Australian Signals Directorate, said the report, citing the February 2013 document. The Australian agency notified the NSA that it was conducting surveillance of the talks, including communications between Indonesian officials and the US law firm and offered to share the in-
Thai GDP growth slumps in fourth-quarter, unrest clouds outlook n Reuters Thailand’s economic growth slowed significantly in the final quarter of 2013 and the state planning agency cut its forecast for this year because of political unrest that could prevent the formation of a fully functioning government for months. Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy after Indonesia grew a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in OctoberDecember from the previous three months. That matched a forecast from economists in a Reuters poll but was well down on July-September’s freshly-revised 1.4% pace. The economy also grew 0.6% from the final quarter of 2012, compared with the poll forecast of 0.4% and the previous quarter’s 2.7%. For full-year 2013, the agency said growth was 2.9%, far below the 6.5% in 2012 when Thailand was rebounding from devastating floods the preceding year. The planning agency (NESDB) slashed its growth estimate for this year to between 3 and 4% from the 4-5% seen in November, when antigovernment protests began in the capital, Bangkok. The government tried to end the
crisis by moving in December to hold a snap election. That took place on February 2 but was disrupted, meaning there is no quorum in parliament to form a government so a caretaker administration remains in place, with only limited spending and borrowing powers. The protests have forced many ministries and state agencies to close, including the NESDB itself, which published a truncated economic statement yesterday. Built into its forecasts for 2014 is a pick-up in investment in the second half of the year, but it acknowledges that the budgeting process for the fiscal year starting in October will be disrupted. “Only some parts of the fiscal 2015 budget can be disbursed within the first quarter of the fiscal year,” it said, referring the fourth quarter of calendar year 2014. The Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee next reviews the policy rate on March 12, and many economists expect further easing to help the economy. KGI Securities economist Pragrom Pathomboorn said he expects a 25 basis point cut at that meeting to 2% and the rate could fall further to 1.75% by June. But some economists doubt a rate cut would achieve much. l
formation, according to the Times. The Australians said that “information covered by attorney-client privilege may be included” in the intelligence gathering, according to the document, which the Times described as a monthly bulletin from an NSA liaison office in Canberra, Australia. The law firm was not identified in the document, but Mayer Brown, a Chicago-based firm with a global practice, was then advising the Indonesian government on trade, the Times said. A Mayer Brown spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. The Times report quoted Mayer Brown lawyer Duane Layton, who was involved in the trade talks, as saying that he did not have any evidence that he or his firm had been under scrutiny by Australian or US intelligence agencies. “I always wonder if someone is listening, because you would have to be an idiot not to wonder in this day and age,” he told the Times. “But I’ve never really thought I was being spied on.” Commenting on the report, Kent Zimmermann, a consultant at law firm consulting firm Zeughauser Group, told Reuters: “It was only a matter of time before this happened to a US law firm and was publicly reported ... There is a widely held perception that US law firms are the soft underbelly of corporate America when it comes to vulnerability of spying and hacking.” l
Yen firms in Asia despite poor Japan GDP data n AFP, Tokyo
Citi, Sonali Bank ink agreement on corporate tax e-payment n Tribune Business Desk Citibank, NA, Bangladesh yesterday signed an agreement with Sonali Bank Limited for a new “Corporate Tax ePayment” solution. Senior officials of Sonali Bank Limited, The National Board of Revenue, Bangladesh Bank, International Finance Corporation, IT Consultants Ltd and Citibank NA attended the signing ceremony. Once the new system goes live, Citi’s clients will benefit by being able to pay taxes online. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is currently in the process of developing a system where corporate taxpayers will be able to pay tax online.
Pradip Kumar Dutta, managing director and of Sonali Bank Limited reiterated the role of Sonali Bank in the proposed tax e-payment mechanism for institutional customers and stressed the effectiveness of this digitised method in stead of the prevailing manual tax payment process. Rashed Maqsood, managing director and Citi’s country officer for Bangladesh highlighted Citi’s commitment to deliver world class solutions for corporate clients. "This partnership with NBR and Sonali Bank will pave the way towards an electronic era in corporate tax, and further strengthening Citi’s continued leadership in the country’s electronic banking space," he said. l
Oil holds above $100 n AFP, Singapore
Oil prices held above $100 in Asian trade yesterday, cheered by a surge in bank lending in China, the world’s top energy consumer. New York’s main contract West Texas Intermediate for March delivery rose 30 cents to $100.60 in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for April eased 12 cents to $108.96. “China’s credit news showed that the credit increased and that there is still growth there. Maybe it is not as
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
fast but it is still moving along,” Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG markets in Singapore, told AFP. Loans by Chinese banks reached around 1.3tn yuan ($214bn) in January, up 246.9 billion yuan from the same month a year ago, the People’s Bank of China said at the weekend. In December, banks granted just 482.5bn yuan in new loans, previous figures showed. The January lending figure beat analyst estimates. Phillip Futures said in a market commentary that extremely cold weather in the United States
Salmond: No EU member has said it will block Scottish membership n Reuters, London Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said on Monday that no member state of the EU had indicated it would seek to block Scottish membership of the 28-member bloc. The decision was one for member states, he said in a speech in Aberdeen, but not to recognize Scotland’s democratic will would run counter to the spirit of the EU. “No member state has suggested they would seek to block Scottish membership,” he added. l
Banglalink Grandmaster season three finales was held on Sunday at the ballroom of Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel. Champion team was Maverick from CUET, first runner up Dementors from Jahangirnagar University, IBA and second runner up Hufflepufs from Dhaka University, IBA
is helping push oil prices higher due to stronger demand for heating fuels. “This benefited crude oil as a feedstock to heating fuels,” it said. Phillip Futures also said that Brent was coming under pressure from increased production in Libya. Investors will also be focusing on banking giant HSBC’s purchasing manager’s index (PMI) data for February from China due to be released on Thursday for clues on the health of the world’s second biggest economy, Teoh of IG Markets said. l
The yen strengthened in Asia yesterday as investors shuffled their positions after weaker-than-expected Japanese growth figures dented confidence in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy blitz, dubbed Abenomics. In afternoon Tokyo trade, the dollar slipped to 101.58 yen, from 101.81 yen in New York Friday afternoon, with the yen winning support from expectations that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) would hold fire on new easing measures after a two-day policy meeting. The euro inched down to 139.25 yen and $1.3708 from 139.42 yen and $1.3715 in US trade, after data Friday showed that a modest recovery in the eurozone economy remains on track. In Japan, the economy logged its best performance in three years, expanding 1.6 percent, as Abe’s growth blitz drove the expansion, but weak second-half data and a looming April sales tax rise dampened the outlook for strong growth this year. The world’s third-largest economy expanded just 0.3 percent between October and December, data showed Monday. Abe’s growth policy has boosted Japanese stocks and driven down the yen’s value, but investors were “discouraged by the recent drops in stock prices and today’s weaker-thanexpected GDP data,” said Shuichi Kanehira, head of spot forex trading at Mizuho Bank. “Expectations for Abenomics and the Japanese economy have spawned buying of Japanese stocks and, partly for hedging purposes, yen selling. This coupled trading is being unwound for now. It’s not positive yen buying,” he added. Takako Masai, head of markets research at Shinsei Bank, told Dow Jones Newswires that “the longer-term trend of a weaker yen is still intact”. There has been speculation that the BoJ will expand its easymoney policies later this year, but policymakers are widely expected to hold off fresh measures after the BoJ wraps up its meeting Tuesday. Easing measures tend to weigh on a currency. In the eurozone, the bloc’s economy grew 0.3% in the fourth quarter of last year, at the top end of forecasts, after it nearly stalled in the third quarter when it expanded just 0.1%. But problems remain, notably near-record unemployment and deflation risks. The dollar also fell against AsiaPacific currencies. The greenback fell to 11,692 rupiah from 11,920 rupiah on Friday, to 44.54 Philippine pesos from 44.83 pesos, and to 32.35 Thai baht from 32.53 baht. It also sank to Sg$1.2597 from Sg$1.2652, and to 1,061.83 South Korean won from 1,063.28 won, and to 62.06 Indian rupees from 62.35 rupees. The Australian climbed to 90.49 US cents from 89.94 cents, while the Chinese yuan fetched 16.72 yen against 16.75 yen. l
BRAC Bank Limited and Link3 Technologies Ltd have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cash management services. Under the agreement, customers using internet services of Link3 Technologies will be able to pay their bills through real time online branch network of BRAC bank under supervision of SME banking division
The annual sales conference of Singer Bangladesh Limited was held in Dhaka on Feb 04. The company’s managing director and the vice-president of Singer Asia Limited, AM Hamim Rahmatullah inaugurated the conference
NCC Bank on Sunday held a conference for its executives at head office and managers based at branches in Dhaka at its head office. Md Nurun Newaz Salim, the bank’s chairperson the conference as chief guest
National Bank Limited held the annual conference for the on-going year for its executives and managers at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Saturday. Zainul Haque Sikder, the bank’s sponsor director and chairperson in the board of directors inaugurated the conference as chief guest
City Bank has recently signed a cooperation agreement with IFC (International Finance Corporation) as part of IFC’s “Access to Finance Advisory Service” programme aimed at promoting sustainable private sector investment in developing countries. The agreement was signed by Sohail R K Hussain, managing director and CEO on behalf of City Bank and Kyle F Kelhofer, IFC’s country manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal at City Bank’s head office in Dhaka
Japan economy grows in 2013, but concerns loom n AFP, Tokyo Japan’s economy has logged its best performance in three years, driven by Premier Shinzo Abe’s growth blitz, but weak second-half growth and an April sales tax rise are denting hopes for a sizzling 2014. The 1.6% expansion last year marked the first annual figures under Abe and his programme, dubbed Abenomics, after the conservative swept national elections on a ticket to restore Japan’s fading status as an economic superpower. Tokyo championed the figures published Monday as proof that the drive to stoke growth and conquer years of deflation was taking hold. “Domestic demand remains in a good shape,” economy minister Akira Amari told reporters Monday, adding that the “economic trend is pointing upward, led by private-sector demand”. Since Abe swept to office in late 2012, the yen lost about a quarter of its value against the dollar - giving a boost to Japanese exporters - while the Nikkei stock index soared 57% in 2013 to post its best performance in over four decades. But critics fear that a tax rise in April - seen as crucial for chopping Japan’s eye-watering national debt - would curtail the recovery. Rates are set to increase to 8% from 5%, Japan’s first sales tax rise since the late nineties. Abe has been calling on firms to hike wages as consumers face paying more for everyday goods, while Tokyo launches a special $50bn stimulus package to prop up the post-tax rise economy. Spring labour negotiations would likely generate widespread wage hikes, Abe said Monday, although there has so far been little evidence of big pay or capital spending rises, seen as key to concrete growth, after years of lacklustre consumer demand. “We expect that a trend of rising salaries will expand more than last year,” Abe told parliament. Despite Tokyo’s upbeat take on the
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
UNEMPLOYMENT - CUTTING OUT THE DEAD WOOD
annual growth figures, they only modestly beat Japan’s expansion in 2012 before Abe came to power, and weakening second half data was likely to stoke more concerns about the pace of recovery. Consumer and corporate spending in the latter half of the year failed to take off, pointing to a still-cautious mood among households and in the country’s boardrooms. “Weak Q4 GDP figures show that the surge in spending ahead of the consumption tax hike has yet to come,” Capital Economics said. “Last-minute spending to avoid the higher sales tax will likely lead to an acceleration in demand in (the first quarter), followed by a slump in the second quarter.”
Japan’s growth led G7 nations in the first half of the year, but the economy expanded just 0.3% in the OctoberDecember quarter, less than the 0.7% expansion economists had expected, according Nikkei business daily survey. Lacklustre exports were largely to blame for the slowing growth, said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Daiichi Life Research Institute. “The lower yen has boosted stock prices, which propped up consumption,” he said. “But export growth has not been strong.” The strength of overseas economies, particularly the United States, will be a key factor for Japan’s economy this year, Shinke added. “It would reasonable to expect further growth as overseas economies are expected to fare better this year,” he said. But the tax rise looms as a major threat to Abe’s efforts and has stoked speculation that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) would be forced to expand its already unprecedented monetary easing drive later this year to counter a slowdown. The programme launched by the BoJ, which kicks off a two-day meeting on Monday, is a cornerstone of Abe’s policy, meshing big government spending and central bank easing. l
A banner reading "The moral prejudice suffered by each employee" is seen at the factory of Finnish paper manufacturer Stora Enso in Corbehem, northern France, on February 14, 2014. French Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who visited the site on February 14, 2014, said that there are "three offers on the table" to take over Stora Enso's factory in Corbehem, which closure is expected in June. The company's planned cost-cutting programme launched in 2012 is mostly taking place in France and Finland AFP
Sri Lanka keeps rates steady, retains foreign capital n AFP, Colombo
Sri Lanka’s central bank kept interest rates steady yesterday, saying the economy showed signs of improvement with foreign cash unlike most emerging markets facing capital outflows. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka in its monthly review decided to hold lending rates at multi-year lows of 8%, but hinted that there could be further cuts after a 50 basis point reduction last month. “Longer term lending rates, which displayed some downward adjustments in January, have space to decrease further,” the bank said. It noted modest flows of foreign
capital into the Sri Lankan economy despite the reduction in the US bondbuying programme which has triggered a flight of capital from other emerging markets in recent weeks, the bank said. “The effect of the tapering of the US quantitative easing (QE) programme on the Sri Lanka economy is expected to be minimal”, the bank said attributing it to “investors who have a serious and long term view of the Sri Lankan economy”. It said Sri Lanka attracted a net inflow of $119m this year. Last week, the bank said record remittances and tourism earnings helped wipe out a trade deficit in 2013 and im-
Chidambaram unveils indirect tax cuts in pre-election budget
India's Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram (C) arrives at the parliament to present the interim budget in New Delhi error had been made. To reach his deficit target, Chidambaram this year has squeezed higher dividends from cash-rich state-run companies and has deferred 350bn rupees of oil subsidies into next year’s accounts. Revised major subsidies for 2013/14 will be 2.56tn Indian rupees, Chidambaram said. He also cut 2013/14 spending by some 748bn rupees, 4.5% below the total budgeted for the year. For the coming year, he estimated total spending of 17.63 trillion rupees, up 10.9% against revised expenditure for the current year. The new spending included a 10% proposed hike to the defence budget.
Opinion polls predict voters will oust the government led by the Nehru-
Gandhi dynasty’s Congress party amid widespread discontent with its mismanagement of the economy, stubbornly high inflation and corruption scandals. Chidambaram, struggling to deliver his speech above the din of lawmakers angry over a plan to divide Andhra Pradesh, announced no major changes in tax rates. However, he unveiled lower duty on vehicles ranging from SUVs to motorbikes, as well as mobile phone handsets, along with small measures to soften student loans and help retired members of the armed forces. He said factory-gate taxes on small cars, two-wheelers and commercial vehicles would be cut to 8% from 12%, while excise on SUVs was lowered to 24% from 30%. Small cars, two-wheel and commercial vehicles would be cut to 8% from 12%.
Europe and the United States are the main markets for Sri Lankan-made clothing. Imports on the other hand fell to $17.99bn in 2013, down 6.2% compared to 2012 because of a lower oil import bill. Sri Lanka also sold $1bn in bonds last month, despite warnings from the International Monetary Fund against increasing the external debt. Sri Lanka’s debt is estimated at nearly 80% of its GDP. The economy recorded 8%-plus growth for two straight years after troops crushed separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, but the pace has slowed in the last two years. l
After rejecting UAW, VW workers may still get works council
n Reuters The government announced a package of indirect tax cuts yesterday to breathe life into spending and investment, and trumpeted its record of growth and reform over the past decade in an interim budget before an election it looks set to lose. Amid uproar in parliament as lawmakers shouted him down, Finance Minister P Chidambaram also said he would contain the fiscal deficit for 2013/14 (April-March) at 4.6% of gross domestic product (GDP), below his target of 4.8%. “I can confidently assert that the economy is more stable today than what it was two years ago,” Chidambaram said, while warning that action was needed to revive manufacturing. Monday’s budget was an interim exercise ahead of the election due by May and MPs will be asked to approve only the period until the new government is formed. Analysts watching the speech welcomed the progress on the fiscal deficit, including his estimate that it would shrink further to 4.1% in 2014/15, which would be the lowest since 2007/08. But they voiced concern about a lack of details. “Under the hood concerns - primarily on how these deficit targets were met/will be met next year - remain largely unanswered,” said Radhika Rao, an economist with DBS in Singapore. Rajnath Singh, the president of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, said Chidambaram’s accounting was not credible, saying the finance minister was pushing subsidy spending onto the next government. Indian markets were largely unmoved by the speech, with the rupee at 61.93/94 against its close of 61.9250/9350 on Friday. The currency hit record lows last year amid concerns about the country’s current account and fiscal deficits. The finance ministry printed two conflicting numbers for projected net borrowing in its budget documents, before clarifying that a typographical
prove foreign reserves in a country relying heavily on external debt. Sri Lankans employed abroad sent home $6.8bn last year, up 13% from 2012 while earnings from tourism jumped 35% to $1.4bn in 2013, according to official figures. They showed Sri Lanka’s overall balance of payments ended up with a surplus of $991m, compared to a modest surplus of $151m in 2012 and a deficit of $1.06bn in 2011. The improvement in the balance of payments was also helped by garment exports which increased by 26% while the island’s main export commodities of tea and coconut also increased significantly.
“The current economic situation demands some interventions that cannot wait for the regular budget. In particular, the manufacturing sector needs an immediate boost,” Chidambaram said. Asia’s third-largest economy is facing its worst slowdown in nearly a decade, with shrinking manufacturing, slower jobs growth and high inflation. Chidambaram said India’s economy, the 11th largest in the world, would recover to at least 5.2% growth in the second of 2013/14 from 4.6% in the first half. Looking back at the two terms of rule under a Congress-led coalition, Chidambaram said there had been an unprecedented growth trend of 6.2% over the past decade and - rejecting charges that the government was mired in a policy paralysis - laid out a raft of reform steps it has taken. l
Workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant may have voted against joining the United Auto Workers union last week but they may still gain some representation in the company through the formation of a works council. Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW Chattanooga and manager of the plant, emphasized on Friday night that while the workers voted against the UAW they did not vote down the idea of a works council. “Throughout this process, we found great enthusiasm for the idea of an American-style works council both inside and outside our plant,” Fischer said. “Our goal continues to be to determine the best method for establishing a works council in accordance with the requirements of US labour law.” The power of such a council, which would be a first of its kind in the United States, would be very limited under US labour law. It could be consulted only on some limited matters rather than negotiate with management on working conditions. And some labour experts say if the workers want to participate in a works council they may have to set up their own independent union to avoid the perception of a company-organized union, which is not allowed under the law. In Germany, a works council typically involves both white- and bluecollar workers who elect representatives to participate on a body that is
involved in decisions about the workplace environment and rules. However, wages and benefits are usually left for separate negotiations between labour unions and management. Chattanooga is Volkswagen’s only plant in the United States. The idea for a works council has the backing of some of the workers at the Chattanooga plant who had opposed the UAW, and also has support from some politicians who had been warning about the dangers of a UAW victory. VW’s works council in Germany also said it still wanted one to be set up in Chattanooga and some of its officials would be traveling to the United States to hold talks with labour law experts about the possibility in the next two weeks. Last week’s vote at the plant - which was 53% to 47% against the UAW - dealt a body blow to the union, which has been unable to expand into auto plants in the US South, even as its ranks have declined elsewhere. The UAW had high hopes for the vote because VW at the prodding of IG Metall, the powerful German union that has several representatives on VW’s supervisory board, had maintained what it calls a “neutral” stance toward the UAW and did not campaign against the union. It had even permitted UAW representatives limited access to the plant to address workers. If the UAW had been successful, VW planned to form a works council with representatives from the union and representatives from nonunion whitecollar employees. l