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Falgun 23, 1420 Jamadiul Awal 5, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 1 No 343

FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2014 | www.dhakatribune.com | SECOND EDITION

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Plan to reorganise home ministry

Muhith for an end to contractual appointments

PM says it is difficult for the ministry to run so many departments n BSS Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government had plans to reorganise the home ministry to allow people to get services easily from the organisations under the ministry, including the police force. “It is a very difficult job for the home ministry to run so many departments including Border Guard Bangladesh, Ansar and VDP, Fire Service and Civil Defence, Jail Police, RAB, Industrial Police, Tourist Police and River Police smoothly,” she said. “So we are considering a plan to separate all these departments and appoint manpower by reorganising the entire home ministry,” Hasina added. The prime minister also said only the separation of the police department was not enough, rather the whole home ministry would have to be reorganised to provide desired services for the people. She made the comments while addressing an evaluation meeting of the senior police officials at the International Conference Centre of the Prime Minister’s Office on the occasion of the Police Week 2014. State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Home Secretary CQK Mushataq Ahmed, Inspector General of Police Hasan Mahmud Khandakar and Additional IGP (admin) Shahidul Haque also spoke on the occasion. The prime minister said the government would recruit 50,000 additional workforce for the police to improve law and order. The appointments would be made in phases, she said. Reiterating her government’s tough  PAGE 2 COLUMN 6

n Mohosinul Karim Finance Minister AMA Muhith has taken a strong position against contractual appointments of retired public servants which are usually given on political considerations. The minister recently sent letters to the state minister for public administration, cabinet secretary, principal secretary to the prime minister, public administration secretary and finance secretary requesting them to take necessary steps to stop contractual appointments. The public administration ministry was asked to prepare a guideline on contractual appointments and re-fix the age limit for public service. Muhith also called for stopping any new appointments until the guideline was prepared. “The public administration ministry does not have any such specific guideline. We are also considering the issues mentioned in the finance minister’s letter. Several initiatives would be taken soon,” said Public Administration Secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, confirming that the ministry had received Muhith’s letter. He also said the state minister had already asked him to initiate a proposal on detail planning of the ministry. According to ministry officials, around 160 people, including some secretaries of the civil administration, are now on contractual service. Most of the appointments were given on political considerations. In his letter dated March 1, Muhith said the government recently extended

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina takes the salute at the inaugural ceremony of Police Week 2014 at the Rajarbagh Police Lines of the capital yesterday PMO

Khaleda yet to apply for REB seeks jolt in power prices de-freezing bank account n Desco

DPDC

WZPDCO

PDB

REB

Consumers/km

151

224

83

69

40

Household/kWh/ month

249

252

109

139

76

58.29

97.68

12.62

11.24

3.22

15,204

16,289

8,050

Aminur Rahman Rasel

n

Syed Samiul Basher Anik

The National Board of Revenue yesterday said it was yet to defreeze the bank account of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia as she had not applied for it. NBR said it had de-frozen all the frozen bank accounts, including the account of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, as the account holder wanted it to be free. The tax authorities had ordered to freeze bank accounts of many politicians and their family members during the tenure of army-backed caretaker administration in 2007-08. “We have de-frozen all the accounts following the letters from the account holders. But Khaleda had not applied

‘Chinese submarines in Bangladesh to help bring stability in the region’

n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jun said procurement of Chinese submarines by Bangladesh would help bring stability in the region. He made the remark at DCAB Talks, an event organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at the Jatiya Press Club yesterday. “We help Bangladesh to strengthen its national defence ability in accordance with Bangladesh’s strategy of defence building. And we also believe this kind of cooperation will make its own contribution to the stability of the region’s security,” said Li Jun, responding to a question on India’s annoyance reported over procurement of Chinese submarines. The Chinese ambassador said it would not go against anybody or make situation complicated. “What I want to say there is no need for such a worry about that. I think this kind of cooperation will contribute  PAGE 2 COLUMN 3

for it,” NBR Chairman Golam Hossain told reporters. She had not applied for the last 16 months in my tenure, he said. The NBR in August 2007, asked all banks to freeze the accounts of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, her son Arafat Rahman Koko and nine others of her family. The chairman also said: “ I have unofficially asked people from government and opposition if they apply, NBR will take steps to de-freeze their frozen accounts.” “People just need to submit an unofficial letter to the NBR and we will defreeze their accounts accordingly,” he said.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 6

INSIDE Business

B1 The government has revised down the revenue target for the current fiscal year by 8.09% to Tk125,000 crore due to a collection shortfall in the first seven months.

News

5 The ongoing students’ movement of Jagannath University that entered day 22 yesterday created some dramatic moments.

Nation

6 A group of Jubo League and Chhatra League activists attacked Kabirhat police station in Noakhali district yesterday following the arrest of two of their party members.

The Rural Electrification Board (REB) yesterday echoed four other power distribution companies and recommended a power price hike, in a bid to tackle the losses caused by the “lifeline” tariff for low-tier consumers. The REB officials said this on the last day of the three-day long public hearing held by the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) to decide on a proposed power price hike. The consumer group who fall under the lowest slab of zero to 75 unit consumption have to pay what is known as the “lifeline” tariff. Brig Gen Moin Uddin, chairman of the REB – which supplies power to one crore of the total 1.4 crore consumers in the country, told the Dhaka Tribune that the REB has 85 lakh household

Revenue/km (Tk lakh) Revenue/consumer/ year (Tk)

38,602 43,607

consumers, of whom nine lakh consumers use 15 unit (each kilowatt-hour) power on an average and pay Tk90 each per month. A further 55 lakh household consumers of the REB use more than 31 unit on an average a month and pay Tk136, he added. “Marginal increase of tariff never affects this ultra-poor group, as they

consume a very small amount of power. As a result, the REB has to pay about Tk50 as subsidy against every unit consumed,” Moin said. The REB chairman said the losses would have been less if the board had more consumers, or if the existing consumers had used more units of power than the lowest slab.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 3

the retirement age for public servants so that it would not be necessary to appoint any official on contract. However, public servants were still getting appointments on contract, and it was urgent to prepare a guideline to stop that, the letter said. In this situation, the age limit for public servants must be fixed again, it added. Terming avoiding contractual appointments logical,” Muhith said: “The extension of service period usually hampers other officials. They become deprived of promotions or postings in

‘Most of the appointments were given on political considerations’ attractive posts. The deprived officials also face allegations of partisanship.” Admitting the limitation of the government on appointing some officials on contract, the minister said: “Sometimes, we need to reappoint some officials. The public administration ministry should analyse the exact scenario of the administration, so that they have knowledge about the retirement of public servants in the next six months or more.” Muhith also suggested that the ministry approved contractual appointments in case of efficient officials and technical experts, and they might be given contracts in non-cadre special posts. l

Correction: Rise in ‘forced disappearance’ The rights body Ain O Salish Kendra sent a clarification regarding a report titled “Rise in ‘forced disappearance’” published on March 5 on the Dhaka Tribune. The report was base on statistics provided by the rights group. The ASK in its clarification said the number of the victims of alleged abduction should have been 30 in place of 41 that the Dhaka Tribune mentioned in its report referring to the data of the Ain O Salish Kendra. The correction further said due to the incorrect formatting of the table the Ain O Salish Kendra report inadvertently put the figure at 41. The abducted 30 people also include nine dead bodies recovered and the two who were later released. l


2

DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

Friday, March 7, 2014

Former Muslim Leaguer enquires about freedom fighters’ welfare n Tribune Report A Jatiya Party lawmaker, who was allegedly a leader of Convention Muslim League that opposed the War of Independence in 1971, yesterday asked the liberation war affairs minister in parliament about the government initiatives for the betterment of the freedom fighters in his constituency, Trishal. MA Hannan, who was the convener of Convention Muslim League’s Mymensingh unit, also asked the minister about the number of freedom fighters in his constituency. Minister AKM Mozammel Hossain in reply told the House that there were 443 freedom fighters in Trishal. “Besides this, 50 more freedom fighters from Trishal were detected during the current fiscal year.” The minister said Sheikh Hasina’s government had twice increased the allowances of the freedom fighters to Tk2,000 per month from the previous Tk900. The government had increased the number of freedom fighters beneficiaries to 1.5 lakh from previous 1 lakh. In the 2013-14 fiscal year, the min-

ister said, the number was raised to 2 lakh. He said the monthly allowance was raised to Tk3,000. From July this year, the allowance would be increased to Tk5,000, Mozammel added. He said the government adopted a project to construct housing projects for the landless freedom fighters at a cost of Tk227.97 crore. The starred question (which the minister was supposed to read if speaker allowed) was not tabled for discussion as the one-hour scheduled question-answer session for the minister was over. Ahead of the 10th parliamentary poll, the freedom fighters and Awami League leaders in Trishal protested the party decision to withdraw party candidate Reza Ali and extending support to Hannan – in line with an agreement with the JaPa that took part in the election boycotted by the BNP-led alliance. According to media report, the local leaders observed that the AL, which led the country’s Liberation War, must not compromise with a leader who opposed the country’s birth. l

Job seekers drop CVs at the first National Career Fair 2014 organised by Career Development Centre at BICC in the capital yesterday

Body of a youth found after 35 days of abduction n Our Correspondent, Narayanganj

Police found another body of a youth at the first death anniversary of 17year old Tanvir Mohammad Twaki from Kamtal area of Bandar upazila in Narayanganj yesterday. The deceased is Emon, who is a student of class IX at Sonargaon High School. His body was found after 35 days since he went missing. Police have arrested the victim's cousin and two others for their alleged involvement in the killing.

Officer-in-Charge of Bandar police station Akhtar Morshed said Emon used to reside in Kamtal area. He is the son of Mauritius expatriate Nurul Islam Nura and Ferdousi Begum. Emon went missing on January 29. After being failed to find him, Ferdousi filed a case with the local police station on February 5. The case was filed accusing Emon’s uncle Piar Hossain, cousin Sahara Banu, brother-in-law Jasim Uddin another cousin Nur Alam and Masum. Emon’s family had a long-term con-

flict centering land dispute against the mentioned accused, said the plaintiff. Police arrested Emon’s cousin Al Amin and his two friends Saidur Rahman and Shahjahan Ali Jibon on Wednesday by tracking their mobile phones. In interrogation the detainees said they had called Emon and brought him out of home at 8pm on January 29. Al Amin then kidnapped Emon and took him to a poultry farm named "Project Builders Ltd" where the accused killed Emon using lethal weapon. Later, they put the body into a sack and threw it to

the trash area. Police yesterday recovered the body and sent it to Narayanganj Sadar Hospital for an autopsy. Ferdousi Begum said Emon had been picked up in front of her from the house. The kidnappers demanded Tk10 lakh as ransom. But they killed Emon after abduction. She claimed that after filing of the case, police also arrested Piar Hossain and Sahara Banu. After the arrest, the kidnappers did not demand the ransom money. l

Bikalpadhara asks Khaleda REB seeks jolt in power prices to initiate talks  PAGE 1 COLUMN 5

n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla

Bikalpadhara Bangladesh has urged BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to place a proposal to the government for holding a free, fair and inclusive election immediately. “The government formed through the January 5 election is illegal. We have told Khaleda Zia to place a proposal to the government to hold election immediately,” Abdul Mannan, the Bikalpadhara secretary general, told journalists last night. He also said they would not join the BNP-led 19-party alliance but work together regarding the poll. Party President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury held a meeting with the BNP chief at her Gulshan office last

night when the proposal was made. Mahi B Chowdhury, joint secretary general of Bikalpadhara, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We proposed the BNP chairperson to initiate a dialogue process. We requested her to call for a national consensus involving Dr Kamal Hossain, Kader Siddiqui, left-leaning political parties and if needed, you [Khaleda] go to Bangabhaban. I think Madam [Khaleda] has taken the proposal positively.” BNP’s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told journalists that they decided to work together to oust the government. “We have repeatedly been talking about dialogue. We want a free election immediately. Both the parties have agreed that this government is illegal.” l

PM’s adviser to visit India n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman

Just before India’s election in April, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi is set to visit New Delhi next week. In a separate visit, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque is also going to New Delhi on a return trip of his Indian counterpart Sujatha Singh on March 19 on 24-hour trip. “It is a return trip as the Indian foreign secretary has already visited Dhaka,” Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Tariq A Karim told the Dhaka Tribune.

Sujatha arrived in Dhaka in December on a 24-hour visit for the first time as the foreign secretary capacity at the invitation of Shahidul. She had a one-to-one meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and an hour-long discussion with then Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia. She also met with Jatiya Party chief HM Ershad. It was the first visit of the foreign secretary after the government came to power in January, Tariq said. “It is not a foreign office consultation but they will discuss the future course of action between the two countries,” he added. l

New policy in Malaysia to allow trafficking victims n Rabiul Islam The Malaysian government has announced a new policy that would pave the way for employment of the trafficking victims in Malaysia. “It will also be an opportunity for such victims from Bangladesh,” Mantu Kumar Biswas, labour counsellor of Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur told the Dhaka Tribune over phone yesterday. “The Malaysian government is yet to inform us officially,” Biswas said. The new policy came into force on March 1. The rescued victims who are

no longer under the care and protection of the authorities will be issued special immigration passes on a monthly basis and a temporary employment opportunity, reports Malaysian English daily The Star on its online edition. “Previously, the labour trafficking victims were only allowed to work upon completion of their PO,” said Mohamad Khalid, chairman of Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants. The policy requires victims to fulfill certain conditions in order to be eligible for the scheme. l

If the government failed to hike power tariffs, the REB would suffer losses worth Tk645 crore taka, he added. With only 12 of the 72 Palli Bidyut Samity (PBS) currently making profits, Moin said: “Our Palli Bidyut Samity cannot make profit as they have small client bases.” He added that supplying power for irrigation caused losses worth Tk0.41 per unit, while last year’s total loss amounted to Tk250 crore. “We purchase every unit of power for irrigation at a cost of Tk4.26 and sell it for Tk3.85, and we have no other option than to increase the tariff rate. “It is a financial mess. We are paying the debt service liability with our provident fund. At the same time, we fail to increase our tariff,” the REB chairman added. Ijaz Hossain, a professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, told the Dhaka Tribune that the REB needed the tariff to rise, as it would need more time to fix its losses. He also recommended that the government should give direct subsidy to the PBSs. During the earlier days of the public

REB’s proposed power tariff for domestic consumers ProSlabs Existing tariff posed (September tariff 2012) 0-75 unit 3.36-3.87 3.95 76-200 4.05-4.63 5.00 201-300 4.18-4.79 5.50 301-400 6.88-7.30 7.50 401-600 7.18-7.62 8.00 600 - above 9.38 9.90 Source: REB

hearing, West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd, Power Development Board, Dhaka Power Distribution Company and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd also demanded that the power tariff for the lowest slab be hiked, as the companies were also suffering losses from the low-income consumer group. Meanwhile, the technical evaluation committee of the BERC yesterday recommended raising power tariffs at the consumer-level for the REB, which proposed raising tariffs by 12.58% per unit. The committee recommended increasing the average per unit tariffs for REB consumers by 3.48%. BERC Chairman AR Khan, members Salim Mahmud, Delwar Hossain and Md Maksudul Haque, along with other

Tazreen Fashions MD’s bail petition deferred n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court yesterday deferred the hearing of Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain’s bail petition and fixed March 13 for the hearing in a case filed over the devastating fire in the factory that killed at least 112 workers on November 24, 2012. Dhaka District and Sessions' Judge Abdul Majid passed the order following a time petition filed by defence counsel

to the regional stability and also to the need of Bangladesh national defence building,” he said. On March 1, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said two submarines would be inducted in Bangladesh Navy by 2015 to build it as a three dimensional force. She also said the issue of construction of a submarine base was under process. Two new frigates – Abu Bakar and Ali Haider – procured from China were commissioned on the same day. According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, Bangladesh was the second biggest Chinese arms importer with a total amount of over $350 million in 2012. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Bangladesh procured anti-ship missile, tank, fighter aircraft and other arms from China between 2008 and 2012. In the same period it also procured helicopter from France, MP aircraft from Germany, light helicopter from Italy and APC from Russia. Meanwhile, the Indian media on different occasions published reports that New Delhi was not happy over the pro-

curement and it might create tension in the Bay of Bengal and increase Chinese influence.

China-India-Bangladesh relationship

When asked on the perception that close Bangladesh–India relationship annoys China while strong Dhaka-Beijing tie worries New Delhi, Li Jun said relationship between Beijing and New Delhi was developing rapidly. Citing bilateral trade figures, he said it was now $80 billion and Beijing and New Delhi were negotiating to have exclusive export processing zones for Chinese investors in India. “In the last one year, the prime ministers of the two countries exchanged visits. So for China-Bangladesh relationship, I don’t think issue will develop at the cost of Bangladesh-India relationship,” he said. He said even China and India can cooperate in Bangladesh to do something for the country’s development and also for the regional cooperation.

China-US-Bangladesh relationship

The ambassador said an economically prosperous and politically stable Ban-

ATM Golam Gaus. The lawyer requested the court to adjourn the hearing as prime defence counsel Kazi Md Nazibullah Hiru had been sick. On February 25, Delwar’s counsel ATM Golam Gaus filed a petition seeking bail for him. On February 10, Dhaka’s Chief Judicial Magistrate Md Ismail Hossain rejected the bail petition of Delwar but granted his wife Mahmuda one month conditional bail. l

Plan to reorganise stakeholders attended the public hearing at the commission’s office in the capital. Assuring that the BERC would make its decision soon, AR Khan said: “We had public hearings for the last three days and we will not make our consumers worried. We will give our judgment very soon.” On the other hand, BERC director-level sources said the regulators have plans to set the lowest slab at zero to 30 unit, while adjusting the following slab at 31-200 unit, in order to keep the existing six slabs on the prepaid meters. Members of some left-leaning parties, including Communist Party of Bangladesh and Gana Sanghati Andolan, also resquested the commission not to increase the tariffs and called for decreasing the lowest slab. A consumer of Gaibandha, Shah Musfiqur Rahman, opposed any tariff hike as it would create discontent among the people and prices of all commodities would increase. He demanded that minimum charge for electricity should be withdrawn, as it put extra burden on the low-income users. l

Chinese submarines in Bangladesh  PAGE 1 COLUMN 1

RAJIB DHAR

gladesh would make the region more stable. “Geographically it is located in a very important place. And also Bangladesh can make a contribution to the sea route security,” he said. When asked why China congratulated the government formed after January 5 election, which it had opposed earlier, Li Jun said the election was held in line with the constitution. Asked about holding a fresh election, he said: “I think the international community and the foreign countries, they express their wish but I think this is an issue that should be decided by the Bangladeshi people themselves because you know the country’s situation much better than outsiders.” The ambassador said last year the Chinese investment inflow to Bangladesh was $33 million and the cumulative figure was about $1 billion. China has also provided soft loan of over $1.2 billion for different projects and Dhaka submitted 14 projects to Beijing for financing of about $9 billion. China is yet to take any decision on the new projects as it was evaluating them, he said. l

 PAGE 1 COLUMN 1

stance against militancy and terrorism, Hasina called upon all, including Bangladesh Police, to resist militants and terrorists from raising their heads again. “There is no room for terrorists and militants on the soil of Bangladesh and I urge all to remain vigilant against re-emergence of militants and terrorists,” she said. The premier directed police to discharge their duties sincerely and freely to establish rule of law and protect democracy, constitution and human rights. Hasina also asked police personnel to earn the confidence and trust of the people by ensuring their peace and security, and directed them to take stern action against drug addiction, saying that it was taking the country’s youth community to the path of destruction. The prime minister said members of the police force had earlier tackled the emergence of militancy, contained extremists, as well as probing the Bangabandhu killing case and important bomb blast cases successfully. “You will have to maintain this trend,” she said. Hasina added that the police personnel had been able to contain the rampage and sabotage unleashed by the BNP and Jamaat-Shibir across the country since February last year. She also said anti-liberation communal forces were out to create an unstable situation in the country with the patronage of local and international militant outfits and agencies. l

Khaleda yet  PAGE 1 COLUMN 2

However, refuting the NBR chairman’s statement, Khaleda Zia’s lawyer advocate Ahmed Azam Khan told the Dhaka Tribune that the statement was false and baseless. “We applied for de-freezing the account two years back and constantly reminded the NBR on the update, but whenever we contact them, they inform us that they are waiting for an approval from the finance ministry,” he said. The lawyer also said he had served the application to director general of Central Intelligence Cell of NBR which was later served to NBR chairman and then, it was forwarded to the finance ministry. “Whenever we communicate with the DG of CIC, they said they were yet to get approval from the finance ministry,” he said. l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

AL, JaPa, JSD name candidates for JS reserved seats for women n

Tribune Report

The Awami League, Jatiya Party and Jatiya Samajtrantric Dal yesterday announced the names of candidates for the upcoming elections to the 50 parliamentary seats reserved for women. The ruling Awami League named 39 candidates, with 20 chosen from the party’s district units. Only six former lawmakers from the last parliament – four of whom were MPs from reserved seats, while two others were elected but failed to get party tickets for the January 5 general elections – obtained nominations. The list of candidates was finalised on Wednesday at a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board, presided over by AL chief Sheikh Hasina. The party selected the candidates from among 822 aspirants after con-

sidering their political backgrounds, role in agitation movements and public involvement, a press release signed by Awami League Office Secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap said. According to the Election Commission’s schedule, elections to the reserved seats will be held on April 3. The deadline for filing nominations is March 9, while the last date for withdrawing nomination is March 18. Awami League sources said the party would submit the list of candidates to the EC on Sunday. The AL nominees are: Selina Jahan Lita, Safura Begum Rumi, Hosne Ara Lutfa Dalia, Umme Kulsum Smriti, Akter Jahan, Selina Akter Banu, Laila Arjuman Banu, Shirin Noyeem Punam, Kamrul Laila Jali, Hepi Baral, Rifat Amin, Nasima Ferdawshi, Lutfunessa, Mamtaj, Tarana Halim, Monwara Be-

gum, Mahjabin Khaled, Fatema Johra Rani, Dilara Mahbub Asma, Fatema Tujjahura, Fajilatun Nessa Indira, Pinu Khan, Sanjida Khanam, Sabina Akter Tuhin, Rahima Akter, Hosne Ara Babli, Kamrun Nahar Chawdhury, Nilufar Zafar Ullah, Rokhana Yasmin, Navana Akter, Asmatul Kibria Keya Chowdhury, Shamsun Nahar, Fajilatun Nessa Bappy, Wasifa Aysha Khan, Jahanara Begum Surma, Shabiha Nahar, Feroja Begum Chinu and Suchitra Tangchangya. The opposition Jatiya Party nominated six candidates, including party presidium member Nur-e-Hasna Lili Chowdhury, vice-chairmen Mahzabir Morshad, Shahanara Begum, Rawshanara Mannan, Khurshada Haque and Marina Rahman, sister of party chief HM Ershad, JaPa Office Secretary Sultan Mahmud told the Dhaka Tribune. Opposition Chief Whip Tajul Islam

Chowdhury also confirmed the names. Sources said opposition leader Rawshan Ershad finalised the list and it was approved by Ershad. Some 96 aspirants, including GM Quader’s wife, had sought nominations. On the other hand, Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), led by Hasanul Haq Inu, named Lutfa Taher as their only candidate. Meanwhile, 35 AL lawmakers from reserved seats in the ninth parliament did not get nominations. Many of the former MPs were not selected this time for their controversial activities, while others were dropped to maintain district quota. They include the party’s Relief & Social Welfare Affairs Secretary Faridunnahar Laily, Mohila Awami League President Ashrafun Nessa Mosharaf, Jubo Mohila League President Nazma Akhter and Secretary Apu Ukil. l

Cross-examination of Birangana’s husband ends n Udisa Islam The defence of war crimes accused ATM Azharul Islam yesterday ended questioning prosecution’s second witness Mostafa Miah who placed his deposition on Monday. In his statement given at the tribunal 1, Mostafa said during the Liberation War, Azhar – then a commander of alBadr, and the Pakistani army had taken her wife to Rangpur Town Hall, a torture cell for women, and tortured and raped her causing a miscarriage. During the cross-examination, defence counsel Abdus Sobhan Tarafder asked Mostafa about his wife’s pregnancy. He suggested that his wife was six months’ pregnant when she had been confined. The witness answered in the negative and said she was two months’ pregnant. Tarafder said his testimony was false saying that the prosecution made him to say all these. The witness answered: “It is not true.” Mostafa was also quizzed about the geographical location of his home. The defence tried to prove that there was no neighbour named Rahman during the war, rather it had been a paddy field. Later the defence started grilling the prosecution’s third witness, Moklesar Rahman Sarker, son of martyr Mamtaz Ali from south Ramnathpur of Badarganj in Rangpur. He testified at the tribunal on Wednesday. As Tarafder was sick, he could not question the two witnesses earlier. The defence started cross examining him after lunch break. Later the tribunal adjourned the proceeding until Sunday keeping it unfinished. On the contempt matter regarding New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), the tribunal 1 asked Asaduzzaman, counsel for the HRW, to submit their reply without any affidavit. The HRW counsel earlier pleaded to the tribunal that the rights watchdog wanted to submit the reply upon authorisation by its attorney Dinah Pokemner. l

3

Friday, March 7, 2014

Eviction drive starts at public hospitals 300 illegal establishments removed on first day

n Moniruzzaman Uzzal The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched a special drive to evict illegal establishments from inside and around public hospital grounds in the capital. Yesterday, on the first day of the drive, around 300 slums, houses, shops and business centres were evicted from inside and around four hospitals - Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, National Institute of Eye Science and Hospital and National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR). The drive started around 10am from Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, Hafizur Rahman Khan, senior assistant secretary at the Health Ministry and co-coordinator of the eviction drive, said. In presence of high officials of the Health Ministry, Dhaka City Corporation, Dhaka Metropolitan Police and

Magistrate of Dhaka Division Commissioner, the drive started upon the direction of Health Minister Mohammed Nasim. Md Fosiullah, chief estate officer of Dhaka North City Corporation told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday that the drive would continue next week in the Sir Salimullah Medical College Mitford Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital areas. The drive started as per a decision taken at a meeting of the ministry held at the Secretariat on Tuesday. Health Minister Mohammed Nasim, State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Zahid Malek, Dhaka Metropolitan Police chief Benazir Ahmed, Health Secretary MM Niazuddin, Director General of Health Services Professor Din Md Nurul Haque were present at that meeting. The meeting formed a committee headed by an additional secretary from the administration to lead the eviction drive. l

‘Those disappeared are criminals, now hiding’ n Tribune Report

Army officers pose for group photo session following a two-day long joint seminar on ‘US and Bangladesh Female Officers & Soldiers Subject Matter Expert Exchange’ at the Army Headquarters yesterday MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

US Army lauds BD female army officers for professionalism n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla A visiting delegation of the United States Army yesterday commended the Bangladeshi female army officials for their motivation, enthusiasm and professionalism. Col Jennifer Walker, head of the delegation, said the Bangladeshi female officers and soldiers had already demonstrated their professionalism in military service. Jennifer told the Dhaka Tribune: “The first thing that I have been so impressed with is how motivated everyone is. They are so enthusiastic. When your country relies on volunteer service members you have to rely on the factors that they are motivated and enthusiastic…It is same in the US Army.” The senior US army official added: “The other thing is the professionalism. They have already demonstrated their professionalism and are looking to continue to develop their professionalism.” Jennifer shared her views with the Dhaka Tribune while attending a two-

day-long seminar titled “US Bangladesh Female Officers and Soldiers Subject Matter Expert Exchange” held at Bangladesh Army Headquarters. In her address, Maj Sifat said the condition of women in Bangladesh was better than that in many other countries across the world. “Though the US Army has around 250 years’ tradition of female army officers and is more developed than the Bangladesh Army, they also find it difficult to manage the family life and service life simultaneously.” However, Maj Nusrat Nur Al Chowdhury echoed Sifat, saying the big challenge was to keep a harmony between family life and service life. Capt Jannatul Ferdous said: “It is a tough job, but if anyone has determination the challenge can be overcome.” All female officers of Bangladesh army participated in the two-day-long seminar to address the obstacles they faced during their service in the armed forces. Officials of Adjutant General’s Branch said recruitment of female

regular officers started since 2001 and for the first time in the country’s military history some 1,263 female soldiers were recruited. They added that of the 1,263 female soldiers, 945 were for medical core who would be on training for one year. Maj Gen Ashraf Abdullah Yussuf, adjutant general of the Bangladesh Army, said in his concluding speech that the Bangladesh Army attached due importance to the services of female members and recognised their contributions to nation building activities. “Considering Bangladesh society, religion and the service…we can realise that inclusion of female officers and soldiers in the army has been a timely decision and certain. The female intake of ours would increase further,” he said. This seminar was organised with the objectives of changing role of female officers in military service, identifying their potentiality and the challenges they faced in Bangladesh Army and bringing them to the mainstream military practices alongside their male counterparts. l

State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday claimed that those subjected to “forced disappearance” had actually been hiding as they were “listed criminals” and hunted by police. “The BNP claims that in the last three months 56 of their leaders and activists became victims to forced disappearance. But the police have been hunting them for being listed criminals. “Through analysing video footages, they have been identified as responsible for carrying out subversive activities before the national election,” he said while addressing a meeting with senior police officials at the Rajarbagh Police Lines. Kamal also asked the police to be more tolerable and lawful. He spoke in favour of reformation in the police department. At the meeting, several senior officials cited various problems in the force and demanded additional equipment and logistics supports. Dhaka Range Deputy Inspector General of Police SM Mahfuzul Huq Nuruzzaman demanded Armed Police Carriers (APC)

for every district, helicopters, ambulance, and prison van, and risk allowance for highway police. Government to investigate Jessore ‘crossfire’ death The home ministry will further investigate the death of 41-year-old Rajab Ali alias Kala Rajab in “crossfire” in Jessore, and take action if the law enforcement agency, is found guilty. The National Human Rights Commission has investigated the incident and found that no gunfight had actually taken place. It submitted the report to the home ministry on Monday. “I have received the report and I will investigate the incident further. If the law enforcers are found guilty, they will be brought to the book too since none is above the law,” Kamal told the Dhaka Tribune over phone yesterday. “I will ask the inspector general of police to investigate the incident through the superintendent of police concerned.” A three-member fact-finding committee led by an NHRC director was formed to investigate the death of Rajab in “gunfight” between his accomplices and the police early on February 16. l


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

Friday, March 7, 2014

Evening Masters Stop Bt Brinjal trials, activists urge government n to continue at RU Abu Bakar Siddique

The VC says students' demand is irrational regarding the authority’s decision, it n RU Correspondent would be solved subsequently after

Civil society leaders yesterday demanded that the government immediately cancel field-level trials of Bt Brinjals and withdraw the seeds distributed among selected farmers, claiming that the transgenic varieties were produced without taking adequate precaution measures against environment and health hazards. Abdullah Abu Sayeed, chairman of Bishwa Shahitya Kendro, said the prime minister should reconsider the decision on Bt Brinjal cultivation in the country for the sake of public health. “The PM and her family may end up eating the Brinjals themselves,” the writer added. Speaking at a discussion programme arranged by an anti-Bt Brinjal alliance, the activists also alleged that the government had violated the country’s constitution and two international protocols _ the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Cartegena Protocol _ by releasing four genetically modified (GM) Brinjal varieties to the farmers. “The article 18 of the constitution states that the government has to protect biodiversity and natural resources. But it failed to follow the guidelines of bio-safety rules and international conventions while releasing the varieties,” said Syeda Rizwana Hasan, executive director of Bangladesh Environmentalist Lawyers Association (Bela). According to article 8G of CBD and article 16 of the Cartegena Protocol, a country has to abide by existing laws and rules while introducing any GM crop at the farmers’ level. However, the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (Bari) released

Rajshahi University authority declared that the evening master’s course at the university will be continued as usual despite huge objections and recent protests from the regular students marred by violence in the institution. “While the other public universities of the country have been conducting the evening masters’ courses continuously, we alone cannot stop the trend and it would be continued,” Rajshahi University Vice Chancellor Prof Muhammad Mizanuddin told newsmen yesterday. “Evening master’s course has been introduced through due process and passed according to the approval of the academic council and the university syndicate,” the VC added. He told those in a press briefing held at Senate building on the campus in Rajshahi yesterday. Terming the students’ demonstration against evening shift as ‘’irrational,’’ the VC said: ‘‘the academic council and syndicate, two highest body of the university, have discussed about the merits and demerits of the course at length.’’ He also said: “We have cancelled the decision of increased fees as per the demand of the students’ but the evening courses could not be cancelled because it will never affect the regular students.” If the students have any complaint

discussing with the representatives of general students. The authority was even ready to arrange an open debate to discuss the matter with the students, VC also said. He sought cooperation from all stakeholders of the university to reopen the university on March 10 peacefully. In answering a question, he informed, the police had been directed to arrest the Chhatra League men who were found with firearms attacking the students who had been rallying in protest of evening masters courses and hiked fees. The VC also expressed his regret for the February 2 violence and told that they would take stern action against the responsible persons who were involved into the incident after proper investigation. As the university is closed, the members of the probe committee couldn’t collect adequate data and information regarding violence while most of the students were absent in the campus. After reopening the campus, the committee will gather pace to submit report, he also underscored. Among others RU pro-VC Chowdhury Sarawar Jahan, Treasurer Prof Sayen Uddin, Registrar Prof Entajul Haque, and Director of Public Relation Prof M Elias Hossain were present at the press briefing. l

Secretariat blast case hearing deferred n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu

EC: Voting to be stopped, if violence AG: Allegations against in third phase upazila polls Sayedee not new

A Dhaka court yesterday deferred for the seventh time the charge framing hearing of bomb blast case at the Secretariat on April 29, 2012. Dhaka’s Special Tribunal 5 Judge AHM Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan set June 16 for next hearing upon a time petition by the defence, additional public prosecutor of the court ABM Bashir Uddin Miah said. BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and 28 others are accused in the case. Several leaders including Fakhrul, Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Standing Committee member Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, Joint Secretary General Amanullah Aman appeared before the court yesterday. On May 14, 2012, the High Court granted anticipatory bail to Fakhrul and 24 others in the case until submission of the charge sheet. After the submission of the charge sheet, they got bail from the trial court on July 26, 2012. l

The Election Commission warned that it would stop voting immediately, if anyone were to create violence in the upcoming third phase of upazila parishad polls scheduled to be held on March 15. “If any violence is created centring the third phase upazila polls, the commission will stop voting on the respective area immediately,” Election Commissioner Md Shah Newaz yesterday told reporters at the EC secretariat in Dhaka. However, the commissioner said there would be a very little scope for violence to occur as it has given directives to the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police to take stern actions against the violence mongers. The first and second phase polls were

WEATHER

Dry weather likely n UNB Weather may remain mainly dry with temporary partly cloudy sky over the country having chances of light rain or thundershowers at one or two places over Sylhet division until 6pm today. Day temperature might remain nearly unchanged and night temperature might rise by (1-2) degree Celsius over the country, Met Office said. The sun sets in the capital at 6:04pm today and rises at 6:15am tomorrow. Country’s highest temperature 31.2 degree Celsius was recorded in Rangamati and Cox’s Bazar and lowest 10.5 degrees in Srimangal yesterday. Highest and lowest temperatures recorded in some major cities yesterday were: City

High

Low

Dhaka Chittagong Rajshahi Rangpur Khulna Barisal Sylhet Cox’s Bazar

29.2 30.3 28.3 26.7 29.2 29.4 29.8 31.2

18.0 17.1 14.0 13.2 17.3 16.2 13.8 20.1

PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Jumma Asr Magrib Esha

5:10am 6:16am 12:10am 4:25pm 6:04pm 7:19pm

Source: IslamicFinder.org

n Mohammad Zakaria

marked by stray incidents and the commission was fully aware of that. The commission has also asked its field level officials to show zero tolerance to violence, he also said. When asked about whether the Chief Election Commissioner’s staying abroad would have any impact on the upcoming polls, Newaz said there would be no such impact on the forthcoming polls due to the absence of the CEC. The number of commissioners is immaterial, he said. What really matter is how the commission performs, he added. EC officials said the re-elections of suspended 13 polling centres in the second phase polls would be held on March 10. The centres are one centres of Tarash upazila in Sirajganj, two centres of Laksham upazila in Comilla, six cen-

Syeda Rizwana Hasan, CEO of BELA, addresses a view-exchange discussion on ‘Open Cultivation Environment for Bt Brinjal and Risk on Human Health’ at Bishwa Sahitya Kendra in the capital yesterday RAJIB DHAR Bt Brinjal varieties in the country on October 30 without giving any satisfactory explanation on the environment and health issues, the environmentalist said at the programme, held at the Shahitya Kendro’s auditorium in the capital. On January 22, Bari distributed seedlings of four locally-developed Bt Brinjal varieties _ named Bt Uttara, Bt Kajla, Bt Noyontara and Bt Isd 006 _ among 16 farmers for cultivation on one bigha (1/3 acre) of land each in Gazipur, Jamalpur, Rangpur and Iswardi.

tres of Faridganj upazila of Chandpur, one centres of Fakirganj in Bagherhat, two centres of Melandah and one centres bakshiganj upazila in Jamalpur. EC to hold by-polls of councillor post of five municipalities The Election Commission has asked the concerned upazila election officers to hold by-election of five councillor’s post in five municipalities by March 23. The commission yesterday issued a letter signed by senior assistant secretary Farhad Hossain in this regard. The by-polls would be held for councilor of No-8 ward in Satkhira municipality, No-7 ward in Fulpur municipality of Mymensingh, No-7 ward in Parbotipur municipality of Dinajpur, No-2 ward in Kuliarchar municipality of Kishoreganj and No-8 ward in Savar municipality of Dhaka. l

Rizwana also said the National Committee on Bio-safety, which approved the release of the Bt Brinjals, got very little time to look into the pros and cons of the GM varieties as per different biosafety rules and regulations. Regarding the cancellation of the decision to release Bt Brinjals, Farida Akhter, executive director of Ubinig, urged the government to stop the fieldlevel demonstrations immediately as “that could spell disaster for the environment and people’s health”. After experimenting for seven years

n Nazmus Sakib Attorney General Mahbubey Alam yesterday told the top court that what the prosecution witnesses said about Delawar Hossain Sayedee’s war crimes in their testimonies at the tribunal had been published in press 12-14 years ago. So, it is clear that the allegations were not new and the Jamaat-e-Islami leader had committed such crimes in Pirojpur during the 1971 Liberation War, he said. The top law officer of the country said according to the media reports, “Deilya Razakar” of ‘71 later took the name Delawar Hossain Sayedee which could not be overlooked. The press published such reports on the basis of evidence, he argued. Mahbubey Alam said these while

Education minister: Competent new generation frontier soldiers against poverty

from 2006, Bari developed the four types of pest-resistant Bt Brinjal from local varieties by inserting a gene from a common soil bacterium, called Bacillus thuringiensis, which acts as a biological pesticide. Bari got technical support from India’s Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco), in which the American seed giant Monsanto had a 26% stake. Farida said the government should cancel the agreement between Bari and Mahyco as it gives the ownership right of the Bt Brinjals to the Indian company. l

placing arguments on the charge of killing Ibrahim Kutti where the Jamaat leader was given death penalty. Assistant Attorney General Bashir Ahmed assisted Mahbubey Alam while Supreme Court lawyer SM Shahjahan represented Sayedee. The five-member Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain would resume the hearing on Sunday on the war crimes appeals case. The International Crimes Tribunal 1 gave death sentence to Sayedee on February 28 last year. Later, the Jamaat leader lodged an appeal with the apex for acquittal on March 28 while the government also registered an appeal to specify the punishment in all the six charges that were proved at the tribunal. l

n Tribune Report

CPB observes 66th founding anniversary n Tribune Report

Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid said competent new generation would be the frontier soldiers of war of winning against poverty. “We want to become part of global society within 2021 as middle income country and within 2041 as developed country. We have to win against poverty,” the education minister hoped, according to a press release. Nahid said these while addressing as the representative of honorable President and Chancellor of Daffodil International University at the 4th Convocation of the University at the permanent campus of the university at Ashulia yesterday. He urged the private universities to keep all the expenses including admission fees and tuition fees student friendly. Dr Achyuta Samanata, an internationally acknowledged social worker and Founder of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), KIMS and KIIT University of India attended the convocation as the convocation speaker. The convocation was also addressed by Md. Sabur Khan, chairman, Board of Trustees and Prof M. Lutfar Rahman, vice chancellor of DIU. DIU conferred Honorary D. Lit. (Honoris Causa) on Dr Achyuta Samanata, which happened for the first time in the history of private universities of Bangladesh. In the 4th convocation, a total of 3,252 students were conferred degrees upon graduation and post-graduation and 15 out of them were awarded ‘‘Gold Medal’’ in different categories for best results. Stressing on the importance of research and innovation in knowledge at

Communist party of Bangladesh (CPB) yesterday celebrated its 66th founding anniversary countrywide with different programmes. The organisation began its founding anniversary observance programme through placing floral wreaths by the party leaders and activists at a ‘‘temporary stage’’ in front of its party office. They stood some moment in silence in remembrance of the martyrs of the party. A rally organised by party central committee started from the CPB’s central office in the capital to mark the occasion. Addressing the rally, its president Mujahidul Islam Selim said the party had faced repressions since its inception and continued its struggles for establishing its ideals without making any compromise. He said CPB will continue its movement for establishing socialism in the country embracing all obstacles. Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the two big political parties, which ruled the country for over 20 years, failed to fulfil the aspirations of common people and remove the national crises, he also observed. The left leaning political parties, if united, would form a third political force beyond the axis of the two big political parties, Selim said. The rally was also addressed by party Secretary General Syed Abu Zafar Ahmed, central leader of the party Ahsan Habib Lablu. The rally was followed by a procession which ended in front of CPB’s central office after parading the Paltan crossing, Motijheel and National Press Club. l

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid distributes awards at the fourth convocation of Daffodil University yesterday university level, the education minister said considering world perspective and technological advancement, induction of new subjects, development of course curriculum, and method of teaching should be time befitting and updated. He congratulated the authority of DIU to hold convocation at its own campus and said action would be taken against those universities

who had not yet established their own campuses. While delivering convocation address he said convocation is an annual affair in every university and this day the university look back with pride that it had prepared a batch of its students with all the skill and trainings to work for the society at large. On this day, the university thrusts upon the young graduates’ enormous

DHAKA TRIBUNE

responsibility, a responsibility which they cannot shrug off. He also said that there had been rapid changes in every field and the world is virtually under the grip of the most powerful economic order. Economic power now determines almost everything. With the growth of ICT, the education scenario is also changing fast. ICT revolution has changed the way world behaves and thinks today. l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

5

Friday, March 7, 2014

JnU hall recovery raises false hopes for 2 minutes Agitators also put up barricade on a road at Chittarangan Avenue on the 22nd day of the movement

n Mohammad Jamil Khan The ongoing students’ movement of Jagannath University (JnU) that entered day 22 yesterday created some dramatic moments when a hall was recovered for only two minutes. As per schedule, the agitating students brought out a procession from the campus around 11am in a bid to recover Shaheed Bazlur Rahman Hall located in Malitola area where City Corporation built Shahhed Ziaur Rahman High School in 2006. As soon as the students’ procession reached Rayshaheb Bazar intersection, police stopped them with a barricade. Being intercepted, the students took position there and continued chanting slogans against the grabbers. The students also blocked a road in the area that halted traffic movement on Sadarghat to Gulistan route. Fearing attacks and vandalism, businessmen shut down shops as well as restaurants. Suddenly, JnU BCL unit President Shariful Islam and Secretary Shirajul Islam rushed to the spot with another procession and talking with police officials they crossed the barricade. Then, both the leaders with some of their followers entered Bazlur Rahman Hall and hung a signboard at the dormitory around 12:30pm. Mysteriously, some locals, who were present during the recovery, tore off the signboard and set it on fire just after two minutes. When some of the BCL activists tried to protest, Shariful and Shirajul calmed them and left the place around 1pm. Bazlur Rahman, principal of Ziaur Rahman School, told the Dhaka Tri-

bune that although it was a hall of the then Jagannath College, the students had no right to hang a banner at an educational institute. Asked about the short-period hall recovery, Shariful Islam, who is also convener of hall recovery Sangram Parishad, said: “We have peacefully recovered the hall and now it the duty of university authority to keep a hold on it.” He also said they would continue their demonstrations until all of the dormitories of the university were covered. On the other hand, such kind of attitudes of BCL leaders, who are leading the movement, raised questions among general students. Several students of the university said the BCL leaders were playing a game with the general students in name of demonstrations. They consulted with police before launching today’s agitation programmme and went to the dormitory where a banner on the grabbed property hung, but managed to stay there only for two minutes, they said. Refusing such allegations, the BCL President Shariful Islam some vested quarters is spreading the rumour and were trying to foil the movement of students. Apart from recovering the hall, the students also created a blockade, stopping traffic at Chittarangan Avenue. Traffic movement on Sadarghat to Gulistan route resumed around 2pm after the students withdrew the barricade, said Harun-or-Rashid, deputy commissioner of police of Lalbagh division. The students have been observing agitation programmes since February 12, demanding recovery of all of their dormitories grabbed by influential quarters. l

Police intercept students of Jagannath University while they were going to Bazrul Rahman Hall with a procession

MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

BCL expels seven at DU Primary assistant teachers term pay rise plan as unfair factional clash

Cornice collapse kills couple

n Arif Ahmed

A couple was killed when the wife along with a portion of cornice of the rooftop of their newly built building fell on the husband at Bishwa Colony in Chittagong yesterday morning. Deceased Rajib Chowdhury, 42, was a schoolteacher and his wife Sanchita Shil, 35, was an assistant food inspector of Chittagong’s Hathazari upazila. The family members of the deceased claimed the incident as pre-planned murder. However, the police did not find any clue of murder. Eye witness Supti Pal, domestic help of the victims, told the Dhaka Tribune that Sanchita, fell on her husband from the third floor when the cornice broke. The accident left them critically injured, she added. Later, they were rushed to the Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) around 7am, where the on duty doctor pronounced them dead, said Abdul Mazid, officer-in-charge of Akbar Shah police station. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Sanchita’s sister Jhunu Shil expressed her suspicion that the couple were hacked to death in a pre-planned way. The elder daughter of the couple, Akshya Chowdhury Aurpa, a class four student, said she and her younger sister Adrita were asleep during the accident. Additional Superintendent of Police Sugyan Chakma, also the assistant director of Rapid Action Battalion 7, who visited the spot, termed the incident an accident. An unnatural death case was lodged. l

The central unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League yesterday expelled seven of its activists for involvement in a clash that took place between two factions of the student front at Dhaka University’s Muktijoddha Ziaur Rahman Hall. A press release was issued in this regard where Chhatra League Office Secretary Sheikh Rasel stated that the activists were suspended because of their involvement in an “unexpected” incident at the dormitory. The expelled were Chhatra League hall unit Vice-President Saddam, Joint General Secretary Gazi Hasib, Organising Secretary Hashu and activists Sohag, Riad, Opu and Asad. The central unit of the Awami League student front also asked the hall unit President Abu Salman Prodhan Shaon and General Secretary Motahar Hossain Prince to explain by March 9 why actions would not be taken against them. The expulsion came after the hall president and general secretary led

factions locked into another clash at Madhur Canteen over Wednesday’s incident yesterday afternoon. Witnesses said around 1:30pm the hall unit Vice-President Saddam and Organising Secretary Hashu who are followers of the unit’s president attacked Shohag a follower of the general secretary, beating him indiscriminately. At one stage, Chhatra League DU unit President Mehadi Hasan Molla and General Secretary Omar Sharif went to the spot and controlled the agitated students. When asked about the incident, the DU unit president said: “We have identified the main culprits and would be given appropriate punishment from the organisation.” DU acting proctor Amzad Ali termed such incidents as unexpected and assured to take actions against the accused. Earlier, activists of Chhatra League Ziaur Rahman Hall unit locked into clash in the early hours over stealing shoes. The confrontation left at least nine injured. l

n Tribune Report Assistant teachers of government primary schools yesterday protested a proposed pay raise by the government terming it ‘’unfair’’ as the salary of assistant teachers would not be increased in proportion of the rise to that of head masters. They formed a human chain in front the National Press Club in the capital yesterday. The human chain programme was attended by several hundred teachers. According to the teachers, salary of untrained assistant teachers would be increased from Tk4700 to Tk4900 and trained teachers from Tk4900 to Tk5200. On the other hand, salary of untrained headmaster would be enhanced from Tk5200 to Tk5900 and trained headmaster from Tk5500 to Tk6400. Officials of Primary and Mass Education Ministry said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would announce the rise on March 9.

“The rise plan is discriminatory. There should be a reasonable gap between the salary of assistant teachers and headmasters and not more than that,” said Shahinur Alamin, secretary general of Bangladesh Primary Assistant Teacher Society. “We would continue our demonstration until the plan is amended,” he said. Teachers of government primary schools have been demanding increase of salary and up gradation of their status for a long time. Teachers also observed strike in schools on several occasions to realise the demands. However, when government has decided to increase the salary, the assistant teachers are now terming the increase plan discriminatory. Abul Bashar, a headmaster and teacher leader said although the demand of assistant teachers is logical, they should welcome the decision as a pay raise is in offing. “After the announcement of raise, they can place their demands for further raise,” he observed. When contacted, Director General of

Directorate of Primary Education, Shyamal Kanti Ghosh declined to comment on this. Meanwhile, assistant teachers yesterday observed human chain across the country to realise their demands. They also submitted memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in this regard through local administration. Assistant primary teachers in Chapainawabganj formed a human chain in front of local press club demanding amendment of the raise plan. Teachers also submitted memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through Upazila Nirbahi Officer, our Chapainawabganj correspondent reports. Several hundred teachers of government primary schools formed human chain yesterday in different parts of Munshiganj district to realise the same demands, our Munsiganj correspondent reports. Assistant teachers of government primary schools in Pirojpur observed same programmes to echo their demands, our Pirojpur correspondent reports. l

Garment factory gutted in city’s Jigatola n Tribune Report

Firefighters climb up a building after a fire broke out at a garment factory located on the first floor of the building in the city’s Jigatola yesterday MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

A garment factory was gutted at Jigatola in the capital yesterday evening. Fire Service and Civil Defence officials said around 5:30pm some staffs saw sparks from a electric wire and soon a fire spread to the entire first floor of the five-storey building. On receiving information, 10 units of firefighters rushed to the spot and doused the fire after one-hour’s efforts. The workers were safe as the garment was closed after the day shift at 4:30pm, said Major Mahbub, director of the fire service. A finishing supervisor Mizanur Rahman sustained minor injuries while trying to douse the flame. “A few staffs were there to pack up the day’s work during the incident,” said Shahnoor Islam, the owner of the factory named Green Leaf.

The five-storey building housed another factory Bengal Group Garments on the third and the fourth floor but blazes could not up there.The Bengal Garments was also closed during the incident. Owner of the factory said the small garments mainly produce jeans for local market, apart from exporting some jacket items. “We have a consignment of 20,000 ready jackets for shipment next day. Most of the wears have been gutted,” he said. A total of 250 workers work at the garment which is situated on the first and the second floor. “Huge smoke engulfed the area with the fire making the locals panicked. The garment has fire extinguishers but those were unused as the factory was almost empty during the incident,” said the fire official. l

7 beat in Sirajganj over gas supply disconnection n Our Correspondent, Sirajganj Seven people, including three engineers of Pashchimanchal Gas Company Limited (PGCL), were yesterday beaten up by workers of Shah Mokhdum Calendar & Mercerising Mills in Shahzadpur upazila of Sirajganj as supply of gas to the factory was disconnected.

Among the victims of beating were engineer Zahurul Haque, manager of Baghabari PGCL Unit; engineer Golam Morshed, the unit’s vigilance manager; sub assistant engineer Rubel Hassan, driver Anwarul Islam, lineman Abdul Aziz and Mozammel Haque. The rest one could not be identified immediately. PGCL Managing Director Md Ali

Hossain said supply of gas was discontinued as the factory authorities had been consuming more gas than they had been approved officially for long but when our staff went there and disconnected the supply, workers became irritated and misbehaved with them. Apart from beating the PGCL men at the factory, angry workers also kept

them in confinement from 2:30pm to 5:00pm. The situation, however, became normal when the PGCL staff reconnected the gas line. “We are preparing to lodge a case with Shahzadpur Police Station in this connection,” PGCL Managing Director said. When asked, Md Alhaz Haider Ali,

owner of Shah Mokhdum Calendar & Mercerising Mills said the incident happened as the PGCL men came to the factory to disconnect gas supply without any prior notice. Officer-in-charge of Shahzadpur Police Station said they were aware of the incident but no one had come to file any case till evening. l

n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong

Former state minister sued for irregularity

n Tribune Report

The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday sued former state minister for housing and public works Alamgir Kabir, including three others, over their alleged involvement in allotting a plot in lower rate than the actual value. The allotment caused a government loss of over Tk15crore. The ACC Deputy Director Jatan Kumer Ray has filed the case with the Shahbagh police station, ACC Public Relations Officer Pranab Kumer Bhattacharjee told reporters. The other accused were member of the National Housing Authority (land and asset management) Azharul Haque, its cashier Mansur Alam and accounts assistant Matiar Rahman. According to the case statement, the minister, during his tenure allocated a seven acre plot to an association named Dhaka Journalist’s Cooperative Society at a much lower rate than the prevailing market price in August 2006. The statement stated that the actual value of the plot was Tk19 crore but was allotted for Tk3.40 crore only. l


6

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Nation

Friday, March 7, 2014

AL men vandalise police station in Noakhali n Our correspondent, Noakhali

Girl kills selfjumping under train in Tangail n Tribune Desk

A group of Jubo League and Chhatra League activists attacked Kabirhat police station in the district early yesterday and committed vandalism centring the arrest of two of their party members. At least 19 activists of the ruling party including police were injured when the lawmen fired blanks in an effort to defend themselves from the attack. The injured were Sahadat Hossain, 24, vice-president of Kabirhat upazila unit Chhatra League, Monir Ahmed, 40, Baktiar Uddin, 32, and Reaj Uddin, 35. They were admitted to Noakhali Medical College Hospital. Of them, Sahadat Hossain was referred to Dhaka Medical College Hospital as his condition deteriorated. The Injured policemen were Md Yasin, Abdul Qyum and Babul Mia – all admitted to police hospital.

Officer-in-Charge Mahbub Alam said Kabirhat Municipality Mayor Jahirul Haque Raihan, also general secretary of upazila AL, came to the police station and started misbehaving with the OC and other police officials. Mahbub added that he tried several times to calm the mayor, but to no avail, and at one stage the mayor called his party men to the police station. Hundreds of Chhatra League and Jubo League activists appeared on the scene and committed vandalism. Mayor Jahir Uddin Raihan gave the version that he went to the police station to seek release of his two party members, Saiful and Baktiar, who were arrested before. The party men heard that police beat the arrestees seriously and after hearing such news angry party men went there, he said. The OC said legal action would be taken in this regard. l

Students fined in Barisal over clash n Our Correspondent, Barisal

BNP, Jamaat leaders sent to jail for 11th Scientific Conference held in CVASU attempting to foil upazila polls

Ten students of Chandpasha School and College in Babuganj upazila of Barisal were fined yesterday when they clashed over taking photos of two students chit-chatting on campus. Mashiur Rahman, principal of the college, said two classmates, a male and a female, were chatting on Wednesday during a break when a group of students led by one Mizanur Rahman photographed the two with mobile phone. An altercation ensued, though it was settled when teachers intervened, the principal added. Tension and excitement centring the incident, however, flared up again on Thursday as scuffle broke out between two rival groups on the campus. Later on, teachers led by the principal intervened to deal with the situation and a meeting of the disciplinary committee was held in afternoon. Following the meeting, ten second-year HSC students were fined and were cautioned, in the presence of their guardians, against getting into such issue again in the future. Among the students who were penalized, Mizan, Shipon, Raziv, Basir and Rakib were fined Tk two thousand each while Rubel, Mithun, Ali Akbar, Ashraful and Ataur were fined Tk one thousand each. l

n Our correspondent, Barisal A Barisal court has sent 11 leaders and activists of Babuganj upazila unit of the BNP including one upazila chairman candidate to jail, in a case lodged for attempt to foil the Upazila Parishad Elections. Rejecting their bail plea, Magistrate Rafikul Islam passed the order after they surrendered before the court yesterday. The accused are Sultan Ahmed Khan, incumbent chairman of Babuganj upazila parishad and candidate for the same post in the third phase of Upazila Parishad Polls slated for March 15, former President of upazila BNP Wahidul Islam Khan, Madhabpasha Upazila Parishad Chairman Sultan Ahmed, President of Babuganj Upazila BNP Yusuf Talukdar, Sultan Molla, Basir Ahmed, Shamsul Huq, Zahirul Huq, Shahin Molla, Monir Haoladar and Mokhles Hossain. Assistant Sub-Inspector Siddikur Rahman of Barisal Airport police

Activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League and Jubo League vandalise Kabirhat police station in Noakhali yesterday

station said the accused had disrupted communication by cutting roads near Madhabpasha Bridge on BarisalBanaripara Road in the upazila on January 7. Sub-Inspector Mainul Islam lodged a case in this connection with Barisal Airport police station on the same day. Ebaidul Huq Chan, president of Barisal BNP, alleged that arrest of the BNP backed candidate, leaders and activists in “false” cases were part of ruling party’s plan for rigging votes in the third phase of the upazila polls. Yesterday a Barisal court sent Jamaat-e-Islami Barisal unit president Moazzem Hossain Helal to jail. Defendant’s lawyer Zakir Hossain said Helal was accused in a case of unleashing violence in the Barisal Port Road area during Jamaat enforced hartal on December 5 last year. Sub-Inspector of Kotwali police station Shohidul Alam lodged the case in this connection accusing Helal and more than 150 BNP-Jamaat leaders

and activists for assaulting police and torching and damaging transports on the day. Helal yesterday surrendered before the metropolitan magistrate court and pleaded for bail. Rejecting his plea, Magistrate Rafiqul Islam passed the order. On other hand, Sub-Inspector Shahjahan of Kotwali police station and investigation officer into the case yesterday submitted charge sheets against 19 Jamaat-Shibir activists in a case for damaging and burning buses near the sadar upazila parisad during hartal on September 19 last year. The accused include Aminul Islam Khasru, Nayeb-e-Amir (vice-president) of city Jamaat, Abdullah Al Nahian, president of city Shibir, Rafiqul Islam, president of B M College Shibir, Kazi Mohidul, Ahsan Habib, Shohidul, Jobaer , Montu and Akash Khan. Metropolitan magistrate ordered bench officer to file the charge sheet and fix the date of hearing on its acceptance. l

DHAKA TRIBUNE

n FM Mizanur Rahaman

The 11th Scientific Conference 2014 styled ‘Emerging Challenges in Food, Health and Environment’ was held at the Chittagong Veterinary Animal Science University (CVASU) Conference Centre yesterday. Fazlul Bari, vice-chancellor of CVACU, presided over the programme while Mike Robson, representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of UN in Bangladesh, spoke as the chief guest. A total of 200 representatives from different universities, research institutes, governments and NGOs, development assistants and donor organisations participated in the daylong conference. Mike Robson said Bangladesh lagged behind India in terms of production of egg, milk and meat, though the country had seen a gradual increase in production of animal resources in the past few years. He also said CVASU had been working on the ‘One Health Concept’ and in

n Our Correspondent, Tangail

A stepmother had allegedly tortured her daughter and damaged her eye at Furshandhi village under Jhenaidah sadar upazila yesterday morning. Witnesses said Rozina Khatun, 20, daughter of Kalam Hossain of the village was brutally tortured by her stepmother over family feud. Locals sent the daughter to Jhenaidah Sadar Hospital as the step mother damaged her left eye. When contacted, the duty officer of Jhenaidah sadar police station said no case was filed in this connection. l

At least five construction workers were injured as an under construction bridge collapsed in Kalihati upazila under Tangail district yesterday. The injured were identified as Azad, 40, in Ghatail upazila, Abdur Rahim, 45, Mukter Ali, 30, Shakil, 25, and Abdul Hai, 30, in Kalihati upazila of the district. Shamim Al Mamun, chairman of Salla union parishad under Kalihati upazila, said the five workers had fallen from the under construction bridge in Majhipara area on Akani canal in the upazila when it collapsed in the noon. The injured were admitted to the Tangail General Hospital. l

the future, the concept, upon implementation, would be able to remove problems related to food, health and environment that had arisen due to changes in the climate. Four papers – ‘Emerging Challenges in Food Security in India: Scope of Animal Husbandry’ by Professor SA Asokan, ‘Emerging Challenges in Food Security in India: Scope of Animal Husbandry’ by Mike Robson, ‘Some Emerging Challenges on Human Health’ by Professor Dr MA Fayez and ‘Climate Resilient Research to Unravel Emerging Challenges for Future Environment’ by Professor Al Amin – were presented at the conference. Dr Mat Yamage, chief technical adviser of FAO in Bangladesh, Professor Dr Mojahid Uddin Ahmed of Bangladesh Agricultural University, Professor Dr SA Asokan, dean of Madras Veterinary College, Dr MA Fayez, former director of Bangladesh Health Directory and Professor Al Amin from Chittagong University (CU) attended the programme among others. l

Teen rescued 3 days after abduction

Stepmother tortures daughter n Our Correspondent, Jhenaidah

Five workers injured n Our Correspondent, Tangail

A schoolgirl reportedly committed suicide by jumping under the wheels of a running train at Rajabari level crossing in Kalihati upazila on Wednesday noon. The deceased was identified as Ankhi Akter, 14, student of class IX and daughter of Abdul Latif, a resident of Parkhi village in the same upazila. Jahirul Islam, officer-in-charge of Kalihati Police Station, said Ankhi jumped before a train heading for the northern region from Dhaka at the level crossing at about 12 noon in a huff with her mother and died on the spot. Later, police recovered the body and sent it to hospital morgue for an autopsy. An unnatural death was filed in this connection. l

Students of Sonadighi Government Primary School attend class under open sky for accommodation crisis

Nine killed in separate road accidents n Tribune Report At least nine people were killed in separate road accidents in Brahmanbaria, Savar and Mymensingh yesterday. Five people were killed as a CNGrun auto-rickshaw crashed into a jeep at Bariura in Sarail upazila on Dhaka-Sylhet highway yesterday afternoon. The deceased could not be identified immediately. Highway police said the accident took place around 3 am when the Dhaka-bound Pajero jeep smashed the auto-rickshaw, leaving three auto-rickshaw passengers dead on the spot and two others injured. The injured – a minor boy and a woman – succumbed to their injuries when they were taken to Brahmanbaria Sadar Hospital. Meanwhile, four people were killed in separate road accidents in Savar of Dhaka and Mymensingh districts. In Savar, two motorcyclists were killed as a truck rammed a motorbike

carrying them near Amin Bazar in Savar upazila in the morning. The deceased identified as Ujjal, 22, son of Yusuf Ali and Naim, 22, son of Abdul Hamid hailed from Motra village in Basail upazila of Tangail district. Witnesses said the Dhaka-bound truck hit the motorbike from behind on Dhaka-Aricha Highway in front of Bharkuta around 7am, leaving Ujjal dead on the spot and Naim injured. Critically injured Naim was rushed to Enam Medical College Hospital, Savar, where doctors declared him dead. Officer-in-charge of Savar Police Station Mostafa Kamal confirmed the incident. In Mymensingh, two other motorcyclists were killed when a bus of Shyamoli Paribahan hit their motorcycle on Mymensingh-Sherpur Highway at Emadpur in Phulpur upazila at noon. The deceased were identified as Ety and Sumon. The accident took place when they were going to Tarakanda from Phulpur. l

School building cum cyclone centre inaugurated in Kalapara n Our Correspondent, Barisal A two-storied primary school cum cyclone centre was inaugurated at Chalitabunia village under Kalapara coastal upazila of Patuakhali yesterday. Nurul Amin, deputy commissioner of Barisal, inaugurated the Dhankhali Board Government Primary School cum Cyclone Centre building. Caritas, Bangladesh Barisal region constructed the building spending around Tk96.23 lakh that was funded by Caritas, Canada and Secours Catholic Caritas, France. The building has facilities like solar power, 20,000 litre rain water harvesting system tank, deep tube-well, and special ramp for old aged and disable people. The speakers at the inauguration programme said the village with over 4,200 people was severely affected by the devastating hurricane Sidr in 2007, adding that a cyclone centre easily accessible for people of all ages, genders and physical conditions, was a primary need for this disaster-prone area. They also urged all to come forward in social welfare services to help the distressed and vulnerable coastal people. l

DHAKA TRIBUNE

A teenager boy was rescued from Sankhola village under Ghatail upazila in Tangail on Wednesday night three days after his abduction. Police also arrested the abductor identified as Farid, 37, son of Abdul Zabbar, resident of Rasulpur village under Tangail Sadar upazila. Acting on a tip-off, a team from Madhupur police station conducted a raid at Sankhola village and rescued Azizul Haque, 16, son of Haji Muhammad Razab Ali, of Caripara village under Kotiadi upazila under Kishoreganj. Muzibur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Madhupur police station, said Azizul had been abducted while going to school on March 2. Later, the abductor phoned Azizul’s family and demanded Tk3lakh as ransom. But, the family could not provide the demanded money and sought help of police. Father of Azizul filed a case with Kotiadi police station on March 4. l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

Heritage

Friday, March 7, 2014

7

Bolts from the blue Cotton and indigo were amongst the earliest of exports to the world that were developed in these deltaic lands

SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

W n Tim Steel

ikipedia, in its history of cotton, reflects much of the problem we, in the age of the internet, have in the

study of history. Received wisdom seems to be in danger of stultifying real academic advances in such studies. “What is your reference” is the resort of the dyed in the wool traditionalists, who, if they finally manage by that means to overwhelm new ideas, will have effectively ended history itself; a subject that has always been open to new perspectives and interpretations. Especially as new archaeological or documentary evidence emerges. Countries like Bangladesh, widely regarded around the world, and even often in Bangladesh itself, as akin to a disaster-prone, irrelevant corner of the Indian subcontinent, may never be permitted to alter that perception if that attitude is allowed to gain ground. The overall effect of that Wikipedia entry for cotton, of course, simply reflects the weighting of research and literature, which unsurprisingly is heavily biased by academic work in

doubt that cotton cloth was being woven at least contemporarily in east and west. And, most probably, earlier in the subcontinent than elsewhere. However, the entry reads as though South America, and the Indian subcontinent, were ancient co beneficiaries of the product of the plant. That cotton played a huge part in the international trade of over three millennium of, specifically, the Ganges Delta, is in fact now widely acknowledged. It would be interesting to speculate just how and when the manufacturing skill, that still plays such a great part in the economy of these lands (now known as Bangladesh) developed. Unfortunately, the dampness and humidity of the lands mean that archaeological evidence may be hard to find. Always remembering that when world histories grandly refer to India, that ancient India included the lands of the Ganges, both basin and delta, both of which unquestionably played key roles in the ancient social, cultural and commercial history of the subcontinent, examination of such histories require to become more forensic, taking account of contemporary geopolitical realities, and less grand overview.

Noting the Dhaka product as a specific illustration of the more general strongly suggests that from those earliest times it was the cotton growing, and the weaving skills of the lands of the delta that represented the best of Indian cotton

the far wealthier developed world. To speed read the entry, it is hard not to miss brief references to the opinion that cotton, as a valuable crop seems to have originated as much in the east as in the west. Indeed, close examination of various sources rapidly establishes that, although humid climates damage archaeological traces of cotton fabrics, making it a rare find in such climates, there is, in fact, little

Woven cotton samples from Mohenjo-daro, in Sindh, dated from about 3,000 BCE, from a drier, less alluvium-covered place such as the Ganges basin, bear concrete testimony to the great age of cotton weaving in the subcontinent. And the early written references in the Rigveda, about 1,500 BCE, a written form of language almost certainly, like most identified ancient scripts, being developed to facilitate

trade and commerce, support the view that the naturally grown plant was in use in the early days of civilisation. It has continued, of course, to be a vital product of trade and commerce ever since, right up to the present day, with the lands of Bangladesh still playing a role. It comes as no surprise to any researcher that the prestigious industry blog, “Plant Cultures,” just before commenting on the Greek historian Heroditus, writing in the fifth century BCE, repeated what was already a common misconception in Europe that “trees that bore wool, surpassing in beauty and quality the wool of sheep, and the Indians wear clothing from these trees,” noted, “South Asia became famous for its textiles, and fine cottons were exported to the Greeks and Romans.” Then the blog went on to note: “Muslins from Bangladesh were particularly prized.” Noting the Dhaka product as a specific illustration of the more general, of course, strongly suggests that from those earliest times, as there are a lot of other reasons to suspect, it was the cotton growing, and the weaving skills of the lands of the delta that represented the best of Indian cotton. Which brings us back not only to the extraordinary history of cotton, and woven cotton fabrics, in Bangladesh, but also to another indigenous vegetable product that also played a major role in international history of trade and culture, but also the history, specifically, of Bangladesh. Indigo. The very name of this rich and ancient dye, derives from the ancient word, India, via the Greek word “Indikon,” Romanised to “Indicum.” Today, it is most used to dye the cloth for the manufacture of jeans, that now-ubiquitous garment said to have been invented in the late 19th century by Levi Strauss, and still manufactured for that brand, amongst others, in Bangladesh. It remains one of the world’s most famous, and earliest dyes, and seems to have originated, uniquely, in the subcontinent. It subsequently also enjoyed a period as one of the key trading commodities from the southern states of North America, but was almost certainly taken there in the 17th century, probably by early European traders, perhaps even the East India Company itself, who had considerable commercial links to that region. It is not hard to see an obvious,

and natural, connection between the fabric and the dye. Nor is it difficult to imagine that bolts of the woven cloth were received in the ancient Middle East, especially Egypt, where we also

of human history. Equally, looking across the world, it seems reasonable to assume that most civilisations developed in crossroads of international trade; although it

The histories of such important trading products as cotton and indigo, it may be reasonable to speculate, go right back to the earliest times of human civilisation

have evidence of direct, early trade with the Ganges lands. Doubtless, it arrived there already dyed with the natural blue of indigo. Quite literally, to markets across Arabia and the Mediterranean regions, who had never, before those earliest times of the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, seen such fabrics or that dye, bolts of blue! There is little doubt that these two products were amongst the earliest of exports to the world that were developed in the deltaic lands of the Ganges, to which merchants from across the world headed, from at least the first millennium BCE, and probably much earlier. And as a result, became a great entrepot for trade from Central and South East Asia, as well as the great civilisations of the Ganges basin. Let us, then, commit what may be, these days, the most heinous of academic crimes. Let’s speculate. Because, beyond all the tantalising clues that are steadily amassing for trade in the Ganges Delta, through documentary, archaeological and circumstantial evidence for such trade, we are left, at the moment, only with speculation for much of what it seems reasonable to assume. The histories of such important trading products as cotton and indigo, it may be reasonable to speculate, go right back to the earliest times of human civilisation. And, in so doing, as archaeological, documentary and circumstantial evidence is increasingly supporting, takes the lands of Bangladesh itself as a centre of human civilisation back deep into the annals

may be reasonable to wonder, in fact, which came first, the civilisations, or the trade. If we look, for example, at the international significance of British power, it is clear that, despite all its own internal disruptions, such as the devastating Civil War of the 17th century, it was the development of trade that laid the foundations of its developing international pre-eminence. Trade that developed, we may reasonably assert, as a result of religious conflicts in Europe, that froze it out of the “carving up” of the world by the Roman Church and its Pope. Since there is, now, whether the academic world in Bangladesh is ready to accept it or not, evidence that Bangladesh was, almost certainly, from at least early in the first millennium BCE, an international centre of trade, there remains much more history to examine in the light of that. That it appears that much of the trade began, certainly with cotton and indigo, and probably with silk amongst many other importantly traded commodities, means that we may envisage early merchant vessels braving the Indian, Southern and Arab oceans, laden, above all, with bolts of cotton cloth, much of it, probably, already dyed blue. For those with a traditional view of the history of Bangladesh, this may come as something of a bolt from the blue. But, like most such bolts in life, it’s impossible to ignore. l Tim Steel is a communications, marketing and tourism consultant.


8

DHAKA TRIBUNE

World

Gaddafi’s third son Saadi extradited to Tripoli n Reuters, Niger Niger has extradited Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saadi, who just arrived in Tripoli and was brought to a prison, the Libyan government said on Thursday. The North African country had been seeking the extradition of Saadi, who had fled to the southern neighbour nation after the toppling of Gaddafi in a Nato-backed uprising in 2011. “The Libyan government received today Saadi Gaddafi and he arrived in Tripoli,” the cabinet of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said in a statement. Saadi, one of Gaddafi’s seven sons, was being held by judiciary police forces, the government said. It thanked Niger for its cooperation and said Saadi would be treated according to international justice standards for prisoners. The website of a government-backed militia showed what it said were pictures of Saadi wearing a blue prison uniform, calling him a criminal. Libyan news websites also ran pictures showing him with his head shaven in prison. Saadi, who had a career as businessman and professional footballer, is not wanted by the International Criminal Court, as is Gaddafi’s most prominent son Saif al-Islam.

File photo showing Saadi Gaddafi, the third son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (portrait on left), speaking at a news conference in Sydney, February 7, 2005 REUTERS But Libya wants to try him for allegedly misappropriating property by force and for alleged armed intimidation when he headed the Libyan Football Federation. The ICC has indicted Saif al-Islam for crimes against humanity. Saif, once viewed as a likely successor to his father, is held by a militia in western Lib-

Qatar ‘will not bow to pressure’ n Reuters, Doha Qatar will not bow to demands from three Gulf states to alter its foreign policy, sources close to its government said, suggesting Doha is unlikely to abandon support for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Syrian Islamists. In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar on Wednesday, saying Doha had failed to abide by an accord not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs. Hours later Qatar’s cabinet voiced “regret and surprise” at the decision by the fellow-members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but said Doha would not pull out its own envoys and that it remained committed to GCC security. On Thursday, a source close to the Qatari government suggested Qatar would not comply. “Qatar will not let go of its foreign policy, no matter what the pressures are. This is a matter of principles which we will stick to, no matter the price,” the source said. The source also suggested Qatar would not stop its practice of playing host to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Youssef al-Qaradawi, an influential Sunni cleric and a vocal critic of authorities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “Since the day Qatar was founded we decided to take this approach of always welcoming anyone who seeks refuge in our country, and no amount of pressure will make us kick these people

out,” said the source close to the government. A source at the foreign ministry said: “It’s the right of every sovereign state to have its own foreign policy.” The source also suggested that Qatar had no differences with fellow Gulf Arab states on Gulf matters. The dispute “is more about differences in foreign policy approaches,” the source added, referring to issues in the Middle East such as the crises in Egypt and Syria. Saudi Arabia and the UAE clearly do see Qatar as at odds with them on Gulf issues. They are fuming especially over Qatar’s support for the Brotherhood, an Islamist movement whose political ideology challenges the principle of dynastic rule. They also resent the way Doha has sheltered Qaradawi and given him regular airtime on its pan-Arab satellite television channel Al Jazeera, and on Qatari state television. The GCC, which normally keeps its disputes under wraps, is a pro-Western alliance of monarchies set up in the 1980s to counter Iranian influence in the Gulf, and includes several of the world’s biggest producers and exporters of oil and gas. Qatar’s new emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who took over from his father in June last year, said Qatar would not “take direction” in foreign affairs, suggesting he would continue his father’s habit of pursuing policies at odds with those of most other GCC states. He has yet to comment publicly on the latest ruckus. l

Sarkozy to sue over secret audio recordings n Reuters, Paris Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni are to file a legal complaint over secret audio recordings made of them by an adviser during the 2012 election campaign, lawyers for the couple said on Thursday. Revelations that Patrick Buisson, part of Sarkozy’s inner circle, recorded

hours of talks with the conservative leader and his entourage have caused uproar in the opposition UMP party weeks before local elections. Sarkozy is expected by many to contest the 2017 presidential election after his defeat by Francois Hollande two years ago. Breach of privacy in France carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and 45,000 euros in fines. l

Switzerland returns final looted artifacts to Italy n AFP, Geneva Switzerland has finalised a 13-year process of returning more than 4,500 ancient artifacts to Italy that were stolen by a criminal gang, the Swiss justice ministry said Thursday. The Alpine country this week repatriated the final 68 looted artifacts to its southern neighbour, ending a restitution process that began in 2001, the ministry said in a statement. “This restitution marks the end of a procedure of judicial mutual assis-

tance that has lasted for years and has allowed for the return of a total of 4,536 objects,” it said. Switzerland still has several hundred objects seized from art dealers in its possession, Basel public prosecutor spokesman Peter Gill told AFP. Italian authorities requested Switzerland’s help with the case in 2001 after uncovering a criminal gang – including an antiques dealer, businessmen, a banker and others – that had been smuggling artifacts out of the country. l

ya, where he is being tried for various charges. Fighters from the western Zintan region caught Saif al-Islam in the southern desert a month after his father was captured and battered to death by a mob in 2011. The militia has defied an order from the government to deliver him to a jail in the capital. l

Egypt court suspends Morsi murder trial n AFP, Cairo An Egyptian court suspended Thursday the murder trial of Mohamed Morsi after his lawyers requested new judges, sources said, the third such case against the deposed president to be put on hold. The case is part of a relentless crackdown the government has been waging against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement since the military ousted him on July 3, ending a turbulent year of rule. Morsi stands accused of inciting the killing of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012. Defence lawyers have requested that two of the three judges presiding over the murder trial be replaced, alleging one of them spoke about the case in a media interview. An appeals court will examine the recusal request and decide whether to appoint a new panel of judges. It is unclear when the appeals court will look into the request. A similar request for appointing new judges has already been made in two other trials involving Morsi, and an Egyptian appeals court is expected to decide on it on April 9. In one of the trials, Morsi and others are accused of breaking out of jail during the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran president Hosni Mubarak. The second trial concerns accusations of espionage against the Islamist president. Morsi is also to face a fourth trial on charges of insulting the judiciary, but a date for that has yet to be set. l

Friday, March 7, 2014

No Kerry-Lavrov deal as US declares sanctions n Reuters, Moscow Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday there was still no agreement between Moscow and Washington over the crisis in Ukraine where the regional parliament of Crimea voted to become part of Russia. Speaking in Rome after meeting his US counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry, Lavrov said Washington’s order to freeze assets and ban visas to Russians responsible for an incursion into Crimea was unconstructive. “For now we cannot tell the international community that we have an agreement,” Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying after his second meeting with Kerry in two days. Lavrov said talk of blacklisting some Russians from entering the United States was complicating talks: “He (Kerry) assured me there are no such lists for now. There is only the order but that doesn’t change facts, this is still a threat.” The West has pushed Moscow to agree to international mediation to resolve the crisis in Ukraine but Lavrov said he would now report to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the proposal before any decisions were made.

“We want to better clarify what our partners mean when they propose the creation of various international mechanisms,” he was also quoted as saying. Meanwhile President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered the freezing of US assets and a ban on travel into the  United States  of those involved in the Russian military intervention into the Crimea region of Ukraine. Obama signed an executive order aimed at punishing those Russians and Ukrainians responsible for a Russian move into Crimea, a crisis that has raised old-style Cold War tensions. The order, the  White House  said in a statement, is “a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilising  Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate.” In addition, the State Department is putting in place visa bans on a number of officials and individuals responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The order was announced as US Secretary of State John Kerry began a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Rome. l

Russia trying to redraw Europe borders, Lithuania warns n AFP, Brussels A “dangerous” Russia is trying to redraw Europe’s borders with its actions in Ukraine, but the continent’s leaders still don’t understand this, the president of ex-Soviet Lithuania said upon arrival for an EU summit on Thursday. “First of all we need to send a signal to ourselves, that we have to be united ... but today I do not see a prompt reaction,” Dalia Grybauskaite said on her way to an EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels. “Today it is an open and brutal aggression, that is exactly what is happening and we need to understand it,” she said. “It is a demonstration of power, a demonstration of internationally unpredictable behaviour.” “This is about rewriting of the borders,” she added. “Russia today is dangerous. Russia today is unpredictable.” Warning of a domino-effect in the region, Grybauskaite said Russia’s muscular approach in Ukraine now posed a direct threat to former Soviet states and others. “After Ukraine it will be Moldova, and after Moldova it will be other countries,” she said. “Last week’s exercises with tactical weapons also show that Russia is trying to threaten all of Europe.” l

ADIOU, MAURICE

An undated picture shows French President of the ‘Parti radical-socialiste’ (PRG, radical) Maurice Faure (L). Faure, last survivor of the signatories of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, died on March 6, 2014 in his Cahors’ home, aged 92 AFP

Tunisia lifts emergency rule n AFP, Tunis

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has lifted a state of emergency in force since the 2011 uprising that triggered the Arab Spring, his office

said Thursday. “The president and commanderin-chief of the armed forces ... issued a decree lifting the state of emergency in the whole country from Wednesday, March 5, 2014,” a

statement said. Last November, Marzouki had extended the emergency rule for eight months until the end of June, meaning it has been lifted four months early. l

Amid carnage of war, Syria readies for Assad re-election

‘Upskirting’ Is Legal, Massachusetts Top Court Says

n Reuters

A man who snapped secret pictures up women’s skirts on a Boston subway train - a practice known as upskirting did not violate the state’s Peeping Tom law, Massachusetts’ top court said on Wednesday, pointing to a loophole in current legislation. Massachusetts law prohibits secretly filming or photographing a person who is nude or partly nude, but that does not apply to people who are fully clothed, according to a Supreme Judicial Court decision written by Justice Margot Botsford. The ruling comes in the case of a man who was arrested by transit police in 2010 for using his cell phone to take pictures and video up women’s’ skirts on the subway and who fought to have the charges of voyeurism dismissed. The law “does not apply to photographing ... persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA,” it said. The court said that, while women have a “reasonable expectation of privacy in not having a stranger take photographs up her skirt” the law “in its current form does not address it.” l

After three years of grinding conflict, the destruction of whole city districts and an exodus of refugees all triggered by an uprising against his rule, Bashar al-Assad is quietly preparing to be re-elected. The Syrian president has not yet announced whether he will stand for a third term, in defiance of protesters, rebel fighters and Western foes who have demanded he go; but in state-controlled parts of Damascus preparations for his candidacy are unmistakable. Public gatherings have become platforms to urge the president to nominate himself, despite a continuing civil war that has killed more than 140,000 people, fractured the country and destroyed any chance of a credible vote being held. Authorities are once again organising demonstrations in support of Assad, accused by opponents of massacres of civilians. Shopkeepers are encouraged to show their support by painting national colors on their store fronts. Some express their loyalty in general displays of patriotism, while others explicitly call on the 48-year-old pres-

ident to announce he will stand in the vote, which is due to be held by July. Just 18 months ago, Assad’s grip over his capital seemed to be slipping as rebels gained ground around Damascus. Since then his forces have consolidated control in central Syria. Rebels still insist his departure is precondition for any peace deal, but having lost military momentum they are unable to dictate terms.

Some express their loyalty, while others explicitly call on the 48-year-old president to announce he will stand in the vote At a gathering in southern Damascus last month to honor victims of Syria’s conflict, local officials and clerics turned the solemn memorial into a political rally.

After handing out awards to widows and grieving mothers in Sayida Zeinab, a suburb of the capital which has been at the heart of Assad’s counter-attack against rebels, they made their case for a third term of Assad rule. “The president said: ‘If there is a popular demand for me to be nominated, I will run. I will not abandon my national duty’,” said Shi’ite Muslim cleric Al Sayyed Fadi Burhan. “So I ask you to take advantage of this large gathering ... and make it an opportunity to ask President Bashar al-Assad to nominate himself for another electoral term.” The crowd, mainly loyalists, cheered. The scene is repeated across government-controlled districts of the capital, such as the garrison suburbs where military families live, many of them from Assad’s minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam. Demonstrators waving portraits of Assad and flags adorned with his face are once again on the streets, albeit in smaller numbers than the many thousands who rallied in 2011 when authorities were trying to counter the mass anti-Assad protests sweeping the country. l

n Reuters, Boston


DHAKA TRIBUNE

AAP-BJP clash: Delhi cops question Ashutosh, Shazia Ilmi n Agencies Aam Aadmi Party leaders Ashutosh and Shazia Ilmi, booked for rioting and damaging public property during clashes with BJP workers, were taken by the Delhi Police for questioning over the incident. Twenty-eight people, including 13 AAP activists and 10 BJP supporters, were injured in the clashes that erupted after the AAP workers gathered outside the BJP headquarters to protest the brief detention of Arvind Kejriwal in a north Gujarat town on Wednesday. Ilmi, who was picked up by a team of women police personnel from her Greater Kailash residence, was brought to the Parliament Street police station for questioning, police said. Journalist-turned politician Ashutosh, picked up from AAP’s Model Town office, was also taken to the same police station. “I am going with the police to assist in questioning. I will cooperate in the investigation. The party will take action against those who indulged in violence on Wednesday. I also appeal to the AAP supporters to abstain from violence,” Ashutosh, who goes by his first name, said after he was taken by the cops for questioning. AAP leader and former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti also reached the police station in the evening. The Delhi Police on Thursday registered a case of rioting and destruction of public property against Ashutosh, party leader Shazia Ilmi and arrested 14 AAP members for the clashes. Later, it told the Delhi Election Commission that the party had not taken permission to outside the BJP HQs.

According to police sources, an FIR was lodged at Parliament Street Police Station on Wednesday night against the AAP protesters including leaders Ashutosh and Ilmi. Charges of rioting, obstructing a public servant from performing his duty and damaging public property have been slapped against them, the sources said. Police had initially detained 33 people out of which 14 were arrested late on Wednesday night while others were allowed to go. “All those identifiable and present at the protest site have been named in the FIR,” said a senior Delhi police official. Those arrested will be produced before a local court in Delhi. Police have termed the AAP protest as completely illegal as no prior permission was sought in this connection by the party. Police have also got the entire sequence of events videographed and senior officials said that more arrests are possible after identification in the video footage. Clashes broke out between workers of the AAP and the BJP in half-a-dozen towns across the country hours after AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was briefly detained by police in a north Gujarat town. The former Delhi chief minister was released after 30 minutes. Kejriwal began a four-day tour of Gujarat to check chief minister and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s claims that the state was a model of development. He was detained for alleged violation of the model code of conduct by travelling in a long motorcade. l

New committee to be formed for Pak-TTP talks n AFP, Islamabad The government decided Thursday to form a new powerful committee to mediate peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, DawnNews quoted sources as saying. Sources added that the committee, which is expected to be formed in the next two days, will include representatives of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, the Army, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other stakeholders. The committee will also receive decision-making powers, sources said. “We have asked the prime minister to replace the committee with an effective forum,” said government chief negotiator Irfan Siddiqui, following a breakfast meeting with Taliban negotiators hosted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “We believe that in the next phase, sensitive issues and demands will come up and we need to have a mechanism for direct contacts.”

Rahimullah Yousufzai, another government, told AFP: “We have proposed that those who have authority to make decisions should be part of this committee. There should be representatives from the government and the military in the committee.” Earlier, a joint statement issued after a meeting of the negotiators representing the federal government and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with Prime Minister Nawaz said the present committees would perform communication duties. The statement issued by the PM House agreed on devising methods for establishing direct links between the negotiators and said the teams would consider new strategies in order to make the decision-making process more effective. It also reiterated that in the absence of peace, there would be no prosperity in the country and added that all forms of terrorism would be eliminated. l

World

Kejriwal apologises for AAP-BJP clash n Agencies The AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal apologised yesterday for his party workers’ behaviour in Delhi and Lucknow while protesting his “detention” and urged them to stick to non-violence, the Times of India reports. “It was going to happen ... some of them retaliated after they were attacked. I apologise for their behaviour and I once again urge them to remain non-violent,” he told reporters in response to a query on the arrest of over a dozen AAP workers in Delhi. Another prominent face of Aam Aadmi Party, Ashutosh, was taken later in the day by the Delhi Police for questioning in connection with the clashes outside the BJP headquarters. Earlier, Ashutosh and another AAP leader Shazia Ilmi were named in an FIR in which charges of rioting and damage to public property have been included, raising the possibility of their arrest while 14 party workers were arrested in this connection. The FIR was lodged at the Parliament Street Police Station the previous night. Police had initially detained 33 people out of which 14 were arrested while others were allowed to go. About 28 people, including 13 AAP activists and 10 BJP supporters, were injured in the clashes hours after Arvind Kejriwal was detained briefly in Gujarat. Ilmi accused the Delhi Police of targeting the AAP and wondered why no action was being taken against BJP activists. “Yesterday, we got to see the discrimination of Delhi Police, which joined BJP to disperse AAP supporters staging silent protest. Police could not see bricks, stones and chairs being thrown from the inside of BJP Headquarter. They could only see people much later retaliating. Police were protecting BJP supporters,” Ilmi charged. l

Former Andhra CM announces new party n Agencies, Hyderabad: Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday announced his decision to float a new political party to uphold the “dignity and prestige of Telugu people.” He told reporters that the name of the party, its policies and other details will be announced at a public meeting on March 12 at Rajahmundry. Three of the six MPs expelled by Congress were present when Kiran Reddy made the

announcement. He said since no Telugu with self-respect can vote for Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress for their role in dividing Andhra Pradesh, they decided to form a new party so that people get an opportunity to cast their votes. Kiran Reddy said their party would work for upholding the pride of Telugus not just in Seemandhra and Telangana but wherever they live.

Kashmir CM: Sedition charges against students uncalled for n Agencies Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said that slapping of sedition charges against Kashmiri students in Meerut by Uttar Pradesh government for cheering Pakistan team during a cricket match that India lost was “unacceptably harsh punishment” and should be reversed. “I believe what the students did was wrong and misguided but they certainly didn’t deserve to have charges of sedition slapped against them. “I believe the university did what it had to, to control the situation, but this action by the UP government is uncalled for and should be reversed,” Omar wrote on Twitter. Around 60 Kashmiri students at Swami Vivekananda Subharti University in Meerut were expelled for three days from the hostel after they allegedly supported Pakistan cricket team

against India in the Asia Cup match between the two sides on Sunday last. Sedition charges were slapped against unnamed students today. SSP, Meerut, Omkar Singh said that on the basis of the complaint submitted by university chancellor P K Garg, unnamed Kashmiri students have been booked under section 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 427 (mischief) of IPC. Omar said slapping sedition charge against Kashmiri students was an “unacceptably harsh punishment” that will ruin the future of the students and will further alienate them. “I will talk to UP CM ASAP (as soon as possible) and intervene on behalf of these misguided students to have this charge of sedition removed,” he added. Omar, however, said the students did not commit any illegal act, irrespective of the team they were cheering for. l

SINO WARRIOR

This picture taken on March 5, shows a soldier jumping over a ring of fire during a tactical training mission in Heihe, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province. The latest double-digit increase to China’s defence budget serves world peace and is no threat to anyone, state media argued AFP

Iran Finance Minister Zarif rejects Israel ‘lies’ on Gaza weapons ship n AFP, Tehran

The Los Angeles-class nuclear powered attack submarine USS Columbus (SSN 762) at a naval port in southeastern port city of Busan AFP

China ‘concern’ over N Korea rocket fired near airliner n Afp Beijing Beijing expressed concern Thursday after North Korea fired a rocket into the flight path of a Chinese airliner during weapons tests. Pyongyang has drawn criticism from Seoul and Washington for firing half a dozen short-range missiles off its east coast in recent days, followed on Tuesday by a volley of rockets from multiple launchers. South Korea said a Chinese airliner with more than 200 passengers on board crossed the trajectory of one of the rockets seven minutes after it passed by. China is North Korea’s key diplomatic protector and the source of much of its trade and aid.

“I want to stress we attach high importance to the security of national civil airlines,” said Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang. Countries should take “necessary measures” when carrying out military drills “to ensure the security and safety of civil ships and aircraft,” he said. “Without any doubt, China will verify the relevant situation with the relevant party and express necessary concerns over that,” Qin added. Seoul’s defence ministry said China Southern Airlines flight CZ 628 from Tokyo to Shenyang in northeast China crossed the flight path of the rocket, describing it at a “provocative act” by the North. l

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday rejected as “lies” an Israeli claim that it intercepted a ship carrying advanced rockets sent by Tehran to the Gaza Strip. “An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza. Captured just in time for annual (pro-Israel lobby) AIPAC anti Iran campaign. Amazing Coincidence! Or same failed lies,” Zarif wrote on Twitter, referring to a pro-Israel lobby group. Israel intercepted the “Klos-C” in the Red Sea on Wednesday, saying Syrian-made weapons aboard had been shipped overland to Iran and then onward by sea, intended for Palestinian

militants in Gaza. The annual policy conference of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was held Tuesday in Washington, and was addressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a meeting with the US President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said Iran was the most urgent threat for Israel. “The claim of sending a ship carrying Iranian weapons to Gaza is not true,” Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted as saying by official IRNA news agency. “This claim is merely based on the repetitive and unfounded lies of the Zionist media” aimed at derailing negotiations between world powers and Iran

over its contested nuclear programme, he said. In November, Tehran struck an interim deal with the six powers under which it agreed to scale back uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief. Obama threatened the congress in January to veto any new sanctions against Iran, since they would endanger the nuclear talks. Iranian media said the allegation of the “imaginary ship” was a mutually hatched plot by the United States and Israel to put pressure on Tehran and its allies. Tehran is also a strategic allay of Russia which is at loggerheads with the West for sending its troops to Ukraine’s flashpoint Crimea region. l

S Korea to pay $550m for Iran oil n Reuters, Seoul

South Korea will transfer $550m to Iran in its first back oil payment under an interim nuclear deal that eases sanctions on Tehran, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Thursday. The payment on Friday will come after Japan cleared some of its dues as the UN atomic watchdog said the Islamic republic is reducing its most proliferation-prone nuclear stockpile as required under a landmark deal signed with six world powers. Under the November pact, Iran won

9

Friday, March 7, 2014

access to $4.2bn of its oil revenues frozen abroad in eight money transfers scheduled through July, pending confirmation it is carrying out its promises to curb its nuclear programme. The second and third payment schedules were due March 1 and March 7, for $450m and $550m, respectively. Japan started off the payments with a $550m transfer on Feb. 1. “Oil import payment will be made tomorrow,” a source with direct knowledge of South Korea’s payment told Reuters by phone, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“How the money will be exchanged will be further discussed with Iran,” the source said. Iran will soon receive a second instalment of previously frozen oil monies under the interim nuclear agreement, the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday, citing the country’s central bank chief. The official, Valiollah Seif, did not say where the funds would be coming from. The tough sanctions slapped on the OPEC member in 2012 had closed the option for buyers of Iran’s crude to transfer money to settle their oil payments. l

Qayum Karzai withdraws from Afghan elections n Reuters, Kabul The Afghan president’s older brother, Qayum Karzai, announced on Wednesday he was withdrawing from next month’s presidential election and would back former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul. The alliance is the first public acknowledgement of weeks of negotiations aimed at consolidating the voting bloc of Pashtuns, the country’s largest ethnic group, and brings together two candidates considered close to the current president. The pullout was widely anticipated after Karzai failed to show up for a televised debate this week. “I will go to every mosque, every room and every guesthouse to get this team elected,” Karzai told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference after announcing his withdrawal. The polls are due to take place April 5. If they proceed normally, they will mark the first time in Afghanistan’s history that power has been handed from one democratically elected government to another. With just under a month to go before the vote, speculation has heightened about alliances between the hopefuls remaining in the race. l

Nato air strike kills five Afghan soldiers n AFP, Puli Alam A Nato air strike in eastern Afghanistan accidentally killed five Afghan soldiers yesterday, officials said, the latest incident likely to worsen already fraught relations between Kabul and the US-led coalition. Nato offered its condolences over the deaths and vowed action to avoid further mistakes, but President Hamid Karzai has often seized on botched airstrikes to launch bitter criticism of the international military effort in Afghanistan. “At 3:30am this morning, due to a Nato air strike in Charkh district, Logar province, five service members of the Afghan national army were martyred and eight others were wounded,” defence ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said on his Twitter account. Khalilullah Kamal, the Charkh district governor, told AFP he had visited the site of the attack, which he said was from a US drone. “The post is totally destroyed,” he said. “The Americans used to be in that post but since they left, the ANA (Afghan national army) took over. The post is on a hilltop. The attack was conducted by drones.” Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) issued a statement confirming that at least five Afghan soldiers had been killed accidentally. l

China official: Kunming attack shouldn’t be treated as ethnic issue

n Reuters, Beijing A deadly knife attack at a Chinese train station last week should not be linked to ethnicity, a senior government official said, days after authorities blamed the incident on separatists from the country’s troubled far western region of Xinjiang. China says militants from Xinjiang, home to a large Muslim Uighur minority, launched a terrorist attack in the southwestern city of Kunming, killing at least 29 people and injuring about 140. It was one of the worst bouts of violence to spill out of the restive region, where more than 100 people, including several policemen, have been killed in unrest since last April. Fear and resentment between majority Han Chinese and Uighurs had spread since the attack, said Zhu Weiqun, the chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs panel of the top advisory body to parliament, which meets this week in Beijing. “Such sentiments – although not widespread – deserve our attention,” Zhu told the official China Daily, adding that the “overwhelming majority” of the migrant Uighurs from Xinjiang were “good people.” “Most Uighurs are with us in the fight against separatism and violent terrorism,” he said in an interview in the English-language newspaper published on Thursday. “They sincerely support the central government. “ ... We should not relate such cases to an ethnic issue in a casual way.” The comments highlight Beijing’s concern over the growing frictions between Uighurs and Han Chinese and the potential for further unrest. l


10

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Editorial

Letters to

www.dhakatribune.com

Rail links crucial to regional growth

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roposed plans for a new rail route to directly connect Bangladesh with four northeastern Indian states may bring great economic benefits to Bangladesh. If the project to restore and construct a 39km railway line between Bangladesh, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram goes ahead, one report suggests the country stands to earn up to $500 million a year from transshipment and transit earnings alone. An agreement for construction of rail connections between Akhaura in Brahmanbaria district, and Agartala in India’s Tripura state, has already been signed, suggesting that the rest of the planned projects may indeed also get a go-ahead. The boost to both nations’ economies should be considerable. It is in both Bangladesh and India’s interest to improve roads and rail links to act as a spur to grow trade. Increased contact between peoples in the region will contribute to a positive exchange in ideas and knowledge spillovers, easing business and improving bilateral relations. Improving connectivity within and beyond the South Asia region is essential to future growth. Economic growth in the European Union has been driven by the removal of visa barriers and the building of international transport links. Bangladesh should aspire to similar possibilities. There is no reason for example, to rule out faster railway links between Dhaka and Kolkata. Or to look to build direct road and rail links to Myanmar and Nepal. Indeed, they would not only be helpful to breaking down barriers and improving the nation’s welfare, but should be planned for as essential.

Improving connectivity within and beyond the South Asia region is essential to future growth

Stop forced disappearances

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ecent months have seen an alarming rise in the number of forced disappearances of all kinds of people, including businessmen, students and political activists. Ain O Salish Kendra reports that 30 people disappeared in the first two months of this year, of whom nine have been found dead, two have been returned. Little recourse is available to families when people disappear especially if bodies are not found, as it is difficult to bring concrete cases against perpetrators. Immediate steps are needed from relevant authorities to put a stop to this terrifying trend. Allegations have been made by victims’ families that members of law enforcement bodies have been involved in some of this year’s disappearances. The inspector general of police must act on past promises to take action if law enforcement agencies have been implicated in abductions. Law enforcement agencies are a fundamental pillar of democratic society. They have to be transparent in proving they are accountable to citizens. If officers responsible for peoples’ protection become predators, the result is far more harmful to the state of law and order, than similarly heinous crimes committed by private individuals. When suspicious circumstances and abuses occur, the onus of proof should not be put solely on citizens to prove that criminal elements exist within law enforcement itself. Investigations and oversight by an independent body are needed to root out any criminal elements within our law enforcement agencies, before the state of law and order deteriorates further.

Friday, March 7, 2014

the Editor

LETTER OF THE DAY

International Women’s Day (IWD) March 7 March 8, International Women’s day, will be celebrated in Bangladesh and in other countries in the world. The theme of the day is “Inspiring change.” The Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (MoWCA) and many NGOs will spend a huge amount of money celebrating the day through seminars, rallies, public gatherings etc and making and distributing leaflets and festoons. We, Bangladeshi women are called nari, and do not like to be called mohila, as that word is derived from “mohol,” where women were paid to make men happy by dancing and other activities. Women activists have established the use of “nari” but their calls against brothels and prostitution have not been heard. Almost every day, many innocent girls and women become caught in prostitution. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I ask the slogan to be “No brothels in Bangladesh” as women become trapped into leading inhuman lives in brothels. Mawduda Hasnin

Negligence behind JMB militants snatch March 2 Great finding by the probe committee! Did we need a probe committee to figure this out? The media and citizens have been saying since the incident that the jail, police, RAB, DB, intelligence folks failed to do their job; thus the mishap. I wonder if we will ever be rid of our superficial cover-up probe committees! What we really need to know from a probe team is who precisely are responsible, what actions are being recommended and taken against them, and what measures will be undertaken to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future. In addition, we also need to know who were responsible for the extrajudicial killing of the JMB activist hours after his recapture, who was already under a death sentence. DB

A betrayed nation March 3 A house built upon unsafe ground and without following building codes is bound to develop faults. In no time it will crumble down like Rana Plaza, taking a huge toll on the inhabitants of the building. The January 5 election could be compared with it as it has no foundation. Injustice never pays. The Awami League-led government has done a grave injustice to the people by forming the government in a way which is not acceptable in any norm. What can the people do but pray to Almighty Allah to deliver them from this unbearable situation? May He show mercy on them. Nusrat Jahan

Delayed annual reports create scope for insider trading of stocks, say analysts March 2 Legit points – accurate financials (so, not re-audited, revised after a few quarters), available on-line in a timely fashion, would be beneficial at so many other levels in terms of financial analysis and allowing investors to be able to draw insights, make comparisons and observations. Having financials then available through Capital IQ or BBG would be immensely helpful. Perhaps, creating or changing the incentive structure would encourage companies to report on time would get the ball rolling [although, the reverse (so, penalties for not reporting accurately on time) is the norm], but what else can make the above “work” in Bangladesh? Disappointing at so many levels, and the points raised here would go a long way, although they have been raised by folks in the past. There are reasons foreign investors aren’t attracted and comfortable in investing in Bangladesh. Although, what I mention below is not the only one and I’m cognisant of this, it is a legitimate reason. So, for instance, although equity research reports are now available through BBG by a few brokerages, many institutional investors and AMs/HFs often have in-house, prop tools and methods for conducting their analyses and valuation – they specifically do not want to rely on brokerages and third party research reports (I am not saying there’s anything wrong with this – brokerages/equity research houses do/can add value), but the ability to have accurate and timely financials that can be relied on – heck, they aren’t waiting for companies’ PR/investor relations etc to mail them hard copies of company annual reports, nor waiting to review inaccurate/ dirty financials posted online quarters/months later. Hope this article is shared/read far and wide within Bangladesh. Samiur Rahman

Deer poaching rampant in Nijhum Dwip March 1

Akil Ashraf What the heck is this?? Nasrin Akter Do not destroy the beauty of our forests or poach the animals. This is not right. Tanvir Mreedul Please, when you travel, be someone who loves nature and the environment. Don’t be like those who only harm nature for fun.

Quader: Fair polls more important to AL March 2

Fair polls are more important – really? I am sure the minister will describe the January 5 farcical polls under the AL government as fair too, no? The minister should know the definition of and criteria for fair polls before saying a word. deep purple blue

Fires kill 26 Bangladeshis in Bahrain in 2 years

March 2 Some people died in the UAE in an accident on Dubai road when they were coming from duty. A truck crashed into their bus. So sad. Abdur Rashid

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CALVIN AND HOBBES

Immediate steps are needed to put a stop to this terrifying trend

PEANUTS

CROSSWORD

SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Vestige (5) 6 Bees’ sound (3) 7 Brittle (5) 10 Force back (5) 12 Easy talk (4) 13 Efface (5) 15 Mode of transport (4) 16 Encountered (3) 18 Garden tool (3) 20 Prevalent (4) 22 Trembling poplar (5) 23 Stringed instrument (4) 25 Fruit (5) 27 Supple (5) 28 Infant’s bed (3) 29 Water grasses (5)

DOWN 1 Bird (6) 2 Be sorry for (3) 3 Electrical unit (6) 4 Rich cakes (7) 5 Tree (3) 8 Frozen treat (3) 9 Court attendant (4) 11 Period of time (3) 14 Footwear (7) 16 Threat (6) 17 Gives credit to (6) 19 Spoken (4) 21 Charge for services (3) 22 Fitting (3) 24 Tear (3) 26 Slender stick (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.

Sudoku


Op-Ed

DHAKA TRIBUNE

11

Friday, March 7, 2014

The second death n Khawaza Main Uddin

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We should be free to choose our teams

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India or Pakistan?

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n Ekram Kabir

upporting cricket teams seems to have suddenly become the symbol or expression of patriotism in Bangladesh. At least, if you have noticed the posts on Facebook after the latest Indo-Pak face-off in the ongoing Asia Cup tournament, you’d see a battle of words on patriotism. The social media site was submerged with personal statuses and comments emphasising on which team Bangladeshis should support. A very close friend of mine wrote: “Those who supported Pakistan and celebrated Pakistan winning over India would have done the same thing if Pakistan won over Bangladesh.” I couldn’t disagree more with my friend when he drew conclusions about the likes and dislikes of a cricket match in this manner. He was mixing up games and sports with politics, whereas the aim of sports is purely to provide entertainment for the audience. There were hundreds who commented like him. They couldn’t accept the congratulations that were put up online when Shahid Afridi made the difference in the very last over. On the other hand, another one of my friends wrote: “I’d be happier if Pakistan would lose; but now I’m happy that arrogant India has lost.” Now, to my mind, that made a little more sense than the previous one. The tendency to mix sports with politics and conclude on one’s love for the country would be a coarse injustice

to a person’s freedom to choose teams when it comes to games and sports. Liking or supporting the Pakistan team against India doesn’t mean that a person has become pro-Pakistan and anti-Bangladesh. And similarly, supporting the Indian team against Pakistan doesn’t mean that a person has become pro-India. Thinking along this line would be candidly illogical. This is cricket, one of many sports, for God’s sake!

at fault. If the teams don’t have supporters in a country, then why would they come to play in that country? And did you find any Bangladeshi soul cheering for the Pakistan team during the Bangladesh-Pakistan match? Now let’s talk about politics. If a person is anti-Pakistan, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is pro-India. The person is simply “anti-Pakistan.” If a Bangladeshi is anti-India, it doesn’t mean that he or she

Supporting the Pakistan team against India doesn’t mean that a person has become pro-Pakistan

What would we say if we saw a Bangladeshi cheering for Afghan cricketers against Pakistan and India? Would it mean he is pro-Taliban? Give us a break. It is also quite surprising and annoying to see that many people have associated Afghan cricketers with the Taliban. This attitude has disregarded the value of sports. Having said that, I must mention that my nephew is a crazy fan of an English football team and a former boss of mine is a fanatical admirer of Manchester United. What should we term them? Pro-colonisers? If we don’t, then Bangladeshi supporters of Indian and Pakistani teams are also not

is pro-Pakistan. You cannot just force someone to become pro-Pakistan. Pakistan, as a state, is obviously still a demon as far as its atrocities during our liberation war are concerned. It would take generations to perhaps forgive erstwhile Pakistani rulers for what they did at that time. It would also take a long time to come to terms with Pakistan if the country never apologises to Bangladesh and continues to emit wrong interpretations of our independence. The attitude of Bangladeshis towards Pakistan is understandable. But why do you think the number of Bangladeshis disliking India has

increased immensely in the past four decades? Is it because the India-haters have all started liking Pakistan? Or is it because Pakistan has encouraged Bangladeshis to dislike India? Please think twice. A Bangladeshi disliking India may have manifold reasons. There’s no denying that India had helped Bangladesh to become independent and we have expressed our gratitude several times since then. However, there has been a change in Indian attitude towards Bangladesh after our independence. From water sharing to border killings to capturing our markets to intervening in our internal politics, India has always worked, to my mind, against us. India doesn’t love anyone but itself. Do you think Delhi helped Bangladesh to become independent for their sheer love towards us? It did so because it loves itself. Pakistan, on the other hand, to my mind, doesn’t even love itself. But it surely hates India. We also have a similar problem – we don’t seem to love ourselves, but we surely love to be anti-Pakistan and anti-India. This subcontinent is a very strange place. Therefore it would be better not to equate games and sports with statecraft and politics. If the politics were pure, South Asia would have been a very different place. Let sports be sports – a source of entertainment and a tool for image-building. l Ekram Kabir is Executive Editor of Natunbarta.com.

he upazila elections have produced no surprise – not in the politicisation of local government bodies, in allegations against the party in power of harassment, intimidation, and vote-rigging, and not in the results either. Had the Awami League won the majority in upazila chairman and vice-chairman posts in a fair play, such an outcome would have surprised the grassroots people, or those who are aware of the ground reality. The AL camp has lost to the BNPled alliance, which has no existence in the presently made, constitutionally constituted parliament. Reporters covering the elections told me that the BNP-led alliance secured a full panel of chairman and two vice chairman posts so far in 70 upazilas, against the AL candidates’ similar victory in 36 upazilas (BNP boycotted the voting in 20 of them) in the elections held in 210 upazilas in two phases. To present a brighter picture for the AL, one would say its chairman candidates won in 80 upazilas. But alas! The BNP-backed candidates bagged a much higher number of posts – 117. Some pundits sitting in Dhaka have observed that these results do not prove the political weightage of each party since upazila elections are non-political in nature. How come an election is a non-political affair? Their arguments also missed the fact that major parties themselves have fielded their candidates, only without allocating a party symbol. However, AL publicity secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud’s claim that the upazila election results did not tell the whole story can be interpreted otherwise: The level of unpopularity his party has attained over the years is unfathomably deeper, and that will be visible in properly contested general elections. For the AL now, it is all about the one-sided parliamentary elections that involve a historic cost. The country’s oldest political party has turned into a secluded force which looks desperate to defeat popular will at any cost. It has successfully denied the countrymen the opportunity to change the government. The AL first pushed the BNP and all other parties out of the electoral process through the 15th Amendment and then captured majority parliamentary seats without any votes being cast. Finally, it staged a partial ballot, which too was tainted by poor participation, fake voting, and manipulation of voter turnout statistics. Is it the party which is meant for the “awam” or “all the people?” Because of the January 5 elections, a party which boasted of politics of ballot has lost that kind of moral and political legitimacy. A devastating ego to cling to power and wipe out the opposition forces has rather invited the second death of the AL after it had disappeared into the one-party Baksal system in 1975. It took the AL years to regroup, and it was only possible thanks to a political vacuum. The party has taken a Sheikh Hasina-configured shape with one rebirth during the martial law after the first death. Still, a generation

which witnessed the Baksal rule and another generation which demonstrated against HM Ershad’s military rule did not vote for the AL in the 1991 elections.

Voters have found the upazila elections a secondary platform to express their anger

Until January 5 this year, the younger generation which voted for the AL in 2008 had no experience of seeing vote-rigging and massive manipulation of polls results as seen during the Ershad regime. This generation, alongside many other electorates, has been upset with the AL’s crookedness in holding elections without the participation of other power contenders and also the people at large. That is why the aggrieved voters have found the upazila elections a secondary platform, though not the perfect one, to express their anger against the AL. In the past one year, the AL has been defeated in almost all elections which were contested by the party at which AL leaders hurl abuse every now and then. Sympathisers can pity Hasina as she exposes her frustration with abusive words at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, but cannot save the AL leader from an inevitable downfall as a backlash to her suicidal steps undermining democracy and rule of law. Bearing the stigma of a farcical election, the AL has no fair chance of winning fair polls in the near future. The party may have to face a more refined generation which wants to see development, good governance, and freedom of conscience, not foul play, corruption, and violation of citizens’ rights. The AL is an exceptionally clever party in terms of reading the public’s mind for taking its next political course. In 1954, 1970, 1996, and 2008, it did foresee the victory. It probably misjudged its popularity only once – in 2001 – when it handed over power to the caretaker government for holding the polls it lost. In 1975 and 2013 (leading up to 2014), the party correctly assessed the situation characterised by a nosedive in its popularity. Earlier it was Baksal which was introduced to avoid elections, and this time around it is a one-sided ballot that was designed to escape a widely predicted electoral loss. In both the cases, laws were made to rule the country with the sweet will of a group and its sycophants. As the AL has not yet publicly renounced the one-party system, Baksal still remains its ideology. Like Baksal, we have no opposition in parliament today. From here, the Westminster type of government that we have inserted into our constitution twice needs a resurrection again in Bangladesh. l Khawaza Main Uddin is Executive Editor at ICE Business Times.

A hidden feminist agenda? n Nahita Nishmin

M

y husband is a pseudo-political aficionado who firmly believes that he can be the prime minister of Bangladesh. Or maybe he is not pseudo. Maybe he is very full-on. Actually, yes, he is a total aficionado. I mean, really, ask yourself, how many people in this country do you know who completely believe in the nation and think their ultimate objective is to serve the country as a political leader? In fact, my partner not only believes, but acts on his desires. He was adamant about running for elections this time, and could not, only because his start-up required immediate attention and he had to fly to the US for funds. Obviously, when he goes on a rant about his dreams, I usually stop him and urge him to consider financial independence before even contemplating politics. There are many, many other practical considerations – how would you fund yourself, why would you want to be in a political spectrum that encourages and will inevitably (?) draw you into a world of vice, how would you feel about the inability to change and bring good to a country that has been marred with selfish acts, who would take you seriously if you run in a joke election, etc. But for a

moment, just to humour the dreamer in you, let us consider the flip side of these arguments. The government of Bangladesh aka the Awami League (AL), has just won a victory in what was essentially a one-party election. Despite the complete lack of validity of the elections, AL has proclaimed itself victorious, has formed a government, and is going about business without, very frankly, much ado from international actors. The opposition – hmm, whom do we actually call the opposition now? – the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) – is in virtual tatters with many of its senior members behind bars and a lack in its fire-power with wrong, politically suicidal decisions in place. The Jatiya Party has finally made it clear that the backbone is for another time, another place, and remains quiet to be in the good books of the oh-so-powerful quasi-dictatorship of the country. I cannot remember a time when democracy was so much at stake in this nation, or a time when everything seemed so helpless that no one dared to intervene in the status quo. But why this stupor? Have we really lost all hope? Perhaps, this is simply a time for change. With dead parties – one clearly more interested in running a theocracy, while the other looks left,

right, and centre for new moves – it is perhaps a tremendous opportunity for us to lead. Revamp existing parties, create new ones, run as independent candidates, push for change through initiatives that range from persuading friends who will be fantastic leaders to running a campaign to garner support for a true democratic election – the list of to-dos goes on and on. There is also the possibility that a one-party state is what we need. There are the East Asian giants to consider as examples of non-democratic states that have done well. The only change that we need then is a change in the ruling party demeanour. You and I do not want this AL in power forever, do we? If nothing else, let us change this AL. Is it difficult to do so? Sure. Is politics dirty? Sure it is. But is there a total lack of new blood in the king-queen game of Bangladesh? Yes. An emphatic yes. True that you may be compromising on your principles if you join one of the sides in this dirtiness, but even an iota of change would ensure a better ruling elite in the future than the backseat criticism practiced by the 150 million people here, there, everywhere. When they criticise, ask yourself if you really cannot muster the courage to ask them- what have they done? Nothing.

It is a difficult choice to make. And a highly risky one. Many of us will not take this up. Some of us will consider home, family, career or what-haveyou. That is understandable. But even a tiny bit of effort, not all the way into Hasina-ship, but creating a more informed, more energised community in any which way can be highly fruitful.

I would like a country whose women do not come to power just through the demise of fathers and husbands Shahbagh, before it became a fiasco, comes to mind. A well-written blog directed at the international populace also comes to mind. Creating a programme at a local university to create future leaders; Anadda to discuss political situation of Bangladesh and what the future can be; not teaching children that a DV VISA is all you need to be the happiest of beings; the list really does go on and on. And home-makers – seriously, must

you commit all your hours and your entire being to raising children and feeding husbands? I know of such talented women who will be fantastic mothers and adorable wives and ohso-amazing mothers-in-law,and even though you are doing the most incredible thing in creating a next generation of thinkers, we really need you now to do something for the country by yourself. Give this nation 30 minutes of your time each day, and think what you can do for it today, even if this patriotism comes after cooking your child’s favourite meal and watching your favourite soap opera and heeding to your husband’s hundredth request (or order) to make tea for him because Sokhina’s tea making prowess is not good enough. Maybe you enjoy being this way. Maybe we need more of you (I highly doubt it, but I will keep my opinions to myself for now). But for a minute, think of giving back to the country in a more public manner. Just organise a bake sale for Rana Plaza victims next time. Or consciously try to steer your next kitty party conversation to deeper issues than where to buy the best sarees from. And make a list of what comes out of that conversation and act on it for God’s sake. I would like to be in a country that has not lost all its faith in women in

power through the unfortunate acts and words of the two ladies. I would also like to be in a country whose women do not come to power just through the demise of fathers and husbands and where gaining a seat in the parliament is a matter of simple affirmative action that puts underserving female candidates in to the forefront simply because of their gender. And yes, I am being unfairly critical of the women indoors, because I firmly believe that there is a country-load of talent there just waiting to explode. Yes, you enjoy having dependent children who think of their mothers as nannies and cooks, but think how much more fun it would be for you if the whole country thought of you as her governess. Let us try together before it is too late. And men, this is not a call for you to be even more unmindful of your loved ones by sacrificing yourself for Bangla-land or however melodramatically you want to portray it. No career in the history of mankind needs ALL your time. So buckle up, earn your living, serve the country without empty criticisms and monthly efforts to sail ship to Canada, and make that tea yourself while you are at it. l Nahita Nishmin is a development practitioner.


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

Entertainment

Shakib-Bobby’s Rajotto to hit cinemas today n Afrose Jahan Chaity

After creating some milestones in the mainstream film industry with Agnee, director Iftakar Chowdhury is gearing up with his upcoming big budget film Rajotto which is hitting the cinemas today. The Full N Final duo Shakib Khan and Bobby is all set to sizzle on the silver screen with their magical chemistry. The film is scheduled to be released in 150 cinemas across Bangladesh. It seems like Iftakar is breaking his own record set by Agnee by releasing Rajotto which is about to hit the highest number of halls on the first day of release. With new wave flowing in Bangladeshi film industry, now it’s time to witness, if Rajotto can overtake Agnee’s box office records? Last year Shakib-Bobby paired up in Full N Final which was one of the big-budget films of Dhallywood and the duo’s performance brought them a permanent position in the hearts of the movie lovers. Rajotto is Shakib’s first release of this year. About the film Shakib Khan shared with Dhaka Tribune: “The story is strong, as it portrays the story of person who seems a tough guy but also adores his mother. It’s a heavy action flick and I truly enjoyed working in the film. I hope my fans will love Rajotto like they accepted my previous movies with full of heart.” Story of the movie revolves around a deadly gangster named Ten Percent. His mother knows that he is a police officer who, he is not. While travelling with his mother, he meets his dream queen. Few days later, he meets her again but she fails to recognise him. That makes him angry and he becomes determined to win her heart. Meanwhile, his involvement with underworld brings trouble in his love life. Production Company Fatman Film’s Rajotto has already created buzz on web through its action packed trailer and sensational songs. Soundtracks of Rajotto are composed by Adit Ozbert, and lyrics of the songs have been penned by Shohel Arman and Jibon. Hasib, Dola, Eva and Elita did playback for the film. l

In conversation with Shunte Ki Pao director Kamar Ahmad

12 Years a Slave enjoys post-awards boost n Entertainment Desk Cinemas in the US are scheduling extra screenings of 12 Years a Slave after it won the best picture Oscar. Steve McQueen’s drama will play at more than 1,000 locations in the US and Canada from Friday, up from 411 last weekend. The memoir on which the film is based has seen a similar boost, jumping more than 300 places in Amazon.com’s chart. Solomon Northup’s book is now in 16th place, having previously been ranked in 326th place before Sunday’s ceremony. The title charts even higher on the other side of the Atlantic, currently occupying third place in the Amazon.

Friday, March 7, 2014

n Hasan Mansoor Chatak Kamar Ahmad has accomplished fame in the international film arena following the success of his debut documentary film Shunte Ki Pao! (Are You Listening!), which is now running at the Star Cineplex of Bashundhara City. The film has been screened at twenty festivals around the world and has bagged four awards: the best film award at prestigious Paris Cinema du Reel, Golden Conch for Best Documentary and best Cinematography at Mumbai International Film Festival and the Jury Award at the Film South Asia in Nepal. Kamar Ahmad Simon’s Shunte Ki Pao, featuring the struggles of coming back to life of the common people in the Sundarbans following the last Sidr, was also the curtain opener of the world’s oldest documentary film festival German Dok-Leipzig in 2012. Recently he has been invited to La Fabrique Les Cinémas du Monde, located at the heart of the Festival de Cannes. He and his wife Sara Afreen, respectively as screenplay writer and producer of their upcoming project Shankhadhoni, will join the programme which facilitates young indie film makers to find co-producers for their upcoming films. He is currently in Chittagong for promotion of Shunte Ki Pao and had an over telephone interview with the Dhaka Tribune.

How did your film Shunte Ki Pao came to light? Was it preplanned or developed gradually?

The story of the film was not preplanned as I was not going to make a feature film with definite story plan or plot. So the story developed when I started to travel from Satkhira to Bhola, the coastal belt of the country. I could connect to the struggle of the regional people. As I continued my stay, I came up with a plot. I have succeeded to portray 60-70 percents of my plan in the cinema. The rest of the element came with the process of making the documentary.

The film got international admiration and numerous awards. And now how are you getting response from the audience in home?

Though the audience in Bangladesh didn’t get vast opportunity to watch the film yet I got overwhelming response from the audience who watched the film either in Cineplex or private screening knowing the fact that it is a documentary. I consider this as fairly positive because a general concept exists here that no film beyond commercial formula can get attention or success. My film Shunte Ki Pao is an example how a film beyond the boundary can get people’s attention. And now we are planning to travel the whole country with the film following the example of late Tareque Masud’s traveling in the country with his film Runaway and the event will take place in memory of him. Now I am in Chittagong for promoting and screening of the film and step by step I will travel across the country with the film.

Share your experience with Tareque Masud:

I worked with him for two years in Kagojer Phul’s preproduction works. Then Tareque vai postponed the Kagojer Phul project and started to work for Runaway. Meanwhile I started to work for my film Shunte Ki Pao. I am influenced by his works and cinema vision. He was a friend, philosopher and guide to me. Now, as my film is getting recognition, I am missing him the most. l

Mim appears in TV play Chondona n Entertainment Desk

co.uk bestsellers’ countdown. 12 Years a Slave was named best picture at this year’s Oscars and won additional honours for supporting actress Lupita Nyong’o and screenwriter John Ridley. The film has made more than $50 million in North America, according to the Box Office Mojo site, and has just been released on DVD and Blu-ray. McQueen’s film tells of how a freeborn black man, played by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, is kidnapped and forced into slavery before finally winning his freedom 12 years later. Interest in Northup’s 19th Century memoir has been revived following the success of the film, with many public high schools adding it to their curricula and reading lists. l

Popular actor of silver screen Bidya Sinha Saha Mim will be seen in the titular role of a single-episode play Chondona to be aired on Maasranga Tv at 7:40pm tonight. Here Chondona is a young woman who lives with her family in an apartment in Dhaka. The neighbouring young guys show much interest towards the beautiful lady but she is reluctant about love affair. Young man Megh, who lives in another flat adjacent to Chondona, regularly listens to the popular song of Kumar Biswajit Chondona Go with high volume. Chondona takes it as harassment and with the help of the goons of the neighbourhood, she manages to give Megh a lesson while his repeated attempts to prove the incident as a misunderstanding fail to convince an angry Chondona. Later, for some other reason, Megh leaves the flat and shifts his address. It makes Chondona guilty and she later finds Megh’s new address. From here she finds a completely new Megh and the story turns to a different angle. Shoeb has acted in the role of Megh. The play is written by Prasun Borua and directed by Rajib Rasul. l

Celebrated singer Balam will perform live at Walton Music Station at 12:05am on RTV.

TODAY IN DHAKA Film

Avatar 3D 47 Ronin (3D), Aakash Koto Dure, Thor: The Dark World 3D, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 3D, Frozen in 3D, Shunte Ki Pao, Agnee Time: 10am - 10pm Star Cineplex, Bashundhara City Robocop, Gravity, Captain Phillips, Elysium

Time: 12:30pm – 9:30pm Blockbuster Cinemas Jamuna Future Park Ka- 244, Pragati Avenue, Kuril

Exhibition

Fragments of the Unknown By Najma Akhter, Time: 12pm – 8pm Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts

House 42, Road 16 (New) / 27 (old) Dhanmondi War and Colonies 1914-1918 Rare photographs of World War II Time: 3pm – 9pm Alliance Francaise de Dhaka

Film Festival

7th International Children’s Film

Shah Rukh Khan to host Bigg Boss 8 n Entertainment Desk Speculations about the next season of Bigg Boss are on the minds of everyone, especially after Salman Khan announced that he wouldn`t host the show anymore. Now rumours are doing the rounds that Salman is probably going to be replaced by superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Apparently, Salman was not happy with the criticism that the last season got him. He was accused by his fans of being biased

towards Tanishaa Mukherjee because of being from the film fraternity. He also lost his temper many times during the show and also announced that he may not be back for season eight. Shah Rukh, on the other hand, was recently spotted at the channel’s party while the Dabbang star was conspicuous by his absence. The popular reality show has seen a string of superstars appearing as hosts for the show. The first season was hosted by

Arshad Warsi, the second by Shilpa Shetty and the third by megastar Amitabh Bachchan. But with Salman’s association, Bigg Boss has topped the TRP charts. Shah Rukh Khan is not the first in the suppositions as the host. Previously, Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan were also rumoured to be in the race to host the show, but the speculations were quickly denied. But, the gossip about Bigg Boss is never-ending and we have to wait to see who ends up being the face of it. l

Sajid Nadiadwala’s upcoming next with Imtiaz Ali stars the ex-lovers Ranbir and Deepika together. Talking about the film, Sajid informs that the film will go on floors by July. Sajid also revealed that he wanted to work on this film earlier but since they had a gap of six-eight months they went ahead and made the Alia Bhatt-Randeep Hooda starrer Highway in the meanwhile. With a hit like Highway still creating a buzz and gaining accolades galore, this next film by Imtiaz which consist of a great pair like Ranbir and Deepika, is much awaited.

Festival Time: 4:00pm – 6:30pm Shawkat Osman Hall Central Public Library, Shahbag

Theatre Festival

Children’s Theatre Festival Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Shegun Bagicha


Did you know? Since 1966, Diego Maradona (9) has the most goal assists at World Cup finals

Sport

Friday, March 7, 2014

0 0 9

14 Brazil hit five

DAYS TO GO

as World Cup rivals struggle

DHAKA TRIBUNE

13

15 Root ton

leads England to series win

Mushfiq looks ahead to T20 World Cup

SCORECARD Bangladesh Anamul c Thirimanne b Priyanjan Shamsur Rahman lbw b Mendis Mominul Haque b Mendis Mushfiqur Rahim lbw b de Silva Shakib c Mathews b Priyanjan Nasir c Jayawardene b Lakmal Mahmudullah b Lakmal Ziaur Rahman b Thisara Arafat Sunny not out Rubel Hossain b Thisara Al-Amin Hossain not out Extras: (b4, lb3, w10) Total: (for nine wkts; 50 overs)

49 39 1 4 20 30 30 12 2 0 0 17 204

Bowling Lakmal 10-0-32-2, Thisara 8-0-29-2, Senanayake 10-1-37-0, de Silva 10-0-331, Mendis 9-0-55-2, Priyanjan 3-0-11-2 Sri Lanka K Perera c Anamul b Al-Amin L Thirimanne c Hossain b Sunny K Sangakkara c Nasir b Al-Amin M Jayawardene run out A Priyanjan c Anamul b Rahman A Mathews not out C de Silva c Anamul b Mahmudullah T Perera run out S Senanayake not out Extras: (b4, w5)

0 33 2 0 24 74 44 15 7 9

Total: (For seven wkts; 49 overs) 208 Bowling Al-Amin 10-2-42-2 , Hossain 6-0-25-0, Shakib 10-0-27-0, Rahman 10-0-34-1, Sunny 7-0-46-1, Mahmudullah 6-1-30-1 Result: Sri Lanka won by three wickets

A dejected Bangladesh cricket team leaves the field after the three wicket defeat against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup Cricket at the Sher-eBangla National Stadium yesterday MUMIT M

The home side could not come out from their losing streak as the runners up of the last Asia Cup Bangladesh finished the tournament with empty hands. Looking ahead to the T20 World Championship, Mushfiqur Rahim informed that going so close to winning and failing is disappointing and work hard is needed before the World Cup yesterday at Sher-e-Bangla National stadium. “It’s disappointing losing matches closely when we have the ability to do much better and I think we were unlucky sometimes and sometimes we made mistakes but we tried hard but there was some mistakes which cost us after getting close to win in three matches. “In terms of results you can say we are not playing to our potentials, but we have bounced back after the match against Afghanistan. Our bad luck is that we made mistakes in crucial times and we made mistakes in all the three

No solace for Bangladesh Hosts Bangladesh ended their Asia Cup campaign by picking up their fifth defeat in the tournament losing to Sri Lanka by three wickets at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday. The game was another frustrating one for Bangladesh where they got some momentum in the game – with the ball on this occasion dismissing three Sri Lanka batters with only 8 runs on the board - but found themselves drowning in the last part of the game. The defeat for the hosts also meant that the side will go into the ICC World Twenty20 with memories of defeats whereas they needed a single win to settle the panicked dressing room. The target set by Bangladesh, 204 for 9 on a wearing pitch at Mirpur was never enough to defend against a stable Sri Lanka line up. But the home side

did get a good when pacer Al-Amin removed Lanka opener Kusal Parera with the second ball of the first over, before removing the star Kumar Sangakkara for 2 in his next over. The visitors lost their third wicket, Mahela Jayawardane for a duck, in the fourth through a run-out when Mahmudullah’s dove at cover to stop the ball, forcing Jayawardena to try to recover his ground. But soon the Lankan batters started putting up partnerships, starting with the 39 run one between Ashan Priyanjan and Lahiru Thirimanne for the fourth wicket. Bangladesh got the breakthrough when Ziaur Rahman removed Priyanjan on 24. Ziaur delivered a beauty after the ball angled in back of a length and got it to hold the line and rear up. Priyanjan played at it but only to edge the ball to keeper Anamul Haque. There were few other fantastic deliveries from Ziaur who went unused in Bangladesh’s previous game against Pakistan, with Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim calling him an “oc-

casional bowler”. The right-arm pacer ended his 10 overs leaking 30 runs and taking one wicket, the best figures for the Tigers. Sri Lanka had nothing to lose from the game having reached the finals already where they will face Pakistan tomorrow. This aided the side not to panic when they lost their fifth wicket for under 100 runs. This time it was Thirimanne who had to walk back to the to hatch after scoring 33 runs when he was brilliantly caught by Rubel Hossain, who had to cover some distance from long-on .The wicket was off Arafat Sunny, another in-form bowler that Bangladesh had missed in the Pakistan game.     The 82 run stand for the sixth wicket between Chathuranga de Silva and Angelo Mathews stabled the chase before it was broken with de Silva’s departure. Sri Lanka lost one more wicket, all-rounder Thisara Parera, but were not troubled as they reached the target with an over to spare.

Earlier, Bangladesh went to bat upon winning the toss and a change at the top. Opener Anamul Haque was accompanied in the game by Shamsur Rahman who came in for in-form Imrul Kayes, who is suffering from a groin injury. The duo put on 74 for the opening partnership with Shamsur being the aggressor. The right-handed batsman, with six boundaries, went to 39 in 57 balls before Ajantha Mandis pinned him in front of the stumps. Mendis picked up his second in the same over after he dislodged the wickets behind Mominul Haque. Mushfiqur was the third wicket that Bangladesh lost in the game but in between all the dismissal Anamul, the centurion from the last game, kept scoring. He remained in the middle for 110 minutes, faced 86 balls but fell to Priyanjan a run short off his second ODI fifty. Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah chipped in with 20, 30 and 30 runs respectively as Bangladesh put 204 on the board. l

Kruif praises Hemanta Afridi wants to perform and stay Bangladesh football team’s Dutch head coach Lodewijk de Kruif hailed 17-yearold Hemanta Vincent Biswas for his sparkling national team debut in the Fifa international friendly against India on Wednesday. It was Hemanta’s curled and exquisite cross in the second-half that helped Bangladesh take the lead from an own goal. The youngest player on the pitch, Hemanta also had a crucial contribution in the visitors’ first goal. It was his clever leave at the near post that baffled a defender to find Mithun in front of an empty goal. “We fielded a whole lot of U-20 boys and to me the best player on the field, Hemanta Biswas is just 17-years old,” said Kruif. Hemanta is the only Bangladeshi to go for a trial for European club FC Twente

where Kruif acted as the scout between the two sides to create the opportunity for Hemanta. Kruif prior to flying to India complained of how limited time he had for training. He however expressed his satisfaction over the way his charges played against India in the 2-2 draw. “We came here to play football. Our touches were on display. There were 1-23 touches and we were moving around. I am proud of my boys. It would have been nice to leave with a victory but that’s the way football is all about,” said the Dutch coach. “But at the same time you cannot take anything away from India. They keep coming to you all the time. Even in the Saff Championship, they equalised in the last minute and here, they pulled it back with two minutes to go,” he added. The Bangladesh team is expected to return today noon. l

Shahid Afridi will retire the moment he stops contributing to the team, informed the Pakistani after their practice session at Mirpur yesterday. The hard striker of the ball, who has often been criticised for his irresponsible batting effort, silenced the critics with his back to back winnings knocks that helped the defending champions reach the final in the Asia Cup. Afridi’s unbeaten 18-ball 34, including two sixes in the last over when Pakistan needed 10 to win, helped them beat India by one wicket. While in the previous game against Bangladesh Afridi came in when they were in deep trouble needing 102 off 52 balls. The strong Pathan struck seven big sixes and two fours to make 59 from 25 balls, which was enough to overcome the highest Bangladesh ODI total 326.

“I will sideline myself, the moment I start thinking that I’m getting a burden on my team. I will not let anyone an opportunity to talk,” said Afridi. “It’s not normal to not have pressure on me. There is always pressure on me because of my batting position. The required run-rate is always above nine or 10 runs,” he said. “I just knew that both the matches were important for Pakistan to win. There are many reasons that I won’t like to discuss but both of them were very important for me as well as the country,” said Afridi. The 34-year-old also said they are only focusing on the Asia Cup final and their momentum has shifted at the right time. “I’m not looking that ahead. I and my team’s focus is just on the Asia Cup final at the moment. I’ve already mentioned before how important for us is the series is. The World Twenty20 is

coming up after this. I think we peaked at the right time that was the requirement,” he added. The all-rounder also added that he gives his leg-spin just as much importance as he gives to his batting. He said, “There is no such thing that you will score runs with the bat every day. I’ve given my focus to bowling as well. I want to get myself ready in such a way that I deliver to the team, be it in batting or bowling. This is not the stage for me to occupy a slot in the side. I want to give something to my country with my performance,” he added. One of the most popular cricketer and who has a huge fan base in Bangladesh, Afridi also thanked the crowd for their support against India. “Obviously it backs you. I am thankful to the Bangladesh crowd for the way they supported us (during the match against India). It’s really a good thing for us,” he said. l

departments. However we have ten days before the World T20 and we will try to comeback well,” said Mushfiq. However the 25-year old informed that T20 is a different format where confidence is very important and getting back Mashrafe, Tamim and Gazi will add to the strength of the side. Meanwhile Bangladesh could not came out from their losing streak from the Sri Lanka series and when he was asked if there was any tiredness amongst the players, Mushfiq informed that it was mental tiredness that was the main barrier due to several successive losses. “I don’t think we have any physical tiredness but yes there are some mental issues where we are trying to avoid the small mistakes but can’t get over it. We never lose too many close matches like this time where earlier we get those chances after long time. However the consistent performance is something we can take positives from into the future,” he explained. l

BD women clinch series against Pakistan Bangladesh women’s cricket team clinched their first ODI series winning 2-0 against visiting Pakistan women’s team with a three wicket win in the 2nd and last match at Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium, Cox’s Bazar yesterday. Pakistan, who chose to bat after winning the toss, were restricted to 87 all out in 46.1 overs. Upper order player Syeda Fatima Abidi top scored with 28 runs off 78 balls, with three fours. Shohaly Akther grabbed three wickets for 13 run in eight overs while Panna Ghosh, Lata Mondol and Rumana Ahmed scalped two wickets each, giving away 9, 15 and 21 runs respectively. Skippers Sana Mir’s 18 off 68 balls was the other notable score for the visitors. Later it was a cakewalk for the hosts as they cruised to 88 for 7 in 34.5 overs. Opener Ayesha Rahman provided the ideal platform by scoring 29 off 90 balls

BRIEF SCORE Pakistan Women

87 all out in 46.1 overs Abidi 28, Akhter 3-13, Ghosh 2-9 Bangladesh Women

88 for 7 in 34.5 overs Rahman 29, Mir 4-36 Bangladesh won by three wickets Bangladesh won two-match series 2-0 with four boundaries, one down Farzana Haque chipped in with 18 off 45 balls with three fours and Lata Mondol added 16 runs off 17 balls, including three fours. It was Pakistan skipper Sana Mir, who shined with the cherry, grabbing four wickets for 26 runs and she was adjudged player of the match.   Sumaiya Siddiqi and Nida Dar captured one wicket each conceding 14 and 15 runs respectively.   Bangladesh won the first ODI by 43 runs. After the completion of the ODI series, the teams will lock horns in a two-match T20 series that begins on Saturday at the same venue. l

Naveed seeks international warm-up National hockey coach Naveed Alam desperately wants an international practice match before starting their Asian Games Hockey Qualifiers in Dhaka from March 15. The Pakistani coach, who is currently preparing the national team at BKSP, said he is not taking anything lightly. “The national team is out of international match practice for the last few months, and there are some new faces in the team, and it would also be mentionable that seven players who are the part of the Asia Cup team are not in the team now. “Playing against local opposition

helps but it does not expose the weaknesses properly. So I have asked the hockey federation to arrange a practice match with any team of the other pool if they arrive earlier,” said Naveed. Naveed said the spirit of the team is high and all of the players are focused on winning the title. Meanwhile midfielders Sheikh Mohammad Nannu and Sarwar Hossain returned to the 18-member national team squad declared by the hockey federation. Defenders Belal Hossain, Babu and forward Moniruzzaman Rocky are the three new players. Goalkeeper Zahid Hossain, midfielder Kamruzzaman Rana, defender Imran Hasan Pintu and striker Rasel

Mahmud Jimmy, injured midfielder Moshiur Rahman Biplob, Shohag and Abdul Malek are the players who were omitted from the Asia Cup squad. Singapore, Hong Kong and China are with Bangladesh in Pool B while Oman, Sri Lanka, Taipei and Qatar are in Pool A.

Squad:

Asim Gope, Manwar Hossain, Mamunur Rahman Chayan, Khorshedur Rahman, Taposh Barman, Sadekur Rahman Situl, Babu, Irfanul Haque, Sarwar Hossain, Sheikh Mohammad Nannu, Rummon Ali, Krishna Kumar, Pushkor Khisa Mimo, Hasan Jubair Niloy, Belal Hossain, Moniruzzaman Rocky, Sabbir Rana and Moinul Islam Koushik. l

Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews celebrates his fifty while his Bangladesh allrounder Shakib al Hasan tries to wipe the despair out at the SBNS yesterday MUMIT M


14

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Kenya-Sudan friendly called off A friendly international between Kenya and Sudan has been called off following a row over the venue and timing of the match, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) officials said. The match, which was originally to be played in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, was later switched to El Fasher in the volatile northwestern region of Darfur and was pushed back a day to Thursday after the late arrival of the Kenya team on Tuesday night. FKF officials said they were not aware of the change of venue and could not risk the safety of the players travelling to play in the conflict-hit Darfur region. –AFP

KEY RESULTS France

2 0

Netherlands

1 0

Chile

2 2

Ivory Coast

Goetze 16

Belgium Fellaini 18, Nainggolan 51

England Sturridge 82

1 0

Denmark

Ireland Long 8

1 2

Serbia

Austria Janko 14

Switzerland Drmic 34, 41

Ukraine

Drogba 74, Gradel 90+2

Romania Erding 2, Adin 58

Bosnia Montenegro Damjanovic 1-P

South Africa

1 1

China’s Peng Shuai booked her second-round berth at the Indian Wells ATP Masters and WTA tournament on Wednesday with a three-set win over former champion Vera Zvonareva. Zvonareva, a former world number two who was sidelined for all of 2013 with illness and a right shoulder injury, had been seeking just her second match win since the 2012 Olympics, but was unable to make her wild card go far as she fell 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Peng broke Zvonareva five times in the final two sets to seal the victory in two hours and 21 minutes. –AFP

2 2

Uruguay Alvaro Pereira 66

Croatia Olic 39, 54

2 0

United States

0 0 2 1

Argentina

0 2

Sweden Toivonen 55

Egypt Gedo 52, Salah 64

1 0

Ghana

0 5

Brazil

Oscar 10, Fernandinho 79, Neymar 41, 46, 90+1

Greece

Peng ousts former champ Zvonareva

Bobcats rout Pacers Charlotte snapped a three-game losing skid by beating the Indiana Pacers 109-87 behind a balanced scoring attack as a half dozen Bobcats reached double figures in Wednesday’s National Basketball Association contest. Al Jefferson finished with 34 points and Kemba Walker had 19 points and nine assists for Charlotte who held the Pacers to just 40.8 shooting from the field. Chris Douglas-Roberts and Josh McRoberts added 12 apiece in front of a crowd of 15,372. –AFP

McCarthy 48-og, Djordjevic 60

Yarmolenko 12, Devic 68

Turkey

Friday, March 7, 2014

Brazil hit five as World Cup rivals struggle

Benzema 32, Matuidi 41

Germany

Sport

0 2

South Korea Park Chu-Young 18, Son Heung-Min 55

Brazil's Neymar celebrates after scoring a goal during their international friendly match against South Africa at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday AP

Below par Messi and Argentina fail to impress Argentina didn’t do their tag as World Cup contenders much good on Wednesday as they laboured to a 0-0 draw against Romania in a friendly which also saw Lionel Messi struggle with illness. Argentina -- who are grouped with Iran, debutants Bosnia-Herzegovina and African champions Nigeria in Brazil -- were hindered by a clearly under the weather Messi, who played the whole of the match despite being physically sick seven minutes in. Argentinian coach Alex Sabella started with pretty much his first choice side with Messi in the playmaking role while Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain were the strikeforce and other regulars such as Angel di Maria, Javier Mascherano and Pablo Zabaleta

Fernandinho dreaming of World Cup spot Just days after walking up the steps at Wembley to collect a League Cup winners’ medal, Fernandinho hopes to have played himself into a World Cup place with a commanding performance for Brazil on Wednesday. A last gasp opportunity to convince Luiz Felipe Scolari of his worth was capped by a striking goal, blasted home from some 25 metres out as Brazil beat South Africa 5-0 in Johannesburg in a World Cup warm-up international. Fernandinho - along with right back Rafinha – will still have an agonising wait until May 7 before finding out whether he did enough to make the squad for the 2014 finals after Scolari refused to commit himself after the easy win. “I enjoyed their performances, I found them interesting but my selection for the World Cup is not yet 100 percent fixed,” said the coach. It was Fernandinho’s first appearance in the side for two years, and first under Scolari after a surprise call-up on the back of performances at Manchester City. “I was very happy with the performance. I tried to do everything that Scolari asked. It’s been a wonderful night,” the 28-year-old said after the match. “Now it’s back to England and looking to continue to playing at the same level for the May 7 announcement when I hope my name will be on the final list.” l

also featured. With Messi not at his best little of note was created in a first-half which saw few chances for either side. However, Romanian midfielder Alexandre Maxim should have done better when he was found unmarked in the 33rd minute but he aimed his downward header straight at Monaco ‘keeper Sergio Romero who kept it out with his legs. The Romanian midfielder thought he had atoned for that miss when he fired home into the far corner five minutes later but the linesman ruled that the ball had gone out when it was crossed into the box. The visitors had their best chance of the first-half a minute later as a piece of individual magic from Aguero saw him slip past two defenders and into the box only to miss the target. l

Neymar scored a hat-trick as Brazil routed South Africa 5-0 while Spain edged fellow heavyweights Italy 1-0, but a host of World Cup rivals faltered on Wednesday. Ninety-nine days out from the World Cup, there were unimpressive 1-0 friendly wins for England and Germany over Denmark and Chile respectively. Argentina and Colombia were held to draws while fellow finalists Australia, Ghana and the United States were all beaten. At Soweto, Chelsea’s Oscar opened the scoring for Brazil on 10 minutes, Barcelona ace Neymar struck once in the first half and twice in the second, and Manchester City’s Fernandinho marked his first start with a goal as well. It was the final warm-up for the World Cup favourites before the May announcement of their 23-man squad. Pedro Rodriguez’s goal was enough to give world and European champions Spain a 1-0 win over Italy in their final game before coach Vicente del Bosque names his squad to defend their world title. Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa was

handed his debut on home soil at Madrid’s Vicente Calderon in what was a rematch of the Euro 2012 final. However, Costa failed to make much of an impression and it was Spain’s top goalscorer in qualification, Pedro, who made the difference when his shot squirmed under Gianluigi Buffon just after the hour mark. Portugal were also big winners as Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a brace in a 5-1 win over Cameroon while 1998 champions France also looked good with Karim Benzema and Blaise Matuidi sealing a 2-0 win over the Netherlands in Paris. It was a first defeat for 2010 World Cup runners-up Netherlands in 19 matches. At Wembley, Daniel Sturridge scored an 82nd-minute header to give England victory over Denmark in their last friendly before manager Roy Hodgson names his World Cup squad. Hodgson gave a debut to Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, but it took the second-half introductions of Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck to give England a spark. Germany were booed off in Stuttgart after failing to impress in a fortunate win

Victory leaves Hodgson with plenty of questions Adam Lallana almost certainly secured a place in the England squad for the World Cup but a generally sluggish performance in a narrow 1-0 friendly win over Denmark raised more questions than answers for coach Roy Hodgson. Lallana’s arrival after 58 minutes along with the halftime introduction of his teenage Southampton team mate Luke Shaw, who made his debut when he replaced Ashley Cole - helped liven up England after a pedestrian first half on Wednesday. Lallana provided one exquisite piece of skill with a smart “Cruyff turn” and also sent over the perfect cross for Daniel Sturridge to head home the only goal after 82 minutes. England deserved the victory as they dominated most of the game against mediocre opponents who failed to qualify for Brazil, but who still, on occasion, threatened England

and could have made it a vastly more embarrassing night for the home side. Despite his praise for the younger players in his side, this strangely unsatisfactory performance left the coach with more questions than answers

Although Vidic will join Inter for the start of next season, their rebuilding began with the acquisition of Brazilian midfielder Hernanes from Lazio in January. Club owner and president Thohir said he regarded both players as pivotal to his long-term plan to make Inter, Champions League winners in 2010, competitive again both at home and abroad. But after landing at Milan airport ahead of Sunday’s home game against Torino, the Indonesian businessman also hinted that some of Inter’s older stock could be moved on. “We’re looking to lay solid founda-

with just over two months to go before he names his provisional 30-man squad for the finals. Even more importantly, he has to decide who makes his final 23-man selection and this performance has left

England's Daniel Sturridge (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during their international friendly match against Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday REUTERS

Vidic, Hernanes captures hint Inter Milan president Erick Thohir hailed the capture of Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic but hinted on Thursday that the club’s rebuilding could continue with a summer clearout of ageing stock. Vidic signed a three-year deal through to June 2017 with the ailing Serie A giants on Wednesday, with the Serbian international defender set to earn 2.8 million euros (£2.3m, $3.8m) plus bonuses annually, according to Italian media reports.

over fellow World Cup finalists Chile. Jorge Sampaoli’s side had the Germans under pressure for long spells and created 17 shots to the Germans’ seven. The corner count of Chile’s 14 to Germany’s four told its own tale and the hosts enjoyed only a brief period of pressure in the first-half which led to Mario Goetze’s 16th-minute winner. In Barcelona, Colombia drew 1-1 with Tunisia as the South Americans’ lack of a cutting edge in the absence of knee injury victim Radamel Falcao was exposed. Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States team lost 2-0 to Ukraine in a game switched to Cyprus because of the worrying security situation in the troubled European country. Other World Cup finalists were also handed pre-tournament reality checks with Ghana going down 1-0 at Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, who’ll be making their tournament debut, slipping to a 2-0 home loss to Egypt. Australia gave up a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 to Ecuador in London while Copa America champions Uruguay, who were semi-finalists at the 2010 World Cup, were held 1-1 by Austria. l

tions over the next three years. We’ve signed Hernanes and Vidic, both of whom are leaders, and we have to add more players ahead of next season,” Thohir said. “I think we’ll have more stability at the club and I would like the average age to be 26 and a half.” Thohir in the past has affirmed his intention to see talent break through from the club’s youth ranks. But Thursday’s La Gazzetta dello Sport speculated that sporting director Piero Ausilio is keen on Arsenal rightback Bacary Sagna, as well as Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel. l

him with plenty to ponder. “It means headaches for me but it’s good news. I’m happy with their desire to get on that plane,” Hodgson said after the game. “Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, even Jack Wilshere... all of those came out of the game with credit.” Hodgson will name an initial 30man squad on May 13 before the final home friendly against Peru on May 30. Three days later, he must submit his 23-man squad for the finals before the last two friendlies in Miami against Honduras on June 4 and Ecuador on June 7. Hodgson though does not mind having questions to answer. “If I was to say one thing I was most pleased with it would be the fact we put a lot of youngish players who haven’t played a lot for England on the pitch, and they did a good job and improved their chances,” he said. l

Coleman in awe of Bale Wales manager Chris Coleman joked that he had asked for Gareth Bale’s autograph after the Real Madrid star inspired his country to a 3-1 friendly victory over Iceland. Bale created two goals before scoring a magnificent effort of his own in Wednesday’s game at the Cardiff City Stadium, racing down the right flank past two defenders before firing into the bottom-left corner. “I have just asked him for an autograph!” Coleman said. “He is one of

the best I have ever witnessed. He is an unbelievable player, he really is. He is a fantastic weapon for us. For the people who came tonight (Wednesday) it was worth paying the fee, just for him.” Bale is finding his feet at Madrid following his move from Tottenham Hotspur last year, which was reportedly worth a world-record fee of £85.3 million ($142.6 million, 103.9 million euros). He has scored five goals in his last seven appearances for the nine-time European champions and Coleman believes he will soon be considered one of the world’s best players. l

Algeria win, Ivory Coast snatch draw

Spain's forward Diego Costa (L) vies with Italy's defender Gabriel Paletta during their Fifa friendly match at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on Wednesday AFP

Algeria won, Ivory Coast drew and Ghana lost as African qualifiers prepared for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with warm-up games Wednesday. Striker El-Hilal Soudani put Algeria ahead in first-half stoppage-time and Inter Milan midfielder Saphir Taider added a second goal for a 2-0 victory over Slovenia in Blida. It was an encouraging result for the Desert Foxes, at a ground where they are almost invincible, ahead of facing Belgium, South Korea and Russia in Group H during June’s football showpiece event. Substitutes Didier Drogba and Max Gradel scored as Ivory Coast came from two goals behind to hold Belgium

2-2 in Brussels. Marouane Fellaini and Radja Nainggolan struck before Drogba halved the deficit on 74 minutes and Gradel snatched the stoppage-time equaliser. The comeback will boost an ‘Elephants’ team recently called “slow and old” by former manager Philippe Troussier. After first round exits in 2006 and 2010, Ivory Coast got a kinder Cup draw this time, sharing Group C with Colombia, Greece and Japan. Ghana had first-choice centre-backs John Boye and Jonathan Mensah back from lengthy injuries only to lose 1-0 away to lower-ranked Montenegro in Podgorica. The Black Stars, who face a daunting Group G mission against Germany,

Portugal and the United States, were undone by a first-minute penalty Dejan Damjanovic converted. Later, Cameroon confront Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal in Leiria and Nigeria take on Mexico in American city Atlanta. Non-World Cup qualifiers Egypt, Guinea, South Africa and Tunisia met teams who will be in Brazil, and there were contrasting results. Egypt defeated debutants Bosnia Herzegovina 2-0 in Austria, Guinea upset Iran 2-1 in Tehran, Tunisia held Colombia 1-1 in Barcelona, but South Africa suffered a 5-0 thrashing by Brazil in Soweto. It was a great start for Egypt coach Shawky Gharib after many years assisting Hassan Shehata and American Bob Bradley. l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

QUICK BYTES

Zakaria Pintu forms ‘Save the Sports’ With a view to add more dynamism and wipe corruption out of the sports arena, a new organisation named “Save the Sports” was formed recently. Zakaria Pintu, the captain of Swadhin Bangla Football Team, is the convener of the newly formed forum. The forum comprises 51 members including renowned sports personalities, a few overseas based sports organisers and also a number of sports journalists. Dildar Hossain Dilu, former general secretary of Bangladesh Wu-Shu Federation is the member secretary of the forum. –Tribune Desk

Trott confirms Warwickshire return England batsman Jonathan Trott will return to action following his shock Ashes withdrawal in a pre-season match for county side Warwickshire on April 1, he confirmed on Thursday. The 32-year-old right-hander abruptly left England’s tour of Australia after the first Ashes Test in Brisbane last November due to a stress-related illness. He has not played cricket since, but is now set to make his comeback in a two-day game against Gloucestershire at the beginning of next month. “Thrilled to confirm I will return for @CricketingBears vs Gloucs on 1st April. Thanks to everyone for such amazing support,” he wrote on Twitter. In an article on Warwickshire’s official website, Trott said that he had been “overwhelmed” by support since his Ashes withdrawal, but did not indicate whether he was contemplating a return to international cricket. –AFP

German officials to boycott Sochi Paralympics

Germany will not send government representatives to the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games to protest Russia’s stance in the Ukraine crisis, an official said Thursday. However, the German athletic team is already on site and will almost certainly take part in the competition, she said, stressing that Berlin sees no security concern. The boycott by government officials aims to send “a very clear political signal to Russia,” said the disabilities commissioner, Verena Bentele. Speaking on ZDF public television, she said however that the German foreign ministry had stressed that attending the Games posed no personal threat. –AFP

Harris hailed hero as Aussies prevail Ryan Harris was acclaimed Thursday as one of Australia’s finest bowlers after spearheading his country to a dramatic late series victory over South Africa in Cape Town. The Australians won the third and final Test by 245 runs in a nailbiting finish with just 27 balls to spare after a day of epic home resistance. Veteran paceman Harris bowled Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in the space of three balls as Australia won the match as well as the series by two Tests to one. “Late-bloomer Ryan Harris entrenched his reputation as one of the finest bowlers seen in Australia since at least the turn of the century by delivering the two wickets Australia needed to win the deciding Test and claim the series,” Fairfax Media’s Jesse Hogan wrote. –AFP

Sport

Root ton leads England to series win SCORECARD A stroke-filled maiden century by Denesh Ramdin just wasn’t enough as England held on to defeat the West Indies by 25 runs in the deciding third and final oneday international on Wednesday. Ramdin’s 128, the first ODI hundred by a West Indies wicketkeeper, lifted the home side from 43 for four in pursuit of a daunting target of 304 when he was last out with the total on 278, bowled by Tim Bresnan having taken 14 runs off the first three deliveries of the 48th over. Earlier, Joe Root battled through the considerable pain of a sore right thumb – the result of a blow inflicted by fast-medium bowler Ravi Rampaul at the start of his innings – to stroke his first hundred in this form of the game while Jos Buttler fell one run short of his own first ODI century to take England to 303 for six. Root, who was named man of the match, and Buttler put on 175 for the fifth wicket after the innings was at a crossroads when Sunil Narine bowled the experienced Eoin Morgan to reduce England to 116 for four in the 24th over. The spinner came in for some rare punishment later in the innings, conceding 21 runs off his ninth over. “It was good to watch what our boys did with the bat over the final ten overs, given what happened to us in the first match,” said England skipper Stuart Broad. “The overall effort is encouraging looking ahead to the World Twenty (in Bangladesh later this month).” West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo

Pietersen England’s ‘scapegoat’: Richards Kevin Pietersen has been made a “scapegoat” for England’s Ashes humiliation in Australia, according to West Indies great Vivian Richards. England controversially axed their all-time leading run-scorer across all formats following a 5-0 series loss Down Under where he was their highest-scoring contributor with the bat. “You were looking for some heads to roll and, for some reason, Kevin Pietersen’s head was in the way,” Richards told BBC Radio Five. “He’ll have been disappointed with the series in Australia, but overall I think he’s been a good servant to English cricket,” added Richards, one of the greatest batsman in the history of cricket. “At times, and just judging from my side of the fence, it looks like you’re looking for some little scapegoat, and he was made one.” l

England M Lumb c Narine b Dwayne Bravo M Ali c and b Miller B Stokes c Rampaul b Dwayne Bravo J Root c Darren Bravo b Dwayne Bravo E Morgan b Narine J Buttler c and b Rampaul R Bopara not out T Bresnan not out Extras (lb5, w8, nb2)

DAY’S WATCH Sony Six NBA 2013-14 7:00AM San Antonio v Miami 9:30AM LA Lakers v LA Clippers Ten Action French Ligue 1 2013/14 1:30AM Olympic Marseille v Nice

20 55 0 107 1 99 5 1 15

Total (6 wickets, 50 overs) 303 FoW: 1-37, 2-37, 3-115, 4-116, 5-291, 6-300. Bowling Dwayne Bravo 10-0-60-3, Rampaul 8-055-1, Sammy 5-0-35-0, Smith 1-0-6-0, Narine 10-1-52-1, Miller 10-0-48-1, Samuels 5-0-29-0, Simmons 1-0-13-0.

West Indies

England players pose with the trophy after winning the third and last ODI match against West Indies to win the series 2-1 at the Sir Vivian Richard Stadium in St John's on Wednesday AFP finished with three wickets, including two off consecutive deliveries but Moeen Ali’s 55 at the top of the order was necessary to avoid a complete collapse before Root and Buttler took over. Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler was left to rue an attempt to sneak his 100th run in the final over as he only succeeded in spooning a catch back to the bowler Rampaul. “England batted well and this was

a much better wicket,” said a rueful Bravo. “But we can’t blame the bowlers. It’s our batsmen who have to take the blame for this loss.” As in the previous two matches, the West Indies top-order batting again failed to fire and not even the inclusion of the experienced Marlon Samuels seemed capable of halting the slide. However Ramdin played the limit-

ed-over innings of his life, dominating half-century partnerships with Bravo and Darren Sammy before taking on the improbable task virtually on his own. Two sixes in one over off James Tredwell took him to the century-mark, yet just when it seemed England were poised to self-destruct under the pressure, Bresnan produced the perfect yorker to end Ramdin’s effort and seal victory in the match and the series. l

Empty stands for Bangladesh game One could hardly find the stands at the cricket venues empty during a Bangladesh game looking into the last three years or more – let the match have a meaning or be a dead rubber. In order to get hands on a ticket, one had to probably use any or every channel and sometimes cue overnight in front of a ticket counter which mostly are commercial banks. But the game against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka yesterday at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium (SBNS) saw a different scenario. The crowd at the stands did increase as the game progressed but never to fill the full of the bowl. And the reason that came up often for the empty stands – Bangladesh cricket’s low in the last 37 days. The Tigers went into the month long series against Sri Lanka backed with the wins and expectations gained from the home series against New Zealand in October/November last year. But the home crowd was left disappointed

with defeats in all the games against the Lankans despite a few close games in the shorter formats. The defeats for Bangladesh continued in the Asia Cup too but it was the loss against Afghanistan that hampered the home side’s reputation the most. The game was the fourth ODI for Afghanistan, an associate member of the ICC. The home crowd expected an easy cruise for Bangladesh at Fatullah’s Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium but to leave all jaws open, the high-flying Tigers were slammed down to earth as they lost the game by four wickets. Hosts Bangladesh, runners-up at the last edition of the Asia Cup, could have bounced back in the next game – against Pakistan. They got the start by posting a massive target on the board which had pulled thousands into the SBNS by the start of Pakistan’s chase. But to the disappointment of all, Bangladesh lost this game too after some Shahid Afridi action and few strategies that went wrong for Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim.

The series of defeats were not taken sportingly by the fans and this showed in the poor turnout for the Sri Lanka game. Students, who are the heart of the stands and go crazy for a ticket for admission in the stadium, were found selling their tickets outside the stadium yesterday. Interestingly there was also a mother who resides adjacent to the SBNS at Mirpur found selling a ticket. When quarried, it was learnt that the ticket was for her son, whom she had forced to go to the school in the morning and the reason – “Bangladesh is losing, it’s better for him (son) to go to the school study.” Negativity was also seen among those who were at the stands for the game. A fall of Bangladesh wickets often meant a reason for disappointment for those at the stands. But on the day, the majority were found dancing to the beats of the songs being played by the in-stadia DJ and celebrate the dismissal with an impression that the fall of wicket was Bangladesh’s fate and that it had to happen. l

K Powell b Root D Smith c Ali b Broad Darren Bravo c Bopara b Ali L Simmons b Broad M Samuels c Buttler b Parry D Ramdin b Bresnan Dwayne Bravo c Buttler b Bopara D Sammy c Stokes b Bresnan N Miller c sub (Jordan) b Bresnan S Narine run out R Rampaul not out Extras (b3, lb6, w5)

1 9 16 16 23 128 27 24 10 10 0 14

Total (all out, 47.4 overs) 278 FoW: 1-10, 2-10, 3-42, 4-43, 5-80, 6-131, 7-202, 8-246, 9-263, 10-278

Bowling

Root 3-0-24-1, Broad 9-0-58-2, Ali 1-05-1, Parry 9-1-60-1, Bresnan 8.4-0-45-3, Tredwell 10-1-38-0, Stokes 4-0-21-0, Bopara 3-0-18-1

Result England won by 25 runs, take series 2-1

Pakistan fans pray for a son for Afridi Pakistan superstar Shahid Afridi’s match-winning performances in the Asia Cup this week have prompted fans on social media to pray for him to be rewarded – with a son. The 34-year-old, married with four daughters, delivered Pakistan a cherished victory over rivals India on Sunday with consecutive sixes in the last over. He followed up with a lightning half-century – the second-fastest in one-day history – to propel his side to their highest-ever winning run chase to beat home team Bangladesh. But the adoration of millions and a prime plot of land given by a real-estate tycoon were not enough for some fans, who see a male child as the ultimate validation of Afridi’s accomplishments. “We should all pray that God rewards the person who has provided all Pakistanis jubilation and smiles in such terrible times with a son,” a user wrote on the “Meri jaan Pakistan” Facebook page. l

Smith wants role in South Africa future

IAAF wishes Campbell, Brown all success after doping case

Athletics’ ruling global body, the IAAF, on Thursday wished Veronica Campbell-Brown “much success”, just days after the Jamaican sprinter was cleared of doping. Campbell-Brown, a twotime Olympic 200m champion, has not competed since testing positive for a banned diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide, last May. But the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled last month that it had upheld the Jamaican’s appeal, and she was cleared to compete at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot which kick off on Friday. –AFP

15

Friday, March 7, 2014

Agnieszka Radwanska appears on the WTA Live All-Access Hour during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday AFP

Navy leads gold count in national athletics Mezbah Ahmed of Bangladesh Navy and Shirin Akter of BKSP clinched the respective gold medals in the men’s and women’s 200m sprinting events on the opening day of the 38th National Athletics Championship at the Army Stadium in the city yesterday. Mezbah clocked 21.76s to finish ahead of two Bangladesh Army participants - Md Azharul and Md Shariful – who finished second and third respectively. Mezbah was also part of the winning 4*100 relay team along with Kazi Imran, Abu Rayhan and Golam Mortaza. Meanwhile, Shirin crossed the finish line with a time of 24.90s – ahead of BJMC’s Zakia Sultana and Shohagi

Akter, who finished second and third. Zakia and Shohagi however, went on to take the gold in the women’s 4*100 relay, along with Papia Rani Sarkar and Nazmun Nahar Beauty. In the day’s other events, Navy’s Alamgir Hossain won gold in men’s 400m hurdles, Azharul Islam of BJMC finished first in the men’s javelin event, BKSP’s Paboni Hoq won gold in the women’s high jump, Army’s Mehedi Hassan bagged gold in the men’s 1500m run, the Navy’s Mirona came in first in the women’s 1,500m run and BJMC’s Monirul Islam of BJMC claimed gold in the men’s 5,000m sprint. After the first day, Bangladesh Navy has four gold medals, BJMC has three and BKSP two. l

Graeme Smith said on Wednesday he was keen to continue to play a role in South African cricket following his retirement from the international game as a player. “I’d love to play a role with Cricket South Africa and who knows where that’s going to be,” he said in his final press conference as captain after his side’s 245-run defeat in the third Test against Australia. “I’ve gained a lot of experience over the years, worked with a lot of people and feel I still have a lot to offer South African cricket.” Smith said he believed it was important to create the right environment for the national team to go forward into the future.

Graeme Smith and his wife, Morgan Smith, pose with their daughters on the pitch on Wednesday AFP “I think there are some important things that need to be tightened,” said the 33-year-old. “The leadership group is going to be a

crucial factor -- how they galvanise these players and get them working and going in the right direction. There are a lot of wonderful players who can take it forward (but) there are certainly challenges on the exterior that need to be met.” Australian captain Michael Clarke said South African cricket had suffered a big loss with Smith’s retirement. “Whatever praise he gets he deserves a lot more,” said Clarke. “He’s a fantastic leader and one of the greats of the game. Cricket will be a sadder place without him. I’ve learnt a lot from him.” Smith said he started to think of retirement when Gary Kirsten stepped down as coach last year. “When he left as coach that’s when the thoughts entered my mind. It has taken a period of time to process that.” l

St Gregory’s thrash ESS St. Gregory’s School thrashed European Standard School 34-0 in their first match in Health First Mini Rugby campaign at the Paltan Ground yesterday. In the other matches of the day SOS Shishu Polli beat Shahid Nabi High School 5-0 while Methodist English Medium High School drew 10-10 with Sunnydale. In the last match of the day Khilgaon High School outplayed Cambrian School and College by 12-0. State minister for youth and sports Biren Sikder inaugurated the meet as the chief guest. Managing director of Monowara General Hospital Mir Imam Hossian, Bangladesh Rugby Union general secretary Mousum Ali and tournament director Saeed Ahmed were also present on the occasion. l

State minister for youth and sports Biren Sikder inaugurates the Health First Mini Rugby at the Paltan Ground yesterday COURTESY


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Crimea votes to join Russia n Reuters, Simferopol, Ukraine Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula. The sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority and has effectively been seized by Russian forces, formally under  Moscow’s rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to find ways to pressure Russia to back down. U.S. President  Barack Obama  took steps to punish those involved in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, ordering the freezing of their U.S. assets and a ban on travel into the United States. The U.S. Navy announced a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Truxton, was heading to the Black Sea in what it said was a long-planned training exercise and not a show of force. The  Crimean parliament  voted unanimously “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation”.

The vice premier of Crimea, home to Russia’s Black Sea  military base in Sevastopol, said a referendum on the status would take place on March 16. He said all state property would be “nationalised”, the Russian rouble could be adopted and Ukrainian troops would be treated as occupiers and be forced to surrender or leave. The announcement, which diplomats said could not have been made without Russian President  Vladimir Putin’s approval, raised the stakes in the most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War. French President  Francois Hollande  told reporters on arrival at the summit: “There will be the strongest possible pressure on  Russia  to begin lowering the tension and in the pressure there is, of course, eventual recourse to sanctions.” The new Ukrainian government has declared the referendum illegal and opened a criminal investigation against Crimean Prime Minister  Sergei Askyonov, who was appointed in a closed session by the region’s parliament last week. The Ukrainian government does not recognise his authority or that of the parliament. l

Two more testify against Parimal n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court yesterday recorded the deposition and cross-examination of two teachers in connection with a rape case of a student of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College by her teacher Parimal Joydhar. The witnesses are senior teachers of the institution’s Bashundhara branch Jannatun Nesa and Wahida Parvin. So far, 12 prosecution witnesses, out of 40, gave deposition in the case. Judge Md Arifur Rahman of the Women and Children Repression (Prevention) Tribunal 4 fixed April 22 for the next witness. Parimal was present in the dock during the hearing. The accused gave confessional statement before a court on July 11, 2011. But on July 27, Parimal through his counsel filed a petition requesting withdrawal of the statement. The court rejected the petition.

According to the case, Parimal on May 28, 2011 forcefully violated the girl at his coaching centre and recorded the incident on his mobile phone. He also threatened her not to share the matter with anyone. Parimal allegedly abused her again on June 17. Upon written complaint by the victim, the school’s governing body sacked Parimal on July 5, 2011, though they tried to save him in different ways. The same day, the victim’s father filed the case with Badda police station accusing Parimal, Bashundhara branch head Lutfur Rahman and former principal Hosne Ara Begum. Detectives arrested Parimal at one of his relatives’ house in Keraniganj on July 7. Police submitted the charge sheet on August 11, 2011 dropping the names of Hosne Ara and Lutfur Rahman. The court framed charges against Parimal on March 7, 2012. l

Seven female ambassadors and UN officials attend a press conference ahead of International Women’s Day 2014 at the residence of Danish ambassador in the capital’s Gulshan yesterday NASHIRUL ISLAM

Women ambassadors and UN officials to perform in a play on women’s rights n Tazlina Zamila Khan Seven female ambassadors and UN officials are set to perform a documentary play titled “Seven,” to speak up against violence on women and to raise awareness on the global issue of women’s rights. To celebrate the International Women’s Day, Brazilian Ambassador Wanja Campos Da Nobrega, Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden, Swedish Ambassador Anneli Lindahl Kenny, Danish Ambassador Hanne Fugl Eskaer, Norwegian Ambassador Merete Lundemo, Representative of UNFPA Bangladesh Argentina Matavel Piccin and Representative of UN Women Bangladesh Christine Hunter will perform the play on March 10 at Chhayanaut.

“Seven” is based on the real-life stories of seven women’s rights activists: Hafsat Abiola (Nigeria), Farida Azizi (Afghanistan), Annabella De Leon (Guatemala), Marina Pisklakova (Russia), Mukhtar Mai (Pakistan), Inez McCormack (Northern Ireland) and Mu Sochua (Cambodia). The drama conveys the message that a woman who faces violence once, do not need to bear the consequences her whole life; instead she must overcome it with strength and also try to help other women overcome similar struggles. The first rehearsal of the play was staged before journalists at the residence of the Danish ambassador in Gulshan 2 yesterday. “The drama will be performed to re-

mind all, that there are still lots of work to be done for women,” said Danish Ambassador Eskaer. Tove Erikson, producer and director of “Seven” in Dhaka, said: “Theatre play is the bridge to society for bringing massive change.” “Violence on women is a big problem for all countries,” said Swedish Ambassador Kenny, while Brazilian Ambassador Nobrega narrated the story of Mukhtar Mai, who was gangraped and forced to walk home almost naked through the streets of her hometown as retribution for an alleged crime committed by her younger brother. Canadian High Commissioner Cruden said: “Lack of women’s access to education and child marriage are the

major drawbacks in Bangladesh. After marriage, women are tortured for dowry, which eventually leads to domestic violence. Advocacy and raising awareness is the solution.” UNFPA Representative Piccin said any male should think about his mother, daughter and sister before being violent towards women, while Christine Hunter, the representative for UN Women, said: “Recent statistics of Bangladesh shows, 80% women experienced violence. Seventy percent women were harassed in university level. The situation must change.” Norwegian Ambassador Lundemo said: “Women in Bangladesh are important, as 75%-80% of the workforce in RMG are women.” l

No video recording of tribunal proceedings for months n Udisa Islam Video recording of International Crimes Tribunal’s daily proceedings has remained halted for the last couple of months. People concerned about documentation of the trials term it “unfortunate” as the next generation would be deprived of the details of the historic event. From the very beginning of the tribunal, the officials arranged facilities to keep recording of the proceedings – both audio and video – by a camera. But this is not working now. The facility is applied only for the days of an-

nouncing verdicts and special orders. The daily activities of the two tribunals are generally recorded by officials on computer in written form. The close circuit cameras installed in court rooms and outside can take footages only. Even prosecution expressed surprise when they came to know about the matter. Nobody is ready to say why the recording was stopped. “It may happen due to lack of budget,” said a prosecutor, seeking anonymity. “But it is not acceptable.” Another prosecutor said he did not know anything about this. “But if it

is true, then how can we create an archive after the end of the trials?” Prosecutor Tureen Afroz said: “As we have a system to record, then for the sake of our transparency, we should keep doing it. There is no logical ground of stopping this.” She said: “We watched live many trials that are internationally-recognised. As it is an open court procedure, if we decide to drop this then globally we may face many unwanted questions that the opposite party raise as propaganda.” Asked, Arunava Chakrabarty, deputy registrar of the tribunal, said he

would not say anything why the recording had been stooped. A senior official of the Special Branch of Police yesterday claimed that they had improved the recording capacity of the CCTVs installed in and outside the tribunal building. But he could not give any detail about the procedure. After a part of the draft verdict in Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was leaked from a judge’s computer on October 1 last year, it was revealed that the CCTVs can keep records of only 12 days. Therefore, the investigators did not get any footage before September 20. l

Autopsy reports dying a slow death at DMCH n Moniruzzaman Uzzal

Historic March 7 today n BSS Today is the historic March 7, a red-letter day in the history of the Bangalees long arduous freedom struggle. On this day in 1971, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered a speech of independence at the Race Course Maidan, now known as Suhrawardy Udyan, in Dhaka. In his 19-minute speech he fervently called people:“The struggle this time is for our emancipation, the struggle this time is for our independence.” The whole nation responded spontaneously to his call and took part in the struggle for freedom that eventually liberated Bangladesh from the colonial rule of West Pakistan. Different political parties including the Awami League, social, cultural and professional bodies have chalked out elaborate programmes to mark the day. The programmes of the ruling Awami League on the day include hoisting of the national and party flags at 6:30am and placing of wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi at 7am. The ruling party will also organise a public rally at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan at 3pm.l

The backlog of pending post-mortem reports has reportedly been growing with time at the forensic medicine department of Dhaka Medical College, with alleged dilly-dallying by several doctors of the department, forcing the families of many victims of unnatural deaths to wait for justice. Despite requests from courts and police stations, some of the teachers of the department have allegedly failed to prepare and submit autopsy reports to the authorities concerned. The Dhaka Tribune has learned that during the first two months of this year, more than 100 letters have been sent from different police stations and magistrate courts, asking several doctors to submit pending autopsy reports as soon as possible. Sources inside the DMC forensic department said among the letters, 56 were sent to Assistant Professor Dr Sohel Mahmud, 12 to Lecturer Dr Md Hussain and three letters to

Associate Professor Dr Shafiuzzaman. However, the names of the other doctors who have left autopsy reports pending could not be known. Since 2012-2013, the number of pending post-mortem reports has stayed above 500, the sources said, adding that new reports keep piling up despite some of the old reports being processed and cleared. The letters from police stations and magistrate courts mentioned that judgements of many cases, including some sensitive murder cases, were left waiting because of the delay in getting autopsy reports. The post-mortem reports play a key role in identifying the cause of death in cases such as murder, unnatural death, and suicide. The delay in preparing the autopsy reports cause sufferings to the victims’ families, as they have to wait for a long time to get proper justice. There are claims that some teachers of the department engage in the doctoring of autopsy documents in exchange for fees; while there are also allega-

tions that doctors submit new autopsy reports without processing the old pending ones. During 2012 and 2013, around 5,000 post-mortem examinations were carried out at the forensic medicine department of the DMC; among which 2,547 were carried out in 2012 and 2,351 in 2013. During January and February this year, 167 and 185 autopsies were done respectively at the DMC. Senior officials of the forensic medicine department said the workload of the department was high, as doctors had to stay busy teaching students, attending meetings, as well as carrying out post-mortem exams on bodies. It is not possible for the teachers to submit the reports timely, as several bodies are sent to the DMC every day by different police stations of outside districts, they said. Professor Habibuzzaman Chowdhury, head of the forensic medicine department of the DMC, said he had knowledge that reports have remained pending. l

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Continue to the Business section...

Business


B3 RMG factories face

production suspension

B4 ENERGY-SAVING

CAMPAIGN TAKES A NEW LOOK

FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2014 www.dhakatribune.com/business

Bank's Revenue target revised down Bangladesh separate pay scale gets Corporate tax cut starts from FY2014-15 budget when tobacco tax to go up

NBR would also reduce the tax rate for corporate sectors gradually and the process would begin from FY2014-15 The act will replace the Value Added Tax act 1991. “With the new act, supplementary duty will be imposed on 147 products considered harmful for health and environment,” the chairman added.

Imports rise after seven months

All the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Managing Directors (MDs) of the country’s six mobile phone operators are going to sit with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at the latter’s secretariat office on Sunday – first time since the present government came to power. The finance ministry has already invited the CEOs and MDs to attend the meeting. Earlier, Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (Amtob) had requested the finance minister to organise a meeting to discuss about some unresolved issues of this sector. Ziad Shatara, CEO of Banglalink, the second largest mobile operator in the country, has confirmed about the meeting schedule, but declined to disclose anything about the agenda. However, industry insiders hinted that the mobile operators would take the chance for raising the unresolved issues such as SIM replacement where National Board of Revenue (NBR) has been claiming more than Tk3,010 crore as unpaid tax. Of the amount, Grameenphone is Tk1,562 crore, Banglalink Tk762 crore, Robi Tk647 crore and Airtel is Tk39 crore. The revenue board came to the point after the scrutiny of the SIM replacement data supplied by Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Airtel. According to the NBR, 79% of the documents showed the subscriber identification module (SIM) cards were resold to different subscribers, but mobile operator’s representative who were in the committee denied to sign on the report. l

Despite political unrest, import expenditures grew significantly in the first seven months (July-January) of current fiscal year, putting a break in the continued negative trends during the same period of the previous years. The value of LCs (letter of credit) settlement rose by 13.34% during this period from negative growth by 11.22% in the same period of fiscal year 2012-13 and negative growth by 7.06% in 201112, according to a Bangladesh Bank report released recently. The value of LCs settlement stood at $21.21bn in the period of July to January of the current fiscal year compared to $18.72bn in the same period of last fiscal year. “Import rose mainly due to the significant increase of capital machineries import during the period,” said a senior executive of Bangladesh Bank (BB) Bangladesh Bank hopes that the capital machineries and industrial raw materials import will increase more in the coming days as the country has almost come back to normalcy with business usual, he said. The central bank in its second half monetary policy projected a possible

State banks remain open tomorrow n Tribune Report All branches of the four state-owned banks will remain open tomorrow to facilitate transactions of the aspirant candidates of the reserved women seats of 10th parliament. The banks, including Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali, has been asked to keep open their branches to facilitate candidates getting treasury invoices, bank drafts, pay orders or postal orders, said a circular Bangladesh Bank (BB) issued yesterday. The Election Commission (EC) has set March 29 for election to the 50 reserved seats and the by-polls to Tangail-8 constituency. The deadline for candidates to submit their nomination papers to the returning officer at the EC secretariat was on March 4 while the date of scrutinising the papers was yesterday and the withdrawal of nominations is on March 12. l

RE V

E TA R G

NU

E IS E D R

v Corporate tax to be reduced v Taxes on tobacco to go up v Amendment to Income Tax, Customs and VAT laws v Five-year strategic plan underway v Scrutinising the wealth of lawmakers

CEOs of mobile operators to meet Muhith Sunday n Muhammad Zahidul Islam

n Jebun Nesa Alo

8.09%

The NBR chairman said the revenue body has taken a five-year strategic plan for ensuring proper revenue collection. “We will discuss the plan and issues with big chambers and associations, stakeholders and, economic research and analysis organisations to make an effective plan,” he said. In response to a question, Golam said there are ways to scrutinise the wealth of lawmakers under the income tax ordinance and NBR is working on it. However, the chairman denied giving further info on the issue. l

Inflation cooled down in February, attributed to the restoring supply chain with the political situation becoming normal. But economists warned inflation, particularly non-food, might pick up further once the planned power tariff hike is announced. Official data released in Dhaka yesterday showed the overall inflation fell to 7.44% in February, down from the previous month’s six-month high of 7.5%. The fall came for the first time in three months since November in 2013 and despite that the rate still remains well above the target of 7%. But food inflation rose to 8.84% from January’s 8.81% while non-food inflation, which includes house rent and transportation, came down to 5.37% from 5.53%, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). Food inflation increased both in rural and urban areas as well during the month with non-food variety had dropped in both the areas. Surging rice price measuring 30% in February compared to the corresponding period a year earlier has contributed to increase in food inflation, according to economists.

pick up in the import payments in the days ahead with the apparently stable political situation. Meanwhile, the central bank has urged the government to take necessary measures to enhance manpower export to offset a looming setback in the country’s foreign exchange balance. Capital machinery import rose to 18.25% during the July-January period recovering 21.59% negative growth in the same period of fiscal year 2012-13 and 15.85% negative growth in 2011-12, according to BB data. The imports of capital machineries increase due to the elimination of gas and electricity shortage during the period while businessmen stayed off from importing during last two years because of embargoes on new gas and electricity connections, said senior executive of a private bank. According to settlement of letter of credit (LCs), food grains imports rose by 114.83% during the period compared to 40.33% negative growth in the same period of previous fiscal year followed by industrial raw materials rose by 11.87% compared to 6.26% negative growth, petroleum registered 6.51% negative growth compared to 3.33% negative growth. l

n Tribune Report The government is going to convert Workers Welfare Associations (WWA) into trade unions to allow the readymade garment workers for the formation of trade unions at the factories located at the Export Processing Zones (EPZs), as part of a move to fulfill the US conditions, for regaining the suspended GSP facilities. Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed came up with the disclosure while addressing an inaugural ceremony of a four-day GAP Expo-2014 being held at Bangabandhu International Conference

MONTHLY INFLATION TREND (POINT TO POINT) DURING FY14 7.85% 7.50% 7.44%

7.39%

7.35% 7.15% 7.13%

Jul-13

The separate pay scale for Bangladesh Bank employees can be implemented under the existing legal framework and no amendment of law will be required, said finance division officials quoting law ministry. The government can implement it through issuance of a circular. Besides, the employees of four state-owned banks will get new salaries from the current month. “We have received affirmative response from the law ministry to executive BB pay scale without change to law,” said Dr Aslam Alam, secretary to bank and financial institutions division. After the receiving law ministry’s suggestion, Finance Minister AMA Muhith already gave permission to implement it along with that of the four state-owned commercial banks. Financial Institutions Division will send letters to the state-owned commercial banks to execute the pay scale from March, 2014. However, the government is yet to decide when Bangladesh Bank’s pay scale will be implemented. Dr Aslam Alam hinted it might take some time as some administrative procedures are involved with it.

Bangladesh Bank and four-state owned banks have a total of 61,000 staff whose salaries will increase by 70% after implementation of the pay scales. Bangladesh Bank has 4,958 staff while Sonali Bank 23,363, Janata Bank 15,146, Agrani Bank 13,558 and Rupali Bank 4,293. The separate pay scales for the banks got stuck due to legal complexities. The pay scale for any government office is implemented under the Services (Reorganisation and Conditions) Act, 1975. The four state-owned banks can introduce separate pay structures through their board approvals as they have been corporatised. But Bangladesh Bank cannot do that, and there was possibility to amend the law to introduce separate pay structure for its staff. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed the recommendations of the secretaries’ committee on separate pay scale on November 12 last year. Under the new 11-grade pay scale which will replace the existing 20-grade pay structure, the basic salary for those in the lowest grade will be Tk6,000 and for the highest grade will be Tk55,000. l

Tofail: RMG welfare associations to convert into trade unions

Inflation cools down in February n Kayes Sohel

law ministry’s clearance n Asif Showkat Kallol

ET

Target set previously

Shortfall of Tk136,090 crore revenue collection Revised target Tk10,000 crore Tk125,000 crore

VE

The government has revised down the revenue target for the current fiscal year by 8.09% to Tk125,000 crore due to a collection shortfall in the first seven months that went through political volatility ahead of the national election held on January 5. The target was revised from Tk136,090 crore as set out at the budget for the fiscal 2013-14. NBR would also reduce the tax rate for corporate sectors gradually and the process would begin from FY2014-15. “NBR has witnessed a huge shortfall in the revenue collection in the last seven months due to the volatile political situation. The business as well as imports and exports remained almost halt for over three months and business has failed to pay taxes,” NBR Chairman Golam Hussain told a press conference at the NBR headquarters in Dhaka yesterday, announcing the revised revenue target. He was expecting the new target could be achieved with three more months at hand as the current economic situation now returned to stability. The revenue collection faced a shortfall of around Tk10,000 crore in the first seven months of the current fiscal year, according to NBR data. Golam said NBR has also decided to

reduce the corporate tax gradually and the process will begin from fiscal year 2014-15 in view of the practice of other countries where the corporate tax rate is lower than the income tax. “With the reduction of tax rate, corporate business would pay more taxes and it will work towards reducing tax evasion,” he said, without specifying the rates to be levied from the beginning of next fiscal year. NBR would increase the taxes on tobacco products including cigarette, bidi, jarda etc. from the FY2014-15 budget. The NBR chairman said the revenue authorities will prepare a list of jarda factories in the country and bring them under tax net. The revenue body is working on amending the Income Tax and Customs laws while the new VAT act will be effective from July 1, 2015. “The draft of amendment to the laws has been uploaded at the NBR website seeking opinions from the stakeholders, but received fewer responses,” said the chairman. About the VAT act, he said the VAT act has been amended and the automation of the wing is going on with a US$57m fund from the World Bank under a project, which is the largest project of NBR. Primarily, the fund was $35m, but it was revised up for proper implementation.

NEXT BUDGET

n Syed Samiul Basher Anik

Aug-13

Sep-13

7.03% Oct-13

“Improved supply chain helps ease inflation,” said BBS Director General Golam Mostafa Kamal. But higher cost of food production increased food prices, particularly rice, pulse, flour and milk, he added. The country saw a series of shutdowns leading up to the national election held on January 5 caused severe supply disruptions, sending food inflation especially in urban areas higher. About crossing fiscal target of inflation, BBS chief said: “The government target is not monthly target, rather yearly average target. So if the inflation keeps falling in the months ahead, the average inflation might be around 7%.” The BBS data showed that overall inflation in rural areas slipped to 7.17%, down from 7.24% in the previous month, but in urban areas it was 7.84%

Nov-13

Dec-13

Jan-14

Feb-14

from 7.97% during the period. Zaid Bakht, research director at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said it is definitely smooth supply chain in the last month that helps bring down the inflation rate. But power tariff hike might fuel inflation as it will push production cost up, he warns. Power Development Board (PDB) and West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDC) last week proposed increasing electricity tariff by 15.5% and 8.59% respectively to help them cut increasing losses. In response, the technical committee of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission said the regulator might consider increasing the retail tariff by 6.66% on average for PDB customers and 7.51% for WZPDC customers. l

Centre (BICC) in the city yesterday. Bangladesh Garment Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) along with Zakaria Trade and Fair International, ASK Trade and Exhibitions Pvt. Ltd has organised the fair. Addressing the function, Tofail said the country’s export to the market of the United State has been increased to US$273m despite the suspension of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) slapped by the US government. However, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data also shows that Bangladesh has exported products worth $3.3bn in the first seven month of the current fiscal year, which is 9.12 % higher compared to %3.02bn for the same period of the fiscal 2012-13. “The government has already met 13 conditions, out of 16, outlined by the US administration for the reinstatement of the GSP facilities for the revival of the GSP trade facilities. We will be able to meet rest of the conditions including the labour union right issue before April 15,” the minister hoped. He also hinted that the government is going to convert the existing WWA into trade union to address the RMG workers’ right to form trade unions in the EPZs areas.

Commenting on the trade unionism in the RMG sector, the minister, however, categorically said, “Though there has been no trade union in the US so far, but they are forcing us to allow trade union Bangladesh. Stressing the need for forging a national consensus on various national issues, Tofail Ahmed urged the opposition BNP not to go for any destructive political programmes for the interest of the country’s economic development. The show is aimed at showcasing the latest garment manufacturing technologies, yarn and fabrics and garment accessories and packaging under one-roof to attract country readymade garment (RMG) entrepreneurs. Around 500 participants are taking part in the fair from around 25 countries. The fair, which began yesterday, will end on Sunday. BGAPMEA president Rafez Alam Chowdhury said: If the government provides us the policy support we will be able to enhance our export value equivalents to $14bn by 2018 from $4.10bn. Speaking as special guest, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank SK Sur has assured the accessories manufacturers to provide all-out cooperation to boost up their business. l

BGMEA seeks Tk800cr sovereign guarantee for industrial park n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi Bangladesh’s garment exporters have sought sovereign guarantee against Tk800 crore bank loan to acquire land for an industrial park at Bausia in Munshiganj for the apparel sector. But a senior finance division official said the government could not provide any sovereign guarantee to any sector under the International Monetary Fund’s condition of the extended credit facility (ECF). He said if the government provides Tk800 crore guarantee, it would exceed the limit set by the IMF. The commerce ministry forwarded the proposal of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to Finance Minister AMA Muhith last week. As per the proposal, BGMEA wants to take Tk800 crore credit from commercial banks in home and abroad with a seven-year term under the guarantee. Earlier, BGMEA decided to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hong Kong KRD International In-

vestment Group Ltd to build the park. The KRD will fund Tk1,400 crore for land acquisition and development. According to BGMEA decision, the industrial park will be established on 532 acres of land, of which 30% will be used for infrastructural development and the rest for factories. Meanwhile, the IMF recently assessed Bangladesh’s debt situation and the results indicated that the country remained at a low risk of debt distress. l


B2

Stock

DHAKA TRIBUNE

n Tribune Report

Company

Turnover (Million Taka)

4,129.22

Turnover (Volume)

68,240,494

Number of Contract

creased by 16.42% to Tk400 crore. Alongside, lucrative prices accommodated textile sector to come back on track and lead in sectoral performance and market participation. The sector gained by 1.89% and captured 12% of total turnover. Other top performing sectors were tannery, textile and, food and allied. On the other hand, non-life insurance and bank faced significant price correction. Lanka Bangla Securities said market closed the week green on flat note after having a wide wag in index during intraday trading. There are a couple of takeaways from the current market scenario, it said. Firstly, the modest corporate earnings growth and, secondly, expected lower interest rates would be a good news for the stocks. Market continued to bid fundamental stocks higher, specially stocks of manufacturing sectors. Square Pharmaceuticals was the most traded stock with Tk26 crore shares changing hands. It was followed by Square Textile, Lafarge Surma Cement, Meghna Petroleum, Bangladesh Submarine Cable, Grameenphone, Singer Bangladesh and Olympic Industries. l

Stocks finished the week flat with high volatility yesterday, as investors were cautious over corporate declarations. The market moved between negative and positive several times throughout the session, making the intraday volatility more than 30 points. The benchmark DSEX was marginally up 2 points to close at 4,699, after marginally higher in the previous session. Shariah DSES rose around 4 points or 0.3% to 1011. The blue-chip comprising DS30 ended at 1,690, shedding 3 points or 0.2%. Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, was down 13 points to close at 9,207. The market breadth remained negative as out of 293 issues traded at the DSE, 124 closed higher, 132 lower and 37 remained unchanged. IDLC Investment in its daily market analysis said volatility, assisted by scrip-wise swings, dragged the streak of flat endings to fourth session. With investors’ focus remaining largely unchanged, market participation stay tilted to heavy weighted scrips, it said. Supported by this, turnover in-

DSE GAINERS

DSE key features March 6, 2014

Stocks stay flat in high volatility

87,474

Traded Issues

293

Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)

116

Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)

167

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

10

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)

2,309.75

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)

28.00

Turnover (Million Taka)

324.97

Turnover (Volume)

7,037,593

Number of Contract

12,660

Traded Issues

221

DSE Broad Index :

4699.62837

(+) 0.04%

75

DSE Shariah Index :

1011.34625

(+) 0.39%

Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)

134

DSE - 30 Index :

1690.12242

(-) 0.20%

Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)

CSE All Share Index:

14570.6825

(-) 0.04%

CSE - 30 Index :

12322.0854 9207.7533

CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS Company Reliance Insur -A Northern Jute -Z Reckitt Benckiser -A Bangladesh Welding -A Pragati Gen. I -A Rahima Food -Z United Leasing - A Prime Insur -A BDCOM Online-A

Summit Power -A

Closing (% change) -17.46 -9.86 -5.14 -5.11 -4.93 -4.67 -4.42 -4.11 -3.30

-3.23

CSE LOSERS Company Continental Insur. -A ICB AMCL IslamicMF-A Bank Asia -A 6th ICB M F-A Aramit -A Trust Bank-A AMCL 2nd MF-A Sonargaon Tex -A ICB -A

City G Insu.-A

Closing (% change) -6.33 -6.11 -5.50 -4.99 -4.85 -4.81 -4.23 -3.39 -3.35

-3.21

Average (% change) -16.40 -8.57 -5.08 -1.72 -5.04 -4.39 -2.56 -3.44 -3.19

-2.13

Average (% change) -5.29 -6.11 -1.33 -4.98 -4.85 -4.17 -1.42 -3.55 -3.83

-2.80

ANALYST

Closing average 64.93 64.00 1025.10 22.92 58.40 59.86 30.45 28.11 32.14

42.37

Closing average 28.10 21.50 19.34 59.00 345.00 17.46 6.95 17.11 1,778.25

27.10

11

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

(+) 0.32%

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)

2,208.07

(-) 0.15%

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)

26.76

Closing 64.30 64.00 1025.10 22.30 57.80 59.20 30.30 28.00 32.20

Closing 28.10 21.50 18.90 59.00 345.00 17.80 6.80 17.10 1,778.30

27.10

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 338.17 127.53 85.51 400.31 192.41 473.93 2.47 497.05 497.07 0.35 13.40 360.28 14.87 337.74 36.33 64.80 271.63 235.50 48.97 130.45 0.45

64.00 64.00 1025.10 21.80 55.00 58.60 28.00 27.00 30.00

44.00

Daily high

Turnover in million

Daily low

67.00 64.00 1025.10 23.80 61.00 62.00 33.00 28.70 33.50

41.90

39.00

27.90

16.442

Turnover in million

Daily low

28.10 21.50 19.90 59.00 345.00 17.90 7.20 17.20 1,778.50

1.883 0.026 0.051 5.953 4.316 3.831 8.866 0.405 14.011

28.10 21.50 18.80 59.00 345.00 17.10 6.80 17.00 1,778.00

27.00

0.042 0.011 0.320 0.012 0.035 0.377 2.103 0.077 0.178

0.144

Latest EPS 4.63 -10.24 28.52 0.57 4.19 -1.00 2.09 2.23 1.70

3.59

Latest EPS 2.35 2.56 1.92 6.54 11.53 0.85 0.88 -0.69 40.46

1.99

Latest PE 14.0 -ve 35.9 40.2 13.9 -ve 14.6 12.6 18.9

CSE GAINERS Company Rupali Life Insur.-A Standard Ceramic -A Bangladesh Lamps -A Nitol Insurance -A CVO PetroChem RL-Z Prime Islami Life -A ICB AMCL 2nd NRB -A Marico BD Ltd-A Berger Paints-A Square Textile -A

% change 8.19 3.09 2.07 9.69 4.66 11.48 0.06 12.04 12.04 0.01 0.32 8.73 0.36 8.18 0.88 1.57 6.58 5.70 1.19 3.16 0.01

Million Taka 39.28 11.56 8.07 26.25 15.88 21.63 41.67 44.05 6.29 1.48 15.28 0.99 30.18 3.10 1.23 13.51 32.09 8.46 21.78 0.00

% change 11.46 3.37 2.36 7.66 4.63 6.31 0.00 12.16 12.85 1.84 0.43 4.46 0.29 8.81 0.90 0.36 3.94 9.36 2.47 6.35 0.00

Million Taka 377.46 139.10 93.59 426.56 208.29 495.56 2.47 538.72 541.11 6.65 14.88 375.56 15.86 367.92 39.43 66.02 285.14 267.59 57.42 152.23 0.45

Total

Closing (% change) 9.96 9.05 8.70 7.12 7.08 7.05 6.86 6.25 6.16 6.01

Average (% change) 6.96 4.27 5.77 7.12 2.49 7.08 5.85 9.13 5.72 5.70

BANKASIA: The Board of Directors has recommended 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 31.03.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: Dhaka Ladies Club, 36 Eskaton Garden Road, Dhaka-1000. Record date: 16.03.2014. The Company has also reported consolidated EPS of Tk. 1.92, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 20.99 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. 15.17 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. ULC: The Board of Directors has recommended 5% cash dividend and 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 10.04.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: Trust Milonayaton, 545 Old Airport Road, Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka. Record date: 18.03.2014. The Company has also reported net profit after tax of Tk. 266.42 million, EPS of Tk. 2.09, NAV per share of Tk. 16.98 and NOCFPS of Tk. 6.09 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. PREMIERCEM: Credit Rating Information and Services Limited (CRISL) has rated the Company as "AA-" in the long term and

Closing average 120.97 133.67 125.48 235.36 379.32 46.10 149.07 1,166.47 111.47 98.90

Closing average 121.25 44.97 148.78 37.60 839.37 119.93 10.85 1178.26 1014.90 112.06

Closing 124.00 137.80 126.60 242.90 380.30 46.40 151.20 1,172.90 112.70 99.90

Closing 124.70 47.00 152.40 37.60 877.00 119.90 10.90 1178.30 1019.10 112.90

Daily high 124.60 138.60 126.90 243.40 382.90 46.80 152.90 1,173.10 113.40 100.50

Daily high 124.70 47.00 153.00 37.70 877.00 120.00 10.90 1178.30 995.00 113.50

Daily low 110.00 115.00 108.00 229.00 350.00 40.00 138.00 1,100.00 101.00 92.20

Daily low 117.10 43.10 144.00 37.50 820.10 119.80 10.80 1178.00 1000.00 107.00

Turnover in million 52.210 70.560 2.403 13.745 3.349 2.125 11.397 19.305 182.022 44.337

Turnover in million 1.152 0.135 0.484 0.038 0.252 0.018 0.011 1.178 1.015 10.905

Latest EPS 5.33 2.26 1.40 5.32 7.88 1.06 -0.77 46.53 6.40 2.42

Latest EPS 5.33 1.06 -0.77 2.75 -4.06 4.95 1.46 46.53 41.85 6.40

Latest PE 22.7 59.1 89.6 44.2 48.1 43.5 -ve 25.1 17.4 40.9

Latest PE 22.7 42.4 -ve 13.7 -ve 24.2 7.4 25.3 24.3 17.5

"ST-3" in the short term in consideration of financials of the Company up to June 30, 2013 (audited) and other relevant quantitative as well as qualitative information up to the date of rating declaration. PADMAOIL: The Company has informed that it has credited the bonus shares for the year ended on June 30, 2013 to the respective shareholders' BO Accounts on February 27, 2014. The Company has also informed that cash dividend will be credited to the respective shareholders' Bank Accounts under Bangladesh Electronic Fund Transfer Network (BEFTN). Further, NRB account holders and the shareholders whose specific Branch/ Bank accounts have not been found by the Company are requested to contact with Company's Registerd Office at 'Padma Bhaban', Strand Road, Sadarghat, Chittagong along with the Bank Account. Contact No.031-614235 (Ext. 214) Besides, shareholders are requested to collect their dividend notice from March 11, 2014 to March 13, 2014 during business hours from the Company's above mentioned Head Office. Uncollected dividend notice will be

dispatched to the respective shareholders' addresses through post Office/ Courier Service. From BIASL Desk: Impact after declaration: BANKASIA dropped by 2.04%, close at 18.90 with PE 9.84. Price of ULC slided by 4.41%, close at 29.90 with PE 14.31. Price Correction after Record Day: Relience Insurance’s price correction was 17.45% (taka 13.60) against 15% Cash & 15% Stock Dividend (1.5+11.67=taka 13.19 per share approx.). After record day restated EPS is taka 4.63 and NAV per share is taka 55.12. 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.

Latest PE 12.0 8.4 10.1 9.0 29.9 20.5 7.9 -ve 44.0

13.6

DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Square Pharma -A Bata Shoe Ltd. -A Square Textile -A LafargeS Cement-Z Meghna Petroleum -A BD Submarine Cable-A Grameenphone-A

CSE

9.44 8.59 8.48 8.44 8.01 7.66 7.01 6.23 6.02 5.83

Average (% change) 8.18 5.97 7.32 6.45 7.73 8.57 4.91 10.02 5.26 5.07

11.8

With investors’ focus remaining largely unchanged, market participation stay tilted to heavy weighted scrips

SECTORAL TURNOVER SUMMARY Sector

Daily high

Rupali Life Insur.-A National Tubes -A Eastern Cables-Z Renwick Jajneswar-A Kohinoor Chem -A Standard Ceramic -A Bangladesh Lamps -A Marico BD Ltd-A Square Textile -A Mithun Knitting -A

Closing (% change)

News from trade server

CSE key features March 6, 2014

Daily capital market highlights

Friday, March 7, 2014

% change 8.44 3.11 2.09 9.54 4.66 11.08 0.06 12.05 12.10 0.15 0.33 8.40 0.35 8.23 0.88 1.48 6.38 5.98 1.28 3.40 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 biasl@bol-online.com or call 01552153562 or go to www.biasl.net

Singer BD -A Olympic Ind. -A Jamuna Oil -A

BSC-A Southeast Bank-A Padma Oil Co. -A Delta Life Insu. -A National Tubes -A CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company BD Submarine Cable-A

Square Pharma -A BSC-A LafargeS Cement-Z UCBL - A Square Textile -A Delta Life Insu. -A Appollo Ispat CL -N Southeast Bank-A Apex Tannery -A Grameenphone-A Singer BD -A AFC AgroBiotech-N M.I. Cement-A Padma Oil Co. -A

Volume shares 946,682 293,096 1,632,866 3,647,000 452,894 538,651 522,200 418,779 452,270 423,929

143,715 3,266,282 226,699 278,950 527,870

Volume shares

111,106 75,639 24,495 318,000 471,158 97,315 31,250 257,600 301,913 36,100 31,000 25,524 101,500 67,866 16,963

Value in million 264.58 263.77 182.02 156.47 128.67 123.30 112.20 107.50 101.61 98.09

89.43 75.57 74.89 73.76 70.56

Value in million

25.44 21.16 15.26 13.58 13.41 10.91 8.27 7.65 6.97 6.79 6.65 6.54 6.43 5.97 5.60

% of total turnover 6.41 6.39 4.41 3.79 3.12 2.99 2.72 2.60 2.46 2.38

2.17 1.83 1.81 1.79 1.71

% of total turnover

7.90 6.57 4.74 4.22 4.17 3.39 2.57 2.38 2.16 2.11 2.07 2.03 2.00 1.85 1.74

Daily closing 279.80 900.00 112.70 43.00 283.90 228.00 214.70 257.60 224.00 231.20

624.00 23.00 329.50 263.80 137.80

Daily closing

228.10 279.90 624.80 43.00 28.30 112.90 264.00 29.50 23.00 188.20 214.10 256.20 63.10 89.00 329.70

Price change 0.76 3.66 6.02 0.23 0.39 0.31 0.47 1.94 -0.31 -0.34

Daily opening 277.70 868.20 106.30 42.90 282.80 227.30 213.70 252.70 224.70 232.00

Price change

Daily opening

1.09 -0.86 -0.12 -0.19 8.59

0.57 0.94 1.43 1.18 -1.39 6.01 -0.38 -1.67 -1.29 1.62 0.05 1.47 -1.56 3.13 -0.33

617.25 23.20 329.90 264.30 126.90

226.80 277.30 616.00 42.50 28.70 106.50 265.00 30.00 23.30 185.20 214.00 252.50 64.10 86.30 330.80

Daily high 281.50 909.90 113.40 43.90 288.00 231.90 216.50 262.00 228.70 235.00

Daily low 260.00 850.00 101.00 42.20 259.00 208.00 213.60 238.00 206.00 214.00

Daily average 279.48 899.94 111.47 42.90 284.10 228.90 214.87 256.71 224.67 231.39

Daily high

Daily low

Daily average

628.50 24.00 340.00 266.90 138.60

231.80 281.00 628.30 43.60 28.80 113.50 266.00 30.20 23.30 190.00 216.50 259.00 64.30 89.40 334.60

616.00 20.90 301.20 263.60 115.00

226.50 278.20 617.50 42.10 26.00 107.00 263.20 29.40 22.80 185.00 213.10 252.00 62.90 86.40 329.00

622.25 23.14 330.35 264.42 133.67

228.96 279.79 623.11 42.72 28.47 112.06 264.61 29.71 23.07 188.04 214.53 256.05 63.35 87.99 330.13


DHAKA TRIBUNE

Business

B3

Friday, March 7, 2014

Dollar to outperform other major RMG factories this year face production currencies n suspension Reuters, Bangalore

n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi A review panel of factory inspections yesterday asked Softex and Fame Sweater to suspend production and asked to retrofit before going for production. The decision was taken at a meeting of the review committee, following a recommendation from the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Fakhrul Amin and Ehsanul Kabir, professors of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, BGMEA and BKMEA representative Shahidullah Azim and representatives from Alliance and Accord were present at the meeting. “We have found some problems in Softex, which needs retrofitting and after the discussion among the review panel, the factory owners have been asked to suspend production and make quick retrofitting,” said a meeting source, wishing anonymity. Fame Sweater Limited has been asked to minimise loads on floor, strengthen column and then to restart production after four days of the improvement, he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, the review panel asked Jeans Care, a Tejgaon-based garment maker, to take immediate steps to upgrade safety standards to remain in production. According to the statistics of Accord, the retailers’ platform has inspected over 70 factories as of yesterday. On February 20, the Accord, the platform of 150 European retailers, launched the first phase of inspection involving fire and structural integrity and inspected over 65 factories. In the first phase, the Accord has set a target of inspecting 200 apparel factories, from which its signatories source products. The issue of fire and building safety came under the spotlight last year, following the catastrophic incident at the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed over 1,100 workers. Following the factory disaster, the retailers’ platform made a commitment to provide financial and technical support to improve fire and building safety standards of RMG factories, from which they source products. l

The dollar will easily outperform other major currencies in the coming year, according to foreign exchange strategists polled by Reuters, driven by demand for US assets prompted by a shift in Federal Reserve policy. After cutting its $85bn of monthly asset purchases by $10bn twice since December, the Fed has clearly signaled its intentions of closing its quantitative easing programme this year. That initially led to a sell-off in emerging markets and has driven expectations for the Fed to raise interest rates in the second half of next year. Wednesday’s poll of over 60 analysts conducted March 3-5, showed the dollar set to gain against the euro, yen and sterling over the next 12 months. “Real interest rates in the US are going to rise and that is going to certainly decrease the (capital) flow outside of the US into other economies,” said Geoffrey Yu, a currency strategist at UBS. “We have seen that trend in emerging markets already and are going to see it in other economies as well.” The poll showed the euro holding around $1.36 in a month’s time, just shy of Wednesday trading level around $1.37. It is expected to weaken over the

next year - to $1.34 in three months, and $1.28 in 12. Similarly, the yen was forecast to hold near 102 per US dollar in a month, and then weaken to 104 in three months and 110 in a year. A fall in the yen to 110 per dollar in a year, as the poll predicts, would take

the currency to a low not seen since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008.

Divergence

Analysts also attribute the broad dollar rally to the divergence in monetary policies in developed economies. While calls for the Fed tightening its

European Commission offering 11bn euros aid package to Ukraine

Oil prices mixed in Asian trade n AFP, Singapore

Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade yesterday on data showing weaker US energy demand as Russia comes under international pressure following its seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April delivery, fell 42 cents to $101.03 in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for April rose 18 cents to $107.94. Kenny Kan, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said an increase in weekly crude inventories in the United States weighed on WTI prices. A rise in stockpiles indicates weaker demand in the world’s biggest oil consuming nation. “Many analysts considered the data to be bearish,” Kan told AFP. The US Department of Energy said commercial crude-oil inventories rose 1.4 million barrels in the week ending February 28, more than analysts’ consensus estimate of a 1 million barrel gain. Investors are also keeping an eye on developments in Ukraine after Russian-backed troops moved into Crimea, sparking the worst crisis in Europe since the Cold War. Russia vies with Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude oil producer, and is the second-largest producer of natural gas. More than 70% of its gas and oil exports to Europe pass through Ukraine, and analysts fear that an escalation of the crisis could lead to a disruption in supplies. Russia will face further diplomatic pressure yesterday as the UN Security Council and European leaders hold emergency talks on the matter. l

SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

policy have increased, expectations are for the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank to maintain an easing bias to support their economies. Indeed, with euro zone inflation running well below the ECB’s target of just under 2%, the central bank is under pressure to print money, something a separate Reuters poll showed a growing minority predicting. “They (the ECB) have precious little ammunition left, but at the very least they will try and make as much dovish noise as possible,” said Kit Jukes, head of foreign exchange research at Societe Generale, referring to yesterday’s ECB rates meeting. Over the past few years leading currency watchers as a group have repeatedly called for the euro to weaken, only to see it rise against the dollar. However, if the ECB does ease in a substantial way by way of outright quantitative easing like its counterparts in other developed economies, that trend could reverse. “There can be some justification for the euro strength like a reduction in risk premium and capital flows, but it probably has reached its peak and we expect it to weaken up ahead,” UBS’s Yu said. The British pound was forecast at $1.66 in one month, and then to weaken to 1.65 in three and 1.62 in a year. l

n AFP, Brussels

Emerging markets output growth slows to five-month low in Feb - survey n Reuters, London Business activity across emerging markets expanded in February at the slowest pace in five months, weighed down by weaker manufacturing in big developing countries such as Russia and China, a survey showed on Thursday. HSBC’s composite emerging markets index of manufacturing and services purchasing managers’ surveys slipped for the third month running to 51.1 in February. It stayed under the 2013 average of 51.7 and well below a long-run level of 54. But the monthly index remained above the 50 threshold which marks the difference between expansion and contraction. Based on data from purchasing managers at about 8,000 firms in 17 countries, the survey showed Chinese

factory output stayed below the 50 mark. Manufacturing in Russia, India and Brazil hovered just above 50. “Emerging economies are struggling to gain traction,” said Murat Ulgen, HSBC’s chief economist for eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. “This time the weakness came from manufacturing, while services recorded a slight improvement.” There was little hope for a quick turnaround, Ulgen said, noting tighter global financial conditions, worries about the Chinese economy, and geopolitical tensions surrounding Ukraine. “The Ukraine and Russia standoff could undermine Europe’s fledgling recovery, and in turn the global trade cycle,” he said, warning the crisis posed the biggest risk to recovery in central European countries such as Poland and Czech Republic. l

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso announced Wednesday a massive aid package to Ukraine of “at least 11bn euros” as the West stepped up plans to help the new government. “It is a package designed to assist a committed, inclusive and reformsoriented Ukrainian government,” said Barroso on the eve of an EU crisis summit on events in Ukraine. “The package combined could bring an overall support of at least 11bn euros ($15bn) over the next couple of years,” the head of the EU executive told a news conference. He said he would discuss details of the assistance on Thursday with new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is to attend the emergency EU summit called to mull a joint response to the crisis in Crimea. Barroso called on the EU’s 28 member states for “further efforts” of assistance, along with those of other financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and “all partners that want to contribute. The United States this week offered a $1bn loan. Barroso said the EU package would include 1.6bn euros in loans under macro-financial assistance, 1.4bn euros in grants, of which 600m euros can be disbursed in the next two years, and 3bn euros from the European Investment Bank from 2014-2016. The Commission said another 250m euros would be leveraged to obtain 3.5 billion euros of loans from bankable in-

vestment projects. And the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is expected to invest 5 billion euros in Ukraine’s economy through 2020. The offer is far above the 610m euros originally offered to Ukraine under a political association agreement - the deal spurned last year by ousted president Viktor Yanukovych that triggered three months of protests. Barroso said the EU remained ready to sign the accord, which would bring “millions of valuable savings” on import duties. It was also seeking how to help Ukraine reduce its huge energy bill. Barroso said the European Commission would also create a special donor coordination mechanism which the European Union is ready to host. The 5bn euro figure from the EBRD represents an increase from the previous investment plans, which had been scaled back over corruption concerns in Ukraine, and the bank said it could

invest even more if economic circumstances permit. But it cautioned that it was “essential for investor confidence that Ukraine agree a macro-economic stabilisation programme with the International Monetary Fund and that it tackle endemic corruption.” The EBRD has been working over the last year on an anti-corruption initiative with Ukraine. “If we see an IMF package, if we see signs of an anti-corruption initiative, and if the economic conditions are right, then we could put in more than 5bn euros,” EBRD communications director of communications Jonathan Charles told AFP Charles also said: “There is no change in our investment activities in Russia”. The EBRD was formed in 1991 to help former Soviet bloc countries switch to a market economy, and in 2012 expanded its reach to emerging Arab democracies. l

IBM China workers strike over terms in $2.3bn Lenovo deal n Reuters Dragonair yesterday celebrated its 25 years of service in Dhaka with a gala dinner held at Lake Shore hotel. The celebratory event was hosted by Dragonair CEO, Patrick Yeung with the Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Li Jun as the guest-of-honour AB Bank recently has received NRB award for supporting initiatives of branding Bangladesh. Shamim Ahmed Chaudhury, the bank’s president and MD, received the award from Atiur Rahman, governor of Bangladesh Bank at a function in Dhaka

Islami Bank Bangladesh Lmited (IBBL) received gold medal for its outstanding contribution to the foreign remittance services of Bangladesh. On behalf of centre for NRBs, Bangladesh Bank governor, Atiur Rahman handed over the award to Mohammad Abdul Mannan, IBBL’s MD at a function held on Tuesday at Pan Pacific Sonargaon in Dhaka

First Security Islami Bank Training Institute inaugurated its 12th foundation training course for trainee assistant cash officers recently. The bank’s MD, AAM Zakaria inaugurated the course

More than 1,000 workers at an IBM factory in southern China have gone on strike against the terms of their transfer to Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd caused by the U.S. company's $2.3bn sale of its low-end server business. Several workers gather outside gate of the International Business Machines Corp factory in Shenzhen yesterday said production remains suspended for a fourth straight day. "So far, we've heard nothing from the management or the government in response to our demands," said Hou Hongbo, a 10- year worker at the factory. "The company's attitude so far is to ignore us, but the entire production remains shut down." The workers want higher pay if they choose to transfer to Lenovo or higher severance packages if they choose to leave. Hou said they were determined to keep their action going. "We will definitely keep striking tomorrow," he said. The terms offered to workers at the

International System Technology Company factory in Shenzhen are "comparable in aggregate to what they currently are receiving," IBM spokeswoman Florence Ma said in an e-mailed statement. If workers choose to leave, they will receive an "equitable severance package," Ma said. "We are hoping employees will decide to remain with ISTC," Ma said. Lenovo declined comment. Workers at Chinese factories are increasingly turning to protests and factory shut-downs when they feel the terms of international takeovers are not good enough or labor conditions have worsened. Hundreds of employees stopped work at a Nokia factory in Dongguan in November, complaining of changes following Nokia's sale of its mobile phone business to US software giant Microsoft Corp. Last August, 5,000 workers in eastern Shandong Province went on strike to protest Apollo Tires Ltd's proposed $2.5bn acquisition of US-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. l


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US CEO in apparent suicide was bitcoin fan, had other issues, too n Reuters, Singapore A young American CEO who apparently committed suicide in Singapore was involved in the world of the bitcoin, but was also struggling with other issues prior to her death, friends and colleagues said. Autumn Radtke, chief executive of virtual currency exchange First Meta Pte Ltd, was found dead on February 26. Police said they were investigating her "unnatural" death, and "preliminary investigations showed no foul play is suspected." Neighbors said they thought Radtke jumped to her death from a residential apartment complex near her home. Friends and colleagues said Radtke, 28, was wrestling with professional and personal pressures, not least running a start-up that was struggling to gain traction. "She had a phenomenal network of highly successful people around her, and here she is running this little exchange and it just isn't taking off in the way anybody had hoped," Steve Beauregard, CEO and founder of GoCoin, a start-up which provided bitcoin-related services to First Meta, told Reuters. Beauregard rented a room in Radtke's large Singapore home-cumoffice and was among the last people to see her alive. Bitcoin is under scrutiny after Tokyo-based Mt Gox, once the world's dominant exchange for the virtual currency, filed for bankruptcy in Japan last week, blaming hackers for the loss of 850,000 bitcoins - worth more than $550m at today's rates. A smaller, Canada-based exchange also shut, saying hackers had stolen all its bitcoins. Douglas Abrams, director of First Meta, denied the company was struggling or up for sale, and said Radtke "did a great job as CEO." But he said selling the company always remained an option and there had been plans to save money by moving out of its current office space, a townhouse which doubled as Radtke's home. Beauregard and others said First Meta, which initially functioned as an online trade platform for the currency

ENERGY-SAVING CAMPAIGN TAKES A NEW LOOK

used in the Second Life online world, and then expanded to other games, was not primarily involved in bitcoin. Last year, it allowed users to sell bitcoins for dollars and last month signed a deal with GoCoin. "I'm not trying to distance First Meta from bitcoin, but it doesn't provide two-way trading in bitcoin," Abrams told Reuters.

Bitcoin fan

Friends said Radtke, however, was a huge fan of bitcoin and had invested in it personally. One said she had persuaded friends to invest as well. Her Facebook page includes several links to bitcoin stories, mostly celebrating last year's rise in value. In one, she comments on a sharp but brief dip in the bitcoin price last December: "The 'panic' or as I call it Christmas sale was great! Real bitcoiners got 30-40% off." "She had substantial exposure to the ups and downs of bitcoin, and while it's not likely to be the sole reason to this tragedy, it would be naive to think it didn't have a role," said one friend. Others contested any role the virtual currency had in her death. Beauregard said he had several conversations with her in the 48 hours prior to her death about personal and professional issues. "Bitcoin and Mt Gox were not part of those conversations," he said. Radtke, who moved to Singapore in early 2012, previously worked at another start-up in Santa Monica, California. Plug and Play's Scott Robinson, who focuses on Silicon Valley bitcoin startups, said Radtke's years of experience in video game virtual currencies made her an instant expert and an asset to the relatively young, predominantly male, bitcoin community. "She was a go-getter, she always worked very hard ... she stuck out as one of the only women representing bitcoin." Before heading up First Meta, Radtke had business development roles at tech start-ups Xfire and Geodelic Systems, according to information on her LinkedIn profile. l

Wayne Garrett of Canada poses with his art installation "CLOUD", made up of 5000 new and recycled lightbulbs, along the Marina Bay in Singapore. Garrett and compatriot Caitlind Brown are part of the 28 groups of local and international artists who are taking part in the i Light Marina Bay biennial sustainable light art festival which will run from today onwards till March 30 along the Marina Bay REUTERS

In a driverless future, drivers will do anything else n AFP, Geneva

Brew an espresso, watch a movie on a large screen, surf the Internet or simply sit and chat with friends? As automakers and technology firms steer towards a future of driverless cars, a Swiss think tank is at the Geneva Motor Show this week showing off its vision of what vehicles might look like on the inside when people no longer have to focus on the road. "Once I can drive autonomously, would I want to watch while my steering wheel turns happily from left to right?" asked Rinspeed founder and chief executive Frank Rinderknecht. "No I would like to do anything else but drive and watch the traffic. Eat, sleep, work, whatever you can imagine," he told AFP at the show, which opens its doors to the public yesterday. Google is famously working on fully autonomous cars, and traditional carmakers are rapidly developing a range of autonomous technologies as well.

With analysts expecting sales of self-driving, if not completely driverless, cars to begin taking off by the end of this decade, Rinderknecht insists it's time to consider how the experience of riding in a car will could be radically redefined. Patting his shiny Xchange concept car, Rinderknecht says he envisages a future where car passengers will want to do the same kinds of things we today do to kill time on trains an airplanes. So Rinspeed has revamped the interior of Tesla's Model S electric car to show carmakers how they might turn standard-sized vehicles into entertainment centres, offices and meeting spots wrapped into one. The seats can slide, swivel, and tilt into more than 20 positions, allowing passengers to turn to face each other or a 32-inch screen in the back. Up front too, an entertainment system lines the entire length of the dashboard, and the steering wheel can be shifted to allow passengers a better view of the screens.

Espresso anyone?

And of course there is an espresso machine. While brewing coffee, video conferencing and keeping an eye on your email at 120 kilometres an hour may sound like a fantasy today, Rinderknecht is convinced it could happen in the not too distanced future. "We think this is what things could look like in a few years time," he said. Driving, he said, is on the cusp of being redefined, allowing people to take the wheel for pleasure, for instance while going over an Alpine pass, but handing over control of the car on tedious stretches. "If I have to go three hours from Geneva to Zurich and it's congested, I'm not doing anything... I want to be doing something else," he said. Carmakers at the Geneva Motor Show seemed to agree that vehicles that drive themselves, at least to a certain extent, are on the horizon. "Autonomous driving is an inevitability that we are approaching very

rapidly," Hyundai Europe COO Allan Rushforth told AFP. He stressed though that "full automation" was not a priority. Ford Europe chief Stephen Odelle also said the technology was speeding forward, but added that he believed "the technology will be ready before legislation and consumers are." "How comfortable will consumers be with fully automated cars?" he asked, adding that legislating for liability would be quite tricky with no driver behind the wheel. Rinderknecht acknowledged there are obstacles, but insisted "they can be overcome." He pointed out that accident reduction is actually a major argument for automation, since once the technology is finalised the machines should be far more reliable than humans. And while it will be an upward battle to redefine liability legislation, "I think it can be done, because laws must adapt to life, and life as we all know changes," he said. l

Barclays pays nearly 500 bankers more than 1m pounds

US eyes 'talk and trade' to repair ties with India n AFP, New Delhi The first senior US official to visit India since a damaging diplomatic row said Thursday the two countries should focus on "talk and trade" as they look to get their partnership back on track. In December, a female Indian consulate official was arrested and stripsearched in New York on suspicion of visa fraud, enraging Indian authorities who said she had diplomatic immunity. The incident fuelled a bitter row between the world's two largest democracies, which have overcome Cold War suspicions to embrace each other as trading partners and strategic allies in recent years. Nisha Desai Biswal, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, acknowledged problems in a speech in the Indian capital on Thursday but urged both sides to overcome their differences. "We're addressing these concerns head-on as good partners do," she said, adding: "The solution is to talk and trade." Red tape, a lack of transparency in tax law and weak protection of intellectual property are discouraging investment in India, Biswal said as she listed a series of US concerns. She also highlighted that India has ranked a dismal 134 out of 189 countries in world rankings for hospitable places to "invest and start a new business". Annual trade between India and the US currently stands at a $100 billion but the two sides have pledged to increase this figure five-fold over the next decade. While highlighting India's strategic importance, Biswal said the US was eager for better relations between the South Asian giant and its neighbours to the west - Pakistan and Afghanistan - and central and southeastern Asia. "In the coming years, the most important step India can take to promote greater connectivity is to normalise trade with Pakistan," she said. l

Friday, March 7, 2014

n Reuters, London

The photo shows the splash page for the internet site AirPnP.com. based on the model of shared rooms homestay AirBnB that now offers the nearest toilet AFP

Gotta pee? There's a website for that n AFP, Washington

It has been the ruin of many a pleasant outing: Nature calls, but there's nowhere to go. Now, a new website is making it easier for tourists to get much needed relief when traveling in an unfamiliar city or town. The site, Airpnp, is modeled after the popular lodging website Airbnb, in which homeowners make their spare rooms or unoccupied dwellings available to paying lodgers for a fee - often considerably less than the cost of a hotel stay. In a similar vein, users of Airpnp are matched with bars, restaurants, offices and homes where they can pay to use the loo, usually for a fee of five dollars or less. The idea was the brainchild of Max Gaudin and Travis Laurendine, two New Orleans natives - they call themselves "entrepeeneurs" - who have encountered the problem frequently over the years during that city's riotous Mardi Gras festivities. Fat Tuesday celebrations in the southern US city, which were held yesterday, are marked by an abundance of

drinking but too few places to relieve oneself. The bathroom shortage prompts some revelers to resort to public urination - a criminal offense. Airpnp solves that problem by connecting people willing to share the toilets in their private bathrooms with strangers willing to pay up to five dollars for the privilege. "When there aren't enough bathrooms nearby for the amount of people in any given location Airpnp is there to save the day," its website said. Users can select from among pictures posted on the site, which also have descriptions of the amenities. They are "able to rate their pee experience afterwards so others can see how each restroom stacks up," the Airpnp website said. In addition to the site's dozens of loos in the United States, most of which so far are concentrated in the New Orleans area, there are also about 120 bathrooms posted in Europe on Airpnp. The site so far is available only on the Internet, although its founders say a smartphone app is in the works. l

Barclays paid almost 500 staff more than 1m pounds last year, prompting criticism that pay is still too high and that banks have not changed their ways since the financial crisis. Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group also revealed in their annual reports that their chief executives could each earn more than 7m pounds this year and that both banks were seeking approval from shareholders to pay some staff bonuses of double their fixed pay. Bonuses have been blamed for contributing to excessive risk-taking that led to the 2008 crisis and the European Union has taken steps to cap them. Conservative lawmaker Andrew Tyrie, chairman of parliament's Treasury Select Committee, on Wednesday slammed the bonuses paid out by UK banks and said authorities may need to step in. "It is regrettable that a number of banks appear not to have accepted the need for fundamental reform in this year's bonus round. The new consensus emerging on pay remains seriously flawed. It will now be up to regulators to do the job." Barclays provoked fury last month when it paid out 2.4bn pounds in bonuses for 2013, up 10% on the year despite profits tumbling by a third. Barclays said 481 staff were paid at least 1m pounds in 2013, up from 428 the year

DILBERT

before. It said 57% of last year's number were based in the United States and 27% or 130 - were based in Britain. Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins has said he had to increase bonuses to help to retain staff. Jenkins was quoted in the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday saying he feared a "death spiral" where the bank struggled to attract good staff and its brand was damaged. Barclays said Jenkins could be paid up to 7.2m pounds this year, down 1.4m from his maximum pay under his previous pay structure, although more is now guaranteed. Lloyds, which is 33% -owned by the government, said its CEO Antonio HortaOsorio could be paid as much as 7.8m pounds this year. BONUS CAPS Lloyds' Horta-Osorio was paid 4.5m pounds for 2013, including long-term share awards and pension and benefits. He could have received a maximum of 8m pounds. Lloyds said it expected Horta-Osorio to get 4.9m pounds this year, but he has the potential to get almost 3m more. He will get a base salary of 1.1m pounds for 2014, an additional fixed payment worth about 900,000 pounds and benefits worth 700,000. He could get a 2014 bonus of 1.5m and 3.6m pounds of shares under a long-term incentive plan. Lloyds said it would seek approval from shareholders to be able to pay key staff bo-

nuses worth 200 percent of their fixed pay, following Barclays and HSBC (HSBA.L). European rules have capped bonuses at 100% of salary, but this can rise to 200% if shareholders allow it. Lloyds said it paid 27 staff more than 1m euros in 2013, a year in which it set aside billions of pounds to compensate customers mis-sold loan insurance. The bank said it clawed back bonuses that were paid to some executives in 2010 and 2011 to reflect losses the bank has made on insurance policies mis-sold in the past. In its annual report, Lloyds, which is headquartered in Edinburgh and owns Bank of Scotland, said if Scots vote this year for independence from the rest of the United Kingdom, it could have a material impact on its compliance, tax and funding costs. Barclays said Jenkins was paid 1.6m pounds last year, after waiving his bonus for the second straight year as the bank fell short of its targets and raised cash from shareholders. He will this year receive 1.1m pounds in base salary, 363,000 in pension and benefits and a fixed allowance of 950,000. He could receive up to 1.9m pounds in annual bonus and 2.9m in long-term share awards. The bank said eight staff were paid more than 5m pounds during the year, up from five in 2012, and a further 54 were last year paid at least 2.5m. l

March 07, 2014  
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