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Falgun 29, 1420 Jamadiul Awal 12, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 1 No 350

FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2014 | www.dhakatribune.com | SECOND EDITION

Weekend | WHEN EINSTEIN MET TAGORE

7 | MIGHT OF PEN

Delhi offers Dhaka another $1bn credit

9 | THE FLIGHT OF MYSTERY

20 pages plus 32-page weekend supplement | Price: Tk10

B1 | WOMEN FACE HURDLES IN BUSINESS

ALL THAT GLITTERS LEADS TO CRICKET

No conditions to be placed on use of fund

n Tribune Report India has offered an additional $1 billion credit to Bangladesh for the development of trade facilities and infrastructure. Shri Arvind Mehta, joint secretary of India’s Department of Commerce, placed the proposal at the ninth meeting of the Joint Working Group on trade at the commerce ministry yesterday. Joint Secretary of Bangladesh

Bangladesh government is now spending $800m in 13 projects and the remaining $200m was used to support the 2013-14 budget as a grant commerce ministry M Shahabuddin Patwary led the Bangladesh side at the two-day-long meeting. After the meeting, which discussed 16 trade issues of India and eight of Bangladesh, Mehta told reporters that the Indian commerce ministry would be the guarantor of the Indian Exim Bank, which would disburse the loan at a libor rate plus 2.5%-3% interest. The credit would be the same as the previous credit facility provided to Bangladesh, he said.

“Sri Lanka has already taken $800 million credit under the [Indian] commerce ministry scheme to develop its agriculture and solar power,” he said. Mehta further said Bangladesh needed a big capital and Bangladesh could use the fund anywhere as the government liked. Dhaka and New Delhi had signed a $1bn loan deal with the Indian EXIM Bank in August 2010. Bangladesh had proposed undertaking 20 projects with the credit. Bangladesh government is now spending $800 million in 13 projects and the remaining $200mwas used to support the 2013-14 budget as a grant. Mehta said India had also decided to supply 500MW electricity to Bangladesh in addition to the 500MW being added to the national grid every day now. He pointed out that Bangladesh only needed to develop its infrastructure to take the 1,000MW electricity from India. The Indian joint secretary said the Joint Working Group meeting had also discussed starting a container train service, coastal shipping and motor vehicle agreement. The issues should be addressed immediately to provide facilities to the common people of the two neighbouring countries. The motor vehicle agreement would especially facilitate Bangladeshi patients willing to go to India for treatment.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 3

Cricket lovers and pop music aficionados were left dazzled by Indian superstar AR Rahman’s performance at the BCB Celebration Concert held last evening at the Bangabandhu National Stadium to inaugurate the 2014 ICC World T20 tournament. Story on page 13 MUMIT M

Retail power tariff hiked by 6.96% n Aminur Rahman Rasel

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has increased the retail power tariff by 6.96% per unit (kilowatt-hour) on an average, with the price rising from Tk5.75 to Tk6.15; a price hike of Tk0.40. After much debate, the BERC has also introduced a new slab of “lifeline tariff ” for domestic power users who consume between 1-50 units. For this group of consumers, the power price was not increased; meaning a consumer would have to pay between Tk100Tk167 monthly to use 1-50 units of electricity. The tariff will also stay unchanged

for the consumers using electricity for agricultural purposes. Following last week’s public hearing on the proposed hikes, BERC Chairman AR Khan made the announcement yesterday at the commission office in the city’s Karwan Bazar. BERC members Salim Mahmud and Delwar Hossain were also present during the announcement of the new tariff. The new tariff – which was announced without introducing any subsidy – will come into effect from the current billing month. This is the first time power prices have been hiked since the Awami League-led government took office in January.

At present, there are nine consumer groups, while there are six slabs for domestic consumers. Consumers and the Rural Electrification Board (REB) had earlier proposed for the “lifeline tariff ” during the public hearing. Since 2009, the BERC had increased bulk and retail tariffs for eleven times. In the latest increment made in September 2012, retail power price rose by 15%, and bulk-level prices rose by 17%. With yesterday’s announcement of price hike, Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd (Desco) is expected to make Tk123.67 crore in profits, the maximum among the five power suppliers.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 4

Acting election commissioner counts RMG worker killed after on God for peaceful polls rape in front of mother n Mohammad Zakaria The third phase of elections to 81 upazila parishads is set to be held tomorrow amid allegation reportedly against a section of law enforcers and officials of local administrations for their political bias in favour of their favourite candidates. Meanwhile, the Election Commission has asked local administrations to take immediate action if anything goes wrong during the polls. It has also given authority to them to deploy necessary number of law enforcers in the polling centres prone to violence. Asked about the polls-time violence, Election Commissioner Abdul Mobar-

ak, who is now in charge of the chief election commissioner, yesterday commented that it could not be said nothing would happen during the polls. “Everything depends on the Almighty Allah,” he said after a meeting at the EC secretariat. Election Commissioner Mohammad Abu Hafiz on Wednesday said violence in the polls was a commonplace in the country. “If violence does not take place during polls it will seem unusual. Our neighbouring country, India, also witnesses violence during polls.” Mobarak also said the voters would be able to go to the polling centres and cast votes without fear and intimidation.

INSIDE News

3 The defence of top war crimes suspect Motiur Rahman Nizami yesterday claimed that armed group al-Badr had been formed by razakars, non-Bangalees and madrasa students, not those from Islami Chhatra Sangha.

Nation

6 Inadequate water flow in the Teesta River, which enters Bangladesh from neighbouring India, is gradually destroying the agriculture and ecology of the adjacent northern districts.

International

8 Israel pounded nearly 30 targets in Gaza overnight after militants fired scores of rockets into the south, prompting Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas to demand yesterday that it halt its “escalation.”

Op-Ed

11 With the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh underway, I am hopeful that the next few weeks will provide ammo for an idea that I have been pushing for a number of years now: The expansion of the IPL into Bangladesh one way or the other.

visit our e-paper @ www.dhakatribune.com/epaper

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UPAZILLA POLLS 3RD PHASE

81

Upazila

419

Chairman

423

Vice-chairman

277

Vice-chair women

n Mohammad Jamil Khan A 22-year-old girl working at a garment factory was slaughtered allegedly after rape by some unidentified criminals in front of her mother in Jamshing of Savar’s Radio Colony yesterday. The miscreants also tried to kill the victim’s mother the same way. She sustained severe injuries in the throat and is now undergoing treatment at Enam Medical College and Hospital of Savar. “We recovered the victim’s body around 8:30am upon information from a neighbour and sent it to Dhaka Medical College for post-mortem examination,” Taposh Kumar Bishwas, sub-in-

spector of Savar police station, told the Dhaka Tribune. Police suspect that the killing might took place over previous enmity since the killers slaughtered the girl, stabbed her over a dozen times and cut off a body part. Taposh said the motive would be clear after the recovery of the victim’s mother, Shulekha. Neighbour Shahnaz Begum told the Dhaka Tribune at the morgue that the victim used to work at a garment factory for a couple of years. The girl and her mother used to live at a rented house at Bhatpara Radio Colony. “Mother of the victim came out of her house around 6am with a cloth  PAGE 2 COLUMN 6

Prothom Alo joint editor convicted, fined Tk5,000 n Nazmus Sakib The High Court yesterday convicted Mizanur Rahman Khan, joint editor of the daily Prothom Alo, for contempt of court as it found his article on the daily “grossly contemptuous for the judiciary.” The court sentenced Mizanur for the period he was standing in the dock for four days and yesterday until rising of the court after the delivery of the judgement (2:15pm to 2:40pm). It also warned him not to publish any such articles or comments or make any remarksinfutureattackingtheauthorityofthe courtaswellasthejudges.However,acceptingtheunconditionalapologysoughtEditor MatiurRahman,alsopublisherandprinterof thedaily,thecourtexoneratedhimfromthe charges. The bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Zafar Ahmed delivered the verdict exercising its inherent power as a court of record under article 108 of the constitution. The order came in view of the reason laid down by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in Moazzem Hossain case cited in Bangladesh Legal Decision of 1983 - a journal which publishes judgements of the Supreme Court. The court said: “Since Mizanur Rahman Khan has realised that by writing the libellous and highly contumacious article he has committed gross contempt of court and sought unconditional apology in the midst of the  PAGE 2 COLUMN 1


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

Friday, March 14, 2014

Political parties protest power price hike n Tribune Report Different political parties and organisations yesterday condemned the Awami League-led alliance government for increasing the retail price of electricity again in less than two years and called for immediate withdrawal of the decision. The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) yesterday decided to increase retail power tariff by 6.96% with effect from this month. Power tariffs were last hiked in September 2012 _ retail price by 15% and wholesale by 17%. Criticising the government decision as “anti-people”, former opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party yesterday announced that it would hold protest marches in every ward of the capital and at all divisional, district and upazila headquarters. “Hiking the price of electricity, ignoring public opinion, is an extreme level of betrayal of the people. It is normal that the anti-people government will take anti-people decision,” BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Naya Paltan. He said the price hike would increase the sufferings of the people, particularly those from lower and middle income groups, and have an adverse impact on the country’s economy. “Production costs in agriculture and industry sectors will increase, resulting in skyrocketing prices of daily essentials,” Rizvi said. The BNP leader claimed that ruling

party members had plundered thousands of crores of takas from the power sector, and the common people have been “victimised for it”. Rizvi also condemned BERC, saying public hearings held by the regulatory commission were “cheating only”. Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Socialist Party of Bangladesh and Gano Sanghati Andolan leaders in separate press statements said the AL-led government raised electricity prices several times during its previous tenure, and the latest increase would worsen the sufferings of the people, who were already facing high inflation. In their statement, Communist Party president Mujahidul Islam Selim and general secretary Syed Abu Zafar Ahmed said the common people were suffering much due to increased prices of essential commodities and the hike in power tariff would worsen their woes. Socialist Party general secretary Khalequzzaman said the government had raised the price of electricity again ignoring the interest of the people. Terming the BERC decision as illegal, unlawful and anti-people the leaders of the left-leaning parties demanded withdrawal of the decision as early as possible. The parties also planned to stage demonstrations today to protest the price hike. Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami acting secretary general Shafiqul Rahman also condemned the increase in electricity price, and demanded immediate withdrawal of the decision. l

SC exempts 5 in judge’s certificate forgery case n Nazmus Sakib In the contempt of court charge surrounding former judge Faisal Mahmud Faizee’s LLB certificate forgery, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday relieved five journalists and upheld the High Court conviction against two with some corrections. The four-member apex court bench headed by Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana exempted the daily Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, its former publisher Mahfuz Anam, the daily Bhorer Kagoj Publisher Saber Hossain Chowdhury and two reporters of the daily Prothom Alo – Ekramul Huq Bulbul and Masud Milad. It, however, said the fine slapped on former Bhorer Kagoj editor Abed Khan would be revised. The High Court in its order on March 21, 2005 fined him Tk1,000 for publishing a report on the matter. The bench also cancelled the two months’ imprisonment given to Bhorer Kagoj reporter Shamaresh Baidya.

However, the fine of Tk1,000 will remain, and in case of failure to pay, the court said he would have to serve seven days in jail. When asked, the reporter told the Dhaka Tribune that he might file a review petition against the order after getting the certified copy. The court did not say specifically why the conviction of Abed Khan and Shamaresh had been upheld. However, lawyers said they were punished for publishing Faizee’s photograph along with the report. On October 30, 2004, the two Bengali dailies published reports saying that the law qualification of Faizee was fake. To investigate the matter, the Supreme Judicial Council was formed in 2007. But Faizee resigned on July 12 the same year while investigation was underway. During the hearing yesterday, Dr Kamal Hossain and Sara Hossain argued for the daily Prothom Alo, Rokanuddin Mahmud for Abed Khan and Samaresh Baidya while AM Aminuddin represented the daily Bhorer Kagoj. l

Chhatra League leaders arrested for mugging n Tribune Report

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina holds a meeting with state minister for home , secretaries and heads of different law enforcement agencies as she paid a visit to the secretariat yesterday PID

Law minister: Attackers on minority to face trial n Tribune Report

hearing at 12:15pm on March 11, 2014 and stood before the court with folded hands, although unconditional apology came at a much belated stage, this court refrains from sentencing him for any further time but imposes a penalty of Tk5,000.” It said: “While considering the affidavit affirmed by Mizanur in its entirety it can be said the contemnor tried to traverse two ways: on the one hand he tried to substantiate his article and the other he tried to say ‘ifs and buts’... and sought mercy of the court. “We are of the view that by writing the under the caption ‘Ek minite jamin kibhabe’ [How bail is granted in one minute?] Mizanur Rahman Khan has questioned the authority of this court and placed this court in controversy in the estimation of the people at large causing gross contempt of court. “It has been noticed by this court that previously he has written some contumacious articles against this court and it is understood that some contempt proceedings are still pending.” The bench observed that editors of responsible newspapers should be aware that it is courts of law and not newspaper readers who have to try certain issues while “the courts alone are empowered to determine. “The character and the legal consequences of any publication about conduct of judges are certainly mat-

ters for courts to determine. Editors of newspaper are expected to also know something of the special place of this court in the constitution which amply protects its judges so that they may not be exposed to opprobrious attacks by either malicious or ignorant persons.” The court observed: “It is well-recognised that the press provides the principle vehicle of expression of their views to citizens. It has been said freedom of the press is the arch of the covenant of democracy because public criticism is essential to the working of its institution. But, like other rights, this cannot be an unfettered right. If confidence in judiciary goes, the administration of justice definitely suffers.” The court expected that the daily and other print and electronic media would be cautious in the future in respect of publishing any articles or comments thereby “questioning the authority of the judiciary in the name of freedom of press.” On March 2, the court, on its own motion, issued a contempt rule against Matiur and Mizanur and also issued another contempt rule against the two journalists after a Supreme Court lawyer submitted a petition. The court also summoned Mizanur to appear in person for five days. The bench in the judgement said: “The contempt rules were not issued to protect the dignity of an individual judge but to protect the administration

existing laws can’t prosecute these offenders because the communal attacks are not simple murder, rape, torture, arson or looting. There are ulterior motives behind these attacks,” said Shahriar Kabir, acting president of Nirmul Committee. He compared the ‘continuous and pre-planned attacks on the minority people especially the Hindus with ethnic cleansing. The present laws cannot try such kind of offences. “Besides, the existing act cannot ensure justice for the victims. The offenders get released from the jail because of weak charge sheets and attack the plaintiffs,” he explained why a new act is necessary. Former Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque said the perpetrators of the attacks on minority community can be punished under the penal court.

The law minister yesterday said the cases filed in connection with the attacks on the minority communities in the wake of the 10th parliamentary polls will be tried under Speedy Trial Tribunal Act. “The prime minister has asked us to ensure justice as soon as possible and the process is going on,” he said while speaking at a programme titled ‘uprooting communal violence: role of the government and civil society’ organised by Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee at a city auditorium. Law Minister Anisul Haq said that all the cases filed in connection with the attacks on the minorities by Jamaat-BNP men are in investigation stages. The Law Ministry has requested the Home Ministry to complete the investi-

gation quickly and bring the perpetrators to justice. “Personally, I think that the Special Powers Act should be enforced in this regard and thus maximum punishment can be ensured,” the law minister opined. The speakers at the programme said that the minority people had fallen victim to violence since the Pakistan rule. They should be empowered socially, economically and politically to root out violence against them, the speakers added. To protect the minority people, they said, the country needs to enact separate law, form designated commission and set up new ministry for the minority community. “The victims always allege that the police do not arrest the accused and if arrested, they are released on bail. The

Delhi offers Dhaka

Acting election commissioner

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He claimed that three to four million people went to India every day through the Petrapol land port. “We have already taken huge development projects on Indian land ports, including Petrapol, so the Benapole link road also has to be developed,” Mehta said. On the transit issue, he said transit would benefit the two countries. Bangladesh Joint Secretary Shahabuddin Patwary said in the initial statement the Indian joint secretary had mentioned the additional $1bn credit line. “But how we will utilise the fund is not clear in the statement. We had not discussed the credit line at the meeting and the ministry was not also informed about it,” he said. He said the issue of additional 500MW electricity was also not clear in the Indian statement. Shahabuddin said the motor vehicle agreement was a matter of the communication, shipping and foreign ministries as the transit issue was involved. The meeting discussed issues of duty paid against exported Bangladesh garment products and recognition of certificates given by the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution in India, he said. l

Prothom Alo joint editor convicted, editor warned  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

Police arrested two Bangladesh Chhatra league leaders for mugging three people in Sreepur of Gazipur on Wednesday night. The arrestees were Sreepur Muktijoddha Rahmat Ali Biswabidlaya College unit Joint Secretary Roni, 21, and Organisational Secretary Sowrav, 20. They were produced before a court yesterday morning. OC Amir Hossain of Sreepur police station said the Chhatra League leaders and their associates called trader Kazal Mondol, his friend Zakir and Jahidul to the field of Sreepur Pilot High School in the afternoon and snatched three mobile phones and money after beating them. In the evening Kazal filed a case with the station, accusing the Chhatra League leaders. l

of justice from being maligned.” It declared only the operative order of the judgement after hearing both the sides for four days since March 6. Details would be found after the release of the full text, said Justice Naima Haider. After taking seat at the courtroom at 2:25pm, the bench directed Mizanur, who sat on a bench beside Matiur, to stand in the dock. Then Justice Zafar Ahmed drew the attention of Supreme Court lawyer Shahdin Malik to a report published on the daily which quoted the lawyer as saying: “Contempt proceedings are dropped against two newspapers – the daily Samakal and the daily Naya Diganta and seven other journalists.” The judge asked Shahdin why you did not say that they were exempted for seeking unconditional apology. “After reading the report, what will the readers think?” Justice Zafar said adding that the judges were dumb and they could not talk outside the courtroom. Then Shahdin sought unconditional apology for not saying “unconditional apology was sought by the two dailies and seven journalists.” Mizanur, after the verdict, told the reporters that he would take next decision after consulting his lawyer and getting copy of the judgement. Though he did not expect such judgement, Mizanur said he had respect to the ruling. l

The voting will start at 8am and end at 4pm without any break. The election campaign ended yesterday. A total of 1,119 candidates are contesting in the 81 upazila parishads polls. Of them, 419 are vying for the chairman posts, 423 for the vice-chairman and 277 for the women vice-chairman posts. One judicial and four executive magistrates have been deployed in every upazila. The commission has set up 5,444 polling stations with 35,331 polling booths in the upazilas. A total of 1,31,85,013 voters will exercise their voting rights in the polls. Of them, as many as 66,00,131 are male and 65,67,832 female. The army along with other law enforcement agencies including BGB, RAB, police and Ansar have been deployed in the respective upazilas to maintain law and order and ensure that the polls are held in a free and fair manner. The EC yesterday held a meeting with

the law enforcement agencies and officials concerned at the EC secretariat on the deployment of law enforcers in Tangail 8 by-election scheduled to be held on March 29. A senior assistant secretary of the EC who was present at the meeting told the Dhaka Tribune that the law enforcers and the local administration were asked to take immediate action against violence. On violation of code of conduct, Mobarak said the EC was taking action on the basis of the media reports and information from the field-level officials. The commission already suspended polls to two upazilas and withheld gazette publication of Jessore 1 and 2 parliamentary seats for the violation of electoral codes. In the Tangail 8 by-election, a total of 16 mobile teams of law enforcers, and 16 other separate mobile teams of RAB and four platoons of BGB would work as striking force. Four executive magistrates and two judicial magistrates would also be stationed during that time.

“Enacting a law is a complicated process. The problem is that the law is not enforced properly. If it is enforced properly, no new law is needed,” he said. He criticised the investigation agencies for incomplete investigation, weak charge sheets as causes of no or partial justice. “They press charges so poorly that the courts cannot but grant bail to serious offenders. Now-a-days we see the offenders get bail either from the lower court or the Higher Court whatever their crimes are,” he said. “So, everyone should be accountable. The IOs, Public Prosecutors have to be liable if an offender of communal attack get bail,” he said. State Minister for Social Welfare Promod Mankin, Advocate Rana Dasgupta and Aroma Dutt also spoke on the occasion. l

RMG worker killed after rape in front of mother  PAGE 1 COLUMN 5

wrapped around her throat. She was bleeding. Through signs, she asked me to give her a mobile phone. “As I gave her the phone, she dialled a number and became unconscious,” she said. As Shahnaz screamed, other people gathered and took the mother to hospital. “We also found the victim’s body on the floor and called police.” Mostafa Kamal, officer-in-charge of Savar police station, told the Dhaka Tribune that the number belonged to a nephew of the victim’s mother who identified himself as Rawshan Alam. According to Rawshan, Shulekha’s husband Altaf Hossain lived in Muladuli area of Rajshahi with his second wife and used to visit Savar sometimes. l

Retail power tariff hiked by 6.96%  PAGE 1 COLUMN 5

The company suffering the most from the latest tariffs would be Power Development Board (PDB), with losses estimated at Tk81 lakh. The highest tariff hike of 7.69% per unit was made for the consumers of the Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC), while the lowest increase of 5.41% came for the REB consumers. During the hearing, the PDB asked for increasing guarantee money, and the REB demanded hike for minimum bill, service charge, demand-charge and delay-charge; but the commission declined all their requests. The five power distributors – the PDB, the REB, Desco, the DPDC, and West Zone Power Distribution Company – supplies power to around 1.4 crore consumers across the country. Md Abdul Karim, a consumer under the REB Satkhira Palli Bidyut Samity (PBS), welcomed the new lifeline tariff slab and said the move would benefit consumers at the rural level. BERC Chairman AR Khan said the commission made its decision after considering the interest of all consumers, as well as keeping in mind the socioeconomic impact of the move. The BERC also considered on ensuring that the hike did not have a negative impact on the poor, while considering the impact of agriculture in the national economy, he added. The price was hiked to coordinate the operational losses by the power distribution companies, AR Khan said. The consumers would not refuse to pay higher prices if quality service was provided, the BERC chairman expressed hopes.

Brig Gen Moin Uddin, chairman of the REB, said a greater price increase would have benefitted the REB, as 60 of its 72 PBSs were currently suffering losses. He also urged the government to consider introducing subsidies for the PBSs. Along with the domestic consumers, the power tariff was also increased for small industries, non-residential, com-

mercial and offices, medium voltage (11kV general use), extra high voltage (132kV general use), high tension (33kV general use), and street light and water. The hikes for these groups ranged between 1.53% and 13.02%. Meanwhile, the BNP and different left-leaning parties including the Communist Party of Bangladesh condemned the latest power price hike. l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

3

Friday, March 14, 2014

‘Al-Badr comprised of madrasa students, Biharis’ n Udisa Islam

The defence of top war crimes suspect Motiur Rahman Nizami yesterday claimed that armed group al-Badr had been formed by razakars, non-Bangalees and madrasa students, not those from Islami Chhatra Sangha. During the closing arguments at the International Crimes Tribunal 1, defence counsel Mizanul Islam claimed that Nizami, former chief of theChhatra Sangha –Jamaat- e-Islami’sstudent wing at the time, had no involvement with the group. Apara militia force, al-Badr sided with the Pakistani occupation forces during the 1971 War of Independence and is blamed for the systematic abduction and killing of pro-liberation people, especially noted intellectuals. The prosecution in their arguments said Nizami masterminded the formation of al-Badr with members of IslamiChhatra Sangha. Mizanul pointed out discrepancies in the prosecution’s argument claiming they had identifiedboth Nizami and convicted Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed as top leader of al-Badrat the same time. He claimed that in reality the al-Badr force comprised of razakars,people from non-Bengali communities especially the Biharis, and madrasa students.“Nizami had no involvement with that.” The defence lawyer said: “The investigation officer of the case admitted dur-

ing cross-examination that Nizami was a civilian during the whole nine months of the war. So how can a civilian be the chief of an armed group like al-Badr?” Terming the case “politically-motivated,” he said the case had been planned at the Prime Minister’sOffice and that they had proof. Prosecution witness ShamsulHaqueNannu had unveiled the conspiracy but the tribunal did not take it as evidence. The defence counsel sought adjournmentjust before lunch break. The tribunal accepted the plea and set March 19 for the next hearing. It also asked the defence to finish its arguments by March 20. The prosecution in this trial concluded their arguments on Wednesday, identifying the Jamaat chief as the ringleader,deserving ofcapital punishment. Nizami was indicted on May 28, 2012 on 16 counts of crimes against humanity including murder, rape, arson and inciting violence. Both the prosecution and the defence are taking part in closing arguments for a second time. A verdict was due on November 13 last year, but the tribunal is hearingthe arguments afresh, as the former chairman went on retirement before delivering a verdict in the case. Meanwhile, tribunal 2 deferred the hearing in the trial of war crimes accused Syed MdQaisaruntil March 19 upon a defence plea, since conducting lawyer AbdusSobhanTarafder has been sick. l

Court summons Ashiyan Homes officials over arrear bills n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court yesterday summoned two top officials of Ashiyan Homes Limited, including its Managing Director Nazrul Islam Bhuiyan, in a case filed over a non-payment of arrear bills. The other accused is Deputy Managing Director Saiful Islam Bhuiyan. The case was filed by M Akter Hossain, head of administration and management of Somoy Multimedia Limited, with Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court.

Metropolitan Magistrate Joynab Begum passed the order. Ashiyan Homes inked an agreement with Somoy Multimedia for broadcasting their advertisement in private television channel Somoy TV. Later on January 18 and 20 this year, Ashiyan Homes issued two cheques worth Tk7,647,957 as payments. However, both of the cheques were rejected. Saidur Rahman, the counsel for the plaintiff, said the two cheques bounced at Gulshan branch of Shahjalal Islam Bank because of insufficient balance. l

Bapa forms a human chain on the river bed of Khawai River in Habiganj yesterday protesting Chakma barrage in India for which the river has dried up

Government to update list of criminals Perpetrators of political violence to be given special importance had been ordered to update the list of which is why mentioning a precise fign Rabiul Islam ure is difficult.” criminals. The government has planned to update the list of criminals countrywide and those involved in the political violence before the January 5 election will also be included in the list. “We will make the list on the basis of specific allegations and the criminals will be brought to book with a view to protecting the lives and properties of people,” state minister for home Asaduzzaman Khan told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday held a meeting at the home ministry which was attended by the state minister for home, senior secretary of the home ministry CQK Mustaq Ahmed, senior officials and heads of different agencies under the home ministry. The home ministry at the meeting did a presentation of its activities while chiefs of different agencies spoke of their respective issues. Speaking to reporters at his office following the meeting, Asaduzzaman Khan, quoting the premier, said police

Preferring anonymity, a senior official who attended the meeting said the meeting focused on discussion on political violence happening before the January 5 polls when BNP and Jamaat attempted to foil election, made arson attacks, vandalised vehicles and removed rail tracks in different places. The country incurred heavy loss because of the violence as the communication ministry had to suffer a loss of Tk159 crore while many people were killed in arson attacks, the official said. The prime minister asked police to take account of political violence while updating the list of criminals, he quoted the premier as saying. According to the home ministry, there is a list of criminals operating across the country but the exact number could not be known. Talking to this correspondent at his room, additional secretary of the home ministry Kamal Ahmed said: “Updating the list of criminals is a daily task. The number goes up and down over time

The government would set up more speedy trial tribunals to deal with cases still pending, he said. “We will send proposals to the law ministry to set up more speedy trial tribunals to reduce the number of cases that haven’t been disposed of yet,” another additional secretary Shawkat Mostafa told the Dhaka Tribune. Kamal Ahmed said the list would be updated to include names of real criminals only so that the common people were not intimidated and their properties were protected. Officials said drug trafficking and black market operations could not be checked due to lack of brick road along the border. Consequently, illegal drugs are entering the country which is taking a toll on youngsters, they said. Asaduzzaman said a decision had been taken to build metallic road to heighten patrol of the Border Guard Bangladesh and narcotics traders would be nabbed. The state minister said cybercrimes

could not be checked fully at present due to limitation of the law enforcement agencies. “The issue was discussed at the meeting. Militants use the Internet to carry out their activities,” he added. Inspector-General of police Hasan Mahmud Khandaker said prison vans with modern facilities were required for transporting prisoners while chief of the Narcotics Department said shortage of manpower was affecting their activities. The premier assured members of the law enforcement agencies of more logistic support and housing facilities. Hasina in her written speech warned that negligence of officials would not be tolerated. She said remuneration of government officials came from the money people pay in taxes. That is why it is the responsibility of the government to serve the people, she said. Describing various activities of the home ministry, Hasina said the ministry and the agencies under it would maintain the law and order at any cost. l

ACC given three days to question Mosharraf

Man gets death penalty for killing friend

n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu

n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong A Chittagong court yesterday sentenced a person to death for killing his friend one year ago. He was also fined Tk5,000 Apart from giving death penalty to Idris Alam Babul, the court also acquitted three other accused – Ali Azam alias Khasru, Monir Hossain and Abdur Rouf alias Bhuttu – in the murder case of Afsar Hossain Shamim, a student of Chittagong Law College, as the charges brought against them were not proved, said court sources. The Judge of Speedy Tribunal Reza Trique Ahmed announced the verdict in presence of the four accused, said Ayub Khan, prosecutor of the tribunal. He said as the charges against Babul were proved beyond doubt, the court gave him the capital punishment. According to the prosecution, on July 20, 2012, Shamim left his residence, located at Boxnagar of Bayezid area in the port city, on his motorcycle saying that he was on his way to Babul’s residence and has remained missing since then. On July 22, police recovered Shamim’s body from Badupara village, Raozan upazila in Chittagong. A murder case was lodged with Raozan police station the same day. Later, police arrested Khasru, Monir, Bhuttu and Babul in this regard. Then, police found Shamim’s mobile phone and bike in Babul’s possession. In a confessional statement before a Chittagong court, Babul said he had invited Shamim to his residence and strangled him to death after intoxicating him, because of a financial dispute with him. Later, police submitted a charge sheet against the four accused on November 27, 2012 while the court framed charges against them on October 26, 2013. The court delivered the verdict after hearing the testimonies of 21 prosecution witnesses. l

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Danish Ambassador Hanne Fugl Eskjær speaks on the advancement of information technology in Bangladesh at a press conference of Europe Bangladesh Technology Summit 2014 in the capital’s Westin Hotel yesterday NASHIRUL ISLAM

Small parties fail to make any mark in Upazila polls n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla Small political parties have so far failed to leave any mark in the ongoing Upazila Parishad elections with only one party winning a few vice-chairman posts. Like the national elections those parties have failed to draw the attention of people in the Upazila Parishad elections too and they even failed to bag a single chairman post. Among the Islamist parties the scenario is the same excepting the Jamaat-e-Islami. However, the Hefazat-e-Islam that claims to be a non-political organisation, won a vice-chairman post in Hathazari, known to be the stronghold of the party. In the third spell of Upazila Parishad elections smaller parties like Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD), Workers Party of Bangladesh, Islamic Andolan, Islamic Sashantantra An-

dolan and Liberal Democratic Party are running the race. Ruhin Hossain Prince, central CPB leader, said many of their candidates contested in the last two phases of polls and in the third phase nine of their contenders were vying for different posts. Ahsanul Habib Sayeed, BSD-backed candidate in Gaibandha Sadar, said as their organisations had not been able to reach the ground level they were yet do good results in the elections. “But this time we have two Union Parishad chairmen and we are trying to reach the grassroots and hopefully fare better in the polls,” he told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Mihir Ghosh, CPB-backed candidate in Gaibandha Sadar upazila, said the major party candidates invested huge money in the elections and they used their musclemen in the elections that’s why the smaller parties cannot do well in the polls.

Mohammad Kamruzzaman, Islamic Andolan-backed candidate in Nawabganj upazila of Dinajpur, said the media always was busy with the big party leaders and ignored the smaller party candidates. That’s why smaller parties failed to perform better in the elections. “Here Awami League has rebel candidate while the BNP has to face the Jamaat candidate. I have a good prospect to win the polls,” he said. The third phase 81 upazila parishad polls will be held on Saturday amid fears of violence and clashes as the Election Commission has so far taken no effective measures except for instructing the local administration to take immediate action against violators of electoral code of conduct. The election campaign ended in 81 Upazila Parishads yesterday. The voting will start from 8am and end at 4pm without any break. l

A Dhaka court yesterday placed detained BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain on three days’ remand rejecting his bail petition in a money laundering case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). Metropolitan Magistrate Shamsul Arefin passed the order when ACC Deputy Commissioner Md Ahsan Ali, also investigation officer of the case, produced him before the court seeking a three-day remand. Meanwhile, Mosharraf’s counsel Masud Ahmed Talukder filed bail petition along with a remand rejection plea. During the hearing, Mosharraf said: “I earned the money while I was studying and teaching in the United Kingdom during 1970-1975. I invested the earned money in London share market. Later, the money was kept as Fixed Deposit Receipt (FDR) in the name of my wife Bilkis Akhter Hossain.” Earlier in the day, the BNP Standing Committee member was taken to the ACC headquarters in the capital’s Segunbagicha from Ramna police station. He was questioned by the investigation officer for two and a half hours since 9:30am. The BNP leader was picked up from his Gulshan residence on Wednesday night. The ACC filed the case on February 6. According to the FIR, Mosharraf

laundered £804,000 (equivalent to Tk9.54 crore) to the UK when he was health and family welfare minister during the 2001-2006 tenure of the BNP government. Mosharraf and his wife opened the account in the UK bank without approval of Bangladesh Bank, which is a violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947. On February 10, the High Court granted anticipatory bail to Mosharraf for six weeks but it was cancelled by the Supreme Court on February 24 following an ACC petition. The BNP alleged that Mosharraf had been arrested in a false case with a view to divert the people’s attention from the misdeeds of the government centering upazila elections. “The aim of the arrest is to divert the people’s attention from the illegal government’s misdeeds and to gag the opposition’s voice,” Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed told reporters at the party’s Nayapaltan headquarters in the capital. He demanded immediate and unconditional release of the leader. l


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

News

Friday, March 14, 2014

Medical education in sorry state More than 61% students failing in postgraduate courses in last 3 years n Moniruzzaman Uzzal The country’s postgraduate medical education has been hit by poor performance in recent years, with more than 61% medical students failing in the final exams of different postgraduate courses under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University during the past three years. The Dhaka Tribune has learnt that the respective academic sessions had a total 3,281 students, including 137 foreign students, enrolled in different postgraduate courses (MD, MS, MPhil and Diploma). Out of the enrolled students, 2,540 appeared in the final examination, while only 1,261 students managed to pass, which is around 38.49% of the total enrolled. Results also showed that the passing rate had gradually been decreasing over the recent years. Around 43% students passed in 2010, which dropped to 39% and 35% in 2011 and 2012 respectively. The MD and MS are five year-long courses, MPhil takes two years and all diplomas take a year to complete. Seeking anonymity, several top officials of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) told the Dhaka Tribune that the number of courses and seats has greatly increased in the last two decades, but the standard of medical education of undergraduate courses had been deteriorating. The Dhaka Tribune has learnt that the BSMMU authority has formed an audit committee to review all the examination papers of three years (2010 to 2012) to find out the real cause behind the large number of failure. According to review committee report, only 25%-30% of the enrolled postgraduate students managed to pass the examination in their first attempt. Around 50%-55% students took one to five years of extra time to pass, while around 15%-20% were unable to finish their course, sources said. Sources also mentioned the audit

committee report would be submitted in the next BSMMU academic council meeting. Professor Dr Sayedur Rahman, registrar of the BSMMU, told the Dhaka Tribune that the above mentioned information was “almost” correct, adding that it was an alarming information for the whole medical education sector of the country. He said the BSMMU has introduced a postgraduate resident course to ensure the standard of postgraduate medical education. Dr Sayedur said the government should take proper initiative to increase the standard of undergraduate course. Although all postgraduate courses were run by the BSMMU in the past, different courses were introduced at medical colleges and institutes under public universities during the tenure of the BNPled alliance government during 2001-06. However, there are allegations that the courses were introduced without proper planning, as the infrastructure was inadequate and there were not enough teachers and teaching facilities to run the postgraduate courses properly. Later in July 2010, postgraduate courses of all 33 medical college and institutes in Bangladesh were affiliated with the BSMMU. Asked about reason for the large number of students failing, Professor Dr Md Ruhul Amin Miah, pro-vicechancellor of the BSSMU, said government doctors who enrolled in the courses had to study while on deputation leave, and had to return to their workstations if they failed any subject. Most of the postgraduate students were detached from regular education, as they managed leave only during examination and faced difficulties to secure deputation once they failed in an exam, the pro-VC added. Resident-based courses, introduced to ensure quality education for postgraduate courses, have been very fruitful, he claimed. l

School children push their school van up the Dhaka-Rajshahi highway yesterday. A part of the highway has become too steep for paddled vehicles to cross

Toll-free helpline for farmers to be launched n Abu Bakar Siddique The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) is about to launch a toll-free number to provide information on agriculture to the farmers. Test run of the service is completed and it will soon be launched formally. The farmers will be able to receive necessary information by calling 16123. “Any farmer can have information on agriculture, fisheries and livestock just by calling the number as there are executives on the other side who are always ready to answer queries,” said Mohammad Maruf Masum, agriculture information and communication specialist of the department. We expect to launch the service very soon as we are targeting March 26, the country’s Independence Day, he said adding that the date could be changed depending on the schedule of the prime minister and the agriculture

minister. The service is an initiative of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) among the DAE, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), Practical Action and mobile phone operators Teletalk, Banglalink, Grameenphone, Robi, Citycell and Airtel. The cell phone operators assisted in developing the service as part of their corporate social responsibility. 10 trained call centre executives who are also agriculture graduates will respond to the farmers’ queries using a database prepared based on the frequently asked questions and answers, Maruf said. In addition, there will a panel of 10 agriculture experts ready to answer unusual queries from the farmers, if any, Maruf added. “Those queries will help improve the database as answers to questions on newer problems will be stored.” In a letter on February 4, BTRC di-

rected the telecom firms to begin providing the toll-free service. Apart from the government initiative, Banglalink has been providing another service styled ‘Krishi Jiggyasha’ since 2009, with 7676 being the short code for it. This, however, is expensive for the farmers as the call tariff is Tk 5. At present, we are receiving around 500 calls from the farmers who have a wide range of queries, said Shehjad S Hossain, senior manager, PR and communication, of Banglalink. With a view to running the service efficiently, the DAE has planned to arrange a consultation meeting on March 20 to have broad discussions on the service. Farmers as well as agriculture officials are expected to attend the meeting. Back in 2004, the government of India introduced a similar service styled ‘Krishan Call Centre” which became very popular among Indian farmers. l

AL leader fined for illegal power connection

Panel discussion on water tomorrow n Tribune Report n Tribune Report

New Bangladesh envoy to the Netherlands Sheikh Mohammed Belal presented his credentials to the Dutch King in The Hague on Wednesday. During the presentation ceremony at the Noordeinde Palace, King WillemAlexander and Ambassador Belal discussed bilateral issues between the two countries, said a press release issued by the foreign ministry in Dhaka yesterday. Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans and Grand Master of the Royal Household Marco Hennis were also present at the ceremony. l

n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat

Prior the World Water Day 2014 slated on March 22, a group of young citizens will get together tomorrow to discuss different water related issues at capital’s Dhaka Regency Hotel. An independent blog “AmaderPani. org” is organising the event in order to engage youth of the country into a talk in line with this year’s theme of World Water Day - “Water and Energy.” The programme titled “Is Water Important to you?” is scheduled to start around 4pm and continue until 5:30pm. Details are available at www.amaderpani.org/launch. l

An Awami League leader was fined Tk 3,800 yesterday for illegally using power connections to run a pump house and supply irrigated water to a maize field in Rasulpur village, Patgram upazila. The AL leader was identified as Rabiul Islam Miron, president of the Bawra union unit of AL. Power Development Board (PDB) officials seized the electric motor from the pump house. Miron had been running the motor for the last one month using an illegal power connection, PDB resident engi-

WEATHER

Temperature may rise n UNB Weather may remain mainly dry with partly cloudy sky over the country with chances of light rain or thunder showers at one or two places over Khulna and Barisal divisions until 6pm today. Day temperature might remain nearly unchanged, Met Office said. The sun sets in the capital at 6:07pm today and rises at 6:08am tomorrow. Country’s highest temperature 34.2 degree Celsius was recorded in Mongla and lowest 14.8 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

33.2 30.2 31.7 31.8 33.0 33.3 33.2 33.2

21.6 19.0 19.4 17.5 20.8 20.5 18.4 20.0

PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Jumma Asr Magrib Esha

4:53am 6:08am 12:08am 4:27pm 6:07pm 7:22pm

Source: IslamicFinder.org

Tazreen owner Delwar’s bail rejected n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court yesterday rejected the bail petition of Tazreen Fashions Managing Director Delwar Hossain. Dhaka’s District and Sessions Judge Abdul Majid passed the order after hearing both the prosecution and the defence. Delwar was sent to jail on February 10 when he surrendered before a Dhaka court. On December 31 last year, arrest warrants were issued against the fugitive accused in the case – a year after the tragic deaths of at least 112 workers in fire at the factory on November 24, 2012. The CID pressed the charges on December 22 last year. The case was filed by Ashulia police against Delwar and 14 others for murder by negligence. l

Road accidents kill 18

BD envoy presents credentials n Tribune Report

neer in Patgram Moktar Hossain quoted the locals as saying. The AL leader hired labourers to operate the motor, which supplied water to a 25-bigha maize field owned by him, Moktar added. Because of political pressure, PDB officials did not file any case against the AL leader and he was only subjected to monetary penalty, PDB sources said. When asked, Moktar, however, kept mum on this. Miron was also involved in an incident where a piece of land of a Hindu family in the village was grabbed on February 9. l

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Locals and schoolchildren of Charbaria union in Barisal for a human chain demanding an embankment on the banks of Kirtonkhola River yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE

Eighteen persons died in seven separate road accidents across the country in the last two days including two minors and four members of a family. Four employees of Mostafapur Spinning Mill died while 10 sustained injuries when a bus of Sakura Express rammed into a nosimon carrying the workers in front of the mill on Wednesday, reports our Madaripur correspondent. The five deceased are Shipon Halder, 25, Champa Akhter, 14, Happy Akhter, 18, Shefali Begum, 40 and the driver of the human haulier whose identity could not be known. The injured are Dola, 19, Nipa, 23, Lovely, 20, Laboni, 23, Jannat Begum, 25, Lamia Begum, 32, Selina 19, Chayna, 30, and Lili Begum, 29 – all admitted to Madaripur Central Hospital. Another injured Kona Akhter was admitted to Faridpur Medical College Hospital. The bus driver fled the scene. Ali, 30, died in a road accident at Majhipara in Palashbari upazila of Gaibandha yesterday in the afternoon, reports our Gaibandha correspondent. Rajiur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Palashbari police station, said they had seized the microbus that had hit Ali while he was on his way to home on a bicycle. In Comilla four died including a schoolgirl in separate road accidents yesterday. Police and witnesses said in Uttarpara of Burichong upazila, an autorickshaw ran over Maisha, 7, while she was crossing the road. She was a student of class I in the area’s Brac School. On the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway, a lorry ran over a motorcycle carrying two and left them dead on spot. The deceased are Jalal Uddin, 30 and Jabed, 20. A child named Mahbub Alam, 9,

died being hit by a motorcycle on the Companygonj-Muradnagar road in Muradnagar upazila. He was son of a carpenter Alauddin. A truck, a CNG-run auto-rickshaw and a human haulier collided in Islamabad of Shorail upazila under Brahmanbaria district yesterday leaving six dead, including five members of a family. The deceased are Shahjahan Mia, 40, his wife Rowshan Ara, 35, son Ashraful, 8, daughters - Shwapna, 6 and Rotna, 4 and the driver of the auto-rickshaw Abul Hashem, 42. The driver of the human hauler was admitted to the district sadar hospital in a critical state. Officer-in-Charge of Shorail police station Ali Arshad said the accident occurred when a salt-laden human hauler tried to overtake a Sylhet-bound cement laden truck on the same track. Both collided with a Brahmanbariabound auto-rickshaw coming from the opposite direction. The truck driver had fled from the spot. The three vehicles were recovered and kept at the police outpost, he said. Three died and three got injured in the rail crossing area of Fatehpur upazila under Feni when a pickup ran over a CNG-run auto-rickshaw coming from the opposite direction yesterday. The deceased are Sayra Begum, 40, wife of Mohammad Hanif of Choddogram of Comilla, Sujon, 30, son of Taher Uddin and Jasim Uddin, 45. The injured are Nurjahan, 80, Apu, 11 and another unidentified, all admitted to Feni sadar hospital. Confirming the incident, Officerin-Charge of Feni police station Abul Kalam Azad said the bodies of the deceased had been sent to Feni Sadar Hospital morgue for autopsy. l

Study: Over half of 1st pregnancies occur during adolescence n Abu Bakar Siddique

More than half of the first pregnancies occur among girls during their adolescence which result in the birth of a remarkable number of underweight children, according to a study. The study conducted in 2012 found that around 15% of infants aged between zero to three months were underweight. Brac University and Helen Keller In-

ternational conducted the study titled “Sate of Food Security and Nutrition in Bangladesh.” The study said some 60 lakh children aged under five still faced malnutrition. It added that around 30% of the adolescent pregnant girls were short in height in comparison with their ages as they suffered malnutrition since childhood. The study revealed that one in four pregnant adolescent girls was so thin that their fetuses faced a moderate risk

of growth retardation. During the study across the country, it was observed that pregnant women were thinner than those non-pregnant. Dr Zeba Mahmud, director (nutrition) of Brac Institute of Global Health, suggested enhancing care for adolescent girls to break the cycle of malnutrition. He said the overall prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding decreased in 2012 from 2011.

The study observed that the state of food insecurity across the country had declined since late 2011. It came up with the report that food insecurity was the highest among those households that relied on unskilled labour. The rate of food insecurity was over 150% higher in rural areas than urban areas. The study report also mentioned that overweight was a growing prob-

lem among women. Helen Keller International Country Director Erica Khetran said: “Bangladesh is at risk of having the double problem of malnutrition and overweight.” Erica added that the policy makers in Bangladesh should take steps to encourage a more active lifestyle and healthy diets to prevent the rise of diabetes and heart diseases faced so much in the western world. l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Construction of Kuril footbridges suspended Rajuk, contractor refuse to accept responsibility for delay in meeting deadlines

Two fake DB policemen held in Natore

n Abu Hayat Mahmud

n Our Correspondent, Natore

The deadlines for constructing three footbridges near the capital’s Kuril flyover have been missed for the second time, reportedly because of a misunderstanding between Rajuk and the contractor of the project. The construction work, which was scheduled to be completed by this month, has been stalled allegedly because of indifference from both the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) and the contractor Project Builders. The under-construction footbridges include a 40m long bridge near the Bishwa Road intersection on the Airport Road, and two more bridges of 39m and 19m length on the Pragati Sarani adjoining the Kuril flyover. Abdul Baki Mian, project director of Rajuk, told the Dhaka Tribune: “I do not know why the contractor has stopped the construction work. We have repeatedly sent letters to the contractor and also held meetings, but with no results. “They [contractor] have received all types of facilities and help from Rajuk, and also got money whenever they submitted bill,” he added. Baki said he did not know when the footbridges would be completed and that the contractor would be able to say the estimated completion date. Answering to a query about price adjustment, the Rajuk official said: “Although the contractor firm has delayed the construction, no extra cost will be given as price adjustment.” However, when contacted, Rafiqul Alam, project director of Project Builders, shifted the responsibility on the Rajuk authorities, saying they would be able to comment on the progress and the next steps for the footbridge projects. Rafiqul also declined to answer why the construction work had stopped and referred to Rajuk for further queries surrounding the project. Meanwhile, the delay in construct-

Two fake DB police personnel were held in Borohorishpur area of Sadar upazila yesterday. The arrested were identified as Rasel Ahmed, 28, son of Roton Mondol and Shefali, 25, of Pirgonj village under Kafuria union of Sadar upazila. According to sources, Rasel along with his wife Shefali lived in a rented house in the area posing as DB police. They received Tk10,000 from a vegetable trader named Kamal of Nichabazar area in the city whose brother-inlaw was in jail. They assured him that they would free the criminal from the jail. On a tip-off, Sadar police station Officer-in-Charge Aslam Uddin arrested them. A case was filed in this connection. l

ing the footbridges is forcing pedestrians to risk their lives while crossing the Airport Road, which is one of the busiest thoroughfares in the capital. Ataur Rahman, a resident of Kuratoli in Kuril, said: “We cross the busy road with fear. Vehicles run on the road at a high speed. “The authority concerned started the construction of the footbridge two years ago but is yet to complete it,” he said. Rehana Akhter, who lives near Pragati Sarani, said women, children and elderly people faced difficulties in crossing the road as there was a large volume of traffic on the road. The construction of the footbridges falls under the Tk3.03bn Kuril Flyover Project, which was financed by Rajuk in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing and Public Works. Project

Four brick fields fined for not having licence

Pedestrians cross Bishwa Road intersection on the Airport Road near the Kuril flyover amid risk for lack of a footbridge, the construction of which has been stalled

n Our Correspondent, Habiganj A mobile court yesterday fined four brick fields in Habiganj Sadar and Chunarghat upazila on charge of not owning a licence and illegally burning woods. The court also seized 250 maunds of wood and fined a total of Tk150,000 in this connection. Each of the brick companies were fined different amounts. Habiganj Executive Magistrate Umme Kulsum conducted the drive. The brickfields are Torof Brick Field, Iqra Brick Field, Taj Brick Field and Palash Brick Field. Sylhet Department of Environment Assistant Director Abdullah Al Mamun and a number of law enforcement officials were also present at the drive. l

ABU HAYAT MAHMUD

Builders and China Major Bridge Engineering jointly built the 8.9m wide and 14.6m high flyover. At the inauguration ceremony of Kuril flyover last August, Rajuk Chairman Nurul Huda said the incomplete work of three footbridges would be finished within December 2013. However, no progress was made despite stretching the deadline to March this year. On a recent visit to the area, only pillars and stairs were found constructed on both sides of the flyovers, while there was also no sign of ongoing construction work. l

Three injured as muggers snatch Tk12 lakh in city

Three held with drugs in Chittagong n CU Correspondent

Two missing youths rescued from Khulna

n Mohammad Jamil Khan

The police and members of the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) detained three drug peddlers including a woman with 19 kilograms of hemp from Dewanhat and railway station areas in separate drives in the city yesterday. The detainees were identified as Setara Begum, 33, Kabir Ahmed, 56, Mohammed Jahangir, 46. The detainees are all from Cox’s Bazar district. A team of Detective Branch (DB) of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) detained the woman in front of Mohsin Awlia Restaurant at Dewanhat area under Double Mooring police Station on a tip-off around 9:30am. Later police recovered five kilograms of hemp worth Tk36,000 from her possession. In another drive, DNC personnel arrested Kabir and Jahangir from Kadamtali railway station in the city early yesterday, with 14 kilograms of hemp. The duo had been peddling drugs from Comilla to Chittagong from a long time said NDC sources. They were handed over to Kotwali Police Station. In connection, two cases were lodged with respective police stations. l

n Our Correspondent, Barisal

Three people were injured in separate mugging incidents in the city yesterday, while two snatchers were arrested during an attempted mugging of a businessman. In Tantibazar, a group of miscreants blasted crude bombs and shot two men while snatching Tk10 lakh from them. Sumon Chandra Dash, 25, and Rakib, 32 – both employees of Baitul Mukarram Market’s Alok Jewellers – were carrying the cash while on their way to a jewellery maker at Prashanna Poddar Lane, when the muggers, on motorcycles, surrounded them and blasted eight to ten crude bombs. As the two men tried to run away, the muggers opened fire and injured them before snatching away the money. Sumon and Rakib were later admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital with bullet injuries to their abdomen and legs. Moniruzzaman, officer-in-charge of Kotowali police station, told the Dhaka Tribune that police recovered five un-

exploded crude bombs from the scene, and were looking for the muggers to recover the looted money. Nikhil Chandra Dash, owner of the jewellery shop, said Sumon and Rakib were on their way to order some new ornaments with the cash money when they were attacked. In a separate incident, an employee of a paper shop was stabbed at Palashi, as muggers snatched away over Tk2 lakh from his possession. Shafik, a staff of AZ Enterprise paper shop, had withdrawn Tk207,000 from Al-Arafah Islami Bank of Elephant Road Branch, said his employer Abu Yousuf. As Shafik was returning to the shop, the muggers stopped the rickshaw he was on near Majed Sardar Lane in Palashi and stabbed him to snatch the money. Shafik – who remains in critical condition – is now undergoing treatment at the DMCH with stab wounds to his hands and other body parts. Ahmed Sharif, sub-inspector of Chawkbazar police station, said investigation was going on to recover the money and apprehend the culprits.

Meanwhile, in Gulistan, the police arrested two snatchers – Robin, 26, and Jewel Khan, 25 – with the help of local people, as the muggers tried to take away Tk4 lakh from a businessman, said Sultana Begum, sub-inspector of Paltan police station. According to statistics from the DMCH registrar’s office, 61 victims of mugging received treatment at the hospital in January this year, while the figure jumped to 97 the following month. Over 30 victims of mugging have sought medical attention at the hospital during the first week of the month, the statistics showed. Among these, 16 victims received bullet injuries in January, while the figure was at 23 in February. Of the injured, some filed complaints with the police, but many kept mum to avoid harassment. Monirul Islam, joint commissioner of the Detective Branch of the police, said they were aware about such kind of crimes and had arrested a number of criminals. Intelligence officials remain deployed at key places in the capital to track the criminals, he added. l

Guardians of St Gregory High School students set a makeshift shop on fire at Lakshmibazar in the city yesterday, protesting death of a guardian in a road accident in Nayabazar area DHAKA TRIBUNE

claimed that they had jumped off from the vehicles of the abductors yesterday morning and took shelter at Daulatpur police station with minor injuries due to jumping. A police team had already arrived in Khulna to collect the recovered vic-

tims named Kazi Shahriar Anik and Sohag Khan, from Mahisha village under Sharikal union of Gournadi upazila and HSC examinees of Agorpur College respectively. They would be interrogated about the incident and drives to arrest the alleged abductors would also be continued, the IO told. Abul Kalam, officer-in-charge of Gournadi police station, said Aktaruzzaman, father of Anik lodged a case of kidnapping on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier, Both of the victims went on a stroll on Tuesday evening and became missing. Anik’s mother claimed to received a cell phone call from her son around 2:20am early Wednesday. Before switching off the phone, Anik hurriedly informed her that unidentified people riding on a pickup at Sakokati rickshaw stand asked them to show the way to Sharikal and immediately after that they became senseless, told the plaintiff of the case. Later police traced the location of the cell phone in Khulna region using mobile phone tracking technology, the IO told. l

Guardians of schoolchildren set fire to illegal shops in Lakshmibazar

Human chain formed demanding river protection n Our Correspondent, Habiganj

n Mohammad Jamil Khan

Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) formed a human chain yesterday on the Khoyai River in Habiganj, demanding measures for protecting the river. The chain was formed with the help of boats in Mashulia area of the district. People from all walks, including teachers and students attended the human chain. Speakers at the human chain said the river was under threat after India’s Chakmaghat barrage was established. They said if effective measures were not taken immediately, saving the Khoyai River would become impossible. The speakers also urged the government to convince India and stop the Chakmaghat barrage. A protest meeting was held after the human chain programme. District BAPA President Iqramul Wadud and Shahjalal Science and Technology University Associate Professor Jahirul Haque Shakil spoke in the meeting, among others. l

Agitated guardians of St Gregory High School students set fire to illegal shops at Lakshmibazar in the capital yesterday, protesting the death of a guardian of one of the school students. They also formed a human chain in front of the school wearing black badges, protesting the death. Shah Jamal, 45, father of Sakib Hossain, a class four student of the school, died on Wednesday after a minibus ran over him when he was taking his son to school at Noyabazar area. A case was filed with Bangshal police station in this regard and the driver of the minibus was arrested soon after the incident. Addressing the human chain, the guardians alleged that they were forced to walk on roads as some influential people set up illegal shops on footpath, leading to the death of some innocent people. Later, the agitated guardians set fire on around 50 illegal shops in

The two missing HSC examinees from Gournadi of Barisal succeeded to flee from the car of the abductors and were recovered from Khulna early yesterday. Ahsanullah Kabir, sub-inspector of Gournadi police station of Barisal and investigating officer of the case, confirming the report said the two victims

Anik hurriedly informed her that unidentified people riding on a pickup at Sakokati rickshaw stand asked them to show the way to Sharikal

the area. On information, two fire fighting units from Sadarghat fire station rushed to the spot and doused the flame around 9am, said Nilufar Yeasmin, duty officer of fire service and civil defence. Following an investigation, it was learned that members of Sutrapur police and Faridabad police outpost separately take Tk20 toll daily from this illegal shop owners. Lineman Islam of Faridabad police outpost takes Tk20 around 11am daily, while two other linemen Habil and Faruk take rest Tk20 toll for Sutrapur police station. Besides, local Bishu group takes Tk20-200 toll from different shops daily. They also take Tk5,000-20,000 per shop during their establishment. Contacted, Khalilur Rahman Patwary, officer-in-charge of Sutrapur police station, refused the allegation and told the Dhaka Tribune that if any proof was given against any of their officials, actions would be taken against them. l


6

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Nation

Friday, March 14, 2014

Dying Teesta River puts life of rural people at stake n Porimal Majumder Inadequate water flow in the Teesta River, which enters Bangladesh from neighbouring India, is gradually destroying the agriculture and ecology of the adjacent northern districts. The government’s irrigation project that depends on Teesta water is also facing hindrance because of the inadequate water flow in lean season. Officials of the Water Development Board said such barren situation in the northern districts, including Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat and Rangpur, had been affecting cultivation and occupation of the people depending on the river to maintain livelihood. Farmers were the worst sufferers as they could not continue irrigation activities smoothly for lack of water. Iqbal Hossain, executive engineer of the WDB, told the Dhaka Tribune that water flow in the Teesta came down to only 500 cusec in the Teesta Barrage area during dry season against the 4,000 cusec necessary for the normal flow. Moreover, the Teesta irrigation project could not be effective since it required at least 1,500 cusec water in lean period whereas there were only 500 cusec water in the river, he added. On the consequence, Prof Masum A Patwary of the geography and environment science department at Begum

Rokeya University said the Indian government had set up a barrage at Gojoldoba in 1977 and since then it had been one-sidedly withdrawing water from the river, causing sufferings to Bangladeshi farmers. Apart from agriculture, the region’s water-based biodiversity, including fisheries resources, are also facing extinction as the river and its adjacent canals are drying up for lack of water. Mainul Haq, a local from Gangachhara area of Rangpur said many fishermen had changed profession in recent years because of the decrease in fish population in the river. Other aqua species, including the Ganges dolphin and Ghorial that were in plenty of number two decades back, were now on the verge of extinction, said Johur Miah, a resident of Nilphamari Sadar upazila. Yesterday, several thousand farmers blocked the Rangpur-Dalia road for three hours as they had not got sufficient water in the Teesta irrigation canal for the last 15 days. A number of farmers said boro cultivation on about 40 hectares of land was under threat as they could not irrigate their paddy fields over a couple of weeks. They said cracks had developed in the fields for lack of water. The farmers withdrew the blockade upon request from the administration. l

n Our Correspondent , Mymensingh A local leader of Jamaat-e-Islami was stabbed in Mymensingh district yesterday. The victim was identified as Ekram Ullah, former Jamaat president of Goforgao municipality and principal of Ideal School and College. Syed Abdullah, officer-in-charge of Goforgaon police station, said miscreants had attacked Ekram at 11am in Imambri area over previous enmity. Police rescued him in critical condition and sent him to Mymensingh Medical Hospital. l

New classes at Hajee Danesh to begin on March 16 n Our Correspondent, Dinajpur

Farmers have cultivated Boro paddy on the dried up bed of Teesta River. The photo was taken yesterday

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Embankments renovated in Dutch style in Barisal

51 pseudo-freedom fighters get allowance in Magura

n Our Correspondent, Barisal

n OUR CORRESPONDENT, Magura

Two sustainable green embankments constructed in two villages of Patuakhali’s Kalapara upazila using soil bags, first of its kind in Bangladesh, were officially opened yesterday. The Dutch technology, easily accessible for the local population, is not just about protection against tidal surge and flash floods but also about contributing to the biodiversity. Of the two, the 740-feet-long one has been built at Gondamari village of Dhankhali Union and the other, having a length of 320 feet, at the nearby Marichbunia village. Both the dykes – implemented by Caritas Bangladesh in January – are 13 feet wide. These were damaged during the cyclone storm Mahasen in May last year when around 40 people died and some 600km of embankments were damaged. Mahabubur Rahman, local lawmaker and former state minister for water resources, inaugurated the project as chief guest held at Gondamari village. Francis Bepari, Barisal regional director

of Caritas, presided over the ceremony. The bags help strengthening the compaction of the soil. It is the combination of biotic (grass seeds) and abiotic (jute bag, soil) elements. The bag is prepared by mixing the grass seeds and the soil.

The Dutch technology is not just about protection against tidal surge and flash floods but also about contributing to the biodiversity The grasses sprout up within two weeks through the tiny holes of the bags and their roots enter into the deep of the soil, the project-related technical experts said. The 62-feet-slopes of the embankments where the soil bags are placed are strong enough to protect the known-level of tidal surge. The Water

Jamaat leader stabbed

Development Board (WDB) said the soil toned up gradually, said Joyti F Gomes, director of disaster management and development department, Caritas. The construction and renovation of embankments using green soil bags has successfully been conducted in the Netherlands and it was the first case of piloting the same in Bangladesh, Francis said. The embankment would become so green that it would attract people for roaming and cattle for grazing, he added. A four-member team from the Netherlands came to Bangladesh on November 21 last year. The WDB and Green Soil Bag TeamNetherlands provided technical support for the scheme styled “Sustainable Dyke Repairing Project.” Costing around Tk21 lakh, the project was funded by the Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aid (Cordaid) of the Netherlands, said Gerdien Seegers, Coraid’s programme manager. The inaugural ceremony was also addressed by WDB officials and representatives of local government. l

Some 51 pseudo-freedom fighters draw their monthly allowance after having their names registered on the district freedom fighters’ list, a press release has revealed on Wednesday. Freedom fighter Md Abdul Hye Chowdhury of village Fulbari under Magura Sadar upazilla made the revelation through the release. Abdul Hye fought the Liberation War under sector 8. He alleged that at least 10 people including Abdur Rouf Mollah, Abdur Razzak and Tofazzel Biswas in village Fulbari under Magura Sadar upazila and at least 20 including Khashru Zoarder, Golam Moula and Ria Molla in village Hazipur under the

Farmers lay siege to DC office n Our Correspondent,

same upazila posed as freedom fighters and were getting honorarium. Under the upazila, at least 10 such freedom fighters including Razab Ali, Golam Mustafa and Abul Kashem in the village of Sreemantapur are reaping the monetary benefit. Allegation had it that at least seven freedom fighters including Syed Ali Fakir and Moinuddin in the village of Bagura in the upazila were also the beneficiaries of freedom fighters’ allowance. Abdul Hye called for a careful scrutiny of the list to register real freedom fighters dropping out the pseudo-ones from the roll. Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad Magura district unit Commander Mollah Nobuat Hosain admitted the fact. l

28 Jamaat men sent to jail n Our correspondent, Jhenaidah A court here on Wednesday sent 28 local activists of BangladeshJamaat-eIslalmi to jail rejecting bail prayer in a case filed for committing destructive activities during the January 5 general elections. All of them are activists of Maheshpur upazila unit Jamaat here, who were accused of setting polling centres ablaze, vandalising liberation war monument and barring police from discharging their duties during the recently held national polls. Parvez Mosharraf, senior judicial magistrate of Jhenidah, passed the rejection order of bail sought by the activists. l

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Office of the Executive Engineer, RHD, Road Division, Lakshmipur. Phone: 0381-61500 E-mail: eelax@rhd.gov.bd

Brahmanbaria

Several hundred farmers of Brahmanbaria municipality area and its nearby villages laid siege to the Brahmanbaria deputy commissioner’s office yesterday, protesting robbery of their bulls, water machines and boats. Around 500-600 farmers laid siege to the office around 10:30am and continued it for two hours. The farmers alleged that their farm machineries, including cows and water machines were being stolen every day, but police did not take action against the thieves. The agitated farmers threatened to start a nonstop protest programme if the district administration failed to control the stealing. l

New student orientation programme 2014 was held at Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University yesterday at the university auditorium, while classes will begin on March 16. University Vice-Chancellor Md Ruhul Amin presided over the orientation programme, while Aqbalur Rahim, whip of the National Parliament, was present as chief guest. While addressing the programme, Aqbalur Rahim said the university was ranked fifth among the universities of Bangladesh, and urged the new students to upgrade its position. l

e-Tender Notice e-Tender is invited in the National e-GP System Portal (http: www.eprocure.gov.bd) for the procurement of Strengthening by Aggregate Base Type-II, Repair, Carpeting and Seal Coat works at 2nd & 3rd km in Meher-Paniwala-Dalta-Munshirhat-Chatkhil Road (Z-1417) under Laxmipur Road Division during the year 2013-2014. Tender/ Proposal ID: 6956, Package No. e-gp/LXRD/12/2013-2014 This is an online Tender, Where only e-Tender will be accepted in the National e-GP portal and no offline/hard copies will be accepted. To Submit e-Tender, Registration in the National e-GP System Portal (http:www. eprocure.gov.bd) is required. The fees for downloading the e-Tender Documents from the National e-GP System portal have to be deposited online through any registered Banks branches up to (12.00hr. 02 April/2014) Further Information and guidelines are available in the National e-GP System Portal and from e-GP help desk (helpdesk@eprocure.gov.bd). (Tofayal Ahmed) Assistant Engineer, RHD Road Division, Lakshmipur GC-29/14 (5"×3)

(Md. Mozibor Rahman Molla) Executive Engineer, RHD Road Division, Lakshmipur


DHAKA TRIBUNE

Discussion

7

Friday, March 14, 2014

Might of pen Sex workers seek greater contribution of media in ensuring rights

RAJIB DHAR

S

n Samira S Sadeque

ex-work, despite being the oldest profession in the world, has carried into the 21st century the crippling stigma that embodies it. The stigma is not the only thing that makes it so difficult for the sex-workers, especially in Bangladesh: they are also repeatedly abused and ignored in many social platforms. “We the sex workers have been subjected to torture at different points of our lives but there is no space for us to share our stories. When someone is raped, they can lodge a case at the jail but I cannot even do that when I am raped because I am a sex worker,” Henna Akhter, president of Sex Workers’ Network (SWN) shared at the roundtable organised by the Dhaka Tribune on November 30 last year.

‘If a sex worker had gotten the whole sum from the very beginning, in five years she could’ve even escaped from this profession’ Representatives from the media, SWN, the UN and other activists participated in the roundtable discussion that focused on the role of media in raising awareness about the plights and rights of sex-workers in Bangladesh. UN representative Nahiyan ad-

dressed the participants saying, “A sex worker is weaker than her client politically, socially, economically and culturally so it’s impossible for them to raise these issues. As citizens, with the social, legal and health rights they have, they should be able to access the law and media should help in this regard.” While activists and researchers who have worked closely with sex-workers agree that the media has done its part, many sex-workers feel that the media needs to do more. Safia from SWN discussed the abuse that children living in sex workers’ community go through. “They are abused and tortured physically and mentally. And to put them in a safe environment is not the duty of NGOs alone, but the media can help us reach a big step in this regard.” She said, “We can’t continue leaving this population in this position. They have said they will pay taxes if thats what takes the government to acknowledge this profession. Even the sex workers don’t come to this field because they want to. Many come through trafficking and government needs to take care of those.” “This is where we need media’s assistance.” Henna addressed a question that often arises from this issue: if the profession is given recognition, then there will be a drastic rise in people choosing this profession. “This won’t happen. There will be choices,” she said. “Those who want to be journalists will be journalists, sex workers will be sex workers, doctors will be doctors. I myself am not educated, it’s by working with the media that I am being able to speak up for my rights, and say these things today.”

Nahiyan spoke of the importance of addressing the demand-side of this profession. “We always talk about the supply side: evict brothels, rehabilitate the sex workers. You can see that the girls who work in these brothels come from impoverished backgrounds or are trafficked into it. But there is a huge business involved here: no one addresses this issue. If a client reaches a girl by paying Tk100 then the girl gets

the workers contribute, with their meager earning, to elections, mosques and other social projects. There are of course many loopholes that remain to be addressed in this matter: legal loopholes, the economic and social aspects of it and so on. However, there has been a revolution in the past few decades. Sex workers have united and created a platform for themselves. They have made them-

‘When someone is raped, they can lodge a case at the jail but I cannot even do that when I am raped because I am a sex worker’

only Tk10, the rest is given to others in the transaction.” He continued, “A girl who entered the profession five years ago still earns as much as she used to back then. She remains in that same position, whereas the money is going through different channels. If she had gotten the whole sum from the very beginning, in five years she could’ve even escaped from this profession. “But now she doesn’t have that scope because the ability of her earning is so hand-to-mouth that she has no other way out. She doesn’t have any skill as such, there is lack of jobs in the country, so she doesn’t have a way out.” Nahian suggested the media address these financial aspects of sex-workers, focusing on the fact that

“M

‘Although the media’s contribution has helped reduce the steroid consumption among the workers, many have felt exposed through the media’

steroids in order to boost their physical growth. “Drugs used to fatten cows were being dispensed in the brothels for young girls to be forced to grow into adulthood, so that they could serve their client. “It was then that the media joined us in the campaign – we got support from them – electronic, print media, etc, and they helped facilitate proper discussions between health experts,

M

edia has cast an important influence – which has had both positive and negative outcomes – on the status and conditions of sex-workers, since as early as the mid-1980s, retired Professor Dr HKS Arefeen has told the Dhaka Tribune in an exclusive interview. Dr Arefeen, who was with the department of anthropology at Dhaka University, has worked with sex-workers since about 1985 when a child sex-worker named Shab Meher was raped and murdered, an issue that the media covered extensively. Along with feminist movements, the media contributed to the widespread coverage, and in turn conveyed the message to the people.

Legal loopholes

selves heard. This has helped them reach many people – both home and abroad. And at this point, the contribution of media is crucial as it can enhance the voice of the sex-workers. Perhaps the president of SWN put it most accurately: “If the media helps us, if they consider us to be regular humans, then they must continue to write for us. “For however long their pens will fight, our revolution will continue and we will get our rights. But if their pens stop, then no matter how much we scream and ask for our rights, we won’t get them.” Indeed, the media can – and should – use the space it has in the society to right the wrong beliefs, fight for the basic rights of the workers, and help them write revolutions. l

Prostitution a demand driven work: Farah Kabir edia has played a key role in raising awareness about the status of sex workers in the society, but minor setbacks have at times put media’s role under a negative light,” Action Aid country director Farah Kabir said in an exclusive interview with the Dhaka Tribune. Action Aid has worked with sex workers for over ten years and have addressed issues including right to proper burial, raising awareness about steroids that many sex-workers were forced to take, and the status of the children of sex-workers. “Our work aims to recognise that this is a community in the society and they are there because they have been pushed into this work either due to poverty or social conflict or gender discrimination,” Kabir said in the interview. “It is a demand-driven work, but clients pretend it doesn’t exist. They visit the brothels at night but in the daytime they take on a ‘high morale’.” According to the country director, Action Aid has gotten media’s support during the different projects that it has worked on. A few years ago, the media played an instrumental role in revealing that many of the younger sex workers were being forced to take

Media’s role has had both positive and negative effects: Dr Arefeen

campaigners, rights workers and sex workers,” said Kabir. “We also tried to reach the pharmaceutical companies through the media to ask them to not sell the drugs over counter,” she added. International media houses, such as the BBC and The Guardian, picked up the story and came here to investigate the matter. However, although the media’s contribution has helped reduce the

steroid consumption among the workers, many workers have felt exposed through the media. “The sex workers felt that the media was capitalising on their situation, and that there were no returns in terms of legislation, policy action, and action of any sort. So there was a certain amount of disappointment,” Farah added. She also pointed out that many media houses – both local and international – have used photographs of sex workers without their permission, thus casting a negative impression of journalism on sex workers. While these were specific issues, what tends to be a general problem with the media is their prioritisation of issues. Farah said: “Media gets consumed with political stories. And social issues have to compete with these political issues. They’re also not sustained for long.” “Media must continue, keeping this issue in focus, raise awareness, and influence the thinking of the society.” She also stressed, like other activists, on the crucial role the media can play in giving a voice to sex workers and their families. “As a society, we have much to do in terms of behaving like a civilised community.” l

According to Dr Arefeen, although prostitution in Bangladesh is illegal, it is permitted. The government provides permit to the sex workers. If a woman goes to the magistrate and claims that they do not have any other choice and is bound to go into prostitution, an affidavit can be published and the woman is granted license. This is a typical issue where there is a permit present but on the whole it is considered an illegal business.

workers because of what had happened then. “At those times it wasn’t easy to investigate into such sensitive subjects without a few obstacles from society. The female investigators were not inclined to participate and even for the male investigators it was an uncomfortable task. One cannot remove the social stigma that easily.” Despite these social barriers, the study was conducted and Dr Arefeen and his colleague discovered that sex workers could not be rehabilitated and neither could brothels be removed as the highly-demanded profession benefitted the sex workers with an income.

Contradictory role of media Dr Arefeen says the media had played a big role in covering the murder of Shab Meher, and raising awareness about the plight of sex-workers. However, he pointed out, although the media may do it in order to raise awareness, often it backfires and the exposure actually causes many attacks and/or eviction of brothels. Sometimes, media’s role inadvertently redirects from “raising awareness” to “exposing the sex-workers’ locations, and other sensitive information” – and this makes it difficult for sex-workers to remain where they are.

Since media has raised this issue so much, it is at least a discourse – which was unthinkable back in the 80s

Historically… Despite the stigma that encapsulates the profession of sex-workers, brothels have historically been supported by the state – explicitly or discreetly, says Dr Arefeen. The Prostituion Act 1861 was brought in by the British rulers, who in fact introduced the concept of brothels to the sub-continent. This is how the state became involved with the profession. These brothels had also been a hideout for politicians and criminals during the British and Pakistan-era. According to Dr Arefeen, such support for the brothels had been present all over Bangladesh: in English road, Old Dhaka (Kandupotti), in Narayaganj and in some places in Jessore. These brothels are situated beside the police stations and are under the surveillance of TSI, the town sub-inspector. Following the murder of Shab Meher, Dr Arefeen and his colleague Dr Zarina Rahman Khan were approached by the Norwegian Embassy feasibility study regarding the removal of brothels and rehabilitation for the sex

The “exposure” also makes it difficult for other social workers to approach the sex-workers. For instance, the study Dr Arefeen and his colleague conducted was difficult to carry out for another reason, the media. “When we conducted the studies the prostitutes would refuse to talk because the exposure that the media had given them resulted in raids on these brothels and affected their business,” says Dr Arefeen. Furthermore, media reports sometimes cause conflicts between brothels and fundamentalist groups in the society. However, on the more positive aspect it appears that the brutal killing of Shab Meher triggered an uproar which the media and rights activist had a large role in giving spark to and continuing till today. Dr Arefeen says since media has raised this issue so much, it is at least a discourse – which was unthinkable back in the 80s. “Today, you can at least talk about sex workers. Back then, even talking about it was a stigma.” l


8

DHAKA TRIBUNE

World

Friday, March 14, 2014

Crimea issue: Merkel warns Russia of ‘massive damage’ n Reuters, Berlin Germany’s Angela Merkel warned Moscow yesterday that it risked “massive” political and economic damage if it refused to change course on Ukraine, saying Western leaders were united in their readiness to impose sanctions on Russia if necessary. The chancellor, using her strongest language since the start of the crisis and removing any suspicion that Germany might seek to avoid a confrontation with President Vladimir Putin, said his actions would lead to “catastrophe” for Ukraine and much more. “We would not only see it, also as neighbours of Russia, as a threat. And it would not only change the European Union’s relationship with Russia,” she said in a speech in parliament. “No, this would also cause massive damage to Russia, economically and politically.” Merkel has acknowledged that her efforts to persuade Putin to negotiate via a “contact group” with the transition government in Kiev - which he

accuses of ousting Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovich unlawfully - have failed and time is running out. Russian troops have seized control of the Ukrainian region of Crimea on the Black Sea, backing separatists who

Germany receives over a third of its gas and oil from Russia and over 6,000 German firms are active there have taken over the local government and are preparing a referendum on Sunday which could pave the way for annexation by Russia. Merkel reiterated that if Putin continues to snub diplomacy and lets the referendum in Crimea go ahead, the EU - in close coordination with Washington and NATO - would impose tougher sanctions than the largely symbolic

measures taken so far. Travel bans and asset freezes on people and firms accused by Brussels of helping to violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity could be approved by EU foreign ministers on Monday. European leaders, who meet next Thursday, will discuss action affecting trade with Russia if it presses ahead with its current course in Ukraine. “To be absoultely clear, none of us want it to come to such measures but we are all ready and determined to if they are unavoidable,” said Merkel. Germany receives over a third of its gas and oil from Russia and over 6,000 German firms are active there. A poll last week showed that a majority of Germans oppose sanctions against Russia. Merkel grew up behind the Iron Curtain, speaks Russian and has tried to leverage her influence with Putin, whom she has known for 14 years, in countless phone calls. The former KGB officer, who himself speaks German, is said to respect her as a strong leader. l

Turkey PM condemns protesters after boy’s funeral n Reuters, Istanbul Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused protesters yesterday of trying to sow chaos to influence local elections after Turkey’s worst day of civil unrest since anti-government demonstrations swept the nation last summer. Late on Wednesday, a man in Istanbul was shot dead and a police officer in eastern Turkey suffered a fatal heart attack. Erdogan said demonstrators had “burned and destroyed” offices of his ruling AK Party in Istanbul. “You were supposed to be demo-

crats, pro-freedom. These are charlatans, they have nothing to do with democracy, they do not believe in the ballot box,” Erdogan said at an opening ceremony for an underground train line in the capital Ankara. Erdogan portrays the clashes, and a corruption scandal dogging his government, as part of an anti-government plot embracing foreign and domestic forces. He accuses Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally, of using influence in police and judiciary to engineer the graft inquiry to undermine him. Gulen denies such intrigues. The

cleric’s supporters accuse Erdogan of increasingly authoritarian conduct compromising liberal reforms of the first years of his 11 years in office. Riot police clashed with demonstrators in several Turkish cities on Wednesday as mourners buried a teenager, wounded in the protests last June, whose death this week after nine months in a coma sparked a fresh wave of disturbances. On Wednesday night, police fired water cannon, tear gas and rubber pellets on a major Istanbul avenue to stop tens of thousands of protesters reaching the central Taksim square. l

An Islamic Jihad militant stands guard near a military base that was targeted in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at Israeli cities yesterday in the second day of a cross-border flare-up that has drawn Israeli warnings of a tough military response REUTERS

Abbas urges halt of Israel roceket Barrage n AFP, Gaza City Israel pounded nearly 30 targets in Gaza overnight after militants fired scores of rockets into the south, prompting Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas to demand yesterday that it halt its “escalation.” The rocket barrage, which was the heaviest since an eight-day conflict between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers in November 2012, sent thousands of Israelis fleeing for cover across the south on Wednesday afternoon. So far, there have been no reports of casualties on either side of the border. And experts said Israel was not interested in a major confrontation with Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The latest tit-for-tat violence was sparked by an incident on Tuesday when militants of the hardline Islam-

n Reuters, Vienna

Heavy smoke pours from the debris as the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) responds to a 5-alarm fire and building collapse at 1646 Park Ave in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan March 12, 2014 in New York City AFP

Six dead in NY as buildings collapse n Agencies

At least six people have died and several are missing after a gas leak sparked an explosion which levelled two buildings in New York City, BBC reported. Scores of others were injured in the incident, which sent smoke billowing into the city sky. Rescue crews began searching the debris on Wednesday evening for victims after the fire was finally put out. Train services to and from Grand Central Terminal have been restored after a complete halt earlier.

As the search-and-rescue operation continued under floodlights on Wednesday night, the emergency services confirmed that the death toll had risen first to four, then to five and to six, with several people still missing. Earlier, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference from the scene that the gas leak had been reported to the utility company 15 minutes before the blast on Wednesday morning. As night fell, rescue crews were finally able to search for victims in the debris after the fire raged for most of the day. Heavy equipment, including a bull-

dozer, helped clear the remnants of two multi-storey buildings. Thermal imaging cameras were brought in to identify bodies or pockets of fire inside the mountain of debris. The New York fire department said 22 people had been hurt, but a tally of local hospitals by ABC News found that 64 had been admitted with injuries as a result of the incident. The blast scattered debris across nearby rooftops, correspondents say, destroying adjoining five-storey buildings in a largely Latino working-class neighbourhood. l

Brazil’s president faces revolt by coalition allies n Reuters, Brasilia

The rift between President Dilma Rousseff and her main political allies widened on Wednesday one day after they voted in Congress to look into bribery allegations leveled at Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras. Disgruntled congressmen from coalition parties summoned an array of Rousseff ’s cabinet members to appear before various congressional committees in a new display of discontent. They also invited Maria das Graças Foster, the chief executive officer of

terror sites in the Gaza Strip. Direct hits were confirmed,” it said. Security sources in Gaza said there were no casualties in the air strikes as all the sites had been evacuated. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas didn’t condemn the rocketing of “our citizens.” “He condemned Israel for hitting three terrorists who fired mortars on us,” he added, referring to Tuesday’s border incident. Earlier, Netanyahu warned that Israel would act “with great force” against those seeking to attack it. “If there won’t be quiet in the south, there will be noise in Gaza,” he remarked drily after a conference call with his defence chiefs in which he instructed them to do whatever necessary to restore calm. l

UN sees ‘serious setbacks’ in global anti-drugs fight

Iran minister seeks to allay Gulf Arab nuclear fears n AFP, Muscat Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Shiite Iran yesterday sought to allay concerns among mainly Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab monarchies mistrustful of Tehran over its nuclear ambitions. “Our message to the other countries of the Persian Gulf is a message of friendship, fraternity and cooperation,” Zarif said in the Omani capital Muscat, where he is accompanying President Hassan Rouhani on a landmark visit. The sultanate maintains strong links with Tehran, and has played an important intermediary role between Western countries and the Islamic republic. Gulf Arab countries have expressed concern about the reliability of Iran’s sole nuclear power plant at Bushehr and the risk of radioactive leaks in case of a major earthquake, as well as a possible military dimension to Iran’s nuclear drive. Iran insists that its atomic ambitions are peaceful, despite fears in Israel and the West that these mask a covert drive to acquire the bomb. “Iran is ready for strong and fraternal relations with all the states of the region,” said Zarif, who has embarked on a charm offensive towards the Gulf since Rouhani became Iran’s president in August. In December, he toured Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. But Zarif has still not visited regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, which accuses Tehran of fomenting opposition among its Shiite-majority population to Sunni rule. Zarif has said he is ready to visit Riyadh, but the Saudis remain cool to the idea. l

ic Jihad group fired a mortar round at troops allegedly trying to enter southern Gaza, prompting an Israeli air strike which killed three of them. In retaliation, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Quds Brigades, fired scores of rockets over the border on Wednesday, with the group putting the number at 130. Israel responded with air strikes on 29 targets across Gaza, hitting bases used by Hamas as well as those of Islamic Jihad, which has so far claimed all of the rocket fire. The army said more than 60 rockets had struck southern Israel, five of them hitting populated areas. Another three were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defence system. “In response to the massive rocket attack that hit Israel earlier this evening, the Israel Air Force targeted 29

state-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA, to answer questions about the allegations that a Dutch company paid bribes to company officials to win contracts for floating oil platforms. The revolt in the ranks of the ruling coalition is led by Brazil’s largest party, the center-right PMDB, which is jockeying for a bigger role in Rousseff ’s government and more funds for its members’ districts in an election year. “The government has neglected the allied parties and their leaders,” said PMDB lawmaker Danilo Forte, who proposed calling a party convention to

decide whether to end the alliance with Rousseff ’s leftist Workers’ Party (PT). The rebellion comes at a bad time for Rousseff as she plans to run for re-election in a scenario complicated by economic downturn and rising inflation in Latin America’s largest nation. Government and foes were surprised by the extent of Tuesday’s defeat that showed the strength of the disaffected bloc in Congress. The lower house voted 267-28 to set up a special committee to monitor investigations by the Netherlands and Petrobras into the bribery case involving Dutch ship

leaser SBM Offshore NV. Political analysts say the coalition crisis is of Rousseff ’s own making because she dislikes backroom politics and lacks the charisma and political skills that helped Lula forge today’s ruling coalition. Yet Rousseff is a strong favorite to win the October 5 election and no one believes her allies will break with her. “They will bleed the government as much as they can, but at the end of the day they will join forces with Rousseff to avoid the risk of defeat at the polls,” said André Cesar, a political analyst at consultancy Prospectiva Consultoria. l

The global fight against narcotics has suffered serious setbacks, including record opium cultivation in Afghanistan and a surge of trafficking-linked violence in Central America, the UN anti-drugs chief said yesterday. At the opening of an international meeting on the issue, Yury Fedotov also noted some successes, such as a shrinking cocaine market. The two-day gathering will review implementation of a 2009 plan of action to combat the drugs problem before a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2016, amid a heated debate on the merits of drugs liberalisation. Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said reductions in the supply and demand for some drugs in one part of the world had been partly offset by increases elsewhere. “The overall magnitude of drug demand has not substantially changed at the global level,” he told the conference, which organisers said drew 1,500 representatives from member states, civil society organisations and other groups. “We are strongly concerned about the vulnerability of some regions, notably West Africa and East Africa, to illicit drug trafficking,” Fedotov said. There are around 27 million “problem drug users” in the world and about 210,000 narcotics-related deaths a year, a UNODC document prepared for the March 13-14 conference said. There is disagreement on how to best counter the scourge, with critics questioning the so-called war on drugs and advocating some legalisation to try to undermine criminal gangs that thrive on narcotics trafficking. In a move that will be closely watched by other nations discussing drug liberalisation, Uruguay’s parliament in December approved a bill to legalise and regulate the sale and production of marijuana - the first country to take such a step. In the United States, Washington and Colorado states recently legalised the sale of cannabis under license, although federal law has not changed.

‘Alarming increase’

Fedotov, who said earlier this week that legalisation was not a solution, told the meeting that “dismantling” the provisions of three international drug control conventions would not help protect people’s health and welfare. However, he said: “A public health response to the drug use problem should consider alternatives to penalisation and incarceration of people with use disorders.” Taking stock of developments in recent years, he said the total area under coca bush cultivation fell by 26% between 2007 and 2011. Cocaine use in North America, the world’s largest market, has fallen sharply, UNODC data show. “Sustainable reductions have been achieved through successful alternative development programmes,” Fedotov said. “We have seen welcome improvements in treatment delivery.”

Afghanistan supplies about 90% of the world’s opium, from which heroin is made There had also been strengthened international cooperation, with information-sharing and coordination among law agencies. “And yet there have been serious setbacks,” Fedotov said, noting that opium cultivation reached record levels in Afghanistan in 2013. “Drugs from Afghanistan continue to ... create serious challenges in the region and beyond.” Afghanistan supplies about 90% of the world’s opium, from which heroin is made, and its poppy-driven economy is helping to fuel the 13-year-long war in the country. Fedotov also said drug trafficking “has triggered a dramatic surge of violence in Central America.” The illicit market for synthetic stimulants is expanding and there is an “alarming increase” in new psychoactive substances, he added. “Cyber technologies are being more broadly used in drug trafficking and related money-laundering activities.” l


DHAKA TRIBUNE

World

Pilots of Malaysian mystery plane under scrutiny

People look at Malaysia Airlines planes at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport

n AFP, Kuala Lumpur The captain of a missing Malaysian jet is said to be an engineering buff who assembled his own flight simulator, while friends of the co-pilot are defending his reputation after one report portrayed him as a cockpit Casanova. Malaysian Airlines flight 370 disappeared six days ago and an international search and rescue effort in waters around Southeast Asia has failed to find a shred of evidence in one of the biggest aviation mysteries in history. With little solid information to go on, authorities are investigating all 227 passengers and 12 crew for possible sabotage, although they stress no such evidence has come to light. But it has brought Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and his First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, under scrutiny. An Australian television report made waves this week by broadcasting an

interview with a young South African woman who said Fariq and another pilot colleague invited them into the cockpit of a flight he co-piloted from Phuket, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur in 2011. Passengers have been prohibited from entering cockpits during a flight since the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Malaysia Airlines said it was “shocked” by the reported security violation, but that it could not verify the claims.

‘Good boy’

Fariq, who joined the airline at the age of 20, studied piloting at a flight school on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi. The son of a high-ranking official in the public works department of a Malaysian state, he is a mild-mannered “good boy” who regularly visited his neighbourhood mosque outside Kuala Lumpur, said the mosque’s imam, or spiritual leader. Fariq also attended occasional Is-

REUTERS

lamic courses, said Ahmad Sharafi Ali Asrah. He rejected the account of the supposed cockpit security breach. “This story doesn’t make sense and I feel it’s just an effort to discredit Fariq or the airlines,” Ahmad Sharafi said. “He is a good boy and keeps a low profile.” Fariq had a brief brush with fame when he appeared in a CNN travel segment with the network’s correspondent Richard Quest in February, in which Fariq helped fly a plane from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur. The segment portrayed Hamid’s transition to piloting the Boeing 777200 after having completed training in a flight simulator. “It was interesting to watch the way he brought the aircraft in to land,” Quest said, according to the CNN website, calling Fariq’s technique “textbook-perfect.” l

Friday, March 14, 2014

China ‘will not give up’ on Malaysia MH370 n Agencies China will not give up the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, MH370, “as long as there is a glimmer of hope,” its premier has said. Of the 239 passengers on the aircraft, which vanished without trace on Saturday, 153 were Chinese citizens. Premier Li Keqiang told a news conference yesterday: “Those people’s families and friends are burning with anxiety. The Chinese government and the Chinese people are all deeply concerned about their safety. We are all eagerly awaiting news about the plane, even the slightest piece of good news.” China had eight ships taking part in the search efforts, with a ninth on its way, and had deployed 10 satellites, he said. “We will not give up on any suspected clue that has been found,” Li said, after the end of the annual session of the National People’s Congress. His remarks came as the Wall Street Journal  reported that the aircraft remained airborne for hours after its disappearance from radars. The  US paper said  that aviation investigators and national security officials believed the plane flew for a total of five hours based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the Boeing 777’s engines, as part of a routine maintenance and monitoring programme.

False leads

The hunt for MH370 has been punctuated by false leads since it vanished hours after leaving the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early on Saturday. Malaysia’s civil aviation chief said no signs of the missing Malaysian aircraft MH370 had been found at a location where Chinese satellite images showed what was thought to be plane debris floating in the South China Sea. Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said planes searched the location yesterday. “There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. Vietnamese officials previously said the area had already been “searched thoroughly” in recent days. l

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US dismisses charges against Indian diplomat n Reuters An Indian diplomat charged in New York with visa fraud and making false statements about her domestic worker has won a dismissal of her federal indictment, in a move that could help smooth over a dispute that has frayed US-India ties. Devyani Khobragade, who was India’s deputy consul-general in New York, had diplomatic immunity when she sought on January 9 to dismiss the indictment, and thus could not be prosecuted, US District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday. New Delhi gave a cautious welcome to the news but it was far from clear if the matter had been fully resolved. US prosecutors could still seek a fresh indictment, while in India reports emerged that Khobragade’s two children held both US and Indian passports, in apparent violation of Indian rules. India is due to kick off a general election on April 7 and its major political parties have vied to outdo each other in condemning the US over the Khobragade case, as they seek to match public anger over the row. Narendra Modi, the prime-ministerial candidate of the opposition Bhara-

tiya Janata Party (BJP), brought up the diplomat’s “ill-treatment” in a meeting with US ambassador to India Nancy Powell last month. Modi has topped several recent opinion polls as the most popular choice for prime minister. US prosecutors have accused Khobragade of making Sangeeta Richard, her housekeeper and nanny, work 100hour weeks at a salary of just over $1 an hour, far below the legal minimum US wage of $7.25 an hour. They argued that the indictment should stand because Khobragade did not have diplomatic immunity either when she was arrested, or now that she has left the country. They can seek a fresh indictment but it is not yet clear if they will do so. “As the court indicated in its decision, and as Devyani Khobragade has conceded, there is currently no bar to a new indictment against her for her alleged criminal conduct, and we intend to proceed accordingly,” said James Margolin, a spokesman for US Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan. Khobragade, 39 at the time of her arrest on December 12, is now working for the foreign ministry in Delhi, having left the United States in January, said her US lawyer, Daniel Arshack. l

Court upholds death sentence for Delhi gang-rapists n AFP, New Delhi An Indian court upheld yesterday the death penalty handed to four men convicted of the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi, an attack that triggered protests over violence against women. The High Court rejected an appeal by the four who were sentenced last year to hang following a trial over the attack on the 23-year-old student on a moving bus in the capital in December 2012. A lawyer for the four said he would now appeal against the sentence to the country’s top court. “Our appeal has been

dismissed by the high court. The death sentence of the four convicts has been upheld. We will go to the Supreme Court,” AP Singh told reporters outside the court. The physiotherapy student was attacked by six men, including with an iron rod, after she boarded a private bus while going home from the cinema with a male friend. She died from her injuries 13 days later. The brutality of the attack, and her determination to survive so she could identify her attackers to police, sparked large-scale angry street protests as well as soul-searching about India’s treatment of women. l

Chinese premier admits Release of Afghan prisoners exposes root of rift with US n ‘friction’ with the US Reuters, Kandahar

n Reuters, Beijing Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday that there was “friction” with the United States, and the world’s two biggest economies must respect each other’s core interests. Washington and Beijing have grappled over a range of issues, including human rights, cyber hacking, trade disputes and China’s growing military assertiveness over seas contested with its neighbors. “It’s a fact that some friction exists in the course of cooperation, but this is the trouble with cooperation,” Li told a news conference at the close of China’s annual parliamentary session yesterday. “Of course, China and the United States, because their history and cultural background are different, and their stage of development is different, there are differences on some issues.” Li did not mention specific issues in US-China relations, steering clear of sensitive domestic and international issues facing China’s ruling Communist Party. The United States is uneasy about

what it sees as China’s effort to gain creeping control over waters in the Asia-Pacific region. China is in the midst of a sovereignty dispute with US-ally Japan over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. China also has conflicting territorial claims with the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei across a waterway in the South China Sea that provides 10% of the global fisheries catch and carries $5 trillion in shipborne trade. For its part, Beijing has expressed concern over the US military “pivot” towards Asia. Despite the tensions, both sides have an overriding interest in maintaining the health of the world economy. “As long as we respect each other, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, control well our differences, have equal consultations, and especially pay particular attention to expanding our common interests, then (we will) be able to enhance the level of our bilateral relations,” Li said. l

Dead guru in freezer for ‘deep meditation’ n AFP, Chandigarh An Indian guru declared dead has been in a deep freezer in his ashram for nearly six weeks with followers confident he will return to life to lead them, his spokesman said. Devotees placed Ashutosh Maharaj, whom authorities declared clinically dead on January 29, in the freezer and have been watching over his body in the sprawling ashram in a small town in northern Punjab state. Maharaj, reportedly in his 70s, is one of India’s many gurus or god-men who headed the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission) and claims to have millions of followers around the world. Mission spokesman Swami Vishalanand insisted their leader was not dead but was in fact in a state of samadhi, the highest level of meditation, and was therefore still conscious. Vishalanand told AFP that followers were now waiting for him to end his meditation.

Until then, the ashram in Nurmahal town would stay open with followers performing their own mediations and spiritual sessions. “Mahara-ji (a Hindi term of respect) is still sending messages through followers in their meditative stage to protect his body till he returns,” he said earlier this week. The decision to place him in the freezer was challenged in court by a man claiming to be his former driver, who alleged several followers were not releasing the body as they were seeking a share of the guru’s properties, local media reports said. But the court rejected the man’s petition after receiving information from authorities confirming his death, reportedly from a heart attack, said Reeta Kohli, additional advocate general of Punjab state. “The court rejected his pleas after the Punjab government said that the man is clinically dead and that it is up to his followers to decide what they want to do with the body,” Kohli told AFP. l

US military commanders believe Sardar Mohammad is a dangerous Taliban bomb-maker who has attacked foreign and Afghan soldiers. In April last year, US and Afghan forces captured Sardar and placed him in a military prison. The Afghan government ordered Sardar and 64 other men to be released last month. A quiet man who says he is in his late teens, Sardar headed back to his village in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. There, dozens of relatives and villagers paid respects to him outside his mud home. Sardar was never a Taliban insurgent, his family and neighbours say. But thanks to his imprisonment and release, he is now a hero. “I hate what the Taliban stands for,” Sardar said. President Hamid Karzai’s decision last month to release the disputed 65 prisoners is a sign of his growing eagerness to assert his independence from his Western backers. Twelve years after Washington and others helped him seize power and with just a few months left in his final term, the Afghan president seems to want to distance himself from his once-closest ally at every opportunity. But the story of the released pris-

Sher Mohammad, one of the 65 prisoners released from Bagram prison, sits next to his daughter at his home at Zhari district, Kandahar province February 23 REUTERS

Shiv Sena chief hits out at BJP, asks it to follow alliance ‘dharma’ n Agencies The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came under fresh attack from its ally Shiv Sena, which slammed it for creating a “trust deficit” by hobnobbing with Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in the run-up to the polls and asked it to mend its ways and follow “alliance dharma.” In a hard-hitting editorial in mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray asked BJP to adhere to the “dharma” (ground rules) of the alliance and cited example of Bal Thackeray “who had rejected the offer of BJP rebel Shakarsinh Waghela in 1996 to form government of Shiv Sena in Gujarat.” “Modi’s rise in Gujarat was possible because Bal Thackeray stuck to the dharma of alliance and did not align with Waghela...The BJP leaders who tried to reach out to the Sena de-

serters should read this history,” Uddhav said. Uddhav also stressed the BJP wanted Modi to become prime minister of the country but for that “BJP needs to create an atmosphere of trust.” “Our ideology of Hindutva is not to gain power. We don’t don the garb of Hindutva in hunger for power and there is no room for betrayal in Hindutva. Our ideology is Hindutva and will continue to be so irrespective of anyone being with us or not,” the editorial said. Uddhav said, “If BJP wants power at the Centre with Modi as prime minister, it should create an atmosphere of trust. You don’t get trust if you don’t create one yourself for others.” The Shiv Sena president also said his party was capable of fighting its own battles. “If you sidestep and betray friends who have stood by you through thick and thin, you will be self-inflict-

ing the label of betrayal.” He referred to some reports appearing in media, saying the BJP has adopted a new policy of “tying up with one regional party and carrying out backdoor deals with another.” The pointed attack came against the backdrop of former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari’s overtures to Raj Thackeray and his proposal to MNS to not contest Lok Sabha elections  to prevent consolidation of votes in favour of Congress. The development stirred the politics in Maharashtra, with the Shiv Sena flexing its muscles over continuation of alliance. This prompted top BJP leadership, including Rajnath Singh and BJP’s PM hopeful Narendra Modi, to do firefighting by pacifying Uddhav. Raj Thackeray has backed Modi’s prime ministerial bid, but decided that the MNS will contest the elections. l

oners also illustrates just why the gap between Washington and Kabul has opened up so much. The conflicting allegations about Sardar and another detainee whose case Reuters examined show how Afghanistan  and the foreign military forces stationed there so often speak past each other. As the US and NATO forces wind down their combat mission, it’s not just that the different sides disagree on the facts, but that they sometimes seem to be talking about different wars altogether. The prisoners were part of a much larger group of more than 600 detainees transferred to Afghan authority last year, in what was seen as a milestone in the US and NATO withdrawal. Afghan officials later released some of those prisoners without US objection. But the United States believes the 65 who were released in February should be tried or investigated further. The Afghan government and Afghan judicial officials say the 65 had been wrongly imprisoned on charges that did not stand up to examination. Neither side was willing to share the full details of their evidence, though the Americans gave basic details. l

Japan, N Korea to resume talks next week in China n AFP, Tokyo Japan and North Korean government and Red Cross officials will resume talks next week in China, after holding their first meeting since 2012 earlier this month, officials said yesterday. The upcoming talks, scheduled for March 19 and 20 in the northern Chinese city of Shenyang, will draw foreign ministry officials from the two countries as well as senior members of their Red Cross societies. They will discuss on-and-off visits by Japanese nationals to the graves of family members who died in North Korea decades ago or missions to collect their remains, Japanese Red Cross officials said. Japan’s brutal colonisation of the Korean peninsula from 1910-45 is a source of friction between the two countries, which do not have formal diplomatic relations. l


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

Editorial

Letters to

www.dhakatribune.com

Regional hydro grid a priority for the future

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ast week’s successful BIMSTEC summit made valuable progress on building regional co-operation between South Asia and South East Asia on a wide range of issues. This included discussion of climate change energy needs. It is important for the country to continue to make more use of platforms such as BIMSTEC, SAARC and the BCIM Forum, to protect our future interests. These extend beyond trade and technical links to the most important core issues of water and energy. It has long been appreciated that Nepal and Bhutan possess immense hydropower potential, which, under a mutual cooperation agreement, could be invaluable to meeting the power needs of Bangladesh and all other countries in our region. Importing hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan offers an economically and environmentally sustainable option to meet future energy needs. Bangladesh’s energy sector has been overly dependent on fossil fuels, much of which is imported and subject to global price rises. While cooperation around hydropower is an undoubted diplomatic and engineering challenge, such a programme could be a catalyst to resolving other issues of transnational interest in the region, notably in relation to ensuring better and fairer management of common river waters and in addressing the impacts of climate change. Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India and Nepal are forever linked by their sharing of the Brahmaputra basin. We should work together with our neighbours through platforms such as BIMSTEC and BCIM, to get bold, mutually beneficial regional projects off the ground.

Importing hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan offers an economically and environmentally sustainable option to meet future energy needs

Implement laws against sexual violence

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n alarming proportion of violent acts against women such as rape, murder, torture and acid attacks are going unpunished. The Acid Survivors Foundation reports that 3,512 people, nearly all women, fell victim to acid attacks between 1999 and 2014. And a young woman was reportedly raped and killed two days ago by goons allegedly hired by her husband, who is a police officer. It is a matter of great concern the vast majority of accused suspects are never even arrested in the first place. In total, only around 9% of the accused in acid attack cases are punished by the law. Such failure of implementation of the law is not acceptable. Unfortunately, it is also not unusual. Laws such as the Acid Crime Control Act of 2002 and the Prevention of Oppression against Women and Children Act of 2000 are inadequately implemented for myriad reasons, including inefficiency in our legal system. But it is made worse by structural biases when it comes to crimes against women. The lack of justice provided to female victims of violence reflects a lack of respect by many men and institutions for women in our society. Only proper protection for women from violence and abuse by the legal system can help in changing societal norms which encourage or enable predators to abuse or attack. The government has committed itself to gender equality. It must become more assertive in enforcing the law so its actions match its rhetoric, by ensuring that there is no impunity for perpetrators of violence against women.

Friday, March 14, 2014

the Editor

LETTER OF THE DAY

International Women’s Day program foiled by law enforcement March 10

March 8 was International Women’s day, and was observed all over the world. Many programs were also arranged in Bangladesh to celebrate this day, but we were taken aback when we learned that the police had obstructed the opposition political party’s scheduled march. It was the BNP’s Women Wing, Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal, who arranged this rally. The female leaders and activists of the BNP gathered at the gate of their office at Naya Paltan, but they were forced into the office by police and barred from carrying out the rally. Unfortunate indeed, but I believe from we should no longer be shocked by any similar incidents, because in the present climate, everything is possible. January 5 has taught us a lesson. Nur Jahan

This March, walk in her shoes

‘BNP accepts govt by joining UZ poll’

March 7

March 8

I’m going to both commend and critique this write-up. “Equality for women has been a struggle since time immemorial, or at least since women first realised that men just had things better.” This very first line is a loaded sentence; equality has always been an issue to both men and women. You’re missing half the picture by ignoring the men’s experience with equality. The fact is, we’d rather not talk about that in the open, because reality isn’t really about fairness or justice, but more about navigating the jungle of power struggles. You’re mistaken by assuming that men have it better; it’s not that men have it better. Both men and women have played complementary roles which have enabled the species to survive and thrive, and only recently are we now free to ponder and think about our “gender” roles. It is easier for women to talk about inequality than it is for a man, since it is assumed that men have to accept and then adapt himself and/or the situation so that things “do” change. Not that there is a morbid passivity about injustice, but a more stoic and actionable approach towards disrupting the status quo. Keep in mind that men and women “experience” these issues and things differently, hence their points of reference are different. All this is fine and actually moving the discussion forward, but please don’t patronise men by claiming that we have it better. We don’t, and I’m not pretending to know how it is for a woman, but can at least sympathise. Closing point; don’t forget that you need to bring the men on board, on their own terms. Men’s experience cannot be useful if they’re walking in heels. What they can bring to the table is uniquely different and essential to the state of gender dynamics in this era. There’s more to it than meets the eyes. redpillwisdom

This is fabulously fatuous – even by the standards of the FM. Since his party has forcibly extended its tenure by the power grab on January 5, and have not yet been dislodged by the people, what choice does anybody in the country (let alone the BNP) have but to “recognise” the reality that the FM’s party is the de facto “government” of the day? Having said that, the FM is being utterly vacuous if he’s suggesting that BNP’s participation in the UZ polls confers the slightest bit of legitimacy upon the ruling regime. If anything, the incumbents’ manifest malfeasance in the first two phases of the UZ elections only confirms that BNP was right to reject participation in the vastly more significant national election under the watch of this ruling ensemble. It’s some consolation to many that despite rampant violence and rigging, BNP have still come out on top in the first two UZ elections. Ronnie

Be Heard

Khaleda: No transit for India until Teesta treaty signed March 10

Only talking about it can’t help. She needs to make her words count by showing some peaceful action. Nazmul Khair

American Apparel releases controversial Bangladesh ad March 8

Vikram Khan So tell me, what are the ethics and norms of Bangladesh? Polash Datta Vikram Khan: The ethics and norms in Bangladesh don’t permit you to roam in public bare-chested, regardless of your gender. Rainer Ebert Polash Datta: Oh, really? I’ve seen plenty of bare-chested men in the streets of Dhaka and certainly in the villages. Polash Datta Rainer Ebert: Yea, really. Have you seen bare-chested men roaming in Bangladesh cities (don’t try to give me some example of poorest day laborers)

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

Illegal establishments evicted in front of Dhaka Medical College March 11

May be they didn’t pay the local goons as per their demands. And once the demands are fulfilled, the situation will go back to how it usually is. Like the old cartoon show, Tom & Jerry.

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Ādør Bhāĭjāāņ

CALVIN AND HOBBES

Only proper protection for women from violence and abuse by the legal system can help in changing societal norms

PEANUTS

CROSSWORD

SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Circulate as blood (4) 3 At no time (5) 8 Weary (4) 9 Part of the eye (4) 11 Ancient tongue (5) 12 Melody (4) 14 Also (3) 15 Make merry (5) 18 Drive back (5) 19 Female sheep (3) 21 Desert dweller (4) 24 Secret scheme (5) 26 Part of a church (4) 27 Had knowledge (4) 28 Vends (5) 29 Retained (4)

DOWN 1 Impartial (4) 2 Leave out (4) 4 Greek letter (3) 5 Essential (5) 6 Poet’s Ireland (4) 7 Tears (5) 10 Certain (4) 11 Prise (5) 13 Himalayan kingdom (5) 16 Dash (4) 17 Strikes with the beak (5) 18 Insurgent (5) 20 Decline in power (4) 22 Naked (4) 23 Joke (4) 25 Boring tool (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 14, 2014

The missing link n Ari Olmos

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Our shot at hosting the big leagues

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Let the games begin

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ith the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh under way, I am hopeful that the next few weeks will provide ammunition for an idea that I have been pushing for a number of years now: The expansion of the IPL into Bangladesh one way or the other. The most obvious way in which to do this would be to let Dhaka bid for a franchise in the next application process and let economics sort it out. With a catchment area that would comprise the entire country in terms of local fan base, or even simply taking Dhaka as the focal metropolis, such a franchise would be a better bet than some that are already in the IPL. There is no question that Dhaka and Chittagong (and possibly other locations) could fill stadiums for IPL matches, and the money to be made from merchandising and television rights, when you take into account the size of the market served, would be astronomical. There is precedent for multi-national leagues in the NBA and MLB in the US, both of which have Canadian franchises. In fact, the short-lived ICL even had a team of Bangladeshis, the Dhaka Warriors, who performed very creditably. We talk a lot about cross-border exchanges and Track II diplomacy, but there is nothing that would improve relations between Bangladesh and India better than the fillip the country would get to be seen to be allowed entry to something like the IPL on the same footing.

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This kind of true partnership would not only boost India’s image and profile in Bangladesh, it would also help India view Bangladesh as more of an equal, something which is missing right now but vitally necessary for the bilateral relationship to flourish. Not just Dhaka. If Colombo and Lahore or Karachi can muster up investors and security concerns can be met, then there is no reason why the doors of the IPL should not be thrown wide open to the region. But for economic reasons, Dhaka may well be the best bet.

games to Bangladesh. I suspect that it would have been far more economical and would have earned far more money to move the first-phase games to Bangladesh rather than UAE, and I am sure that our infrastructure could have handled it. But it’s a start. But it shouldn’t require elections to play a few games east of the border. In fact, in the absence of a Bangladesh-based franchise, the Knight Riders should think of the whole of the country as also comprising its catch-

T20 cricket is the distillation of the game down to its concentrated heady nectar

If Jaipur can support an IPL team, then Dhaka can, too. And Dhaka should have been allowed to bid on a franchise long before either Pune or Kochi, both of which franchises have had to fold. If full membership is off the cards, and at least as far as the 2014 season goes, it obviously is, then the IPL should certainly take the intermediate step of scheduling some IPL games in Bangladesh. As things stand, the IPL has announced that due to Indian national elections it will be moving many first-phase games to the UAE and may move a number of the second phase

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ment area, and the smart thing for them to have done would have been to cater to Bangladeshi fans long ago. A couple of games a season in Bangladesh, arranging special packages to allow Bangladeshi fans to fly into Kolkata for a game, some promotional events here and there, and they would have been laughing all the way to the bank. Regrettably, Shah Rukh Khan is already something of a deity in Bangladesh. A couple of promos for the Knight Riders and merchandise sales in Bangladesh would go through the roof. Given the potential numbers, a Knight Riders which consciously

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reached out to Bangladesh in its marketing, would be rewarded by being made the richest and most profitable IPL franchise. But IPL remains parochial to the point of bidding on second- and thirdrate Indian players over more talented Bangladeshis, and others from other smaller cricketing countries who deserve just as much of a shot and have the huge up-side of helping to expand the league’s reach and base of interest. Bangladesh acquitted its part well in the last cricket World Cup, and here’s hoping that we can make an equal success of the T20 World Cup, our first solo foray into the hosting big-time. Questionable beautification of the capital in advance of the tourney aside, arrangements seem to have been exemplary, and we look forward to a marvelous few weeks of the thrills and chills of T20 cricket, confident that our performance both on and off the field will do the nation proud. The purists might sniff, and there is something undeniably brutish about the T20 format, but I find that not all the beauty and grace of the original game has been lost, T20 is still capable hosting performances of astonishing skill and fluency, to say nothing of the drama and excitement that the shorter format brings out. T20 cricket is the distillation of the game down to its concentrated heady nectar. If test cricket is taking sips of a fine single malt, then T20 is knocking back shots of bourbon. Both have their place. l Zafar Sobhan is the Editor, Dhaka Tribune.

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The price of being nonchalant n Ekram Kabir

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hen the news of the al-Qaeda message hit the headlines in Bangladesh media, everyone panicked. Hefazat-e-Islam and Jamaat also seemed nervous as they instantly denounced their alleged links with the international terror group. However, the entities that weren’t scared was the Bangladesh government and a few of its ministers. They were seen announcing that “Bangladesh has all the capability of preventing al-Qaeda in this country.” They sounded very confident against any type of militancy. However, a few days after feeling complacent about tackling al-Qaeda, militants did really strike. The banned JMB, in a very well strategised manner, snatched away three of their members from a prison van. They even killed one policeman on the van. Later, another policeman was suspended over the gunmen ambush. The home ministry probe report said there was negligence on part of the jail authority and the police that had lead to the snatching. Well, as being negligent is part and parcel of our national character, to my mind, the incidence of snatching hasn’t come as a surprise. Police personnel are bound to become negligent in their duty when our national leaders are complacent about a grave matter. We’re not even complacent. We’re actually

nonchalant about this possible danger of militant strikes in this country. The questions that have been disturbing me are: How much of an idea do our ministers have about al-Qaeda, or for that matter, any other international terror group? How equipped is Bangladesh in case of a militant strike? To my mind, we’re far from ready to handle any such situation should it arise. The prison van attack is one glaring example of that. This was simply JMB. I wonder what would happen if any international terror group strikes.

We’re actually nonchalant about this possible danger of militant strikes in this country

This particular group, JMB, has already shown their worth. They could organise a countrywide serial bombing. What were we doing when they were planning the serial bombing? What were we doing when they were attempting to kill judges at the court premises? It would be very difficult to find answers to these questions.

Tackling, preventing, or rooting out militancy and terror in Bangladesh has, of late, become quite popular buzzwords in our political arena. When there’s nothing new to say, there’s always this topic. Recently, members of the Sector Commanders Forum have also called for rooting out militancy from Bangladesh territory. Talking and making speeches are quite easy. But what isn’t easy is formulating a considerably foolproof strategy and implementing it. Having said that, we all know that Bangladesh has formulated a counterterrorism strategy as well as an act. We all also know that among others, monitoring terror groups and operations, are a big part of that strategy. Tackling terror has always needed constant and focused monitoring in every country. Without proper monitoring and surveillance, it’s next to impossible to contain militancy, not only in Bangladesh, but in any country. Monitoring terror, to a commoner’s mind, usually includes research, mapping possible terrains that can harbour terrorists, and constant surveillance. Bangladesh law enforcers have their research and their own mapping of the places where militants might have their camps and hideouts in the country. This is a small country, and gathering information on militant groups

isn’t at all impossible. What seems to be lacking in Bangladesh is continuous surveillance. Proper surveillance would give you the clue where the next possible terror act might take place. It seems our surveillance is poor. Otherwise, the incidence of snatching prisoners would have never taken place. We’ve walked quite a long way in preventing terror acts in this country. When a bomb was recovered in Kotalipara, we had little idea about militancy and terrorism. However, over the years, we’ve learnt many aspects of the militants and their network. Now, at this stage, we mustn’t lag behind in tackling militants due to our nonchalance. We also need to monitor the international terrorism trends and analyse them, as Bangladeshi militants always have international links. Militancy wasn’t a homegrown phenomenon. It was brought in and, in a way, imposed from abroad. The ministers, in charge of law and order, society, defence etc, need to be more knowledgeable on militancy-related information. However, the most important task would be to manage the teams engaged in preventing militancy. They need to be more efficient. l Ekram Kabir is Executive Editor of Natunbarta.com.

garment factory collapses in the industrial district of Savar, killing and injuring countless workers. Afterwards, the authorities identify several causes of the tragedy – the factory was built on unstable ground, above a swamp; additional floors were added to the structure, without proper permits, and they were loaded with heavy generators; workers spotted the cracks in the walls, but no one listened to them. In fact, they were told to get back to work or lose their jobs. This is the story of Rana Plaza, the deadliest garment factory accident in history. But it is also the story of Spectrum. Eight years before Rana Plaza, the Spectrum factory collapsed under virtually identical conditions, killing 68 workers. Had it not collapsed at 1am, it might have taken the lives of hundreds.   That is one pattern of tragedy, here is another. An electrical short circuit occurs due to substandard wiring, igniting hazardous materials. Workers are trapped inside, as the fire exits are blocked or locked shut. That was the story of KTS Textiles (2006), That’s It Sportswear (2010), and Tazreen (2012) fires that killed more than 200. The Rana Plaza tragedy focused international attention on Bangladesh and helped kick-start several important new initiatives to provide garment workers the safe, decent working conditions they deserve. Have we finally learned from the past, or are we doomed to repeat this cycle of tragedy?  Three of the most important initiatives addressing these problems are the Accord, the Alliance, and the National Tripartite Plan of Action. The Accord, an agreement signed by 150 companies sourcing from Bangladesh, has been praised for its binding commitment to audit all its factories and fund remediation. However, its main activity to date has been to start a series of fire safety, structural safety, and electrical safety inspections, with the intention of rolling inspections out to its 1,700 supplier factories. The Alliance, though much maligned for its weaker commitment relative to the Accord, has followed a similar course. In its six-month progress report released in January, it disclosed plans to complete inspections in all its 700 supplier factories by July.  It also plans to introduce a new hotline in 50 factories in March, reaching all its factories by 2017. What about the approximately 2,600 factories outside Accord and Alliance? The National Tripartite Plan of Action, led by the Bangladeshi government and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has taken the responsibility for auditing them, allocating $24m for inspections. It is also taking steps to launch a new fire and building safety hotline.  Undoubtedly, the push for more rigorous and coordinated inspections will be helpful, but will further audits and hotlines be enough to prevent further tragedies? Audits and hotlines have a 20-year record, with mixed results at best. Consider the Tazreen fire. On December 3, 2011, almost a year before the fatal fire, it was audited by a social compliance firm, Underwriters Laboratories, on behalf of Wal-Mart. In reports salvaged from the burning factory, the auditors identified blocked fire exits, insufficient fire extinguishers, and unlabeled hazardous materials. But the auditors didn’t recommend closing the facility, and production continued. (Wal-Mart has stated that production at Tazreen was unauthorised.) What about hotlines? Little is known about the efficacy of hotlines. What is established is that hotlines are not designed to build long-term relationships and rarely

provide a channel to confirm facts on the ground with other workers. In private communications with us, hotline administrators in Bangladesh have expressed frustration. Workers don’t use hotlines, they have said, because workers don’t trust them. What if there was a simple platform that any worker could use to quickly and anonymously share their safety concerns, knowing that they would reach key decision-makers? What if – unlike hotlines – workers trusted that platform, based on a history of interacting with it and getting results and helpful information back? At LaborVoices, we are building such a platform, and we hope that other companies will follow our lead.

We are out to prove that what is good for the worker is also good for business

Workers call LaborVoices using the mobile phones that are in their pockets. They answer short multiple-choice surveys about issues that matter to them and leave voice messages if they have urgent issues or questions. Finally, they can navigate audio sites using the keypads of their phones and access helpful information about their rights and local services. Unlike hotlines, continuous interaction with workers helps build long-lasting relationships. If an emergency arises, a worker is more likely to report it to a trusted system versus a hotline – a system they have never used before, or worse, had a negative experience with. In addition to building trust, continuously polling workers provides real-time visibility into critical fire and building safety risk factors. Are the fire exits unlocked at all times? Are the fire alarms active and in working condition? As long as audits are conducted once a year, they cannot answer these questions – these questions need to be asked repeatedly, week after week. Earlier this year, we surveyed approximately 300 workers from 12 factories in Dhaka and Chittagong.  Like other recent studies, we found that there is still considerable work to do. 68% of workers in our sample indicated that they had not participated in fire safety training in the last 12 months, while nearly all workers told us that they had experienced verbal abuse or harassment on the job. Most strikingly, workers seemed genuinely surprised that we wanted to hear from them about their own working conditions. “I have been denied lunch breaks during my work. This is the first time someone asked this type of question,” one worker told us. Another said, “This is the first time someone has asked me if our factory’s aisles are wide enough for two people to walk side by side. Actually, there is not enough space.” Nearly a year after the Rana Plaza collapse, workers are still surprised to be included in the conversation, to learn that their voices matter. While there is still much work ahead, there is hope for a better future for workers and the Bangladesh garment industry. In the coming months and years, we are excited to continue working with leading factory owners, brands, civil society, and governments to establish a working channel for garment workers to share their much-needed insights. We are out to prove that what is good for the worker is also good for business. l Ari Olmos is VP of Operations and Product at LaborVoices.

RAJIB DHAR


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Entertainment

Friday, March 14, 2014

BCB Celebration Concert opened with a great festivity yesterday at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. International artistes AR Rahman and Senegalese-American R&B and hip hop icon Akon performed for the audience of Bangladesh at the concert for the first time yesterday. Celebrated bands of Bangladesh – LRB, Miles, and Arnob and Friends – also performed at the concert. Another attractive part of the event was elaborate dance recitals of 90 dancers under the choreography of Warda Rihab. The concert was a part of the ICC T20 World Cup 2014 to be held in Bangladesh. MUMIT M.

Nrityajog mesmerises audience with dance performances n Afrose Jahan Chaity Bangladesh chapter of World Dance Alliance-Asia Pacific (WDA-AP) - ‘Nrityajog’ - organised a daylong event for Bangladeshi dancers on the occasion of its annual general meeting at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in the capital on March 12. The programme included workshops, a general meeting and dance performances. Participants were trained during the workshop by Sharmila Banerjee and Belayet Hossain Khan. Starting at 9am, the programme continued till 8pm. More than a hundred dancers and over 12 organisations participated in the programme. The closing programme began with Pushpanjali which is an invocatory dance in Bharatanatyam. School of Oriental Dance performed Thillana which is usually the culminating piece of a Bharatanatyam performance. Graceful body movements and some elements of Abhinaya (acting) combined with Thillana mesmerised the au-

dience. Ore Ayre Tobe Mati Anonde by Chaturanga followed the programme. A dance recitation called Nrityalekkhya which was based on the best songs of Tagore and Jodi Tor Dak Shune Keu Na Ashe was performed by Drupodalok from Rajshahi. A dance recitation based on poet Shamsur Rahman’s Sadhinota Tumi was performed by Nrityashoili from Sylhet. Folk dance recitals on Bauler Ektarate Achhe Matir Sur and Santali were performed by Cholo Bodle Jai Sangskritik Gosthi. Chhonde Anonde Nritya Kendra performed another folk dance on Ogo Bhabijan. The final performance was Bhoy Ki Morone by Nrityashoili. General Secretary and Chairman of WDA-AP Lubna Marium, president of WDA-AP Sharmila Banerjee, Golam Mostafa Khan, vice-president of Bangladesh Nritya Shilpi Sangstha (BNSS) and member of BNSS Saju Khadem, president of Bangladesh Television Nritya Shilpi Sangstha Hasan Emam addressed the audience during the closing session. l

SUBRIN AL AZAD

Sheshrokkhya to be staged at National Museum today n Entertainment Desk

Celebrating the fourth anniversary of the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre in Dhaka, renowned theatre troupe Natyajan will stage Rabindranath Tagore’s comedy Sheshrokkhya in the main auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum at 06:30pm today. The play Sheshrokkhya literally meaning ‘Happy Ending’ is a romantic comedy about three friends Chandrakanta, Binod and Gadai who, in a comedy of errors, go through a series of confusing situations emanating from mistaken identities. It is an entertaining play that ends with a collective relief for all the protagonists. The theatre troupe Natyajan, founded in 1997, regularly stages plays in Dhaka, where they are based, and also all around Bangladesh. In May 2006, Natyajan was invited by ICCR to stage their play Aleekbabu in India. The performance played to packed audiences in New Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata. Natyajan regularly collaborates with Kolkata-based drama groups like Gandhar, Sanglap and Lokokristi. The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre in Dhaka was inaugurated by president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Dr Karan Singh on March 11, 2010. Over time, the Centre has made remarkable progress and has become popular among cultural enthusiasts and aficionados of Bangladesh by virtue of its multifarious cultural activities, including presentation of music of different genres and dance forms, plays, poetry reading, art exhibitions and film retrospectives, to name a few. The Centre also attracts hundreds of students from Bangladesh every year to its classes on Hindustani classical vocal music, sitar, Manipuri dance, Bharatnatyam dance, yoga, painting and Hindi that take place regularly on its premises in Dhanmondi and Gulshan. l

Telefilm Nikti airs today

Dhaka Theatre to stage Outsider n Entertainment Desk The noted theatre troupe Dhaka Theatre is going to stage its new play Outsider at the National Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, at 6pm on today. The script of the play, directed by Nasiruddin Yousuf Bacchu and modified by Rubayet Ahmed, has been produced from the famous novel The Stranger subtitled in French L’Étranger by Albert Camus. The plot of the story is on a French Algerian Meursault who received the news of his mother’s demise on telegram. And in an incident, he kills an Arab and the story takes a turn into

crime and punishment. Camus explored the nakedness of a man faced with absurdness in his trial. The play focuses on humanity, justice, love and politics. The play is a tribute on the occasion of the playwright’s birthday, who died in a tragic road accident at the age of only 46. Camus was awarded Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957. Dhaka Theatre emphasises classical plays, which has gained a remarkable position in the international cultural arena and it also represents the culture and art of Bangladesh featuring music and dance, reflecting the traditional forms with modern ideas. l

Rooney Mara to play as Tiger Lily in Pan n Entertainment Desk

n Entertainment Desk

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is headed to the mystical universe of Peter Pan. Sources confirm that Rooney Mara has been cast as the tribal princess Tiger Lily in director Joe Wright’s live-action epic Pan. Set during World War II, Pan will be a new take on JM Barrie’s classic tale. It follows Peter, a young orphan who is kidnapped by pirates and taken to Neverland. There, he determines he’s destined to help save the land from Blackbeard played by Hugh Jackman. Garrett Hedlund has taken the role of the not-bad-yet Hook in the film and the part of Pan has yet to be cast, but reports say that the studio is looking for an actor between the ages of 10 and 12. Jason Fuchs, the scriptwriter of  Ice Age: Continental Drift wrote the script. The transformative Mara has been sticking to more independent roles lately. In addition to recent roles in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Her, and Terrence Malick’s still-untitled Austin project, she’s also just started work on Todd Haynes’ Carol alongside this year’s Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett. An adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt, Mara will play the young shopgirl Therese who gets into a relationship with Blanchett’s discontented housewife in 1950s New York. l

A telefilm titled Nikti written by Kazi Shahidul Islam and directed by Salauddin Lavlu will be aired today on ATN Bangla at 11pm. The cast of the telefilm includes Tisha, AKhM Hasan, Amin Azad, Salauddin Lavlu and many others. The telefilm stars with a preparation of wedding ceremony in a village where everyone is busy to host the groom side. After a while the groom party arrives at the bride’s house and they demand to weigh the gold-ornaments which was supposed to be given as dowry after the wedding. Weighing of the gold-ornaments take place at the wedding ground and seems the ornaments weighs a little more than which was demanded by the groom side. But the father of the bride strongly deny to hand over his daughter to a family who ask to weigh the gold-ornaments in a such narrow manner. All the villagers know that the girl is going to be married but they didnot know of the disruption. l

TODAY IN DHAKA Film

Enders Game Avatar 3D Aakash Koto Dure Thor: The Dark World 3D The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 3D Frozen in 3D 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

Conspiratual By Ra Kajol Shilpangan Gallery

House 47, Road 13 Dhanmondi Life Time: 5:30pm (inauguration) Gallery Cosmos-2, Villa de Anjuman, Road No 6, House No 115, New DOHS Inter-University Art Exhibition Time: 3pm – 8pm Dhaka Art Centre, Dhanmondi


Did you know? Lionel Messi has now scored more Champions League goals for a single club than any other player

Sport

Friday, March 14, 2014

0 0 2 DAYS TO GO

14 Barca, PSG ease

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DHAKA TRIBUNE

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15 Hockey qualifiers

start in Dhaka

BOA to hold youth games n Raihan Mahmood Bangladesh Olympic Association has planned to host the national youth games for the first time at a suitable time next year. The secretary general of Bangladesh Olympic Association Syed Shahed Reza disclosed the fact at his BOA office yesterday. Shahed thought the youngsters also require a platform to groom themselves. “If we can oraganise a youth level games then it would motivate the young athletes for further success,” said the BOA secretary general. Badal  It was also revealed that the next edition of Indo-Bangla Games will be hosted by BOA at the capital in December next. Asked if with the Indian Olympic Association regaining its IOC affiliation with the new executive committee, is there are any news of the SA Games, the BOA secretary general said there is one. “As the Asian Games will be held this year and the Commonwealth Games are also there, the Indian Olympic Committee are mulling to hold the SA Games in a suitable time of 2015,” said Shahed. l

Oscar-winning music composer AR Rahman (C) of India performs with his team in the BCB Celebration Concert at Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday

Concert opens Twenty20 World Cup Mahmood/Minhaz Uddin n Raihan Khan Oscar-winning music composer AR Rahman of India, American R&B and hip hop singer Akon mesmerized the 30,000 plus audience including the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the in the BCB Celebration Concert to mark the opening of the ICC World Twenty20 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) oragnised the concert to create the hype of the 16-nation cricket extravaganza scheduled to start from March 16. The sensational AR Rahman delivered his popular songs one after one and created a magical atmosphere.

From the hard number of Fanaa to the soft kawali of Kun Fayakun, it was the maestro’s magical crooning all over the big bowl. To add more flavour Udit Narayan, Neeti Muhan, Shewta Pundit and others were there and they enthralled the audience also.

With Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s arrival at the event, a group took the centre stage to perform the national anthem But at the same time, the event also left bitter memories most that went to

witness the event. R&B and hip hop singer Akon performed his popular tracks like Sorry Blame it on me, Right now, I wanna love, and Bollywood track Chammak Challo etc at the later stage of the concert. The gate to the stadia opened at 3 o’clock in the afternoon but hardly a portion of the sitting area was filled when the show began with the performance of Arnob and Friends at 4.30pm. At this point of time, thousands were stuck on way to the venue in traffic. Those who managed to reach the venue in time were found either cueing outside the stadium or rushing from one gate to another. This was mostly because the volunteers lacked proper information. The giant screen – another major element of the stadium

Tigers clash with Ireland today

Bangladesh lose to Russia in archery

n Mazhar Uddin

n Raihan Mahmood

After getting their first win of the year against UAE by four wickets, Bangladesh will be looking to gain confidence when they face the strong Ireland side in their second warm up match of the T20 World Championship at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium today. The home side beat UAE by four wickets, chasing down the target of 143. However, the Bangladeshi looked rusty and casual in the match. Hard hitting opener Tamim Iqbal returned to the side from injury and top scored with 43 and with Mahmudullah’s 29 at the end, rescued Bangladesh but the home side have to be on their toes against Ireland today, who beat them in the 2010 World T20 Championship in England. Ireland have been competitive against Bangladesh before and Mushfiqur Rahim and his side will be looking to overcome that mental barrier against the associate nations before going on to the important match against Afghanistan on March 16. The Bangladesh fast bowling department looked ordinary against UAE in the absence of Mashrafe Mortaza. Both Al Amin and Rubel Hossain will be looking to get back on rhythm while the batting is also a matter of concern

after the Tigers were tested hard by UAE earlier.

The home side beat UAE by four wickets, chasing down the target of 143. However, the Bangladeshi looked rusty and casual in the match Ireland side will be looking to snatch a win against Bangladesh after they beat Nepal by five wickets in their first warm up match. Captain William Porterfield played a vital role in the match, while the O’ Brian brothers are also key players. Tamim Iqbal informed that they will be looking to improve and gain confidence from the warm up matches after their disastrous time recently and it will be a test for the Bangladesh team to overcome mental barriers and regroup as a team before going on to the mega event. There are still three warm up matches to be played. Afghanistan will be facing Zimbabwe and Hong Kong will be playing against Netherland in Chittagong, two new comers of the tournament Nepal and UAE will clash in Fatullah today. l

Bangladesh lost by 5-4 set points in the quarterfinals of the Recurve Bow of the Asian Archery Grand Prix at Bangkok yesterday. In the women’s event of the Recurve Bow. the ladies were outplayed by 6-0 set points by Japan. The individual and mixed doubles events will be held today. In the mixed doubles event Iraq will be the opponents of Bangladesh. l

Ranjan Ram move into last eight n Raihan Mahmood Ranjan Ram, Mofazzal Hossain, Biplob Ram, Rustom Ali and Mamun Bepari moved into the quarterfinals of the Runner Group Independence Day Open Tennis at the National Tennis Complex yesterday. Ranjan Ram defeated Laxman Lal 6-3, 6-2, Mofazzal ousted Hanif Munna 6-1, 6-4, Biplob Ram outplayed Omar Faruk Sunny 6-3, 6-2, Rustom Ali routed Alamgir Hossain 6-4, 6-3 and Mamun overpowered Munir Hossain 6-1, 6-3 to reach the last eight. In the inter club event Amazon Club beat Engineers Recreation Center by 2-1 sets to reach the semifinals. l

- was out of order and was reinstated by two small white screens with projectors. However things started settling down once the concert started gaining momentum. After Arnob, Bangladesh’s famous musical band Souls took the stage and performed a few of their classic numbers from the 80s. This was followed by some rock numbers by Bangladesh legend Ayub Bacchu, however with his comments back to the audience echoing negativity of having foreign musicians take all the attention of the show. With Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s arrival at the event, a group took the centre stage to perform the national anthem. The BCB president Nazmul Hasan delivered his welcome speech followed by the speeches from

MUMIT M

the minister of youth and sports Biren Sikder and finance minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhit. Eventually Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina delivered her words. The ICC (International Cricket Council) never demanded an opening ceremony. But masterminds from the BCB found a way to have an event somehow. While Bangladesh were celebrating hosting the ICC World event and be the focal point of the cricketing world for the next three weeks, thousands of the general public, who were not able be a part of the expensive BCB celebration, were found celebrating in their very own way outside the bowl. They had the Bangladesh flag, trumpets and festoons in their celebration and of course, good wishes for their beloved Tigers in the world event. l

Corporate Grand Slam Badminton inaugurated n Raihan Mahmood The 2nd Ispahani Corporate Badminton Grand Slam started at the Officer’s Club amid fanfare yesterday. Antique Babu (Interest Off ), Mahbubbur Rab (Officer’s Club), Yasir Hasan (Qubee), Meer Md. Mohsin (Banglalink), Abul Hasem (Officer’s Club), Ali Reza (Qubee-2) moved into the quarterfinals winning their respective pre-quarterfinals. Abu Alam M. Shahid Khan, former secretary LGRD and the general secretary of the Officers Club inaugurated the meet as the chief guest.Ismail Hossain, head of marketing, Ispahani Group was the special guest on the occasion. Ispahani Group is the title sponsor of the tournament and Dhaka Tribune is the newspaper partner, SATV is the TV partner, Colors FM  the radio partner and Design Matra  is the PR partner and Officers Club are the venue partners . l

Jurgensen’s big challenge n Reazur Rahman Rohan Shane Jurgensen was a relieved man after his charges had finally registered a win on Wednesday, let that be against a weaker opponent like UAE in a warm-up game. Since his appointment as Bangladesh national team head coach in February 2013, the Australian passed a year that mostly fetched him praise as a coach. However, things changed drastically in 2014 as the Tigers went on to lose seven ODIs along with two Twenty20s and a Test. “Definitely, it’s (the World Twenty20) a big challenge. The expectation is huge as it’s at home. Every game has been important to me and this is also a very important tournament,” said Jurgensen to the Dhaka Tribune. Jurgensen was appointed as the Tigers bowling coach in October 2011 after working as a bowling coach for New Zealand from 2008 to 2010. When then main coach of Bangladesh Richard Pybus left the team in October 2012, Jurgensen was appointed as the interim head coach and within a month, he provided results that were expected from a coach. On his first assignment, Bangladesh beat the West Indies 3-2 in an ODI series. The Bangladesh Cricket Board showed faith in him by handing him his first job as a national coach and he too repaid the gesture in some style. He guided Bangladesh to a very fruit-

ful 2013 in all three formats. Under his guidance, Bangladesh drew a threematch ODI series in Sri Lanka before they white washed New Zealand 3-0 at home in October 2013. When a team does well, the captain and coach are hailed as great leaders but when the tables turn, they become the center of controversy. A coach can plan and strategize, but if his players don’t deliver on the field, he will lose nonetheless. On the other hand, poorly led sides can record great triumphs if one exceptional player produces sufficient brilliance. However, the World T20 is a huge event and injecting the proper mindset in the devastated players will be a big hurdle for the head coach. This transit period is a big testing time for the team itself while for Jurgensen, it is the biggest hurdle in his professional coaching career. The 37-year-old was quoted in ESPNcricinfo before their Asia Cup match against Afghanistan as saying, “All I have asked the players is to step up for their country. We have had one-day success in the last 18 months and that

was because everyone stepped up. I have asked nothing more than that.” However, that didn’t work for the Australian and now he faces a tough ask of bringing life into his troop. The goal and the asking is still the same from Jurgensen, but he did talk about changing the style of achieving that goal. “We are practicing two sessions a day and we also modified our session which is compatible for each player. The players are giving 100% in the practice and that’s what I and Mushy (Mushfiqur Rahim) are all asking for. “We have lost all matches this year, but most of them were very close and the results could have easily come our way,” he added. He also said the players returned for World T20 practice following a twoday rest after the Asia Cup, that also helped the players concentrate more on the coveted tournament. The win over UAE was a good way to start things fresh, said Jurgensen, adding that the morale is also getting back in the players. Jurgensen has been a cricketer himself who moved to a different part of his country for a concrete playing place in the XI. The right-handed fast bowler in his career played for Western Australia and Tasmania before winning a place at his home state Queensland. His journey from one place to another clearly suggests his passion and dedication towards the game and perhaps he is the perfect man at the moment to motivate his troubled boys out of the shell. l


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

'Milan want to be in Europa league'

Sport

Friday, March 14, 2014

Teen sensation sets sights on Olympics

AC Milan’s chief executive has scuppered suggestions that the seven-times European champions do not want to take part in next year’s Europa League. “Qualifying for the Europa League will be our target from now until the end of the season,” Adriano Galliani told Milan’s television channel. “We must beat Parma on Sunday which will put us five points behind them. Milan have always been in Europe in the last few years and we want that to continue. They are 10th in Serie A with 35 points, nine behind Inter Milan who are in fifth. –Reuters

Teenage sensation Minjee Lee said she is in no rush to follow New Zealand’s Lydia Ko by turning professional as she plots a path to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The 17-year-old Australian has assumed Ko’s former crown by becoming the world’s top-ranked amateur and making waves with her performances at professional events. Last month, Lee won the Victorian Open by six strokes and was runner-up to Tiger Woods’s niece Cheyenne at the Australian Ladies Masters. She tied for fourth in a star-studded field at last week’s World Ladies Championship in China. -AFP

Massa set for Schumacher tribute Felipe Massa will display a message of support for Michael Schumacher at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, the first Formula One race since a skiing accident left the German legend fighting for his life. The Brazilian driver, a former teammate of Schumacher’s with Ferrari, has said he will drive with the initials “MS” emblazoned on his helmet for the season opener in Melbourne. Seven-time world champion Schumacher remains in a medically induced coma since hitting his head on a rock while skiing at the French resort of Meribel on December 29. -AFP

Aguero to undergo scan on injury n Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is a doubt for his side’s Premier League visit to Hull on Saturday after being forced off at half-time as City lost 2-1 to Barcelona. Defeat ended City’s Champions League aspirations for another season as Barca progressed to the quarterfinals 4-1 on aggregate on Wednesday. City currently lie in fourth, nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea, but still control their own destiny as they have three games in hand on Jose Mourinho’s men. “I felt something in my left leg in the run with Messi at the start of the game,” said the Argentine. “I tried to continue, but at halftime I didn’t want to run any more risks.” City assistant boss Ruben Cousillas said Aguero would undergo a scan on Thursday but that he remained hopeful the injury wouldn’t be too serious. “It is still too early to say how long he could be out. Apparently it is nothing serious,” he said. “He will have a scan tomorrow. The doctors will decide, at the moment we can’t speculate.” l

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (C) scores past Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart during their Champions League last 16 second leg match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Wednesday

No ideal opponent: Blanc n

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has urged his side to go as far as they possibly can in the Champions League but admitted that there will be no such thing as an ideal opponent in the quarter-finals. The Ligue 1 leaders came from behind to beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in the second leg of their last 16 tie on Wednesday to go through to the next round 6-1 on aggregate, Marquinhos and Ezequiel Lavezzi getting their goals on the night. PSG are now certain to at least match their performance in last season’s competition, when they lost on away goals to Barcelona in the last eight, but Blanc has urged his men to go that step further. However, with Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona already through, next week’s draw is unlikely

to be kind on the French title-holders. “It’s not a bonus” to be in the quarter-finals, said Blanc. “We need to prepare well, be very professional, but I’m not worried about that. I think the players will respond to the challenge. “We have an end to the season that could become very exciting. First of all we are happy, satisfied, but we have won nothing. At the end of the season what counts is trophies.” “I think first of all the objective is to go as far as possible. Ok, we have done as well as last year, but you want to win every tie,” said Blanc. “There are teams who have a legitimacy in the Champions League in terms of experience that we don’t have, but I think the consideration that our opponents have for us has increased. “They know we are a club who can go far. We will wait for the draw. Hopefully we can get a bit of luck in the draw, but the ideal opponent does not exist.” l

Barca, PSG ease into last eight n

Four-time Champions League winners Barcelona and French champions Paris Saint Germain suffered few problems in reaching the quarter-finals of this season’s competition on Wednesday. Barcelona – who had come into their game on the back of some poor league form – beat Manchester City, who had Pablo Zabaleta sent off, 2-1 for a 4-1 aggregate victory. While Barcelona’s win saw them join domestic rivals Atletico Madrid in the last eight, City became the second English side in two nights to bow out, Arsenal having exited on Tuesday. Lionel Messi opened the scoring for Barca with his eighth Champions League goal of the campaign before Vincent Kompany levelled just before the final whistle.

Rangers back into top flight

PSG defender Marquinhos (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the UCL last 16 second-leg match against Bayer Leverkusen in Paris on Wednesday AFP

Anti-Cup protest slams ‘traitor’ Pele n

Around 150 people gathered Wednesday in Rio to protest against Brazil hosting the World Cup, with legendary star Pele blasted as a “traitor” for backing the event, an AFP reporter said. “There will be no Cup, no election,” demonstrators angry at the multi-billion-dollar cost of event chanted, while one banner read “Pele, traitor of the century.” Pele helped Brazil to its first three World Cup titles but both he and 2002 champion Ronaldo, on this year’s organizing committee, were lambasted by the group as “enemies of the people.”

Barcelona were a shadow of previous sides, they were quite happy with how things were going. For Kompany there was a serious sense of injustice especially Zabaleta’s dismissal for a second bookable offence when he objected to the referee failing to give a penalty. “Over the course of the two games, whenever we were with 11 players there wasn’t much between the two teams.” PSG, who Barcelona beat in last season’s quarter-finals, kept alive their hopes of becoming only the second French side to win the trophy -- after Marseille in 1993 -- with a 2-1 win over German outfit Bayer Leverkusen for a 6-1 aggregate win. Goals by Marquinhos and Ezequiel Lavezzi cancelled out Sidney Sam’s sixth minute opener to give Laurent Blanc’s side their sixth successive win in all competitions.

Blanc was not impressed by the overall performance but he said it was mission achieved. “PSG were clearly not brilliant tonight. I expected more, but the essential is there, we are through,” said the former France national coach. Leverkusen -- who came into the match on the back of a run of five defeats and one draw -- missed a penalty through captain Simon Rolfes and, to round off a miserable experience, also ended the match with just 10 men as Emre Can was sent off for s second bookable offence. Leverkusen’s Finnish coach Sami Hyypia, who also has had questions raised about his future because of the recent loss of form, tried to look at the positive side despite the overall score. “I’m feeling a bit sorry for the team that we didn’t get anything from the game,” said Hyypia. l

Reality bites for Man City

Bayern’s Hoeness jailed for three and a half years

But there was still time for Dani Alves to strike the winner as Barcelona qualified for the quarter-finals for the seventh successive season.

RESULTS Barcelona Messi 67, Dani Alves 90+1

Paris SG Marquinhos 13, Lavezzi 53

2 1

Manchester City

2 1

Bayer Leverkusen

Kompany 89

Sam 6

While victory will ease the pressure on Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino, defeat for City will increase demands for manager Manuel Pelligrini to deliver the Premier League title, as this latest setback came four days after they were knocked out of the domestic FA Cup by second tier Wigan. Barcelona forward Cesc Fabregas said that while others might be saying

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Lee McCulloch’s hat-trick eased Rangers to the Scottish League One title in record quick time with a 3-0 win over Airdrieonians in front of a crowd of over 41,000 at Ibrox on Wednesday. The Glasgow giants moved a massive 26 points clear of nearest rivals Dunfermline, with just eight games remaining, to complete the second stage of their long journey back to the top of Scottish football. It is the earliest a Scottish title has been clinched since Partick Thistle sealed the old Second Division championship in March 1976. Ally McCoist has been the manager throughout this eventful period of the club’s history and he was thrilled after the match. l

Pele is an honorary ambassador for the tournament, which kicks off on June 12, but his backing has angered some in a country where many say the cash should have been spent on improving public services. “They (Pele and Ronaldo) were great players but now they are out of touch -- it’s a shame,” said one demonstrator, 32-year-old Carolina. Another demonstrator, Eron Morais de Melo, dressed as Batman, said violence at some protests had frightened many people away. But he predicted they would be larger in scale once the World Cup begins. Large protests at last year’s Confederations Cup caught authorities by surprise as more than a million people

REUTERS

took to the streets, their ire initially fueled by the rising cost of public transport. As the unrest grew, demonstrators slammed the cost of staging the World Cup, estimated at $11 billion, and also the 2016 Rio Olympics in a country where public facilities are crumbling and political corruption rife. A further demonstration is set for Sao Paulo on Thursday. Several recent demonstrations have ended in violence with clashes between anarchist groups known as Black Bloc and police. In February, a television cameraman died from his injuries after he was struck in the head by a flare thrown by a protester in Rio. l

A few weeks ago, talk of an unprecedented Manchester City quadruple was doing the rounds with Manuel Pellegrini’s side in seemingly unstoppable form on all fronts. After Wednesday’s 2-1 Champions League last 16 defeat in Barcelona, which sealed a 4-1 aggregate loss, the dream of a bumper springtime bounty for City is fading before their eyes. The League Cup they won at Wembley earlier this month with an unconvincing defeat of Sunderland was supposed to be an appetiser for the feast to come. Now, with the Champions League and FA Cup gone and Chelsea storming nine points clear in the Premier League, there is a growing feeling it might be their only silverware this season. That would represent an anti-climax for a City side that earlier this season was being lauded for playing the best football throughout Europe. City’s Abu Dhabi owners have invested hundreds of millions of pounds into turning the once under-achieving club into a major European force but six years after they opened the cash tap there is clearly still a long way to go. Reaching the business end of the Champions League - the quarter-finals and semi-finals as a minimum - is the benchmark for a club with ambitions of continental grandeur. That is why Pellegrini, who did just that with unfashionable Villarreal and Malaga in Spain, was hired to replace Roberto Mancini, who could not even get City out of the group phase of the blue riband competition. At least Pellegrini fared slightly better as City finished runners-up to

holders Bayern Munich in their group - beating the German side away before Christmas. The draw for the last 16 was not kind, although with cracks appearing in the once all-conquering Barcelona side City were expected to push the Catalans all the way. As it turned out they bowed out meekly, producing a tame performance at home when losing 2-0 and never seriously threatened a fightback in the Nou Camp, where they had Pablo Zabaleta sent off shortly after Lionel Messi had put Barca ahead on the night to effectively kill the tie. City’s captain Vincent Kompany said after the defeat on Wednesday that City would be stronger next season. But the notion that City are slowly growing into the Champions League as if they were a collection of raw youngsters is beginning to wear a little thin. At this rate they will take another four seasons to make a serious challenge when, in reality, they already have a capable squad that is the envy of any club in the world, barring perhaps Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern. City’s assistant Ruben Cousillas faced the media on Wednesday with Pellegrini suspended by UEFA after criticising the referee in the first leg defeat to Barcelona. He tried to shed a positive light on a disappointing exit, saying the season had already been successful and that their European demise would mean they will now concentrate all their efforts on hauling in Chelsea in the Premier League. They have three games in hand of Jose Mourinho’s side. “We’ve been at the club only for eight months so our project is only in its early stages,” the Argentine said. l

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A German court on Thursday sentenced football legend Uli Hoeness, president of powerhouse club Bayern Munich, to three and a half years in jail for evading millions in taxes. “In the name of the people, Mr Ulrich Hoeness is sentenced for seven serious counts of tax evasion to a prison term of three years and six months,” said judge Rupert Heindl in the Munich court. The verdict – with one count for each year of tax cheating – spelled the likely end of the career of the stocky former player, whose trial has captivated football-obsessed Germany. Hoeness, 62, had admitted to dodging 27.2 million euros ($37.6 million) in taxes by hiding his wealth in Swiss bank accounts while obsessively “gambling” on stocks and currencies for years. He was allowed to walk out of the court for now because he has one week to decide whether to appeal the verdict. His defence lawyers had argued he should escape punishment or at least receive a suspended term because he turned himself in to authorities in January last year. Hoeness, who was a star player in the 1970s, had so far stayed on as president of the European club. l

Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich President


DHAKA TRIBUNE

Sport

England need to find the right T20 formula, says Giles

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Police back in the dock at Pistorius trial Oscar Pistorius’s defence lawyer grilled a police forensics expert for a second day Thursday, questioning his qualifications in a bid to discredit key evidence from the night the Paralympian shot dead his girlfriend. Barry Roux resumed a searing cross-examination of Colonel Gerhard Vermeulen, hoping to rubbish his testimony that could indicate the double-amputee sprinter lied about how events unfolded on February 14, 2013. Pistorius, 27, stands accused of intentionally killing Reeva Steenkamp, 29, by shooting at her through a locked toilet door, though he says he mistook her for an intruder. Pistorius’s defence claims the athlete, after realising his mistake, tried to break open the door with a cricket bat, while the prosecution is positioning to argue that the couple were fighting and Pistorius fired the gun after failing to beat down the door. –AFP

Lewis rejects Mercedes ‘favourites’ tag Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has played down his team’s “favourites” tag ahead of the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix Sunday, saying technical changes make any predictions worthless. The Briton and his teammate Nico Rosberg have enjoyed the fastest times in off-season testing, leading many to tip Mercedes as the car to beat going into the Melbourne race. But the 2008 champion is not sure Mercedes warrants all the hype as he prepares for Friday’s opening practice sessions at the Albert Park circuit. “All the media are talking us up. Favourite driver, favourite team,” Hamilton told reporters on Thursday. “I just don’t know what’s going to happen this weekend,” he added. Hamilton said a raft of significant rule changes including a return to turbocharged engines, a limit on fuel and new energy recovery systems meant it was hard to say which car would come out on top. –AFP

Blake, Pearson, Suhr top New York entries Reigning Olympic champions Sally Pearson and Jenn Suhr and former 100-meter world champion Yohan Blake will compete in June’s Diamond League athletics meet in New York, organizers said Wednesday. The 10th Adidas Grand Prix on June 14 will also feature the US debut of reigning world high jump champion Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine. Australia’s Pearson, 27, is the reigning Olympic 100m hurdles champion. She also took silver in 2008 at Beijing, won the 2011 world title and was the 2012 world indoor hurdles champion. Suhr, 32, took women’s pole vault gold at London and silver at Beijing. Last year, the American outdoor record holder broke the world indoor record by clearing 5.02m and she will seek her sixth victory at the New York meet. –AFP

Cantona arrested over assault Former Manchester United star Eric Cantona has been arrested and cautioned by police for assaulting a man in London, British media reported on Thursday. Police said that a man in his mid-40s had been arrested and cautioned, but were unable to confirm that it was 47-year-old former France striker Cantona. “Police were called to Regent’s Park Road, NW1, at 12.55hrs (1255 GMT) on Wednesday, 12 March, following reports of an assault,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement sent to AFP. “Officers from Camden borough attended and a man in his mid-40s was arrested on suspicion of common assault. He was taken into custody and subsequently cautioned for common assault. “The victim, a man, did not require medical assistance at the scene.” The website of the Daily Telegraph reported that Cantona was involved in an incident at lunchtime on Wednesday in the upmarket north London district of Primrose Hill. –AFP

DAY’S WATCH Sony Six NBA season 2013/14 5: 00 AM Chicago v Houston 7:30 AM Oklahoma City v L.A. Lakers Star Sport 4 FIA F1 World Championship 2014 7:25 AM Ten Sports 11:30 AM BNP Paribas Open 2014 : Indian Wells 2014 QF1

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Friday, March 14, 2014

n Reuters

Hockey Federation and Islami Bank officials displaying the Bangladesh team jersey along with Bangladesh skipper Mamunur Rahman Chayan in a MoU signing ceremony at the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) yesterday COURTESY

Hockey qualifiers start in Dhaka n Shishir Hoque Bangladesh national hockey team skipper Mamunur Rahman Chayan and head coach Naveed Alam pledged to give hundred percent and are confident of bringing success in the men’s Asian Games Qualifying Tournament, which is starts in the capital tomorrow. Oman will take on Chinese Taipei in the inaugural match at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium at 2pm. Bangladesh - who are in Pool B with Singapore, Hong Kong China and Iran - will play their first match against Hong Kong on Sunday at 4pm. In a MoU signing ceremony held at the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA), the hockey federation introduced tournament sponsors and partners, Chayan said that the team is ready to give their 100 percent and determined to something to forget their Asia Cup Hockey debacle. “We the players are more depressed

than anyone after what happened earlier. The unity among the players was 50 percent in the Asia Cup but this time the thing is different and we are ready to give 100 percent and all play united as a team no matter who the opponents will be,” said the national captain yesterday. Bangladesh’s Pakistani head coach Naveed Alam was more confident than the captain. “After Asia Cup disaster we focused on building three thingsunity, discipline and trust. I know the team much more than before. The current team is better, united and it has mixture of youth and experience. We have attacking forward line with a compact defense. “This is the best Bangladesh team and it has more fighters. They have done extra work for the national team and they will fight for the country. We want to become champions,” added the head coach. Bangladesh Hockey Federation gen-

eral secretary Khwaja Rahmatullah was also hopeful to bring success. “We are ready and prepared for the tournament. We will do our best to bring success this time,” The federation, however, has been boosted by huge financial support from its sponsors to organize the meet. Title sponsor Islami Bank will provide Tk10m while co-sponsors Sadharon Bima, Jibon Bima and Janata Bank will give Tk2.5m each and Sonali Bank will give Tk500,000. The acting chairman and managing director of Islami Bank Abdul Mannan and Mostafa Anwar and dress partner Anjan’s CEO Shahin Ahmed were also present on the occasion. Meanwhile, Qatar team arrived in the city yesterday. The other six participating countries are likely to arrive by tomorrow. Six of the eight teams will qualify for the Asian Games and join the six elites - South Korea, India, Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia and China. l

Hafeez wants Pakistan take-off with India match n AFP, Lahore

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez Wednesday said he hoped his team get a much-needed lift from their match against arch-rivals India, which opens the main round of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. The fifth edition of the World Twenty20 with 16 teams in competition will be held from March 16 to April 6. Bangladesh, ranked 10th in the world, have been drawn with Afghanistan, Nepal and Hong Kong in group A of the first round. Hafeez wants his team to get the ideal start by beating India. “India-Pakistan match is always a pressure match, as a player as a captain I am very happy that our first match is against India and from there we will, Insha’Allah get a good take off and will perform better in all the matches during the tournament,” Hafeez told reporters.

Blazing Hodge leads Australia to victory n Reuters

Veteran Brad Hodge smashed two sixes in the final over to propel Australia to a five-wicket victory over South Africa in a second Twenty20 international reduced to seven overs a side in Durban on Wednesday. After Australia won the toss, South Africa piled up 80 for one and looked to be on course for victory when the touring side required 15 from six balls to win. That was reduced to 13 from four but 39-year-old Hodge crashed two sixes to the mid-wicket boundary off Wayne Parnell to guide his side to 81 for five with two balls to spare as he ended on 21 not out from eight deliveries. South Africa made just six in their first two overs but a sparkling unbeaten partnership of 74 off 32 balls between Quinton de Kock (41 not out) and Faf du Plessis (27 not out) lifted the home side to 80 for one. De Kock was the main aggressor and

“I think we will have that momentum of our win against India in the Asia Cup,” said Hafeez of the one wicket win in the Asia Cup earlier this month. “We have advantage that where we are going (Bangladesh) we have played one-day cricket there recently. We have one week to get back into Twenty20 mould, expectations should be always positive and we all need to move in one direction.” “Lots of teams are playing Twenty20 now and you can’t take any team easy, you have to be positive in your thinking against all the teams. I think two things are very important in a big tournament, one is momentum which you have to carry and the second is luck and with the prayers of countrymen the luck factor will also be with us.” “Afridi is going through rehab, I as a captain, need a fit Afridi that’s why we have given him time,” said Hafeez of the dashing hitter who hurt his groin during the Asia Cup. l

SCORECARD South Africa H. Amla c and b Coulter-Nile 4 Q. de Kock not out 41 F. du Plessis not out 27 Extras (b2, w6) 8 Total (7 overs) 80 Fall of wicket: 1-6 (Amla) Bowling: Starc 2-0-24-0 (2w), Coulter-Nile 2-0-17-1, Hogg 1-0-5-0, Watson 1-0-14-0, Christian 1-0-18-0 Did not bat: J. Duminy, D. Miller, A. Morkel, F. Behardien, W. Parnell, K. Abbott, B. Hendricks, L. Tsotsobe

his runs came off only 20 balls including four massive sixes and two fours.

39-year-old Hodge crashed two sixes to the mid-wicket boundary off Wayne Parnell to guide his side to home David Warner’s golden summer in South Africa continued when he smashed 40 from 16 balls and Australia looked like cantering to their target. But two wickets in the fifth over from JP Duminy, including Warner’s, put the brakes on the tourists and the game briefly swung in the home side’s favour. They could not tie down Hodge in the final over, however, and the teams head into Friday’s final match in the series with Australia leading 1-0 after the first game in Port Elizabeth was washed out without a ball being bowled. l

England limited-overs coach Ashley Giles is searching for the right “formula” ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh after his side suffered a series defeat against the West Indies. England have been below par during the three-match Twenty20 series in the Caribbean, with the West Indies comfortably wrapping things up after victories in the first two games. “Clearly we’re not playing very good Twenty20 cricket, and we haven’t done for a period now,” Giles told Sky Sports before England’s final T20 match against the West Indies on Thursday. “We’ve got good personnel and we’ve got to find a formula in that top three. We back these guys to do the job.” l

Australia

South Africa batsman Hashim Amla leaves the field after getting out during their T20 International match against Australia in Durban Wednesday REUTERS

A. Finch c Amla b Abbott 5 D. Warner lbw b Duminy 40 S. Watson c Abbott b Parnell 2 G. Maxwell c Du Plessis b Duminy 1 G. Bailey run out (Miller) 2 B. Hodge not out 21 B. Haddin not out 4 Extras (lb2, nb1, w4) 7 Total (5 wkts, 6.4 overs) 82 Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Finch), 2-46 (Watson), 3-48 (Warner), 4-52 (Maxwell), 5-60 (Bailey) Bowling: Tsotsobe 1-0-21-0, Abbott 1-0-5-1, Hendricks 2-0-31-0 (1nb, 1w), Parnell 1.4-0-18-1 (1w), Duminy 1-0-5-1 (1w) Did not bat: D. Christian, M. Starc, N. CoulterNile, B. Hogg Result: Australia won by five wickets Man of the match: Brad Hodge (AUS) Series: Australia lead the three-match series 1-0

Federer, Djokovic advance as Murray, Wawrinka fall

Radwanska sets up semi-final tie with Halep

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic cruised into the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Wednesday after Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka both fell in the fourth round. In a tournament full of surprises, Federer and Djokovic struck a blow for the old world order with Federer beating Germany’s Tommy Haas 6-4 6-4 and Djokovic coming back to down Croatia’s Marin Cilic 1-6 6-2 6-3. Federer and Djokivic are the only players ranked in the world’s top 10 to reach the quarter-finals after Wawrinka and Murray joined the big-name casualties when they both crashed to lower-ranked opponents on another day of upsets in the Californian desert. Wawrinka suffered his first loss this year when his 13-match winning streak came to a shuddering halt as he was beaten 7-6(1) 4-6 6-1 by South African Kevin Anderson. Murray was blown away by Canada’s Milos Raonic, one of the biggest servers in men’s tennis. Despite winning the first set, the

Second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska held on for a three-set victory over Jelena Jankovic on Wednesday to book a semi-final clash with Romanian starlet Simona Halep at the BNP Paribas Open. Radwanska, ranked third in the world, downed Serbia’s seventh-seeded Jankovic 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals in the California desert for the second time. She’ll get a chance to avenge her loss to Halep in the semi-finals last month at Doha, where the 22-year old Romanian overwhelmed the former Wimbledon finalist en route to the title. Halep breezed past Australian qualifier Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 6-2 earlier Wednesday become the first woman to reach the semi-finals of the $12 million combined ATP and WTA tournament. Halep, the sixth seed, needed precisely one hour to get past Dellacqua, saving all five break points she faced and breaking the 78th-ranked Aussie twice in each set. Halep has won seven WTA tour titles, six of them in her breakout 2013 campaign.

n Reuters

Scotsman was unable to contain the raw power of Raonic, who triumphed 4-6 7-5 6-3 in a little over two hours. Raonic blasted 15 aces past his bewildered opponent, who is one of the best returners in the game, and won a staggering 83 percent of points when he landed his first serve. Murray did break Raonic’s serve in the opening set and again in the deciding third to lead 2-1 but lost the next four games in a row against the 6ft 5in (1.96 metre) tall Canadian. Raonic’s next opponent in the quarter-finals will be Ukrainian giant killer Alexandr Dolgopolov, who followed up his upset victory over Rafa Nadal on Monday with a comprehensive 6-2 6-4 drubbing of Italy’s Fabio Fognini. “I think the most important thing is obviously my serve and the beauty of that is nobody can affect me,” Raonic said. Already a four-time champion at Indian Wells, Federer is now on a ninematch winning streak after taking the title in Dubai before heading to Indian Wells but said he was wary about Anderson, who has reached a career-high ranking of 18 after making the final of his last two tournaments.

Djokovic had won each of his previous seven encounters with Cilic but his perfect record was in danger after he lost the opening set to the towering Croatian, winning just three points on return. But the Serbian quickly got his act together, and broke Cilic twice in the second set then once in the deciding third to safely advance to the last eight. “He was very aggressive, not missing at all, serving incredibly fast and accurate. I couldn’t do much really. I was forced to back up. “I believed that I could come back. The second set was a whole new story. I reset myself and told myself it was the start of the match. “I forgot about the first set and the second and third went really well. It was the intensity I want to have and I hope to keep it up.” John Isner kept American hopes alive with a 7-6(3) 3-6 6-3 win over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, while Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis defeated Roberto Bautista of Spain 7-6(0) 4-6 6-2. A third Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, was sent packing by unseeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau, losing 6-3 7-6(4). l

n AFP, Indian Wells

Radwanska celebrates after winning match point against Jankovic at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday But the world number seven is through to the semi-finals of one of the WTA’s elite Premier Mandatory tournaments for the first time. “I was moving really well today,” said Halep, who had said she felt sluggish against rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard in her fourth round match on Tuesday. l


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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Report: 40% primary school classrooms unusable n Mushfique Wadud About 40% of the classrooms in government primary schools are “unusable” while 18% of them are reported to be “bad”, says a recent report of Directorate of Primary Education. The figures were determined on the basis of information given by the headmasters of government primary schools, according to Annual Sector Performance Report 2013. It said 21% of the schools reported that they don’t have supply water while 15% of the schools reported that they don’t have at least one functioning toilet. There are 37,672 government primary schools in the country and the

government has recently nationalised 23,000 non-government primary schools. The ASPR revealed that the number of “unusable” and “bad” classrooms has increased compared to the previous years. According to ASPR 2012, 3% classrooms were “unusable” while 15% classrooms were “bad”. The government had spent billions of taka to implement second primary education development programme from 2003 to 2011 and a large amount of money had been spent on infrastructure development. But, many primary schools still are in a bad state. According to DPE, a total of 40,440 classrooms were constructed from 2003 to March, 2011.

Teachers often allege that the newly constructed school buildings become useless for use of low quality construction materials. Shamsunnahar Akhter, headmaster of Khilgaon Model Primary School, told the Dhaka Tribune that the fourth floor of the school building was constructed in 2010, but some classrooms have now become unusable. “Many teachers complain to us that the newly constructed classrooms become useless,” said Abul Bashar, president of Bangladesh Primary Teachers’ Association. Because of poor infrastructure, the academic activities in many government primary schools are being hampered seriously.

Classes at Kewarzani Government Primary School in Manikganj are being held in a tin-roofed building as the school building has remained in a bad shape. Tahmina Akhter, a teacher of this school, said that the institution has only three classrooms for about 200 students. ‘Sometimes we take two classes at a classroom at the same time,” she added. Lucky Akhter, a class III student of this school, said that they suffer a lot during class time due to lack of pure drinking water. Campaign for Popular Education Executive Director Rasheda K Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune that it is difficult to coordinate infrastructure devel-

opment of schools in rural areas from Dhaka and proposed a decentralised system. In some cases, she said, contractors eat up a good portion of money allocated for infrastructural development. This may be one of the reasons why the newly constructed schools become useless within a very short time, she added. Shyamal Kanti Ghosh, director general of the Directorate of Primary Education, told the Dhaka Tribune that a good number of non-government schools had been nationalised recently. “Construction of new buildings is going on. Infrastructural condition of school buildings will improve in the coming days,” he said. l

Baby boy abandoned at DMCH dental ward n Mohammad Jamil Khan When a mother’s lap should be the refuge for a child, a seven-month-old baby boy at Dhaka Medical College Hospital was forced to find refuge elsewhere. The ill-fated child was yesterday spotted lying alone on the floor of the hospital’s dental ward around 8:30am with none coming to search for him. The abandoned child has been kept in children’s ward of the hospital as he is undergoing treatment of fever. The Ansar members at DMCH first came across the boy with a bag full of child dresses beside him. Abdul Khaleq, chief of Ansar staff at the hospital, told the Dhaka Tribune he first noticed the boy lying on the floor of the hospital’s Dental Ward around 8:30am. Suspicion arose as no one was seen near the baby, he said. “I waited for half an hour, but nobody came to look for the child. Later, I entrusted the baby to two Ansar members. Two hours passed by, but still none

came to take the child,” added Khaleq. “We also canvassed every corner of the hospital in search of the child’s guardians, but none came to take responsibility for the innocent boy.” Khaleq said as per the directive of DMCH Director Brig Gen Mostafizur Rahman he admitted the boy to the children’s ward. He said primarily they suspected that the guardians of the child might have left him abandoned as there was a bag full of children’s wear near the boy. Besides, the head of the child was abnormally a little larger than usual, he added. Dr Naznin of the children’s unit said the boy had no serious disease, but a little fever, and for this reason, he was referred to admission. Asked about steps to rehabilitate the innocent child, Khaleq said: “If the parents of the boy came to us and produced valid proof of identity, we would give the child to them.” Until then, the seven-month-old would be undergoing treatment at the hospital, he added. l

Seven-month-old child Alif lies in a bed at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital yesterday, receiving treatment. He was found in an abandoned state by the hospital authorities MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Bangladesh safe from bird flu virus, workshop told n Mohosinul Karim Avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu virus and also called A (H5N1) infection, has so far claimed only one victim in Bangladesh till January this year after local detection of the virus, while about 386 people from 63 countries across the world have been killed by similar types of infections. Around 70 persons have recently died in China alone in the running attack of the virus. The information was disseminated at a workshop arranged by Department of Livestock (DLS) on ‘Avian influenza infection in Bangladesh context’at the auditorium of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Centre (BARC) at Farmgate in the capital yesterday. Fisheries and Livestock Minister

Mohammad Sayedul Haque, who was also present at the workshop, said the virus could not hit the country hard due to pre-cautionary measures taken by the government in last five years. The minister also said the poultry sector must be protected from the disease as the government wants to improve this important sector that is meeting the country’s demand for protein. The DLS’s director Dilip Kumar Ghosh in his keynote paper said the bird flu infection was first detected in the country on March 22, 2007, and seven infection cases in humans were recorded, while the virus was found in 498 commercial poultry farms and 57 family farms. The government had distributed compensation of around Tk366.5m

for culling 2.7m chicks and destroying 3.1m eggs in this period. The affected owners of family farms received a compensation of Tk111.5m and the owners of 722 commercial farms got Tk 255m, the director said, adding that the figure increased due to destroying the farms round the infected ones. Dilip Kumar Ghosh also said national reference laboratory on avian influenza has already been established in Dhaka and two laboratories in Chittagong and Jessore and he urged to the government to establish disease diagnosis centers in each district. State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Narayan Chandra Chanda, Secretary ShelinaAfroza and Director General of DLS Shahidul Islam also addressed the workshop among others. l

Pillars are being set up encroaching a portion of the Kopotakhho River in the name of establishing a fish wholesale market near Kopilmuni Bazar in Paikgachha upazila of Khulna. The photo was taken yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE

Land grabbers defy government plan to free Kopotakkho riverbank n Our Correspondent, Satkhira A group of land grabbers have occupied a portion of the Kopotakkho riverbank in Sathkira and began constructing illegal establishments there in the name of a fish storehouse, posing an impediment to the government’s recent initiatives to revive the river’s width. Already, 70 concrete pillars have been constructed on the one-acre land located on the west side of Kapilmuni in Binodganj Bazar bordering Tala and Paikgacha upazilas for building 40 permanent establishments. Sources alleged that the construction works were being monitored by a group of Awami League leaders of Kapilmuni and Haridhali union, including Advocate Nurul Haque MP of Khulna 6 constituency, while the district administration has not taken any steps against the illegal move. Locals said a vested quarter was active to foil the Tk262 crore government dredging project to bring back the original width of the Kopotakkho River. They also feared that if such encroachment of the river continued, more than 10 lakh people in the locality would become water-locked and thousands of acres of farming lands in the area would be marooned. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Advocate Mustafa Lutfullah MP, lawmaker from of Satkhira- 1 constituency and convener of Kopotakkho Banchao Andolan Sangram Committee, claimed that the Kopotakkho River was originally 500 feet wide but had shrunk due to the adverse affects of climate change. “The government had allocated TK 262 crore to excavate the river and the project will be implemented in phases,” he said. Lutfullah also blamed land grabbers for occupying the riverbanks as per their needs. Sardar Golam Mostafa, general secretary of Kapilmuni Bazar Traders Association, said the association had filed an application to Advocate Nurul Haque MP in February for an allocation of a 4.5 acre land for expanding the fish storehouse of the bazar. “The parliamentarian held a meeting with a few traders of the market and formed a nine-member Matsya Arot Unnoyan committee, making Kapilmuni union Awami League leader

Jugol Kishor Dey the president and himself the member secretary of the committee,” he said. Mostafa added: “As per the lawmaker’s suggestion, the committee’s president collected Tk2 lakh each from five members of the committee and started the construction works of the fish storehouse. “A 70 feet land has been taken for the establishment for the development of the bazaar. The structures will not pose a bar for the river’s dredging works. If it does, the establishments will be demolished,” he said, adding: “The MP has been informed about all aspects of the establishments”. During a recent visit, the correspondent found that more than a hundred day labours were working at the site. Golam Mostofa and his brother were also seen monitoring the work. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, one of the labours said: “Mostafa hired us and we have been filling up the land and constructing pillars here for the last two weeks.”

Illegal establishments have blessings of local AL leaders “The extension of storehouse was just an eye wash to occupy the river bank,” said Habibur Rahman, a businessman of the bazar. “It will become difficult to carry out the dredging works of the river if such establishments are built on the riverbanks in an unplanned way,” Sheikh Asadur Rahman Pial, former general secretary of traders association, told the Dhaka Tribune. Meanwhile, Haridhali Union Parishad Chairman Abu Zafar Siddik Raju claimed that he had already sent a resolution to different administrative offices against the illegal activity. Paikgacha Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Kabir Uddin said he had been informed about the issue and has already directed the general secretary of the market traders association to halt such activities. “If he cannot stop the construction, action will be taken against him,” he added. l

Malaysia says no evidence missing plane flew hours after losing contact n Reuters Malaysian authorities yesterday said there was no evidence that a jetliner missing for almost six days flew for hours after losing contact with air traffic controllers and continued to transmit technical data. The Wall Street Journal said US aviation investigators and national security officials believed the Boeing 777 flew for a total of five hours, based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from its Rolls-Royce Trent engines as part of a standard monitoring programme. “Those reports are inaccurate,” Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference. “As far as both Rolls-Royce and Boeing are concerned, those reports are inaccurate. The last (data) transmission from the aircraft was at 1:07am (local time) which indicated that everything was normal.” Boeing and Rolls-Royce have yet to comment. Reuters has previously reported that the plane’s transmission of the socalled ACARS technical data ceased after it lost contact with air traffic control. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, dropped off air traffic control screens at about 1:30am on Saturday, less than an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were no reports of bad weather or mechanical problems. It is one of the most baffling mysteries in the history of modern aviation - there has been no trace of the plane since nor any sign of wreckage despite a search by the navies and military aircraft of over a dozen countries across Southeast Asia. “It’s extraordinary that with all the (satellite and telecommunication) technology that we have got that an aircraft can disappear like this,” Tony Tyler, the head of the International Air Transport Association that links over 90% of the world’s airlines, told reporters in London. “It will trigger a desire to see how can we avoid this from happening again... I would not be surprised that the technology did not exist already but is not being used.” The last definitive sighting of MH370 on civilian radar screens came as the plane flew northeast across the mouth of the Gulf of Thailand. On Wednesday, Malaysia’s air force chief said military radar had traced what could have been the jetliner to an area south of the Thai holiday island of Phuket in the Malacca Strait, hundreds of miles to the west of its last known position. However, he stressed the plotting had not been corroborated. The multi-national search team is combing both bodies of water, which total 27,000 square nautical miles (93,000 square km), an area the size of Hungary. l

Body of missing housewife recovered n Tribune Report The body of the housewife which was dumped into a worn-out tube well’s pipe in Debidar of Comilla was recovered 65 feet beneath the surface yesterday, 35 days after the victim went missing. Police with help of a tube well installation team dug the tube well and recovered the body at noon. The deceased Shahina’s expatriate husband Mobarrak Hossain hired a killer in exchange of Tk2 lakh to kill her and dump the body. The shocking incident was revealed after the hired killer Abdul Karim was arrested in Mainamati Cantonment area on March 6. Sub-Inspector Shah Kamal Akand, also investigation officer of the case, said Karim confessed that he was paid Tk2 lakh to kill Shahina. “We could not recover the body on Thursday night [March 6] as no worker was available to dig out the body,” he said. Brother of the victim Shah Alam Sarker said two years ago, Mobarrak came to Bangladesh and became embroiled in a heated altercation with her wife. He and his family members began torturing her over the dispute. Mobarrak went back to Dubai after four months but his family members continued torturing his wife. On February 7, Shahina went missing from her in-law’s house and Shah Alam filed a general diary in this connection. l

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


B3 Japan to name and

shame firms refusing pay hikes

B4 China’s Jan-Feb economic activity cools to multiyear lows

FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2014 www.dhakatribune.com/business

Bangladesh allows shrimp import from Myanmar n Asif Showkat Kallol Bangladesh has allowed shrimp import from Myanmar to process here and then re-export to other countries. The import has been allowed only through Teknaf Customs Station, according to a circular Controller of Imports and Exports issued on March 9. The authorities would consider allowing the consignments on case-tocase basis subject to approval by the commerce ministry of Bangladesh – a shrimp exporting country. The imported shrimp will not be allowed to sell in the local market while mother shrimp, baby shrimp and Bomar-type shrimp will not be allowed to import. Chairman of Shrimp Cultivator Association Dr Aftabuzzam said: "It is a self-distractive decision by the government." Lower grade imported shrimp will have definite negative impact on the local shrimp industry. Chairman of Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation Syed Mahmubul Haq said the decision would help increase the country’s export. New employment and investment will be created due to the increased export, he added. Bangladesh exported frozen food, including shrimp, worth about US$419 million during July to January period of the current fiscal year, according to Export Promotion Bureau data.

The government has set an export target of $578.77 million for the item during the current fiscal year. In 2012-13 fiscal year, frozen foods exports recorded 9% fall to $544m as fish production fell due to disease in prawn.

'It is a self-distractive decision by the government' Demands for Tigers (Bangladeshi shrimps) has been increased in global market due to disease vannamei shrimps, which pushed prices up, M Khalilullah, vice president of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA) told the Dhaka Tribune earlier. Though prices were up, the production remained low, he added. Khalilullah said imposing additional duties by the US government on shrimp imports from five competitor countries, including India and Vietnam, has helped increase the export from Bangladesh. The US Commerce Department increased the duty to 54.5% from 4.52% on shrimp imports from India, China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Ecuador as their governments provide huge subsidies for the farmers. l

Guests are seen at the inauguration of the day-long Women Entrepreneurs’ Conference and Product Display at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka yesterday

WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Financial problem solved, but diversity remains a challenge n Tribune Report A group of the country’s women entrepreneurs have observed that their business is not expanding properly due to lack of an up-to-date marketing strategy and diversity in products. According to them, the country’s women entrepreneurs have no financial problems, but what they lack is diversification of their products and adequate marketing campaign. They said the products like boutiques and handicrafts manufactured by them have a huge demand in the outside world. They were speaking at the inauguration of the Women Entrepreneurs’ Conference and Product Display-2014 at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka yesterday.

Dhaka for sustainable trade ties with Colombo n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman Bangladesh wants to have a long-term and sustainable trade relations with Sri Lanka as part of its vision to boost trade with neighbours. “Dhaka and Colombo are engaged in negotiations to sign a trade framework to increase two-way trade,” Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sufiur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune. Both the countries are conducting studies to see which will be better -a limited-scale preferential trade arrangement or broad-scale free trade agreement. “After the completion of the studies, both the nations will negotiate to strike a deal.” At present, the total trade between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is about $100m, which is almost balanced. Citing from statistics, Sufiur said Bangladesh was enjoying more favourable conditions in the manufacturing sector than Sri Lanka. The highest slab of commercial power tariff is around Tk8 in Bangladesh while it is over Tk40 in Sri Lanka, one of the highest in the world. “Our mission pays 62 Sri Lankan Rupees for per unit power, which is equivalent to about Tk40,” he said. The wage rate in Colombo is about three times higher than in Dhaka while the bank interest rate is on an average 17% in Sri Lanka compared to 15% in Bangladesh, the high commissioner said. “But the advantage they (Sri Lanka) have is managerial efficiency and IT expertise.” Sri Lanka and Pakistan signed free

Both the countries are conducting studies to see which will be better -a limitedscale preferential trade arrangement or broad-scale free trade agreement trade agreement (FTA) in 1999 and during the time Colombo’s export to Islamabad was around $30m, which now stood at above $150m. Colombo and New Delhi signed FTA in 2000 when Sri Lanka exported $80m worth of products to India. But now it increased over six times to about $500m. In both the cases, Sri Lanka was the weaker side meaning had less competitive advantage. Bangladesh government also mulls

MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

another long-term deal for pharmaceutical products export to Sri Lanka. Bangladesh exports pharmaceutical products worth of $79m currently to 80 countries with $6m to Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka imports about $380m of medicines every year mostly from India. If Bangladesh had grabbed 10-20% share of it, the pharmaceutical import to Sri Lanka would reach $40-80m,” Sufiur Rahman pointed out. A Bangladeshi delegation led by health secretary will be visiting the South Asian nation in the third week this month and will negotiate to sign an agreement on long-term medicine supply. “We have proposed if a Bangladeshi product is registered with USFDA or has a European registration, it should be eligible to export to Sri Lankan market without re-registration,” Sufi said. If Sri Lankan side agrees with Bangladesh’s proposal, the deal is expected to be signed “very soon,” he hoped. l

SME and Special Programmes Department of Bangladesh Bank organised the day-long event in association with banks and non-bank financial institutions, JICA Bangladesh and CARE Bangladesh. Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman inaugurated the event. A total of 74 banks and non-bank financial institutions who helped different women entrepreneurs promote their business set up stalls. They set up the stall on behalf of the respective women entrepreneurs they provided financial assistance. “We are getting sufficient financial support from banks. But our business cannot be said successful and this is because we have not diversified our products. We are running same business of handicrafts and boutiques,”

said Popy, owner of Shikriti Boutiques and Handicrafts. Her five-year old business is financed by South Bangla Agriculture Bank. Rina Biswas, owner of Joyeeta Boutiques House, emphasised the need to boost up marketing even among the local consumers. “Local consumers are fond of garments coming from India, Pakistan and China. Despite our product quality is better them, we are being beaten as we don’t have adequate marketing of our products,” she pointed out. SME loan disbursement among women entrepreneursincreased 49% in 2013 compared to 9% in 2012, according to the Bangladesh Bank data. The number of women entrepreneurs also increased significantly in the year.

Europe-Bangladesh Technology Summit 2014 begins n Muhammad Zahidul Islam Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) yesterday announced a summit named “EuropeBangladesh Technology Summit 2014” was kicked off in Germany to attract the European investors in the country’s potential Information and Technology (IT) sector. The country’s apex ICT trade body will also take part a series of IT fairs, seminars and business-to-business meetings as part of the EuropeBangladesh Technology Summit. Addressing a press conference at a city hotel, BASIS leaders informed a delegation from Bangladesh IT industry already joined a 5-day IT fair being concluded in Hanover, Germany today. BASIS President Shamim Ahsan said: “The aim of the summit is to achieve the US$1bn export-target by the year of 2018, creating one million jobs for the local IT graduates.” BASIS is in a campaign titled “One Bangladesh” to reach the goal. There are two goals of the summit – exporting IT products and IT enable services to the European countries and encouraging Europeans to choose Bangladesh for their Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Shamim said the country has already two lakh IT professionals while 80,000 are involved in the IT sector and the rest are with the other professions. More 60,000 IT experts are working as freelancers.

“This is not the beginning, rather BASIS has initiated similar events in Dhaka and also at the Silicon Valley in USA,” said Fahim Mashroor, BASIS director and former president of the trade body. The convener of the EuropeBangladesh Technology Summit said, around 15 Bangladeshi IT firms are participating in different events in Germany, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. “Eleven Dutch companies will come to Bangladesh in April this year to participate the event to be held in Dhaka,” he added. Export Promotion Bureau, Agrani Bank and Grameenphone are jointly assisting BASIS to initiate the summit while Telenor, Innovation Norway and the Danish Federation of SME are taking part at the event as coorganisers. Vivek Sood, chief executive officer of Grameenphone, has urged all to work unitedly to achieve the BASIS goals while the recently launched 3G services of the mobile operators will help meet the internet demand. Danish Ambassador Hanne FuglEskjaer said: “Bangladesh has a good number of qualified and knowledgeable IT experts who can play a significant role in attracting the foreign investors.” She also stressed the need for further development in the IT infrastructure and more training for the IT professionals to reach the target. l

A total of 41,695 women entrepreneurs received loans of Tk3,347crore last year while 17,362 women entrepreneurs got Tk2,244 crore as loans in 2012 from the country’s financial sector. Of the 2013 figure, 3,317 entrepreneurs were new and received Tk395 crore as SME loans. Bangladesh Bank created refinance schemes for the SME entrepreneurs giving policy support. Under the refinance schemes,women got 15% of the total share at maximum 10% interest rate. Shamima Kobir, owner of Oyshi Boutiques House, said:“Our household products have more demand in abroad than the local market.” She laid stress on more access to foreign market. l

Eastern Cables yields 60% gain in one month n Tahmidur Rahman

Shares of Eastern Cables yielded a gain of 9.8% yesterday, making the total gain of around 60% in one month period. The cable company listed in 1986 at the Dhaka Stock Exchange disclosed its half-yearly earnings on January 22 that increased 5% as compared to previous year’s profitability. It showed the second quarter earnings (October to December) to be Tk1.26 crore after tax, which is Tk37.8 lakh higher than last year’s Tk88.3 lakh during the same period. However, the latest financial statements of the company shows a significant fall in net sales, which have been offset by increased non-operating profit and higher gross profitability during the first half of the operating year. The fall in sales is close to one third of the sales figure during the same period a year ago. The lower sales have resulted in an increased stock holding of the company – twice as it was a year ago. During the last week of the previous month, the “Z” category stock has informed in response to a CSE query dated February 24, that there is no undisclosed price sensitive information of the company for recent unusual price hike. The company is consistently giving out cash dividend at 10% for most years of almost a decade. As on December last year, the company has a half-yearly earnings per share of Tk0.70 with a net asset value of Tk24.66 each while the stock closed at Tk165.7 yesterday at DSE. l

Banglaphone’s citing of local partners in NTTN licence application debated n Muhammad Zahidul Islam The country’s telecom regulator has recommended an NTTN licence application of a fully NRB-owned landline operator which cited two local partners. But the local companies have denied their relations with Banglaphone. The guideline requires a company owned by non-resident Bangladeshis (NRB) or foreign citizens to have at least 40% local partnerships to get licence for setting up optical fiber telecom transmission network across the country. The operator, Banglaphone, used the names of two companies as its local partners in the application, which

had severed ties with the landline much before. They are Nitol Motors Limited And Technohaven Co. Limited. The private fixed-line company has been operating Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN) business without licence, rather under an official permit which had remained expired for a year until recently. But Banglaphone’s owner and managing director Amjad Khan said he was not an NRB and all information used in the licence application were correct. “I am a Bangladeshi citizen and hold Bangladeshi passport everywhere I go. Besides, information given

in the application were not wrong,” Amjad Khan who is living in the US told the Dhaka Tribune through email. BTRC commissioners declined to make any comment on the matter. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) recently recommended four applications for NTTN licence to the government. Others include Mango Teleservices Limited, B-Connect Limited and Bahon Limited. Currently, only two private operators have proper licences for running building transmission network infrastructure business in Bangladesh. “We stayed with Banglaphone for a brief time (in 2004), and immediately

after joining it, we withdrew our ties from it,” Habibullah N Karim, managing director of Technohaven Co. Limited told the Dhaka Tribune. He and Nitol Motors chairman Abdul Matlub Ahmed said they would complain to the government against the use of their names. “They have no right to use our company’s name,” said Abdul Matlub. According to a telecom ministry official, they are aware of the flaws in the application, but he said it was not the ministry’s duty to make decision against it. “It’s BTRC’s responsibility,” he said. BTRC has allowed Banglaphone to do NTTN business without licence

since 2011 even ignoring the telecom ministry’s objection. The landphone operator set up 7,000 kilometres transmission network across the country. After the Dhaka Tribune reported on the matter, the regulator extended the permit. Earlier the court imposed a bar against the Banglaphone’s deploying of fiber network for transmission business as they were a landline service provider. But the court order was not followed. Sources also said as Banglaphone is a last mile solution provider it cannot be awarded an NTTN license. Sources said Banglaphone should pay NTTN licence fee, annual licence

renewal fee and 2% revenue sharing from the beginning. Besides, NTTN licence-holders need to pay Tk10 crore as bank guarantee. If Banglaphone had licence from 2011, it would have to pay Tk3 crore as fee and Tk25 lakh as annual fee. According to the BTRC’s records, Banglaphone as a zonal operator has outstanding annual fees of seven years and revenue sharing of 21 quarters. On its website, Banglaphone claimed to have obtained the permission to operate landline business in the northeast zone on June 22, 2004. It claimed to be a transmission network service provider with 16 districts under its network. l


B2

DHAKA TRIBUNE

Pharmaceuticals and power edged lower while only two sectors –telecommunications and, food and allied saw marginal gains. IDLC Investment in its daily market analysis said as the bourse continued to stay gloomy, investors continued focusing on cautious investing as well as profit booking. Lanka Bangla Securities said market cracked further on the closing day of this week with DSEX losing weighed down by profit booking in bank, non-banking financial institutions and industry heavyweights. Zenith investment said a tug of war between buyers and sellers prevailed throughout the trading day, which ultimately failed to create a strong support for the market to bounce back. Financial sectors like bank, insurance and financial institutions caused yesterday’s meltdown of the index. Out of 288 issues trade at the DSE, 126 gained, 125 declined and 37 issues remained unchanged. State-owned company Padma Oil continued to top turnover leaders with shares worth Tk17 crore changing hands. It was followed by Lafarge Surma Cement, Meghna Petroleum, Square Pharmaceuticals, Bangladesh Shipping Corporation, Olympic Industries and Graneenphone. l

Stocks finished the week yesterday with the benchmark index DSEX slipping to more than seven-week low. After remaining in positive territory in the morning for half an hour, the market began to slide till closing the trade due to profit booking mainly on financials. At the end of the day, the DSEX declined 25 points or 0.6% to close at 4,635, extending losses for the second consecutive session and lowest since January 22 this year. Shariah Index DSES was down only 1 points or 0.2% to 1,014. The blue-chip comprising DS30 shed 12 points or 0.8% to end at 1,669. Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, fell 64 points to 9,035. Poor trading activities hit the market with volume of trade in terms of value coming down below Tk400 crore and almost 22% lower over the previous session. Most large cap sectors closed negative especially the financial sectors – banks and non-banking financial institutions – that suffered the highest correction. Cement participated in the rally further, making 0.9% rise in market capitalisation, driven by Lafarge Surma Cement that recorded highest amount of the volume of the day with 2% gain.

Company

Turnover (Million Taka)

3,534.64

Turnover (Volume)

64,072,902

Number of Contract

89,948

Traded Issues

288

Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)

95

Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)

189

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

4

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)

2,297.25

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)

27.85

Turnover (Million Taka)

309.81

Turnover (Volume)

6,823,455

Number of Contract

12,634

DSE Broad Index :

4635.33883

(-) 0.54%

Traded Issues

219

DSE Shariah Index :

1014.09514

(-) 0.10%

Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)

64

DSE - 30 Index :

1669.67708

(-) 0.72%

Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)

142

CSE All Share Index:

14348.5468

(-) 0.65%

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

12

CSE - 30 Index :

12099.0782

(-) 1.03%

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)

2,193.72

9030.4387

(-) 0.76%

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)

26.59

CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS

UCBL - A AB Bank - A First Lease- A Libra Infusions-A Uttara Finance -A United Leasing - A ICB AMCL 2nd NRB -A Republic Insu.-A

-6.05 -5.40 -5.38 -5.15 -4.63 -4.51 -4.50 -3.94

Average (% change) -6.29 -5.98 -4.63 -5.21 -3.94 -3.59 -3.50 -2.46

Reckitt Benckiser -A Pragati Gen. I -A

-3.82 -3.62

-3.77 -2.87

Company

Closing (% change)

CSE LOSERS

Phoenix Insur -A ICB AMCL 1st NRB -A UCBL - A Libra Infusions-A AB Bank - A BDCOM Online-A City Bank - A IFIC Bank - A

-6.64 -6.43 -6.02 -5.97 -5.73 -4.88 -4.40 -4.39

Average (% change) -7.37 -6.32 -5.84 -5.97 -6.12 -4.50 -3.34 -4.44

Republic Insu.-A Uttara Finance -A

-4.14 -4.11

-3.30 -3.92

Company

Closing (% change)

ANALYST

Closing average

Closing

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 312.23 142.65 64.49 373.89 209.08 522.99 10.20 326.24 444.59 3.92 38.95 77.44 26.59 278.40 29.39 67.72 171.14 176.06 52.07 205.93 0.66

Daily low

Latest EPS

Latest PE

23.55 26.55 26.76 474.75 74.79 27.96 10.75 44.36

23.30 26.30 26.40 474.80 74.20 27.50 10.60 43.90

24.90 27.80 28.20 490.00 76.00 29.00 11.00 45.90

22.40 25.00 25.90 472.50 71.00 26.00 10.60 43.60

62.281 46.204 18.911 1.899 24.054 6.810 1.161 6.100

3.66 2.20 2.07 3.04 7.49 2.09 1.46 3.03

6.4 12.1 12.9 156.2 10.0 13.4 7.4 14.6

1020.00 56.58

1022.00 55.90

1025.00 58.00

1020.00 55.50

0.153 3.191

28.52 4.19

35.8 13.5

Closing average

Closing

Daily high

Turnover in million

Daily low

Latest EPS

42.20 26.20 23.40 480.00 26.30 31.20 17.40 30.50

43.70 26.50 24.80 480.00 27.10 31.20 18.00 31.90

40.90 26.00 23.00 480.00 17.20 31.20 17.20 30.30

0.034 0.052 16.811 0.096 4.192 0.031 0.858 0.849

3.81 4.74 3.66 3.04 2.20 1.70 1.17 4.33

11.1 5.5 6.5 157.9 12.0 18.4 15.1 7.1

44.21 74.76

44.00 74.60

45.00 75.00

44.00 74.50

0.354 0.269

3.03 7.49

14.6 10.0

A tug of war between buyers and sellers prevailed throughout the trading day, which ultimately failed to create a strong support for the market to bounce back

CSE GAINERS Company Eastern Cables-Z Pioneer Insur -A Legacy Footwear -A Usmania Glass -Z Miracle Industries -B National Housing Fin.-B Hakkani P& Paper -B Anwar Galvanizing-B Anlima Yarn -A Standard Ceramic -A

% change 8.83 4.04 1.82 10.58 5.92 14.80 0.29 9.23 12.58 0.11 1.10 2.19 0.75 7.88 0.83 1.92 4.84 4.98 1.47 5.83 0.02

Million Taka 38.88 10.63 2.16 29.50 17.82 36.30 22.63 43.36 1.22 2.81 11.85 2.89 15.19 2.96 2.13 7.29 24.98 6.20 31.81 0.02

% change 12.52 3.42 0.70 9.50 5.74 11.68 0.00 7.29 13.96 0.39 0.90 3.82 0.93 4.89 0.95 0.69 2.35 8.04 2.00 10.24 0.01

Million Taka 351.11 153.28 66.66 403.40 226.89 559.29 10.20 348.87 487.95 5.13 41.76 89.29 29.48 293.59 32.36 69.85 178.44 201.04 58.27 237.74 0.68

Total

Closing (% change) 9.98 9.86 9.80 8.58 7.80 7.07 6.81 6.62 6.51 6.43

Average (% change) 8.49 9.86 7.45 5.11 4.84 3.70 8.02 7.49 5.43 6.49

ABBANK: The Board of Directors has recommended 5% cash dividend and 7% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. The Board has also decided to issue 'AB Bank Subordinated Bond' up to Tk. 250.00 crore for Tier-II Capital subject to approval of the concerned Regulatory Authorities and EGM of the Company. Date of EGM and AGM: 21.04.2014, Time of EGM and AGM: 9:00 AM and 9:15 AM respectively, Venue: Bashundhara Convention Centre-02, Block-C, Umme Kulsum Road, Bashundhara R/A, Baridhara, Dhaka. Record date for EGM and AGM: 25.03.2014. The Company has also reported Consolidated EPS of Tk. 2.20, Consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 34.78 and Consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. 1.03 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. FIRSTSBANK: The Board of Directors has recommended 10% cash dividend only for Shareholders except Sponsors/Directors for the year ended on December 31, 2013. The Sponsors/Directors holding total 210,974,520 shares of the Company will not be entitled to recommended dividend. The total amount payable to public Shareholders as dividend is Tk. 200,464,200.00. The Board has also decided to issue Rights

DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Padma Oil Co. -A LafargeS Cement-Z Meghna Petroleum -A Square Pharma -A BSC-A Olympic Ind. -A Grameenphone-A

CSE

9.81 9.78 7.84 7.65 7.47 6.77 6.57 6.03 5.82 5.80

Average (% change) 8.14 7.76 5.03 5.84 4.42 0.35 (0.54) 6.13 4.81 5.57

Closing average 162.13 38.59 21.73 185.14 177.94 275.07 106.90 387.00 20.06 31.06

Closing average 159.94 76.90 38.53 178.64 21.67 32.25 34.89 29.29 27.55 53.00

Closing 165.70 39.30 22.00 189.90 182.70 288.50 110.30 387.00 20.00 31.00

Closing 164.20 76.90 39.20 183.50 22.10 33.30 34.50 29.00 27.80 53.00

Daily high 165.90 39.30 22.20 191.50 184.70 290.00 112.00 387.00 20.60 32.00

Daily high

Daily low 140.00 36.10 19.00 159.00 171.00 261.30 102.80 387.00 17.50 27.00

Daily low

164.20 76.90 39.20 183.80 22.30 33.50 35.50 29.80 28.10 53.00

135.00 76.90 36.70 172.50 21.00 31.20 32.00 28.70 26.80 53.00

Turnover in million 14.645 15.654 13.526 49.651 15.525 13.107 11.695 0.194 8.094 0.407

Turnover in million 1.248 0.038 9.732 0.223 0.975 0.337 0.942 0.849 1.061 0.027

Latest EPS 1.40 0.36 0.22 3.72 5.10 5.32 1.18 7.88 -0.98 -5.96

Latest EPS 1.40 5.75 0.36 5.10 0.22 1.39 0.28 0.02 0.80 1.06

Latest PE 115.8 107.2 98.8 49.8 34.9 51.7 90.6 49.1 -ve -ve

Latest PE 114.2 13.4 107.0 35.0 98.5 23.2 124.6 1464.5 34.4 50.0

shares @ 1R:2 (i.e. 1 Rights share for every 2 Ordinary shares) of Tk. 10.00 each at an issue price of Tk. 12.00 each (including a premium of Tk. 2.00 per share) subject to the approval by the shareholders and regulatory authorities. Purpose of the Rights share issue is to enhance and strengthen the capital base of the Company. Date of AGM: 25.04.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: Hotel Agrabad, Agrabad, Chittagong. Record date: 25.03.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 1.87, NAV per share of Tk. 15.64 and NOCFPS of Tk. 18.41 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Another record date for entitlement of the proposed rights shares to be notified later after obtaining approval from BSEC. GBBPOWER: The Board of Directors has recommended 15% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 16.04.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: Conference Hall, Hotel Naz Garden, Silimpur, Bogra-5800. Record Date: 25.03.2014. The Company has also reported net profit after tax of Tk. 139.26 million, EPS of Tk. 1.90, NAV per share of Tk. 24.44 and NOCFPS of Tk. 2.91 for the year ended on December 31, 2013 as against Tk. 117.69 million, Tk. 1.61 (restated), Tk. 22.63 (restated)

and Tk. 1.46 (restated) respectively for the year ended on December 31, 2012. DSE NEWS: Padma Cement Ltd.: All hon'ble Investors of Padma Cement Limited be informed that the company is going to be winding-up. In this connection an advertisement has been published in the Daily Prothom Alo on 06 March 2014. The valued share holders are requested to contact with official liquidator of Padma Cement Limited with proper documents before 21st March 2014. The address of official liquidator: Mr. M. Moksadul Islam, Barrister-at-Law, Official Liquidator, Padma Cement Limited, 3/A, Sonartori Tower, 12 Sonargaon Road, Banglamotor, Dhaka-1000. Phone: 9632799; Mobile: 01730-372370-1. 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

42.20 26.23 23.72 480.00 26.40 31.20 17.66 30.75

SECTORAL TURNOVER SUMMARY Sector

Daily high

Turnover in million

Eastern Cables-Z Legacy Footwear -A Miracle Industries -B Atlas BD-A Usmania Glass -Z Renwick Jajneswar-A Desh Garments -B Kohinoor Chem -A Fine Foods A Midas Financing-Z

Closing (% change)

News and recent disclosers

CSE key features March 13, 2014

Daily capital market highlights

Friday, March 14, 2014

DSE GAINERS

DSE key features March 13, 2014

Stocks finish week on back foot n Tribune Report

Stock

% change 9.13 3.99 1.73 10.49 5.90 14.54 0.27 9.07 12.69 0.13 1.09 2.32 0.77 7.64 0.84 1.82 4.64 5.23 1.52 6.18 0.02

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

Delta Life Insu. -A BD Submarine Cable-A Jamuna Oil -A

Orion Pharma-N UCBL - A Square Textile -A Singer BD -A Atlas BD-A

CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company BSC-A

BD Submarine Cable-A UCBL - A Square Pharma -A Padma Oil Co. -A LafargeS Cement-Z Legacy Footwear -A Orion Pharma-N Grameenphone-A Appollo Ispat CL -N Singer BD -A Jamuna Oil -A Beach Hatchery -A Olympic Ind. -A BEXIMCO Ltd. -A

Volume shares 508,887 3,526,020 485,850 475,117 194,995 477,845 471,076 310,150 337,175 313,180

1,125,600 2,644,441 515,341 261,050 268,181

Volume shares

34,355 78,345 708,660 57,498 45,807 219,000 252,594 158,640 35,800 235,200 30,025 26,780 181,500 26,000 171,383

Value in million 178.10 172.53 140.59 135.87 125.01 105.87 101.44 79.26 74.62 73.25

68.95 62.28 59.07 57.23 49.65

Value in million

21.96 17.28 16.81 16.43 15.99 10.72 9.73 9.73 7.70 6.73 6.56 6.28 5.79 5.75 5.48

% of total turnover 5.04 4.88 3.98 3.84 3.54 3.00 2.87 2.24 2.11 2.07

1.95 1.76 1.67 1.62 1.40

% of total turnover

7.09 5.58 5.43 5.30 5.16 3.46 3.14 3.14 2.49 2.17 2.12 2.03 1.87 1.86 1.77

Daily closing 348.20 48.80 288.00 285.00 634.50 222.30 214.60 255.70 220.40 232.90

61.50 23.30 115.30 218.80 189.90

Daily closing

631.00 219.70 23.40 285.20 348.70 48.90 39.20 61.40 214.60 28.50 218.10 233.30 31.50 221.30 31.80

Price change -0.31 2.31 0.10 -1.11 -0.67 -0.40 0.14 -0.23 -0.45 -0.94

Daily opening 349.30 47.70 287.70 288.20 638.75 223.20 214.30 256.30 221.40 235.10

Price change

Daily opening

2.67 -6.05 1.23 -1.97 7.65

-1.25 -0.99 -6.02 -1.14 -0.31 2.95 9.80 3.37 0.09 -0.70 -1.85 -1.10 -0.63 -0.72 -1.55

59.90 24.80 113.90 223.20 176.40

639.00 221.90 24.90 288.50 349.80 47.50 35.70 59.40 214.40 28.70 222.20 235.90 31.70 222.90 32.30

Daily high 355.00 49.70 292.80 295.00 651.00 226.00 216.70 258.00 225.00 237.00

Daily low 320.00 43.00 263.30 274.00 631.25 205.00 200.00 254.50 202.30 214.60

Daily average 349.98 48.93 289.37 285.98 641.07 221.55 215.35 255.56 221.30 233.89

Daily high

Daily low

Daily average

65.00 24.90 115.80 227.00 191.50

650.00 224.30 24.80 290.00 353.80 49.60 39.20 62.40 216.50 29.00 223.90 236.80 32.60 224.50 32.40

54.00 22.40 112.90 216.20 159.00

625.00 219.00 23.00 283.90 345.50 48.00 36.70 59.60 214.00 28.20 216.20 232.50 31.40 219.20 31.70

61.26 23.55 114.62 219.21 185.14

639.32 220.61 23.72 285.68 349.14 48.96 38.53 61.33 215.03 28.60 218.44 234.33 31.89 221.27 31.96


DHAKA TRIBUNE

Business

Japan to name and shame firms refusing pay hikes n AFP, Tokyo Japan’s trade ministry said yesterday it would take the unprecedented step of disclosing the names of firms that did not raise employees’ wages in annual labour talks, after calls by the prime minister to boost pay. The surprising move comes days after economy minister Akira Amari raised the stakes in sensitive pay negotiations with an apparent threat to take action against “uncooperative” firms. The usually low-key talks were being closely watched to see if cash-rich firms would put more money in workers’ pockets, amid worries about a looming sales tax hike slamming the brakes on growth. The government “will react in some way” against firms which are “uncooperative with our policy of creating a virtuous economic cycle,” Amari told reporters on Tuesday. Tabloid newspaper Nikkan Gendai compared Amari’s comments to the aggressive tactics of Japan’s notorious yakuza gangsters. Yesterday, the trade minister said his office would publish the outcome of the labour talks known as Shunto, or “spring offensive”, detailing which members of corporate Japan heeded the wage-hike call from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “The ministry plans to conduct a survey on the leading 1,800 companies about this year’s Shunto talks and disclose the results at latest by May,” Toshimitsu Motegi, who heads the ministry of economy, trade and industry, told a parliamentary committee. Abe’s rare appeal came as he tries to kickstart the world’s third-largest economy, which has suffered from years of

The United States and China helped drive international patent filings to a record level last year, and cross-border applications surged to more than 200,000, the World Intellectual Property Organisation said yesterday. Innovation in engine technology was a leading factor behind patent activity. The flow of activity to register new patents is watched as an important indicator of how companies, countries, sectors and regions rank in terms of research and innovation, which are essential drivers of growth and strategic power. WIPO oversees the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which allows patentseekers to file a single application to protect their invention, rather than having to lodge one in individual nations. A total of 205,300 PCT filings were registered in 2013, up 5.1% from the 194,400 filed a year earlier. “Intellectual property in general is in a growth mode, and in a growth mode which is considerably in excess of either the national GDP growth rates or the world GDP growth rates,” WIPO chief Francis Gurry told reporters. US-based inventors filed 57,239

Foreign firms allowed for loans from abroad n Tribune Report Bangladesh Bank has allowed the foreign companies to get short term external borrowing from their organisations as per foreign exchange transactions guidelines. “Foreign industrial enterprises may now access interest-free loans from parent companies abroad for up to one year without any prior approval, subject to post factor reporting through their Authorized Dealers banks to Foreign Exchange Policy Department of Bangladesh within one week of availing each such loan,” said a Bangladesh

Bank circular issued yesterday. The circular reads, “Foreign companies in Bangladesh has faced difficulties while arise urgent necessity of short term borrowing for business needs as working capital from the local market has not yet been lined up. To help enterprises get around such difficulties Bangladesh Bank took the decision.” Repayment of these loans will require no prior approval, but will have to be reported to the Foreign Exchange Policy Department of Bangladesh Bank through Authorized Dealers banks, according to the circular. l

Panasonic to give China expats ‘pollution pay’ n AFP, Tokyo

Men walk in front of Mitsubishi Motors Corp's headquarters in Tokyo crippling deflation. His growth blitz, dubbed Abenomics, is aimed at reversing falling prices and recent data suggest Tokyo is making headway in stoking lasting inflation, which would mean higher prices. Consumers are also getting set for a sales tax rise to 8% next month, up from 5%. The move is seen as crucial to shrinking Japan’s massive national debt, but there are fears it could weigh on consumer spending and slow growth.

Wage rises - a rarity in a country beset by falling prices - are seen as key to making Abe’s plan to grow the economy work. Japan’s car sector was a key target, with all eyes on the world’s biggest automaker Toyota which - along with other exporters - posted big profits on the back of sharply weaker yen since Abe swept to power in late 2012. On Wednesday, Toyota said it would raise employees’ pay by an average of

WIPO: US, China push global patent filings to record level in 2013 n AFP, Geneva

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Friday, March 14, 2014

such applications, marking a 56% jump from 2012 and well above the country’s previous peak of 54,046 applications reached in 2007, before the global financial crisis. China, meanwhile, saw its PCT applications jump 29% to 21,516, passing Germany to become the third largest user of the system, behind Japan.

'The fields that are most important are really the ones that have to do with engine technology, fuel cells and hybrid engines' Japanese electronics giant Panasonic was meanwhile the largest individual filer last year, with 2,881 international patent applications to its name, ahead of Chinese telecommunications group ZTE, WIPO said. Electronic machinery made up the largest share of international patent filings last year, accounting for nearly eight percent of the total, followed by

computer technology and digital communications. The number of filings from car manufacturers meanwhile nearly doubled to 4,275 last year, possibly reflecting fast-growing investments in R&D in this industry, WIPO said. “The fields that are most important are really the ones that have to do with engine technology, fuel cells and hybrid engines,” said WIPO’s chief economist Carsten Fink, noting that the first auto patent was filed by German Karl Benz in 1879. The UN agency also runs the socalled Madrid system for international trademark applications, which grew by 6.4% in 2013 to a record 46,829 filings. Germany filed the most Madrid applications, followed by the United States and France, while Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis was the company with most such filings in 2013. WIPO also heads the Hague system for international industrial design applications, which swelled 14.8% last year to a record 2,990 filings. Switzerland last year overtook Germany to become the largest user of that system, with 662 application - 113 of them from the world’s largest watchmaker Swatch alone. l

REUTERS

2,700 yen ($26) a month, while they would also get an average bonus worth about 6.8 months of heir base wage - a common pay structure in Japan. Other firms including Nissan, Panasonic, Hitachi and Toshiba also announced pay hikes. The focus would now shift from blue-chip firms to see if small and midsized companies, which employ the bulk of Japanese workers, follow the lead on pay. l

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic said yesterday it would give employees sent to China a wage premium to account for the country’s hazardous air pollution, in a possible first for an international company. The move was part of a wider deal reached in Japan’s annual labour talks which saw major firms, including Panasonic and Toyota, agree to boost workers’ salaries for the first time in years, amid concerns about an economic slowdown after a sales tax rise next month. A Panasonic spokesman declined to give details about the premium, or say how many expatriate workers it employs in China, which has extensive trade and business links with Japan. So-called hardship pay is not unusual for employees of foreign firms

sent to work to China. But Panasonic is believed to be the first to announce a premium to compensate for polluted air. A company document from the labour talks said: “As for the premium for expatriates to compensate for a different living environment, the company will have a special review for those sent to Chinese cities.” On the weekend, a top Chinese environment official said that air quality was below national standards in almost all the country’s major cities last year, after Premier Li Keqiang pledged to “declare war” on pollution. Only three out of the 74 cities monitored by the government met a new air quality standard, said Wu Xiaoqing, a vice minister of environment protection, underscoring a problem that has set off alarm bells over health concerns. l

Dollar flat ahead of China data VW sees ‘good n AFP, Tokyo The dollar was flat in Asia yesterday as investors await the release of key Chinese economic indicators, while the euro held up against the greenback after surging in New York on upbeat eurozone data. In midday Tokyo trade, the greenback bought 102.73 yen, from 102.75 yen in New York on Wednesday. “Technically, 102.50 yen is an important point,” said Osao Iizuka, head of forex trading at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust and Banking. “If that support is breached by any negative news from China, the pair may fall below the 102 yen mark,” he told Dow Jones Newswires. The euro bought $1.3906, compared with $1.3905 in New York, where it at one point touched $1.3915 - a 17-month high. The single currency also fetched 142.81 yen from 142.85 yen in US trade. Dealers welcomed figures showing industrial output in the 18-nation eurozone fell 0.2% in January, following a sharper drop of 0.4% in December when it had 17 members. However, the underlying trend appears consistent with a very modest economic recovery in the bloc. Compared with January 2013, output increased 2.1%. Eyes are on the release in Beijing

later in the day of crucial Chinese data after weaker-than-expected trade numbers at the weekend fuelled fresh concerns about the strength of the world’s number-two economy. The figures sent global markets tumbling and the yen, which is considered a safe investment in times of uncertainty, higher. The yen was also supported yesterday by figures showing Japanese core machinery orders jumped 13.4% in January from the previous month, reversing a fall in December. Machinery orders are watched closely as an indicator of corporate capital investment. The upbeat numbers suggest firms may boost investment in future, despite a sales tax rise in April some fear will stunt a nascent economic recovery. Investors have been eyeing safer assets like the yen on the back of uncertainty over the Ukraine crisis. The East-West split re-opened by the widened Wednesday when President Barack Obama threw Washington’s weight firmly behind Kiev in its standoff with Moscow, following the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian leader. Breakaway leaders on Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, backed by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, plan to hold a referendum on Sunday to split from Kiev and come under Moscow’s wing. l

chance’ of reaching 10m sales this year n AFP, Frankfurt

Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest car maker, is set to sell more than 10 million vehicles this year, chief executive Martin Winterkorn said on Thursday. “There is a good chance that we will already exceed the ten million deliveries mark this year -- four years earlier than originally planned,” Winterkorn told the group’s annual earnings news conference. VW “made a healthy start to 2014,” Winterkorn said. In the first two months, about 1.5 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles were delivered worldwide, a year-on-year increase of 4.7%. This year and next year, VW - with a wide range of brands including Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Scania and MAN - would launch more than 100 new models, successors and product enhancements, he continued. In 2013, worldwide deliveries rose by 4.9% to 9.7 million vehicles. Revenues were up 2.2% at 197bn euros and operating profit reached a record 11.7bn euros. l

OECD suspends Russian membership process, favours Ukraine n AFP, Paris

Berger Paints and Clariant celebrated their long business association through a cake-cut ceremony at Berger House recently. Rupali Chowdhury, the company’s managing director was present at the event

NCC Bank Training Institute has organised an orientation training course for the newly recruited management trainee officers. Md Nurun Newaz Salim, the bank’s chairperson inaugurate the training as chief guest on Wednesday

As part of enhancing its service delivery, the Southeast Bank Limited signed an agreement with Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO) on Tuesday for online collection of electricity bills from DESCO subscribers through branches and over the internet banking of the bank through a real time online system. SM Mainuddin Chowdhury, deputy managing director of Southeast Bank Limited and Engr Md Shofiqul Islam, company secretary of DESCO signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations

Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited (SJIBL) held 190th meeting of its board of directors at the bank’s boardroom recently. The meeting was presided over by the chairperson on the board, AK Azad

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said on yesterday that it had postponed the process for Russian membership and said it would boost links with Ukraine. The OECD, a key policy forum for advanced democracies, said that at the request of its 34 members it had “postponed activities related to the accession process” for the Russian Federation “for the time being”. OECD members had also agreed that the OECD should respond positively to Ukraine’s request to further strengthen existing OECD-Ukraine co-operation, the grouping said in a short statement. The decision comes amid mounting international pressure on Russia over its incursion into Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, which has sparked a Cold War-style stand-off between Moscow and the West. The OECD referred to signals from

the new Western-backed government in Kiev, which is also in contact with the International Monetary Fund, that it wants to reform its crisis-stricken economy.

'OECD should respond positively to Ukraine’s request to further strengthen existing OECD-Ukraine cooperation' The OECD said that strengthening cooperation with Ukraine would enable the country “to take advantage of the OECD’s expertise to address the public policy challenges it faces.” The statement said the OECD had informed the Russian Federation of the decision to postpone the accession process. l


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DHAKA TRIBUNE

Back Page

Friday, March 14, 2014

Luxury real estate booms in Dubai n BSS With the economic boom in the Gulf Arab emirates showing no signs of exhaustion, property for the high endusers are launched on a weekly basis, while affordable housing false short in the sheikhdom. Earlier in the week, Emaar Properties, the biggest developer by market value in the Middle East, said it launched the second phase of its residential real estate project "Mulberry at Park Heights" in Mohammed Bin Rashid City (MBR). MBR is a city under construction within the city of Dubai, named after the ruler of Dubai. "The second phase features around 330 premium quality apartments, and will appeal to families seeking a luxurious lifestyle in one of the city's most sought-after developments," said Emaar which launched the project simultaneously in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong. Like most developers in Dubai, Emaar mostly focuses on creating living space for the "high society", rather than for mid-income or low-income residents. Once completed, MBR city shall host over 100 new hotels and several exclusive residential quarters with golf courses, family parks and shopping malls. Last Monday, Emaar's rival Dey-

aar Properties launched "The Atria", a luxury project featuring 350 serviced apartments and 219 residential units for 900m Dirham (245m US dollars), located in the business bay district near the world's tallest tower Burj Khalifa. According to Deyaar chief executive Saeed Al-Qatami, property prices in the business bay increased by 50% over the last two year. "We register ample demand from abroad as international investors rush to Dubai, where 2.8 million people live, to buy property for their own purposes or as an investment," said Al- Qatami who added that he expects demand to remain high, also because Dubai won the bid to host the World Expo in 2020. The Deyaar twin towers were launched in cooperation with Yoo interior design, a global design company co-founded by property entrepreneur John Hitchcox. "I think the real estate market in Dubai is much more stable than before the crisis. We see truly a demand for quality and less speculation," Hitchcox told Xinhua. Asked if Deyaar also planned to enter the market for affordable homes for ordinary people and families, Al-Qatami said "yes, definitely. We do have several housing projects for normal families in the pipeline which we will launch soon." l

An employee demonstrates the use of a "Smart Kitchen" at the 2014 CeBIT computer technology trade fair in Hanover, central Germany. The kitchen is able to determin cooking time and intensity for the stove, adjust water temperature and amount according the recipe chosen, as well as suggest recipes. Great Britain is partner country of the fair considered as the world's biggest high-tech fair running from March 10 to 14 AFP

China’s Jan-Feb economic activity cools to multi-year lows n Reuters, Beijing China’s economy slowed markedly in the first two months of the year, with growth in investment, retail sales and factory output all falling to multi-year lows, a surprisingly weak performance that raises the specter of a sharper cooldown. The weaker-than-expected data is bound to amplify global investors’ worries about slackening growth in the world’s second-largest economy, and will almost certainly feed speculation that Beijing may loosen policies soon to bolster growth. China’s industrial output rose 8.6% in the first two months of 2014 from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday, missing market expectations for a 9.5% rise. That marked the worst performance for China’s factory output growth since April 2009. “Policy easing should be imminent,” said Hao Zhou, an economist at ANZ Bank in Shanghai, adding that Thursday’s data implied that China’s economy may grow 7% in the first quarter. Sources told Reuters earlier this week that China’s central bank is prepared to take its strongest action since 2012 to loosen monetary policy if economic growth slows further, by cutting the amount of cash that banks must keep as reserves. A cut would be triggered if growth slips below 7.5% and towards 7%, and

would be expected only in the second quarter, according to the sources who are involved in internal policy discussions. Other sectors of the economy also appeared to have lost steam. Growth in retail sales was the slowest in three years, up 11.8% in January and February compared to the year-ago period. Analysts had expected a rise of 13.5 percent. Fixed-asset investment, an important driver of economic activity, fared even worse. It was up 17.9% in the first two months from the same period last year, a level unseen in 11 years and

A cut would be triggered if growth slips below 7.5% and towards 7%, and would be expected only in the second quarter some way below forecasts for a 19.4% increase. Asian stock markets and most regional currencies such as the Australian dollar and China’s offshore yuan pared early gains after the data was released.

Cooling, but how fast?

A man walks at the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai

REUTERS

India ups sugar exports to Iran, Asia n

Reuters, London

Indian mills are exporting more raw sugar to Iran and Asian markets, aided by a production incentives package and recovering world prices, seizing market share from top exporter Brazil. “There is a strong flow of physical trade from India, helped by the rally in world sugar prices, export incentives and rupee clearing,” said Jonathan Kingsman, head of agriculture at data provider Platts. Cash-strapped Indian mills, which have struggled to pay cane farmers due to weak global sugar prices, received a boost last month when authorities approved an incentives package amounting to 3,300 rupees per tonne to stimulate export sales from substantial stocks. A senior European trade source estimated Indian mills sold some 315,000 tonnes of raw sugar to Iran from December to March, and that a further 200,000 tonnes of Indian raw sugar had been sold to local traders in Iran. According to Indian industry estimates, mills could sell an additional 250,000 tonnes to Iran this season. Their exports have been primarily to Iran, with the further financial incentive of a so-called rupee clearing mechanism amounting to some $15-30 per tonne premium to Indian mills. The mechanism uses funds from rupee accounts set up with funds from sales of oil by sanctions-hit Iran to India.

for long periods. Trade data last week showed January-February exports fell 1.6% from the same period a year earlier, and tumbled 18.1% in February alone, alarming financial markets. Many analysts believe Beijing will not consider further easing until more months of data are available. But even accounting for holidayrelated shutdowns and distortions, the broader weaker trend so far in 2014 appears clear. China’s government, which wrapped up its annual parliament meeting yesterday, had said last week

Kingsman said Bangladesh and Malaysia were among other markets where India had made sales at the expense of Brazil. ICE raw sugar futures rose to a fourmonth peak earlier this month due to concerns that drought in Brazil could hit output, making exports more attractive for Indian mills.

Malaysia, Indonesia sales

Naim Beydoun of Swiss Sugar Brokers said he believed Indian raw sugar sales to Malaysia and Indonesia were possible in coming months if the product was competitive in quality terms. He also said offers of Indian raw sugar on the international market would erode physical business from top ex-

porter Brazil. “If you take the Indian subsidies, the availability of Thai sugar, and the sugar price going up, this is not conducive to Brazilian cash prices being firm,” Beydoun said. Brazilian prompt high quality raw sugar was offered at a discount of 25 to 30 points to May futures on ICE this week, signalling subdued cash demand. India, the world’s top sugar consumer and number two producer after Brazil, can swing from net exporter to importer. When India exports the sweetener it typically sells low quality whites to regional markets. India exported 1.2 million tonnes of sugar from October to February, including 500,000 tonnes of raws, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association. l

The statistics bureau released combined data for January and February in a bid to reduce distortions seen in single-month data caused by the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays, when factories, offices and shops often close

that it aims to grow the economy by 7.5% this year. But with growth appearing to drop faster and sharper than what many have expected, some economists believe that China may actually miss its growth target this year for the first time in years. Even government officials are hinting that the target is not cast in stone, in what may be an attempt to guide market expectations lower. Finance Minister Lou Jiwei and Premier Li Keqiang have both said that the target is flexible. l

Oil prices rebound in Asia n AFP, Singapore

Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade yesterday as investors took to bargain hunting after sharp falls induced by a bigger-than-expected rise in US crude stockpiles. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for April delivery, rose nine cents to $98.08 in afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for April was up 12 cents at $108.14. “Trade is relatively muted mainly due to bargain hunting activities,” Tan Chee Tat, investment analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP. Oil prices tumbled Wednesday after the US Department of Energy (DoE) said crude inventories rose for the eighth week in a row. But, while anticipated, the 6.2 million barrel increase to 370 million in

DILBERT

the week ending March 7, was more than triple the two million expected by analysts. A jump in inventories is a sign of softer demand in the world’s biggest oil consuming nation and is a dampener on prices. The DoE’s announcement of a “test sale” of up to five million barrels of crude oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve also hit prices. The test sale, which is required by law, is carried out periodically to evaluate how the reserve system works. Tan said the sale will “definitely weigh on crude oil prices” but noted that it was only a “one-time release” and would not affect the market for the long term. The last time the US released reserves was in 2011, in a coordinated effort with the International Energy Agency in response to disrupted global supplies during the Libyan crisis. l

Gold up at sixmonth high as Ukraine, China prompt safehaven bids n Reuters, Singapore Gold extended gains to a third session yesterday, scaling fresh six-month highs as investors sought to hedge their bets against geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and economic slowdown fears in China. Gold is seen as a safe-haven asset during times of economic and political uncertainty, when the metal is preferred by investors over riskier assets such as equities. It has gained 14% so far this year on the global uncertainties. A recent bond default in China and a weak exports report sent equities and base metals lower. More data on yesterday showed China’s economy slowed markedly in the first two months of the year, with growth in investment, retail sales and factory output all falling to multi-year lows. Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,371.76 an ounce by 0737 GMT, after jumping 1.3% on Wednesday. The metal earlier on Thursday hit $1,374.85, its highest since September 10. Technical buying has also been supportive of price momentum in the last two sessions, especially after prices cleared a recent high near $1,355 an ounce. “Given bullion’s technical break, it may be at risk of profit-taking in the near term, barring an escalation of Eastern European tensions,” HSBC analysts said in a note. “Geopolitical events can have a pronounced, but sometimes short-lived impact on gold.” Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao said spot gold faces resistance at $1,375-$1,377, a break above which will open the way towards $1,433.31, the August 28 high. The biggest factor driving gold prices at the moment is the stand-off between the West and Russia over Ukraine. The EU agreed on a framework on Wednesday for its first sanctions on Russia since the Cold War, a stronger response to the Ukraine crisis than many expected and a mark of solidarity with Washington in the drive to make Moscow pay for seizing Crimea. New money has been flowing into gold-backed exchange traded funds in recent weeks, in a sign of investor confidence, after record outflows last year. l

14 March 2014  
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