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Falgun 30, 1420 Jamadiul Awal 13, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 1 No 351

SATURDAY, MARCH 15, 2014 |



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‘2 snatched JMB leaders in West Bengal now’ DB officials scrutinise information extracted from arrested militants Jamil Khan and n Mohammad Ashif Islam Shaon The two leaders of the banned Islamist outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) who escaped from a prison van while being transferred have slipped out of the country immediately through the border in northern region. Intelligence officials of the Detective Branch of police have said they have reached the suspicion after analysing information gleaned from the arrested militants involved with the daring escape of three JMB leaders.

DB ADC: We suspect that JMB leaders Salehin and Mizan illegally crossed the border as per their plan along with their guide Faruk The DB officials also say they have information that the JMB has a strong hold in the West Bengal, India, where the two militants – Salauddin alias Salehin alias Sajeeb and Zahidul Islam alias “Boma” Mizan – remain holed up. Sanowar Hossain, additional deputy commissioner of the DB, yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune: “We suspect that JMB leaders Salehin and Mizan illegally crossed the border as per their plan along with their guide Faruk. “We have scrutinised some information and clues extracted from the interrogation of JMB activists arrested soon after the incident, and also the laptops, computers and diaries seized from those JMB cadres.” Shafiqul Islam, deputy inspector general (crime) of police, said the militants had used the Mymensingh-Gazipur-Tangail road to reach the North


5 Two weeks of the 60-day ban on fish netting in five rivers have passed, but it seems that the embargo has no effect on fishermen as they continue fish netting. Authorities imposed the ban on fishing in 340 kilometres areas in six districts from March 1 to April 30 to facilitate safe spawning.


6 As stale coarse rice is sold in the Open Market Sale (OMS) outlets people in the district are not at all interested to buy one of their staple foods. The government also provides the same variety of rice to the Rajbari district jail, Ansar adjutant office, police line and fire brigade offices.


11 Today, Bangladesh tops the list of economies most at risk from the impacts of climate change. These are the findings of the “2014 Climate Change Vulnerability Index” which evaluates 193 countries under increased threat from the physical impacts of more frequent and extreme climate related events such as severe storms, flooding, or droughts.

Bengal region. In reply to a query, he said the investigation into the incident of snatching of three JMB leaders was on but the information they put out could be considered as the conclusion on the escape of the militants. On February 23, a gang of JMB activists snatched top three JMB leaders Salehin, Mizan and Rakib from Trishal of Mymensingh from a prison van during transport from Kashimpur Jail in Gazipur. The JMB men also killed a police constable. One of the runaway JMB men, Rakib, was recaptured by police and was killed in a “gunfight” with police the next day. The intelligence officials are now investigating the funding of the outfit. The officials said the JMB had not only link with West Bengal but also with several countries of the Middle East and Europe. The West Bengal chapter of the JMB developed its base in Murshidabad, Maldah and Nadia districts during the stint of the 18-party alliance government. JMB leader Sohel Mahfuz is leading the outfit in those districts. Intelligence officials came to learn about it in 2010 after the arrest of JMB leader Saidur Rahman. JMB founder Abdur Rahman in a statement in 2006 mentioned the West Bengal chapter, saying West Bengal was the 65th branch of the militant outfit. Sources say that JMB leaders are involved in fake Indian currency business in West Bengal. The intelligence officials identified two persons who had funded the militants’ escape from the prison van in Trishal. They are Mohammad Rahath and Azmir Sharif. Officials at the Criminal Investigation Department have already tracked  PAGE 2 COLUMN 1

Election Commission officials use a boat to transport electoral materials to polling centres in Rajshahi’s Godagari upazila through the Padma River yesterday

Eighty-one upazilas go to polls as third phase begins today n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla Eighty-one upazilas across the country go to polls today with the ruling Awami League determined to fare better while the BNP trying hard to keep up the winning trend. In the first phase of the polls there were stray incidents of violence while in the second phase the violence increased compared to the first one. But this time election to one upazila has already been postponed due to violence creating a sense of foreboding among voters. Both the Awami League and BNP have left no stone unturned in their efforts to field single chairman candidate in each upazila but this time too they have failed miserably. Meanwhile, the BNP yesterday threatened to lay a siege to the Election Commission office if third phase of polling was rigged.

Apprehending violence in today’s upazila parishad elections, the EC has already asked local administrations to take immediate action if anything goes wrong during the polls. The EC also authorised them to deploy necessary number of law enforcers in the polling centres prone to violence.

P2 19 HURT IN PRE-POLL VIOLENCE On Thursday just two days before the election, Election Commissioner Abdul Mobarak, who is now in charge of the chief election commissioner, commented that it could not be said nothing would happen during the polls. “Everything depends on the Almighty Allah.” However, on Wednesday, another Election Commissioner Mohammad Abu Hafiz said violence in the polls was a commonplace in the country. “If vio-

Aus paddy promotion move fails to gather a crowd in last 3 years n Kamran Reza Chowdhury The government’s promotion of environment-friendly Aus paddy reducing Boro, which constitutes 55% of the country’s total rice production and is largely blamed for sharp decline in ground water level, has achieved lukewarm response from the farmers over the last three years. Since 2010 the government has spent over Tk142 crore as stimulus packages for the last three years to increase Aus which constitutes over 7% of the total rice production in Bangladesh. In 1960 Aus accounted for around 25% while Boro was only 5% of the total rice contribution. Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury told parliament that the government would spend Tk30 crore 68 lakh more for Aus promotion this fiscal year, mainly to save the sharp fall in ground water level for which Boro is held responsible. But the agricultural extension wing’s effort to motivate farmers to cultivate Aus has not worked properly. The growers prefer costly Boro for high production to that of Aus that grows with very little cost and care. Officials say, the successive government’s policy of promoting Boro to meet the demand for rice for growing number of people has motivated the farmers to go for high yielding Boro and abandon Aus, which has a short life span. Agriculture extension wing figures show, in 2010-11 fiscal farmers produced 21.33 lakh metric tonnes of Aus on 11.12 lakh hectares of land. Next

FACT FILE: FATEFUL BORO & AUS ADVANTAGE • Successive government’s motivation for Boro resulted in abandonment of Aus • Subsidy of Tk142 crore for Aus in last three fiscal years fetches few results Boro


Boro requires at least 15 irrigations

Aus needs 1 or 2 irrigations

Boro’s output is around 4 lakh tonnes on 1 hectare of land

Over 2 lakh tonnes of Aus grows on 1 hectare of land

At least 3,000 litres of water is required to produce one kilogram of Boro rice which comes from the ground water

Environment-friendly Aus cultivation can save sharply falling ground water

Boro cultivation starts in dry months of November and continues up to March 15

Aus is sown/transplanted just before the wet season and grows when there is adequate rainfall


year (2011-12), 23.33 lakh metric tonnes of Aus was produced on 11.38 lakh hectares of land. In 2012-13, the total area and production of Aus came down. Farmers grew 21.58 metric tonnes of Aus on 10.53 lakh hectares of land. The Boro production in 2012-13 and 2011-12 fiscal years were almost the same: 188 lakh metric tonnes. Golam Ambia, an additional director of the field service wing of the agriculture extension wing, told the Dhaka Tribune that his department had been trying to motivate the farmers to cultivate the Aus. He said the government would provide seed and fertiliser to the famers cultivating Aus free of cost.

Anil Chandra Sarker, a former director of the agriculture extension department, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The farmers are motivated for Boro as we have promoted it for decades. It is not easy in a year or two to motivate the farmers to cultivate apparently a low-yielding variety”. “It needs massive campaign.” The DAE figures show that just over two lakh metric tonnes of Aus grows on one hectare of land while Boro’s output is around four lakh metric tonnes on the same piece of land. “At least 3,000 litres of water is required to produce one kilogram of Boro rice. This water comes from the ground water,” Rafiq Hasan, a deputy director  PAGE 2 COLUMN 5

lence does not take place during polls it will seem unusual. Our neighbouring country, India, also witnesses violence during polls.” BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday said if election was held in free and fair manner then the BNP-backed candidates would do better “but the way the ministers are speaking it seems that they want to snatch away the polls result”. Quoting different newspaper reports BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi yesterday at a press conference alleged that law and order was not in place. However, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, organising secretary of Awami League, said: “We could not get expected results in the last two phases. Our leaders and activists have realised now and hope we will do better than the previous phases.”  PAGE 2 COLUMN 3


Bangladesh joins Malaysian plane search n Emran Hossain Shaikh Bangladesh is set to start search operation in the Bay of Bengal from today to look for the missing Malaysian plane, joining an ongoing international effort by several countries. Mahbubul Hoque Shakil, special assistant to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, told the Dhaka Tribune that the prime minister had issued directives to begin the search operation. “Two frigates and two patrol aircraft will conduct search operation in the Bay of Bengal,” he said. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared last Saturday (March 8) with 239 people on board. Bangladesh will join the search at a time when the search area had been expanded following reports that the plane had been “deliberately flown across” the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands. The disappearance of the airliner remains a “mystery” as there is still no trace of its wreckage. l

‘Malaysia plane deliberately diverted towards Andaman’ n Agencies Military radar-tracking evidence suggests the Malaysia Airlines jetliner, which has been missing for nearly a week, was deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands, sources familiar with the investigation have said. Two sources told Reuters yesterday that an unidentified aircraft, which investigators believe was Flight MH370, was following a route between navigational waypoints - indicating it was being flown by someone with aviation training - when it was last plotted on military radar off the country’s northwest coast. The last plot on the military radar’s tracking suggested the plane was flying toward India’s Andaman Islands, a chain of isles between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, they said. Waypoints are geographic locations, worked out by calculating longitude and latitude, that help pilots navigate along established air corridors. A third source familiar with the investigation said inquiries were focusing increasingly on the theory that someone who knew how to fly a plane deliberately diverted the flight, with 239 people on board, hundreds of miles off its intended course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. “What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards,” said that source, a senior Malaysian police official. All three sources declined to be iden-

tified because they were not authorised to speak to the media and because of the sensitivity of the investigation. Officials at Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport, the official point of contact for information on the investigation, did not return calls seeking comment. The comments by the three sources are the first clear indication that foul play is the main focus of official suspicions in the Boeing 777’s disappearance. As a result of the new evidence, the sources said, multinational search efforts were being stepped up in the Andaman Sea and also the Indian Ocean.

Last sighting

In one of the most baffling mysteries in modern aviation, no trace of the plane nor any sign of wreckage has been found despite a search by the navies and military aircraft of more than a dozen countries. The last sighting of the aircraft on civilian radar screens came shortly before 1:30am Malaysian time last Saturday, less than an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur, as the plane flew northeast across the mouth of the Gulf of Thailand. That put the plane on Malaysia’s east coast. On Wednesday, Malaysia’s air force chief said an aircraft that could have been the missing plane was plotted on military radar at 2:15am, 320 km northwest of Penang Island off Malaysia’s west coast. The fact that the aircraft - if it was  PAGE 2 COLUMN 3




Saturday, March 15, 2014

Govt to connect district-upazila offices by next June n Muhammad Zahidul Islam The government is set launch a project to connect all district and upazilas office of the country under a single intranet network by June next year. The network will be connecting some 1,800 officials working at these regional offices. Source said the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company (BTCL)-owned fiber optic link and microwave network will provide the backbone for the intranet. To support the project, funds will be made available from an existing Infosarkar project of Bangladesh Computer Council. High officials from the ICT division said, all upazila offices were already connected to a fibre or microwave connection and the two tiers of administration will now be interconnected under a single intranet network by June next year. Sources informed 30 offices of each upazila and 55 offices of each district would receive relevant equipment, including video conferencing unit and routers for joining the nationwide network. “The nationwide telecommunication infrastructure at present has given us the advantage to complete the process of interconnecting the two important tiers of the country’s administration under a single internet network possibly by June next year,” Md Saiful

Islam, project director of Infosarkar-2, told the Dhaka Tribune after a meeting with Sajeeb Wazed Joy, son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “If the officials and experts concerned work sincerely and the required funds were made available, there should be no reason for any delay in completing the networking project on schedule,” he added. Execution and completion of public sector projects within its deadline have been rare, mainly because of procedural delays and bureaucratic hurdles. Joy, who is also the prime minister’s IT advisor, expressed his dissatisfaction over BTCL connectivity network. The PM’s advisor reacted heavily when Infosarkar officials informed him that BTCL’s connection quality and its shallowness could be one the reasons for which the project may face delay. “BTCL’s efficiency is not up to the mark. As we have two other NTTN operators in the country, if needed we will use their services,” Joy said while talking to journalists. State Minister for ICT division Zunaid Ahmed Palak said: “We have already launched the e-filling and after launching the Infosarkar project fully, public administration can operate faster and people will get more support from the government.” l

Ansar personnel collect rifles and ammunition yesterday at Godagari model police station as part of their security preparation ahead of the upcoming upazila poll in Rajshahi's Godagari upazila DHAKA TRIBUNE

19 injured in pre-poll violence n Tribune Report

At least 19 people, including a former local MP from the Awami League and five policemen, were injured in separate clashes in the run up to today’s upazila polls in Tangail and Pirojpur in the last two days. In Tangail, nine people, including five policemen and a journalist, were injured as two factions of the Awami League locked in a clash in the bus stand area in Nagarpur upazila yesterday over establishing dominance centring the upazila elections. Our correspondent there reports: Of the injured, SI Raisul Islam of Nagarpur police station, ASI Golap Hossain and constables Helal, Khademul and Mizanur Rahman, and Bangla daily Jugantor’s correspondent Bakul Miah were admitted to the local health complex. Nagarpur police station OC Abu Obaida said a brawl had ensued between Awami League leader William and Nagarpur upazila Jubo League unit convener Kudrat Ali at the party office around 7pm, which turned into a fierce clash between their followers.

The police had to fire several rounds of blank shots to bring the situation under control. The nine men were injured in the sporadic clashes. Necessary police forces were deployed in the area to prevent further untoward incident, the OC added. Our Pirojpur correspondent adds: At least 10 people, including a former Awami League MP, were injured as supporters of a rebel chairman candidate of the party allegedly attacked the supporters of the party-backed candidate in Swarupkati upazila on Thursday. Four of the injured were former lawmaker Shah Alam, upazila poll candidate Abdul Haque and his supporters Parimal Boidyo and Bhoj Ranjan – the latter two were admitted to Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital in critical condition. Abdul Haque said supporters of Shamim Hasan, the rebel chairman candidate, led by former Daihari union parishad chairman Dulal Sheikh, swooped on his meeting at Ganakpara party office in the union, leaving eight injured. During the attack, the unruly activists also set four motorcycles afire.

Later, again supporters of Shamim, led by Ashis Boral, attacked Parimal around 9pm and Bhoj who sustained severe injuries in the eyes, said former Swarupkati chairman Moidul Islam. When contacted, Ashis, however, denied the allegation brought against him and termed both Parimal and Bhoj alleged extortionist. Swarupkati police station Officer-in-Charge Khandakar Mostafizur Rahman said the situation was under control. In another incident in sadar upazila, a local leader of BNP got injured as unidentified miscreants hacked him indiscriminately at Tona bazaar around 11pm while he was returning home from campaign. The injured was identified as Motaled Akon, acting president of Pirojpur sadar upazila unit BNP, who was admitted to the sadar hospital and then shifted to Dhaka as his condition deteriorated. Sources at the upazila said polls related violence has increased in last couple of days. Pirojpur sadar police station OC Abdur Razzaque said they were trying to arrest the miscreants involved in the incidents. l

BNP-backed panel sweeps SCBA poll n Tribune Report The BNP-backed Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Oikya Parishad has swept the Supreme Court Bar Association elections against the Sammilita Ainjibi Samannay Parishad supported by the ruling Awami League. The lawyers’ panel, backed by the BNP and Jamaat, has secured an overwhelming victory by bagging 13 out of 14 posts, including president and secretary, for the 2014-15 session. The results of the poll was declared yesterday morning after 3,143 out of 4,054 lawyers of the country’s apex court exercised their franchise in the poll on Wednesday and Thursday. Adviser of BNP chairperson Khandker Mahbub Hossain beat Awami League lawmaker Abdul Matin Khasru for president post while incumbent Secretary AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon, also BNP joint secretary, defeated AL-backed Rabiul Alam Budu for secretary post. AL-backed panel captured only a member post while the opponent panel

won president, two vice-presidents, secretary, treasure, two assistant secretaries and six member posts in the election to the bar association’s executive committee.

Last year, progovernment lawyers also lost all the posts except a member like this year because of internal fued Pro-BNP lawyer Badruddoza Badal, former secretary of bar, told the Dhaka Tribune that internal conflict of pro-AL lawyers and the attack on the lawyers on December 29 last year were two key factors for overwhelming victory of the BNP-backed panel. Last year, pro-government lawyers also lost all the posts except a member like this year because of internal fued. l

Liberation War minister: Jamaat to be banned by June n DU Correspondent The government would take initiatives to ban Jamaat-e-Islami by June this year for the latter’s involvement in crimes against humanity and massacre during the country’s independence war, said Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq yesterday. “There is no plan to ban religion-based political parties, but we have certainly a plan to impose ban on Jamaat’s politics on the grounds that it committed crimes against humanity,” he said. “No matter what the final verdict comes, the Jamaat-e-Islami will be banned because of its war crimes. We hope to declare that by this June,” Mozammel said in reply to a series of queries from journalists at a programme in the Dhaka University’s central playground. The Liberation War Museum hosted the programme. l

10 hurt in city road crash

Eighty-one upazilas go to polls

Aus paddy promotion move fails

n Tribune Report


When asked about the EC’s allegation that ministers and lawmakers were wielding their influences in some upazilas, he concedes saying that local lawmakers have some influences over local administration. “But the question is if there is any unexpected and undue interference in the polls then it is the duty of the election commission to look into the matter.” 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. The voting will start at 8am and end at 4pm without any break. A total of 1,119 candidates are con-


At least 10 people were injured in a road accident at Ramna in the capital Dhaka on Friday. Ramna police station Sub-Inspector Azam Ali said the accident took place in the afternoon when a private car suddenly took a U-turn and came in front of a bus of ‘Shikar Paribahan’. The bus driver lost

control over the steering and rammed the private car. Both the vehicles were badly damaged in the accident, he added. Of the injured, bus passenger Nazma Akter and car driver Joynal Abedin Faruk were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital while the others given first aid. Police arrested the bus driver whose identity could not be known immediately. l

Bomb goes off in Daganbhuiyan AL leader’s house n Tribune Report At least two youths were seriously injured in a bomb blast at a local Awami League leader’s house in Daganbhuiyan upazila under Feni district yesterday. The injured were Saiful Islam, 28, and an unidentified youth aged around 26. Both were rushed to Feni Sadar Hospital after their injury. The two were allegedly making bombs in the house at Satyapur village under Sindurpur union around 3:30pm when one of the bombs went off with a bang. The house is owned by local Awami

League leader Shahid Hossain Rana. Locals got panicked following the blast. A doctor of the hospital Asim Kumar Saha said the injured received splinter injuries. They were referred to Chittagong Medical College Hospital for better treatment. Officer-in-Charge of Daganbhuiyan police station Nizam Uddin confirmed the incident.He said they were trying to arrest the homeowner. The bombs were being made for carrying out subversive activities in the upcoming upazila polls, added the police official. l

2 snatched JMB leaders in West  PAGE 1 COLUMN 2

down their mobile phones and found several phone calls made to West Bengal and other parts of India. Ashraful Islam, superintendent of police of a CID special team, said they were investigating the cases with the help of the Rapid Action Battalion and police. He said they had also got some important clues about the JMB’s activities but denied to divulge any of it in the interest of investigation.

Meanwhile, police arrested two more JMB leaders – Alamin, 25, and Tito, 28 – from Trishal’s Saudkandi area on Thursday for their alleged involvement in snatching the three JMB leaders. Majedur Rahman, officer-in-charge of the DB in Mymensingh, said detectives from Mymensingh and Dhaka had conducted drives in different places of Bhaluka to arrest the two JMB leaders. They were now in custody of the DB police in Dhaka, he said. l

testing 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.l

of the agriculture extension wing, told the Dhaka Tribune. Dr Md Eftakharul Alam, an agriculture, water and environment engineer serving the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC), said Boro needed at least 15 irrigations while Aus one or two. He said: “If we deposit the whole water used for Boro cultivation on one bigha of land it will be at least 48 inches high on the same piece of land.” Alam said extraction of excessive ground water would result in the intrusion of saline water from Bay of Bengal to the ground spelling disaster in the agriculture sector. Why Aus sustainable? Aus is sown or transplanted after March 15, just before the advent of the

wet season and grows when there is adequate rainfall. The farmers can harvest in 90 days without any major care. “Aus grows easily with one or two irrigations in case of paucity of rainfall. But Boro cultivation starts in dry months of November and continue up to March 15,” Mostafijur Rahman, a farmer from Naogaon’s Manda area, told the Dhaka Tribune. He said one farmer must pay up to Tk2, 500 for irrigation for Boro on one bigha of land. Anil Chandra said the farmers the production of Aus was lower as the farmers did not take much care of it. “If proper attention is paid, Aus productivity can be increased by at least 50%,” he said. “But it needs more motivation.” l

‘Malaysia plane deliberately diverted towards Andaman’  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

MH370 - had lost contact with air traffic control and was invisible to civilian radar suggested someone aboard had turned its communication systems off, the first two sources said. They also gave new details on the direction in which the unidentified aircraft was heading - following aviation corridors identified on maps used by pilots as N571 and P628. These routes are taken by commercial planes flying from Southeast Asia to the Middle East or Europe and can be found in public documents issued by regional aviation authorities. The sources said Malaysia was requesting raw radar data from neighbours Thailand, Indonesia and India, which has a naval base in the Andaman Islands.

Search near Andaman

India’s navy yesterday said it has nearly doubled the number of ships and planes deployed to search the Anda-

man Sea for the missing Malaysian jet. It said six ships and five aircraft were now scouring for any sign of the vanished plane in the Andaman Sea, which surrounds India’s remote Andaman and Nicobar group of islands that lie far to the country’s southeast. “We want to cover the area and it should be strictly done,” Indian naval spokesman DK Sharma told the AFP. India had earlier deployed three ships and three aircraft in the search for Malaysia  Airlines Flight 370 which disappeared a week ago. The Indian ships and aircraft were looking in an area “designated” by the Malaysian navy in the southern region of the Andaman Sea, Sharma said.

Missing four hours

The expansion of the search area came as multiple US media reports, citing American officials, said the plane’s communication system continued to “ping” a satellite for up to four hours

after it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. But Neil Hansford, chairman of leading Australian airline consultancy Strategic Aviation Solutions, balked at the idea of the plane flying on for undetected more than four hours through various national airspaces. “An aircraft, without any transponders on, going over the top of anybody’s airspace would have become a military incident and somebody would have done something,” Hansford said. Southeast Asia, and particularly the South China Sea, is a hotbed of bitter territorial disputes that are the subject of round-the clock surveillance by the competing parties. Flying from the point where radar contact was lost to the Indian Ocean would have taken the plane through airspace monitored by Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian and Indian military radar. However, there is one possibility

that the radar systems did pick something up, but it was unclear, and there was a reluctance to flag up data that would also reveal details about military radar capabilities.

Competing scenarios

The confounding mystery has fuelled a host of contending scenarios, including a mid-air explosion, terrorist act, catastrophic technical failure, pilot suicide or rogue missile strike. The idea that it flew for hours, and thousands of miles, over the Indian Ocean would appear to lend credence to the notion of some sort of cockpit takeover. The theory has gathered further weight from other unconfirmed reports that the plane’s two main automated communication systems shut down 14 minutes apart – suggesting this was done manually rather than caused by an explosion or other sudden catastrophic event. l



Saturday, March 15, 2014


Rooppur Nuclear Plant to be made a company n Aminur Rahman Rasel Initiatives have been made to register the proposed Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) as a company, in a bid to ensure the proper establishment and operation of the plant, a senior project official has said. “For constructing a company under Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), the existing legal infrastructure of the commission is being prepared as Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission Bill 2014,” RNPP Project Director Mohammad Shawkat Akbar told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. “Rooppur Nuclear Power Company Limited” will be registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Farms, he said. “A systematic approach in this regards is necessary. Considering these aspects, the BAEC has started its activities,” Akbar said. A website – – will also be launched by April to provide information and daily updates about the planned 2,000MW Rooppur project, as well as presenting different information between 1962 and the present day. “In accordance with the companies act for establishing a state-owned company under Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, the drafts of memorandum of association and articles of association have been prepared,” the project director said. He added that the company will function independently, ensuring transparency and competency in human resources. An independent organisation needs to be established for operation of the RNPP, he said, adding that the entire process of implementing the project would determine the organisational structure, workforce planning, staffing

and training requirement for the RNPP. “A high-level administrative provision is established through Bangladesh Nuclear Power Action Plan [BANPAP] to ensure efficient implementation of a government decision on the national nuclear power programme,” Akbar said.

Process of implementing the project would determine the organisational structure, workforce planning “Once the power plant is installed, there will be job creation, development of science and education, energy security, tax payment growth, country’s reputation growth at regional level, social infrastructure development, industry and construction sector development,” he added. In June 2012, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Act 2012 was enacted in the parliament, and accordingly, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA) started functioning as an independent authority in February 2013. Once fully operational, the Rooppur plant will be the country’s largest power plant with a capacity of 2,000MW at Rooppur in Pabna. The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, under the science and technology ministry, will implement the project. Bangladesh plans to produce 1,000MW of electricity by 2021 and another 1,000MW by 2022 from the RNPP. The tenure of the plant would be 60 years, with options to extend it by another 20 years. l

A bus topples over a private car going the wrong way near Ramna Park area in the capital yesterday. Story on Page 2

‘Capital punishment for food adulterers needed’ n Abu Bakar Siddique

Civil society members yesterday stressed the need for amendment to the existing food act with a provision of capital punishment or life-term imprisonment for food adulteration which may kill people. They also suggested that the government facilitate better coordination among its agencies, including law enforcement agencies, to check food adulteration and ensure safe food for all. “The provision of exemplary punishment should be inserted into the

food act to discourage those who are responsible for food adulteration which is causing fatal diseases and death of human beings,” said Abu Naser Khan, chairman of Paribesh Bachao Andolan, at a roundtable discussion held at the National Press Club auditorium. “The degree of punishment in the existing act of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) regarding food adulteration is maximum three years’ imprisonment or Tk2 lakh fine or both, which is not enough to check food adulteration,” he told the discussion organised by Paba. Terming the current food adultera-

tion culture in Bangladesh “silent mass killing,” he also said food adulteration was going on unabated from production level to retailers’ level. Echoing him, Dr Md Mojaherul Haq, chairman of Public Health Foundation of Bangladesh, said a section of unscrupulous businesspeople were mixing different types of chemicals with food in the name of preservation. “So, it is not possible for all to get fresh food.” The government should implement all international agreements and protocols on safe food, he said, adding that the standards of safe food regarding import and export should also be main-

tained to check food adulteration. Apart from mixing chemicals, use of excessive chemical fertilisers and pesticides was causing harm to food in the country, he said. Dr Lenin Chowdhury, chairman of Health and Hope, said the government should take initiative to ensure proper use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides at farmers’ level to check the negative impacts of those chemicals on food. He also suggested that the government properly train farmers on the use of such types of chemicals by field level officers of agriculture department. l

48-hour ultimatum to withdraw power price hike

Artists demonstrate against fence around Sangsad Bhaban n Abu Hayat Mahmud Cultural personalities staged a demonstration in front the South Plaza of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban yesterday, protesting the authorities’ plan to erect an eight-foot high iron fence around the plaza and the lawns in the east and west, removing the original lower fence. The Public Works Department is implementing the project in which 8.5foot high iron fences would be set up on three sides of the complex – South Plaza and the lawns in the east and west – replacing an existing four-foot high barrier. The demonstrators compared the fencing to a cage around the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban and claimed that it would highly deter the original design by world famous architect Louis I Kahn who designed the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban on 200 acres of land. The complex at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar was inaugurated in 1982. Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban was one of the world’s best works of all times in terms of greatness in the use of space and light and so it should be open to public, said the artists who gathered there upon communicating through social media. The government’s move to install the fence at a cost of Tk9.5 crore would restrict general people’s entrance to the vastness of the space, they said. Although security had been shown as an excuse for building the fence, it could not guarantee protection against potential threats or any sabotage attempt, said the demonstrators. They also said the idea was poor as fence could not be substitute to welltrained security officials or other hightech security systems. Currently the work for building fence is on halt as the Sangsad Bhaban authorities are waiting to get hold off the copy of the original plan of the building from Luis I Kahn’s son that would cost Tk85 lakh, said Sangsad Bhaban officials. Two weeks earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hold a meeting with officials of the Public Works Department, the Department of Architecture and security wing of the parliament to enquire over the proceeding of the construction of the fence. l


n Manik Miazee

Artists demonstrate in front of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban yesterday, protesting the authorities’ plan to encircle the building compound with fences NASHIRUL ISLAM

Environment activists concerned over sorry state of rivers n Abu Bakar Siddique Environment activists yesterday expressed deep concern over the present situation of the country’s rivers as most of them are dying from inadequacy of water, pollution and annexation. Addressing a press briefing at the Dhaka Reporters Unity auditorium, they urged the government to take immediate action to save the country’s rivers. A monitoring report on the country’s rivers was unveiled at the briefing. Leaders of the Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) said out of a total of 57 rivers monitored last year, most were experiencing insufficient water flow, pollution and illegal occupation. “The government’s indifference towards our rivers is responsible for the sorry state they are now in as illegal occupiers and polluters feel encouraged to carry on with their unlawful acts due to lack of proper monitoring. Rivers are being damaged this way,” said Dr Abdul Matin, general secretary of Bapa. Among the most polluted rivers, Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakkhya and

Balu, all adjacent to the capital, were in the worst state, the report noted. Speaking of pollution of the Buriganga, the Bapa general secretary said the tanneries in Hazaribagh, which mostly polluted the river, were yet to be relocated to the proposed leather park in Saver. Following a recent visit to the Turag, the Bapa team noticed most of the pillars, set up on both the sides in 2011 in accordance with a High Court directive, were removed from the ground while some were taken away, he said. Addressing the briefing, Sharif Jamil, convener of River Keepers Bangladesh, said the district administration did not follow proper rules to demarcate Turag. “They only considered water flow during the period excluding the monsoon while setting up demarcation pillars there. This encouraged illegal occupiers to grab the river area.” As per the High Court directive, river area means the extent of the land to which water reaches during the monsoon while river bed means the extent of the land to which water lies during the winter. An extra 50 metre

will be added to the area where the water reaches during the rainy season to count the total area of the river. The report said that Teesta had been experiencing acute shortage of water flow, thus taking a heavy toll on the region’s agriculture, ecology and water transport system. Sharif Jamil blamed India for desertification of areas adjacent to Teesta. He said the river’s water flow had been being diverted by several dams and barrages to different locations for irrigation purposes. The River Keepers Bangladesh convener said similar problem existed in Surma basins as the river did not receive much water from its Indian source Borak. This is why the river now mostly depends on its adjacent smaller rivers and canals for water throughout the year, except the rainy season. Pollution, annexation and inadequate water flow are affecting many other rivers, including Kopotaksha and Karnaphuli, which ultimately is destroying ecology and biodiversity, opined Shahjahan Mridha, a top leader of Bapa. l

Deferent left political parties yesterday at separate protest programmes in the capital demanded withdrawal of increased power price within 48 hours, and warned of tougher programmes if their demands were not met. Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday increased the average retail power prices by 6.96% with a retrospective effect from March 1, breaching the government’s public commitment to decrease power tariff this year. Communist Party of Bangladesh and Socialist Party of Bangladesh, Democratic Left Alliance, Dhaka city unit of Gana Sanghati Andolan and Jatiya Mukti Council held separate protest rallies in front the National Press Club to press home their demand. CPB President Mujahidul Islam Selim announced 48-hour ultimatum to withdraw the increased power price, and they would hold demonstrations in front of the energy ministry on Sunday. Views Exchange on Rampal Power Plant Held Energy experts and academics yesterday at a view exchange programme in the capital said the government had increased the power price to satisfy the International Monetary Fund and the

international oil companies. National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports organised the programme, chaired by Jahangirnagar University teacher and Member Secretary of the committee Anu Muhammad, at CPB central office. Anu Muhammad termed the latest power price hike “unjustified” and said the government had taken the decision to compensate the loss of quick rental system. He also said the government had turned the energy ministry into a “bottomless basket” taking wrong policies. Energy experts said the people would suffer much for the power price hike, and called on all the left political forces to be united in protesting the decision. They also said the Sundarbans would be destroyed if the Rampal Thermal Power Plant was set up at Rampal in Bagerhat. There were many alternatives for power productions and we must coal based power plants to save the nature and environment, they told. Meanwhile, the Jamaat-e-Islami acting secretary general Shafiqur Rahman announced that they would stage a countrywide demonstration programmes on Sunday demanding withdrawal of the power price hike. l

Robi officials arrested in Narsingdi n Tribune Report Police nabbed a Robi, a mobile phone operating company, official and two others while they were stealing equipments at a Grameen Phone tower in Raypura upazila of Norshingdi yesterday. Police also seized a pickup van, telecom equipments worth Tk3 lakh from

Maruf Ahmed, BSS engineer of Robi. Other arrestees were his assistant Mamun Mia and driver Abdul Jalil. Locals said they detained these three men and handed over to police after beating them up. A Grammen Phone officer had filed a case with Raypura police station in connection with the incident. l




Saturday, March 15, 2014

No effect of ban, fishermen continue fishing in southern region

Only three convocations at CU in 48 years

n Our Correspondent, Barisal

Only three convocations were held so far in the last 48 years since the establishment of Chittagong University due to the alleged indifference of the authority of the one of the largest public universities of the country. The latest convocation of the university was held on the campus in 2008 during the tenure of late Vice-Chancellor Prof Abu Yusuf, administrative sources said adding that the second and the first convocation were held in 1994 and 1999 respectively. CU authorities took plan to hold a special convocation on April 3, 2012. However, it was cancelled due to a violence between the activists of Chhatra League and Islami Chhatra Shibir which left two students killed and many others injured on February 8, 2012. Dr Mahathir Bin Mohammad, former prime minister of Malaysia, was scheduled to be the convocation speak-

Two weeks of the 60-day ban on fish netting in five rivers of the southern region have passed, but it seems that the embargo has no effect on fishermen as they are still continuing fish netting. Directorate of Fisheries has imposed the ban on fishing in 340 kilometres areas of five major rivers in six districts of the southern region from March 1 to April 30 with a view to facilitating safe spawning and increasing fish resources in the country. The 340-kilometre area in Ilisha, Meghna, Tentulia, Bishkhali and Padma rivers of Barisal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna, Munshiganj, Chandpur and Lakshmipur has been declared sanctuaries for fishes during the duration. Dr Aminul Islam, divisional fishery officer, said the government had imposed the ban  in 100 kilometres

from Shatnol  to  Char Alexander in Meghna and Padma Rivers plus their branches, 90 kilometres  from  Madanpur to Char Shababazpur in Meghna, Ilisha Rivers   and their branches, 100 kilometres from Veduria to Char Rustom in Bishkhali and Tentulia Rivers and their branches and 50 kilometres  from  Kalapara to Charmanik of estuary areas. But, local sources said without any propagation and sufficient compensative subsidy, the government’s ban would not be successful. During visits to many points of these rivers this correspondent found that fishermen were catching fishes as they were not aware of such ban. After being informed about the ban, they, however, said they would be able to stop netting fish, if the government provided rehabilitation package to them which help them to run their families during the period.

But the fishery officer said this year except sending letter to law enforcing agencies and local administrations asking help and holding some exchange of views meetings with fishermen groups, the Fisheries Department could not be able to take other steps because of fund crisis. Special grants and alternative employment opportunities would not be provided to the affected and unemployed fishermen for lack of fund, Aminul said. He, however, acknowledged that wide advocacy and awareness building propagations among the fishermen and fish merchants and stern actions against violation of the ban are needed to stop such illegal fishing. The government has sanctioned 30kg food grains for each enlisted fishermen in a month from February to May. A total of 105,862 fishermen are

enlisted for the grant. But distribution of the food grains are yet to be started as the Fisheries Department is yet to get the allocation, he added. Israil Pandit, president of the Khudra Matsyajibi Samity, said sanctioning Tk200/300 or 30/40kg food grains per month for per- enlisted fisherman is too scanty, he said, adding that the government was providing the facilities to 105,862 fishermen, which numbered less than one tenth of the professional fishermen in six districts of Barisal division. Fishery officials said anyone found fishing  during the period  from March  1  to  April  30  in the restricted river areas would be subjected  to  punitive action, including fine of Tk5,000  to  10,000, jail and burn his  fishing  nets. But in the last fortnight, none was penalised or given jail for the offence. l

n CU Correspondent

Bullet riddled body found in Mirpur n Tribune Report

Lens factory caught fire in CEPZ n CU Correspondent A fire broke out at a Japanese lens factory in Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) area of Chittagong city yesterday morning. However, no casualty was reported in the incident, said Fire Brigade sources. Mohammed Yahiya, assistant director of Fire Service and Civil Defense Headquarters, said a fire originated from an electric short circuit at SANKO Optical Company BD Ltd at the number two gate of CEPZ at 7:30am. The fire ensued to the compressor and the machineries room and soon spread to the other floors of the building burning down valuables worth Tk1 m. On information, two fire fighting units from CEPZ and Port Fire Station rushed to the spot and doused the fire within an hour, added the sources.l

Man killed by his brother in Ctg n CU Correspondent A tea stall owner was stabbed to death by his elder brother in Hamjarbagh area in Chittagong city yesterday. The deceased was identified as Mona Sikdar, 35. Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman, sub-inspector of Panchlaish police station, told the Dhaka Tribune that Mohammad Bhutto stabbed his younger brother in the abdomen about 5:30 pm following an altercation over land dispute. Later, Mona was rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) where the on-duty doctor pronounced him dead, said Jahirul Islam, in charge of police camp at CMCH. The body was sent to the hospital morgue for autopsy. Soon after the incident, Bhutto went into hiding. Police are conducting drive to hunt him down, said SI Akhtaruzzaman. l


Dry weather likely n UNB Weather may remain dry with temporary partly cloudy sky over the country until 6pm today. Day temperature might rise slightly and night temperature might remain unchanged over the country, Met Office said. The sun sets in the capital at 6:07pm today and rises at 6:07am tomorrow. Country’s highest temperature 34.8 degree Celsius was recorded in Sitakunda and lowest 15.2 degrees in Srimangal yesterday. Highest and lowest temperatures recorded in some major cities yesterday were: City



Dhaka Chittagong Rajshahi Rangpur Khulna Barisal Sylhet Cox’s Bazar

32.5 33.3 31.8 31.0 33.2 33.0 33.8 34.4

20.7 21.6 17.6 17.6 20.6 20.3 17.5 21.5

A visitor picks his choice at the Bishwa Shahityo Kendra at the capital’s Bangla Motor area. The organisation celebrated its 35th anniversary yesterday

Biswa Sahitya Kendra celebrates 35th founding anniversary n Tribune report Biswa Sahitya Kendra, a key organisation in Bangladesh to promote reading habits, enlightenment and progressive ideas among students and general public, celebrated its 35th anniversary yesterday. With its motto - “Alokito Manush Chai” (we want enlightened humans), Kendra had reached more than one million children in last one year through its activities. On the occasion, the new eight storey building of Kendra was inaugurated that houses a library with 1,45,000 books, book shops, four auditoriums, art gallery, music archive, film archive and a cafeteria open for all. Founfer of the organisation Profes-

sor Abdullah Abu Sayeed said “I do not try for getting results. I believe in trying and keep trying to do the best. And I think, any good initiative will bring in benefits at some point if dedication is there,” he said. “Whatever success Kendra has achieved today is because of the support of people from all spheres and well wishers,” he added. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said the students in schools have grown the habit of reading since Biswa Sahitya Kendra started its book reading campaign. He hoped that the noble activities of Kendra would last for thousand more years and bring in positive changes in the country. “To be enlightened there is no other

alternative than reading,” he added. Currently, Kendro has around 15 lakh members in different schools across the country. Finance Minister AMA Muhith said: “The Biswa Sahitya Kendra has been enlightening people for last 35 years. Kendro, particularly Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed has played the key role in bringing a silent revolution in the habit of reading.” Professor Emeritus Anisuzzaman, Professor Syed Manzurul Islam, Faridur Reza Sagar, managing director of Channel I, attended the programme among others. The day long programme was marked with a cultural programme and a discussion. l

4:52am 6:07am 12:08am 4:27pm 6:07pm 7:23pm



Police recovered a bullet-riddled body at Mirpur in the capital yesterday. The victim was identified as Saidur Rahman, 35, who hailed from South Narandipara of Jamalpur. He lived with his family at Gudaraghat in Mirpur 1 and worked as a caretaker of a house at Haji Road in Mirpur 2. His body was found in front of the Haji road’s house around 4:45am, police said. The deceased’s wife Lutfa Begum said Saidur called her over phone around midnight and informed her that he would be late. The family members of the victim claimed Saidur had no enmity with anyone. The body was sent to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital morgue for autopsy. Officer-in-Charge of Mirpur police station Kazi Salauddin said there were two deep injury marks in the victim’s back, adding that his motorcycle and mobile phone were also missing. Police suspected that miscreants killed him and took away the motorbike. A case has been filed in this regard. l

Children vow to establish non-communal Bangladesh n DU Correspondent

Little children have vowed to establish a non-communal and democratic Bangladesh imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War. The little angles took the oath yesterday in a programme titled Muktir Utshab organised by Liberation War Museum on the Dhaka University central playground. The programme was inaugurated amid hoisting national flag and singing the national anthem at 9am while renowned sculptor Ferdousi Priovashini administered the oath to the children. Prof Mohammad Zafar Iqbal told the children: ‘’Our duty is over and now you have to shoulder the responsibility to guide the nation.’’ “To love one’s country is the most pleasant feeling in one’s life, there is nothing that can be compared to it. You [the youths] have to learn how to love your motherland,” he added. He urged the youths to uphold the spirit of the Liberation War and learn the real history of the struggle for in-

dependence to fight against anti-liberation and communal forces. AKM Mojammel Haque, minister of liberation affairs, at the programme told the children to work hard to build the nation. While addressing the function Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhit said: ‘’The youth of our country have to play the most pivotal role in the fight against evil forces.’’ He also thanked the trustee members who generously contributed to the establishment of the Museum. Meanwhile, eight trustee members of the Liberation War Museum in 1996 planned to establish a permanent liberation war museum and the construction of which is now going on at Agargaon in the capital. Eight trustee members are Sarwar Ali, Aly Jaker, Rabiul Hussain, Ziauddin Tarek Ali, Asaduzzaman Noor, Mofidul Haque and Akku Chowdhury. Hundreds of students from different schools of Dhaka took part in the programme. A cultural programme was also organised to mark the occasion. l

5th biochemistry olympiad held at DU n Tribune Report

PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha

er but later he had expressed his indifference to join the programme when the authority tried to re-schedule the convocation; CU sources added. Liton Mitra, a lecturer of Sanskrit Department at CU, said undoubtedly convocation should be a very important programme for the students and it was necessary to hold the programme regularly. Mustafizur Rahman Siddique, general secretary of Teachers’ Association of CU (CUTA) told the reporter that convocations had been interrupted due to silly troubles sometimes. “We will raise the issue in the next general meeting of CUTA,” he added. Talking with Dhaka Tribune over the issue, CU VC Prof Anwarul Azim Arif said they would arrange a special convocation in the upcoming October or November adding that a letter had already been sent to the chancellor seeking his consent in this regard. l

Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique speaks at the 44th annual conference of Bangladesh Itihash Parishad at the univerity campus yesterday NASHIRUL ISLAM

The 5th Biochemistry Olympiad was held on the Dhaka University campus yesterday amid festivity mood. Bangladesh International Tutorial (BIT) and Mastermind won the Biochemistry Olympiad as best school and college respectively. In this session, over 2,000 SSC/O level and HSC/A level students from Dhaka and other districts participated in the biggest festival of bioscience in the country. The daylong programme featured quiz contest and poster exhibition. International Turkish Hope School and Sunnydale became the runner up school and college respectively.

The Olympiad was organised by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In the HSC / A Level category, Shafique Chowdhury of Mastermind became champion while Saithi Shrabanti Hawlader of Sunnydale School became the runner up. On the other hand, in the school level Ishtiaque Hossain of BIT became the champion and Rummon Mohsin of the same school became the runners up. Prof Dr Imdadul Haque, dean of the faculty of Biological Sciences of the DU, Haseena Khan, chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, among others, addressed the cent. l




OMS outlets selling stale rice n Our correspondent, Rajbari As stale coarse rice is sold in the Open Market Sale (OMS) outlets people in the district are not at all interested to buy one of their staple foods. The government also provides the same variety of rice to the Rajbari district jail, Ansar adjutant office, police line and fire brigade offices. “We urge the authorities not to supply rotten rice to inmates of the district jail and other departments as it may lead to dissatisfaction among the inmates,” said Majibar Rahman, jail superintendent of Rajbari district Jail. “We now can’t sell even 100 kilograms of coarse rice a day but earlier we could sell 1,000 kilograms of boiled rice in a few hours. We told the authorities not to allocate rice that has already gone stale,” said Sydul Kabir, a manager of OMS dealer in Rajbari Sadar upazila. “We are not buying cheap rice from OMS outlets as our children do not want to eat those mealy rice. This forces us to buy boiled rice from local market at higher price,” said Kanchonbibi, a buyer from Bhobanipur village.

The Food Control Department is selling 257 tonnes of rice per month to OMS dealers and other departments, said Muhammad Tanvir Rahman, district food controller in Rajbari. Different departments have already raised objection to the sale of coarse rice.

We are not buying cheap rice from OMS outlets as our children do not want to eat those mealy rice Tanvir Rahman yesterday told this correspondent that shortage of manpower was hampering monitoring of OMS activities and which is why some OMS dealers were depriving the low-income group. Rajbari Sadar upazila has 12 government-authorised OMS dealers operating in the area. Almost none of them sells flour to the low-income group.

They sell it in the black market and thus depriving the poor of fair price. Admitting his failure to take action against the dishonest dealers, Tanvir said appointments of all 12 dealers were given on political ground. Sources say the government initiated OMS sale of flour in the district on February 12 and each of the 12 dealers gets 1,000 kilograms of flour every day to sell. Preferring anonymity, an official of the local food department said each OMS dealer had been selling only 200300 kilograms of flour to people belonging to the low-income group every day since the programme began. The rest is sold in the black market, he said. One kilogramme of flour is priced at Tk22 at OMS outlets but the dealers sell that for Tk26-28 in the black market, he added. People from low-income households visit OMS outlets to buy flour at rates fixed by the government but they often return empty-handed as OMS dealers keep the outlets closed or refuse to sell saying they have run out of stock. l

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rural people deprived of OMS facilities in Lalmonirhat n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat The Teesta and Dharla river basins’ char people in Lalmonirhat are deprived of Open Market Sale (OMS) facilities as all the OMS outlets in the district are opened in municipality area. As a result, these people are the worst sufferer of recent flour and rice price hike in Lalmonirhat. A total of 12 OMS outlets are being kept open every day in Lalmonirhat town since March 9 for selling flour at Tk22 per kilogramme fixed by the government, whereas flour is being sold at Tk30-32 in local markets. Several hundreds of ultra poor people of different char villages are deprived of the facilities as they have to travel around 15-16km to get the OMS facilities, which is not possible for them. Rekha Begum, 55, a residence of Char Kalmati village, said: “The government opened the OMS facilities for the ultra poor people, but it is being enjoyed by town dwellers.” Mahuya Bewa, 68, of the same village, said: “It is difficult for the char

people to travel around 15km for purchasing flour from the OMS centres.” Ashraful Islam, 50, a residence of Bowalmari village, said: “Our income is not sufficient to maintain the livelihood in price hike situation. If we get the OMS facilities in the char villages, it would be helpful for the ultra poor people.” Mofazzal Hossain Mofa, union parishd chairman of Rajpur, alleged that the authorities concerned did not pay any heed despite he personally requested to the food officials to open OMS centres in his union as maximum people there were victims of flood and Teesta river erosion. It was necessary to open OMS centres in river basin areas, he added. Lalmonirhat District Food Controller Zahurul Haque said there was no plan to open OMS centres at remote and char villages, adding that the authorities concerned only permitted 12 dealers to open OMS centres in Lalmonirhat municipality area. Around 9 tonne flour was being sold at the government fixed rate at these centres, he informed. l

Two suspected JMB men held n Our Correspondent, Mymensingh Police arrested two alleged members of the banned Islamists outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in Saudkandi area under Trishal upazila in Mymensingh on Thursday in connection with the snatching of three leaders of the organisation from police custody and killing a police constable. The arrestees were identified as Alamin, 25, and Tito, 28. On receiving information, police conducted a drive in Majorbhita area under Bhaluka upazila and recovered four rounds of bullet, bomb-making raw materials and a motorcycle from their possessions. Majedur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Detective Branch (DB) of police in Mymensingh, said: “‘DB police of Mymensingh and Dhaka have been conducting drives in different places of Bhaluka to arrest these two JMB men since the incident.” They were now under Dhaka DB police custody. A case was filed with Bhaluka Model police station against the two JMB men. l


Lalmonirhat Hindu family still receives death threat n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat The affected Hindu family in Rasulpur village under Patgram upazila in the district still receives death threat from their land grabbers while police are yet to free up the grabbed land. The head of the family Vobani Kanta Sen lodged a general diary on Thursday with the local police station in connection with the threat. “We feel insecure to live in the village. We may face attack any time,” said Vobani, expressing concern. A gang of land grabbers led by Awami League Leaders Raniul Islam Miron and Nazrul Islam and Jubo League leader Mukul Hossain allegedly occupied the land belonging to the Hindu man. The ruling party leaders are now on the run from March 11 after the High Court on March 9 ordered

Tarun League leader hacked to death

n Our Correspondent, Mymensingh A local leader of Tarun League was killed in Mymensingh district yesterday. The victim was identified as Shafikul Islam alias Hathkata Selim, convener of Tarun League district committee. Golam Sarwar, officer-in-charge of Kotwali model police station, said miscreants called him out of his house of shathghoria and indiscriminately hacked him on the adjacent Hameed Ali Road around 11am yesterday. The Miscreants managed to flee the crime scene safely. Locals rescued him in critical condition and sent him to Mymensingh Medical College Hospital where the on-duty doctor announced him dead. l

police to arrest the Hindu’s land grabbers within 48 hours following a writ filed on March 2 by the rights organisation, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh. So far only two persons were arrested in connection with the grab of the minority family’s land while the kingpin of the gang was still at large. Police said a poor Hindu family’s 32 decimal of land was grabbed on February 9 by the ruling party men who constructed infrastructure on it right after the grab. A poor Hindu man Vobani Kanta Sen and his two immature sons Bidhan Chandra Sen, 15, and Biddut Chandra Sen, 13, were forced to sign in the nonjudicial stamp on the day. Contacted, Patgram police station Officer-in-Charge Amiruzzaman said police would ensure protection and security of the affected family. l

Green activists form a human chain in the Shitalakkhya River yesterday, demanding measures to save the river from pollution


Road accidents kill six across country Call to save Shitalakkhya n from pollution Our Correspondent, Kishoreganj

At least six people were killed in separate road accidents in, Kishoreganj, Hobiganj, Natore and Jhenaidah yesterday. Three people were killed and two others injured in separate road accidents in Kuliarchar and Hossainpur of Kishoreganj on Thursday. An intercity train crushed a Nosimon [three wheeler] at Borkharchar rail crossing, leaving two dead and two injured. The deceased were identified as Sonam Uddin, 60 and Murshid Mia, 23, of Mirerchar village in Bajitpur upazila. Railway sources said the accident had taken place on the KishoreganjDhaka railway around 4pm when

Dhaka-bound Egarosindur Gudhuli Intercity Train crushed a bamboo-laden Nosimon. The two injured were rushed to Bagalpur Jahurul Islam Medical Hospital in critical condition. In another accident, Sultan Mia, 48, of Saheberchar village in Hossainpur upazila died on the spot around 8:30pm, when a speedy microbus ran over him while he was crossing the road in Dulihar area in the upazila. Md Delwar Hossain Khan, officer-incharge of Kuliarchar police station, said all the bodies were sent to Kishoreganj Adhunik Sadar Hospital morgue. Meanwhile, a child was killed as a truck rammed him in Dorgah Gate area on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway in Habiganj in the afternoon.

The deceased was identified as Abdur Razzak, 8, son of Lemon Mia of Barushor village under Nasirnagar upazila in Brahmanbaria. Local sources said a Sylhet-bound truck rammed Abdur while he ran to cross the road in Dorgah Gate area around 3:15am, killing him on the spot. In Natore, a motorcyclist was killed at Banpara Bazar under Baraigram upazila as a speedy truck knocked down him. The deceased is Alpu, a resident of Pathanpara under the upazila. Our Jhenaidah correspondent adds: A shallow engine-run vehicle locally known as Nosimon crushed a middle aged woman under its wheels in Kaliganj. The deceased was identified as Sahera Begum, a resident of Faraspur village in of the upazila. l

n Our Correspondent, Narayanganj Environmentalists urged the government to take measures to save the Shitalakkhya River from industrial pollution which has almost turned the river into a depot of wastage. The speakers made the plea while speaking at a human chain organised by the Nirbhik, an environmentalist organisation, held at a ghat. Speakers at the human chain said Sitalakhkhya had become a depot of poisonous chemicals. Industrial waste and filth of canals are contaminating water of the river.

As a result, local people are suffering from water-borne diseases, including jaundice, typhoid, skin diseases and diarrhoea. People of the district are deeply worried over the future of their children as the polluted water would harm their health in the long run. The programme was presided over by ATM Kamal, chief co-ordinator of the Nirbhik. Among others, SM Israfil, former national swimmer and Richard Sourov Deuri, a leader of Narayanganj Christian Association, attended the programme. l

Vulnerable women being cheated in Lalmonirhat Less wheat given against each VGD card

n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat

Female VGD card holders stage a demonstration in front of the Kalugha union parishad office, protesting misappropriation in wheat allocation DHAKA TRIBUNE

The women in 45 unions of the district, who were given VGD (Vulnerable Group Development) cards by the government for their impoverished condition, have been distributed about four kilogram less wheat among them against their each card. Sources said they were supposed to get 30kg each as per card, instead of, they were given 26kg. Protesting the misappropriation of social safety net programme materials, VGD card-holder 178 vulnerable women of Kulaghat union in sadar upazila staged demonstration in front of the union parishad on Thursday noon. The agitating women alleged they as well as 9,621 cardholders like them under 45 unions of five upazilas here have been allotted 5-6kg wheat less in every month by the concerned union parishad leaders.

Rashida Begum, a cardholder and a resident of Char Khatanari village in the union, said the women don’t dare to protest the pocketing in fear of losing the franchise. “Where the government fixes 30kg wheat against each card, but the union parishad leaders distribute us only 25 to 26kg and the gap goes to the pockets of the UP chairmen, members, relief officers, village police and brokers,” she added. Another cardholder named Rezia Begum, a dweller of Dhairkhata village, said they complained about the matter to the relief officer but in vain. “We are poor, we are vulnerable, we get little support from the government to survive but the union parishad leaders are also stealing wheat from the paltry allotted 30kg,” said Jamila Begum, of Baruya village. However, sadar upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Nazmul Huda talked to the

women and assured them of taking stern actions against the UP leaders if the allegation brought against them was proved. In a query on the allegation, Kulaghat union parishad secretary Sirazul Islam said only the chairman could answer to the question of the misappropriation properly because he is all in all of the parishad. Contacted, Kulaghat UP chairman Idris Ali said, “Weigh problem is not only here, but also in all of the 45 union parishads.” Enamul Haque, tag officer (relief) and also Lalmonirhat upazila Jubo Unnayan Officer, said he was unaware about the matter although he was present during the distribution. Lalmonirhat Woman’s Affairs Officer Shamim Ara said it was the tag officer whose duty is to check the distribution. “I will clarify the matter in field level.” l



Passive smoking increases risk of heart attacks or strokes for kids

It’s clear that smoking is bad for health. But the persons that stay around during smoking are also affected by the effect of second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is a danger to everyone, but children, pregnant women are most vulnerable Passive smoking means breathing in other people’s exhaled tobacco smoke. According to a recent large scale HEALTH international study, ALERT exposure to secondhand smoke in childhood causes irreversible damage to children’s arteries increasing their risk of heart attacks or strokes when they grow up. The research, which lends weight to campaigns for smoking to be banned in private cars and homes, found passive smoking leads to a thickening of children’s artery walls, adding some 3.3 years to the age of blood vessels by adulthood. “Exposure to passive smoke in childhood causes direct and irreversible damage to the structure of the arteries,” said Seana Gall, a researcher in cardiovascular epidemiology who led the study at the University of Tasmania. She said, parents or even those thinking about becoming parents, should quit smoking both to aid their own health and protect the health of their to be born children. Smoking causes lung cancer, which is often fatal, and is the world’s biggest cause of premature death from chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. On top of the 6 million people a year killed by their own smoking, the


n Reuters

World Health Organisation (WHO) says another 600,000 die a year as a result of exposure to other peoples’ smoke the so-called second-hand or passive smoking. Of the more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer, the WHO says and creating 100% smoke-


Cut your daily sugar intake to half People will be advised to halve the amount of sugar in their diet, under new World Health Organisation guidance. WHO’s current recommendation, from 2002, is that sugars should make up less than 10% of total energy intake per day, it also suggests that a reduction to below 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits. The suggested limits apply to all sugars added to food, as well as sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. The WHO guidelines are based on a review of scientific evidence on the negative

health impact of sugar, including damage to teeth, the effect on obesity and type 2 diabetes. The review has shown that reducing daily sugar intake also reduces the incidence of tooth decay & obesity. l

free environments is the only way to protect people fully. About 40 percent of all children are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke at home, and almost a third of the deaths attributable to second-hand smoke are in children.

Artery Walls

This latest study, published in the

European Heart Journal, was the first to follow children through to adulthood to look at links between exposure to parents’ smoking and thickness of the innermost two layers of the arterial wall, known as carotid intima-media thickness (IMT). Researchers from Finland and Australia looked at data from 2,401 people in Finland 1,375 people in

A new study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the journal Pediatrics finds that most cases of the severe and potentially fatal diarrhoea illness in children is caused by Clostridium difficile infection that occurs among those who have recently taken prescribed antibiotics. Our gut harbors over a thousand species of microbes.

A major step forward in predicting Alzheimer’s dementia Alzheimer’s disease – a condition that gradually clogs up and kills brain cells and leads to memory loss and mental decline is rising rapidly around the globe. Researchers have developed a new blood test that can predict with 90% accuracy whether a healthy person will develop Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline within 3 years. Researchers found 10 phospholipids a type of fat that forms a major component of cell membranes were present at consistently lower levels in blood samples of most of the group that developed Alzheimer’s or MCI(Mild cognitive impairment). They believe the 10 biomarkers in the panel they selected show signs of changes that occur when the membranes of brain cells begin to break down. Two of them have already been linked to Alzheimer’s. They consider their findings could be

used for large-scale screening to find people at risk of Alzheimer’s or MCI and can change how patients, their families and treating physicians plan for and manage the disorder. l

| Dr Kazi Mahbuba Akhtar

Australia who were asked about their parents’ smoking habits. The scientists used ultrasound to measure the thickness of the children’s artery walls once they had reached adulthood. The results showed that carotid IMT in adulthood was 0.015 millimetres thicker in those exposed to both parents smoking than in those whose parents did not smoke. Gall said that while this was a “modest” increase, it was nonetheless an important extra and irreversible risk for suffering heart attacks or strokes later in life. Since children of parents who smoke are also more likely to grow up to be smokers themselves, and more likely to be overweight, their heart health risks are often already raised, she said, and the second-hand smoke adds yet more risk. The researchers said the findings showed reducing children’s exposure to smoke is a public health priority. “Legislation can reduce passive smoke exposure, with restriction of smoking in public places reducing hospitalisations for cardiovascular and respiratory disease,” they wrote, adding that banning smoking in cars with children in them would also have a significant positive effect. The United States, Australia and Canada have already banned smoking in cars carrying children, and Britain said last month that it too would be introducing a ban soon. l

QUICK TIPS Ways to ease the itch during pregnancy

Pruritus or itchy skin can be triggered by several things, including an athlete’s foot, a lack of essential fatty acids, and an allergic reaction to a food, perfume, soap powder, lotion, or drug. It can also affect some women badly during pregnancy due to underlying hormonal changes. Conventional treatment does usually include antihistamines and low potency steroid creams containing hydrocortisone. If you wish to avoid these at this time, then aloe vera gel or calamine lotion (from your chemist) are safe alternatives. Another idea is to add 5 drops of peppermint essential oil to a bowl of warm water. Soak a clean facecloth in the mixture, wring out the excess liquid, and place on the affected area for 4-5 minutes once or twice a day. l

Natural relief from period pain

Baby shaking, a dangerous practice n Dr Sajol Ashfaq When a by cries, parents or caregivers may think that shaking a baby will make the baby stop crying. Some may not know DID YOU that the results of KNOW? shaking can be more devastating than one could think of. Recently in USA, more than 2,000 infants and children were hospitalised as the result of being shaken by their caregivers. Physicians suspect that the numbers are even higher. Shaken baby syndrome refers to

the violent and unnecessary repetitive shaking of an infant or young child. A combination of a heavy head, weak neck muscles, and a soft and rapidly growing brain can lead to severe bruising of the shaken child’s brain. Blindness, mental retardation, or death can occur as a result. Shaken baby syndrome can also occur when a child is bounced up and down on a person’s knee or tossed in the air, which are very commonly done by mothers and caregivers in our country. Babies are extremely vulnerable to head injury because uncontrolled jerking motions can cause bleeding in and around the brain and behind the eyes.

Incorrect antibiotics may cause serious diarrhoeal infection in kids Kept in the right balance, these micro-organisms do no harm, and the “friendly” ones even help with vital processes like digestion and protecting the gut. On the other hand antibiotics kill off the beneficial bacteria that protect against infection and it can take weeks sometimes months for them to come back, during which time patients are vulnerable to infection by C. difficile picked up from contaminated surfaces or spread from a health care provider’s hands. This allows the bacterium to grow out of control and release toxins that attack and inflame the lining of the gut, causing colitis. The federal agency, urging parents to avoid asking doctors to prescribe antibiotics for their children and doctors to follow prescribing guidelines. l


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Shaken baby syndrome happens most often in infants up to one year; infants aged two to four months have the most risk. Shaken baby syndrome does not usually happen after age two, but children as old as five or six can be damaged in this way if the shaking is extremely violent. A child or baby who has been shaken and has pressure on the brain feel extreme irritability, vomiting tendency, convulsions (seizures), lethargy, inability to focus or follow movement with his or her eyes, and may even become unconscious. Shaken baby syndrome should be treated immediately. Babies cry for a variety of reasons — when they’re hungry or need to be changed — but sometimes babies cry because they are having a hard time adjusting to life. If there is no medical reason for the crying, the best thing to do is to let your baby cry and keep your frustration under control. Here are some additional things you can do when a baby cries: • Feed slowly and burp often; • Offer a pacifier; • Hold the infant against your chest and walk or rock; and • Take the baby for a ride in a stroller or car. If you’ve had all you can take, lay the baby on his or her back — making sure he or she is safe from harm — and take a break. Let the baby cry it out. l

Cramps result from hormonal fluctuations, specifically the action of prostaglandins that cause the muscles in the uterus to tighten. When you feel cramps coming on, go for a walk or swim, as exercise helps to inhibit prostaglandin production and boosts painkilling endorphins. Soaking in a hot bath helps to relax knotted up muscles in the uterus. You can also tame cramps with several herbal teas: trusty chamomile tea has antispasmodic properties; ginger tea works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins; and cramp bark tea, as its name implies, has a long traditional history of taking the edge off cramps. Supplementing with calcium and magnesium may also assist, as calcium is a natural muscle relaxant and magnesium is a nerve tonic. Essential fatty acids slow down the production of prostaglandins, which cause cramps, so ensure your levels are optimal by taking 1,000-3,000mg evening primrose oil or 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily. l

| Compiled by: Shirsho Saaeadat

Smart phones can be health informers! n Dr Abdullah Shahriar It is no surprise that now a days billions of people worldwide use smartphones. The devices are Research so much more than a phone they are just like a world of knowledge right in the palms of our hands. And now, they can even monitor our health. Technology company Azoi has launched a smartphone case that can measure key vital signs. The health tracker is called Wello. It consists of a number of sensors that are embedded into a case that fits onto a smartphone. When held up with both hands, the sensors can measure a series of vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature and blood oxygen. It also comes with an add-on device

that can measure lung function. The data is then sent to a Wello app that can be downloaded onto the smartphone. This allows users to have quick access to their health information and even track trends that may indicate they are becoming ill. Wello can also connect with other health and fitness devices, such as pedometers and sleep monitors. Furthermore, it has remote access, meaning it can monitor and track the vital signs of family members. By regularly monitoring vital signs Wello can allow earlier detection of a major health problem like heart disease as well as other health problems. By using this novel smartphone our too often health problems may be detected before they are too late to address. In addition, the device could help ease the growing burden on health care services. l




Saturday, March 15, 2014

Russia ships troops into Ukraine, Russia blocks opposition websites n repeats invasion threat AFP, Moscow

Russia has blocked three major opposition news websites as well as the popular blog of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in a media crackdown that comes amid President Vladimir Putin’s standoff with the West over Ukraine. The government’s media watchdog said late Thursday it was enforcing an order by prosecutors to add three popular opposition news websites to its banned list. The pulling of the sites openly critical of the Kremlin came as state media is waging a full-on propaganda war in support of intervention in the Ukrainian crisis and the Kremlin’s incursion into Crimea after a popular uprising in Kiev last month. The Internet has become practically

the only outlet for opposition political views in Russia. “There is an absolutely direct link with the events in Ukraine,” said Alexander Podrabinek, a former dissident and a columnist for two of the newly banned websites, and “The authorities realised long ago these resources destroy their sunny picture of the world. Now is a good moment to swat them,” Podrabinek told AFP. The ban comes days after the chief editor of one of Russia’s oldest and most popular news websites,, was summarily dismissed on Wednesday over its Ukraine coverage. Russian Internet providers were yesterday blocking access to the blacklisted websites, though they were still accessible through Internet providers outside Russia. Tips on how to get

Germany: Crimea vote result will be ‘irrelevant’ Pro-Russian supporters stage a protest asking for the self-determination of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, in front of the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands AFP


Reuters, Sevastopol/Donetsk

Russia shipped more troops and armor into Crimea yesterday and repeated its threat to invade other parts of Ukraine, showing no sign of listening to Western pleas to back off from the worst confrontation since the Cold War. Russia’s stock markets tumbled and the cost of insuring its debt soared on the last day of trading before pro-Moscow authorities in Crimea hold a vote to join Russia, a move all but certain to lead to US and EU sanctions on Monday. The Russian Foreign Ministry, responding to the death of at least one protester in Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk, repeated President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of the right to invade to protect Russian citizens and “compatriots.” “Russia is aware of its responsibility

for the lives of compatriots and fellow citizens in Ukraine and reserves the right to take people under its protection,” it said. Moscow denies that its forces are intervening in Crimea, an assertion Washington ridicules as “Putin’s fiction.” Journalists have seen Russian forces operating openly in their thousands over the past two weeks, driving in armored columns of vehicles with Russian license plates and identifying themselves to besieged Ukrainian troops as members of Russia’s armed forces. A Reuters reporting team watched a Russian warship unload trucks, troops and at least one armored personnel carrier at Kazachaya bay near Sevastopol yesterday morning. Trucks drove off a ramp from the Yamal 156, a large landing ship that can carry more than 300 troops and up to a dozen APCs. US Secretary of State John Kerry was

New law paves way for reelection of Syria’s Assad n AFP, Damascus Syria’s exiled opposition will be barred from a presidential election to be held before July, virtually ensuring Bashar al-Assad’s reelection three years into an uprising against his family’s four-decade rule. Today marks the third anniversary of Syria’s revolt, which began as a series of mass protests calling for democratic change but deteriorated into an insurgency and then a civil war after the regime launched a brutal crackdown on dissent. Assad has remained in power despite fighting that has killed more than 140,000 people and driven millions from their homes, as rebels have seized large swathes of the country and entire neighbourhoods have been reduced to rubble. The opposition has repeatedly insisted Assad must step down as part of any peace agreement, most recently in two rounds of failed talks held earlier this year. In keeping with a new constitution adopted in 2012, the elections will for the first time be open to multiple candidates, including from outside the Baath Party of Assad, who has not announced his candidacy but is widely expected to seek another seven-year term. But a new electoral law approved

by parliament Thursday says any candidate must have lived in Syria for the past 10 years and not hold any other nationality, in effect barring any member of the National Coalition, an umbrella opposition group based in Istanbul. The only opposition candidates who appear eligible would be those from the tolerated opposition in Damascus, who have little popular support and no connection to the rebels battling to overthrow Assad. The election must be called 60 to 90 days before the end of Assad’s term on July 17. Previous elections in Syria have been referendums to confirm the candidate chosen by the ruling Baath party, whose power was entrenched in a 1973 constitution. Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1970, and when he died in 2000 his son Bashar took over. Both Syria’s opposition and international mediators have rejected plans to hold a presidential election in the middle of a civil war, warning that doing so could deal a further blow to already faltering peace negotiations. “If there is an election, my suspicion is the opposition, all the oppositions, will probably not be interested in talking to the government,” said UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in a briefing to the Security Council. l

due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London later yesterday in a last-ditch effort to head off the referendum in Crimea, now seen as all but inevitable. Russian troops seized the southern Ukrainian region two weeks ago as a pro-Moscow regional government took power there. The new regional authorities intend to secede from Ukraine and join Russia in a vote described in the West as illegal. “What we would like to see is a commitment to stop putting new facts on the ground and a commitment to engage seriously on ways to de-escalate the conflict, to bring Russian forces back to barracks, to use international observers in place of force to achieve legitimate political and human rights objectives,” a US State Department official said ahead of Kerry’s talks. l


n AFP, Berlin Germany said Friday that the result of a looming referendum in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, which the West fears will lead to its annexation by Russia, will be “irrelevant.” A foreign ministry spokesman also said the plebiscite “can be interpreted as a speeding up of the escalation of the situation.” “The result is irrelevant,” he told reporters, two days before the vote in the Russian-speaking region. He pointed to the short timescale in the organisation of the vote and the limitations posed by the two questions being asked inhabitants. “There is no option in this so-called referendum for people to say they are happy with the status quo,” spokesman Martin Schaefer said. Voters will be presented with two choices – either joining Russia or “the

significant strengthening of their autonomy within Ukraine.” Both options, he said, “present massive changes” to the current situation in the peninsula. He also said the organisation of the referendum in just 10 days raised “significant doubts” about whether it could be effectively carried out. US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Russia that Washington and Europe could announce a “very serious” response as early as Monday if Moscow does not pull back the troops who seized control of Crimea days after the pro-Kremlin regime fell in Kiev last month. On Thursday Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Russia of “massive” long-term damage to its interests if it continued to violate international law with its seizure of the Crimean peninsula. l

around the ban were circulating on social media. The Roskomnadzor media watchdog said the sites were banned for “making calls for unlawful activity and participation in mass events held with breaches of public order,” it said, apparently referring to opposition rallies. “We will try to find out what we are being accused of and if we can restore the site’s operations,” said, which runs liberal opinion pieces. A law that came into force in February allows the blocking of Internet sites on the order of prosecutors without a court decision. Roskomnadzor also announced that Navalny’s blog, which is fiercely opinionated and critical of Putin, was blocked because the anti-corruption campaigner was placed under house arrest last month and is banned from using the Internet. l

EU drew up list of 120-130 names for Russia sanctions n Reuters, Brussels The European Union  has drawn up a list of 120-130 names of senior Russian officials who could be subjected to travel bans and asset freezes as part of EU sanctions, European officials told Reuters yesterday. The list, which runs to five pages, was drawn up by diplomats who have experience in Russia and was supplied to EU officials in Brussels, who will discuss the names and whittle the list down ahead of a foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday. One EU official who has a copy of the list said it contained the names of generals and other people from the top echelons of Russia’s military and political establishment. EU member states are discussing whether to start by sanctioning as many people as possible from the list in a preventitive way, or else take a more cautious approach and add names from the list to the sanctions in several steps. l


A boy aims a toy gun as a girl wearing a costume poses near a mural of Jerusalem’s Old City during celebrations marking the Jewish holiday of Purim at their school in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, near the Gaza Strip March 14. Sderot was hit by one of the 60 rockets fired on Wednesday by the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, and Israel carried out 29 air strikes and its tanks shelled militant targets in Gaza. There were no casualties in Wednesday’s exchange. Purim is a celebration of the Jews’ salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther REUTERS

Turkey warns to ‘retaliate’ if historic tomb in Syria attacked

Damascus ceasefires US: Israel insistence on bring no end to conflict Jewish state a ‘mistake’

n AFP, Ankara

n Reuters, Barzeh

Turkey warned yesterday to retaliate “in kind” if a historic tomb that it controls inside war-torn Syria came under attack. “Any kind of attack, be it from the regime or radical groups ... will be retaliated in kind and Turkey will take any measures to defend its homeland without any hesitation,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said. The Tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Ottoman Empire founder Osman, is located in the city of Aleppo. The area is 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the Turkish/Syria border remains Turkish territory under a 1921 treaty signed between France and Turkey. It is guarded by Turkish soldiers and flies the Turkish flag. The foreign minister’s comments came after local media reported that Turkey put its military on alert against any threat from jihadist groups to the tomb. l

Overwhelmed by hunger and outgunned by their enemy, Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Barzeh finally bowed to the inevitable and agreed a ceasefire with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces besieging them. It was one of several similar deals struck around Damascus, allowing a semblance of normality to return to some districts and the government to proclaim a homegrown reconciliation process with local fighters - though not foreign jihadis. But in Barzeh the truce agreed in January tastes like defeat for fighters who once hoped to overrun the capital, topple Assad and win a conflict which enters its fourth year this month. The army siege of Barzeh, part of a nationwide campaign against opposition strongholds which some officials refer to as “starvation until submission,” wore down rebel resistance.

“They knew exactly when to approach us with a ceasefire agreement,” said Abu Yahya, a rebel spokesman. “We got tired. We didn’t have enough men toward the end. The guys were exhausted pulling 24-hour guard duty, in addition to fighting,” he told a Reuters reporter visiting Barzeh last week. The streets of Barzeh, around five km (three miles) north of central Damascus, have been pulverized by air raids and fighting which, at the height of the violence, left bodies lying uncollected in the open for days, residents say. Now food and medicine, once in desperately short supply, enter relatively freely and some families who fled have returned, although many have found their homes in ruins. Ceasefires have also been reached in the western Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya, Qudsaya to the north, and Yalda, Beit Sahm, Yarmouk and Babilla to the south. l

n AFP, Washington US Secretary of State John Kerry has criticised Israel’s insistence that the Palestinians publicly declare Israel to be a Jewish state. Kerry said Thursday that recognition had already been made in UN resolutions and by the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat and it is a mistake for Israel to keep insisting on it as the two sides work towards a two-state peace agreement. “’Jewish state’ was resolved in 1947 in (UN) Resolution 181 where there are more than 40– 30 mentions of ‘Jewish state,’” Kerry testified at a Congressional hearing. “In addition, chairman Arafat in 1988 and again in 2004 confirmed that he agreed it would be a Jewish state. And there are any other number of mentions,” he added. “I think it’s a mistake for some peo-

ple to be raising it again and again as the critical decider of their attitude toward the possibility of a state and peace, and we’ve obviously made that clear,” Kerry said in a session of testimony on the State Department budget. Israeli public radio yesterday broadcast Kerry’s comments, followed by what it said was a recording of Arafat commenting on a 1988 decision by the Palestinian National Council, the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s parliament-in-exile at the time. “The PNC had accepted two states, a Palestine state and Jewish state,” Arafat says in English. There was no official Israeli response to Kerry’s comments, but the radio quoted an unidentified political source as saying that it was “easier for the Americans to pressure Israel to give up on the demand for recognition of a Jewish state than to deal with the Palestinians.” l

Nigeria Boko Haram: ‘Hundreds’ attack Maiduguri n Agencies Hundreds of militants have staged a multi-pronged attack on the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, witnesses say, reported BBC. On entering the city, the attackers split into smaller groups heading for the barracks, the university and an area where civil servants live. “They set many houses on fire and killed innocent people,” one resident told a local newspaper. Militants suspected to be from Boko Haram have killed 500 people this year. Local residents say there was a heavy exchange of fire near Giwa barracks, as the military tried to fight off the insurgents. Air force jets were seen flying over the city following the dawn attack. “There is thick smoke billowing. The assailants are hurling explosives into Giwa barracks and the multitude of soldiers inside the barracks are firing back,” local resident Hamisu Musa told the Daily Trust newspaper. l




Saturday, March 15, 2014

Malaysia forced to expand fruitless jet search n AFP, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia said Friday it was dramatically expanding the already vast scope of its search for a missing passenger plane, admitting it was no closer to solving the agonising aviation mystery a week after the jet vanished. “The aircraft is still missing, and the search area is expanding,” said Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. “Together with our international partners, we are pushing further east into the South China Sea and further into the Indian Ocean.” Hishammuddin said he could offer no new information on the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared from radar screens over Southeast Asia last Saturday, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew.

’Not a normal investigation’

He also refused to be drawn on US media reports in which unidentified American officials said the Boeing 777 may have flown for an additional four or five hours after vanishing from civilian radar. They said a satellite had continued to detect the plane’s communication system long after it vanished from radar between Malaysia and Vietnam, fuelling speculation the plane might have banked west off its intended path and headed to the Indian Ocean. A US Navy official told AFP the destroyer USS Kidd had been sent towards the Indian Ocean to investigate the latest in a series of tantalising leads that have pulled the search

Kabul irked at haphazard release of Afghan Taliban prisoners in Pakistan

n Reuters, Kabul Afghanistan›s High Peace Council, set up to oversee peace talks with the Taliban, has had no formal meetings with any of the 46 Taliban prisoners released in neighbouring Pakistan, an official said yesterday, despite pleas to be present when they are freed. Pakistan began releasing small batches of Afghan Taliban prisoners in 2012 at the request of Kabul which wants to use the men as interlocutors to pursue peace talks with the insurgents, who are ramping up attacks as NATO troops withdraw and the country prepares for April 5 elections. The Afghans wanted a delegation present at each release. But they complained that Pakistan does not tell them before prisoners are freed, raising question about Pakistan’s sincerity in wanting to help bring an end to the war. Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan, which faces a Taliban insurgency of its own, of backing the hardline Afghan Taliban, in power from 1996 to 2001 and seeking to oust foreign forces and set up an Islamic state. The Afghan Taliban said on Monday the elections were being manipulated by the United States and threatened to attack anyone taking part. “We want all prisoners to be given into Afghan custody,» said a high-ranking member of the council. “Members of the High Peace Council should have a chance to see them and talk to them and say look, we have been asking for your release, now you have been released, it would be better for us to cooperate to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.” Instead, Pakistan only informs the Afghans after the men are released, he said, speaking anonymously to avoid jeopardizing ongoing talks. The council had managed to establish informal contact through intermediaries with around 15 of the 46 freed prisoners, he said, but had had no direct meetings. Almost all were in Pakistan. The council had no idea where the other prisoners were, he said, but thought they were also in Pakistan. A Pakistani foreign office spokeswoman said Islamabad had set up at least one meeting but that other freed prisoners might be unwilling to meet the Afghans. “Some people are not ready for that,” said spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam. “Our position remains that we have released these people at the request of Afghanistan and the High Peace Council. We have facilitated their meeting. We will continue to do that... doubting Pakistan’s sincerity is not helpful.” She pointed out that Pakistan had arranged a November meeting between the council delegation and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former Taliban number two captured in the port city of Karachi seven years ago. l

in multiple directions and deepened one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history. “A normal investigation becomes narrower with time, as new information focuses the search,” said Hishammuddin. “But this is not a normal investigation,” he said, adding that the lack of success in the search so far “forces us to look further and further afield.” A total of 57 ships and 48 aircraft from 13 countries were now deployed across the entire search zone, he added. The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest with an average depth of nearly 3,900 meters (12,800 feet). It is like going “from a chessboard to a football field,” Commander William Marks of the US 7th Fleet told CNN. White House spokesman Jay Carney had appeared to support the US media reports of a potential Indian Ocean breakthrough, citing “new information” but added that it was “not necessarily conclusive.” Dressed in his traditional Malay Islamic dress and oval cap following Friday prayers – Hishammuddin refused to comment on the host of theories swirling around the plane’s fate.

’More confusing with each day’

“Anything is possible” he said, stressing that he would only confirm what could be verified. The lack of results from the investigation has created a volatile mix of grief, anger, frustration and speculation that the Malaysian authorities have struggled to control.

The government has stressed the “unprecedented” nature of the challenge, with the search parameters expanding daily and the focus swinging wildly from the east to the west of the Malaysian peninsula. “It’s almost got to the point where it gets more confusing with each day that goes by. That’s really atypical of an investigation,” said Anthony Brickhouse, a member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators. The Boeing 777 vanished early Saturday over the South China Sea with no indication of distress. The night was clear and the weather was fine. The plane has one of the best safety records of any jet, and the airline also has a solid record. “There are so many stories swirling around. This morning one man told me the plane had landed in Africa,” said Subramaniam Gurusamy, a 60-year-old Malaysian security guard whose son was on the flight. “How am I going to explain to my grandchildren that nobody knows where their father is?” he told AFP. Adding to the anguish of relatives – most of whom are Chinese – has been a succession of false leads, mixed signals, a paucity of clear information from authorities, and miscommunication between the various countries involved in the hunt. “We are racing against time. If the search area is increased soon then our family members’ chances of survival will rise,” said a Chinese man, surnamed Gao, who waited at a Beijing hotel where passengers’ relatives have gathered. l

Malaysian Muslims offer Friday prayers during a special prayer session for the passengers of the missing plane

Chinese see Uighur hand in plane mystery n Agencies Amid global speculation on what exactly caused Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 to jump radar contact and disappear, an ugly suspicion has taken roots in China that it could be the handiwork of Uighur terrorists, Times of India reported. If this turns out to be correct, it would be the biggest attack by Uighurs on Chinese interests. Over two-thirds of the passengers in the missing plane were Chinese. As yet there is little to

Uighur leader vows revenge on China n Reuters, Islamabad Entrenched in secret mountain bases on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Uighur fighters are gearing up for retribution against China to avenge the deaths of comrades in Beijing’s crackdown on a separatist movement, their leader told Reuters. China, Pakistan’s only major ally in the region, has long urged Islamabad to weed out what it says are militants from its western region of Xinjiang, who are holed up in a lawless tribal belt, home to a lethal mix of militant groups, including the Taliban and al Qaeda. A mass stabbing at a train station in the Chinese city of Kunming two weeks ago, in which at least 29 people were killed, has put a new spotlight on the largely Muslim Uighur ethnic minority from Xinjiang, where Beijing says armed groups seek to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

Beijing has called the Kunming bloodshed a “terrorist attack” carried out by militants, and says separatists operate training camps across the rugged border which abuts Pakistan and Afghanistan. In a rare but brief interview, Abdullah Mansour, leader of the rebel Turkestan Islamic Party, said it was his holy duty to fight the Chinese. “The fight against China is our Islamic responsibility and we have to fulfill it,” he said from an undisclosed location. “China is not only our enemy, but it is the enemy of all Muslims ... We have plans for many attacks in China,” he said, speaking in the Uighur language through an interpreter. “We have a message to China that East Turkestan people and other Muslims have woken up. They cannot suppress us and Islam any more. Muslims will take revenge.” Mansour spoke on a crackly line us-

ing a mobile phone with an Afghan SIM card in a brief statement which gave Reuters no chance to ask about the Kunming attack. The separatists hide mainly in the troubled North Waziristan region, where they are treated by their Pakistani Taliban hosts as guests of honor, militant and Pakistani intelligence sources say. The Turkestan Islamic Party, which China equates with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), keeps a low profile in Pakistan. Unlike the Taliban, it almost never posts videos promoting its activities or ideology. Its exact size is unknown and some experts dispute its ability to orchestrate attacks in China, or that is exists at all as a cohesive group. Getting hold of leaders such as Mansour is almost impossible and interviews are usually very brief and conducted from undisclosed locations through a Pashto-speaking translator. l

Under-fire AAP defends Kejriwal n Agencies

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) yesterday defended its leader Arvind Kejriwal for his controversial comments on sending media persons to jail, saying he was referring to a section of media which was running an “agenda” of BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. “Arvind Kejriwal has said that a section of media was implementing the agenda of Modi and BJP. His comments were directed against them. His com-

ments were against those who distort news and resort to paid news,” senior party leader Sanjay Singh told a press conference. Party spokesperson and former news channel editor Ashutosh, who was also present at the press conference, pointed out that a recent sting operation conducted by it had shown that some of the agencies which conduct opinion polls before elections are willing to tweak their findings for money.


“No action has been taken against television channels and the opinion poll agencies yet,” Ashutosh, who is contesting from Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat on a party ticket, said. Kejriwal kicked off a controversy by alleging that the media is “sold” and “heavy amounts” have been paid to promote BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi. He later denied having made the accusation against the media after his remarks came under attack from Congress, BJP and CPI. l


suggest that it could be an act of terror since it’s not yet clear where or how the plane went down. While stolen passports initially hinted at a possible terror angle, the holders are believed to be Iranian asylum seekers rather than terrorists. But China, just recovering from a savage attack by Uighurs at a train station in Kunming, is more ready to buy the Uighur terror theory, despite lack of evidence. A group of attackers armed with knives went on a rampage in Kunming

19 killed in attacks across Pakistan despite talks n Reuters Attacks in the volatile Pakistani cities of Peshawar and Quetta killed a total of 19 people yesterday, dashing hopes of a lasting peace deal with insurgents fighting to topple the government. In Peshawar, a sprawling city on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a police vehicle killing at least nine bystanders, including a woman and a child, police said. In Quetta, in the unruly province of Baluchistan, at least 10 people were killed when a motorcycle laden with explosives blew up near a college in the city center, police said. The attacks took place as the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tries to engage Pakistani Taliban militants in talks to hammer out a permanent ceasefire agreement and end years of violence. But a series of attacks and counter-attacks by insurgents and government forces since the start of the year has dampened expectations that peace talks could ever yield any result. In Peshawar, police chief Faisal Kamran said the target of the attack was an armored personnel carrier. “The police were deployed in the armored personnel carrier to provide security during Friday prayers outside mosques when it came under attack,” he said. “The policemen luckily remained safe but innocent people were killed and injured.”

Jamil Shah, a spokesman for the city’s biggest hospital, said at least 30 were injured. In Quetta, at least 10 people were killed and 35 wounded when the motorcycle exploded near the college, police said.

The attacks came amid Pakistan’s efforts to engage Taliban militants in talks to hammer out a permanent ceasefire agreement and end years of violence No one immediately claimed responsibility for Friday’s attacks. The Pakistani Taliban, which is separate from the Afghan Taliban, is a fragmented and deeply divided organization of dozens of smaller groups who do not always agree with each other. Its leadership, which seems keen on the talks, has condemned previous attacks, distancing itself from the violence. This has spurred speculation that the central command is not in control of the many splinter groups operating under it, and reaching a peace deal with one of them would not stop the violence. l

Pakistan rape victim dies after setting self ablaze in protest n Reuters, Multan

An Indian labourer sifts coloured powder, known as ‘gulal’, to be used during the forthcoming spring festival of Holi, inside a factory at Fulbari village on the outskirts of Siliguri. Holi, the popular Hindu spring festival of colours is observed in India at the end of the winter season on the last full moon of the lunar month and will be celebrated on March 16 this year AFP

station on March 1, killing at least 29 people and injuring more than 100. Chinese authorities and its state media were quick to describe it as a terror attack by Uighurs in their “jihad.” Interestingly, India too described the Kunming attack as a terrorist one, using its official response to draw Chinese attention to “all forms of terrorism.” Uighur terrorists are regularly trained and funded by Pakistan, one of China’s closest allies. China has in the past taken an ambivalent attitude to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India. l

The 17-year-old Pakistani victim of a gang rape died yesterday after setting herself on fire in protest against a police report that led to the release of a key suspect, a doctor and her brother said. Rape and other forms of sexual assault and domestic violence are widespread in deeply conservative Pakistan, but such public acts of desperation by abused women are rare. College student Amina Bibi doused herself with petrol and then set it alight on Thursday outside a police station near the city of Muzaffargarh, in Pakistan’s eastern province of Punjab. A video shot by a bystander shows a woman in a headscarf engulfed by flames, her face charred and distorted in agony.

“She was under our treatment but she succumbed to her wounds yesterday morning,” Muhammad Usman, a local doctor, told Reuters. The police decision to release the main suspect had been too much for Bibi to handle, her brother told Reuters. “She was already depressed after going through the trauma, but after the release of the accused, she lost all hope of getting justice and set herself on fire,” Ghulam Shabir said. Bibi was raped by five men as she walked home from her college on Jan. 5, he added. “I was with her on Jan. 5 when five men kidnapped her at gunpoint and took her away,” he said. “I couldn’t do anything because they were armed.” Police said they would revisit the case following the death. l




Letters to

Use price increases to end power shortages


ome districts outside Dhaka still endure daily losses of electricity with up to two to six hours of load-shedding every day. The economic consequences of this make it more important than ever for the government to speed up progress on increasing power generation capacity in Bangladesh. Load-shedding not only impacts adversely on daily life, but is a major factor preventing businesses from setting up factories outside the capital. Factories often cannot run profitably in locations where they are forced to run expensive back up diesel generators for several hours each day. It is for this reason that so many multi-storey factories have been built in Dhaka. It is quite inefficient that in a city like Dhaka, where land is scarce and therefore costly, more factories are having to be set up, instead of at locations with cheaper land, simply due to the lack of reliable electricity in other districts. This problem will not be fixed until the government has fully addressed the electricity crisis. Providing subsidies for fuel and electricity is both a burden on public funds and inefficient. The government needs to consider ending them. In the meantime, it must ensure that income from the recently agreed electricity price rise is used to help build more power stations so that load-shedding is ended everywhere. That way, the load can be taken off Dhaka and more economic opportunities can be opened up in other areas, for the benefit of everyone.

It is inefficient that load-shedding prevents businesses from setting up factories outside the capital

Sri Lanka a natural partner for Bangladesh


e welcome the commerce minister’s announcement that Bangladesh is going to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Sri Lanka. The ministry has highlighted this news, because there have been delays in signing a PTA with Malaysia. Although we hope that the deal with Malaysia can be speeded up soon, the government deserves credit for reaching agreement with Sri Lanka to conduct a study, on completion of which, the visiting Sri Lankan Secretary for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has agreed to sign a PTA. As a nation with long historical links to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka is a natural partner for our country. The countries’ economies have much potential to complement each other’s strengths and further develop bilateral trade and investment. Both nations have also made much progress in recent decades in developing their human capital and this can only benefit from growing closer ties. Bilateral trade between our nations has more than doubled in three years from US$48m in 2010 to $107m in 2013. And Sri Lankan companies already have over $292m invested in Bangladesh under joint ventures. Bangladesh can offer Sri Lanka a dynamic and much larger population for new investment opportunities and joint ventures. Sri Lanka meanwhile has many materials such as mineral sands and rubber which it can export to our industries. We hope that by completing a Preferential Trade Agreement, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka can also set a good example for SAARC, showing the way forward to boost mutual trade and investment in our region.

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have much potential to complement each other’s strengths. A Preferential Trade Agreement can also set a good example for SAARC

the Editor


Engineering college in Munshiganj March 12

Bangladesh has come far in 43 years and in the next decade, expects to become a middle-income country. Our newly-built industries will need a huge technical and professional workforce. To solve this problem, we need to train this new workforce, but this will require a few years’ time. A program is necessary to set up an engineering college to impart undergraduate courses in different engineering disciplines. Munshiganj is the nearest district town to the capital, only an hour by road. It can be a good destination for a full-fledged engineering college. Definitely, thousands of students at the higher secondary level are interested to study this subject. In fact, the expansion of higher education increases the number of the educated unemployed, which is a wastage of national wealth. Thus, an engineering college could be set up near the Dhaka-Mawa highway in Munshiganj. Md Ashraf Hossain

Beyond the indicators ‘Islamist groups a barrier to women’s emancipation’ March 8

VK Tell me one religion or culture where women and girls are considered equal to men, and where women have equal rights. And I’m not talking about nice sounding principles; I’m talking about the reality on the ground! Sam Whether we like to admit it or not, Sharia law seems misogynistic and better suited for the 7th century, certainly not this one. A constitutional republic has no use for such nonsense. KMAK Sam: How much of Sharia should be abandoned by Muslims? All of it? Some of it? Since Sharia lays out the dos and don’ts of salah, fasting, hajj and zakah, among others, wouldn’t a rejection of Sharia also require a rejection of these pillars of Islam? Sam KMAK: Read the title of the article. It talks about “women’s emancipation,” not fasting, salah (actually namaz), etc etc. KMAK Sam: I am not addressing the article, but your statements regarding Sharia. A rejection of Sharia implies a rejection of the five pillars of Islam. So let me ask you again, to what extent should Muslims reject Shariah? By the way, the Quranic word for worship is salah, not namaz, which is actually a Persian term.

March 8

BCB’s ‘expensive’ celebration March 12

nds Yes, right now the numerical figures do not reflect the proportionate improvement of women’s empowerment, but I strongly believe when the scale of quantitative change reaches an optimum level, qualitative change will surely take place. Meanwhile, both the ruling and would be ruling chief executives of this country are women. This will definitely help expedite the women’s empowerment process. Tahmina Shafique nds: Thanks much for your comments. Personally, I don’t think women heading politics has really brought about significant change in the women’s empowerment process in our country, but they have definitely changed the social landscape, consciously or unconsciously. I don’t think it is about greater or lesser importance on men and women. When we speak about equality, it is invariably both, and we need to surely move away from that discourse which should have greater importance. It is not this or that, it is both. That is the essence of equality and we seem to be far from embracing that.

Be Heard

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Welcome to Bangladesh. AR Rahman and Akon. Show Bangladeshi singers why you are celebrated around the world with your performance. Prince Singhania

Cheated by recruiters, raped by employer March 8

Vikram Khan I’m disgusted for several reasons, and not only because a Bangladeshi servant got raped in the UAE. The welfare minister should hang his head in shame because, yes, it is his duty to ensure security and protection to every single Bangladeshi woman working abroad! Seeking “compensation” is not enough! Hundreds of poor foreign female servants are abused in the UAE every year. Again and again, without receiving justice! The minister should threaten with sanctions if such horrible abuses of our Bangladeshi mothers, sisters, wives abroad do not stop immediately! Amrin Afroz It is the responsibility of the government to show major concern in this sector. Our weakness is we are poor but the rich take advantage of our poverty. Raising awareness among people is most important. In these cases funding the victims is not enough. They should have both mental and physical support. When a man rapes a woman, he should receive such punishment that it never occurs to another to commit such a crime.




SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Stringed instrument (4) 4 Long-tailed parrot (5) 9 Frozen treat (3) 11 Foundation (4) 12 Play for time (5) 13 Operatic air (4) 14 Lacerate (4) 15 Measure of length (5) 19 Prepared (5) 21 Unmixed (4) 25 Of the ear (4) 26 Joint (5) 28 Floating structure (4) 29 Snakelike fish (3) 30 This group (5) 31 Concreted blood (4)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

DOWN 1 Sibilate (4) 2 Perform (3) 3 Kingdom (5) 5 Lessened (6) 6 Be concerned (4) 7 Continent (4) 8 Has on (5) 10 Wind instrument (5) 16 Builds (6) 17 Tracking system (5) 18 Field diversion (5) 20 Country bumpkin (5) 22 American state (4) 23 Prevalent (4) 24 Dissolve (4) 27 Zodiac sign (3)


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





Saturday, March 15, 2014

The sixteenth round n FS Aijazuddin


Bangladesh stands on the frontlines of climate change


The hot spot


oday, Bangladesh tops the list of economies most at risk from the impacts of climate change. These are the findings of the “2014 Climate Change Vulnerability Index” which evaluates 193 countries under increased threat from the physical impacts of more frequent and extreme climate related events such as severe storms, flooding, or droughts. This index is not the first to identify Bangladesh as a hot spot of climate risk. The “Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience” report prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics says the world is on track to get warmer by 4°C this century unless urgent and concerted actions are taken. Cognisant of these challenges, the government of Bangladesh put in place the “Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan” (BCCSAP) to reduce climate risk and cope with the unavoidable impacts. This 10-year program aims to build local capacity and resilience to combat climate change – an effort that will require a significant amount of resources. In putting BCCSAP into practice, as a first step, the government established the “Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund” (BCCRF) in 2010. This is an innovative partnership between the Bangladeshi government, seven development partners (UK, USA, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, the

European Union, and Switzerland) and the World Bank. “Turn Down the Heat” confirms that a warming of 2°C can be reached within 20-30 years. The risks from higher temperatures, rising sea level, and changed patterns of river flows and rainfall can coalesce into catastrophic impacts on agriculture, human health, settlements, and infrastructure. Economies are poised to suffer and the poor and vulnerable will bear the brunt of these devastating events. That is why as a first response, with the help of the development partners, the BCCRF is supporting initiatives that will prepare Bangladesh to take action.

ed and 9.7 million people would be exposed to severe floods more than 3 meters deep. As on step to help Bangladesh cope with this threat, the BCCRF is supporting the construction of 61 multipurpose cyclone shelters and 11.5 kilometers of emergency roads. The second risk is that of prolonged dry spells and increased groundwater stress. Under the 4°C scenario, northern Bangladesh could shift to a new climatic regime with high temperatures above levels seen in the past 100 years. To prepare communities for the possibilities of flood, drought, and saltwater intrusion, the BCCRF, through local NGOs, is working in 49 sub-districts to support communi-

Bangladesh is a small greenhouse gas emitter, but it stands to benefit significantly from efforts to reduce emissions

The report highlights a series of risks that Bangladesh could face. The first is the risk that higher and warmer seas could result in tropical storms of greater intensity and impact. In 2007, the world saw first-hand how Cyclone Sidr inundated a vast tract of Bangladesh’s coasts, inflicting losses equal to 2.6% of the GDP. If a cyclone like Sidr were to take place in 2050, the damages would be more staggering than if it hit today: 88%of more land would be inundat-

ty-based activities such as homestead plinth rising, elevating shelters for livestock, reparation and strengthening of flood shelters, and the planting of drought-tolerant fodder. In greater Dhaka, the BCCRF is helping to assess flood risk and response options through analysis and advice. A third risk is that climate change will affect the food security of one of the world’s most densely populated nations. A warming of 4°C would

Hard decisions n Syed Ishtiaque Reza


he government is in a move to raise the electricity tariff for retail customers. This is indeed a very difficult decision at this moment. Maybe the government is planning to move with conventional political wisdom. There is a solid perception in the civil society that a new government can think of taking all the hard and unpopular decisions in the first few months of assuming office. This is actually done so that the decisions can begin to yield fruit within a couple of years and can then be relished before the opposition starts a serious movement against them. The government can think of some necessary, but unpopular, decisions within the first six to 12 months. Some of those decisions will surely create avenues for better governance, and one of them may not be raising the price of electricity. First, one has to think about the ruling party itself. People will be really happy to see the government dealing with Chhatra League and Jubo League in a meaningful way. So far the BCL has garnered some serious ill will for the government. Why the hard and unpopular decisions at the outset? There are reasons. It is perceived that people have short memories and that voting is based exclusively on the feel-good-or-bad factor during the time of elections. If this is the yardstick, the Hasina government, during her first five years since 2009, was unable to earn much of the people’s trust. Her government shied away from making tough deci-

sions after coming to power. At least some of those reasons can be mentioned here: The BCL was a pain in the neck to the nation, then there were the bank scandals (Hall-mark, Bismillah group), the Padma Bridge episode, and the share bazaar scam. The government opted for a number of developmental works and constructed a number of roads, flyovers and such. These were all necessary and surely well done jobs. But Hasina’s government lost severe credibility because of the much talked-about Padma Bridge scandal.

Some of those decisions will surely create avenues for better governance The government did a splendid job to contain load shedding for which it can now claim success. Yet the ruling party had to swallow defeat in five city corporation polls while also suffering badly in the on-going upazila elections. The reason is clear – people saw development, but the government lacked governance. And now the same government, without a real opposition, is in power again. The priority list is long, but some things are required to be thought of earlier than others. The first is to fix the economy that suffered appallingly

severely threaten crops, especially the rice grown during annual monsoons. BCCRF is responding by preparing farmers with better seed choices and warning systems. It is also helping build modern silos for the storage of food grains for emergencies. A fourth risk is that a climate change could put a strain on public health. Today, 43% of Bangladeshi children have low height-for-age due to under nutrition— one of the highest rates in the world. A warming of not even 2°C by 2050 could increase by 62% the incidence of children suffering from severe malnutrition. As a result, the BCCRF is conducting a study to assess and guide for emerging health risks. Compared to other countries, Bangladesh is a small greenhouse gas emitter, but it stands to benefit significantly from efforts to reduce emissions. For example, with financing from the BCCRF, solar-powered water pumps are helping farmers replace diesel to save 6,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases each year, and avoid toxic air pollution. The BCCRF is also supporting an initiative that helps communities in nine districts to protect and grow forests, take carbon out of the atmosphere, and provide a natural buffer to high intensity storms. By taking action today, Bangladesh is taking charge of its future and building the resilience of current and next generations to weather the impact of climate change. l Mohammed Nasiruddin is the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Lia Carol Sieghart is Lead Climate Change Specialist of The World Bank.

More than the age difference that disconnects them, they represent opposite facets of India

Twenty years separate the politically tested and sagacious Modi from Rahul Gandhi. More than the age difference that disconnects them, they represent opposite facets of India – Rahul, the fourth of a species of westernised secularists, and Modi the first of his, a homegrown outed communalist. In a culture that sees moral values simplified into Good and Evil (Rama/ Ravana, Krishna/Kansa, Chandiki Devi/Mahisha), it would be natural to regard these two protagonists as implacable opponents, ordained to combat until one vanquishes the other. That is not how modern politics work. A new force that has merged is the phenomenon known as the Aam Aadmi Party, led by Arvind Kejriwal – a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and a former commissioner of income tax. In the Delhi elections in December 2013, he routed the three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit (a Congress favourite). He stayed chief minister for less than two months, resigning in a fit of calculated petulance, to claim a role for his AAP at the national level. It would be tempting to compare Kejriwal with our Imran Khan. Both Kejriwal’s AAP and Imran’s TIP share the conviction that they represent a public demand for honest governance, a laudable ambition except that both want to become black-belts without having to undergo a painful apprenticeship. The stakes in India’s general elections are elephantine in scale. To take just one example, Indian Punjab will contest only 13 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats. Its present debt stands at IRs 100,000 crores. From such mighty oaks will political acorns fall. l FS Aijazuddin, OBE, is the author of more than a dozen books. This article was first published in Dawn.

Crimean referendum because of prolonged violent political instability. The government’s focus on the energy sector, particularly power, is hailed by all who are concerned. But raising the tariff may not be welcomed by the masses. It must think of revamping the economy through clever tax measures, investment policies, and bringing back the confidence of the garment buyers shattered by the Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Factory fire. Another step is reducing the number of state-owned mills, factories, and other enterprises. Can people expect a very hard decision to be made in this case? Excessive use of weapons by law enforcers may result in giving them a free hand to use force in quelling even the simplest of offences. The government may claim that it is doing quite a lot of improvement work, but it is certain that all these initiatives will fall by the wayside if some strategic roadblocks are not swiftly removed. The perception of corruption is too strong among the people. People want to see that, in addition to development works, the government is serious in trying (genuinely) the culprits of share bazaar scam. Because of the Padma Bridge and Hall-Mark scams, members of the cabinet and council of advisers have been dropped. This is not enough to prove that the government is really serious to engage itself against corruption. People will measure the government’s attitude if they see corrupt individuals are in the court. l Syed Ishtiaque Reza is Director of News, Ekattor Television.

n Robert W Gibson


n Sunday, the people of Crimea will be asked to make an impossible choice: To vote to become subjugated by Russia; or to vote for independence – with no guarantee that Russia will show any more respect for the sovereignty of an independent Crimea than she did for the territorial integrity of an independent Ukraine. The terms of the Ukrainian constitution are unequivocal: The vote can only be convened at the request of three million citizens; it must be an allUkraine referendum; and it can only be called by the Ukrainian parliament. None of these conditions have been met. How can a ballot held in the shadow cast by the presence of Russian troops, in a region under military occupation, ever be considered legitimate? These questions should be settled in free and fair referenda – as we will see in Scotland later this year. But Sunday’s referendum in Crimea will be neither free nor fair. For the last two decades, we have sought to put the tension and mistrust of the Cold War behind us: To recognise the powerful and positive contribution Russia brings to the international community – and to the prosperity of all our people. A web of international agreements and institutions has been put in place both to help avoid repeating the bitter confrontations of the past and to settle disputes peacefully. Organisations like the OSCE and Council of Europe, of which Russia is an integral member,

exist to help states address questions of self-determination and defend the rights of minorities.

We continue to urge President Putin to use his authority for the good of Crimea, Ukraine, Europe, and Russia,

It is still not too late for Russia to use these institutions, to engage seriously in diplomacy, and to find a peaceful resolution But, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe – the standard bearer of electoral integrity – has declared that the referendum will be illegal and will not send observers to the poll. Yet, it is still not too late for Russia to use these institutions, to engage seriously in diplomacy, and to find a peaceful resolution.

and end this crisis. A vital first step will be for Moscow to refrain from recognising the outcome of Sunday’s referendum. After all, it will have no legal effect. It will have no moral force. l Robert W Gibson is the British High Commissioner to Dhaka.


Nasiruddin and n Mohammed Lia Carol Sieghart

here is a growl that can be heard across India. It is a sound somewhere between the plaintive whimper of the poor and the contented purr of the upper class. To a trained ear, it is the stifled remonstrance of a disgruntled middle class, which has seen worse days and was once promised better ones. That growl could soon turn into a roar, for during the five weeks between April 7 and May 12, class distinctions within India will be levelled into an electoral uniformity as 814.5 million voters queue outside computerised polling booths to select their next set of representatives. The vote of President Pranab Mukherjee will not count for more than that of his least advantaged fellow Bengali. This 16th general election in India is innovative for many reasons. It will be the first time that the election schedule will be extended over such a long period. Over 28,000 trans-genders have been enfranchised. And the Indian voter has been granted the nihilist’s dream – the power to say “NOTA” (None of the Above). The first Indian general elections in 1951 followed the Henry Ford principle – the 176 million voters could choose any party so long as it was a Nehru-led Congress. Since then, Indian democracy has matured as newer parties have emerged both at the Centre (BJP, for one) and in the States, until now government in New Delhi is almost inconceivable except as a coalition. Today, the choices before the Indian electorate are distractingly limitless. For those to whom the suffix Gandhi remains a rudraksha mala, a talisman ensuring success, Mrs Sonia Gandhi and her dimpled son Rahul will remain obvious preferences.  Since leading the party left to her by her in-laws and the heir left in her care by her late husband, Sonia Gandhi has demonstrated with unsuspected dexterity that being a foreign-born Italian is not necessarily a disadvantage within the mafia known as Indian politics.   No young leader in the 21st century – not Kim Jong-il, not Bashar al-Assad, not Yingluck Shinawatra – has been groomed with such assiduousness as Rahul Gandhi. He inherited his father’s fair looks and his political mantle, but with it a genetic flaw – immature judgment. Within his party, he commands loyalty more than respect. Outside his party, he is seen, despite being “marinated in politics,” as still pink and underdone.  Opposing him is a phalanx of powerful chief ministers, the most news-worthy of which are the three Graces – Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, Mayawati of Uttar Pradesh, and Jayalalithaa Jayaram of Tamil Nadu.  Secure in their own states, they are all too aware that while they may not be able to reign in New Delhi, they can like satraps under the Mughals determine who will rule there.

The most prominent chief minister who is being propelled as the alternative to the Gandhis in the forthcoming elections is Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi. He heads a BJP-led National Democratic Alliance which is gaining momentum as polling dates draw near. His hands, once soiled by the blood of Muslims during the riots in 2002, were extended recently to receive a bouquet – the equivalent of an olive branch of absolution - from the US Ambassador to India Ms Nancy Powell (earlier the US consul general in Lahore).




BCB Celebration Concert


Ilias Kanchan and Chhoby pair up after 10 years n Entertainment Desk After ten long years, popular bigscreen actor Ilias Kanchan and small screen actor Farzana Chhoby will pair up for a telefilm named Joldanga, written and directed by Gazi Apel Mahmud. Including Kanchan and Chhoby, others who acted in the telefilm are Nayela, Tushar Mahmud, Pulok Haider, Sidr Sumon and Suchuna Sikder. The telefilm portrays a clash between the leader of a community of a Haor and a fishermen community, has been made under the banner of

Four Vision. The shooting was completed recently in a Haor situated at Sunamganj. About his role, Ilias said: “I play the owner of a Haor in the telefilm which portrayed the clash between the owner and the fishermen community. I hope the audience will take this alternative character positively.’’ Farzana Chhoby with her role of a usurer of the fishermen community hopes that the audience will accept her alternative role positively. The duo appeared as pair for the first time in 2004 in a telefilm directed by the late Suvash Datta titled Ekti Lal Golap. l

Saturday, March 15, 2014

n Limana Solaiman On March 13, music lovers of Bangladesh lined outside the Bangabandhu National Stadium for watching the live performance of music maestro AR Rahman. After a lengthy wait which seemed to stretch on forever and of course harassment at the gate from the organisers that entailed confiscating makeup products and hairbrushes, the crowd was finally allowed into the stadium one by one. But the wait for the show to start went on till 4:50pm when Arnob and Friends finally took to the stage and performed three songs as only 10 minutes were allocated for their performance. Shobbhota, Palki and Hridi accompanied Arnob on stage. There was hardly any response from the crowd and it was quite a sad occasion when the beloved singer and his group left the stage without receiving applause from the audience who usually go berserk when Arnob performs. The tempo started to pick up with Souls’ performance, their celebrated song Mon Shudhu Mon Chuyeche received audience appreciation, which was followed by their tracks Chayer Cupe and of course Nishongota. Next, Ayub Bachchu with his band LRB performed their songs Rakhe Allah Maare Ke, Ural Debo Akashe, Bangladesh and others. There was a familiar buzz and excitement spreading in the galleries as the crowd started to settle down and finally enjoy the show. At one point when the enthusiasm among the crowd was dwindling, Ayub Bachchu sensing the mood thanked the audience for listening to Bangla songs. Although 10 minutes were allocated for each band, LRB stayed onstage for almost 30 minutes. After the break for Maghrib prayer, the show resumed with the Chhayanaut Sangskritik Songothon rendering the National anthem attired in traditional avatar, which was followed by the BCB welcome song by Konal and Fuad. Warda Rihab’s dance troupe accompanied the singers onstage with their dazzling performance. It was a celebration to say the least. After a video presentation portraying the history and rise of the Bangladesh cricket team, Nazmul Hasan MP, chairman of the Bangladesh Cricket Board delivered his opening speech. State Minister Shri Biren Sikder, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith and finally, the Prime Minister delivered their speeches respectively. By this time, the expectant crowd was on the edge and after a video presentation with the patriotic song Joi Bangla, the star of the concert, celebrated musician AR Rahman finally graced the audience with his presence. The response of the crowd was monumental and Rahman took the stage by storm with his upbeat track Faana. One of the fascinating part of the show was the stage backdrop that was LED screens incorporated with 3D animation which kept on showing one brilliant

backdrop after another and also videos of AR Rahman. After Chale Chalo and Tumtak, Udit Narayan appeared onstage surprising the audience and spread a harmonious feel among the mass with his melodious voice rendering the celebrated song from the movie Laagan called Mitwa. Other Indian artistes at the programme included Niti Mohan, Sweta Pundith, Shivamani and Javed Ali. Niti Mohan’s performance was quite outstanding, from her costume to her melodious voice and her apparent good look, she was an instant hit with the crowd. Waving various coloured light sticks which were handed out by the organisers at the entrance, the audience expressed their enjoyment and enthusiasm. Next, the versatile music maestro gave another completely different performance with his Sufi tracks with the stage backdrop adapting to the mood of the music. Rahman was playing the harmonium while his troupe was engaged in playing the other necessary instruments for the serene music. AR Rahman and his entire group of accompanying artistes kept the audience on their feet with one hit track after another including Radha Kaise Na Jale, Maahi Ve, Naadan Parinde and the bonanza ended with the famous song Jai Ho which earned him an Oscar. The range of variety in performance presented by the “the Mozart of Madras,” a title earned for his body of work was truly remarkable. All the songs had dancers and performers along with video presentations on the backdrop. With costumes that lit up and attractive performances of the renowned singers, the AR Rahman concert will certainly be a hard act to follow. After Rahman’s performance Senegalese-American R&B and hip hop icon Akon rocked the stage with his popular tracks as the interactive backdrop showed spirals of colours matching the mood of the crowd and the beat of the hip hop tracks. Akon has skills of a master entertainer and had the crowd hooked with his upbeat songs and urged the audience to participate. Celebrated Bangladeshi singers Sabina Yasmin, Kumar Biswajit, Momtaz and Runa Laila’s performances were saved for the last part of the event. Other Bangladeshi artistes including Kona, Pantho Kanai and Elita performed in the concluding song of the ceremony which was a colourful array of performances. Throughout the duration of the event, a beautiful and eye catching light show was being projected on a twenty storied building close to the stadium. Another spectacle worth mentioning was the incredible fireworks display that always wows the crowd and works as a mood lifter. In the BCB concert, fireworks were displayed twice, once after the Prime Minister declared the T20 World Cup officially open and at the very end of the programme. The host of the evening was Nusrat Faria, who is also a popular radio jockey. l

Soumyen Adhikari to perform today at IGCC n Entertainment Desk A Musical Evening by Mr Soumyen Adhikari from India titled Boshante Hemanta will be held at the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre at 6:30pm today. Born in 1968 in Kolkata, Soumyen Adhikari was initiated into music by his father, late Golok Nath Adhikari, after which he trained in Rabindra Sangeet, classical music and modern songs from stalwarts such as Shyamal Chatterjee, Chittopriyo Mukherjee, Probir Mojumder, Amal Mukherjee, Mrinal Banerjee and Kanu Bhattacharya. Adhikari’s music is deeply influenced by legendary maestro Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyay. Adhikari has won several awards during his illustrious career, such as the Hemanta Smriti Puroskar, Uttam Kumar Smriti Puroskar and Loke Nath Award. Audio cassettes and CDs of his solo and duet performances with celebrities such as Kumar Shanu, Haimanti Shukla, Amrick Singh Arora, Dipankar Chatterjee and Jojo Lopamudra Mitra have been released by top music labels. Adhikari has also performed as a playback singer in several Bengali films and TV serials. He is also a regular performer for All India Radio FM Centre, Kolkata; Doordarshan and many private TV channels in India. l

Kothamanobi, a documentary play that depicts the life journey of eight courageous women – Draupadi, Ganga, Medha Patkar, Rizia, Madhobi, Maloti, Shahbanu and Khona – was staged at the auditorium of National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on March 12 evening. The play directed by Nishat Jahan Rana and based on Mollika Sengupta’s poetic drama of the same name tells the story of the women’s struggle and endless hope of not losing hope for justice SUBRIN AL AZAD

Estate of Hendrix signs deal with ICM Partners for biopic The US Postal service released an limited-edition Forever stamp Thursday featuring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame star. The stamp comes out decades after the musician died in 1970, when a stamp cost just 6 cents. Today, one costs 49 cents. It is designed to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve and shows Hendrix wearing one of his trademark military jackets and playing a guitar


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

n Entertainment Desk Snapping at the heels of the forthcoming Jimi Hendrix biopic, Jimi: All Is By My Side, the estate of Hendrix has signed a deal with the ICM Partners agency with the intention of creating a fully authorised film based on his life. “We’re delighted to be associated with ICM Partners on this project that’s been a long time coming,” Janie Hendrix,

president and CEO of Experience Hendrix, LLC said on their website. “Our concern has always been that any biography of Jimi that employs his music be held to the very highest standard of cinematic excellence. His musical legacy deserves no less. Our partners at ICM are ideal insofar as they completely understand that the use of his music in such a film is a monumental responsibility that will resonate through generations to come as Jimi’s artistry has since the 1960s.” The family-run company controls the rights to all the music made by the late guitar legend. While Jimi: All Is By My Side, directed by Oscar winner John Ridley, features no actual Hendrix music in the film, this proposed new project with ICM Partners will have access to the Hendrix catalog. Plans for a Hendrix biopic have been making the rounds for years with everyone from Lenny Kravitz to Will Smith and Anthony Mackie tagged to play Hendrix. Andre 3000, of course, stars in Jimi: All Is By My Side, which is currently making the rounds at SXSW. l

Did you know? Bayern have won 28 of their last 31 home games, with a draw & a loss vs. Arsenal & a defeat to Man City the other results


Saturday, March 15, 2014

0 0 1

14 Fiorentina hold



Bangladesh innings Tamim c Stirling b Dockrell 32 Anamul c Porterfield b Stirling 3 Sabbir Rahman b McBrine 23 Shakib Al Hasan not out 58 Mushfiqur Rahim not out 59 Extras (lb 2, w 2) 4 Total (3 wickets; 20 overs) 179 FoW: 1-9, 2-57, 3-63 Bowling Stirling 4-0-18-1, McBrine 4-0-22-1, Cusack 3-0-46-0, Murtagh 4-0-40-0, Dockrell 3-0-29-1, K O’Brien 2-0-22-0

Ireland innings


Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and ace allrounder Shakib al Hasan share the joy during their World T20 warm-up match against Ireland at Fatullah yesterday MUMIT M

Regular service resumed Mushfiq returns behind the wicket It was a relief for the Bangladesh side to see Mushfiqur Rahim return to his job behind the wicket, ahead of their crucial ICC World T20 opener against Afghanistan yesterday. After sustaining a fracture on his finger during the second Test against Sri Lanka in February, the captain in order to avoid further injury, kept himself away from keeping wickets and featured only as a batsman. He skipped the two-match T20 series against Sri Lanka, but played seven ODIs (Sri Lanka series and Asia Cup) since then only as a batsman. l


15 Masakadza gets

Zim back on feet

Sabbir praises Tigers win


Porterfield* c Tamim b Mashrafe 44 Stirling b Sohag 4 Joyce c Anamul b Mashrafe 15 Poynter st Mushfiq b Shakib 12 Wilson b Razzak 0 O’Brien c Tamim b Shakib 3 Thompson c Mushfiq b Al-Amin 35 Sorensen st Mushfiq b Mahmudullah 4 Cusack not out 3 Murtagh not out 3 Extras (b 1, lb 9, w 2) 12 Total (8 wickets; 20 overs) 135 FoW: 1-11, 2-33, 3-54, 4-59, 5-70, 6-84, 7-121, 8-123 Bowling Sohag 4-0-24-1, Mashrafe 4-0-28-2, Al-Amin 3-0-11-1, Shakib 3-0-13-2, Razzak 3-0-30-1, Mahmudullah 2-0-15-1, Farhad 1-0-4-0 Bangladesh won by 44 runs


The approximate 6000 crowd present at the Fatullah stadium on a Friday afternoon left with happy faces as Bangladesh after a grueling year so far, rode on blistering fifties from skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib al Hasan to shape up their World Twenty20 campaign in some style. The two seniors of the side exhibited some classy strokes to add 116 runs in the last 9.5 overs which eventually made the difference in their 44-run win over Ireland in their last warm-up game yesterday. The warm-up games allow 12 players a side, though 11 takes the field, and Bangladesh made three changes from their previous game against UAE. Sohag Gazi, Mashrafe bin Mortaza and Sabbir

Rahman replaced Mominul Haque, Rubel Hossain and Al Amin Hossain and the latter was used as a bowler. With 179 to defend, the Tigers showed no mercy in their approach in the second-half of the game. The bowlers were strict in maintaining their line and length while the ground fielding and catching was also better than the recent past as Ireland were restricted to 135 for eight. Gazi took the new ball and gave the first breakthrough by cleaning up Paul Stirling in the third over while Mashrafe too looked in song having claimed two for 28 off his quota. Shakib was instrumental with the ball and the left-arm spinner took full advantage of the sluggish track to end with match best figures of two for 13. 44 from opener William Porterfield and a 19-ball 35 from No 7 Stuart Thompson were the only notable

scores among the Irishmen. Earlier, opting to bat first the home side struggled against the Irish spinners and were going at a slow rate before the right and left-handed combination took their opponent bowlers apart. The world No 4 ICC Twenty20 all-rounder Shakib faced 32 balls for 58 while Mushfiq was unbeaten on a 30-ball 59 as the Tigers posted 179 for three which after even 10 overs was looking an impossible score to achieve. Bangladesh were reeling at 63 for three in 10.1 overs when Mushfiq joined Shakib, promoted at four, following the dismissal of rookie batsman Sabbir who was cleaned up by off-spinner Andrew McBrine for a run-a-ball 23. Shakib and Mushfiq concentrated on rotating the strike with singles from their first ball at the crease before the duo broke loose in the last eight overs where they added 105 runs together.

Skipper Dhoni under pressure

Black marketing in Fatullah

India skipper MS Dhoni and his team is not seeing only the Test playing nations a threat in the ICC World Twenty20 which will begin tomorrow. For the wicket-keeper batsman, any team can be a worthy opponents as nearly all the team are pretty equal in the 20over game. “It doesn’t only matter if it’s the Test playing nations who are good at it. It all boils down to how you execute your plans because every team has their string of big hitters and at the same time they have got bowlers who can have a big impact on the game. I think this format especially it’s all about you know what you do in those particular three hours. And every over, every couple of overs can actually change the result completely so I think every team has a fair amount of chance,” said Dhoni to the media in the pre-tournament conference held in the team hotel in Dhaka yesterday. However the 32-year-old from Bihar admitted that there will be under pressure on India in the 16-nation tournament mostly because of the bad patch the team went through in the last three months. The side has had a poor run during the tours to South Africa and New Zealand, and then failing to qualify for the Asia Cup final. “Even when you win the World Cup, there is a lot of pressure, especially when you are in the Indian cricket team. I think we have had to endure tough times recently but even in these tough situations it’s not like we haven’t played good cricket. If you look at our Test performances away from home since 2011 you will see that our displays

Even before the start of the T20 World Championship the black marketing of tickets already started to rise in the warm up matches in Fatullah where Bangladesh was facing Ireland yesterday and a huge number of people who did not get the tickets from the booth created chaos outside the stadium. The security persons had to push back the excited fans when they tried to get into the stadium without tickets and for that reason the spectators who had tickets also faced difficulties to get into the stadium. The matter was so intense that the ICC’s security coordinator of Bangladesh went to watch the situation and gave instructions to them and looked unhappy with the security procedure at the stadium gates. Meanwhile, one fan who managed to get a ticket from the black market said they had to pay Tk150, although the original price of the ticket was Tk25. Habibur Rahman, a college student who bought two tickets from the black market, informed that he had to buy tickets paying more than it cost only because he wanted to watch the tigers in action. “I bought two tickets and paid 300 taka each, costs 150 from a guy who was selling the tickets outside the stadium. I am happy enough to get the tickets though the price is high only because there were no tickets available in the ticket booth,” he said. “Book my show” an Indian company are the official ticket selling partner and one of the members of the company informed that each person can buy four tickets officially but if anyone sells those tickets outside, the could not stop that. l

haven’t been upto the mark. In the last two away series [against South Africa and New Zealand] we have shown that we have talent though we lost both the series. So I think, you know, we are on the way up. And that’s where you want to be. There is always pressure,” said Dhoni. Dhoni has returned to the national side after missing the Asia Cup due to a side strain that he suffered during India’s tour of New Zealand earlier this year. In his absence, top order batsman Virat Kohli, led India during the Asia Cup. Dhoni informed that there is no concern with his injury. “You know that’s the amount of cricket we play. If you get injured, obviously, you have to look at the positive sides and for me the positive side was to get a bit of rest. I was at home with no work. It [break] was something that

I would appreciate. It’s not something that you want to do, you don’t want to get injured and miss a series. So overall, a good 10-12 days off. And you know now [I’m] back to the international scenario so that’s what you want.” India in Group 2 of the Super Ten Phase of the tournament will face Australia, Pakistan and West Indies. “As for our planning, we are not just looking at the first game. Our group is quite a competitive one so all the matches will be important. Especially, when you consider our performance in the last edition of the World T20 [in 2012] where we exited from the tournament after losing just one game. Every game will be important. We have a couple of warm-up games before our first game so we’ll be looking towards using those warm-ups to sort out our team’s balance,” said Dhoni. l

Both Mushfiq and Shakib dominated the Irish bowlers in their strong zone – midwicket and straight – while the odd cut and slice also fetched them boundaries on the off-side. The skipper was the first to reach fifty among the two with a four in his 26th ball, while Shakib took 30 balls to land his half century in the last over of their innings. The skipper hammered eight fours and two sixes in total while Shakib clobbered seven boundaries, four of which came in the ultimate over, and one six. At the top Anamul Haque was disappointing once again getting out on three before Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir put on 48 runs in 38 balls. Bangladesh’s first boundary in the game came in the fifth over when Tamim sliced over point after surviving a mistimed straight loft which went high and landed in between two confused fielders at mid-on and mid-off. l

It was rather a clinical performance from Bangladesh as they beat Ireland convincingly by 44 runs, which will surely boost the confidence of the home side before going in to their important match against Afghanistan said Sabbir Rahman, who gots his first opportunity in the warm up game at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium yesterday. “Bangladesh has been losing quite a few matches recently and our target was to win the two warm up matches, which we played well in both the warm up matches and definitely if a team wins, it really boosts the confidence of a side and our target is playing well against Afghanistan,” said Sabbir. However Bangladesh lost Anamul early and later Tamim was dismissed after scoring 32. Sabbir who came into bat at number three, made 23 before skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib al Hasan both scored half centuries and added 116 for the fourth wicket to take the side to 179/3. “Mushfiq and Shakib batted well and had a good partnership and if they continue playing this way I think there would be no problem in the middle order for us,” added Sabbir. Meanwhile injured fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza returned to the side and the 30 year bowled well, taking two wickets. “It’s always a pressure after suddenly getting into the side. Actually it’s tough to play the natural game but I will try to perform. This is my second T20 game after Sri Lanka so I will try to improve my game,” he said. Though Bangladesh won the match comfortably compared to their first warm up match against UAE, the allrounder informed that there is always some pressure in cricket, “There is no comfortable match in cricket there will be some pressure but we tried to play our natural game and we scored 180 odd losing three wickets, which I think is good enough.” On the other hand Ireland captain, William Porterfield was disappointed after losing the match but added that it will help his side for the future and gained experience. “Yes I think we are slightly disappointed after losing sixty odd runs which is a big margin in this format but at the same time, we can take some positives from the match and take a lot on how Bangladesh played,” said Porterfield. l

McCullum raring to go Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand skipper is charged up to wipe out all the nightmares of the last Bangladesh tour and looks forward to put on an impressive show in the ICC WT20. The Kiwi skipper was sharing his thoughts with the press yesterday. “Obviously the last time we came to Bangladesh we didn’t have a great tour – probably the last two times we came here we haven’t had a great tour – but I think both times we’ve come straight out of winter and I think this time around we’ve come with a lot more cricket under our belt. We’ve come off our home summer and obviously a pretty successful one back home as well, so confidence is pretty high within the group, but very realistic that we’re coming up against a lot of formidable T20 teams around the world, so we’re quietly confident but certainly know we’ve got a big job in front of us and if we can adapt to the Bangladesh conditions quickly, that’s certainly going to help us,” said McCullum. The Kiwi skipper was confident that Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham will spit fire when required. He said, “Corey has shown just how devastating he can be with bat in hand, and I think some of the roles he’s played in pressure situations with the ball as well, for a young guy, we’ve asked a lot of him and he seems to have it, he’s an incredible talent; he’s a huge part of our side. I think Jimmy Neesham is also a very dangerous player who brings a great skill set to this form of the game. And around those two guys, they certainly allow us to balance our team quite nicely, so hopefully both those guys adapt to the conditions

quickly and set themselves up for a pretty big tournament.” Brendon McCullum was hoping for a rollicking start in the tournament. “I think in this form of the game you certainly need a little bit of luck. If you look back to the last T20 World Cup, I think we lost two games in super overs, and I think both those teams went on and were pretty dominant in the back end of the tournament, so we’re going to need a little bit of luck along

the way if we start well. That’s going to be the key for us: starting the tournament well and trying to build some momentum and get some pretty quick information about the conditions, then I think we’ve got the personnel and the match-winners in our team to give it a good shake.” Winning a major trophy remained a target for the captain. “I think every team in this competition has a good chance of being there at the business end of it. That’s no different for us as well. I think the 2015 World Cup at home would certainly be a goal for us, but this one here, if we play well at the start then who knows where we can get to” concluded McCullum. l



Romero is Argentina’s No 1 WC keeper Sergio Romero will be Argentina’s first-choice goalkeeper at the World Cup in Brazil in June despite spending most of his time at Monaco on the bench, national coach Alejandro Sabella said on Thursday. The former winners are likely to have one of the strongest attacks at the finals but their defence has come under scrutiny with Romero being criticised for not always commanding his penalty area. “Romero had a good match and I consider him an excellent goalkeeper who unfortunately is not getting continuity at his club,” said Sabella. –Reuters


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chalmers, Lee to share US PGA lead

‘Hero’ Akmal cleared in traffic case

Australian Greg Chalmers and New Zealand’s Danny Lee, each seeking his first US PGA title, fired three-under-par 68s Thursday to stand among four sharing the first-round lead at the Valspar Championship. Americans Matt Every and Pat Perez joined them atop the leaderboard in the $5.7 million event. “I gained a lot of confidence after last week playing with the finish in Puerto Rico,” Lee said. ”It really helped me a lot with that confidence stuff, and I’m hitting it really well right now. My ball striking is the best it’s ever been, especially with the putting.” –AFP

Pakistani cricketer Umar Akmal was Friday cleared in a traffic violation case after the police officer forgave him, saying he was a “national hero”. The 23-yearold was arrested by Lahore police on February 1 for violating traffic rules and scuffling with policeman Mohammad Zeeshan. He was released on bail after being detained for hours and a local court last month issued a warrant against him, ordering him to appear on March 11. Akmal had denied the charges and accused the police of one-sided action. –AFP

Fiorentina hold Juve while Benfica sink Spurs

Benfica striker Rodrigo (2R) scores his team's opening goal against Tottenham during their Uefa Europa League round of 16 first leg match at White Hart Lane on Thursday

Bayern eye title Bayern Munich host Bayer Leverkusen in Saturday’s top Bundesliga match with the European champions reeling from Uli Hoeness’ resignation after his conviction for major tax fraud. Sami Hyypia-coached Leverkusen were the last team to beat runaway leaders Bayern in the league when they left the Allianz Arena with a shock 2-1 win in October 2012. Since then Bayern are unbeaten in 49 league matches and enjoy a 20-point lead in the table. But the club is in turmoil after Hoeness resigned as both president and chairman of the advisory board on Friday after being sentenced to three and a half years in jail on Thursday, The 62-year-old, who won the 1974 World Cup with West Germany, cheated the German state out of 28.5 million euros ($39.5 million) of taxes. “Tax evasion was the mistake of

my life,” Hoeness said in a statement on the Bayern website. I want to avert harm to my club. Bayern Munich is my life’s work and always will be. “I will stay committed to this great club and its people as long as I live.” Having been the driving force behind the Champions League holders since

FIXTURES Dortmund v Werder Bremen v Hoffenheim v Braunschweig v Hertha Berlin v Bayern Munich v

M'gladbach Stuttgart Mainz 05 Wolfsburg Hanover 96 Leverkusen

joining them as an 18-year-old in 1970, Hoeness played a huge part in turning them into a European powerhouse. Bayern have won 21 of their 23 German league titles and all five of their European Cup or Champions League victories with him involved either as a player, club manager or president. l

RESULTS Porto (POR) Martinez 57

Basel (SUI) Razgrad (BUL)

1 0

Napoli (ITA)

0 0 0 3

Salzburg (AUT)

1 3

Benfica (POR)

1 0

Anzhi (RUS)

Valencia (ESP)

Barragan 5, Cartabia 33, Senderos 59

Tottenham (ENG) Eriksen 64

AZ Alkmaar (NED) Johannsson 31-P

Rodrigo 30, Luisao 58, 84

4 1

Viktoria (CZE)

Fofana 12, 70, Lacazette 53, Mvuemba 61

Horava 2

0 2

Betis (ESP)

1 1

Fiorentina (ITA)

Lyon (FRA)

Sevilla (ESP)

Baptistao 15, Sevilla 77

Juventus (ITA) Vidal 3

Gomez 79

Man City resume title push Following FA Cup and Champions League exits in the space of only four days, Manchester City will look to relaunch their Premier League title challenge at Hull City this weekend. March has been a topsy-turvy month for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, whose League Cup triumph over Sunderland was followed by last weekend’s shock defeat by Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup and the mid-week Champions League loss to Barcelona. It is three weeks since City last played a league game -- winning 1-0 at home to Stoke City on February 22 -and in the intervening time they have seen Chelsea pull nine points clear of them at the top of the table. The 2012 champions now have three games in hand and, with Liverpool and Arsenal both seven points off the

pace (albeit with a game in hand each), they seem the side most likely to knock Chelsea off the summit. Their cup commitments have left a mark, however, with top scorer Sergio Aguero a doubt for the trip to the KC Stadium after being withdrawn due to a hamstring problem during Wednesday’s game at Barcelona. Hull will be buoyed by having reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1930 last weekend, but City midfielder Samir Nasri says that his side are supremely motivated by the challenge of reeling Chelsea in. “We don’t have a choice. Now our target is to win the league,” he told reporters after City’s 2-1 defeat at Camp Nou extinguished their hopes of a trophy treble. “I think here we showed we have the quality to be up there with the best teams in Europe. It is a good thing for us. It is important now to finish the

season well and win the league.” With Saturday’s game a lunchtime kick-off, victory for City would provisionally take them to within six points of Chelsea, who visit mid-table Aston

FIXTURES Aston Villa Everton Fulham Hull City Southampton Stoke City Sunderland Swansea City

v v v v v v v v

Chelsea Cardiff City Newcastle Man City Norwich City West Ham Crystal Palace West Brom

Villa later in the day. Chelsea crushed Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 at Stamford Bridge last Saturday, but despite their sizeable lead, goalkeeper Petr Cech has echoed manager Jose Mourinho by expressing caution over their title chances.

“City have enough experience and quality in their squad to win their games in hand, and it’s up to them to do that,” he told the club website. “We are in a good position, we go game by game, and we try to do our best.” Sunday sees two of English football’s most enduring fixtures take centre stage, with Manchester United hosting Liverpool at Old Trafford before Arsenal visit Tottenham in the north London derby. With United nine points below fourth-place City, having played two games more, they will be desperate to beat old rivals Liverpool and enhance their fading hopes of Champions League qualification. Liverpool, however, have reignited their title challenge by winning their last four games and manager Brendan Rodgers is relishing the prospect of pitting his side against a wounded United.l

Real focused on preserving lead

Ozil out for four weeks: Wenger Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil will be out for between three to six weeks with a hamstring injury, manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday. Germany international Ozil, who cost 42.5 million pounds ($70.87 million) when he joined from Real Madrid in August, was substituted at halftime against Bayern Munich in the Champions League aggregate defeat on Tuesday. “When the minimum is three, the maximum is six so let’s say four weeks out,” Wenger told reporters at a news conference of his playmaker’s prognosis. “Ozil had a very good game against Everton but he was handicapped early on in the Bayern game.” Arsenal have a number of injury concerns as they prepare for Sunday’s north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur - a game they need to win to stay in touch in the Premier League title race. Aaron Ramsey, who has been out since December with a thigh injury, had been in contention for a return against Spurs but that has now been delayed. “He still has recurrent pains in his thigh, we have to be very cautious with him,” Wenger said. Arsenal, who are seven points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand, are also without Jack Wilshere (foot) and long term absentees Theo Walcott (knee) and Abou Diaby. Better news for the Gunners is the return to fitness of defender Nacho Monreal and midfielder Kim Kallstrom, who has yet to make an appearance since joining in January. Defender Kieran Gibbs and striker Yaya Sanogo may also be fit to feature on Sunday. l


Mario Gomez dusted off his shooting boots to put Fiorentina in the driving seat with a 1-1 Europa League draw at Juventus while Benfica were too good for Tottenham Hotspur, winning their last16 first leg 3-1 away on Thursday. Germany striker Gomez had not scored since returning in February after five months out with a knee injury but tilted the tie in his team’s favour with a 79th-minute strike while Real Betis tore up the form book to win 2-0 at local rivals Sevilla. Twice winners Porto beat Napoli 1-0 thanks to Jackson Martinez’s superb finish and Helton’s agile goalkeeping. Valencia played for more than an hour with 10 men but still beat Ludogorets 3-0 in Bulgaria. The goals, however, dried up for the previous round’s big scorers Salzburg who were held to a 0-0 draw at Basel, ending a run of 14 successive wins in all competitions. Juventus’s clash with Fiorentina was a replay of the 1990 UEFA Cup final and came four days after the two sides met in Serie A.

Juventus, three places and 27 points clear of their domestic rivals, won 1-0 on Sunday and took the lead after three minutes when the ball fell kindly at the feet of Arturo Vidal and he dispatched it powerfully into the net from 10 metres. Yet their failure to kill off the tie gave hope to Fiorentina who grew in confidence and eventually punished their hosts late on. l

Uefa Trophy Tour Ambassador Ruud Gullit speaks during a press conference in Lagos on Thursday. Ruud Gullit is in Nigeria to begin a three-nation Uefa Trophy tour AFP

Van Persie quashes talk of United exit Robin van Persie has slammed speculation that he is unhappy at Manchester United and wants to quit the troubled Premier League champions. Van Persie was reported to be disgruntled with life at United following Alex Ferguson’s retirement at the end of last season and the Dutch striker’s relatively poor form this term has added to the impression that all is not well.But van Persie on Thursday hit back at rumours that he wanted to leave in an exclusive interview with United’s match-day programme. “I don’t mind if my performances get dissected and people criticise what I’ve done on the pitch. They can talk

about my game 24/7 for all I care and a lot of those opinions and criticisms may actually be right. So I don’t mind that,” van Persie told United Review. “What I need to address are the situations when people are taking it upon themselves to think for me, make assumptions, or interpret things as if they are me. Last time I checked my head was still attached to my body, so I’m the only one who knows exactly what I’m feeling and that is not what I or the fans have been reading. “The truth is I’m very happy here at this club. I signed for four years and I’d be delighted to stay even longer, beyond the next two years I have left on my contract. l

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale has warned against looking ahead to next weekend’s Clasico clash with Barcelona before his side travel to face Malaga on Saturday. Los Blancos have opened up a fourpoint advantage on third-placed Barca at the top of La Liga with 11 games to go and could all but end the Catalans’ hopes of retaining their title with victory at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 23. However, with both title rivals Barca and Atletico Madrid having suffered surprise defeats on the road in recent

'Denmark won’t punish Bendtner' Denmark coach Morten Olsen will not take any action against Nicklas Bendtner following allegations the striker abused a taxi driver on a drunken night out in Copenhagen on Tuesday. Bendtner was not in the squad for Arsenal’s 1-1 Champions League draw at Bayern Munich on Tuesday which sent them out of the competition and Danish media reported on Thursday the alleged altercation with the taxi driver. “I have spoken to Nicklas and found out what’s going on and based on that we have no intention of reprisals from our side,” coach Morten Olsen was quoted as saying in a Danish football association (DBU) statement. l

weeks, Bale stressed they can take nothing for granted against relegationthreatened Malaga.

FIXTURES Levante Rayo Vallecano Malaga Atletico Madrid

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Celta Vigo Almeria Real Madrid Espanyol

“At the moment the next game in the league is against Malaga and we are concentrated on playing well there and getting the three points,” he said on Thursday. “Afterwards we can think about the Clasico against Barcelona. It is impor-

tant to play in these huge games that everyone loves. Winning a title is always difficult, but they are great games and we can’t wait to play them.” Madrid were not in Champions League action in midweek and with their last 16, second leg against Schalke on Tuesday a mere formality after a 6-1 hammering of the Germans in the first leg three weeks ago, coach Carlo Ancelotti has no need to rotate his squad. Atletico currently lie in second, three points behind Real, and are also in action on Saturday when they host Espanyol. Los Rojiblancos enjoyed an historic week as they secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in 17 years on Tuesday. l

Lille face Nantes test Having sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in midweek, Paris SaintGermain will hope to get the better of bogey team Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1

on Sunday. The French capital club are fresh from a 2-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen that saw win their last-16 tie 6-1 on aggregate and further boosted confidence as they turn their attentions back to a seemingly relentless march towards retaining their domestic title. Laurent Blanc’s side are unbeaten in 12 league games and come into the weekend eight points clear of nearest challengers Monaco at the top of the table.

The coach will bring back several players who were rested in midweek, including former Saint-Etienne captain Blaise Matuidi, and he will be looking for a better display from his side after they failed to reach their usual heights against Leverkusen. “It wasn’t a great PSG performance. I was expecting a bit more from my team, but we will move on now and worry about the game against Saint-Etienne,” said Blanc after Wednesday’s match. l

FIXTURES Lille AC Ajaccio Evian TG Nice Rennes Sochaux

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Nantes Guingamp Valenciennes SC Bastia Toulouse Lorient



Ruman Sana moves to archery final Ruman Sana, the Bangladesh archer will play for the gold medal in the men’s Recurve Bow in the 1st Asian Archery Grand Prix in Bangkok today. In the semifinal yesterday, Ruman Sana beat Tsybzhitov Bolot of Russia by 6-5 sets to cruise into the final. Sana will face off with another Russian, Tsybekdorzhiev Bair. Another Bangladesh archer, Sheikh Sojib lost to Tsybekdorzhiev Bair 6-2 in the semis and eventually was placed sixth. Emdadul Haque Milon lost Kamaruddin Hajik of Malaysia by 7-3 sets to finish overall ninth. –Tribune Desk

Corporate Badminton reaches semi stage The Ispahani Corporate Badminton Grand Prix saw the noted shuttlers move into the semifinals in the second day of the meet at the Officer’s Club yesterday. Men’s single semifinalists were Mahbub – Officer’s Club, Hashem –Officer’s Club, Mahsin – Banglalink, Noman – Bkash. Women’s single semifinalists were Urmi – Officer’s Club, Daizy – Officer’s Club. In the event of mixed double’s Daizy and Mahbub – Officer’s Club, Urmi and Moyasir – Officer’s Club, Mohsin and Rubayat – Banglalink, Sanjid and Lubna – Banglalink secured semifinal places. Meanwhile Daizy and Urmi made it through the semis of women’s double semifinals and while Maria and Rajsree also secured semifinal slots. –Tribune Desk

PDB win volleyball tournament Power Development Board (PDB) emerged as the champions of the Minister Independence Day Volleyball tournament by beating Bangladesh Army 3-1 in the final at the Dhaka Volleyball Stadium yesterday. Bangladesh Army had won the previous two editions of the tournament and beat PDB in last year’s final but found them outclassed by the same opponents this time round. PDB had to toil hard to win the first two sets 25-23 and 30-28, lost the third 15-25 but bounced back to win in four sets 25-23. Titash Gas clinched third spot by beating Bangladesh Navy 3 sets to 1 in the third-place decider. Youth and Sports Minister Sri Biren Sikder distributed the prizes to the winners as the chief guest. –Tribune Desk


Masakadza gets Zim back on feet Playing in the Dhaka Premier League 201314 season helped Zimbabwean opener Hamilton Masakadza to adopt easily with the conditions in Bangladesh. It was the blistering knock from the right-handed batsman that powered Zimbabwe to a seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up game at Chittagong yesterday. Ranked 10th in the ICC Twenty20 international batsman list, Masakadza faced just 52 balls to score 93 which enabled them to reach 173 with three balls to spare chasing the challenging 168 for six from the Afghans. Hamilton clob-

bered five fours and seven sixes during his 102-run opening stand with Sikandar Raza (27) which made the chase easy. Masakadza had played 12 matches in the Dhaka Premier League for Kalabagan CA last season where he scored 559 runs, fifth in the run getters chart, at an average of 55.9 and the 30-year-old admitted playing in Dhaka helped him cope with the conditions easily. “Yes definitely, I have played in Dhaka and Chittagong, so I had the idea of the pitches here. I haven’t played in Sylhet yet so don’t know how the pitch will behave, but it was easy to adopt here,” said Masakadza to Dhaka Tribune over phone after their win yesterday. Masakadza had also bowled in the DPL, something he is not used to in Zimbabwean colours. He took a wicket for the expense of 24 runs in the three

Hong Kong stun Dutch Pakistani born Haseeb Amjad bagged six wickets as Hong Kong have risen as the dark horse among the ICC World Twenty first round teams. After defeating Test playing nation Zimbabwe, they anchored their second consecutive win in the warm-up games this time by beating Netherlands by 27 runs at Chittagong yesterday. Riding on 19-year-old Mark Chapman’s 40-ball 50 Hong Kong made a modest 127 before getting bowled out with a ball left in their innings. However, the score was more than enough as 26-year-old right-arm fast bowler Amjad demolished the Dutch batting by claiming six for 21 off just 3.1 overs. Stephan Myburgh made a quick fire 38-ball 52 that contained three fours and as much sixes, but with no real support from the other end Netherlands was all out for 100 in just 16.5 overs.

Meanwhile at Fatullah, it was a complete team effort from United Arab Emirates (UAE) that enabled them to land a six-wicket win over Nepal in their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up game. They bowled out Nepal for a paltry 95 runs in their allotted 20 overs, before reaching 99 for four in 18.5 overs. Despite been reduced to 34 for three, the small target was made easier with the 48-run fourth wicket partnership between Swapnil Patil and Shaiman Anwar. Patil was dismissed after making 33 with UAE 13 runs away from victory. Shaiman remained not out on 30 from 34 balls to secure the win over their weaker opponent. Earlier, Nepal opener Subash Khakurel (28), captain Paras Khadka (27) and Basant Regmi (10) were the only batsmen to reach double figures as they lost wickets in regular intervals to get bowled out below 100. l

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overs he bowled yesterday. Asked if his regular bowling in the DPL gave courage to Brendan Taylor, who also played in the same league, to hand him the ball he said, “Yes it has a part to play in it. I had the chance to bowl at few of my teammates in the DPL. It’s nice to be bowling and looking forward to it.” The Zimbabwean however were earlier jolted by Hong Kong in their first practice match couple days ago, but Masakadza said their confidence is back with the win. “Ya we are definitely back on our feet. We have bounced back and ready to go,” Hamilton said. Pitted in Group B Zimbabwe will open their ICC World T20 first round campaign against Ireland on March 17 at Sylhet. Netherlands and UAE are the other two teams in their group. l

The stage is set for Islami Bank Asian Games Hockey Qualifiers with Oman and Chinese Taipei playing the inaugural match of the eight team meet at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium at 2:00 pm today. In the second match of the day, Sri Lanka will face Qatar at the same venue at 4:00 pm. Four teams - hosts Bangladesh, Qatar, Chinese Taipei and Singapore - enjoyed practice sessions at the venue yesterday. The coaches of Singapore and Qatar expressed satisfaction over the proceedings. Sollymon Casoojee, the South African coach of Singapore said he wants to finish among the top

England M. Lumb c D.J. Bravo b Cottrell A. Hales c Simmons b Cottrell E. Morgan c Smith b Narine J. Buttler c Sammy b Santokie R. Bopara not out B. Stokes b Santokie M. Ali run out C. Jordan not out Extras (w7) Total (6 wickets, 20 overs)

63 38 18 3 6 0 3 27 7 165

FoW: 1-98, 2-112, 3-123, 4-128, 5-128, 6-138

Officials of ICC, BCB and Hyundai pose for photograph at SBNS yesterday


Hyundai gears up ICC T20 Hyundai Motor Company, the world’s fastest-growing automaker by brand, announced their involvement with the ICC World T20 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday. Hyundai supplied a total of 90 vehicles to be used by the teams and tournament officials for the ICC World T20 scheduled to take place in the cities of Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet between the 16th of March and 6th of April 2014. Hyundai in collaboration with its local distributor, HMBL, shall hold various marketing activities during the tournament. The main attraction is the Roller Derby contest which will take

place during every match in between the innings. The Roller Derby contest is a contest in which participants compete in a race using Hyundai branded ‘rollers’ and engage in a cricket based skills challenge. The first contestant to successfully complete the race, takes home the prize which includes Hyundai branded wrist watch among others. Campbell Jamieson, General Manager - Commercial, ICC; Mahbubul Anam - Director, BCB; Shareq Fahim Haque - Managing Director, HMBL; Ehsan K. Shoaib - Managing Director, Sales and Marketing, HMBL and Imran Khan - General Manager, Marketing, HMBL were present on the occasion. l

Hamilton Masakadza of Zimbabwe plays a shot in the warm up match against Afghanistan at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong yesterday CRICINFO

Asian Games hockey qualifiers get underway


Local tennis Ranjan Ram, Mofazzal Hossain, Rustam Ali and Mamun Bepari swept into the semi-final of the Runner Group Independence Cup Open Tennis Tournament beating their respective opponents at the National Tennis Complex in Ramna yesterday. Meanwhile in the women’s section, Afrana Islam Prity came from behind to defeat top seed Sharmin Alam Sarda 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the day’s first semi-final to set up the final clash with BKSP’s Ishita Afroz who outplayed Shah Safina by 6-2, 6-2 in the other semi-final. In the men’ quarter-finals, Ranjan Ram outclassed Dipu Lal 6-4, 6-3, Mofazzal beat Biplob Ram 4-6, 7-6, 6-3; Rustam Ali crushed Anwar Hossain 6-4, 6-0 and Mamun thrashed Akhter Hossain 6-4, 6-1. –Tribune Desk


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bowling Santokie 4-0-27-2, Cottrell 4-0-37-2 (2w), Narine 4-0-34-1 (1w), D.J. Bravo 3-0-35-0, Russell 1-0-11-0, Sammy 2-014-0, Samuels 2-0-7-0. West Indies D. Smith b Dernbach 0 J. Charles c and b Jordan 4 M. Samuels b Jordan 15 L. Simmons run out 69 D.J. Bravo c Jordan b Bopara 16 A. Russell c Morgan b Bopara 0 D. Ramdin b Jordan 33 D. Sammy not out 15 S. Narine not out 0 Extras (b1, lb4, w3) 8 Total (7 wickets, 20 overs) 160 FoW: 1-0, 2-4, 3-28, 4-66, 5-67, 6-140, 7- 160 Bowling Dernbach 4-1-38-1 (1w), Jordan 4-039-3 (2w), Parry 4-0-32-0, Tredwell 4-0-18-0, Bopara 4-0-28-2. England won by 5 runs West Indies won 3-match series

two. “Though the scenario is different from 2010 we are still focused to retain our position,” said the Singaporean coach. It would be mentionable that Singapore finished runners-up in the last edition on 2010. Casojee said he played for the South African national team in 1995 and appeared for a few matches before retiring in 1996. However it would be mentionable that Singaporean team consists entirely of non-professionals. The players play on the weekends and for clubs after completing their jobs. Qatar’s Egyptian coach Maggid Abu Talib said his team wants to earn experience. “Our players are new and gaining experience to shape the future

is our motto,” said Maggid who took charge two weeks ago. The interesting point was the Qatari coach said his team consists of only 13 players, five short of the required slots and most of them were either Indian or Pakistani origin. Meanwhile, Bangladesh beat a Combined XI 6-0 in a warm-up match at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Friday. Koushik scored a brace while Niloy, Rumman, Choyon and Rocky scored one each. Coach Naveed Alam expressed satisfaction over the performance. “Apart from a few mistakes the players played accordingly and I would point out the errors before taking the field against Hong Kong on Sunday,” said Naveed. l

Jordan steers England to victory on ‘home’ ground England resisted a late West Indies surge and held on for a consolation five-run victory in the third and final Twenty20 international at Kensington Oval on Thursday. Despite surrendering the series to the home side 2-1, the match was a personal triumph for Chris Jordan. The Barbados-born all-rounder smashed Dwayne Bravo for four sixes off the final over of the England innings to lift his team to 165 for six after they had lost six wickets for 40 runs follow-

ing an opening stand of 98 between Michael Lumb (63) and Alex Hales (38). He then claimed three for 39 and took an outstanding catch on the boundary to dismiss Bravo, a magnificent effort that was enough to earn him the man of the match award in very familiar surroundings as West Indies were restricted to 160 for seven. “I’m just happy to have made the most of the opportunity,” said Jordan in reflecting on his performance. I just wanted to get into the game, and did that with the bat, then it rolled over into my bowling.” l

Afridi hits back in sexism row Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi on Friday sought to bat away controversy over comments he made about women’s cricket, saying he had been quoted out of context. The big-hitting 34-year-old came under fire this week after TV interview footage circulated of him commenting on women’s cooking skills in response to a question about women’s cricket. Afridi insisted his remarks had been taken out of context by people who wanted to bring him down after his recent heroics in the Asia Cup.

Earlier this month Afridi hit last-over sixes to help Pakistan beat arch-rivals India by one wicket and then smashed a 25-ball 59 to help chase down a 327-run target against hosts Bangladesh. “I am shocked to listen all the stuff and read some on the social media,” Afridi told AFP. “It was a five-month old interview and my half answer was put on the net, which I feel is an attempt to malign my popularity.” Afridi, who hails originally from the deeply conservative tribal areas along the Afghan border, said he had always backed the women’s game. l


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SHANE WATSON (Australia)




An aura of unpredictability always hangs around Shahid Afridi when he takes the cricket field. His swashbuckling batting and fiery legspin make him an exciting player in the shortest format of the game but there is always a chance for him to self-destruct, by throwing away his wicket at a crucial juncture or by means of wayward bowling. On his day, however, the 34-year-old former captain can win a match single-handedly and Pakistan will hope that he can continue his Asia Cup form into the World Twenty20.

The highest run-scorer and player of the tournament in the last edition of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, Watson has the power to pummel any opposition attack and is particularly harsh against the spinners. The burly all-rounder’s ability of hit the spinners out of the ground will make sure Australia do not get tied down in the middle overs against the slow bowlers. Watson’s tight line and length is an added bonus for the team and he often reposes that faith by picking up vital wickets.

Samuels has already proved his worth by digging West Indies out of a hole to the World Twenty20 title with a brilliant half-century against hosts Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2012. The classy stroke-player can play all the shots in the book and is almost unstoppable when he is on song with the bat. A part-time off-spinner who can fire in deliveries in the block hole, Samuels has great control in varying the pace of his deliveries and could be a vital weapon for the defending champions on the low and slow Bangladesh wickets.

The left-hander was the hero of India’s Twenty20 World Cup victory in 2007 and was the player of the tournament during the home triumph in the 50-over format in 2011. One of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball, as England’s Stuart Broad found out when he was hit for six consecutive sixes in an over In 2007, Yuvraj can change the complexion of a match in the spate of a few deliveries. A crowd favourite, more so after his successful battle against cancer, Yuvraj’s gentle left-arm can also be very effective on the slow surfaces in Bangladesh.

The new kid on the block, Anderson grabbed eyeballs when he broke the record for the fastest century in international cricket with his 36-ball hundred against West Indies on the first day of 2014. The 23-year-old has played just eight Twenty20 matches for New Zealand but the left-hander’s big-hitting ability is tailor-made for the format. He has a five-wicket haul with his left-arm medium pace bowling in the 50-over format and will be a decent bowling option for captain Brendon McCullum in Bangladesh.



5 million children still out of school n Mushfique Wadud Ten-year-old boy, Ibrahim Hossain, was seen hanging from the door of an overcrowded human hauler at Farmgate bus stop yesterday as he was collecting fares from passengers. Ibrahim works as a helper at a human hauler that runs on the Farmgate-Mirpur route. He works from 6am to 10pm and earns Tk400 a day. The boy said that he left school while reading in class III as it was not possible for his rickshaw-puller father to maintain a seven-member family. “I had no option but to leave school as I needed to help my family,” he said. Like Ibrahim, a large number of children are still out of school despite government’s efforts to bring every child to school. A recent World Bank report said that as many as five million children are still out of school in Bangladesh. These children are out of school either because they did not enrol in school or dropped out very early, mostly due to poverty, said the report titled “Seeding Fertile Ground: Education That Works for Bangladesh” released early this month. The report said it is very difficult to bring these children to school and retain them until the completion of primary cycle. Geographically, children in the Sylhet, Dhaka, and Chittagong divisions have a higher risk of being out of school, it added. Campaign for Popular Education Executive Director Rasheda K Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune that it is difficult to bring three categories of children to schools. These are children

with disabilities, children living in remote rural areas and children living in urban slums. She said that the environment of most schools is not congenial to children with disabilities and enrolment among them is very low. According to the report, parents’ education and household income are two of the most significant risk factors for children being out of school. It said that 12% of the poorest children are more likely to be out of school and they have a little chance of ever-enrolling in or completing grade 1 compared to the richest 20% children. Having a mother with the background of more than a secondary education reduces the chance of being out of school by about 8% compared to having a mother with no education after taking into account other risk factors, according to the report. Rasheda K Chowdhury said that special education programme was needed to bring these children to school. “The enrolment rate in primary level has increased significantly in recent years. Bringing the rest of children to school is a difficult task and special programme is needed for it. It can be an informal or formal education approach,” she said. Director General of the Directorate of Primary Education Shyamal Kanti Ghosh told the Dhaka Tribune that the DPE has recently taken some steps to bring all children to school and retain them. “We are carrying out school feeding programmes and stipend programmes to increase enrolment and reduce dropout rate,” he said. l

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sand trader slaughtered in broad daylight n Mohammad Jamil Khan A sand trader was slaughtered in broad daylight in the outskirt of the capital yesterday. The victim was identified as Mohammad Selim Ahmed, 42, resident of Amirbagh area of Keraniganj. Police recovered his body around 12pm and sent it to Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital for autopsy. Rakiba, wife of the victim said two had people come to their house that day around 11am and called Selim outside. “He went away with them. After sometime, I came to know that he was slaughtered,” she said. Shah Alam, sub-inspector of Keraniganj police station, told the Dhaka Tribune that Selim had gone out with two persons in Amirbagh area. “They were bargaining over something and at one point one of the two men hit Selim with a cricket stamp. They started stabbing and left him slaughtered on the road,” said the sub-inspector quoting witnesses. He said the killers could be identified as the incident had occurred during daytime. Asked about reason behind the murder, he said: “We are suspecting that the incident took place centring enmity over business, however, we would be able to confirm after arrest of the killers.” Mohammad Montu, brother of victim has filed a case with the Keraniganj police station in this connection. He alleged that Selim’s business partners had killed him as a few days earlier he decided to back off from business and asked for the money from his partners that he had invested. “Fazil, Mamun Koshai, Khokon, Aziz and Nasir were partners of my brother,” he said. l

President urges all to uphold democratic norms, values n BSS President Abdul Hamid said it is responsibility of all to expedite the advancement of democracy and to make it more meaningful through maintaining democratic norms and values. “It is very natural in the democratic system that there will be differences of opinions among the various political parties. But we have to work together for the greater welfare of the country as well as the nation,” he said at a reception accorded to him by the Kishoreganj Zila Samity, Dhaka at Osmani Memorial Auditorium Friday. The President said the core objective

of flourishing democracy is to show tolerance to difference in opinion, mutual respect as well as to strengthen the democratic institutions. He also called upon countrymen from all walks of life to make active cooperation with the government’s endeavor for ensuring country’s overall development. “The government’s responsibility is to create development friendly atmosphere, including infrastructure, while the peoples’ duty is to make it successful by taking active participation,” he said. “Throughout my life, I tried to maintain good relations among the politicians despite of having political and

ideological differences. I had worked relentlessly to keep respect and friendliness among politicians,” he said. As a result, the President said political violence never took place in Kishoreganj district. “However, they (politicians) tried to stand beside each other during crisis period of the country. This tolerance among the politicians will have to be continued,” he said. President Hamid said everyone is accountable to soil and people of the country as a citizen of Bangladesh. “We all should play our responsibility from respective positions to fulfill this accountability,” he said. l


Ansar woman takes up mother’s role n Mohammad Jamil Khan In an effort to fill the gap emerging due to the absence of his mother, female Ansar officials at Dhaka Medical College Hospital are now taking care of the seven-month-old boy who was found abandoned on the floor of the hospital’s dental ward on Thursday. A number of Ansar women at the hospital are looking after the child in shifts so that he does not feel the absence of his mother. The infant, who they named Siam, is undergoing treatment at bed 5 of ward 207. Visiting the DMCH children ward yesterday, this correspondent met Rojina Akter, a female Ansar member, who was trying to help the child sleep. She said she had been looking after the baby since Thursday morning. “Sometimes I take breaks to rest and change my uniform but mostly, I stay with him,” she said. How can it be possible to abandon such a pretty baby, Rojina expressed disbelief, adding that she could not sleep last night as her affection for the child grew deeper. Abdul Khaleq, chief of Ansar at DMCH, told the Dhaka Tribune that apart from Rojina, a few other female Ansar members were taking care of the child according to their schedule. “Rojina mostly looks after the boy and she is being exempted from her regular duty as we think it is also our duty,” he said. The boy was found in the DMCH dental ward on Thursday morning. A bag full of clothes was also found beside him. His parents might have left him as his head is a little bigger in size compared to what is considered normal.

Rojina Akter takes care of Siam, a seven-month old infant who was found abandoned at the DMHC on Thursday. This picture was taken yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE Dr Taslima Ahmed of the children’s ward, however, does not think that the child has any critical disease. Some fluid might have filled his head, she told the Dhaka Tribune, adding that the boy was fine and only needed some extra care.

Asked about his treatment, Dr Taslima said some samples had been sent to laboratory for tests and she was waiting for the report. “We will understand everything once that arrives. Until then, nothing can be said for certain,” she said. l

Workers use an excavator to dig earth and waste from the Hatirjheel in front of the BGMEA building in the capital yesterday to increase the depth of the water body RAJIB DHAR

Four more border haats in the offing n Rabiul Islam

Mineral hints at bright blue rocks deep in the Earth

The government is likely to give consent to set up four new haats (marketplace) along the Bangladesh-India border in the interest of stakeholders of both countries. India proposed to set up 22 border haats along Bangladesh-Meghalaya border so that people of both countries could trade their products in the marketplaces. “We have recommended setting up four border haats in the third phase and it would be finalised by a committee headed by an additional secretary of the cabinet division,” Commerce Ministry Deputy Secretary Mokabbir Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune over phone yesterday. The border haats are run under the Ministry of Commerce. As Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) keeps watch on the frontiers, its opinion is taken before the ministry’s recommendation. “We have consented to set up four new border haats, with more in the offing,” BGB Director General Major General Aziz Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune at the secretariat on Thursday. According to the Commerce Ministry, one border haat would be set up at Bholaganj under Sylhet district, another at Nalikata under Sunamganj, the third at Shibbari under Mymensingh and the fourth at Ryngku under Sunamganj. Officials concerned said all proposals from India could not be accepted for various reasons including security. India also proposed to set up two borer haats within half a kilometre, they said. In the first phase, two border haats were set up along the Bangladesh-Meghalaya border, of which one was set up at Rajibpur under Kurigram and another at Sunamganj Sadar. These two haats are running in full swing. The commerce ministry officials claim that these haats have contributed much to reining in smuggling. Indian people sold agro-based items and various types of spices including ginger while the Bangladeshis home appliances and garment items, they added. Bangladesh and India signed an agreement in 2011 to set up border haats in the interest of people of hardto-reach areas alongside frontiers. l

n BBC Online Minerals preserved in diamond have revealed hints of the bright blue rocks that exist deep within the Earth. They also provide the first direct evidence that there may be as much water trapped in those rocks as there is in all the oceans. The diamond, from central-west Brazil, contains minerals that formed as deep as 600km down and that have significant amounts of water trapped within them. Researchers have published their findings in the journal Nature. The study suggests water may be stored deep in the interiors of many rocky planets. Diamonds, brought to the Earth’s surface in violent eruptions of deep volcanic rocks called kimberlites, provide a tantalising window into the deep Earth. A research team led by Prof Graham Pearson of the University of Alberta, Canada, studied a diamond from a 100-million-year-old kimberlite found in Juina, Brazil, as part of a wider project. They noticed that it contained a mineral, ringwoodite, which is only thought to form between 410km and 660km beneath the Earth’s surface, showing just how deep some diamonds originate.

Buried oceans

While ringwoodite has previously been found in meteorites, this is the first time a terrestrial ringwoodite has been seen. But more extraordinarily, the re-

searchers found that the mineral contains about 1% water. While this sounds like very little, because ringwoodite makes up almost all of this immense portion of the deep Earth, it adds up to a huge amount of deep water. Dr Sally Gibson from the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the work, commented: “Finding water in such large concentrations is a hugely significant development in our understanding of the ultimate origin of water now present at Earth’s surface.” The observation is the first physical evidence that water can be stored in the deep interiors of planets and solves a 25-year-old controversy about whether the deep Earth is dry, wet, or wet in patches. Discussing his findings, Prof Pearson said: “The discovery highlights the unique value of natural diamonds in trapping and preserving fragments of the deep Earth. “It’s incredible to think that, as you hold this sample in your hand, the residual pressure at the interface between the diamond and the inclusion is 20,000 atmospheres.” Describing his diamond sample, he said: “It looks like it’s been to hell and back, which it has.” l

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March 15, 2014  
March 15, 2014