Chaitra 3, 1420 Jamadiul Awal 15, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 1 No 353
MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2014 | www.dhakatribune.com | SECOND EDITION
7 | FREE MONEY A GAME CHANGER?
8 | EU MULLS STEPS AGAINST RUSSIA
20 pages | Price: Tk10
12 | IN CONVERSATION WITH SHAHIN BADAR
14 | ROSBERG OPENS NEW F1 ERA WITH WIN
AL bags more vice-chairmen
Drive against unfit vehicles after March 26 n Mohosinul Karim
BNP secures more vice-chairwomen n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla The Awami League-blessed contenders not only took the lead in chairman posts but also in vice-chairman seats in the just concluded elections to 81 upazilas amid wide allegations of ballot stuffing and snatching. The BNP this time too bagged more woman vice-chairperson posts. The Awami League-backed aspirants bagged 26 vice-chairman posts while the BNP backed-contenders secured 21 out of 71 upazila parishads as the remaining 10 upazilas’ results are yet to be announced, according to the unofficial results.
Interestingly, the AL loyalists won almost all the seats where there were allegation of vote rigging and violence Interestingly, Jamaat-e-Islami won 17 vice-chairman posts as in many places BNP-Jamaat field their candidates jointly. In the first phase of the elections, the BNP loyalist secured 34 vice-chairmen, the Awami League 27, the Jamaat 21, Jatiya Party four and others 10 while in the second phase the BNPJamaat-backed contenders bagged 66 vice-chairman posts while Awami League loyalists got 33. The table was turned in the third phase with the Awami League leading in both chairman with and vice-chairman posts. It bagged 40 chairman seats while the BNP 28. The candidates backed by
Malaysia doubles scale of plane search, pilots probed n AFP, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia said yesterday the number of countries searching for a missing airliner had nearly doubled to 25 as a full-scale criminal probe into its disappearance got under way, with particular scrutiny of the pilots. Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the number of participating countries had jumped from 14 to 25 as the search for the aircraft focused on two vast, and vastly contrasting, land and ocean transport corridors. The dramatic “re-calibration” will inevitably bring “new challenges of coordination and diplomacy”, the minister said. Malaysian police said they had searched the homes of both pilots and examined the captain’s home flight simulator after it became increasingly clear that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that vanished March 8 had been deliberately diverted by someone on board. Experts said it would have taken specialist knowledge to disable the communications system, intensifying scrutiny of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his First Officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid. US intelligence is also focusing on the pilot and co-pilot, a key US lawmaker said. “One thing we do know, this was not an accident. It was an intentional, PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
the Jamaat-e-Islami continued to keep up its winning trend with seven chairman posts. Two people were killed and hundred others injured across the country in the polls violence on March 15 while another person was also killed in an incident of pre-poll violence ahead of the fourth phase voting in Netrokona. Each of the 81 upazila parishads has two vice-chairmen posts including one reserved for women. In the reserved vice-chairwoman posts BNP performed well like the previous phases as they bagged highest 39 seats while Awami League 27, Jamaat 10, PCJSS 2 and others 5. In the second phase, BNP-Jamaat altogether bagged 70 posts, Awami League secured 33 while six went to independent contenders, two to JaPa and one to the UPDF in the female reserved vice-chairman posts. Interestingly the candidates belonging to the Awami League won almost all the seats where there were allegation of vote rigging and violence like in Kachua of Chandpur, Chilmari of Kurigram, Sadar, Rampal, Morolganj and Sarankhola of Bagerhat, Dinajpur Sadar, Nilphamari Sadar, Chauddagram, Nangolkote, of Comilla, Muladi of Barisal and Bhola Sadar. Ershad’s Jatiya Party performed worse than the last two phases as they failed to secure even a single vice-chairman or vice- chairwoman post. Around two and half months into the national elections, the Awami League-backed contenders had to face tough challenge by the BNP-Jamaat alliance in many upazilas. The BNP-led 18-party alliance PAGE 2 COLUMN 6
Shakib Al Hasan celebrates with Mushfiqur Rahim and other teammates after taking the wicket of Afghanistan batsman Najeeb Tarakai during the ICC World T20 tournament at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur yesterday MUMIT M
Tigers roar back n Reazur Rahman Rohan Bangladesh took a giant leap in reaching the second round of the ICC World Twenty20 by crushing high flying Afghanistan by nine wickets in the tournament opener at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium yesterday. Starting from the toss, everything went right for the hosts as the Tigers killed all controversies and speculations of recent times to stamp their authority in all three departments. They
looked a completely different unit when they came out in their do-or-die opener and performed in a manner expected from a Test playing nation against an associate country. The toss was followed by a first ball dismissal from which the Afghans never recovered and eventually were bundled out for a paltry 72 runs, which the Tigers achieved with eight overs to spare. Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque made a cautious start to the chase adding 45 runs before the left-handed was judged LBW off leg-spinner Samiullah Shenwari for 21. Shakib Al Hasan was promoted to number three but became a mere spectator as PAGE 2 COLUMN 3
Prosecution team’s ‘illegal’ meeting intensifies feud n Udisa Islam A section of the prosecution team of the war crimes tribunal has again called for a meeting without getting prior consent from the chief prosecutor who, like the previous time, cancelled it labelling the meeting as “illegal.” When senior prosecutor Rheshikesh Saha convened a meeting bypassing Chief Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipoo, he claimed that he had done so upon directive of MK Rahman, chief coordinator of the prosecution team, also an additional attorney general. Cancelling such a meeting for the second time in a week, Tipoo said none of the prosecutors could
B1 Outstanding bills of various international call carriers to the state-owned landline telephone company BTCL have stacked up to a staggering Tk1,072 crore.
6 The flood situation could get worse in Sirajganj due to slow dredging o the Jamuna River adjacent to the district town protection embankment.
9 New revelations about missing Malaysia Airlines plane suggest those on board endured a terrifying highaltitude hijack.
11 Friend of Bangladesh Julian Francis writes about his experience with Bangabandhu immediately after the creation of this People’s Republic.
call a meeting without his consent. He said: “This is totally illegal to convene a meeting this away. If anyone tries to foil the image of the trial, the authorities will have to take a strong position on this.” On last Monday, a similar incident took place when at least 14 prosecutors out of 22 were present in a meeting. The chief coordinator attended the meeting. The absent prosecutors then called it a command failure, and warned that it might be harmful for the whole team. The law minister on Saturday said he would soon sit with the prosecutors and fix the matter. Pro-trial activists have showed disappointment and displeasure as the
prosecution’s division has become public. Tipoo did not attend the meeting yesterday when the same 14 prosecutors were present. None of the prosecutors faced the media after the meeting. Seeking anonymity, one of the prosecutors present at the meeting said it was a routine meeting. Prosecutor Mohammad Ali raised the issue of his recent interview with a television channel where he made negative remarks about the prosecution team, particularly about prosecutor Tureen Afroz. The meeting also decided that team members would not face the media in the future. Only the PAGE 2 COLUMN 6
The communication ministry is going to prevent unfit and illegal vehicles from operating on Dhaka city streets after March 26 to free the city of traffic congestion. It has also taken an initiative to activate and improve the digital traffic controlling system in a bid to reduce traffic hazards. Communication Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday told reporters that two committees led by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority chairman and the LGRD secretary had been formed to identify traffic problems in the city and submit within 10 days recommendations for resolving those. After a meeting of the Bangladesh Road Transport Advisory Council held at the ministry, Obaidul said the PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
Monday, March 17, 2014
Post-elections violence erupts in three districts n Tribune Report Several incidents of violence took place in three districts in connection with the upazila polls yesterday and Saturday. In Chandpur, BNP-Jamaat men vandalised 30 shops of AL supporters and looted goods at Belghar Bazar in Hatila union soon after the Upazila parishad elections ended on Saturday. Locals said the BNP-Jamaat men also vandalised a temple, looted six houses and two businesses establishments at Chengatoli Bazar of Rajargaon union. Chandpur Police Superintendent Amir Zafar said police has no information about the vandalism of a temple, but had been informed about the torching of two houses. Meanwhile, BNP-Jamaat activists vandalised a local AL office in Hatila union. They also vandalised AL supporters’ shops and a Jubo League leader’s house at Bakila Bazar. They vandalised several cars on Chandpur-Comilla road, reports our Chandpur correspondent. At Daganbhuiyan of Feni, miscreants vandalised the residence of defeated BNP-backed chairman candidate Akbar Hossain in early hours of yesterday. They also blasted 15 cocktails. The victim blamed his rival AL-backed candidate Didarul Kabir for the attack. Didaul denied the allegation. In Sirajganj, at least fifteen Awami League and BNP activists sustained injuries in a clashes over the polls campaign at
Shahzadpur upazila yesterday. During the incident, supporters of the Awami League vandalised a podium and ten motorbikes of BNP upazila chairman candidate. Of the injured, two BNP activists have been admitted to a local hospital in critical condition. Both the parties’ supporters blamed each other the attack, reports our Sirajganj correspondent. BNP-backed candidate Iqbal Hossain told reporters that AL leader Helal Akand and his men suddenly swooped on his election campaign with lethal weapons at Dargapara at noon yesterday. Later, a clash erupted when the BNP men confronted the attackers. On the other hand, Hasibur Rahman Shapon, the AL lawmaker of Shahzadpur constituency, said their activists joined the clashes when the rivals launched an attack on them while campaigning. Officer-in-Charge of Hajiganj Police Station Shah Alam said cases will be filed in this connection. In Comilla, Awami League supporters attacked the residence of BNP supporters at Kakoirtola village of Peria union, leaving at least 20 men injured. The incident took place on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, BNP-Jamaat activists held a peaceful dawn-to-dusk hartal yesterday, at Langarkot, Choudyagram and Kaliganj, Satkhira, calling for a boycott of the polls. BNP held a protest procession in Noakhali alleging polls rigging. l
Mosharraf sent to jail n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court yesterday again denied BNP Standing Committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain bail and sent him to jail in a case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission for siphoning off money abroad. Metropolitan Magistrate Shariar Mahmud Adnan passed the order after hearing defence counsel "s bail petition. Police produced the BNP leader in the court. Earlier on Thursday also the court had rejected Mosharraf’s bail petition and placed him on a three-day remand.
Law enforcers had picked up Mosharraf from his Gulshan residence in the capital and handed him over to Ramna police station in connection with the case filed by ACC Director Nasim Anwar on February 6. The investigation officer of the case opposed Mosharraf’s bail yesterday, saying the case was under investigation. According to the case, Mosharraf laundered £8.04 lakh (equivalent to Tk9.53 crore) to the UK when he was the health and family welfare minister during the 2001-2006 tenure of the BNP-led government. l
Police foil marches towards energy ministry n Manik Miazee
A vehicle driven by a shallow-engine transports goods and passangers on the Chapainawabganj-Rajshai highway yesterday. Although these vehicles have been banned on the highways, people continue to risk their lives for the cheap transport DHAKA TRIBUNE
Sreda to appoint chairman, board members soon n Aminur Rahman Rasel
Jharuar Beel genocide witness blames Azhar
The government will soon appoint a chairman, five members and a secretary for the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda) to begin activities of the body in a bid to guide the nation towards a sustainable-powered future. “The circular will be published by end of this month for filling the seven posts,” Deputy Secretary of Power Division Md Bazlur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. The seven posts are chairman, member (policy and research), member (energy efficiency and conservation), member (renewable energy), member (administration), member (finance) and secretary. The chairman will be a government official with the rank of additional secretary, while the members will have the status of joint secretary, and Sreda secretary will have the status of deputy secretary. The authority will also have 61 departmental posts, including directors, deputy directors and assistant directors. On December 2012, the parliament passed the Sreda Act 2012 and on May 2013, the public administration ministry gave its approval for the seven executive posts and 61 departmental posts. l
A new witness in the trial against Jamaat-e-Islami leader ATM Azharul Islam yesterday said the accused had actively taken part in Jharuar Beel massacre in Rangpur during the Liberation War when around 1,200 people were killed. Fourth witness Meser Uddin, 66, a freedom fighter from Ramakrishnapur under Badarganj police station in Rangpur in his deposition said: “I saw Azhar in a white shirt and pants accompanying the Pakistani occupation army personnel as they were shooting aimlessly and pushing the villagers towards north.” A retired college teacher, Meser was never involved in any political party and he supports organisations which are pro-liberation. He also described the killing of Kalti Mai who was nine month pregnant at that time. “Azhar and his people killed at least 15 people including several women in Muksedpur and Dhap Para areas. Of them, Kalti Mai’s unborn child came out as her abdomen was torn apart.” Conducting prosecutor AKM Saiful Islam placed the witness before the International Crimes Tribunal 1 which recorded the deposition for more than
two hours. After his deposition, defence counsel Abdus Sobhan Tarafder pleaded for time as he was not informed about the particular witness, though prosecutor Saiful claimed that they had given the defence a list of witnesses. The tribunal then asked him to start the cross-examination and later adjourned the hearing until tomorrow keeping it unfinished. The witness said “On April 16 of 1971, Azhar along with his accomplices came to Ramnathpur union area by train and started for Muksedpur area, burning everything that came in their way. “After the Jharuar Beel massacre, Azhar made the remaining villagers gather at a place and took 200 youths to their Parbatipur-bound train. They killed five of them and dumped their bodies along the rail tracks.” One of them was the witness’s relative. Meser said he had gone to India after the massacre and worked there with freedom fighters. On his return after the war, the witness said he came to know that Azhar and his men used to abduct women from different areas of Rangpur and take them to Rangpur Town Hall. He also described many incidents that he had heard from his friends and relatives. l
Mashrafe, who looked 10 years younger when he steamed in and gave his all in the two overs he bowled up front. He beat the batsmen’s edges on several occasions increasing the early jitters in the Afghan camp. Afghanistan’s T20 specialist Gulbadin Naib tried to stage a counter-attack picking 15 from the fifth over delivered by Al Amin, but that hardly demoralised the Tigers. Shakib, introduced in the fourth over, gave away just two runs before he followed up with a “happening” over. The wicket produced turn and the leading left-arm spinner of the country took the most out of it. Naib miscued a slog to long-off where the nervy debutant Sabbir dropped a dolly to convert it to a four, but that only encouraged Shakib to flight the ball even more. As a result another miscued slog followed in the next ball, and this time Sabbir mend his mistake and took a rather difficult catch
than the previous one. He ran at least 20 yards to his right to hold on to the catch looking at the sun to end Naib’s innings on 21. Najeeb Tarakai was baffled by the turn in the next ball and could only stand and watch his edge going to Nasir Hossain at cover. Though Shakib could not achieve a hat-trick, but his two wickets meant the Afghans were not let in the powerplay being reduced to 36 for three. The nightmare continued for the batting side with Sabbir this time, breaking the stumps at the non-striker’s end with a direct hit from fine-leg to run out Nawroz Mangal and heap further pressure. The early indications made the decision of putting the spinners in attack easier as Abdur Razzak and Mahmudullah came on to bowl and tied the Afghans into a whirlpool. Meanwhile, it was another brilliant piece of fielding this time from Farhad
n Udisa Islam
Police set up barbed wire barricades to stop protesters from marching to the energy ministry in the capital yesterday to press the government to revoke a recent decision to increase power tariffs. As supporters of left-leaning parties started marching towards the ministry housed at the secretariat building, they were stopped by the law enforcers at the nearby National Press Club around 11am, witnesses said. The protesters then held a rally in front of the police barricade. The protest was jointly organised by the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB), Gono Forum and Nagarik Oikya, a citizens’ organisation. Following pressure from the Awami League-led alliance government, the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission raised the average retail price of electricity by 6.96% with effect from March 1. Speaking at the rally, CPB president Mujahidul Islam Selim said they would go for tougher movement if the government did not cancel its decision to increase power tariffs. The protesters also demanded renovating state-owned power plants and scrapping contracts for costly quick-rental systems to supply electricity. Selim announced that the parties would hold demonstrations in front of district power offices in support of their demands. SPB leader Khalequzzaman, Syed Abu Zafar Ahmed of CPB, Mostafa Mohasin Mantu of Gono Forum and Nagarik Oikya’s Iftekher Ahmed Babu also addressed the rally. Meanwhile, the police also stopped activists and leaders of Democratic Left Alliance (DLA), a coalition of eight left-leaning political parties, from marching to the energy ministry around noon yesterday, witnesses said. When the demonstrators tried to break through the police barricade, the law enforcers forced them to leave the area. At least three protesters were injured in the ensuing melee, party sources claimed. The protesters later held a rally at a nearby street. Blaming the energy ministry’s wrong policies for the hike in power tariffs, Abdus Satter, coordinator of the alliance, said the people would not pay the increased rates. l
Drive against unfit vehicles after Tigers roar back PAGE 1 COLUMN 6
committee led by the BRTA chairman was tasked withidentifying unfit and illegal vehicles and suggestingactions. The committeewould meet within seven days to identify the problems. The ministry would start a drive against the unfit vehicles after receiving the committee’s report, said Obaidul. The other members of the committee are the superintendent engineer of Roads and Highways Department, joint commissioner (traffic) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, deputy inspector general of Highway Police, secretary general of Road Transport Owners Association, general secretary of Road Transport Workers Federation, and president of Truck and Covered Van Owners Association. The other committee was formed to fix the traffic controlling system and suggest improvements. Its members include the administrators of the Dhaka north and south city corporations, DMP additional commissioner, representatives of Dhaka Trans-
port Coordination Authority and the BRTA,joint secretary to Roads Division, and president of Road Transport Owners Association. Terming Dhaka city dirty,ObaidulQuader said:“We have already started working. But, the main problem is a lack of coordination.” He claimed collection of extortions at bus terminals in the city had already decreased andit wouldtake more time to stop completely. New taxicabs from Pahela Baishakh The minister saidcitizens of Dhaka city were likely to see new taxicabs fromPahelaBaishakh. The prime minister is expected to inaugurate the operation of 60 new taxicabs.Two private companies are importing60 of 500taxicabs permitted by the BRTA. “TomaParibahon, a sister concern of Toma Construction, and the Army Welfare Trust have been given clearance to import 250 cabs each for Dhaka and Chittagong cities.The process of importing 60 taxicabs has been completed and they will arrive this month,”Obaidul said. l
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Anamul, who took some time to settle in, smashed the Afghan bowlers all around the park. Anamul was unbeaten on 44 from 33 balls and clobbered four fours and three sixes, the last six over long-off landing Bangladesh’s win. Earlier, Bangladesh could have not asked for a better start after opting to bowl in their crucial encounter as the very first ball of the World Twenty20 fetched them a wicket. Ahmed Shahzad tried to hike Mashrafe bin Mortaza’s out swinging length ball, but only managed to sky it to left of midoff where Mahmudullah took a well judged catch. The inexperience of playing in the big stage got the worst out of the Afghans in the remaining of the match as they could not recover from the early shock. The wicket only fired up the Bangladeshi side along with the bowler,
Malaysia doubles scale of plane search, pilots probed PAGE 1 COLUMN 1
deliberate act, to bring down this airplane. And the question is who is behind that,” Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News. Friends and colleagues of both pilots have testified to their good character, but questions have been raised over the flight simulator Zaharie installed at home -- even though aviation commentators have said this is not uncommon. It also emerged that Zaharie had close ties with the party of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who has been battling a charge of sodomy. A day before the flight, a Malaysian court overturned Anwar’s 2012 acquittal on charges he sodomised a male former aide and sentenced him to five years in jail. But authorities have not disclosed whether Zaharie’s political affiliations figured in the investigation. Fariq’s record was queried after a woman said he had allowed her and a friend to ride in the cockpit of an earlier flight.
Hishammuddin noted that the two pilots “did not ask to fly together” on the missing plane. New search parameters The transport minister cautioned against “jumping to conclusions” about the thrust of the investigation, which national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar stressed was covering all 239 passengers and crew. Engineers who may have had contact with the aircraft before takeoff were also being looked at, Khalid said. The police action followed Saturday’s startling revelations that the plane’s communications systems had been manually switched off before the jet veered westward and flew on for hours. Like Prime Minister NajibRazak the previous day, Hishammuddin refused to use the word hijacking, saying only that the pattern of events was consistent with “deliberate action” by someone on the plane. The new search parameters involve two possible flight corridors -- a northern one stretching from Thailand to
Kazakhstan and a southern one from Indonesia towards the southern Indian Ocean. The Malaysian foreign ministry briefed representatives from 22 countries on Sunday, including the central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, and requested support in the form of satellite and radar data. For anguished relatives, the news the plane had been diverted was a double-edged sword -- holding out the slim hope that hijackers had landed the plane somewhere, while ushering in another agonising open-ended waiting period.
‘What did they put up with?’
Relatives of Bob and Cathy Lawton, a missing Australian couple, said they were horrified by the notion of a drawn-out hijack ordeal. “That’s one of the worst things I could have hoped for,” Bob’s brother David Lawton told News Limited newspapers. “Even if they are alive, what did
they have to put up with?” The scope for speculation is as broad as the new search area. Beyond the scrutiny of the cockpit crew, the possibility that the cockpit was taken over or the pilots were coerced opens a Pandora’s Box of possibilities as to who might have been involved and why. Two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen EU passports have been identified as Iranians by Interpol, who said they were most likely illegal immigrants who did not fit terrorist profiles. The fact that most of the passengers on board the Beijing-bound flight were Chinese has raised speculation of involvement by militants from China’s Muslim ethnic Uighur minority. Security experts warned against reading too much into partial data. “We still really don’t have a lot of evidence to go on,” said Anthony Brickhouse, a member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators. “We don’t have any wreckage, we don’t have the plane itself, we don’t
Reza, who hit the stumps from midwicket to find Karim Sadiq short of the crease attempting a couple. The spinners shared six wickets among them giving away just 37 runs with Shakib doing most of the damage. Shakib cleaned up Shapoor Zadran to claim his third wicket for just eight runs to end Afghanistan’s innings in the 18th over. l
AL bags more vice-chairmen PAGE 1 COLUMN 2
boycotted the national polls held on January 5 demanding elections under a non-partisan government as they claimed free and fair election is not possible under a partisan government. This walkover gave the Awami League two third easy majority in the parliament. l
Prosecution team’s have a lot of electronic data from the aircraft.” The last satellite communication from the plane on March 8 came nearly eight hours after it took off -- around the time the airline has said it would have run out of fuel. Hishammuddin said both search corridors were being treated “with equal importance”, but a number of analysts said the southern ocean route was more likely. Flying along the northern corridor would have required the plane to travel undetected through numerous national airspaces in a strategically sensitive region. “I just can’t think of a scenario where this aircraft is sitting on a runway somewhere,” Brickhouse said. Scott Hamilton, managing director of US-based aerospace consultancy Leehman Co, said a crash in the ocean would present a daunting search and recovery challenge. “Any floating debris will be widely dispersed and the main debris on the sea floor,” he said. l
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chief prosecutor and the chief coordinator would comment on these matters, a mid-level prosecutor told the Dhaka Tribune. Meeting sources said a proposal was placed to adopt a resolution against the chief prosecutor for his removal from the post. However, it was not accepted by some of the participants. Tipoo earlier this month wrote to the law ministry for taking proper measures after Tureen had submitted to him a written complaint mentioning Ali’s remarks. The incident triggered other controversial issues and made public several hidden resentments within the team. Shahriar Kabir, a war crimes case witness and noted writer, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday the government should identify those responsible for the situation and take immediate initiative. He was astonished to see that the government was reluctant to handle the situation at a time when conflicts within the prosecution team had escalated over the last two weeks. l
Monday, March 17, 2014
Rehabilitation is key to child labour elimination n Udisa Islam Swapna (not her real name) began working as a housemaid at the tender age of 10 but the 17-year-old is now a sex worker by profession. Having offered her service as a domestic worker for two years, she had to leave as her employer refused to take her service anymore. She then managed another job at a house where she was abused by the son of her employer. The incident put her in deep emotional distress and she decided to take an alternative route. She adopted a new name and now identifies herself as Swapna instead of her real name in an effort to bury her past. Like Swapna, her friend Jashim had
to choose a different course of action in life. Jashim used to work at a welding shop until the day some people approached his employer and requested him to let the boy get admitted to an informal school which they established to educate working children for a better future. Jashim was elated by the opportunity but the blessing turned into a curse as after one and a half years, the school was shut down and the teachers never returned. Jashim is now making a living as a hijacker. Utter frustration has also forced him towards drugs and he also bears the identity of a drug peddler. “Who the hell told those people to let us feel what education is?” Jashim sometimes asks himself.
There are many like Swapna and Jashim whose lives descend into uncertainty when we talk about elimination of child labour without deciding on a proper rehabilitation strategy, rights activists observed while speaking to the Dhaka Tribune. They raised questions: Whether or not should child labour be justified in times of extreme financial hardship? Whether or not was working right if a child’s wage helped his family pay for some of the basic necessities of life? In light of the questions, the activists said they were thinking about differentiating child work from child labour. “If children are above the minimum age to work and are employed for a lim-
ited number of hours in a safe environment, then working may be beneficial to both themselves and their families. Besides, we can also protect them from taking a wrong path as they lead their lives,” noted rights activist Khushi Kabir told the Dhaka Tribune. “Withdrawing these children from their work without rehabilitating them will be irresponsible,” she said. Back in 2006, Bangladesh enacted the Labour Act which prohibits employment of children below 14. It also mentions a prohibition on hazardous forms of labour for children under 18. However, children aged 12 and above may be engaged in “light work” that does not pose a risk to their lives.
Wahida Banu, executive director of Aparajeyo Bangladesh, said instead of thinking about arranging light work for children, the focus should be on how to rehabilitate them. “We must ensure that the children who we wish not to become engaged in taxing work are provided with quality education and alternative income opportunities,” she added. The 2009 National Report on Bangladesh by Unicef says 33 million children in Bangladesh, almost half of all the children in the country, are living in poverty while about one in four children is deprived of at least four basic needs of life among food, education, healthcare, information, shelter, water and sanitation. l
JnU hall recovery campaign n Mohammad Jamil Khan The Jagannath University students yesterday vowed to continue their demonstration till their dormitories were recovered from their grabbers. They made the vow at a previously scheduled rally held at the central Shaheed Minar on Sunday. Thousands of JnU students came to the venue by the university buses voicing their only demand “Give our hall back to us”. The entire Shaheed Minar premises turned into a human sea with the presence of students pressing for the demand. Fakir Alamgir, a noted singer and former student of Jagannath College attended the rally around 11am and expressed solidarity with the students. He urged the authorities concerned to take initiative for solving the students’ crisis and to withdraw the cases filed against the students by JnU in connection with teacher assault. JnU unit Chhatra League president Shariful Islam, also convener of hall recovery committee, administered the oath to the attending students around 12pm.
2 women MP aspirants’ appeal rejected
n Mohammad Zakaria
The EC yesterday rejected appeals of two reserved women seat candidates whose nominations were earlier cancelled on charges of bill defaulting. They are Awami League nominated candidate Sabiha Nahar Begum and Jatiya Party nominated candidate Khorshed Ara Haque. Senior Assistant Secretary to the EC Mosharraf Hossain confirmed the matter. On March 11, after scrutiny of nomination papers for reserved women seats, the EC cancelled nominations of the two for defaulting telephone bills. Khorshed Ara owed a bill of Tk223,488 and Sabiha Nahar Tk11,835 to the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited. According to the law, the candidates have to clear bills and loans seven days before filing nomination papers. On March 12, the two candidates paid the bills and appealed to the EC to restore their nominations. l
Weather remains dry
Weather may remain dry with temporary partly cloudy sky over the country until 6pm today. Day and night temperature may remain nearly unchanged over the country, Met Office said. The sun sets in the capital at 6:08pm today and rises at 6:05am tomorrow. Country’s highest temperature 35.0 degrees Celsius was recorded yesterday in Sylhet and Teknaf and lowest 14.2 degrees in Chuadanga. Highest and lowest temperature recorded in some major cities yesterday were: City Dhaka Chittagong Rajshahi Rangpur Khulna Barisal Sylhet Cox’s Bazar
32.6 32.2 1 33.0 31.7 33.5 32.4 35.0 34.8
20.5 8.5 14.4 17.2 17.2 16.2 18.5 20.2
PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha
4:50am 6:05am 12:07pm 4:28pm 6:08pm 7:24pm
Shariful said they would go on strike from Tuesday if the JnU authority did not withdraw cases field against them. Following taking oath, the students said they would continue their demonstration till their demand was met and not back down. The hall recovery committee leaders alleged that the JnU teachers threatened students with action over cellphones and asked them to back down. However, the JnU Teachers’ Association President Prof Dr Sarkar Ali Akkas refused the allegation. He said they were with the students. The rally ended at 1pm after declaring their next programme. The JnU Teachers Association held a press briefing yesterday around 2pm. The teachers said they could not attend the yesterday’s rally because one suspended student who assaulted a JnU teacher was leading the programme. However, they said they would hold a protest programme and a human chain in front of the university’s Shaheed Minar on March 19 and 20. Besides, a rally would be held on March 23 and 26 led by the JnU Teachers’ Association. l
Students of Jagannath University demonstrate in front of the Central Shaheed Minar yesterday, demanding recovery of their halls from unscrupulous land grabbers MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
3 Greater turnout of voters amid violence in the third phase n Mohammad Zakaria Amid increasing complaints of violence and vote rigging, the voter turnout has also increased in the third phase of the fourth upazila parishad polls compared to the last two phases. Although several BNP backed candidates brought allegations of irregularities against the ruling party backed candidates in the third phase of the polls held on Saturday, the Election Commission was yet to investigate into the complaints and take any step to avoid such incidents in the upcoming phases, said a number of EC officials, seeking anonymity. Because of commission’s inaction, the rate of violence was high during the third phase, they claimed. Regarding assault on an assistant returning officer in Barisal’s Hizla upazila, the commission secretariat had proposed forming an investigation committee to look into the incident. However, the commission was yet to take any initiative in this regard, a senior EC official told the Dhaka Tribune preferring to be anonymous. Election Commissioner Abdul Mobarak, who is acting as the chief election commissioner, told reporters on Saturday that the third phase polls held 100% free and fair, and the EC was satisfied with holding the polls peacefully. However, poll was postponed in only 26 polling centres in the face of violence, he said yesterday. The voter turnout in 81 upazilas in the third phase was 63.52%, whereas it was 62.44% in 97 upazilas in the first phase and 63.31% in 116 upazilas during the second phase. The highest voter turnout was 84.50% in Durgapur upazila in Rajshahi while the lowest voter turnout was 47.23% in Fulbaria upazila of Mymensingh. Out of 13,106,242, a total of 8,324,812 voters cast their votes in the third phase. A total of 369,855 votes were cancelled in the third phase while 4, 61, 383 and 562,955 were cancelled in first and second phase of the polls respectively. l
Minister’s flash visit, two Ctg land officials suspended
‘Polls result boosts morale of AL men’
n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong
The ruling Awami League is now bubbling with enthusiasm and inspiration after it sailed through the just concluded elections to 81 upazilas. The party that failed to do better in previous two phases of polls than its opponent BNP hopes it would be able to keep up the winning trend in the next spells of ballot battles. The ruling party thinks that the results have gone in its favour as the central committee extensively looked after the party activities across the country. Moreover, they were able to rein in the rebel candidates and in most places it could field single candidate after it buried the hatchet between the rival aspirants in the party grassroots. The party old guard said their bitter experience from the past two phases of elections taught them a lot and they
State Minister for Land Saifuzzaman Chowdhury Javed on a sudden visit to a land office in the port city suspended two officials yesterday for irregularities and negligence in duties. Sources at the Agrabad Circle Land Office told the Dhaka Tribune that the minister had visited the office without any notice around 11:30am and ordered the authorities concerned to close the officials – Land Officer M Joynal and Assistant Land Officer Rana Kanti Shil. The minister also ordered transfer of class IV employee Anisul Islam as he had been working there for four years violating the government job rules. State Minister Saifuzzaman ordered police to arrest two people named Alak Khastogir and Abdus Sukkur for setting up makeshift shops illegally in
front of the office on the government land. Afterwards, the state minister along with land officials conducted a drive on an illegally built brick kiln named Pacific Marine Service Auto Brickfield at Bakalia of the city around 12:30 and sealed off the kiln and ordered arrest of its manager Pradip Dutta. “We will recover all illegally occupied state land,” he said, adding that the ministry would stop all kinds of irregularities at the country’s land offices and bring to book the officials and employees involved in corruption. The state minister also said he would continue this type of sudden visit and drive. A few days ago, the state minister had paid another such visit to a local land office and suspended its two officials on similar charges. l
n Emran Hossain Shaikh
DMCH doctors overwhelmed by sudden influx of patients n
The Dhaka Medical College Hospital has recently reached the mark of having more than 3,000 indoor patients on a single day, the highest figure since the hospital was established in 1946. On March 11, a total of 3,005 patients received medical attention at the indoor of the 2,400-bed hospital, according to hospital records. The burn unit was the most overwhelmed by the influx of patients. The 100-bed unit is now treating 417 indoor patients. The other unitslike neurosurgery and medicine departments that also have over two to threefold increase in the number of patients are still takingadmissions beyond their bed capacity. During March 5-12, the average number of indoor patients was around 2,950. This was a huge spike compared to 1,800-2,300 patients just a month back in February. The growing number of patients is also taking its toll on medical services with the DMCH being forced to carry out more daily operations and medical tests than usual. Hospital records show the DMCH doctors carry out an average of over 136 operations daily, with the highest 174 done on March 9. The number of daily operations was less than 100 a few months ago, said an insider of the hospital.
The number of clinical, pathological,X-Ray and other imagingtests and operationshave also increased than before. DMCH sources said around 400-450 clinical pathology tests were now carried out every day, compared to around 250 daily tests that were done earlier. The previous number of 60-70 daily CT scans has also risen to around 120-140.
DMCH has facilities for 2,400 patients: DMCH 1 has 1,700, burn unit 100, and DMCH 2 has 600 beds Several senior doctors of the hospital told the Dhaka Tribune that people have more confidence in the DMCH than other public hospitals, as they expect better service from the DMCH. However, the rush of patients has become a burden for different wards as the risk of infection among admitted patients has reportedly increased because of overcrowd. The senior doctors added that despite offering similar facilities, the patients were disinclined to seek medical help at other public hospitals in Dhaka. The health ministry should find out the reason behind this trend and act ap-
propriately to make the hospitals properly functional, they added. The DMCH currently has the facilities to accommodate 2,400 patients with the DMCH-1 having 1,700 beds, the burn and plastic surgery unit 100 beds, and the DMCH-2 having 600 more beds. DMCH Director Brig Gen Dr Mustafizur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune that the authorities were surprised to find an unexpected spike in patient numbers with around 600-800 new patients coming to the hospital. Saying he did not know the actual reason behind the sudden influx of patients, Dr Mustafizur added that he had not seen such overwhelming rush of patients during his last two years as the hospital director. Dr Musfiqur Rahman, deputy director of the DMCH,said the DMCH was the only public hospital that did not send any patient back home for the unavailability of beds. Despite the health ministry’s declaration of the DMCH as a 2,300-bed facility, the allocated budget for patient management covered only 1,700 beds, he said, adding that extra patients had to be kept on the floors, verandas and corridors of the hospital. To manage the additional patients, the doctors and the staff at the hospital have to bear the extra workload to ensure proper healthcare services, Dr Musfhiqur said. l
took necessary and decisive measures to win the election battle. In the third phase of upazila polls the Awami League Awami League-backed chairman contenders bagged 40 seats while BNP-sponsored candidates secured 28 seats out of 78 upazilas. Whereas in previous two phases Awami League got only 77 chairman posts out of 216 upazilas while the BNP 96. In the third phase the Awami League won eight upazila chairman posts out of nine upazila pasishad in Khulna Division. The result of Barisal Division was similar to that of Khulna. In Barisal Awami League loyalists bagged four out of five upazilas. Awami League Khulna Division Organising Secretary BM Mojammel Haque said this time they had done better than the BNP due to various steps and measures taken by the party to resolve the internecine clash in the
grassroots level. Another Organising Secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said their party grassroots leaders and activists had taken up the polls seriously after seeing the humiliating defeat in the previous polls which had earned them good results this time. Awami League Presidium Member Obaidul Quader said: “I think one of the key reasons behind the win of the party is our extensive monitoring.” “The polls result this time have inspired our leaders and activists which will boost their confidence in the next phase of elections,” he said. Quader admitted the fact of intraparty feud in the grassroots saying that in most cases they had resolved it but in some places they had failed to settle down the dispute. “If we can cement the cohesion of the party we will fare better in the next elections and the polls result will come in our favour,” he hoped. l
Accused out on bail threatens Samiul’s father n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu The prime accused in the much-talkedabout Samiul murder case has reportedly been threatening the victim’s father to not bring any more witnesses at the court to testify against him. The alleged killer has been threatening KR Azam saying that he would have to face the same fate like his son. Court sources said accused Md Shamsuzzaman Arif alias Bakku secured a four-week bail from the High Court on February 20 in the case now under trial at the Dhaka’s Special Court 4. Azam and other witnesses are feeling insecure since the prime accused is roaming free. Azam filed a GD with Pallabi police station. Samiul’s father, also the plaintiff, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Bakku threat-
ened me at Mirpur 12 bus stand last Friday, asking me not to present any more witnesses on the next hearing date.” Nine out of 31 prosecution witnesses have given depositions in the case. On October 25, 2010, Adabar OC Kazi Shahin Haque submitted charge sheet in the case, accusing Samiul’s mother Humaira Akter Ayesha and her lover Bakku who murdered Samiul Ajim Wafi, 5, as he witnessed them being intimate. His body was recovered near his house in the capital’s Adabar on June 24, 2010. Police, however, did not charge Bakku’s wife Nadia Akhter Sathi as her involvement with the murder had not been proved. On February 1, 2011, the two were indicted and the trial began after seven days with plaintiff Azam’s testimony and cross-examination. l
Dhaka Chittagong Rajshahi Rangpur Khulna Barisal Sylhet Coxâ€™s Bazar
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PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha
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Sunday, March 16, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
Slow dredging to worsen flood situation n Our Correspondent, Sirajganj The flood situation may worsen in Sirajganj due to slow dredging in the Jamuna River adjacent to the district town protection embankment. According to sources, the Water Development Board, with the help a Chinese company, started the capital dredging programme on January 20 of this year, at a cost of Tk85cr. The WDB started the dredging for the third time to change the river courses to the east so that the up-stream water during monsoon might not endanger the dam. The WDB dredged about 20 km area between 2012 and 2013, spending Tk500cr for protecting the embankment as well as the guide embankment of the Bangabandhu Bridge. But the protection dam was breached frequently in the last two years. After breaching the dam, the town
dwellers and dam adjacent-people alleged the dredging in the name of changing the river courses was not properly done as the Chinese Harbour Engineering Company was doing the work during monsoon time. In a recent visit, it was found the dredging work is going slow although the flash flood is near to the district. As result, the town protection dam may be further breached if the work is not completed before flood. Motahar Hossain, WDB’s designer, said if the Chinese company cannot change the river channel before flood season, the town as well as its embankment may be endangered further. Rafikul Islam Choudhury, WDB’s subdivisional engineer said:” The Chinese company has two dredgers, but it cannot run them due to insufficient areas.” Mr Hellon, a dredging engineer of the Chinese Harbour Engineering Company said:”We hope to complete the dredging before flood.” l
Soil extraction denuding flora in Netrakona’s Durgapur n Tribune Report Unauthorised soil collection from Durgapur upazila of bordering Netrakona is threatening existence of the inhabitants here. Lifting of ‘white soil’ (locally called Sada Sona (white gold) from the bottoms of hills at Bijoypur in the upazila continues unhindered causing much harm to lives and habitats of the population here, that mostly comprises ethnic minority people. Bijoypur surrounded by Garo hills on the bank of the Someshwari River is enriched with natural resources like white soil, presenting exquisite natural scenery. Co-existence of the people of different ethnic communities, including Garo, Hajong, Coach, Banai, Hadi, Bhalu and Rajbangshi, with Bangalees in the upazila has made life here diversified. A number of companies have continued illegal lifting of the ‘white soil’ from the hills, hillocks and even plain lands over the years, earning millions of taka.
Such insensible soil extraction has caused huge depletion of the vast greenery of scenic Durgapur upazila. Many of the ethnic community people have lost their dwelling houses as well for the soil lifting which has also created a sharp decline in arable land.
Bijoypur surrounded by Garo hills on the bank of the Someshwari River is enriched with natural resources like white soil, presenting exquisite natural scenery A total of eight people have so far drowned in trenches caused by soil lifting since after the country’s independence. Ranjit Khatriye, a resident of the area, said Rit Hajong, son of Rajkimar
Farmer killed in Gopalganj clash n Our Correspondent, Gopalganj A farmer was killed and 20 others were injured in a clash between two groups of villagers at Tetulia village under Kashiani upazila in Gopalganj on Saturday night. The deceased was identified as Abul Bashar Shikdar, 60, a resident of Tetulia village of the upazila. Local sources said an altercation ensued between some residents of Tetulia and Rajpat village over irrigation of a farmland from a canal in the area. The rivals used lethal weapons during the clash that lasted more than an hour, critically injuring Abul Bashar Shikdar, Alam, 50, Khashbur, 50, Solaiman, 46, Bhashan, 45, Elias, 40, Jakir, 50, Murad, 36, Iqbal, 26 and Faruk, 32. Of the injured, three were rushed to Gopalganj General Hospitalwhere Abul Bashar succumbed to his injured around 11pm. Moniruzzanman, officer-in-charge of Kashiani police station, said they had deployed police in the area to avoid unpleasant situation. A case was filed in this connection. l
Monday, March 17, 2014
An election camp office of a BNP-backed candidate is vandalised allegedly by a group of Awami League activists at Shahjadpur upazila in Sirajganj yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE
Trader beaten to death in Tangail n Our Correspondent, Tangail
A wood trader was beaten to death at Hatuvanga village under Mirzapur upazila in Tangail yesterday afternoon. Locals said a group of miscreants had swooped on Abdur Rahim, 45, a resident of Beltoil village, and beat him indiscriminately when he was returning home, leaving him critically injured. Local people took him to Mirzapur Kumudini Medical College Hospital where on duty doctor pronounced his death. Officer-in-charge of Mirzapur police station Golam Mostofa said he might have been killed over previous enmity. l
Trader mugged of Tk50,000 in Magura n Tribune Report A gang of muggers snatched Tk50,000 from a trader after stabbing him in Shalikha upazila in Magura on Saturday night. The victim was identified as Sumon, 22, son of Abdul Mazid of Harishpur village in the upazila. Police said a gang of 5-6 snatchers had intercepted Sumon at Aruakandi village around 8pm while he was returning home from Simakhali Bazar by his bicycle. Later, the hoodlums stabbed him and took away the money, reports UNB. Passers-by rescued Sumon and took him to Shalikha hospital and a case was filed. l
Deborshi of Changarah village, Lagaj Risil, son of Dherij Resar of Gaimara village, Jewel Taju, son of Biresh Sal of Gucchagram, Diganta Sal, son of Daniel Remar of Gaisara village and Dilip Mankin, son of Benedict Russel of Maijpara village, and three others unidentified have lost their lives in the trenches. Besides, for unplanned soil lifting, cracks have developed in many of the major points of the road from Kamarkali Bazar to Charuapara, leaving the road unfit for vehicular movement. Mohammad Bacchu Mia, a trader of the area, said they collect ‘white soil’ from the area and transport it to different districts including the capital. Some local people urged the government to take an initiative to force the companies into abiding by the existing rules in extracting ‘white soil’ from the area. Saidul Hossain Akunji, former chairman of Durgapur upazila, said they have already sent a written complaint to the Prime Minister seeking her intervention in this regard. l
UPDF man detained with arms, ammo n Our Correspondent, Khagrachhari An activist of the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF) was detained with arms and ammunition in Baillachhari area under Guimara police station in Khagrachhari yesterday afternoon. The arrestee identified as Nabin Chakma, 30, is the son of Samir Dewan of Hazachhari under Laxmichhari upazila in Khagrachhari. Officer-in-charge of Guimara police station Abu Yusuf Mia said acting on a tip- off, a team of army personnel had raided Baillachhari area and detained Nabin with a LG gun and three rounds of bullet. During preliminary interrogation, Nabin confessed that he is an active member of the UPDF and has been staying in the locality to collect extortion, the OC said, adding that a case was filed with the police station. District Press Secretary of UPDF Niron Chakma alleged that the army had termed Nabin as extortionist after putting the LG gun and the bullets at his hands. l
Monday, March 17, 2014
Is free money the game changer in development? road connections yet but everyone lives within a 30-45 minute walking distance to an M-PESA agent. Using the mobile payment system also led to a drastic reduction of delivery cost to only 10%, which means that for every dollar donated 90 cents were received by the recipients.
Give a man a fish So, what happened when these poor villagers living on the poverty line received a large windfall? Contrary to the expectations of seasoned development practitioners, there was no evidence of increase in expenditure on alcohol, drugs or gambling. On the other hand, the assets and income of the cash recipients went up, significantly. Assets, such as replacing the thatched roof with a metal one, and holdings of livestock, went up on average by 58%. Income also went up by 33% on average from sources such as non-agricultural businesses and animal assets. It’s interesting though that the study found little evidence of change in the main source of income of the recipients. Increase in income also led to a higher level of consumption and food security and it lowered the number of days children went without food by 42%. The fact that receiving the cash reduced stress and increased happiness was measured by the level of cortisol (a stress hormone) in the saliva of the recipients. Smaller monthly transfers were found to better at increasing food security, whereas lump sum transfers were better at increasing the asset base. The financial windfall also seemed to have had a positive effect on the empowerment of women in treatment villages – both for recipient and non-recipient households. However, whether the transfers were made to the woman or man of the household seemed to have had no significant effect on overall outcomes.
found that CCTs are better at getting results and the stricter the conditions, the better. For example, a programme in Ghana gave a small sum of money ($120) to local business owners, some conditionally, requiring the owner to buy assets for the firm, and some unconditionally. It was found that profits were twice as high in firms that got the cash conditionally. On the other hand, cash transfers with minimal conditions can also work well. In Uganda, the government gave one-time grants to groups of young people (approximately $7,500 per group) who had to submit a business plan in order to be eligible. No conditions were applied on how the grant was to be used. It was found that the young people used the money to learn trades and on tools and materials to set up enterprises. In a four year period, earnings for the groups went up by 38% and capital stock rose by 57%.
n Farzana Nawaz
n international development discussions one thing that often gets lost is the voice of the poor. Usually, development is something that is done “to” them. Programs are conceived and planned out in headquarters of development organisations and NGOs by “experts” who are thought to know better than anyone how to solve the problems of people to whom they might have little or no connection. At the same time, development programmes are notoriously expensive to implement and after years of slow progress, and little dent in the global rate of poverty, tax payers have started to ask whether either the poor or the donors are
Contrary to increasing spending on alcohol or drugs, no-strings-attached cash transfers to the poor led to significant increases in income, assets and psychological wellbeing of the recipients getting good “value for money.” While more skeptical commentators have used terms such as the “development industrial complex” which exists to serve its own needs and logic more than the poor. Frustrated by the traditional development approach of big spending but scant results, a new group of donors, tech entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, decided to ask a very bold question – what would happen if we just gave money to the poor, no strings attached, for them to spend as they wish? Will they spend it on alcohol, drugs or gambling? Or will they prove that they are in fact in the best position to decide what their most pressing needs are and allocate the resources accordingly? Conceived by one of the co-founders of Facebook, Chris Hughes, and funded by tech giant Google, the NGO GiveDirectly set out to find the answers to these questions. True to the data-nerd roots of its founders, GiveDirectly designed its cash-giving project as an experiment (a
randomised controlled trial) and it enlisted the help of one of the best evaluation teams around, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) at MIT, to find out the kind of impact such an intervention can have. The results of the study released last fall surprised the development community and surpassed all expectations – contrary to increasing spending on alcohol or drugs, no-strings-attached cash transfers to the poor led to significant increases in income, assets and psychological wellbeing of the recipients.
Satellites and mobile phones - the new development toolkit The GiveDirectly unconditional cash transfer (UCT) project took place in the Rarieda area of Western Kenya between 2011 and 2012. Residents of this remote area live on an average of around $1 per day, and 64% of them surveyed said they did not have enough food in their house for the next day. The poorest households were identified using satellite imagery – houses with roofs made out of mud or grass were marked by their lack of luminosity compared to houses with tin roofs. In the randomised controlled trial study villages (with a high concentration of mud or thatched roofs) were randomly assigned to a treatment or pure comparison group. Within the treatment villages 500 eligible households were randomly assigned to receive the cash transfers. These were compared to 500 control households that did not receive the cash. Comparisons were also made between treatment villages and non-treatment villages in the same district to identify any spillover effects the project might have. Three things were of particular interest to the experimenters – does it make a difference if the cash is given as a lump sum or in installments? What size of cash transfer ($300 or $1000) has the biggest impact? What is the difference if the transfer is given to the husband or the wife in the household? GiveDirectly took advantage of the extensive mobile payment network available in Kenya to make the cash transfers using a service called M-PESA. Remote rural areas in Kenya, such as Rarieda, might not have proper
While the results of the experiment seem to indicate a big success for nostrings cash transfers, there are a few things that deserve a closer look. Let us consider how much the results of the study actually tell us. As World Bank economist David McKenzie observed, the fact that a windfall leads to increase in assets and income in the short-term is not too surprising. However, given the one year time-frame of the study, it is difficult to judge the long-term effects of this increase and whether it is sustainable or not. In fact, traditional programmes that combines the giving of an asset, for example a cow, with training on how to maintain and grow that asset and creating linkages with markets might have a bigger and more sustainable impact on increasing incomes and lifting people out of poverty in the long run. Without studying the comparative results of these different kinds of programmes it is difficult to say which ones will fare better in a cost-benefit analysis in the long-term. On the other hand, the study found no significant outcome after one year on development indicators such as health and education, which will are goals the development community tend to care a lot about. It’s also important to note that the source of income didn’t change for most recipients, which means that giving away a lot of cash doesn’t necessarily lead to more entrepreneurship. The idea of giving cash to the poor is also not entirely new. In fact, conditional cash transfer programmes (CCTs) that make payment contingent on desired behaviour have been popular among donors for over a decade. Such programmes have been shown to be very successful in achieving long-term development goals such as increasing school enrollment among poor children or improving nutrition rates. At the same time, CCTs supply poor households with cash that allows them to withstand shocks in earnings or increase their ability to invest in assets. CCTs however can be vulnerable to abuse. In most developing countries any type of cash or asset transfer scheme that leaves discretion up to public officials can be subject to corruption or manipulated for political purposes. In this regard, the extremely light delivery mechanism of UCTs such as GiveDirectly has an advantage. The small number of studies available that compare the outcome of conditional and unconditional giving
cents of every dollar donated were received by the recipients
Mobile payment systems drastically reduced the delivery costs of cash transfers to only
What we know so far and what we don’t
SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN
of public goods. There is also a limitation to how much we can rely upon the ability of people to make difficult long-term choices in the absence of a supportive institutional framework. Abhijeet Banarjee, one of the most influential development economists around, illustrates this point best with an example – British parents on average are better than Indian parents in getting their children immunised. However, this has little to do with any intrinsic conscientiousness on the part of the British and more to do with institutional constraints such as children being barred from going to school or using the public health system if they are not immunised. The key here is that since the state provides these services, it therefore also has the right to compel behaviour. In fact, Banarjee argues that without the proper enabling environment there is little evi-
percent increase in assets and livestock holdings on an average
Income went up by 33 percent on average from sources such as non-agricultural businesses and animal assets
percent decrease in number of days children went without food
Smaller monthly transfers were better at increasing food security, whereas lumpsum transfers were better at increasing the asset base
UCTs that give away large amounts of cash to the extreme poor might also have unintended negative impacts on social dynamics. While the GiveDirectly study found no impact on relationships between neighbours who received the transfers and those who did not, interviews done on the ground by NPR journalists found evidence of increased tension between neighbours. Considering that $1000 amounts to over two years of household income in this area, that is perhaps not surprising. The bottom line is that while UCTs seems to be quite successful in the short-term we don’t have enough data yet to know whether they fare better than conditional transfers or more traditional aid programmes in the long run.
Raising the burden of proof Direct, unconditional cash transfers give poor households the flexibility to allocate resources to the needs they themselves find most pressing. But at the same time, we need to be mindful about how much these types of interventions can achieve. Paul Neihaus, one of the founders of GiveDirectly, himself pointed out that cash transfers are not replacements for necessary structural changes such as developing good governance systems or delivery
dence that anyone, poor or otherwise, will always do the sensible thing. One thing however is clear – as technology tools like mobile banking and Internet become more available to the poorest, it will require a rethink of what forms aid can take. Perhaps just as importantly, by taking a data-driven approach, GiveDirectly has raised the burden of proof for the aid community, and especially NGOs, many of whom have been hopelessly bad at demonstrating the impact of their work until now. So what are the implications of UCTs for a country like Bangladesh? This is a big aid recipient country with a large cottage industry of NGOs and handicapped by structural problems such as high levels of corruption. At the same time, it is home to a highly entrepreneurial and hard working population which is eager for a handup rather than a handout. UCTs will not be a panacea for all the developmental challenges that we face, but the context here certainly make it a compelling enough idea that deserves to be explored. l Farzana Nawaz is governance expert currently working in media. You can write to her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @farzana_n. Infographics by Towsif Osman.
Monday, March 17, 2014
EU mulling next steps against Russia over Ukraine n AP, Brussels
Pro-Russian activists hold giant Russian flags during their rally in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Polls opened in Crimea yesterday for a unique referendum to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, with the first voters seen entering polling stations in the regional capital Simferopol AFP
Syria’s army announces capture of rebel bastion
n AFP, Damascus
Syria’s army said yesterday it had seized the rebel stronghold Yabrud, where it is backed by Lebanon’s Hezbollah and pro-regime militias, dealing the opposition a heavy symbolic and strategic blow. “After a series of special operations, the Syrian Arab army, in coordination with the (paramilitary) National Defence Forces, returned security and stability to the town of Yabrud and its surroundings in northern Damascus province,” an army statement said. State television broadcast images of dead fighters, and its correspondent on the ground said traffic was moving normally along the nearby highway that links the capital Damascus to Syria’s third city Homs. “This new success... is an important step towards securing the border area with Lebanon, and cutting off the roads and tightening the noose around the remaining terrorist cells in Damascus province,” the military added. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an NGO, said Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement had led the Yabrud operation. “Hezbollah forces supported by Syrian regime troops and the pro-regime National Defence Forces militia have taken control of large parts of Yabrud,” the group said, adding that clashes were continuing. The fall of Yabrud comes after months of Syrian army operations in the strategic Qalamoun region, north of Damascus, where the town is situated. l
Israel: Kerry pressuring the wrong side n AFP, Jerusalem An Israeli minister yesterday said Washington’s top diplomat was “wrong” for pressuring Israel in peace talks, a day before Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas visits the White House. His remarks came two days after US Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated demand that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state. “John Kerry is wrong because he is putting pressure on the wrong side,” said Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, who is considered close to Netanyahu. “Kerry should be asking Abu Mazen (Abbas) why he is stubbornly refusing to recognise Israel as the Jewish state.” The demand, which was only placed on the table several months ago by Netanyahu, has been consistently rejected by the Palestinians and is now threatening to derail the peace talks ahead of an April 29 deadline. Kerry waded into the debate on Friday, saying he believed it was a “mistake” to raise the issue over and over again – in what was taken as open criticism of Netanyahu. “I think it’s a mistake for some people to be raising it again and again as the critical decider of their attitude toward the possibility of a state and peace,” Kerry told a congressional hearing. He said such recognition was clear in UN resolutions and was also confirmed by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1988 and in 2004. l
The European Union is taking steps to increase sanctions against Russia over what many believe is a planned annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, as Moscow has changed from a wary partner to a diplomatic adversary in the space of a few months. Sunday’s referendum in Crimea on secession has been called illegal by the EU and the US, and EU foreign ministers will decide on Monday whether to impose asset freeze and visa sanctions and, if so, who to target. EU diplomats were working feverishly over the weekend to set up a list of Russian and Moscow-leaning officials from Ukraine who have been involved in pushing for the southern peninsula’s secession and possible annexation. Diplomats said member states arrived at weekend talks with different suggestions, so a common list could be drawn up for Monday’s meeting of the 28 foreign ministers to make a final decision. “There must be a firm and united response” at the meeting, said British Foreign Secretary William Hague. “The time has come for tougher restrictive measures to be adopted.” They would likely include military of-
ficials who ordered Ukrainian troops to leave their barracks in Crimea and others who were responsible for breakaway actions there. On the other hand, diplomats said they would shy away from economic operators at the moment. Depending on developments in Moscow and Ukraine, further sanctions could follow during a two-day summit of EU leaders starting on Thursday. “We will be — I am quite certain — ready for Monday morning. This will be discussed by ministers in order to reach a decision on that second stage of sanctions,” a senior EU diplomat said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. An EU summit last week suspended talks with Russia on a wide-ranging economic pact and a visa agreement. On top of that, the EU could move quickly, possibly within a week, to sign the political chapters of a far-reaching association agreement with the provisional government in Kiev, underscoring its support for the new Ukraine government. EU diplomats in several capitals made it clear the West is unwilling to give up Crimea in the hope of preventing Moscow from moving into eastern Ukraine. If Moscow takes further measures to
acerbate the crisis, the EU leaders already have threatened what they have called “far-reaching consequences for relations in a broad range of economic areas.” It would set off a tit-for-tat game of sanctions, which the EU hopes would increasingly isolate Russia on the global stage. Moscow says it is convinced economic sanctions would hurt the EU as much as Russia itself. Bound by tens of billions of dollars in trade, there is plenty to hurt one another. Russia is the EU’s third-largest trading partner, mainly because of oil and gas imports, with the EU being its biggest gas consumer. Germany, for example, gets 35 percent of its supplies from Russia. Russia, in turn, buys everything from machinery to cars from Europe, its biggest trading partner, with exports to Russia totaling 123 billion euros ($170 billion) in 2012. The big change in relations came when Ukraine’s Moscow-leaning president, Viktor Yanukovych, made a last-minute decision to abandon an agreement to strengthen ties with the EU and instead sought closer cooperation with Russia. The EU accused Moscow of pressuring Ukraine to make the change and relations have fallen ever further from then on. l
Herdsmen kill 100 in attacks NATO websites hit in cyber-attack on Nigerian villages linked to Crimea tension n Reuters, Kaduna, Nigeria
Gunmen killed more than 100 people in an attack on three villages in central Nigeria, an area where longstanding disputes over land, religion and ethnicity often erupt into violence, two local government officials said yesterday.
The unrest is not linked to the insurgency in the northeast by Boko Haram, which wants to impose sharia law Police confirmed the raids by Fulani herdsman late on Friday on the villages of Ugwar Sankwai, Ungwan Gata and Chenshyi, in Kaduna state, but declined to give a death toll. Hundreds have been killed in the past year in clashes pitting the cattle-herding and largely Muslim Fulani people against mostly Christian settled communities like the Berom in Nigeria’s volatile “Middle Belt,” where its mostly Christian south and Muslim north meet. The unrest is not linked to the insurgency in the northeast by Boko Haram, an al Qaeda-linked group which wants to impose sharia law in northern Nigeria. However, analysts say there is a risk the insurgents will try to stoke central Nigeria’s conflict. Though most of the
Islamist sect’s attacks are contained further north but it did claim a 2011 Christmas Day bomb attack at a church in Jos. “Fulani gunmen came across from neighboring Plateau state and just opened fire on the villagers at around 11 p.m.,” said Daniel Anyip, vice chairman of the Kaura local government authority. “We are still picking bodies out of the bush but so far there are more than 100 killed.” Andrew Kazah, another local councilor, said at least 96 had been killed, but that the toll was likely to go up. Human Rights Watch in December said sectarian clashes in the nation’s religiously mixed central region had killed 3,000 people since 2010, adding that Nigerian authorities had largely ignored the violence, an accusation they denied. Though it sometimes takes on a sectarian character, the violence is fundamentally about decades-old land disputes between semi-nomadic, cattle-keeping communities such as the Fulani and settled farming peoples such as the Berom, both often armed with automatic weapons. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with almost 170 million people, split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims and around 250 different ethnic groups who mostly live peacefully side-by-side. But the central region has been a tinderbox for decades. Its violence, far from economic centers or oil fields in Africa’s second-biggest economy and top oil producer, rarely captures the attention of its elites. l
n Reuters, Brussels/London Hackers brought down several public NATO websites, the alliance said yesterday, in what appeared to be the latest escalation in cyberspace over growing tensions over Crimea. The Western military alliance’s spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu, said on social networking site Twitter that cyber attacks, which began on Saturday evening, continued yesterday, although most services had now been restored. “It doesn’t impede our ability to command and control our forces. At no time was there any risk to our classified
With pessimism growing by the day over the future of Middle East peace talks, US President Barack Obama will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington today to try to break the stalemate. The deadline for the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, aimed at ending their entrenched conflict, expires next month and Washington is eager to persuade the two sides to prolong their discussions within a new framework. But expectations of imminent progress are minimal. After eight months of initial talks, and at least 10 trips to the region, US Secretary of State John Kerry sounded unusually gloomy during a Congressional hearing on March 12, indicating that little progress had been made so far. “The level of mistrust is as large as any level of mistrust I’ve ever seen,” said Kerry, a veteran of Middle East diplomacy. “Neither (side) believes the other is really serious. Neither believes that ... the other is prepared to make some of the big choices that have to be made here.” However, he said it was still possible to extend the talks. Obama’s direct involvement is aimed at providing much needed additional impetus: he saw Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month, and is
now meeting Abbas. Israelis and Palestinians have been holding on-off negotiations for more than 20 years with the stated aim of sharing the Holy Land and creating an independent Palestine. Through all that time, the main, unresolved issues have remained exactly the same - defining the borders and agreeing on security, the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees displaced during the 1948 creation of Israel. Obama told Netanyahu he would seek “difficult decisions” from Abbas in coming weeks and would push him behind closed doors as hard as he did the Israeli premier to help narrow the gap for a framework accord, a senior US official said. Obama will also tell Abbas that “we should not let this current window for peace close” and will make the case for the benefits of peace to the Palestinian people, the official said. Although the terms of the mooted accord have not been published, Palestinians say early indications suggest they will be offered less than what former USPresident Bill Clinton laid out in 2000 in the so-called Clinton Parameters. The president’s aides have made clear that Obama wants the framework document to be seen as even-handed, despite the sense among many Palestinians that Washington is favouring Israel.
kut” said the attack had been carried out by patriotic Ukrainians angry over what they saw as NATO interference in their country. The claim, made at www.cyber-berkut.org, could not be independently verified. “Berkut” is a reference to the feared and since disbanded riot squads used by the government of ousted pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. Cyber warfare expert Jeffrey Carr, in a blog on the attacks, described cyber berkut as staunch supporters of Yanukovich and a “pro-Russia hacktivist group working against Ukrainian independence.” l
Venezuela wants US to join ‘peace commission’ to end unrest n AFP, Caracas Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro urged Washington on Saturday to join a “high-level commission” to promote peace after more than a month of deadly anti-government demonstrations. Maduro blames the United States for the riots, a charge US officials on Friday dismissed as “absurd.” At least 28 people have been killed and 400 injured in the student-led protests that began February 4 in western Venezuela and spread to Ca-
As hope withers, Palestinian president heads to Washington n Reuters, Jerusalem
networks,” another NATO official said. NATO’s main public website (www. nato.int), which carried a statement by Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen saying that Sunday’s referendum on Crimea’s status would violate international law and lack legitimacy, worked intermittently. The so-called “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attack, in which hackers bombard websites with requests causing them to slow down or crash, also hit the site of a NATO-affiliated cyber security centre in Estonia. NATO’s unclassified e-mail network was also affected. A group calling itself “cyber ber-
racas and other cities. Oil-rich Venezuela has seen almost daily anti-government demos as tens of thousands of people vent their rage over the soaring crime rate, spiraling inflation, and a lack of household goods in the markets. Maduro, speaking at a rally in support of the armed forces, said he would propose a commission “for peace and mutual respect of sovereignty” between Venezuela and the United States that could include parties from both sides and the UNASUR grouping of
South American nations. The leftist president said he would name Diosdado Cabello, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, to lead potential talks with the United States “to speak while respecting peace for a dialogue among equals.” His terms for dialogue are virtually identical to those that have been stated repeatedly by Cuba, Caracas’s closest ally. The United States has not taken either country up on their regularly stated offers. l
Besides the so-called core issues, other hurdles to a deal have also emerged, particularly Netanyahu’s demand that Abbas recognises Israel as a Jewish state. Israel says this would show he was serious about ending the conflict, but the Palestinians say it would merely destroy their own narrative. Abbas says accepting it would effectively deny his own people›s centuries-old links to the land and would also mean renouncing the right to return for some 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Washington has endorsed the Israeli position but, perhaps revealing a frustration with Netanyahu, Kerry told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday that it was a “mistake” to raise the issue repeatedly “as the critical decider.” Adamant not to give in on this point, Abbas also faces pressure at home not to agree to any loosely worded accord that would simply prolong negotiations, with no clear end in sight. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is chaired by Abbas, issued a statement this week expressing its “absolute rejection” of any prolongation. PLO board member Hanan Ashrawi said that without obtaining a freeze on Jewish settlement-building on occupied territories the Palestinians want for their future state, any further discussions would be futile. l
A child cries as he looks out of the window of his damaged house in the village of Kfar Kila in southern Lebanon, near the Lebanon-Israel border on March 15, 2014 after it was shelled by an Israeli strike the previous night. Israel said it shelled a position belonging to the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah inside Lebanon AFP
Monday, March 17, 2014
Families face worst nightmare of mid-air ordeal on MH370 More countries join search for MH370 Investigators say the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people on board changed course after someone switched off its communications systems The search now focuses on two different land and ocean transport corridors
CHINA PAKISTAN INDiA
Sched uled ro ute
Air traffic control lost contact with plane at 01:30 am
THAILAND Andaman Islands
Approximate last position tracked by military radar
are now helping with the search
Took off from Kuala Lumpur, March 8, 00:41 am
Sources: MalaysiaAirlines/Vietnam govt/Malaysia govt/NOAA/media
Pakistan mob sets fire to Hindu temple n AFP, Karachi An angry mob of dozens of Muslims set fire to a Hindu temple in a southern Pakistani city over the alleged desecration of a Koran, officials said Sunday as police were deployed to quell tensions. The arson took place on Saturday night in Larkana, the home town of opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who is the son of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
It was the latest example of violence over an alleged violation of Pakistan’s tough blasphemy laws It was the latest example of violence over an alleged violation of Pakistan’s tough blasphemy laws, which rights groups say are often abused to settle personal scores. “The law and order problem surfaced in the city Saturday evening after local residents accused a Hindu youth, Surjeet Kumar, of burning pages of the Holy Koran,” senior local administration official Ghunwar Leghari told AFP. Dozens of enraged Muslims attacked a Hindu temple in the city and set fire to its sanctuary, Leghari said, adding the situation had been brought under control overnight and Kumar
New Thai Red Shirts leader warns of battle ahead n AFP, Bangkok A firebrand hardliner who was a core leader of Thailand’s Red Shirts in the country’s massive 2010 protests has been chosen to head the pro-government movement, saying yesterday that a “big fight” lay ahead. Former MP Jatuporn Prompan, facing terrorism charges in an ongoing trial related to the 2010 uprising, told AFP that any new Red Shirt tactics would be “peaceful.” “We have to discuss our strategy,” Jatuporn told AFP. “The next battle will be big.” He ruled out violence, saying that any new strategy would involve “no weapons.” Jatuporn took the helm as chairman from previous Red Shirt leader Tida Tawornseth at a gathering of 10,000 supporters in Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, on Saturday. Bangkok has been rocked by months of mass protests calling for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step aside in favour of an unelected “people’s council” to tackle what opponents see as a culture of money-driven politics. The backdrop is a longstanding struggle between a royalist establishment, backed by the judiciary and the military, and Yingluck’s billionaire family which has strong support in the northern half of Thailand. Protests accuse Yingluck’s elder brother Thaksin Shinawatra – a tycoon-turned-premier who was ousted from office by royalist generals in 2006 – of running the government from overseas, where he lives to avoid a jail term for corruption. l
was in police custody. He added that there was a heavy deployment of police and paramilitary rangers to keep the peace on Sunday. Another senior police official, Khadim Hussain Rind, confirmed the incident and said two Muslims had been arrested for their part in the violence. Reacting to the attack, Zardari tweeted: “I consider attack on temple akin to attack on GKB (Garhi Khuda Baksh).perpetrators will b brought 2 justice as will people who spread lies and incited violence.” Garhi Khuda Baksh is a village which houses the Bhutto family mausoleum. Hindus account for around nine percent of Larkana’s population of around 400,000, with many running their own businesses. Minorities are particularly suspectible to accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan, where Muslims make up 97 percent of the population and insulting the Prophet Mohammed can carry the death penalty. The incident also had repercussions in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, where protesters angry at the alleged blasphemy in Larkana clashed with police in the towns of Osta Muhammad and Dera Murad Jamali. Two protesters and one policeman were injured during the clashes in Osta Muhammad, while four shops owned by Hindus were set ablaze, senior local police official Syed Ashfaq Shah told AFP. l
n AFP, Kuala Lumpur
New revelations about a missing Malaysia Airlines plane have left anguished relatives contemplating the prospect that those on board endured a terrifying high-altitude hijack ordeal that may have lasted nearly eight hours. But while the disclosures led to increased speculation of a terror plot or pilot suicide, for some they offered a glimmer of hope – that flight MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, may somehow have landed safely and that their loved ones may still be alive. For relatives of Bob and Cathy Lawton, a missing Australian couple, the possibility of a terrifying drawn-out fate at thousands of feet reflected their deepest fears. “That’s one of the worst things I could have hoped for,” Bob’s brother David Lawton told News Limited newspapers. “Even if they are alive, what did they have to put up with?” Prime Minister Najib Razak declined to use the word hijack when he briefed the press Saturday, but said new data suggested a “deliberate action” to divert the plane. The Boeing 777’s communications appear to have been switched off manually before the jet veered westward
and flew for hours. What happened during that time remains a mystery. But one report of the plane fluctuating from low to high altitude fuelled fears the passengers may have been well aware they were in terrible danger. The New York Times said the jet had reached 45,000 feet – above its approved altitude limit – before it “descended unevenly to 23,000 feet.” It cited Malaysian military radar signals, but the data has not been confirmed by the authorities. “At 45,000 feet, it may result in pressurisation problems,” said Gerry Soejatman, a Jakarta-based independent aviation analyst. “But we don’t know how the fluctuation went, whether it was gentle or violent and sharp. If it was gentle, only a few sensitive passengers would notice.”
For relatives in China, which had 153 citizens on the flight, the investigators’ breakthrough just brought more distress and frustration. “We are experiencing an ordeal. We are still waiting for (more information),” said one tearful man emerging from a meeting between Malaysia Airlines and relatives in Beijing on Sunday morning.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of India has sought to strike a balance by giving tickets to people from diverse fields like media, corporate world, films and academics besides social activists, former defence personnel and retired bureaucrats for the Lok Sabha elections, reported Times of India. Former CEO and chairperson of RBS India Meera Sanyal, social activist Medha Patkar, actress Gul Panag, academician Rajmohan Gandhi and journalist Ashutosh are among the 242 candidates announced by the party so far for its debut Lok Sabha elections. “After its success in the Delhi assembly elections, the party has got tremendous response with people from across the country wanting to become members. With this, also came a long list of people wanting to contest on a party ticket,” said an AAP leader. While party leader Arvind Kejriwal doesn’t mince words when it comes to attacking the media, it is ironic that it has given a sizable number of tickets to journalists. Mukul Tripathi, Ashish Khetan, Jarnail Singh, who had flung his shoe on P Chidambaram, and former Time journalist Anita Pratap are among them. Ashutosh will contest against Union minister Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk constituency here. Despite the erstwhile AAP government’s decision of scrapping FDI in retail, it has managed to find candidates from the corporate world as well. Sanyal has been named to take on Union
Clinging to hope
Yet for some the new evidence brought relief – and a reason for hope. “Our family is relieved that there’s an official statement from the Malaysian government, delivered by the Malaysian prime minister, that there’s a possibility that the aircraft might have been hijacked,” said Indonesian Santi. Her brother Sugianto Lo was on the flight with his wife Vinny Chynthya. l
Afghan election field down to nine n AFP, Kabul Former defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak withdrew from the Afghan presidential election yesterday in the latest sign of deal-making in the race to lead the country as NATO troops prepare to exit. Wardak, a veteran military and political operator, has been a senior advisor to President Hamid Karzai, but he failed to make any impact in the election campaign ahead of voting on April 5. Nine candidates now remain in the race to succeed Karzai, who has ruled Afghanistan since 2001 and is constitutionally banned from running again. The three leading names are former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul, Abdullah Abdullah, who came second in 2009, and former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani. Wardak, from the Pashtun ethnic group like Karzai and Rassoul, was a guerrilla commander in the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. US-led NATO combat troops are leaving after 13 years of fighting the Taliban insurgency that erupted when the Islamists were thrown out of power after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The Taliban last week vowed to target the election. l
ONSLAUGHT OF POVERTY-DRIVEN DISEASES
An aerial view taken from a Pakistan army helicopter shows villagers near their homes in the Thar desert area of Mehrano Taluka Deeplo, some 300 kilometres from Karachi, on March 16, 2014. As the death toll from the latest outbreak of poverty-driven diseases in Pakistan’s Thar desert nears 100 children, experts are warning that corruption and a dysfunctional political system make a repeat of the disaster almost inevitable. The desert region in Tharparkar, one of Pakistan’s poorest districts, spreads over nearly 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 square miles) in the country’s southeast and is home to some 1.3 million people, including a large population of minority Hindus AFP
AAP fields a mix of candidates from different sectors n Agencies
“We are extremely anxious. A long time has passed and they don’t disclose (more) information,” he said. Another branded the meeting “a joke.” “Until they say what really and truly happened, what good is it?” he said. Malaysian authorities have been severely criticised for failing to share information or for issuing contradictory statements. China’s media made fresh criticism Sunday, saying Malaysia had “squandered” precious time and resources by releasing the dramatic information on the plane’s fate a full week after it vanished. “It is undeniable that the disclosure of such vital information is painfully belated,” a scathing editorial by the state-run Xinhua news agency said, noting the “excruciating” seven days it entailed for relatives of the missing.
minister Milind Deora from South Mumbai. K Balakrishnan, former Chief Financial Officer of Infosys, would be contesting from Bangalore Central. The party has also managed to field activists, who for years, have been taking up cudgels against various state governments over different issues.
While Kejriwal doesn’t mince words when it comes to attacking the media, it is ironic that the party has given a sizable number of tickets to journalists Narmada Bachao Andolan pioneer Patkar is in fray from Mumbai Northeast while another NBA activist Alok Agarwal is contesting from Khandwa. Similarly, tribal activist Soni Sori is contesting from Bastar in Chhattisgarh whereas anti-Posco leader Lingraj is contesting from Bargarh in Odisha. Experts from the field of academics, literary world and science are also in fray on AAP tickets. Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, is contesting from East Delhi whereas Malyali writer Sara Joseph is in fray from Thrissur in Kerala. The party has also been able to attract serving and former bureaucrats. Former IPS officer Kanchan Choudhary
Bhattacharya, first woman DGP of any state, will contest from Haridwar in Uttarakhand. From Baramati in Maharashtra, former IPS officer Suresh Khopade is contesting against NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s daughter. In Kerala, the party has fielded former IPS officer Ajit Joy from Thiruvananthapuram, a seat currently held by Union minister and former UN Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor. Incidentally, Joy quit IPS to join the United Nations’s Office on Drugs and Crime. He later quit UN to join AAP. Gul Panag and several actors from regional industry are also contesting on AAP tickets. The party too has been able to strike a balance by giving tickets to its old leaders and those joining recently. While on the one hand, it has fielded Kumar Vishwas against Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, on other hand, former BJP MP Rajan Sushant is in fray from Kangra in Himachal Pradesh on AAP ticket. Party leader Shazia Ilmi is contesting from Ghaziabad against Raj Babbar (Cong). However, there has also been dissidence against the party’s decision over selection of candidates. Party workers have often levelled charges that the all powerful Political Affairs Committee, which gives final approval for candidates selection, has been imposing candidates. “Party’s choice of Ashish Khetan, Rajmohan Gandhi and Ashutosh has been improper. They have been imposed upon us,” said a party worker unhappy with the choice of candidates. l
Rahul predicts bigger election win than 2009
n AFP, New Delhi Rahul Gandhi yesterday forecast a bigger win for India’s ruling Congress party in next month’s elections than it secured last time, rejecting comments by senior party members that they face an uphill battle. Gandhi, frontrunner to be prime minister should Congress win, predicted the party would surpass its tally of seats secured at the 2009 national elections, rejecting opinion polls showing it headed for a humiliating loss. Acknowledging that after a decade in power, “there is a certain amount of anti-incumbency against us,” Gandhi disagreed with Finance Minister P Chidambaram that Congress was the “underdog.” “Congress is fighting a challenging election and we will win the election,” Gandhi told the Press Trust of India in an interview. “I am not a soothsayer but we will do well,” he told PTI. Although he declined to predict the number of seats, Gandhi said the figure
would be higher than the 206 Congress won in the 543-seat national parliament in 2009, when it formed a coalition government. Gandhi also hit out at arch rival Narendra Modi, widely tipped to win the elections, claiming he still has many questions to answer about his links to deadly riots in the western state of Gujarat where he is chief minister. Gandhi said there was a “clear and inexcusable failure” of governance in Gujarat where more than 1,000 people, mainly Muslims, were killed in riots in 2002 after Modi took office in 2001. “The specific allegation and evidence pointing to Mr Modi’s responsibility in the 2002 riots are yet to be adequately probed. Any talk of his having been given a clean chit (slate) may be politically expedient, but is far too premature,” he said. “There are many unanswered questions. There is a lot more the country needs to know.” Modi has denied wrongdoing and has been cleared by legal inquiries, but allegations that he failed to stop the riots continue to dog the prime ministerial candidate. Hindu nationalist Modi and his opposition Bharatiya Janata Party are expected to come to power on a platform of economic revival following the world’s biggest elections starting on April 7. The elections have pitted Gandhi, vice president of Congress and scion of India’s political dynasty, against Modi, the son of a tea-stall owner. l
Keep the Tigers roaring
angladesh has made a welcome return to winning ways, in the opening match of the ICC T20 World Cup. After a series of disappointing competitive matches, it was essential the Tigers made a solid start in the opening match of the tournament against Afghanistan. To the delight of the crowd, Bangladesh bowled Afghanistan out for 72 runs and roared to victory with 9 wickets and 8 overs to spare. It is a relief to see the home team regain form as the nation holds its biggest ever T20 series. To make it through to the key Super 10 stage with the eight top test–playing nations, nothing short of three victories have to be played for and won. With the standard of competition ever higher, as Afghanistan, itself a welcome new team in the World Cup, showed recently by beating Bangladesh at home in the Asia Cup, the Tigers cannot afford to allow room for any doubts now about their form. Congratulations then to the Bangladesh team for their crowd– pleasing performance and due commiserations to Afghanistan’s fans. As World Cup fever begins to spread and Bangladeshis cheer with camaraderie and flash mobs, this is the best possible start for T20’s leading cricket tournament. It bodes well for a great atmosphere in the weeks ahead. May this just be the beginning for the Tigers.
Bangladesh has made a welcome return to winning ways. May this just be the beginning
CEC complacency on poll violence unacceptable
he third phase of the upazila parishad elections has seen serious, substantiated allegations of polling violations, and widespread violence in which three people were killed. In the face of this, it is unacceptable for the acting chief election commissioner to tell reporters the EC is 100% satisfied with the polls and to comment that: “When holding elections, some stray incidents may take place.” This statement overlooks the hundreds hurt and downplays allegations made in various polling centres of ballot boxes being stuffed and party activists capturing voting centres. We acknowledge that the ultimate responsibility for this lies with the political parties who allow or enable their activists to behave lawlessly. However, the EC should have learned lessons from the earlier phases of the polls to help the police maintain order. Moreover, it is disquieting that candidates belonging to the AL won almost all the seats where there were allegations of vote-rigging and violence. These results contributed to an upsurge in its wins, with AL leading in this phase, in contrast to the first two polls where it lagged behind the BNP. As similar credible allegations were made in the previous elections, the EC has to become more forthright about its investigations into complaints and allegations made against all the parties. The EC needs to demonstrate that all incidents are properly investigated and that there have been or will be consequences for wrongdoers. It should take this week’s deaths as a wake-up call for action to prevent similar incidents tainting future polls.
Monday, March 17, 2014
LETTER OF THE DAY
Getting only 10% water from Teesta barrage March 14
The Teesta barrage was built in 1990 for the irrigation of 6 districts in the north. But around 60,500 hectares of agricultural land in the 12 upazilas of Nilphamari, Rangpur, Dinajpur are facing severe problems due to lack of water for irrigation. India has been diverting water from their river, so we have been getting only 10% water from the Teesta barrage. We are supposed to get 5,000 cusec of water, but we receive only 500 cusec! Our government has failed to ensure we get our share, while the public awaits to see what the AL government is going to do next. Israr Istiaque Isti Rajshahi
Confronting Jamaat the smart way March 9
Lonewolf One of the sadder recent developments has been the almost total alliance of Jamaat and BNP at the street and student level. A decade or so ago, they were as likely to be at each other’s throats, than together; now it seems that BNP believes that they can never win without Jamaat. Ronnie Lonewolf: I often wonder (and fear) if this is really entirely true. In many ways, it appears rather obvious that the alliance (at the student/street level) has been deepened (often outrageously, with Jamaat dominating). But I still sense that, despite appearances, BNP hasn’t completely hitched their political star on Jamaat, yet. And I’m not a “lone wolf” among the party’s supporters who believe BNP can absolutely win, without Jamaat – if only they could be persuaded to try. nds I totally agree with the author that banning Jamaat by executive order will simply misfire. It will help them to have public sympathy which they don’t deserve. Civilised they never would be because they have an embedded anathema for anything even remotely related to civilisation. Besides, civilisation would be suicidal for them. Taking steps to get them marginalised is a better option but that would also be next to impossible in this society. I think that was the reason why the
author’s parents and grandparents had chosen the better option to leave this country. Those who cannot afford to have accepted it as something that cannot be cured but must be endured. KMAK According to the author of this silly opinion piece, the smart way of confronting Jamaat involves lumping Jamaat together with other religious fundamentalists and attacking madrasa education a la Kemal Ataturk style. It is ironic that in expressing his fear of fundamentalists who, he presages, will denounce him as an apostate, the author’s suggestions, especially his idolisation of Kemal Ataturk, make him out to be a secular fundamentalist whose dislike of Jamaat is simply a cover for his dislike of religion. Ronnie The author’s stance is pretty close to where I reckon I stand on this issue. Banning unsavoury, extremist political parties of whatever stripe is an ill-conceived, anti-democratic, doomed endeavour. Nor is relentless repression of such parties any more advisable. I agree with Mr Sohail’s prescriptions of dealing with Jamaat & Co with greater pragmatism and certainly democratically – not in a fascist, equally extremist manner that many people advocate. I only wonder if Jamaat can ever really make that leap of faith to “civilise” themselves as the author insists they must as the only option they have to survive politically in Bangladesh.
Mother kills daughter’s stalker March 13
Sanzida Rahman How corrupt are the police that they did not arrest the stalker and throw him in jail, but when the mother went forward to protect her daughter, she got arrested. If the police had done their job properly, all this wouldn’t have happened! Ziaul Haque Instead of being punished, the mother should receive a medal for bravery. Salute.
Bangladesh plans trade deals with Nigeria and Mali March 10
As a Bangladeshi living in Nigeria, I can vouch for the great potential Nigerian market has for Bangladeshi products. Nigeria is the 6th largest oil producer in the world, with immense consumer potential. Nigeria imports consumer goods mainly from India, Lebanon and China, but there are hardly any products from Bangladesh (including garment products). In order to diversify the Bangladeshi economy, we need to identify emerging markets and focus on trade with them rather than depending on the West. Deshi
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Pry head teachers’ status upgraded March 10
Not enough! Pay the teachers a decent salary so parents do not have to pay extra fees to so-called coaching
centres, managed by teachers to increase their meager income! Vikram Khan
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CALVIN AND HOBBES
The EC needs to demonstrate that all incidents are properly investigated and that are consequences for wrongdoers
SUDOKU Across 1 Male deer (4) 3 Furniture item (4) 7 Fresh (3) 8 Stoppers (5) 11 Vend (4) 12 Intended (5) 13 Happening (5) 15 Circle (4) 18 Torn (4) 19 Pitworker (5) 20 Harvests (5) 21 Neat (4) 24 Respond (5) 25 Church seating (4) 26 Camera part (4)
Down 1 Soldier (6) 2 Quickness of perception (6) 4 United (3) 5 Of the cat (4) 6 Boring tool (3) 9 Well-born people (6) 10 Posed for a portrait (3) 11 Chevron (6) 14 Italian city (6) 16 Mad (6) 17 For nothing (6) 19 Spoil (3) 21 Faucet (3) 22 Early freshness (3)
YESTERDAY’S SOLUTIONS Crossword
How to solve Sudoku: Fill in the blank spaces with the numbers 1 – 9. Every row, column and 3 x 3 box must contain all nine digits with no number repeating.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Mango and creative juice n Ifti Rashid
Is good camera work enough?
In the flames of Agnee
n Towheed Feroze
he poster looked different – a young girl in glasses holding a menacing weapon – the title read Agnee. “It’s a movie about a girl on fire,” commented the tea-seller, on whose cigarette-selling box the poster was plastered. In fact, his exact line was: “Daring (pronounced ‘dearing’) maiya, shob halae Bhiter Bari.” Finding it a bit difficult to understand? Well, “Bhiter Bari” is a commonly used term to indicate that someone is so scared that he or she is unwilling to come outside of the house. So, in everyday language, if you say: “Mamma tumi to Bhiter Bari,” it means something has scared the living daylights out of a person. In the case of Agnee, the movie, the word means that the actress sends all villains packing. Hmm, I always liked women who specialise in violence, and since there isn’t a dungeon in Dhaka (as yet), I thought it a good idea to go and check out Mahiya Mahi and her male-bashing expertise. This is the best you can get if “dominatrix deshi-style” is what you are looking for in celluloid, I am told. I have always been a Bangla movie fan, going back to the late 70s when copies of hit Bollywood movies were made into equally good local ones like Dost Dushman, Mintu Amar Naam, Johnny, Sharif Bodmash, Barud, and so on. The habit never left, and even during the times when local productions reached a nadir with crass vulgarity dominating them, I found some time to go and watch a film. Trust me, if you walk inside after a few shots of Vodka and having left your common sense back home, things
never appear that hopeless. But thankfully, Bangladeshi movies have started to come out of the dubious formula of low cost productions featuring obese actresses bursting at the seams and wig-wearing actors delivering clichéd lines, though there is still a long way to go. I did say local movies are coming out of a time warp, which means it’s happening, albeit a bit slowly. Hence, while the camera work is perfect and the editing above average, some parts are still the same: This is exactly why we are not at all shocked when all bad guys are found to be oversexed, always salivating at the slightest sign of a skirt.
Like I said earlier, while filmography has improved, storylines have become peripheral. “Arey golpo diya ki hoibo” (who cares about a story), someone tells me. Right. To hell with the story, bring on more digital razzmatazz. I am still high … A prehistoric plot is given the millennium touch – a girl’s parents are brutally murdered by goons and she grows up with one ambition – to avenge their deaths. Hence, the name Agnee, alluding to her fiery resolve. Of course, no one asks from where she gets her weapons or how she transported all these deadly-looking guns to Thailand. Mate, I told you to leave your com-
Bangladeshi movies have started to come out of the dubious formula of low cost productions, though there is still a long way to go
Heavy doses of Viagra, maybe. No, no I forgot, the setting is Bangkok – the ambiance is heady enough for sending the libido to the top. The unwritten law: Villains have to be lecherous, immoral womanisers with no refinement at all. Therefore, when a suited guy lasciviously measures Mahiya Mahi (Tanisha), remarking he is tired of eating farmed chicken and desires some “deshi” chicken, we know instantly this guy is the baddie. One more point to note: They always talk in a passive voice – he will be killed by me, as opposed to I will kill him.
mon sense back at home. We must assume that on the streets of another country, vicious-looking weapons are freely available. Walk in somewhere (preferably inside an off-license shop for weapons), and simply say: “Excuse me, need to bump off a few hundred people, so what do you suggest?” Voila! A whole range of items are placed before you – who knows, they may even offer a “buy an AK-47, get a mini rocket launcher for free!” deal. Also, there is no sign of the police. Assassins, mafia bosses, plus all underworld leaders can roam around
freely. Guns are fired without silencers. Armed people move about without worry – what a Crime-Ri La. In between, there is naturally our hero Arefin Shuvo – the Bengali who is a Thai boxing champion. Interestingly, we never see him engage in Thai martial arts. His film name is fittingly “Dragon,” though the fierce nature that is supposed to come with the epithet melts at the sight of Tanisha. Dragon turns Diwana! Quick … time for a song by the beach, on the boat, on top of wavesplashed rocks. “I hate the gun,” he rants, “give me love … pleeeeease, Tanisha, my jaan!” This is the gist of about one hour of the film. “Tainna boro kora,” or stretching a wafer-thin plot to the limit – an old habit that is present in all its glory. Tell me, how long does the high of five shots of vodka last? Er, ummm, an hour and a half at the most. Once the senses come back to normalcy, it’s hard to keep on watching. No doubt, technology-wise, movies have become better. However, camera work alone does not make a film. With stale jokes done to death and lines topped with heavy doses of anachronisms rule, eventually, Agnee ends in a typical “all’s well that ends well” fashion. So many deaths, but no eyebrows raised. Hell, talk about a haven for extra-judicial killings. Five years from now, which part will you remember? A scene where Tanisha, posing as a hooker, demands $5000 for some short-time fun. What? With that amount, you can get a whole harem mate! l Towheed Feroze is a journalist currently working in the development sector.
isclaimer: All characters/ incidents appearing here are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, modern or prehistoric, conservative or liberal, is purely coincidental. Attention: Dear everyone who raised hue and cry about the BCB T20 Celebration Concert. Guess what? I sympathise with you. Yes, I do. Please let me elaborate. I share your pain because I went to a sold-out concert in Melbourne recently that was advertised and ticketed as a Madonna concert. I eagerly purchased the overpriced tickets and waited in line for hours to get the best seat in the house. But I was totally heartbroken to see Maddy performing in the stage for such a long time instead of my favourite Melbourne local bands and troupes – what an utter disappointment. To tell you the truth, I quite enjoyed the concert. Haven’t you seen me play Maddy’s “Ray of Light” in my car? Haven’t you joined me in the dance floor to the remixed tunes of “Frozen” in my last wedding? The fact is Madonna is part of my life but I don’t want to accept it. My heart was really torn. What a lost opportunity to promote our local acts – it isn’t really their fault that, for most of them, their last major hit was before I was born, is it? And no, I am not a teenager. It is true that there were some local bands on stage, but how can they be overshadowed by an international celebrity like Madonna? Absolutely unbelievable. And the local bands were also singing foreign songs, even more despicable! I could not believe how everyone could be “sold out” so badly. They have been “Westernised.” This is nothing but an invasion attempt, I knew it all along. Cultural “aggression” at its worst. How can this be? We don’t live in a globalised world, do we? Of course not. We still use the telegram. In fact, I am hoping this telegram to all my friends in Bangladesh to express my angst about the concert, will reach you before the next World Cup. I am sure my great grandfather will also echo our concerns. After the concert, I had the “Aussie Frutika” mango juice on the way back (yes, they have a similar juice with “real mangoes” in Melbourne too). One of the problems of drinking this unadultered “pure” juice is that it brings out all the uncensored “pure” thoughts from my heart. Creative juice indeed (yes, pun intended). Indeed, the juice made me think deeper. Maybe it was not about the concert. Maybe it was not about the artistes. I have to be honest – there are some of us who subconsciously try to find some fault or other with
the liberals in government. Why? In retrospect, we conservatives (I know it’s not “cool” to admit this in public) just can’t stand them. I continued. I was right, it really is not about the concert at all. I love Maddy from the bottom of my heart. Maybe this is all about politics. Given the conservatives have failed against the liberals, maybe this mantra of being “sold out” will help change the situation? Maybe many people will finally come out to the streets?
This is nothing but an invasion attempt, I knew it all along. Cultural ‘aggression’ at its worst
I don’t understand what is wrong with “common people.” Why do they only care about economic and social development? What is the big deal about uninterrupted electricity? And success in counterterrorism is not a big deal, it was a figment of imaginations. As I drank more pure mango juice, my increasingly pure mind was showing signs of confusion. I hate liberals because they are the cause of all our problems, trust me. It is not only cultural invasion. My horse-drawn cart broke down on the way to the concert. It was the fault of the evil “invaders.” If that’s not enough, can you believe my washroom broke down too? I really don’t know how they did it, but I am sure it is their fault too. I really didn’t like the concert, or am I trying to make myself believe that to justify my political vies? I can’t take this anymore. I must go to bed. I have to wake up early tomorrow morning to work on my thesis. The typewriter is giving me a lot of trouble, I need to get the ink ribbon changed. Hope to see all of you in Dhaka later this year. I will take a boat from the Yarra to Buriganga in August, so I should reach home by the end of the year. In the meantime, please avoid this mango juice – it is best to avoid the truth. After all, ignorance is often bliss. Lastly, my heart goes out to you for your pain that you can see I so passionately share. Goodnight. Yours truly, Nineteenth Century (closet) Conservative. l Ifti Rashid is a political and security analyst, currently a PhD Candidate in the National Centre for South Asian Studies, Monash University. He is a columnist of the Dhaka Tribune.
Remembering Bangabandhu n Julian Francis
n 1971, I had the privilege and responsibility of administering Oxfam-UK’s relief program for about 600,000 of the ten million refugees who had fled from Bangladesh to India and were staying in many of the over 900 refugee camps in the border area of India and Bangladesh. After the return to Bangladesh of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on January 10, 1972, I made plans to bring one of their landrovers, laden with urgently needed medical supplies, to Dhaka from Calcutta. On January 20, I set off from Calcutta. We travelled very slowly as there were so many people walking back from West Bengal to their homes in Bangladesh. We stayed overnight at a Catholic Mission Hospital in Jessore where, earlier, an Italian Father had been killed by Pakistani army personnel as a punishment for giving humanitarian assistance to members of the Mukti Bahini. The next day we continued on our slow way to Dhaka and with the very long delay queuing for the ferry, we did not reach the centre of Dhaka until about midnight. I remember driving past the old airport with not a person or vehicle in sight. Suddenly, from nowhere, army personnel and police surrounded our vehicle. We had not known that there was a night-time curfew. After explaining who we were, we were escorted to the Purbani Hotel. I was advised by the British High
Commission and other aid officials to pay a courtesy call on Sheikh Mujib. My meeting with him is one I will never forget. I told him that I wanted his advice about what we might be able to do to assist in the rehabilitation and development of Bangladesh. Sheikh Mujib took his pipe out of his mouth and pointed the stem of the pipe at me. “How did you come here, young man?” he asked in a booming voice. I told him that I had driven over land from Calcutta. “In that case,” he told me, “You have seen more of my country than I have, as I was a prisoner for over 9 months, so please tell me what my country needs. What have you seen?”
would arrive by early March. I added that I thought that bridge-building and replacement and repairs of ferries were more suited to bilateral and multilateral aid. “No,” Sheikh Mujib said, “Ferries are and will be the lifelines for my people. Please discuss with officials of the Bangladesh Inland Waterways Authority and see what Oxfam can do.” Before I left him, Sheikh Mujib asked me about my experiences working with the people of Bangladesh in the refugee camps. As I spoke, emotion got the better of me and tears welled up in my eyes. Sheikh Mujib put his arm around me to comfort me and said, “Go young man, be strong,
As I spoke, emotion got the better of me and tears welled up in my eyes. Sheikh Mujib put his arm around me to comfort me
I told Sheikh Mujib that I had seen many villages that had been burnt down, many bridges and culverts blown up, and many ferries and launches, large and small, sunk in the rivers. I told him that, on behalf of the organisation I was working with, I had already ordered, in India, £250,000 worth of CI sheets for a big house-rebuilding program and these
and thank you for coming to see me and for helping Bangladesh.” As a result of the meeting with Sheikh Mujib, we were able to procure 3 truck-carrying ferries and to assist the repair of many others. I remember that the Bangladesh Inland Waterways Authority wanted, understandably, to name the ferries after Liberation War martyrs but after the experience
of getting to know the flora and fauna of Bangladesh and how they are part of the country’s poetry and music, we requested that the vessels be named after flowers. And so, Kamini, Kosturi, and Korobi, were so named and they continue to ply across the Padma River at Mawa to this day, over 40 years later. During my short visit to Bangladesh 42 years ago, it was obvious that the two greatest needs were food and the restoration of the transport system with which to move the food around the country. Our Overseas Aid Director at that time, Ken Bennett, wrote in a report, a short while after my January 1972 visit: “I doubt if it would be an exaggeration to say that on the extent to which a solution to the problem of food imports and the restoration of communications can be quickly found may well depend the future of Bangladesh as a State.” It is to Bangladesh’s great credit that it has survived and prospered and is now self-sufficient in the production of basic food grains which can be moved about the country most efficiently. In 1975, I was based in New Delhi, and on August 15, together with my family, I was watching India’s Independence Day celebrations on the television when the program was interrupted with the news of the assassination of Sheikh Mujib and his family members. I remembered being numbed by shock and burying my head in my hands and weeping loudly. Nearly 39 years later, I still get very
emotional when I remember that day in 1975. l Julian Francis received the “Friends of Liberation War Honour” from the
Government of Bangladesh in March, 2012. He has worked in many poverty alleviation projects in Bangladesh where he continues to live and work as an independent consultant.
Monday, March 17, 2014
In conversation with Shahin Badar n Punny Kabir Shahin Badar is without a doubt one of the most talented British-Bangladeshi singer/songwriters. She has won many accolades for her work and has teamed up with famous artistes including Liam Howlett, AR Rahman, Tim Deluxe, Dope Buzz, Indian Ropeman and many others. Aside from collaborating with renowned
artistes, her vocals have been featured in Hollywood and Bollywood films including Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award nominated Closer, Academy Award nominated Charlie’s Angels and Shyam Bengal’s Zubeidaa. US TV shows North Shore and Kevin Hill are also on the list. Shahin is visiting friends and family in Bangladesh at present and Dhaka Tribune caught up with the versatile songstress in a one to one:
Are you going to perform here in Bangladesh this time?
I would love to perform in Bangladesh as I am aware how much love teenagers hold for electronic dance music. It definitely would give one a buzz to perform in their own country. The Bangali community have always welcomed me with open arms and I hold them very dear to my heart. I am fascinated by the richness the country exhales in poetry, literature and art. This time, I have come to visit my family and friends in Dhaka and Sylhet. I loved my grandma and I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to her. Life is short and I wanted to spend some quality with my uncle, nieces and nephews and the people of our community both young and old.
Do you follow Bangladeshi music?
I have been brought up listening to all genres of music and I did listen to Rabindra Sangeet. Bengali music is very rich. I don’t follow it as much now because my genre of music is electronica dance, trance, fusion and sufi. I have however written a Bangla track and I hope to release it soon.
Are you interested in singing Bangla songs or work with Bangladeshi musicians or playback in Bangladeshi films?
I would love to work with Bangladeshi musicians and of course if an offer comes for Bangla playback work, why not? Music has no barrier, it opens many doors internationally and it is always wonderful to collaborate with artistes of all genres.
Having an Asian background, how challenging was it for you to enter the International music scene?
I guess life itself is a big challenge - being an Asian works to my credibility and I achieved respect from both Asian’s and non-Asians alike. I never really thought about differences. I headlined many festivals in London and the producers were thrilled to see my performance. It attracted endless mainstream producers. It took me a while to get acquainted with everything. In the beginning, I was experimenting but later I created my own niche in the market. Sometimes artists have to expose themselves completely to reach the height of success, I refused to take that path and my faith. I was always very strong headed and would not compromise. I never needed to. Mainstream producers have always respected my thoughts, achievements and my voice till date. I did not have much time to think of the challenges. I believe in delivering quality work and projects that inspire me to write and sing. I find competition tiring and I switch off. I have received love from my fans and naturally reciprocate.
Asian record companies till today do not understand certain genres of music and will not want to invest on artistes. They expect artistes to perform for free, while they bank through their events. Artistes are left stranded in such situations and I feel for them. They work very hard for the love of music but are not financially secure. If you let go of all your fears you can do what you want. Challenges are when those who don’t understand art criticise it and do not wish to expand with an artiste. It develops friction in communication which we can do without. Artistes are spiritual and it is not easy for them to combine both but the best message I have, especially for women artistes is to stay strong and to keep their faith (Iman) and naturally with patience, their path will be blessed if they believe! Many will try and oppose and cause barriers for no reason whatsoever but an artiste needs to stay focused.
Tell us about your achievements.
My Indo-Arabic Alaap chants that featured on The Prodigy’s smash hit single Smack My Bitch Up was a phenomenal success. The album Fat of the Land entered the Guinness Book of Records for the fastest selling album in the world and held the No 1 spot in over 24 countries selling over 10 million copies. Recently I received a quadruple platinum disc for my contributions. My club stomper single Mundaya with Tim Deluxe was BBC Radio 1’s tune of the week, charted No 4 in the buzz charts. I have performed alongside 50 cent in Lebanon, Shah Rukh Khan in London, headlined many festivals in Europe, launched charity events, took part in the NSPCC campaign, was nominated for various awards and was one of the judges for Great Britain Miss Universe pageant.
What are the keys to stand out in the crowd of musicians all over the world?
Many keys, but the strongest of all is determination and patience.
What do you consider is the best reward as a musician?
Reward of talent, love for all of Almighty’s creations!
Tell us about your new projects.
My last three featured singles are Revolver (Dope Buzz), Is It Love ( Zak Moya), Supafly (Happiness), Take It (Noise Control). I have signed with Skint Records for a single deal, they have artistes like Fat Boy Slim. My current collaboration is with Dj Bobina, Russian trance dj - a single is due for release this year Insha’Allah. All my works are available on iTunes. l
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o in talks for Star Wars n Entertainment Desk Rumour has it that award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has met with Star Wars producer JJ Abrams — as recently as a few weeks ago — about an upcoming role in Star Wars. The meeting is said to have occurred before Nyong’o’s big win as Best Supporting Actress for her work in 12 Years a Slave at the 86th Academy Awards held on March 2. Great secrecy surrounds not only the Star Wars plot, but the casting selection. As such, it is unclear which role Nyong’o, 31, is contending for, though it is believed to be a lead. Speculators suggest that Nyong’o could be vying for the role of a descendent of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a character who need not be portrayed by a white actor. Nyong’o could certainly play the part. l
A gift from Bangladeshi singers on Independence Day n Entertainment Desk A song to rejoice in the spirit of patriotism and independence will be “gifted” to Bangalees all over the world this month. A new version of the timeless golden song of Dwijendralal Ray – Dhono Dhanne Pushpe Bhora – has been prepared for airing on the occasion of the upcoming Independence Day. Bappa Majumder has composed the music for the song with some new effects. Thirteen renowned Bangladeshi singers – Sabina Yasmin, Nakib Khan, Fahmida Nabi, Pilu Khan, Samina Chowdhury, Partha Barua, Fuad, Chandni, Elita, Joy, Parvez, Johad, Konal – and band Shunno have lent voice to the celebrated song. Bappa said: “The recording of the song is com-
plete. Now, we are moving around Bangladesh to make the music video which will feature the country’s heritage and culture through the natural landscapes of our beautiful country. “Tanveer Khan is directing the music video. As a singer, I think it is a duty to represent my country, my nation in front of the world,” he added. About lending voice in the song, Fahmida Nabi said: “I have not seen anyone working on famous patriotic songs. I must say that rethinking the song is commendable. All the singers sang this song with patriotism and viewers can also feel the same love and passion we felt for the country. It is a good initiative to represent one’s own cultural heritage.” The song will be aired on different television channels from March 26. l
On the occasion of Dhaka Drama’s 37th Anniversary Theatre Festival-2014 Subachan Natya Shangsad staged its highly acclaimed play Mohajoner Nao on March 15 at Experimental Theatre Hall of Shilpakala Academy in the capital. Written by Shakoor Majid and directed by Sudip Chakraborty, the play narrates the story of Shah Abdul Karim and his journey to the realm of music through different sequences based on his biography. Throughout the play, the actors, partly and fully, sing over 20 timeless songs from Abdul Karim’s repertoire of over 1500 songs. Karim’s philosophy is, perhaps, best reflected through his songs. Both the playwright and director have aptly taken this approach to establish the storyline. The play also focuses on the difficulties that Karim faced in society. The performances of the actors, creative set designing and music are the special features of the play that always attracts the audience SUBRIN AL AZAD
TODAY IN DHAKA Film
Enders Game Avatar 3D Aakash Koto Dure Thor: The Dark World 3D The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 3D , Frozen in 3D Agnee Time: 10am - 10pm Star Cineplex, Bashundhara City Artistes in the making of the music video of Dhono Dhanne Pushpe Bhora
Robocop, Gravity Captain Phillips, Elysium Time: 12:30pm – 9:30pm Blockbuster Cinemas Jamuna Future Park Ka- 244, Pragati Avenue, Kuril Fairy Tale Week Time: 3:30pm – 5:30pm Goethe Institute, Road 9(new) House 10, Dhanmondi R/A
Did you know? Jose Mourinho failed to win any of his five away games against Aston Villa in the Premier League (D3 L2) as a manager
Monday, March 17, 2014
14 Rosberg wins
R 0 7 21 0 3 10 16 1 1 1 0 12
Total (all out; 17.1 overs)
B 1 11 22 1 9 23 16 3 6 11 1
Bangladesh’s match winning performer of the day Shakib al Hasan was a relieved man after they anchored their win over Afghanistan yesterday. The world No 4 Twenty20I allrounder said that they had the self belief of beating Afghanistan while the terrific start produced by Mashrafe bin Mortaza was also very important. “The pressure has been relieved. It was important to start off well so I am happy and relieved,” said Shakib at the post match conference at SBNS yesterday. “We played well overall in all three departments. Mashrafe bhai gave us the early breakthrough, the fielding was good and the spinners came into the game quickly. It was important to start off with a wicket off the first ball.” Shakib starred with the ball as the left-arm spinner toyed with the Afghan batters and also caused a collapse in their batting after taking wickets in consecutive deliveries. The man of the match said he was very relaxed before the match than any other time, before sharing a funny assumption he made prior to coming on to field. “I think our whole team knew that we will win and it will be a one-sided game. I was about to throw a banana
FoW 1-0, 2-36, 3-36, 4-36, 5-49, 6-58, 7-69, 8-69, 9-71, 10-72
Bowling Mashrafe 2-0-8-1, Al-Amin 2-0-18-0, Shakib 3.1-0-8-3, M’dullah 4-1-8-1, Razzak 4-0-20-2, Sabbir 1-0-1-0, Reza 1-0-2-1
Bangladesh innings Tamim lbw b Shenwari Anamul not out Shakib not out Extras (lb 1, w 2)
R 21 44 10 3
Total (1 wicket; 12 overs)
B 27 33 12
FoW: 1-45 Tamim, 7.4 ov
Bowling Nabi 3-0-11-0, Shapoor 1-0-7-0, Karim 2-0-17-0, Dawlat 2-0-13-0, Shenwari 3-014-1, Aftab 1-0-15-0
Player of the match Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
Bangladesh’s batsman Anamul Haque celebrates after hitting the winning shot during their World Twenty20 opening match against Afghanistan at SBNS yesterday AP
Chittagong falls behind Bangladesh is currently going through a wave of excitement hosting the ICC World Twenty 2014, Dhaka Chittagong and Sylhet - the host cities has gone through the beautification process. However one coming to Chittagong with an impression of arrangements made in Dhaka or Sylhet would note that the port-city is way behind in coping with the festivity. The intersections and key spots around the city missed out on decorations and beautification works and rather than rectifying the situation. The BCB director AJM Nasir Uddin admitted that the city, which had earned praise for its arrangements during the ICC World Cup 2011, is missing its charm this time around. Nasir informed that the board with its own fund refurbished and Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, the Chittagong venue of the tournament, the Sagarika area and its adjacent roads. “We have installed laser and LED lighting at the stadium as well as taken
several steps to beautify the premises. The work was done by Bangladesh Army as they are efficient,” said Nasir to the media yesterday. When asked about not beautification of the city, Nasir blamed the civic authorities not responding well in spite of several meetings with the BCB and CDSA. “With no option we even approached for sponsors but then again the sponsors lost interest because of the ICC embargo, the sponsors will not be able to promote themselves,” informed Nasir. As per media reports Chittagong mayor M Manjur Alam had said the civic body was stumped by the BCB’s failure to beautify the city and informed that the government provided a very small sum of money to civic bodies. However it was learnt that the Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) failed to meet the deadline of submitting the budget to ECNEC (Executive Committee of National Economic Council). With not sufficient budget in hand, it was learnt that the CCC operated the repair works with their own fund. The CCC allocated Tk100m for the work. l
thrash Hong Kong
skin in the bin, I said if it falls inside they will score 40 and if it doesn’t they will make 80. They made 72,” he shared. After been beaten in the Asia Cup by the same opponents, many took it as a revenge match for the Tigers but Shakib insisted it was nothing like that to them. “It was nothing like that. I said before that if we play to our potential, Afghanistan won’t stand a chance. It can happen once in a while.” However, Shakib also mentioned that it is slightly difficult to play against teams like Afghanistan because “You don’t know what’s coming your way. Someone from 7 or 8 can blast the bowlers. Or someone can suddenly bowl well. It will be wrong to make predictions against them, so it is important to do well ourselves.” “It is important to hold on to the momentum. Every T20 game is tough because if one bowler or batsman does well, then a match changes quickly. Even in one over. I think all the matches will be competitive. “I have seen some of their matches on Youtube. But we should think of how we can improve our cricket rather than what they will do. If we can improve, we won’t have much of a problem,” Shakib added. After praising their out fielding effort Shakib did not forget to tell how important it is for them and the tournament to qualify for the next round. l
Overconfident Afghans rue reality The difference between an experienced Test playing nation and an associate nation was clearly seen when Bangladesh held on to their nerves and dealt with the important match in a calm and experienced way to beat Afghanistan yesterday. It was the seniors of the Bangladesh side who raised their hands and took responsibility on the field in the crucial do or die encounter for the home side against the strong Afghanistan and it was the first time in the T20 format Bangladesh managed to bowl out the opposition. All the senior members - Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza - were active when Bangladesh were fielding and tried to chip in with their thoughts and experience to the skipper Mushfiqur Rahim. The recent disastrous time saw the
home side without their experienced pros but yesterday at the tournament opener, the seniors showed why their presence can change the environment of the side. The most experienced cricketer in the shortest format of the game, Shakib al Hasan, gave the double blow to the Afghnas and was on a hat-trick to bring Bangladesh back in the game. The all-rounder was active on the field and gave instructions to Al Amin in his second over after the young fast bowler was hammered. Shakib went to the youngster and advised him to bowl in front of the wicket which the bowler later did with success. Dashing opener Tamim Iqbal who is normally quite on the field was also passing his advice to the skipper and changing the fielders was something expected from an experienced cricketer like Tamim. The presence of Mashrafe Mortaza has always been motivating for the Tigers line up and the veteran fast bowler took the first wicket with the very first
Bangladesh cricket fans cheered the Tigers up against Afghanistan at the SBNS yesterday
ted that the home side played better cricket to win the match at the Sher-eBangla National Stadium yesterday. “No we didn’t have any overconfidence. It’s a part of game. Today Bangladesh played very well, that’s why they won the game. Otherwise we are not a team to lose like this. The condition, the pitch was a little too difficult as well,” said Nabi. “They are good players but not exciting like that. Today they played very well, especially Shakib bowled well. It’s part of game, we lost the game. If we had scored 120 or 130 it would have been a tough game,” he said. It was a good toss to win for Mushfiqur Rahim yesterday where the pitch looked spinner friendly, which is the
strength of the home side. Nabi informed that he did not expected that kind of pitch, “Yeah, we didn’t expect too much that kind of a pitch but they bowled very well and got the extra bounce so we struggled in the middle. If we had put a little more score it could have been a good game,” he said. However Nabi admitted that his side has been struggling against spin since the Asia Cup and will look forward to improve on that. “First ball first wicket, creates a bit of pressure on the team. That’s why we sent Gulbadin at number three. He played very well but, Shakib and Razzak bowled very well. They bowled four wickets, and we came under pressure,” said Nabi. l
Nabi eats his own words Just a day before the crucial encounter against Bangladesh, the confident Afghan skipper Mohammad Nabi said that his side is better in the shortest format of the game and they are looking forward to beat the host. But yesterday’s performance by the associate nation showed them the reality and cost them a crushing nine wicket defeat against Bangladesh and was surely the reason of their overconfidence after beating Bangladesh in the Asia Cup. However Mohammad Nabi denied the fact of being overconfident and admit-
Shakib happy and relieved
SCORECARD Afghanistan innings Shahzad c M’dullah b Mashrafe Tarakai c Nasir b Shakib Naib c Sabbir b Shakib Mangal run out (Sabbir) Nabi* lbw b Razzak Sadiq run out (Reza) Shafiqullah c Mushfiq b M’dullah Shenwari lbw b Razzak Zadran c Mahmudullah b Reza Zadran b Shakib Aftab not out Extras (b 2, lb 5, w 3, nb 2)
14 Johnson out of
On March 16, 2007 the Bangladesh cricket team had to bear the news of the sad demise of their friend and teammate Manjarul Islam Rana. Rana died in a road accident in Khulna when the national team was at West Indies to play in the 2007 World Cup. Bangladesh team received the news at their team hotel at Port of Spain, a day prior to their match against India. The Tigers led by Habibul Bashar were considered as a minnows back then, but call it emotion or dedication the Bangladesh side stunned India by five wickets, which eventually resulted in India getting knocked out of the tournament as Bangladesh progressed forward. The win was dedicated to Rana and even years after that the Tigers in some instances dedicated their odd win in the month of March to their beloved friend. An opportunity returned for Bangladesh once again in a World Cup to dedicate a memorable performance for their loved Rana on his seventh death anniversary and the Tigers did not let it go. Bangladesh yesterday staged a powerful performance to beat Afghanistan by nine wickets to take a giant leap towards the second round of the World Twenty20 and once again March seems to be a month that brings the Tigers on their feet. l
ball of the match and bowled with his best of abilities despite being not hundred percent fit. The 30 year old dived all over the field to save precious runs for his side. It was Bangladesh’s largest T20I victory in terms of balls remaining (48), the 10th largest by any team. It was also Tiger’s largest T20I victory in terms of wickets remaining (9) Mashrafe Mortaza recorded the 10th instance of a bowler dismissing a batsman from the first ball of a T20I (Shahzad) It was the first time that Bangladesh bowled out their opponents in a T20I Shakib’s bowling figure (3/8) was the sixth best in a T20I innings for Bangladesh The active presence of the senior cricketers on the field tapping their backs gave extra motivation to the youngsters on the field which reflected in their body language and the fielding approach saw Bangladesh gain two wonderful run outs yesterday, which
laid the foundation to win after bundling out Afghanistan for just 72 runs in 17.1 over which was the lowest total for the Afghans. Afghan cricketers tried to tempt the tigers when they went to field and before the start of the Bangladeshi innings, wicket keeper Mohammad Shahzad had an argument with Tamim, which was later handled by the umpire. Afghanistan side were even more frustrated when opener Anamul Haque started to charge the bowling alongside Tamim. Fast bowler Dawlat Zadran showed his anger when he threw back to the stump from his follow through and when Tamim hit the ball, it created an intense moment on the field. The 25-year old fast bowler again showed his aggression when he had another aggressive words with Shakib al Hasan and this time, the on field umpires came in to the act and warned the Afghan bowler for his overly aggressive attitude. l
Monday, March 17, 2014
Defoe makes successful MLS debut
Injury ends Odom’s European stint
Jermain Defoe made the most of his Major League Soccer debut, scoring two goals to lift Toronto FC to a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday. The 31-year-old England international made the switch to Toronto from Tottenham in January and had an immediate impact for his new club. He scored less than 17 minutes into his first match at CenturyLink Field. Jonathan Osorio started the scoring play by corralling a loose ball at midfield and threading a pass into the path of Defoe, who raced to the box to slot a shot past Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei. –AFP
Two-time NBA champion Lamar Odom’s foray into European basketball has been cut short due to a back injury, his Spanish club said Sunday. Laboral Kutxa Baskonia said Odom’s personal doctors in New York have ruled him unfit to play for two months, meaning “his present contract with the club has finished”. “The club hopes that the recovery process will go well and leaves open the possibility of resuming a future commitment to the player depending on the evolution of his injury,” the statement added. –AFP
Ricciardo DQ’d over new fuel rule Home favourite Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from his sensational secondplace finish at the Australian Grand Prix for breaching a new limit on fuel use, officials said on Sunday. After a marathon hearing, stewards announced that Ricciardo, who finished runner-up in his Red Bull behind Nico Rosberg, was excluded from the race result at the season-opener. Stewards said that Ricciardo’s Red Bull car was not in compliance with F1 technical regulations and had exceeded the maximum fuel flow, or rate of fuel consumption, of 100kg/h. –AFP
Liverpool sink sorry United n AFP, Manchester Steven Gerrard scored two penalties as Liverpool closed to within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea with a 3-0 win at beleaguered rivals Manchester United on Sunday. Gerrard found the net from 12 yards either side of half-time before Luis Suarez added a third goal in the 84th minute to give Liverpool their first victory at Old Trafford in five years. Gerrard should have had a hat-trick of spot-kicks, with a third penalty hitting the post after United captain Nemanja Vidic had been shown a second yellow card for felling Daniel Sturridge, but it was to prove anecdotal. This was the defending champions’ fifth home defeat of the campaign and having started the day 11 points below the Champions League places. Tomas Rosicky fired Arsenal back into the Premier League title race as the Czech midfielder’s quick-fire strike clinched a crucial 1-0 win over Spurs. Arsene Wenger’s side began the weekend seven points behind Chelsea, but
they moved to within four points of the leaders - with a game in hand - thanks to Rosicky’s winner after just 72 seconds. The Czech midfielder’s goal, and the gritty defensive display that followed it, secured Arsenal’s first league win at White Hart Lane since 2007 in Wenger’s 999th match in charge. Chelsea lost two players, their manager, and the initiative in the Premier League title race after crashing to a damaging 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday. The London club fell to a cunning 82nd-minute back-heel by Fabian Delph. The visitors finished the game with nine men after Brazilian midfielders Willian and Ramires were both sent off, while their misery was compounded in stoppage time when manager Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands. l
Arsenal Rosicky 2
Aston Villa Delph 82
0 3 1 0
Liverpool Gerrard 34-pen 46-pen, Suarez 84
Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard (C) celebrates after scoring aganist Manchester United during their EPL match at Old Trafford in Manchester, yesterday
Seven up for Barca as Messi breaks another record Rosberg opens new F1 era with dominant win n AFP, Madrid
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to become Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer as they cut the gap on La Liga leaders Real Madrid to four points ahead of their meeting next weekend with a 7-0 thrashing of Osasuna. After a slow start, the hosts were sparked into life by Messi’s opening goal as he flicked home at the near post from Alexis Sanchez’s cross. Sanchez was next on the scoresheet as he finished off a similar move involving Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba before Iniesta’s wonderful strike from 25 yards made it 3-0. Messi then broke another record by registering his 370th Barca goal to overtake Paulinho Alcantara as the club’s record marksman before rounding off his hat-trick in between further strikes from Cristian Tello and Pedro
Rodriguez. Barca boss Gerardo Martino had left Cesc Fabregas and Neymar on the bench after their exertions in the 2-1 win over Manchester City in midweek with Sanchez and Pedro recalled to the starting line-up. Amazingly, the Catalans had to withstand a bright opening from Osasuna as Victor Valdes produced a great save to deny Emiliano Armenteros and Oriol Riera was rightly flagged offside as he put the rebound into the net. However, Barca opened the scoring 10 minutes later when Sanchez was fed by Xavi and Messi got across his man to delicately touch home the Chilean’s low cross. Sanchez should have doubled his side’s advantage two minutes later when he chipped over with just Andres Fernandez to beat, but the former Udinese man made amends when he sidefooted home after a lovely one-two between Alba and Iniesta opened up the Osasuna defence.
Iniesta then made it 3-0 with just his second goal of the season 11 minutes before half-time with a sweetly struck left-footed effort that flew into the top corner. Fernandez was forced into fine saves from Dani Alves and Xavi to ensure Barca didn’t go in even further ahead at the break. Osasuna should have got themselves back in the game early in the second-half as Riera and Roberto Torres failed to hit the target when presented with clear sights of goal. They were soon further behind, though, as Messi slammed home Iniesta’s cut-back just after the hour mark to surpass Alcantara’s 369 goals in 357 games between 1912 and 1927. Substitute Tello got his side’s fifth goal with virtually his first touch as he whipped the ball into the far corner from just outside the area. Messi fittingly sealed his hat-trick as he received Dani Alves’ pass before easily side-footing in from close range
Federer, Djokovic to meet in final Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic set up another mouthwatering final at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells after winning their semis on Saturday. Federer ended the giant-killing run of Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov when he cruised to a 6-3 6-1 victory in a one-sided semi-final that lasted just a tick over an hour. Then Djokovic succeeded in blunting the booming serve of John Isner to beat the American 7-5 6-7(2) 6-1 and join Federer in Sunday’s championship match. It will be the 33rd time overall and the ninth time in a final that the pair
have locked horns. Federer holds a 1715 lead in their head-to head matches and they are tied 4-4 in finals.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celerbrates his win over John Isner during the semifinals of the BNP Parabas Open at the Indian Wells on Saturday AFP
The Swiss master has already won the Indian Wells title four times and made it through to a fifth final without dropping a set in the California desert this week. Relaxed and super confident after winning his 78th singles title in Dubai earlier this month, Federer pounced on Dolgopolov from the outset, breaking him once to snatch the opening set. The Ukrainian had beaten three higher ranked players, including world number one Rafa Nadal, to reach the semis but was powerless to stop the 32-year-old Federer, who fired down seven aces in a brilliant serving performance. l
for his 31st goal of the season. And Messi then teed up Pedro to make it 7-0 in stoppage time with a neat low finish past Fernandez.
0 0 7 0
Messi 19, 62, 88, Sanchez 21, Iniesta 34, Tello 78, Pedro 90
Bueno 37, Larrivey 57, 76
Malaga Atletico Madrid Diego Costa 55
Nolito 19 Soriano 71
Cristiano Ronaldo struck midway through the first half as leaders Real Madrid won 1-0 at Malaga in La Liga on Saturday, while Atletico Madrid stayed hot on their heels after Diego Costa netted in a 1-0 victory over Espanyol. l
Nico Rosberg opened Formula One’s new era with a dominant victory at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo risked disqualification from second place over fuel rules. Rosberg, whose Mercedes team have come out strongest with the sport’s new hybrid technology, led from start to finish and took the chequered flag 24.5 seconds ahead of Australia’s Ricciardo in his Red Bull debut. There was also a brilliant third place in his Formula One debut for McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, 21, who became the first Danish driver ever to reach the podium. But defending world champion Sebastian Vettel and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton both managed only a handful of laps before retiring due to
Bayern plan to welcome Hoeness back after jail Despite his conviction for tax fraud, Bayern Munich are planning to welcome back ex-president Uli Hoeness after he has served his prison sentence. The 62-year-old resigned as both Bayern president and chairman of the club’s supervisory board on Friday and was a noticeable absentee for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen. He stepped down less than 24 hours after being sentenced to three and a half years in jail by Munich regional
court having cheated the state out of 28.5 million euros ($39.5 million) in unpaid taxes. He admitted to hiding his wealth in secret Swiss bank accounts while obsessively “gambling” on stock and currency markets for years. But while Hoeness waits to start his time behind bars, the Bavarian giants already hope he will be back at the Allianz Arena soon. “This club is one of the best in the world and that is down to the personality of Uli Hoeness,” said coach Pep Guardiola. l
Poor Lille held by Nantes Parma put the boot into 10-man Milan Lille let slip a chance to cement their claims on Champions League football next season when held to a goalless draw at home by Nantes in Ligue 1 on Saturday. The northern French side, who were assured of remaining in third place irrespective of the result, are now on 53 points, six adrift of Monaco who are away to Lyon on Sunday. Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint Germain are also in action on Sunday, Laurent Blanc’s team welcoming fourth-placed Saint-Etienne to the Parc des Princes. Lyon and St-Etienne are Lille’s main ri-
vals for Champions League qualification. Rene Girard’s Lille were devoid of any real attacking menace and were booed by their home supporters. l
RESULTS Lille Ajaccio Lasne 8
Evian Nice Bosetti 5, Maupay 71
Rennes Nelson Oliveira 68, Doucoure 87
Sochaux Contout 7, Sunzu 79
0 0 1 2
Yatabaré 13, Beauvue 74
0 1 2 0
Valenciennes Waris 63
Toivonen 14-og, Chantome 45, Aurier 73
n AFP, Milan Antonio Cassano scored a brace as Parma stunned ten-man AC Milan 4-2 to drop the Serie A giants to 12th and virtually out of contention for European football on Sunday. After two consecutive defeats the pressure was on Milan coach Clarence Seedorf, who in midweek was forced to deny he had had harsh words for misfiring striker Mario Balotelli. But despite the misfortune of seeing ‘keeper Christian Abbiati sent off inside 10 minutes for a foul on Ezequiel Schelotto, the burden on the 37-year-old Dutchman is now likely to weigh heavier. Milan’s third defeat in succession,
following reverses to Juventus and Udinese, left the ailing Italian giants 37 points behind leaders Juventus and now 11 behind Parma, who occupy the first Europa League spot in fifth. While Juve continue their charge towards a third consecutive scudetto -they hold a 14-point lead on Roma, who have a game in hand, before their respective games later -- the battle for European places is well and truly on. Parma now have a one-point lead on Fiorentina as well as a game in hand, although Fiorentina can reclaim fifth spot with a win at home to Chievo later on Sunday. The visitors were well on their way to an upset when Abbiati was shown a straight red card for a blatant foul on Schelotto and former Real Madrid, Mi-
lan and Inter striker Cassano stepped up to beat Marco Amelia from the spot in the ninth minute. l
Atalanta 3 Carmona 36, Bonaventura 42 Denis 55
Benassi 46, Paulinho 52
Sassuolo 3 Zaza 56, Missiroli 61, Sansone 89
Lulic 19, Keita 69
Bologna Christodoulopoulos 86
Rami 56, Balotelli 76-pen
Parma Cassano 9-pen, 51, Amauri 78 Biabiany 90+5
Catania 1 Bergessio 30
power issues as F1 absorbs a raft of technical changes. And Ricciardo faced an anxious wait as stewards deliberated whether to take action for violating the maximum fuel flow, or rate of fuel use, which is among the innovations this season. l
Pellegrini hails ‘professional’ City Manuel Pellegrini hailed the professionalism of his Manchester City team after they maintained their English Premier League title challenge with victory at Hull City on Saturday despite playing with 10 men for 80 minutes. City’s 2-0 win at the KC Stadium combined with Chelsea’s later 1-0 loss at Aston Villa cut the London club’s lead at the top to six points. Liverpool and Arsenal could move above City into second place and cut Chelsea’s lead to four points with wins on Sunday, but the three games in hand Pellegrini’s team hold mean they will take the title if they keep winning. Most importantly for City at Hull on Saturday, though, was to stop losing after morale-sapping defeats to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup and Barcelona in the Champions League over the previous six days. “It was a very good response in a very difficult week,” Pellegrini told the club’s website. “We just lost against Wigan and against Barcelona and we needed to win today. Playing with one player less was very difficult. It was a good performance because we defended well with the ball and without the ball, and we also had three good chances to score. It was a very professional response from the players.” Goals from David Silva in the first half and Edin Dzeko in the final minute gave City the points which Pellegrini hopes will contribute to the club reclaiming the title they won in 2011-2012 but relinquished to city rivals United last season. l
Nepal upset Hong Kong
Siddikur falls in last round Siddikur Rahman finished Solaire Open at 18th place after a poor display in the fourth and final round carding three-over-par 74 yesterday. The Bangladesh golfing star played a total one-over-par 285. Siddikur played four bogeys yesterday with only a single birdie. Canada’s Richard T. Lee claimed a sensational comeback victory at the expense of home favourite Angelo Que, whose title chances were dashed after one bad hole. Lee overcame a four-shot deficit in the final round with a two-under-par 69 to defeat Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol by one shot and win his first Asian Tour title at the US$300,000 event. –Tribune Desk
Pistorius trial enters popular culture Children chatter about the Oscar Pistorius murder trial at South African schools, startling parents with details about how the athlete fatally shot his girlfriend. Big audiences in South Africa are watching a 24-hour television channel dedicated to coverage of the sensational trial. Turns of phrase from the courtroom — the defense lawyer’s “I put it to you” challenge to prosecution witnesses — are creeping into popular culture. The rise and fall of the double-amputee runner, who competed in the London Olympics in 2012 and then killed model Reeva Steenkamp less than a year after that inspirational triumph, is a consuming saga for South Africans that has drawn sheepish comparisons to reality television shows. The more people hear, the hungrier they are for more. –AP
Farah says he’s fine after NY half-marathon fall Britain’s double Olympic and world 10,000m and 5,000m champion Mo Farah insisted Sunday his fall and frightening collapse after the New York City Half Marathon was “no big deal”. The Somali born star took a hard fall some five miles into the race. He made a gritty recovery to finish second behind Geoffrey Mutai, who won in 1hr 00min 50sec. Farah collapsed after the finish line and left in a wheelchair. He made it to the post-race press conference, however, and said he felt good, if a little cloudy on just what happened. –AFP
Olympiakos win 41st league title Olympiakos claimed their 41st domestic league title with five games to spare after a 2-0 victory at home to Panthrakikos on Saturday. A goal in the 35th minute from Paraguayan striker Nelson Valdez and a penalty by Spanish midfielder David Fuster in the 90th minute helped Olympiakos snap a two-match losing streak after going unbeaten before that. Olympiakos captured their fourth straight league crown and their 16th in the last 18 years. The match was played at an empty Karaisiaki Stadium due to a punishment by the Super League meted out after violence by supporters in a 3-0 Panathinaikos derby win earlier this month. Olympiakos coach Michel rested a number of his starters in the match against Panthrakikos due to next week’s Champions League rematch at Manchester United. –AFP
DAY’S WATCH Sony Six 06:59 AM NBA 2013-14 LA Clippers Vs Cleveland BTV, Maasranga TV, GTV, Star Sports 1, HD2 ICC World T20 2014 3:30PM Ireland v Zimbabwe 7:30PM UAE v Netherlands Star Sports 2, HD1 ICC World T20 Warm-Up 3:30PM New Zealand v Pakistan 7:30PM Sri Lanka v India Star Sports 4 Italian Serie A 12:00AM Torino v Napoli 2:00AM AS Roma v Udinese Star Sports HD1 3:00AM La Liga Villarreal v Athletic Bilbao
Monday, March 17, 2014
Bangladesh skipper Mamunur Rahman Chayan is greeted by his teammates after his second strike against Hong Kong at the hockey stadium yesterday COURTESY
An all-round effort by Nepal aided the side to mark its existence in world cricket by defeating Hong Kong by 80 runs in the Group A match of the First Round in the ICC World T20 at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday. Hong Kong had come into the game causing two upsets in the warm-up games – defeating Zimbabwe and Netherlands. But the side failed to carry on with the momentum as it went all-out chasing 150 runs against a much weaker opponent. Nepal skipper Paraz Khadka made the first blow on Hong Kong’s chase, dismissing opener Irfan Ahmed for a golden in the first ball of the innings. This got Hong Kong on the back foot who kept on losing wickets to Nepal before they could pull up a partnership for survival. Leftarm spinners Shakti Gauchan and Basant Regmi made the most impact, picking up three wickets each. Babar Hayat’s 20 off 25 balls was the best figure in the Hong Kong innings. Earlier, Hong Kong opted to field first after winning the toss and the bowlers did manage to remove Nepal batters on occasions. However, sloppy fielding and dropped catches came as a blessing for
ASIAN GAMES HOCKEY QUALIFIERS
Bangladesh thrash Hong Kong Bangladesh opened their Islami Bank Asian Games Hockey Qualifiers with a rusty 5-1 win over Hong Kong China at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Sunday. The word rusty was applicable because the forwards squandered near half a dozen chances all through the game. Mamunur Rahman Chayan, whose drag and flicking efficiency earned him an hat-trick, led his team to a win. Moreover, the midfield looked a little bit scrappy against the low profile opponents as no one took the role of linking the defense and offence perfectly. Before facing more efficient opponents in the meet, coach Naveed Alam and his think tank will have to
reconcile the team’s strategy. Apart from missing the scoring chances, it was all through Bangladesh dominancy. Bangladesh ruled the proceedings from the very beginning and Pushkor Khisha Mimo failed to hit the ball past Hong Kong goalie H. Andrews twice in the first 15 minutes. So, drag and flick specialist Mamunur Rahman Chayan stepped up and broke the deadlock with the third penalty corner in the 24th minute. Nannu’s push and Sarwar’s stop was enough for Chayan who dragged the ball into the roof of the post. Chayan dragged his second in the 32nd minute and the third in the 45th minute. The third one, however was not a dragged one, it was a low push Forward Mainul Islam Koushik
flicked a cracking hit of Niloy in the 54th minute to make it 4-0 and in the next minute, Niloy scored the fifth with a slap hit after Rabbi Salehin’s hit rebounded off the pad of Hong Kong goalie. Hong Kong’s consolation was scored by skipper Md. Arif off a penalty corner in the 58th minute. Naveed Alam admitted his forwards performed below par. “They missed five to six chances, as it is the first match I will consider the fact a little easily but we have to work hard in this area. I will talk with the boys about it, apart from the missed chances I think the boy’s performed well,” said Naveed. Meanwhile Singapore earned a dramatic 3-2 win over Iran in the first match of the day. Iran took the lead in the 17th minute
when forward Taheridad Navid scored with a solo effort and doubled the lead in the 45 minute with forward Abbasi Reza scored. Interestingly Singapore failed to score from two penalty strokes in the 22 and 55 minute. Nur Ashik Ferdaus and Salim Mohammed Haseef missed the spot hits. In the 56 minute Alias Muhammad Ashraf flicked a Nur Ashik Ferdaus hit into the Irani post. Saleem Muhammad Haseef equalized with a fierce reverse hit after from the edge of the box in the 59 minute. Singapore’s fighting effort paid off in the last minute when Timothy Goh Kai Young’s powerful hit crashed into the post after a penalty corner was initiated. It would be mentionable that the stipulated time finished before the penalty corner was initiated. l
Nepal who went onto post 149 runs on the board, losing four wickets in the last over and eight in the innings. Nepal openers Subash Khakurel (22) and Sagar Pun (13) gave the side the momentum which prevailed throughout the innings – the run rate never went down below 6. Nepal lost both the openers within three deliveries but the 80 run partnership off 67 deliveries for the 3rd wicket between skipper Paras Khadka and
BRIEF SCORE Nepal 149/8 (20/20 ov) Malla 48, Khadka 41, Haseeb 3/25 Hong Kong 69 (17.0/20 ov) Babar 20, Waqas 18, Regmi 3/14, Gauchan 3/9 Nepal won by 80 runs Gyanendra Malla didn’t allow the innings to get derailed. Hong Kong’s left-arm spinner Najeeb Amar removed Khadka in the 17th over to get the breakthrough for his team. Khadka scored a 37-ball 41 while Malla, who was more aggressive scored 48 off 41 balls before getting dismissed in the 20th over. Malla’s dismissal was followed by three more wickets but by then, the side already had a competitive score on the board. Right-arm pacer Haseeb Amjad picked three wickets in four overs for Hong Kong conceding 25 runs. l
Johnson out of World T20 Feared pace bowler Mitchell Johnson was ruled out of the World Twenty20 with a toe infection on Sunday, dealing a blow to Australia’s hopes in the tournament. Johnson cut his right big toe after the third Test win over South Africa and after infection set in, medication was unable to bring it under control, Cricket Australia said. He will be replaced by fellow quick Doug Bollinger in Australia’s squad for the tournament in Bangladesh whose opening rounds get underway on Sunday. “We have given Mitchell as long as we can but unfortunately his infection hasn’t responded to the treatment as quickly as we had hoped with swelling remaining in his toe and foot,” chief medical officer Justin Paoloni said. l
Sangakkara to quit Du Plessis welcomes underdog tag T20Is after world meet Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara will retire from Twenty20 internationals after the ongoing World T20 in Bangladesh, the veteran left-hander told a newspaper on Sunday. The 36-year-old said he wanted to make way for younger players in the national team, but made himself available to play the shortest format in franchise-based competitions. “Definitely, without a doubt, this is my last World T20,” Sangakkara told the Colombo-based Sunday Island newspaper. “I won’t be playing any T20 internationals after this. “It’s sad, but that’s the truth. It’s not the end of my T20 career though. I would like to play franchise-based T20s. Once your World Cup prospects are over, you should give the next crop of players an opportunity. It’s a natural progression.” Sangakkara, under whom Sri Lanka
reached the final of the 2009 World Twenty20 in England, has played 50 T20 internationals, scoring 1,311 runs at an average of 32.77 with seven halfcenturies. He has been in prime form of late, smashing a triple-century and a hundred in the second Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong last month. Sri Lanka, the world’s number one T20 side, are drawn with South Africa, England, New Zealand and a yet-to-be decided qualifier in the Super-10 round of the World Twenty20. l
South Africa’s Twenty20 captain Faf du Plessis wants his team to perform to their potential in the World Twenty20 – a tournament in which the Protease have never even managed to reach the semi-finals. South Africa’s recent form in the shortest form of the game hardly makes them one of the favourites for the event. Most recently, they lost a three-match series 0-2 at home to Australia. “The Twenty20 World Cup is a tournament where you need to be playing well. We need our guys in form, and if you’ve got guys in form, then we’re giving ourselves a great opportunity to compete in the tournament. [With] the nature of the tournament, you need to be playing well every game,” said the skipper. Asked about adapting to the conditions, du Plessis said, “It is challenging. Obviously our conditions are a little bit different but in saying that, we’ve
got a lot of players in our team who’ve played a lot of IPL cricket and quite a few tours of India, Sri Lanka and even Bangladesh, so we’ve definitely played enough in these conditions to understand what to expect.” The captain also saw his team not being favoured to lift the trophy as not entirely a bad thing. “I think you can look at it in both ways. It’s nice to be on the other side almost. We can, I suppose, for the first time say that we’re real underdogs, so we can play
like that. No extra pressure on us, and we certainly feel that,” he said, before going on to point out South Africa’s successes in Twenty20 on the subcontinent. He was referring to South Africa having topped Sri Lanka 2-1 and Pakistan 2-0 in similar conditions last year. “I think we’ve proven (last year) that we can do it in these conditions against quality spin.” “We’ve got some nice variety. Imran Tahir has done really well for us, and leg-spin is fantastic to have as a captain. We’ve got JP Duminy, who’s been bowling very well as a back-up spinner. And then also we’ve got bowlers who can take some pace off the ball. So I think in terms of what you need in these conditions, I think we’re all covered. “I think our whole batting line-up, as most of the tournament sides, we’ve got destructive hitters. AB has proven so many times in IPL cricket how destructive he can be, so has Miller,” concluded the 29-year old. l
Sammy looks for team effort D e f e n d i n g champions West Indies’ mission to retain the World Twenty20 title will begin on March 23 with the group match against India and their captain Darren Sammy is “quite happy” with the squad and the preparation of the team as well. The Caribbean skipper believes they have a chance to write history by winning the tournament back to back. With a 2-1 victory against England in three-match T20I series, the Caribbean camp are in a great mood ahead of the big stage which was apparent in Sammy’s words while he was facing the media yesterday where the captain relied mostly on the experience in his side. “We have prepared our players best possible way we can and we have practice matches before our first
game against India. The Caribbeans are in great spirit and we stand the chance to creating history by retaining the title,” said the all-rounder. West Indies will play two warm-up matches against England and Sri Lanka starting tomorrow. “I’m quite happy with the team. The mood of the camp and form of most of the players are looking very well. We are eager to come out and play here in Bangladesh,” he added. Placed in group 2 with teams like India, Pakistan and Australia – two former World T20 champions when asked about the group stage, Sammy replied, “It will be tough for everybody. Every game is important and this is about being consistent as a team and winning the key moments in all matches.” After two lovely innings against England in the first two matches, both of which the West Indies, Chris Gayle was left out of the squad for the third T20 with an injury. Sammy however was hopeful that the star
batsmen would be fit for the opener against India, “Chris is the most destructive T20 batsman in the world. He is mentally a strong player and I believe he will be ready before our first game and play his pivotal role in the tournament and help us to retain the trophy.” Sammy, however, insisted the rest of team would also have to play their part. “In Sri Lanka, when we won the title, it took a total team effort. The key players (contributed), different guys chipped in different games. It’s no different this time, we got to play as a team, we got to gel well together and hopefully performances will come from the key players,” Sammy also said they would miss the presence of experienced allrounder Kieron Pollard but also backed Andre Russell to fill the slot. “Pollard is one of our most experienced T20 player. It’s a big gap to fill in. Russell is not as experienced as Pollard but it’s a role we believe he could do well,” l
Winners of the Runner Group Independence Day Open Tennis pose for photograph with the chief guest at the NTC yesterday COURTESY
Ranjan Ram wins double crown Ranjan Ram of International Club lifted the men’s single’s crown of the Runner Group Independence Day Open Tennis beating Mamun Bepari of BKSP 6-3, 6-4 at the National Tennis Complex yesterday. Later Ranjan Ram partnered with Amol Roy to win the doubles title also. Ishita Afroz of BKSP beat Afrana Islam Priti 6-3, 7-5 in the women’s singles
final to emerge as the women’s champion. Gulshan Youth Club was the best team as they beat Amazon Club by 3-0 sets in the inter-club final. Meanwhile Arnab Saha, Poy Akhter, Alvi, Sadia Akhter, Tasfin Anam and Suraiya Akhter Lamia won the different categories of the mini tennis events. State minister for foreign affairs Shahriayr Alam distributed the prizes as the chief guest. l
Monday, March 17, 2014
Dhaka working on BCMI corridor n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman Bangladesh has started working on thematic areas for the BCMI corridor linking Bangladesh with China, Myanmar and India. The report on the study will be presented in the joint working group meeting of the BCMI [Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar] corridor project scheduled to be held in Chittagong in June this year. Under the BCMI project the four countries in last December in its first meeting in China decided to establish physical connectivity between them. As part of the physical connectivity a corridor will run from Kunming to Kolkata linking Mandalay in Myanmar as well as Chittagong and Dhaka in Bangladesh. As a first step the four countries decided to identify realistic and achievable infrastructure projects to boost physical connectivity. After the first meeting, over the next six months each country was supposed to come up with a joint study report proposing concrete projects and financing modalities before the next meeting of the four nations was held in Dhaka. “The findings of our study report will be placed in the meeting in Chittagong,” chairman of the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) Munshi Faiz Ahmad said. “The ideas of each country will be shared in June and it will be discussed at different levels and we hope to synthesize all the national plans to get a single plan in Kolkata meeting in December,” Munshi said. Energy, connectivity, investment and finance, trade in goods and service, poverty alleviation and social and human development, sustainable development, and people to people contact are the thematic areas where all the countries are working. The foreign ministry, BIISS and Centre for Policy Dialogue are conducting the study in Bangladesh.
Former Bangladesh ambassador to China Munshi said earlier Kunming, Mandalay, Dhaka and Kolkata were the focus cities in the BCIM corridor initiative. “But in the last Kunming meeting, Dhaka had successfully included Chittagong as the second focus city in Bangladesh,” he said. “The route is yet to be decided.” Chinese Ambassador Li Jun at a press briefing a week back said there was a suggestion to start the route from Kunming via Mandalay in Myanmar and Chittagong and Dhaka in Bangladesh before it enters Kolkata in India. He said now the four governments were making their national plan to complement the economic corridor and find out the priorities of each country. “The four countries will show the list of their priorities in the building of the economic corridor and in this June they will hold a meeting in Chittagong and in the end of this year the third round of meeting will be held in India,” the Chinese ambassador said. An official of the foreign ministry said the economic corridors are not mere transport connections along which people and goods move rather they link the supply and demand to the markets of the countries involved. The corridor will integrate the economies, enhance competitiveness and harness potential, he said. “It will also aid to strike a balance of power in the region. He, however, cautioned that closer integration will also bring some problems for the countries. “In integrated Europe, if one country falls into trouble it affects other countries. Similarly, in a closely integrated BCIM system, no country will be immune to the problems of other countries,” he said. About the use of currency, he said Chinese Renminbi is being increasingly used to settle trade transactions. In the future, Renminbi could be an anchor currency in the region, he added. l
Bangabandhu’s birthday today n Emran Hossain Shaikh
Students celebrate Holi, a festival of colours of the Hindus, inside the Fine Arts Department premises yesterday
MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
ICC WORLD T20
Six-tier security system enforced at venue n Mohammad Jamil Khan With the country abuzz with enthusiasm and excitement over the ICC World Twenty20, law enforcers have taken special measures to ensure foolproof security everywhere, including the capital, during the course of the tournament that kicked off yesterday. As part of a six-tier security system deployed across the venue, intelligence officials, in coordination with the ICC anti-corruption and security unit, remained on high alert to avert any unexpected situations like match fixing and ticket fraud. Police have already held several meetings to discuss such issues and the latest in the series was held on Thursday. Hassan Mahmud Khandaker, Inspector-General of Police, told the Dhaka Tribune they had the necessary experience to ensure a peaceful world
cup and had taken a number of new security measures in light of that experience. “Besides, special raids are being conducted to nab suspected miscreants,” he said. The intelligence officials conducted such raids based on the lists prepared by separate police stations lately. “We’ve issued all necessary directives to field level officials so that they discharge their duties accordingly. If any anomaly is noticed anywhere, officials concerned will face action,” he added. Officials concerned are said to have been asked to provide the home ministry with daily updates on the special operation, for the duration of the event. Speaking of the measure, Dr Kamaluddin Ahmed, additional secretary of the home ministry, said law enforcers were asked to take necessary steps
to ensure a safe sporting event and check match fixing. An intelligence official said, in 2011 a list of 25 people involved in match fixing was sent to immigration departments of all the airports in the country. This was done this year as well, and the ICC security body has added several new names to the existing list. “In addition to the steps we generally take to ensure security, we are prioritising a number additional issues that are needed to avert untoward incidents and officials have been asked to remain on high alert,” said Monirul Islam, joint commissioner of the detective branch of police. Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) held a press briefing at its media centre yesterday to highlight the six-tier security system. Elaborating on the system, Imtiaz Ahmed, deputy commissioner of police of Mirpur zone, said vehicle
Crimeans vote on union with Russia Bone marrow transplant as troops build up rapidly patient recovering n Reuters, Kiev Crimeans voted in a referendum on Sunday on whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, with Kiev accusing Moscow of rapidly building up its armed forces on the peninsula in “crude violation” of an international treaty. Caught in an East-West crisis reminiscent of the Cold War, Ukrainian acting defence minister IhorTenyukh said Russian troop numbers in Crimea were now almost double the level agreed with Moscow, and Kiev’s forces were taking “appropriate measures” along the border with Russia. Tenyukh dismissed any suggestion that a militarily and economically weakened Ukraine might give up in the face of the Russian power. “Decisions will be taken depending on how events unfold. But let me say once again that this is our land and we
will not be leaving it,” he told Interfax. Western countries say the vote, which is likely to favour union with Russia for a region which has a Russian-speaking majority, is illegal and being conducted at the barrel of a gun. At the UN, 13 Security Council members voted for a draft resolution saying the result should not be recognised internationally, but Moscow exercised its veto while China abstained. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected the Western accusations, telling his U.S. counterpart John Kerry that the referendum complied with international law. Both the West and Kiev have been powerless to stop the referendum. At a polling booth in Simferopol, the Crimean regional capital, dozens of people lined up outside to cast their ballots early. “I have voted for Russia,” said Svetlana Vasilyeva, a veterinary nurse who is 27. “This is what we have been wait-
ing for. We are one family and we want to live with our brothers.” Last month’s fall of Moscow-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich following deadly protests in Kiev has aroused fears among some of the country’s native Russian-speakers. “We want to leave Ukraine because Ukrainians told us that we are people of a lower kind. How can you stay in such a country?” said Vasilyeva. Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) and close 12 hours later. Provisional results will be released late on Sunday with the final tally expected a day or two later. Crimea’s 1.5 million voters have two options: union with Russia or giving their region, which is controlled by pro-Kremlin politicians, the broad right to determine its own path and choose relations with whom it wants - including Moscow.
Mirza Abbas, Fakhrul sent to jail n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu
A Dhaka court yesterday sent three BNP senior leaders, including Standing Committee member Mirza Abbas and acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, to jail, rejecting their bail petitions in three cases. Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Shahriar Mahmud Adnan passed the order upon a petition filed by them. Abbas, Fakhrul and Dhaka city unit Member Secretary Abdus Salam surrendered to the court and sought bail
as the Appellate Division on March 9 scrapped their eight-week bail order, granted on January 20 by the High Court, and directed them to surrender to lowere court. Protesting the court order, pro-BNP lawyers immediately brought out a procession on the court premises. Earlier, another court granted bail to Fakhrul in two more cases. Ramna police made the leaders accused in two cases filed in connection with the killing of a pedestrian by a bus after losing control as pickets hurled pet-
The nation is observing the 94th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman today with due respect and festivity. The day is also observed as the National Children’s Day and this year’s slogan is “We will know Bangabandhu and become ideal persons.” The day is a public holiday. Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television and private TV channels and radio channels are airing special programmes while national dailies have published special supplements highlighting the significance of the day. To celebrate the day, the government and various socio-cultural and political organisations, including the ruling AL and its associate bodies, have chalked out various programmes. On the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the daughter of the father of the nation, paid tributes to the Bangabandhu in separate messages. l
rol bombs at it at Malibagh level crossing on December 1 during the BNP’s nationwide blockade; and the killing of a policeman in an arson attack on a bus at Banglamotor on December 24. The other case was filed in connection with a petrol bomb attack on a bus at Paribagh crossing on January 3. A woman named Shahina Akther who was badly burnt in the incident succumbed to her injuries. Protesting the bail rejection, the BNP at a press briefing declared to hold demonstrations across the country today. l
n Moniruzzaman Uzzal The country’s first ever cancer patient who underwent bone marrow transplant is recovering gradually at the Bone Marrow Transplant unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. The bone marrow transplant was carried on a blood cancer patient, Omar Ali, 52, a senior officer of Agrani Bank, on March 10 in DMCH. A pool of national and international experts successfully conducted the transplant on Omar, who had been fighting a type of blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma since 2009. Professor Dr MA Khan, head of the BMT unit, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday no major physical complications were faced by the patient in the last six days following the transplant. It has been learnt that Omar Ali is very weak, but he can talk. He is living on liquids. The number of WBC (white blood cell) and platelets are still very low in Omar Ali’s body. “Omar Ali’s situation is not unexpected. We destroyed the entire blood cell before the transplant. So it’s like sowing seeds in an open field. Now new blood cells will be produced in the patient’s body,” said Prof Dr MA Khan. The patients would recover within the next seven to eight days, he hoped. A group of well-trained doctors, nurses and other staff have been taking all-out care of Omar Ali round the clock. Amena Begum, wife of Omar Ali, has eagerly been waiting for her husband’s return home after completing treatment.
While talking to this correspondent, she said: “I would like to see my husband come back home, recovering from cancer.” The wife said they spent Tk15 lakh on the treatment, but now the government had been providing almost all expenses of BMT procedure at DMCH. She sought financial help from all as it would be impossible for her alone to bear the next follow-up treatment.
On October 20 last year, former health minister Dr AFM Ruhal Haque inaugurated the five-bed BMT unit and a high-tech BMT Laboratory at DMCH at a cost of Tk200 crore Dr Bimolanshu Dey, a blood cancer specialist at the MGH in Boston, USA, told the Dhaka Tribune the patient was recovering gradually. There were a few side effects like fever and other complications, but they were usual, he said, adding that an international-standard healthcare was being given to the patient. Omar Ali hails from Dap Jail Road from Rangpur district. On October 20 last year, former health minister Dr AFM Ruhal Haque inaugurated the five-bed BMT unit and a high-tech BMT Laboratory at DMCH at a cost of Tk200 crore. l
scanners, CCTV cameras and special scanning equipment were being used around the grounds to prevent people from bringing any explosive materials in, in any form. “A person will be checked six times before he is allowed into the stadium,” he said. Ekramul Habib, deputy commissioner (west) of traffic, gave several instructions on how to manage the traffic in Dhaka during the event. Addressing the briefing, DMP Commissioner Benazir Ahmed said around 88 matches would be held in the country this year. “We have asked the fire department, hospitals and other organisations to remain on standby to handle any sort of emergency,” he said, adding that in addition to regular forces, bomb disposal units, SWAT teams and specially-trained plainclothes police would be on duty around the venue. l
ACC seeks wealth statement from Aslam, Jabbar n Tribune Report The Anti Corruption Commission yesterday asked a lawmaker from Dhaka-14 constituency and another former lawmaker to submit their wealth statements, within the next seven days, in connection with an inquiry into the accumulation of illegal wealth. The commission has also asked for the wealth statements of their family members. “The notices were issued against Aslamul Haque, an Awami League lawmaker from Dhaka-14 constituency, and Jatiya Party leader M Abdul Jabbar, also a former lawmaker from Satkhira 2 constituency, to trace the sources behind their phenomenal rise of their wealth and assets,” an official said. The commission also served notices to Aslamul Haque’s wife Maksuda Haque and M Abdul Jabbar’s wife Firoza Begum, and his three sons Faruk Hossain, Sayeed Hossain, and Mahbub Hossain, asking them to submit their statements on all movable and immovable properties before the commission. During primary inquiry, the ACC investigators have found that their wealth was inconsistent with their known sources of income, prompting officials to ask for the wealth statements of the two ruling alliance leaders. On January, the commission launched an inquiry into the phenomenal rise in the wealth and assets of three former ministers, three members of parliament, and three former lawmakers from BNP, the Awami League and the Jatiya Party. l
‘Rohingya influx may become security threat’ n Rabiul Islam The influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar might appear as a threat to the country’s security and the demographic map of bordering district Cox’s Bazar since they are becoming more influential. “The Rohingyas are involved in agriculture, trade, commerce and, most importantly, in criminal offences. Their influx will emerge as a security threat to Bangladeshi communities
and our sovereignty,” said Lt Col Zahid Hasan, former BGB commanding officer at Teknaf. He also said the Rohingyas were gradually becoming influential in Cox’s Bazar by dint of their involvement in different legal and illegal activities and with the patronisation of some locals. He made the observations at a workshop on the impacts of the Rohingyas’ gradual influx and vulnerability in Bangladesh. Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RM-
MRU) organised the event at a city hotel. Insurgent groups which want to destabilise the country might use the Rohingyas, the former BGB official said. UNHCR Country Representative Stina Ljungdell said repatriation of Rohingyas must be dealt with Myanmar following international charters. Prof CR Abrar, RMMRU executive director, said the government must settle the problems in compliance with international laws. l
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B3 Banking’s back room risk cops step into top jobs
B4 Analysts: Weak start to year a test for Beijing
MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2014 www.dhakatribune.com/business
BTCL yet to get Tk1,000cr dues from international call termination n
Muhammad Zahidul Islam
The outstanding bills of different international call carriers to the stateowned landline telephone company BTCL have stacked up to a staggering Tk1,072 crore against a bank guarantee of Tk185 crore. Of the figure, some 53 post-paid foreign carriers owe Tk952.10 crore as of January 31 this year to Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL). BTCL has only Tk171 crore bank guarantee from these post-paid carriers. Twenty-eight international prepaid carriers owe Tk23.61 crore against bank guarantee of Tk14 crore. There are also some national carriers receiving international calls owe Tk96.57 crore. BTCL has no bank guarantee from them. BTCL high officials said they were trying to collect money from the carriers and preparing for launching legal suits against some defaulting companies. “We are going to cash the bank guarantees what we have in our hand now,” Nadir Shah Qureshi, managing director of BTCL, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. However, BTCL faces some legal suits against the cashing of bank guarantees as some carriers have disputed the BTCL’s claims.
According to the BTCL statistics presented to the parliamentary standing committee on post and telecommunications ministry last September, BTCL’s outstanding was Tk1,173 crore as of March last year. As of February 2012, the total outstanding bills amounted to Tk651 crore and increased to Tk794 crore in June 2012. BTCL managing director also hoped the current figure would not further increase.
“BTCL is a state-owned international gateway (IGW), and we have some responsibilities to collect the government’s income,” he said. IGWs are the legal channels of incoming international call termination, and for every minute of a call BTCL will be paid 3 US cents by the international carriers. But BTCL sources said the land-line never took any effective measures to collect the outstanding bills and instead
the BTCL and telecom ministry high officials travelled to Europe and the US in the name of collecting the dues. Moreover, BTCL repeatedly promised to the parliamentary committee that it would collect the dues. On several occasions, the fixed-line operator assured the government that the outstanding figure would not rise any further. BTCL figures show Jamir Telecom owes Tk328.90 crore ($4.23 crore),
which is the highest of others. The company is owned by two sons of BNP leader and former parliament speaker Barrister Jamir Uddin Serker. However, there are disputes on Tk169.15 crore ($2.18 crore) of the company. BTCL doesn’t have any bank guarantee from Jamir Telecom. Nadir Shah Qureshi said BTCL expected the disputes with different companies would be solved “within a short time.” DigiTech (Singapore) has an outstanding $1.16 crore to BTCL. The carrier offers bank guarantee of $17.37 lakh. N.Tel has no bank guarantee while its outstanding bills to BTCL exceeded $81.59 lakh. Out of the national carriers, STC owes Tk37.76 crore to BTCL but offers no bank guarantee. Under the pre-paid system, Greenwitch Trading Pte Ltd crossed Tk6.19 crore in outstanding bills although they do not have any deposit to the BTCL. About the outstanding bills of the pre-paid companies, the fixed-line officials said the companies recently turned to be pre-paid and the arrears were made before their conversion. Sources concerned told the Dhaka Tribune that BTCL officials were the advisors of these pre-paid carriers and helping them delay or avoid the payment of the dues. l
DSE to introduce T+2 settlement period on April 16 n Tribune Report Dhaka Stock Exchange has shortened the share trading settlement period by one day with effect from April 16 to speed up market activities. Currently, the buyers have to settle payment and sellers transfer ownership of stock to buyer within three days after executing trade (T+3). “This is for kind information of all concerned that DSE is pleased to declare April 16, 2014 as the effective date for T+2 settlement cycle,” said the bourse in a statement yesterday. The move is to boost trading activities, thus increasing liquidity flow to the capital market, said an official. The decision of launching the reduced trading cycle on the DSE comes after discussion for months. Earlier, the DSE submitted the proposal of introducing the T+2 to the securities regulator. After the submission of the proposal, it backtracked from introducing the short settlement period considering the market situation. Some market players have supported T+2 stating that the investors’ cost of trading will come down and they will get their funds quickly from sale of shares, which will ease liquidity shortage in the market. However, some have opposed and remained skeptical about the success of T+2, raising question on fund availability in investors’ accounts at the time of making any buy order. l
German envoy expresses concern over Bangladesh’s energy choices n Tribune Business Desk German Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Albrecht Conze yesterday expressed concern over the country’s decisions to construct a coal-fired power plant not far from the Sundarbarns and a nuclear power plant near Pabna. He questioned some of Bangladesh’s energy choices, especially Rampal power plant and Ruppur nuclear power plant, and said energy generation needs to take environmental risks into account. Ambassador Conze made this statement while opening the Goalpara Power Substation in Khulna on Sunday, which has recently been upgraded through introduction of energy efficient technology with support from German Development Cooperation (GDC), according to a media release issued by GIZ. After the opening, the ambassador briefed journalists at the auditorium of Khulna Power Company Limited (KPCL), reports UNB. Referring explicitly to the incalculable risks the Rampal power plant could pose on the adjacent sanctuary of the Sundarbans, Conze cautioned: “I’m not convinced that the positive effects of the Rampal Power Plant which is expected to provide 1,320 MW of electricity for the southwest of Bangladesh will outweigh the environmental risks of the project.” Praising the natural beauty of the Sundarbans, he mentioned their status as a Unesco World Heritage site. “I know from the experience which my own country had to go through that Unesco regularly reviews and, occasionally, revokes this prestigious status in cases of serious manmade alterations to the environment of such sites. The German envoy said Bangladesh’s
greatest natural treasure ought to be protected at all cost, and should remain the pride of this country. It is not too late to look for other sites.” Responding to a question related to Bangladesh’s overall power generation mix, Conze also expressed scepticism about the proposed Rooppur nuclear power plant project in Pabna. “Although Germany has opted out of nuclear power generation after the Fukushima accident, we respect that other countries may make different choices,” he said. However, the envoy pointed out two serious risks. “First, you’ll see water temperature rise around the power plant, due to the need for constantly cooling the reactor. That will change the ecosystem. And second, you can never rule out earthquakes in Bangladesh. In general, nuclear power plants always pose risks which are hard to calculate when they are being built in seismically unsafe areas.” Conze mentioned that Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in generating the electric power the country needs to achieve a middle-income status. In this period of rapid growth of demand and supply for electricity, it is of great importance that the right choices are being made. He, however, welcomed recent reports indicating Bangladesh’s interest in working together with Nepal and Bhutan to use the potential of water energy. “With hydropower from the Himalayas and offshore natural gas from the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh should, in a not-so-distant future, be able to generate most of the power it will need, while minimising the negative impact of energy generation on the country’s environment,” said the diplomat. l
Machine operators are working at a factory in Dhaka
Norwegian envoy for ensuring labour rights in factories n Tribune Business Desk Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh Merete Lundemo yesterday urged the companies in Bangladesh to establish labour rights in the factories to enhance business prospect. “All companies need to be well familiar with the national law and international standards to establish labour rights that would eventually result in enhanced business prospect,” she told a function in Dhaka. Speaking at the launching ceremony
of a new project and starting of a two-day training programme, the envoy urged the managers to play a critical role for effectively implementing the labour law. The one-year project titled “Promoting Fundamental Rights at Work and Labour Relations in Export-Oriented Industries in Bangladesh” is being implemented in the Ready-Made Garment (RMG), shrimp processing, shoe and leather industries, with $2.5m from the Royal Norwegian government. The project goals included training up 4,000 workers and enhancing
Iraq proposes Dhaka-Baghdad direct flight n Muhammad Zahidul Islam
Iraq has proposed Bangladesh to start direct flights between Dhaka to Baghdad. Iraqi Ambassador to Bangladesh Shakir Qasem Mahdi Al Kaffal submitted the proposal to Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon at his office yesterday. He requested taking initiatives from both sides to start the flights. The two countries had signed an
agreement for starting the direct flights in 1988, said a meeting source. Iraq requested to activate the deal within a short period of time, Menon told the Dhaka Tribune. “We are positive about their proposal … We can rethink about the deal.” He informed that more than 200 passengers travel to Baghdad from Dhaka every day and the number of passengers is increasing day by day. These passengers travel to Baghdad through different routes like Dhaka-Doha-Bagh-
dad or Dhaka-Dubai-Baghdad. “Both the countries can take the business opportunity,” said the civil aviation minister. The ministry considers that the opportunities for Biman Bangladesh Airlines would increase as lots of Bangladeshi workers are already there helping war ravaged Iraq’s rebuilding activities and more Bangladeshi workers would fly for Baghdad to join them. “No, we have no immediate plans to operate Dhaka-Baghdad flights,” Biman
Managing Director Kevin Steele said, however. Biman, the national flag carrier, currently maintains flights to 19 international routes, including Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Dammam, Delhi, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Kolkata, Kuwait City, London, Muscat, Riyadh, Rome and Singapore. Biman will start its flight to Frankfurt within this month and is planning for New York from June. l
the capacity of respective government agencies, said a press release. “Workers and employers should consider themselves as mutual friends. Your joint efforts can contribute to effective implementation of law,” said Khondaker Mostan Hossain, joint secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Employment. The training programme is being attended by 64 mid-level managers, human resource managers and compliance officers from affiliated factories of the Leather goods & Footwear Man-
ufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB). “Diversity and pro-active compliance, especially with the national law, will boost the leather sector in Bangladesh given its value and contribution to the national economy,” said Syed Nasim Manzur, president of the association. He said the sector’s contribution to foreign exchange is now US$1bn, which can be doubled in next 10 years. The major importers of shoes (the USA and European countries) want to diversify their import-sources, he added. l
Power tariff hike concerns BGMEA n Tribune Report
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has expressed deep concern over the recent power tariff hike as it would cast shadow on competitiveness of the RMG sector in the global market. “The BGMEA thinks 6.96% hike in power tariff will impact negatively on ready-made garment sector as it will push up the cost of production,” the trade body said in a statement yesterday. As a result, it said, the country’s ex-
port-oriented industry will lose competitiveness in the global market. The BGMEA urged the government to keep the power prices for the RMG sector unchanged to maintain competitiveness. BGMEA said the production cost of apparel products increased by 13% in the recent past due to appreciation of Taka by 8% against the US dollar and 77% increase in wages intensified the cost further up. On Thursday, BERC increased the retail power tariff by an average of 6.96% per unit. l
Stock DSE GAINERS
DSE turnover slips below Tk300 crore
DSE key features March 16, 2014
n Tribune Report
Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)
Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)
Number of Contract
IDLC Investment said shed-offs in financial sectors, particularly bank, formed a strong push in the market, driving DSEX down. In addition, it said, prolonged spikes at scrips level kept investors more cautious and prompted them to uphold side-line strategy. Consequently, draught in investors’ participation was also observable as turnover recorded at 52nd sessions’ base of Tk290 crore. Except cement that rallied 0.9% and engineering 0.3%, all the major sectors turned negative, with bank and, food and allied losing the most. Power, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications lost relatively less compared to other major sectors. Zenith Investment said the market failed to provide any definitive swing out of risk as stock prices continue to rattle due to weak performance of some major sectors. “Frequent sector-wise rotation, enabled engineering and, food and allied to shine over other depressed sectors for today’s trading session.” The most traded stocks included Square Pharmaceuticals, Padma Oil, Lafarge Surma Cement, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, National Tubes, Bangladesh Shipping Corporation and Southeast Bank. l
Stocks declined for the third session in a row yesterday with turnover slipping below Tk300 crore after two and a half month. The fall was caused by mainly the market bellwether banks that dropped more than 2%, led by Southeast Bank that declined 14% due to its dividend adjustment. Three banks also featured in the top ten losers chart on the day. The benchmark DSEX declined 44 points or 1% to close at 4,591, which was lowest since January 21 this year. Shariah Index DSES was marginally 5 points or 0.5% to 1,009. The blue-chip comprising DS30 shed 14 points or 0.9% to end at 1,655. Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, fell 92 points to 8,938. Poor trading activities continued to grip the market with volume of trade in terms of value coming down below Tk300 crore to stand at Tk290 crore, which is lowest since December last year. “Traders are most likely looking to move out of rate sensitive bank and manufacturing stocks bagging some profits,” said Lanka Bangla Securities in its market analysis.
Turnover (Million Taka) Turnover (Volume)
Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)
Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)
Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)
Turnover (Million Taka)
Number of Contract
DSE Broad Index :
DSE Shariah Index :
Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)
DSE - 30 Index :
Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)
CSE All Share Index:
Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)
CSE - 30 Index :
Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)
Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)
CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS
Al Arafa Islami B-A Southeast Bank-A Union Capital -A Prime Bank-A Reckitt Benckiser -A Kay & Que (BD) -Z Midas Financing-Z GeminiSeaFood-Z
-15.34 -14.16 -8.60 -7.20 -5.71 -4.95 -4.52 -4.30
Average (% change) -17.26 -14.41 -8.58 -7.55 -5.53 -3.56 -4.35 -4.70
Eastern InsurA Safko Spinning-A
Closing (% change)
Al Arafa Islami B-A Southeast Bank-A ICB AMCL 1st NRB -A Rupali Bank - A Union Capital -A Prime Insur -A Standard Ceramic -A Paramount Insur-A
-14.77 -13.76 -8.02 -7.64 -7.17 -6.57 -6.42 -5.42
Average (% change) -17.09 -14.05 -8.31 -7.68 -7.64 -6.57 -6.04 -5.22
Prime Bank-A Pioneer Insur -A
Closing (% change)
Bank NBFI Investment Engineering Food & Allied Fuel & Power Jute Textile Pharma & Chemical Paper & Packaging Service Leather Ceramic Cement Information Technology General Insurance Life Insurance Telecom Travel & Leisure Miscellaneous Debenture
DSE Million Taka 309.52 93.62 50.05 447.04 167.95 317.39 14.30 246.42 337.21 1.77 25.53 67.03 33.12 215.58 31.45 53.75 107.03 160.53 37.05 208.17 0.67
Turnover in million
14.86 18.89 25.16 23.14 963.60 19.23 29.71 171.54
14.90 18.80 25.50 23.20 963.60 19.20 29.60 171.50
16.00 20.20 26.20 25.20 963.60 21.80 29.70 173.00
14.20 18.80 23.50 22.50 963.60 19.00 29.50 170.50
15.824 74.893 0.566 3.309 0.048 0.125 0.104 0.223
2.17 3.69 1.17 0.56 28.52 -0.89 -5.96 6.44
6.8 5.1 21.5 41.3 33.8 -ve -ve 26.6
Turnover in million
15.00 18.80 24.10 70.10 25.90 27.00 49.60 22.70
15.10 20.00 26.00 70.10 26.00 27.00 50.00 22.70
14.60 18.80 23.60 70.00 24.90 27.00 49.60 22.70
1.084 6.578 0.241 0.014 0.373 0.007 0.050 0.011
2.17 3.69 4.74 5.89 1.17 2.23 1.06 1.51
6.8 5.1 5.1 11.9 21.9 12.1 47.0 15.0
Traders are most likely looking to move out of rate sensitive bank and manufacturing stocks bagging some profits
CSE GAINERS Company Fine Foods A National Polymer -A Rahima Food -Z Apex Foods -A Rangpur Foundry -A Quasem Drycells -A Deshbandhu Polymer-A Beach Hatchery -A GQ Ball PenA Berger Paints-A
% change 10.58 3.20 1.71 15.28 5.74 10.85 0.49 8.42 11.53 0.06 0.87 2.29 1.13 7.37 1.08 1.84 3.66 5.49 1.27 7.12 0.02
Million Taka 28.83 5.76 2.52 26.66 22.32 21.58 17.28 31.53 0.20 1.87 8.23 4.43 16.16 2.96 1.02 4.78 13.55 4.35 22.31 0.03
% change 12.20 2.43 1.07 11.28 9.44 9.13 0.00 7.31 13.34 0.08 0.79 3.48 1.88 6.84 1.25 0.43 2.02 5.73 1.84 9.44 0.01
Million Taka 338.36 99.37 52.57 473.69 190.28 338.97 14.30 263.70 368.75 1.97 27.39 75.26 37.55 231.74 34.42 54.77 111.81 174.08 41.39 230.48 0.69
Closing (% change) 6.44 6.21 5.70 5.30 5.18 5.02 4.64 4.13 3.97 3.83
Average (% change) 5.46 6.68 5.62 3.10 4.44 4.37 3.04 1.79 4.89 3.06
LINDEBD: The Board of Directors has recommended 110% final cash dividend (i.e. total 310% cash dividend for the year 2013 inclusive of 200% interim cash dividend which has already been paid) for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 08.05.2014. Record Date: 25.03.2014. Time and Venue of the AGM will be notified later. The Company has also reported NAV of Tk. 2,458.50 million (per share 161.55), EPS of Tk. 48.55 and NOCFPS of Tk. 54.91 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. GREENDELT: The Company has informed that the Board of Directors of the Company has resolved the following decision subject to approval from the Insurance Development & Regulatory Authority: To purchase commercial floor space measuring 8,141.86 sft. (apprx.) at MANs Trade Center (4th floor), Ramjoy Mohajan Lane, Khatungonj, Chittagong at the price of Tk. 7,700.00 per sft. totaling to Tk. 6,26,92,322.00 and 3 parking spaces at a total cost of Tk. 8,25,000.00. RIGHT SHARE: ARAMITCEM: Subscription 23.03.2014 to 17.04.2014. Record date for entitlement of rights share: 09.01.2014. RUPALILIFE- Subscription 06.04.2014 to 05.05.2014. Record date for entitlement of rights share: 16.01.2014. BRACBANK:
DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Square Pharma -A Padma Oil Co. -A LafargeS Cement-Z BD Submarine Cable-A National Tubes -A BSC-A Southeast Bank-A
9.90 9.48 6.43 6.41 6.25 6.00 5.95 5.52 5.28 5.05
Average (% change) 9.90 6.66 5.89 7.03 3.62 4.99 6.36 4.44 5.72 3.15
Closing average 63.30 60.35 151.83 155.33 20.02 21.06 73.89 45.41 135.22 120.86
Closing average 21.23 74.05 57.50 135.25 121.11 45.38 20.01 32.46 164.86 1010.00
Closing 63.30 61.20 155.60 157.70 20.40 21.20 74.80 45.90 137.60 122.70
Closing 21.50 75.20 57.50 139.00 121.90 46.00 20.30 32.80 164.90 1017.50
Daily high 63.30 61.40 157.80 159.80 21.00 22.00 75.00 46.30 139.00 123.50
Daily high 21.80 75.50 57.50 139.80 123.40 46.20 20.50 33.20 167.00 1020.00
Daily low 63.30 57.00 132.00 150.00 17.50 18.00 68.00 40.00 128.20 116.50
Daily low 20.30 73.00 57.50 133.10 119.90 43.90 19.30 31.60 163.00 1000.00
Turnover in million 0.025 4.997 91.819 14.096 9.562 8.292 36.839 41.542 25.157 33.417
Turnover in million 2.430 2.268 0.029 1.413 2.967 5.012 2.192 9.323 3.142 0.202
Latest EPS -10.24 4.19 2.26 0.88 0.46 -0.98 1.70 2.28 3.56 3.03
Latest EPS -0.98 1.70 -1.00 3.56 3.03 2.28 0.46 0.79 4.01 41.85
Latest PE -ve 14.4 67.2 176.5 43.5 -ve 43.5 19.9 38.0 39.9
Latest PE -ve 43.6 -ve 38.0 40.0 19.9 43.5 41.1 41.1 24.1
Subscription 20.04.2014 to 15.05.2014. Record date for entitlement of rights share: 10.02.2014. GENNEXT: Subscription 18.03.2014 to 09.04.2014, Record date: 25.02.2014. IPO Subscription: Far Chemical Industries Limited subscription date 10-16 February 2014, NRB upto 25 March 2014. At per, face value taka 10 and market lot 500. The Peninsula Chittagong Limited subscription date 30 March-03 April 2014, NRB upto 12 April 2014. @ taka 30, face value taka 10 and market lot 200. Shahjibazar Power Co. Limited subscription date 06-04 April 2014, NRB upto 19 April 2014. @ taka 25, face value taka 10 and market lot 200. Dividend/AGM ABBANK: 5% cash and 7% stock, EGM and AGM: 21.04.2014, Record date for EGM and AGM: 25.03.2014. FIRSTSBANK: 10% cash, AGM: 25.04.2014, Record date: 25.03.2014. GBBPOWER: 15% stock, AGM: 16.04.2014, Record Date: 25.03.2014. ARAMITCEM: 10% cash, AGM: 10.04.2014, Record Date: 20.03.2014. MTBL: 10% stock, AGM: 10.04.2014, Record date: 20.03.2014. SAFKOSPINN: 10% stock, AGM:
12.04.2014, Record Date: 20.03.2014. UNIQUEHRL: 25% cash, EGM and AGM: 08.04.2014, Record Date for EGM and AGM: 18.03.2014. BANKASIA: 10% stock, AGM: 31.03.2014, Record date: 16.03.2014. ULC: 5% cash & 10% stock, AGM: 10.04.2014, Record date: 18.03.2014. PRIMEBANK: 12.50% cash, 30.03.2014, Record date: 13.03.2014. UNIONCAP: 10% stock, AGM: 31.03.2014, Record date: 13.03.2014. SOUTHEASTB: 16% cash and 5% stock, AGM: 31.03.2014, RD: 13.03.2014. DUTCHBANGL: 40% cash dividend for the General Public Shareholders and Foreign Sponsors/Shareholders, AGM: 30.03.2014, RD: 13.03.2014. LAFSURCEML: No dividend, AGM: 10.06.2014, RD: 07.04.2014. UTTARAFIN: 30% cash, AGM: 30.04.2014, Record date: 12.03.2014. EBL: 20% cash, AGM: 31.03.2014, RD: 11.03.2014. PRIMEFIN: 15% cash, AGM: 30.03.2014, RD: 11.03.2014. UCBL: 20% cash, AGM: 17.04.2014, RD: 11.03.2014. PUBALIBANK: 10% stock, AGM: 25.03.2014, RD: 10.03.2014.
14.85 18.90 24.05 70.05 25.64 27.00 49.80 22.70
SECTORAL TURNOVER SUMMARY Sector
Northern Jute -Z Pragati Gen. I -A National Tubes -A Sonali Ansh -A Deshbandhu Polymer-A Fine Foods A National Polymer -A Quasem Drycells -A Apex Foods -A Rangpur Foundry -A
Closing (% change)
News and recent disclosers
CSE key features March 16, 2014
Daily capital market highlights
Monday, March 17, 2014
% change 10.70 3.14 1.66 14.98 6.02 10.72 0.45 8.34 11.66 0.06 0.87 2.38 1.19 7.33 1.09 1.73 3.54 5.51 1.31 7.29 0.02
Prepared exclusively for Dhaka Tribune by Business Information Automation Service Line (BIASL), on the basis of information collected from daily stock quotations and audited reports of the listed companies. High level of caution has been taken to collect and present the above information and data. The publisher will not take any responsibility if any body uses this information and data for his/her investment decision. For any query please email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01552153562 or go to www.biasl.net
Grameenphone-A GQ Ball PenA Meghna Petroleum -A
Singer BD -A Square Textile -A Olympic Ind. -A Atlas BD-A Quasem Drycells -A
CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Square Pharma -A
BSC-A LafargeS Cement-Z BD Submarine Cable-A Padma Oil Co. -A Beach Hatchery -A Southeast Bank-A UCBL - A Quasem Drycells -A Legacy Footwear -A Olympic Ind. -A Orion Pharma-N AFC AgroBiotech-N BEXIMCO Ltd. -A Appollo Ispat CL -N
Volume shares 560,905 385,561 2,673,000 445,911 604,736 142,545 3,965,345 297,001 373,229 213,427
254,811 459,249 222,500 245,577 914,737
47,344 19,225 233,000 50,316 29,348 287,215 348,000 227,464 110,437 109,092 20,232 69,900 63,500 120,359 129,800
Value in million 158.66 133.18 131.76 96.88 91.82 89.72 74.89 63.64 61.57 60.85
54.84 52.30 48.87 47.78 41.54
Value in million
13.41 12.09 11.46 10.94 10.12 9.32 6.58 5.22 5.01 4.44 4.42 4.27 3.88 3.80 3.67
% of total turnover 5.42 4.55 4.50 3.31 3.14 3.07 2.56 2.18 2.10 2.08
1.87 1.79 1.67 1.63 1.42
% of total turnover
5.68 5.12 4.86 4.63 4.29 3.95 2.79 2.21 2.12 1.88 1.87 1.81 1.64 1.61 1.55
Daily closing 283.20 344.50 49.50 215.60 155.60 627.25 18.80 214.40 165.30 284.80
215.80 112.50 219.30 193.00 45.90
282.80 627.00 49.60 216.30 344.50 32.80 18.80 22.90 46.00 40.40 218.90 61.00 60.80 31.50 28.20
Price change -0.63 -1.06 1.43 -2.18 6.43 -1.14 -14.16 -0.09 4.36 -1.11
Daily opening 285.00 348.20 48.80 220.40 146.20 634.50 21.90 214.60 158.40 288.00
-1.37 -2.43 -1.35 1.63 5.52
-0.84 -0.63 1.43 -1.55 -1.20 4.13 -13.76 -2.14 5.02 3.06 -1.08 -0.65 -2.41 -0.94 -1.05
218.80 115.30 222.30 189.90 43.50
285.20 631.00 48.90 219.70 348.70 31.50 21.80 23.40 43.80 39.20 221.30 61.40 62.30 31.80 28.50
Daily high 286.00 350.00 49.70 225.00 157.80 637.75 20.20 215.60 167.80 288.90
218.80 116.90 220.90 199.80 46.30
Daily low 275.00 318.00 48.70 201.20 132.00 624.00 18.80 205.00 150.00 263.00
205.00 105.00 215.00 173.00 40.00
Daily average 282.86 345.42 49.29 217.27 151.83 629.40 18.89 214.29 164.96 285.12
286.00 635.00 49.80 221.00 346.00 33.20 20.00 23.30 46.20 41.50 223.00 61.60 62.00 32.20 29.00
281.20 624.25 48.70 215.00 344.00 31.60 18.80 22.80 43.90 39.60 217.80 60.50 60.60 31.30 28.10
215.21 113.88 219.64 194.54 45.41
283.27 628.80 49.20 217.35 344.95 32.46 18.90 22.94 45.38 40.69 218.50 61.05 61.12 31.53 28.27
China doubles yuan trading band, seen as sign of confidence n Reuters, Shanghai China’s central bank loosened its grip on the yuan on Saturday by doubling the daily trading range for the currency, adding teeth to a promise it would allow market forces to play a greater role in the economy and its markets. Analysts said the move was a sign of confidence that the central bank had successfully fought off a plague of currency speculators, and at the same time signalled that regulators believe the economy is stable enough to handle more promised reforms going forward. But as far as Beijing’s project to encourage the international usage of the yuan is concerned, there is less consensus, with some warning that more volatility could discourage firms from using the yuan in the short run. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said the exchange rate will be allowed to rise or fall 2% from a daily midpoint rate it sets each morning. The change is effective from Monday. “This is a major step towards building more market-oriented exchange rate mechanisms in China, signifying a gradual withdrawal by the central bank from regular intervention in the foreign exchange market,” said Fu
Oil prices mixed in Asia on China, Ukraine woes n AFP, Singapore Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade Friday as investors digest the implications of weaker economic data from China and keep an eye on a controversial referendum in Crimea on joining Russia. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for April delivery, eased two cents to $98.18 in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude rose 11 cents to $107.50 for its April contract. “The China data and the talks about the Ukraine referendum would be the prime events affecting oil today,” Desmond Chua, market strategist at CMC markets in Singapore told AFP. China on Thursday said that its industrial output rose 8.6 percent yearon-year in the January-February period, the slowest rate since April 2009. Retail sales, a key indicator of consumer spending, gained 11.8 percent in the two months from the year before, but this was also the slowest since in February 2011. Crude prices, however, were supported by tensions in Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, where its self-declared leaders will hold a referendum that is expected to see voters choose to split from Ukraine. However, the West has called the vote illegal and warned Moscow of a serious backlash, with the US and EU preparing sanctions against those blamed for stirring the tensions. But there are concerns the sanctions could disrupt oil supplies from Russia, a major energy producer and exporter of natural gas to Western Europe. l
Qing, head of foreign exchange trading at Standard Chartered Bank in Shanghai. “However, with more volatility in the yuan’s exchange rate created by the reform, Chinese companies will face an uphill task learning how to hedge their currency risks.” Many market participants have long viewed the yuan as a one-way appreciation bet. Authorities are trying to change that by demonstrating that it is now more of a genuine market that can go up and down like any other. “The People’s Bank of China will continue to increase the two-way flexibility of the renminbi exchange rate, keeping the exchange rate fundamentally stable within reasonable and balanced levels,” the PBOC said in a statement on its website. A PBOC spokesman in a separate statement said that the new flexibility would help improve efficiency and increase the decisive role of the market to allocate resources. The widening of the band had been broadly expected after the yuan fell in value from mid February through early March. Traders suspected that the central bank, working through state banks, pushed the currency down to try to force those speculating on ap-
preciation to unwind their positions. The idea was to leave the market more balanced between buyers and sellers to reduce the chances of dramatic moves once the trading band was widened. The central bank’s clamp down came after it had guided the yuan to rise 2.9% against the dollar in 2013, far outperforming other emerging economy currencies and surprising markets, which had not been so bullish. That rally encouraged capital to flow into the country betting on a steady increase in Chinese interest rates, which made Chinese assets relatively attractive given the weakness of the dollar. Many Chinese importers even inflated their receipts to bring in more cash to speculate on the yuan, which repeatedly and massively distorted the country’s trade figures in certain months. However, since the beginning of 2014, the central bank’s action has pushed the currency down 1.6%. While that is not a major move for many currencies, for the yuan it marked a bigger slide than the currency posted over six months during the Greek debt crisis in 2012.
In pushing the yuan lower, the risk was that traders bullish on the yuan would
Monday, March 17, 2014
see the weaker levels as a buying opportunity. However, foreign exchange traders said that the yuan continued to fall in recent weeks and stay closer to the central bank’s midpoint, even though state-owned banks had stopped intervening, indicating many bulls had been shaken out of the market. A senior money manager for an international investment fund in Shanghai, who spoke off the record because of the sensitivity of relations with regulators, said that the wider trading band would likely discourage foreign investors. “It’s what China needs to do, and the smart money says, OK, this is great, this is two way, we’ll have more money coming in and out. But for the next tier of investor, they see China as very hairy still, not a lot of transparency, and the only news is bad news. They don’t look at this as good news they just look at it as more volatility.” Currency analysts said the shake out of bullish positions cleared the way for the PBOC to widen the trading band without worrying that the currency would immediately leap to test the upper limits of the new range. “Conditions for a band widening were ripe,” said Li Heng, economist at Minsheng Securities in Beijing. l
Local investors join exodus from emerging markets n Reuters, London Local investors are giving emerging markets another headache as they look abroad for more liquid and stable investments, drawn by strengthening foreign currencies and encouraged by regulatory changes at home. Money has flowed out of emerging markets with little interruption as foreign investors have withdrawn $45bn this year from funds which invest in bonds and equities, outpacing $28bn of outflows for 2013, according to EPFR. Now local institutional investors in emerging economies are expected to join the bandwagon, attracted in part by regulatory changes that allow pension funds to invest a higher proportion of their assets overseas. In Latin America, home to nearly $630bn of pension funds assets, the behaviour of local institutional investors is increasingly becoming important, as pension funds attract inflows from young working populations. Many countries are beginning to lift caps on how much pension funds can invest overseas, to help them meet return targets that can be as high as inflation plus 6 percent. Local financial markets are also be-
coming too small to absorb these flows and less appealing as these economies slow. Growing flexibility of pension funds’ asset allocation could therefore have a snowballing effect on EM capital outflows. “Governments are modifying legislation and local investors look elsewhere to get a doubling effect from currencies. There is going to be a significant increase in outflows,” said Alvaro Camunas, head of Spain and Latin America at BNP Paribas Securities Services. Currently, Chile’s pension funds have the highest offshore investment allowance of 80%. Brazil allows only up to 20% in international allocations. Mexico’s pension funds also invest only around a fifth of their assets overseas. But interest is growing. BNP Paribas notes that overseas funds distributed in Brazil nearly tripled to 37bn reais ($16bn) in 2013 from 2011. Foreign assets within Mexico’s pension funds hit a record $22bn last year from $17bn in 2013. BNP Paribas said Brazilian investors prefer to invest in money market products and high-yielding fixed income in developed markets, where they gain from both capital and currency appreciation, at a time when high interest rates weigh on local companies. l
Banking’s back room risk cops step into top jobs n Reuters, London Once modest of pay and profile, risk experts are being reborn as rock stars of the banking world - their status and salaries soaring as regulators force financial institutions to clean up. Industry-wide investigations into alleged exchange rate manipulation, trading scandals at UBS, Societe Generale and JPMorgan and HSBC’s $1.9bn fine for lax money-laundering rules have upped the ante for banks already under pressure to curb reckless behavior that led to the financial crisis. Now watchdogs and central banks want to see a clear line of responsibility for the avoidance of such fiascos in the future, and as a result, the position of chief risk officer (CRO) has jumped up the ranks. Many CROs now sit alongside the finance director as second in importance behind the chief executive. “The role of the CRO has become broader, higher profile and more influential,” said Anne Murphy, head of UK financial services for executive recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson. In turn, salaries have soared. Pay in risk-related jobs rose 6% in 2013 and rocketed 19 percent for those who moved firms, according to a report by recruitment firm Barclay Simpson. HSBC (HSBA.L) chief risk officer Marc Moses joined the bank’s board at the start of 2014, alongside the chairman, chief executive and finance director, and could be paid 6m pounds ($10m) this year. Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver, who could be paid 11.4 million this year, says pre-crisis, the bank’s CRO would not have made it into the top 50 earners. At Spain’s Santander (SAN.MC) the top risk executive Matias Rodriguez Inciarte was its second-highest paid di-
flected in the amount of time such concerns occupy at board level. Santander said its board spent 30% of its time last year on risk management, and Barclays’ board has spent 35-40% of its time on governance and risk issues in the last two years. As a result some CROs are being invited to join the board, another notch for their status and pay packets. Juan Colombas, chief risk officer at Lloyds Banking Group since the start of 2011, joined its board in November 2013 and is one of only three executive directors. He could earn 4.4m pounds this year.
A sign for Bank Street and high rise offices are pictured in the financial district Canary Wharf in London rector last year, getting 4.7m euros. Those numbers, says Murphy, are “recognition that it’s a big job. There aren’t many people who have the skills and abilities to do it well, combined with the increase in seniority and responsibility.”
Chief risk officers ensure that where potential dangers exist, they are monitored and kept in check. That can range from measuring how likely loans are
to be paid back, how risky banks’ positions in financial markets might be, and what potential losses may be incurred from fraudulent activities. However after the financial crisis of 2007-2008 this already wide remit has become larger still, and its parameters more clearly policed. CROs must ensure banks abide by tougher regulations around the world, hammered out by governments that had to use public funds to keep many of them from sinking under the burden of bad loans re-
sulting from excessive borrowing, risky investments and a lack of transparency. The new rules demand that banks take fewer risks, assess loans more closely and hold more accessible capital as a buffer against bad bets. Many CROs are now also responsible for ensuring cyber security and spotting terror financing and money laundering - so-called compliance functions that previously often fell under the remit of a bank’s legal division. The scale of the new CRO job is re-
The job of CRO comes with its own risk/ reward equation: its new elevated status also brings far more accountability. Following the introduction of new post-crisis legislation in Britain, for example, these bankers can now be sent to prison if found guilty of the new charge of reckless misconduct leading to bank failure. “Whereas before it was a slightly techy and bookish type of job, now risk is incredibly diverse and carries a huge amount more responsibility if you are running the department, and the repercussions for the chief risk officer are profound,” said Mark Garnier, a British lawmaker who was part of a panel that last year proposed changes to make individuals at banks more accountable. However the jump in pay and profile means that the job is nonetheless likely to tempt more candidates to fill what is currently a small pool of specialists. Headhunters say the rising status of top risk managers could see it become a popular path for ambitious executives who now see it as a route to the CEO’s chair. l
China consumer show targets camera maker Nikon n Reuters, Shanghai
Vice chairperson of NCC Bank ASM Mainuddin Monem seen handing over a cheque worth Tk50 lakh to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the ICC T20 World Cup 2014 and Lakho Konthe Sonar Bangla Fund in a ceremony at Ganabhaban recently
Team Ispahani emerged as the champion of the 30th MM Ispahani National Team Bridge Championship – 2013. The team was led by Mirza Sajid Ispahani
Japan’s Nikon Corp has moved to allay consumer fears in China after being criticised on a closely watched consumer show that said the camera maker had sold defective products in China and denied local consumers fair treatment in aftersales service. The firm, which had sales of 118bn yen ($1.16bn) in China in 2013, said on Sunday it was taking the report “very seriously” and had moved to improve its after-sales network in China, according to its official microblog sites.
Criticism in Chinese state media can have a long-lasting impact, particularly in cases of corruption and food safety scandals, which have hit some firms over the last year, including French foodmaker Danone SA to British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc. An annual investigative special on China Central Television (CCTV) called “3.15”, similar to the CBS network’s “60 Minutes” in the United States, said late on Saturday that some of Nikon’s D600 cameras had black specks on the lens, and accused the firm of refusing requests to replace the defective products. l
BGMEA to bear educational expense of 3 Rana Plaza victims’ children son of Md Ishaq, head of production n Tribune Business Desk coordinator, Ether Tex Ltd. Md Ishaq.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina receiving a cheque of Tk3 crore from Engr Mustafa Anwar, vice chairperson of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited on March 14 as donation for organising Sonar Bangla in Million Voices. Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith was present on the occasion
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina receives a cheque for Tk1.5 crore from National Bank director, Rick Haque Sikder at Ganabhaban in the capital on Friday for hosting ICC T20 World Cup and ‘Lakho Kantho’ event on March 26
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has taken charge of five children of three Rana Plaza victims recently. The trade body will bear all the educational expenses of two children of Ejaz Uddin, two children of executive director of Phantom Apparels Tech, MM Abu Sayeed and Mostafa Kamal,
All the mentioned victims were killed in the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza. BGMEA has made the arrangement for Mostafa Kamal for studying at BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT) for free. Besides, Mostafa has been appointed as junior executive at the Uttara office of BGMEA. l
Monday, March 17, 2014
Analysts: Weak start to year a test for Beijing n AFP, Beijing China could miss its official growth target for the first time in 16 years, a snap poll of economists by AFP shows after surprisingly weak data for January and February. Industrial output, a key measure of production at factories, workshops and mines in the world’s second-largest economy, rose just 8.6% in the first two months of 2014, the slowest pace in five years, government figures showed Thursday. Retail sales, an indicator of consumer spending, increased at the lowest rate since February 2011, while growth in fixed asset investment, a gauge of government spending on infrastructure, came in at a surprisingly low 17.9% during the period, according to the data.
'The disappointing economic data in January-February will be a test of the government’s tolerance level, as this pace of deceleration has rarely been seen before' In a survey of 10 economists by AFP on Friday, the median forecast for 2014 growth was 7.4%, with some saying the weak start to the year had led them to cut their annual predictions. At the just-concluded National People’s Congress (NPC), Premier Li Keqiang set this year’s growth target at “around 7.5%”, lower than last year’s actual expansion of 7.7% - which was unchanged from 2012 and the worst since 7.6% in 1999. China is a key driver of the world economy and the last time its actual GDP growth came in below the government target was in 1998, at the height
of the Asian financial crisis. “The disappointing economic data in January-February will be a test of the government’s tolerance level, as this pace of deceleration has rarely been seen before,” Shen Jianguang, a Hong Kong-based economist with Mizuho Securities, said in a research note. He cut his projection for 2014 growth from 7.5% to 7.3%. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts also lowered their prediction from 7.6% to 7.2% for the full year due to the “significantly weaker than expected” data in the first two months. Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, said that if economic growth falls under 7.5% in the first quarter, there will be “significant risks of not hitting the annual target”. Chinese shares closed down Friday on worries over an economic slowdown, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropping 0.73%. Key downside risks China’s top leaders have said they are ready to accept slower expansion as they seek to transform the economy’s growth model away from an over-reliance on often wasteful investment, and instead make private demand the driver of future development. After the close of the NPC, China’s Communist Party-controlled legislature, on Thursday Premier Li sought to downplay the importance of the target. “We have a level of flexibility by setting the target at around 7.5%,” he said. He did not specify the lowest rate the government could accept, only saying it must ensure sufficient job creation. “We think the government will not let growth slide below the 7% mark,” Wang Tao, a UBS economist in Hong Kong, said in a report. Key downside risks ahead this year include uncertainties in export recovery, credit volatilities related to China’s multi-trillion-dollar shadow banking sector - heightened by the country’s first-ever default on a domestic corporate bond last week - and a “more pro-
A construction worker looks at Pudong financial district as he waits to cross an avenue in Shanghai nounced” property slowdown, she said. Yao Wei, an analyst with Societe Generale, said in a research note: “New leaders are now facing a critical test: whether they can stabilise the economy, without significantly compromis-
ing the progress of lowering debt risks.” The government has avoided introducing major stimulus measures since Li took office in March last year, and the ruling party leadership promised in November to let the market play the
“decisive” role in resource allocation. But that vow could make it more difficult for the government to intervene in the economy, for example with infrastructure investment, as such policies “may conceptually contradict the
goal”, Goldman Sachs economist Song Yu said in a report. “It does imply more constraints on what and how much the government can do compared with the past,” Song wrote. l
Mind your wallet: why the underworld loves bitcoin G7 may meet in London n without Russia them, because they have to trust each other even less. Even complete strangers can cooperate,” said Juraj Bednar, a bitcoin security expert in Slovakia. But while bitcoin has its advantages, it’s not a perfect tool for the bad guys. Take, for example, ransomware. Viruses which encrypt users’ data and then demand payment for a key to unlock it have become increasingly sophisticated, says Dell Secureworks’ Jarvis. The most successful: CryptoLocker, which Jarvis believes is run by a Russian-speaking gang who are also behind a botnet called Gameover Zeus that targets financial websites. Bitcoin often appears on CryptoLocker as an option for victims to pay up. Its appeal, says Bednar, lies in the fact that it needs no third party for the transaction to work. But there have been problems. For one thing, the type of user to be infected by a virus wasn’t likely to be the type who is technologically savvy enough to be familiar with bitcoin. Also, as bitcoin rose in value, it has become a more expensive option for the victim, forcing the criminals to lower their bitcoin ransom demands to match prevailing exchange rates.
Criminals may already have made off with up to $500m worth of bitcoins since the virtual currency launched in 2009 - and you can double that if it turns out they emptied Mt Gox. Internet criminals, security experts say, are attracted to bitcoin because of its stratospheric rise in value, because it’s easier to steal than real money, and because it’s easier to trade with other criminal elements. But, they add, bitcoin will survive the damage. “It’s just growing pains,” says Keith Jarvis, a security researcher at Dell SecureWorks. “Bitcoin is large enough and has enough momentum behind it to survive any public relations damage from this (Mt Gox) case or anything else.” The fall of Mt Gox, the Tokyo-based exchange which filed for bankruptcy last month after saying it lost some 850,000 bitcoins to hackers, is certainly the virtual currency’s biggest crisis. But data collated by Reuters from specialist bitcoin industry websites and internet forums shows that more than 730,000 bitcoins were already missing to theft, hacking, cyber-ransom payments and other apparently criminal pursuits before Mt. Gox’s collapse. That’s nearly 6% of all bitcoins, and doesn’t include dozens, possibly hundreds, of unreported cases of individuals who have lost bitcoins from their computers or online exchanges to hackers. For sure, there’s no way of telling who has these missing bitcoins, or whether they were converted to real money when the price was much lower. And of course some bitcoins may have been counted twice if criminals stole them from each other or they were put back into circulation and stolen again. But there’s no question that bitcoins have attracted the attention of cybercriminals - as a currency and an asset worth stealing.
A study by Pat Litke and Joe Stewart of Dell SecureWorks showed that as the price of bitcoin soared beyond $1,000 last year, so did the number of viruses designed to steal bitcoins from wallets - programs that hold bitcoins on user’s computers or smartphones. Of the 140 types of such software more than 100 appeared in the past year. Writing such viruses, says Stewart, is easy. “There’s no sophistication involved in the storage of bitcoin in wallets. As for malware, it’s some of the easiest stuff to write.” Indeed, this cyber-pocket picking wasn’t criminals’ first foray into bitcoins. Initially, they focused on using
their control of large networks of infected computers - called botnets - to make their own bitcoins. Bitcoins are created through a ‘mining’ process where a computer’s resources are used to perform millions of calculations. For a while, says Kirill Levchenko, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, criminals added malware to their botnets to turn infected computers into bitcoin miners. This triggered predictions of doom for bitcoin - that the criminals would take over the mining of bitcoin through botnets and bring the whole currency crashing down. But as bitcoins become harder to mine - according to an algorithm that slows down their production the more people try to create them - this approach has proven less profitable. In 2012-13, says Danny Huang, another researcher at the University of California, San Diego, they earned at
least 4,500 bitcoins, a relatively small sum compared with the total produced. “Few botnets are mining bitcoins now,” he said. Instead, they’ve turned to stealing them from wallets, or, more lucratively, from exchanges. According to data compiled last year by academics Tyler Moore and Nicholas Christin, of 40 exchanges tracked 18 had closed, with customer balances wiped out in many cases - not always, they point out, due to fraud. Since then, according to public reports, more than a dozen others have been hacked.
Currency of thieves
Cyber-criminals have also made use of the ease with which bitcoins can be traded without any third party - such as a bank or online payments service like PayPal - to use it as at least one way of paying for services between themselves. “Bitcoin made it much easier for
Then there’s bitcoin’s transparency. All transactions are visible, and while they’re just digits and letters, in theory they could be connected to an individual and the entire history of all the bitcoin’s transactions traced. Italian computer engineer Michele Spagnuolo, for example, was able to trace a number of ransom payments for CryptoLocker. The gains have been impressive: he and academics from Politecnico di Milano speculate that up to 6,757 bitcoins - then worth around $6 million - could be linked to those behind CryptoLocker late last year. That estimate of their total takings, he says, could be very conservative. But the fact that such payments can be traced would raise a red flag for cyber-criminals, says Daniel Cohen of RSA, the security division of EMC Corp (EMC.N), even though there are online services that can “launder” bitcoins to hide their origin. “Sure, there are bitcoin laundering services, but still if I tie a wallet to an identity I can see every single movement,” he said. And, ironically, the success that some criminals have had in stealing bitcoins has made it less appealing to the underworld. RSA’s Cohen says his team monitoring underground forums has noticed criminals lately see bitcoin as “volatile, seizable and, with the recent thefts, unsafe.” l
n AFP, Berlin An alternative meeting for the Group of Seven most developed economies could be held in London if Russia is expelled from the G8 for its aggressive policy in Ukraine, a German weekly reported Saturday. Britain has proposed hosting the summit with Germany, Japan, France, Canada, Italy and the United States, Der Spiegel said, citing an unnamed source close to the German government. Initially, a Group of Eight meeting including Russia was set to be held in June in Sochi, where the Russians had successfully hosted this year’s Winter
Olympic Games. But Russia’s expulsion from the rich countries’ club is one of the international sanctions to be imposed if Moscow persists in its support for Crimea to quit Ukraine and join Russia, the subject of Sunday’s referendum in the flashpoint peninsula which Kiev and Western powers have said is illegal. The German government, however, issued a statement saying that the only decision that has been made is to stop preparations for a G8 meeting. “Other than that, no other decision has been taken,” the statement from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office said. l
Survey: New York takes London’s crown as top financial centre n Reuters, London New York has knocked London from its position as the world’s leading global financial centre after seven years, according to the Global Financial Centres Index compiled by London-based consultancy Z/Yen. London slipped from the top of the global rankings, scoring 784 against 786 for New York, because a series of own goals had tarnished its reputation, the report said. “London sees the largest fall in the top 50 centres,” said Mark Yeandle, report author and associate director of Z/Yen, in a statement on the group’s website. “This seems to be based on a number of factors including ... uncertainty over Europe, the perception that London might be becoming less welcoming to foreigners and perceived levels of market manipulation.” Hong Kong and Singapore took third and fourth spots respectively,
the same as a year ago, the survey showed. But the gap between the “Big Four” and the chasing pack, led by Zurich, Tokyo and Seoul, was narrowing, it said. Middle East centres, such as Qatar, Dubai and Riyadh, which took places 26, 29 and 31 respectively, continued to rise in the index, while 23 of the 27 European centres declined in rank. TheCityUK, a lobby group for British financial and professional services, said London slipping from the top spot should be a wake-up call for Europe’s policymakers. “London is Europe’s financial centre and is hugely important to the continent’s ability to finance growth and create jobs by attracting global investors,” said Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK. The Global Financial Centres Index is complied from assessments completed by 3,246 financial services professionals, Z/Yen said. l