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Chaitra 16, 1420 Jamadiul Awal 28, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 2, No 1




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Myanmar to Rohingyas: Register as Bangalees The country goes into its first census since 1983 amid fears of rising sectarian tensions n Tribune Report Myanmar said yesterday that Muslims would not be allowed to register as “Rohingya,” but rather as Bangalees in today’s census, the first in three decades in the country that has fanned sectarian tensions. The move came as Buddhists in an unrest-hit western state vowed to boycott the census over fears it could lead

to official recognition for the Rohingya, viewed by the United Nations as among the world’s most persecuted minorities. “If a household wants to identify themselves as ‘Rohingya.’ we will not register it,” government spokesman Ye Htut told reporters in Yangon. He said people could call themselves “Bangalee,” a term used by the authorities, who view most Rohingya as illegal

immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, reported AFP. Bangladesh Ambassador to Myanmar Anup Kumar Chakma told the Dhaka Tribune that Myanmar’s Citizenship Law of 1982 recognised as many as 135 ethnic groups and the Rohingyas were not one of them. He said the population census could be a step forward to resolve the problems in the Rakhine state.

Myanmar is holding the first census today after 1983, with assistance from the UNFPA and other development agencies. However, foreign aid workers were reported to have fled the restive Rakhine state this week after Buddhist mobs attacked their offices as tensions escalated in the run up to the census, according to an AFP report. An 11-year-old girl was killed by a

stray bullet after police fired warning shots to disperse angry crowds in the state capital Sittwe. Humanitarian workers in the region have come under increasing pressure from Buddhist nationalists who accuse them of bias in favour of local Muslims. The United Nations is pulling some 50 international and Myanmar staff from the region, while other major  PAGE 2 COLUMN 4

Tigers eye improvement n Mazhar Uddin

The series of poor performance from Bangladesh is certainly not what the home crowd expected and with one humiliating defeat after another the team morale is also in a shamble. However, there is still one little hope in the back of the cricket loving nation’s mind when Bangladesh face Pakistan at the

Sher-e-Bangla National stadium today. Meanwhile, Pakistan will be eyeing a victory to go a step closer to their World Twenty20 semifinal spot. Bangladesh suffered a disastrous run in this year, in Sri Lanka series followed by the Asia Cup, but showed

sign of regrouping with wins in two warm-up matches and two first-round wins.However, the curtains fell once again with their defeat to ICC Associate Member Hong Kong. The discipline of the batsmen and the manners they are getting out is very worrying for the selectors. Tamim Iqbal averages just 12.40 in this tournament while skipper Mushfiqur Rahimhas seven more than the left hander. Bangladesh’s most experienced cricketer in the shortest format Shakib al Hasan faced just three balls in the last two matches and the home side can’t afford a similar scenario today. The only exception at the top is Anamul Haque who has accumulated 166 runs at an average of 33.2. However, the youngster must find a way to lengthen his innings as he went past the 40 four times but could not make it bigger. Anamul scored a century against Pakistan in the Asia Cup last month when  PAGE 2 COLUMN 3

Mushfiqur Rahim bats during a training session at the ICC World Twenty20 cricket tournament at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka yesterday AFP

Upazila elections end tomorrow Al-Masum Molla n Mohammad and Mohammad Zakaria A total of 74 upazilas are voting in the fifth phase of the ongoing local body polls tomorrow, amid allegations and counter-allegations of vote rigging and occupying polling centres. Contestants backed by both Awami League and BNP spent a busy day in their respective localities yesterday – the last electioneering day before the polls. The local administrations have suspended the movement of all kinds of vehicles in and around the polling areas as a preemptive measure to avoid unrest. In the first four phases, the festive mood of the local polls has been somewhat marred by sporadic incidents of violence in some of the upazilas, that killed 13 and injured hundreds. The Election Commission (EC) has asked the authorities concerned to deploy additional law enforcers, especially in the polling centres marked as vulnerable, in the wake of escalating violence – a trend that started with the second phase after a relatively peaceful first phase and peaked with the fourth. Just like the previous phases, army personnel will remain on duty as the striking force alongside other agencies including the Border Guard Bangladesh, Rapid Action Battalion, Police and Ansar. In addition, a monitoring cell will look after the situations in the polling areas on behalf of the commission, said Election Commissioner Mohammad Abu Hafiz. Despite the presence of the army  PAGE 2 COLUMN 4




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ershad: Rawshan will remain my guiding light n Tribune Report Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad yesterday said his wife Rawshan Ershad, also the leader of the opposition in 10th parliament, would always be acting as his guiding light. “When I was in custody, Rawshan took the responsibility of the party as the guiding light. She will act as my guiding light until the end of my life,” said Ershad, who is also a special envoy to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, claiming that there was no conflict between him and Rawshan. The former military ruler said these while exchanging views with local journalists at his “Palli Nibash” residence in Darshana area during the first day of four-day visit to Rangpur. Rawshan, who is JaPa’s senior Presidium member, last week said she would quit politics. “JaPa had to participate in the [January 5] parliamentary election for a special reason. And she has been playing a responsible role as the opposition leader,” the party chairman said. Responding to journalists’ queries, Ershad said: “The present government

has already consolidated its position firmly. It will remain in power for the next five years. No one and no movement will be able to unseat it.” In reply to another question on the issue of the first president of the state, Ershad said he had no idea whether the BNP would be benefited from claiming its founder Ziaur Rahman as the country’s first president. “I do not want to argue, but we have to accept the historical facts,” he added. BSS adds: Expressing grave concern over unilateral withdrawal of the Teesta River water in the upper catchment by India, he said the irrigation activities at the Teesta Barrage Project had been on the verge of closure. “The Teesta has dried up now and water flow is reduced to below 500 cusecs. The farmers are at a loss and frustrated as their boro fields are being burnt for the lack of water and the common people are crossing the river walking,” Ershad said. He urged the Indian government and Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee not to stop Teesta water flow and release its water at the earliest. l

Slum dwellers on the other side of this water body are enjoying power facility from Illegal water connection of Wasa. The photo was taken from Gulshan in Mohakhali SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

Doctors ‘fake’ expertise with abbreviated qualifications

BMDC set to publish details on 60,000 registered doctors

n Moniruzzaman Uzzal Detailed information on over 60,000 registered doctors and dentists is set to be published soon, in an attempt to stop many of the country’s “unqualified” doctors from using different abbreviations on the side of their names to create an illusion of expertise and build reputation among patients. Sources at the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) – which is the legal authority for identifying fake doctors – said the detailed information of registered MBBS and BDS doctors, including photographs and registration numbers, would be published soon. The BMDC is currently uploading the details of all registered doctors on its website, which is expected to be launched within a month. Dr ZH Basunia, registrar of the BMDC, told the Dhaka Tribune that the updated website would be an essential tool to detect fake doctors across the country. A large number of doctors, claiming to be “specialists,” put up nameplates and print visiting cards by using different abbreviations on the side of their name to signify their medical qualification. The combinations that are mostly common include PGT, BHS, FCPS (part 1), FCPS (part 2), MD (in course), MD (part 1), MD (part 2), MD (thesis), MD (last part), MS (in course), MS (course completed) etc. According to existing regulations,

PGT or post-graduation training is just a training course and is not enough to qualify someone as a specialist doctor. Regulations also suggest that FCPS, which stands for fellowship of the college of physicians and surgeons, cannot be used on visiting cards or nameplates, unless someone has fully completed the degree; FCPS (part 1) therefore meant that the person had not completed the degree, but only finished the first stage of the two-part degree. The same regulation applies for other degrees such as MD and MS. Moreover, visiting cards and nameplates of many doctors contain expressions like Fellow (Mumbai, Australia, London), Trained in Child Health, DTCD, DTSI, MPH, DTM&H, FKIT (Korea), MD (PGI), DM (Cardio) etc. Authorities concerned said these letters did not qualify the doctors as specialists, as the abbreviations only represented short courses or seminars that these doctors might have attended in the country or abroad. Common patients, most of whom had no idea about what these abbreviations meant, often got cheated by consulting these doctors thinking they were specialists. A number of universities in the country including the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) offer MD, MS and various diploma courses. Besides, the Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS)

BNP’s website vanishes into thin air n Tribune Report The official website of the BNP was blocked yesterday evening and since then it could not be accessed. As someone tried to open the page messages like “ever feel like you are in the wrong place” or “server error” or “the resource cannot be found” were displayed on the website of the party. The website was unavailable following a comment of Khaleda Zia was published on The Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Khaleda Zia on Thursday addressing

at a discussion in the capital claimed that Ziaur Rahman was the first president of Bangladesh as he proclaimed the independence of the country. Her elder son Tarique Zia also claimed the same at a discussion in London recently. However, the official website of the BNP said Ziaur Rahman was the seventh president of Bangladesh. Similarly the Banglapedia says: “Ziaur Rahman, commander of the Z force during Liberation War, was the seventh president of Bangladesh.” l

8 killed in road crashes n Tribune Report Eight people, including an SSC examinee, were killed in separate road accidents in five districts on Saturday. Rabiya, 8, was crashed by a bus at Jorpul in Savar upazila near Dhaka when she was crossing the road. In Gazipur, SSC examinee Ashiqul Islam was killed when a bus of SA Paribahan coming from Rangpur ran over him. A prison guard named Ashraf Hossain, 28, of Kashimpur Central Jail was killed and another injured when their motorbike was hit by a covered van on the

Dhaka-Tangail highway in front of Konabari Central Hospital in the afternoon. In Kushtia, a van puller named Siddique, 38, was killed when a microbus hit his vehicle on the Kushtia-Chuadanga Highway at Khazanagar in sadar upazila. In Narshingdhi, three people were killed when a bus collided with a CNGrun auto-rickshaw at the Narayanpur bus stand on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway. In Natore, a shoe trader died in a road accident at Baraigram upazila in the afternoon. Deceased Abul Kalam Azad, 52, was a resident of Gormati village. l

offer FCPS and MCPS degrees. BMDC President Professor Dr Abu Shafi Ahmed Amin told the Dhaka Tribune that a month-long campaign would be carried out to create awareness among the registered MBBS and BDS doctors to compulsorily write their registration number on the patients’ prescriptions. If the doctors did not follow the directive, drastic action would be taken against them within the next two months, he said. Sources said the existing BMDC act would also be updated with focus given on the possible actions against the negligence or misconduct by doctors with patients. The updated act would also try to ensure the protection of the doctors, the sources said. Professor Dr Iqbal Arslan, secretary general of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA), told the Dhaka Tribune that doctors were now fearful of providing treatment to patients with serious conditions, as the patients’ relatives often tended to attack the doctors if the patients died under the doctor’s care. Asked about previous initiatives by the BMDC, council President Dr Amin said people often came to the BMDC with complaints as they did not how to bring charges against the fake doctors. However, no action could be taken against the doctors as the patients failed to cooperate properly, he added. l

Tigers eye  PAGE 1 COLUMN 2

Bangladesh also made a 300+ score and the stats should give them confidence and self belief. Bangladesh’s team combination has been in disarray as they have been experimenting since their Hong Kong debacle. They have tried all their resources in the tournament and there’s a strong chance there will be more reshuffling in the batting line-up. Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim are likely to bat at 3 and 4 respectively, which could open up a spot for Sabbir Rahman once again. Sohag Gazi could also make way for AbdurRazzak. Bangladesh have lost all six matches they played against Pakistan and the ever dangerous Shahid Afridi, who has a staggering strike rate of 175 against Bangladesh, will be a player to watch. Pakistan is the only team to have reached the semi-finals of every World T20 so far, and need to win their last two matches to keep that record intact after Mohammad Hafeez’s side made a brilliant comeback in the tournament after losing their opening encounter against India. Umar Akmal will be looking to build on his superb innings in the last match, 94 off 54 balls, whilehis older brother Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad will be crucial at the top. The Pakistani side, if they bat first, will look to get as many runs on the scorecard as possible because the net run-rate might come in to play for a berth in the semifinal. l

4 lakh tonne coal remain unsold at Barapukuria n Aminur Rahman Rasel A massive amount of unsold coal has been lying idle at the Barapukuria coal mine, despite attempts by the authorities concerned to attract buyers by reducing coal price in three phases over the last eight months, The stockpile of coal has now reached around 4 lakh tonnes at the Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL), as authorities concerned had failed to sell its coal since August last year despite reducing coal price from Tk12,600 to Tk9,200 per tonne to boost sale. “Around 4 lakh tonnes of coal have remained stacked up at the coal stockyard. We could not sell them during the peak season [August-December] because of political unrest,” BCMCL Managing Director Md Aminuzzaman told the Dhaka tribune on Friday. “We have reduced coal price to attract buyers,” he said, urging consumers to use the coal from the Barapukuria mine. The mine had been producing around 5,000 tonnes of coal, when production was halted on March 8 for regular maintenance, which is scheduled to continue until April 20. There would be no other option but to shut down the

mine if the coal in stock cannot be sold within April 20, said Aminuzzaman. Buyers, however, have urged the mine authorities to keep the price around Tk8,000 per tonne, claiming that every tonne of imported Indian coal was being sold for Tk7,000. An official of the BCMCL said Indian coal contained high levels of sulphur that causes air pollution, compared to minimal sulphur in the Barapukuria coal. Md Aminuzzaman said the stockyard was currently holding twice the amount of coal compared to its 2 lakh tonne capacity. The Power Development Board (PDB), which is the largest coal consumer of the mine, procures 80% of the coal for use at the only coal-fired power plant near the mine. The 250MW plant, which needs around 2,500 tonnes of coal every day, currently has more than one lakh tonnes in its stockyard. Some steel mills and heavy industries, and brickfields also buy coal from the BCMCL, with brick kiln owners purchasing coal between August and December every year. However, they could not collect coal during the period last year because of countrywide hartals and blockades enforced by the BNP-led alliance. l

Rawshan: Khaleda should criticise government n Tribune Report In reaction to BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s statement, Opposition Leader Rawshan Ershad yesterday said Jatiya Party did not like threats and suggested that the former premier should criticise the government, instead of intimidating JaPa. Quoting Rawshan, her Political Secretary Golam Mosiah told the reporters about her reaction on Khaleda, the opposition leader in ninth parliament. Addressing Rawshan, the BNP chief yesterday said: “If you want to save your respect and skin, resign from the parliament.” Rawshan said: “There is no space for threat in a democratic system. Election is the sole way for judging popularity. For this reason, the BNP, under the present government, have been participating in upazila polls with all efforts. It should criticise the government constructively sparing the Jatiya Party.” A senior Presidium member of the party, Rawshan termed it “absurd” to think that the government would fall if all the 34 JaPa lawmakers resigned. “However, JaPa will respect the will of the people.” On Thursday, Rawshan, wife of party chief HM Ershad, said her party had to contest in the January 5 general election under the pressure of situation. l

Myanmar to Rohingyas: Register as Bangalees  PAGE 1 COLUMN 5

humanitarian groups are also removing their workers temporarily. Households across Sittwe were seen Saturday bearing signs declaring: “This house is protesting against the census. Do not register.” The census is aimed at plugging an information deficit in the former junta-run country. The population tally has come under fire for its inclusion of ethnic and religious questions, which critics say will further fan the flames of unrest and threaten fragile peace talks with minority rebel groups. Buddhist nationalists have reacted with fury to the fact that the question-

naire includes a section for people to self-identify their ethnicity, theoretically allowing the Rohingya to be registered as such and raising fears it could lead to political rights for the group. But government officials in the state have sought to assure them that the term will not be counted, according to local MP Aung Mya Kyaw. “They will only write down ‘Bangalee’ because Rohingya does not exist,” he told AFP. Long-standing animosity between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine erupted a bloodshed in 2012, leaving dozens dead in clashes and around 140,000 people displaced. Muslims in remote parts of Rakhine

Upazila elections end tomorrow  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

personnel and law enforcers, the fact that there has been bloodshed, has prompted voters in some areas to apprehend unrest in their respective localities. Nizamuddin, a first-time voter and a student of the Chhagalnaiya Government College in Feni, told the Dhaka Tribune: “I doubt if I can cast vote because the other upazilas in the district saw huge violence and illegal stamping. I will make my mind about casting vote after observing the situation on the election day.” The scene, however, is different in some of the other upazilas that have seen very little or no violence centring the local body polls that have gained prominence because of the changed political scenario after the January 5 national elections. Shaymol Bhadra, a voter from the Tangail Sadar Upazila, said: “People of Tangail are peace loving and the sit-

uation here is not tensed. I think people will cast their votes amid a festive mood tomorrow.” The upazila parishad chairman contenders backed by the ruling Awami League will be challenged by at least 43 of their rebel party-mates. The BNPbacked candidates on the other hand will be facing 45 rebel challengers. A total of 1,057 candidates including 362 chairman, 418 vice chairman and 277 women vice chairman backed by the Awami League, BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jatiya Party are contesting in the 74 upazilas. Our Bogra correspondent reported that the local administration had identified all of the 125 polling centers in the sadar upazila as vulnerable. Interestingly, there are some upazilas in this phase where candidates from both the major sides have brought allegations against each other. In Laxmipur Sadar Upazila for example, ruling party-backed candidate

have reported that the authorities have threatened local people with harsh penalties if they try to identify as Rohingya. The Rohingya are subject to a web of restrictions on travel, work and even marriage. Their influx started in Bangladesh in the late 1970s when the Myanmar military junta had started persecution against them. There are about 30,000 Rohingya refugees in two camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf of Chittagong, while about five lakh undocumented Rohingyas are believed to be in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has been negotiating with Myanmar for years to send them back. There are many citizens in Myanmar with Bangladeshi-origin. l

AKM Salah Uddin brought allegations of breaching electoral code of conduct against his BNP-backed rival Mahmudul Karim. Karim, on the other hand, accused Salah Uddin of giving life threats to his men if they did not pull out of the race. He also alleged that Salah Uddin had been using government mechanisms to repress him. Our Satkhira correspondent reported that police on Friday detained district chapter BNP Vice-President Habibur Rahman when he was addressing a street rally on behalf of his brother, who is a chairman aspirant in the Satkhira Sadar Upazila. OC of Satkhira sadar police station Enamul Haque said Habib was picked up for violating electoral code of conduct. The Election Commission has setup 5,666 polling stations and 37,974 booths in the 74 upazilas that are voting tomorrow. More than 1.1 crore voters will be practicing their voting rights. l




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina waves at spectators on the bank of Meghna River in Matlab in Chandpur from the MV Bangalee, a new passenger steamer of the state-owned BIWTA, after inaugurating in the capital yesterday PID

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia adresses a biannual conference of a fraction of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists at the National Press Club in the capital yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE

Hossain Shaikh, back n Emran from Mohanpur, Chandpur

n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla

PM: All conspirators against Khaleda Zia asks Rawshan independence to be tried Ershad to step down Asserting that the war crimes trials would continue, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday also vowed to try the people who politically rehabilitated the 1971 war criminals. “After the killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, those who captured state power illegally through conspiracy and put our blood-adorned national flag on the hands of razakars and al-Badrs [led by Jamaat-e-Islami leaders who sided with the Pakistani occupation forces], must be brought to book, Inshallah,” she said while addressing a rally at Mohanpur of Chandpur. The premier said none would be able to stop the trials. Also the president of ruling Awami League, Hasina urged the party activists as well as the countrymen to stay aware about the quarters who were conspirators against the country’s independence, constitution and democracy. She said millions of people had sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence in 1971. “We must not allow anyone to foil the independence. I am ready to make any kind of sacrifice. If needed, I will sacrifice myself like my father for the welfare of the people,” she said.

JaPa minister: Election Commission not truly independent n UNB Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud yesterday observed that the Election Commission was not yet functioning independently in true sense. Speaking at the BBC Bangladesh Sanglap at BIAM auditorium, the minister said there remained some weaknesses in the EC as it had not yet to be developed as a truly independent institution. He was responding to questions from the audience whether the role of the EC during the Upazila elections was fair. The EC must be independent in appointing its own manpower, deciding its own budget and enjoying the full control over the relevant activities, he added. Anisul Islam also stressed on ensuring fair appointment of the chief election commissioner. Responding to a query whether he was embarrassed by news reports on various incidents of vote rigging during the national election on January 5, he admitted: “It led to embarrassment.” l

Earlier in the morning, the prime minister inaugurated the commissioning of the first locally-made passenger vessel “MV Bangalee” at Sadarghat Launch Terminal in the capital. Later Hasina along with the cabinet members, party leaders and some lawmakers travelled to Chandpur by the steamer. Mentioning the glorious history of water transport services of Bangladesh, the premier said travelling by steamer was very interesting, but services had been deteriorating day by day. She also shared her experience of travelling on steamers with her father and family members while going to their hometown in Tungipara from Dhaka. “Now we have taken initiatives to revive the service and this [new] steamer is part of our initiative. We will continue it,” she said and described the government initiatives for developing the river routes and the water transport services. Hasina also criticised the owner of Koko Launch service, Arafat Rahman Koko, who is the younger son of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. “How can a country develop if the son of a prime minister has business with the government?” She also asked the countrymen to save the rivers from pollution and grabbers for the sake of irrigation and drinking water supply. MV Bangalee started from Sadarghat around 10am and returned around

4:30pm. During that time, the premier and members of her entourage enjoyed cultural programmes. Hasina said she did not want to miss such a programme, although her security officials did not want her to travel by a steamer. However, water transport services from and to Sadarghat remained halted since yesterday morning until her return, causing severe sufferings to the passengers. The 75.5-metre-long “MV Bangalee” will run in Dhaka-Barisal route via Chandpur. It has a capacity of 750 passengers. The steamer was built with local resources at a cost of Tk26.80 crore by local shipbuilding company Western Marine Shipyard Limited under a project of the BIWTA. Second member of the local steamer team “MV Modhumoti” is likely to join the fleet next month. The new vessels are expected to ease sufferings of the passengers significantly as the BIWTC’s five paddle steamers are almost worn-out. Among others, Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Expatriate Welfare Minister Engineer Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, accompanied the prime minister during the travel. l

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday called upon Rawshan Ershad, leader of the opposition in parliament, to step down if the latter wanted to save her “face and skin.” The former leader of the opposition set out the call while addressing the biannual conference of a faction of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists in the capital’s National Press Club in the afternoon. “You [Rawshan] said you had participated in the [national] election in the face of pressure. We too were under pressure, but we boycotted the election considering people’s will. That means you must have carried out such misdeeds that it became tough for you to ignore the pressure,” Khaleda said. She also warned the incumbent leader of the opposition to get ready for similar pressures in the future. In her 50-minute speech, Khaleda strongly criticised a series of recent events and also came down hard on a number of individuals. Slamming the “Lakho Konthe Sonar Bangla” programme held on the Independence Day, she said: “There is no point in singing the national anthem spending crores of taka. You [government] cannot make it to the Guinness book in this way.”

‘Diversified fuel option key for generating affordable power’ n Kayes Sohel Diversified fuel option is the key for generating affordable and sustainable electricity in Bangladesh that has been facing perennial power crisis for long, energy specialists said yesterday. Mutual cooperation among regional countries is also important for sharing natural resources for power generation and for building strong transmission line for its distribution, they added. The observations were made at a seminar titled “Foreign Investment in Bangladesh: Opportunities and Prospects,” organised by the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) at a city hotel. Deputy High Commissioner of India in Dhaka Sandeep Chakravorty said Bangladesh needed diversified fuel source for power generation to ensure affordable electricity. As gas and LNG (liquefied natural gas) based electricity was costly, the better option was to go for coal-

based power plant to generate reliable and sustainable electricity, he added. Bangladesh’s proposal for hydropower from India was under consideration, Sandeep said, adding that a meeting between India and Bangladesh would be held in the coming month to discuss use of diversified fuel source for power generation. Secretary of Prime Minister’s Office and Chairman of Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Md Abul Kalam Azad said although locally produced or imported coal-based power plant was cost-effective, it took more time as the country did not have adequate infrastructure facility. Repeated attempts to generate electricity using coal have gone in vain, he said, adding: “We want to keep existing plants running alongside the new arrangements.” Secretary of Power Division Monowar Islam said Bangladesh had no plan to set up a domestically produced coal-based power plant as the prime minister did not want it at the moment. “However, the 1,320MW Rampal power plant is to be set up on imported coal, as coal-based power plant is affordable and sustainable,” he added. Emphasising on regional cooperation for hydropower generation, Monowar said it was necessary to develop regional power grid for distribution of hydropower. Energy specialist Dr M Tamim said what Bangladesh really suffered from was the

shortage of primary energy. Tariff of gas-based power would be higher with hiking gas prices and LNG-based power plant was also costly, he said. “If we want to lift the economy, the best option is to go for coal-based power generation under public private partnership as financing is a big issue.” Former Indian power secretary and Energy Adviser to the World Bank RV Shahi said gas-based steam turbine system and even open cycle gas turbine have been phased out in most of the countries, as power generation efficiency of the two system were less than 30% and about 40% respectively. “For this reason, the world is slowly going to generate electricity based on coal,” he said. From coal, 45% electricity was generated in USA, 35% in UK, 41% in Germany, 43% in South Korea, 67% in China, 57% in India and only 2.5% in Bangladesh, according to the presentation paper of Shahi. From gas, 23% electricity was generated in USA, 39% in UK, 21% in Germany, 18% in South Korea, 3% in China, 9% in India and 64.5% in Bangladesh, the paper read. Referring to the Bangladesh-India joint-venture 1320MW Maitree Super Thermal Power Project to be completed in 2018, Shahi said similar kinds of projects might be initiated in next two or three years. “Public private partnership might come in to make power projects successful,” he said. IBCCI founder president Abdul Matlub Ahmad and its president Mohammad Ali were also present at the seminar. l

She affirmed that her party would wage such a strong movement that would automatically make the record books. “When people will take to the streets and give rise to a mass upsurge, it will be in the Guinness book.” Claiming that the movement to oust the “illegal” government was still very much on, Khaleda said her party would start the preparations for a stronger movement after the upazila elections ended on March 31.

‘When we come to power again, we will bring out new newspapers and create job opportunities for journalists’ Referring to the ongoing upazila polls, the BNP chief said the local body polls had “already proven” that fair election was “not possible” under the Awami League-led government. “Not just the people of the country, even foreigners have been calling for initiatives to start a dialogue with all the parties for paving the way for a fair and inclusive election. Any delay will not be accepted,” she said.

Regarding the trial of war criminals, Khaleda said: “The Awami League always talks about Rajakars; but they themselves do not know how many Rajakars are inside their party. Where was former home minister [Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir] during the Liberation War? He was serving the Pakistani administration that time.” She also wanted the government to explain the 1971 role and whereabouts of HM Ershad – now a special envoy to the prime minister. Khaleda accused the ruling Awami League of “not taking part” in the Liberation War. “They were not freedom fighters, who fought from the front. Rather they were refugee freedom fighters.” A few days ago, Khaleda Zia followed her eldest son Tarique Rahman to claim that her husband and BNP founder Ziaur Rahman was the first president of Bangladesh because “he was the one who had proclaimed independence.” She urged the teachers of the country to come forward in writing the “true” history of the country. Calling upon the government to reopen the closed media houses and stop “repressing” journalists, Khaleda pledged: “When we come to power again, we will bring out new newspapers and create job opportunities for journalists.” l




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reshuffle likely in field admin n Mohosinul Karim Top positions of the local government administration, mainly Deputy Commissioners and Upazila Nirbahi Officers, are likely to see a massive reshuffle soon. “Deputy Commissioners serving for more than two years or those who were earlier promoted to the post of joint secretary would be removed from their assignments,” an additional secretary said seeking anonymity. He said deputy secretary level officials would be assigned newly for the posts, transferring existing DCs, to accelerate the activities of field level administration. The public administration ministry had already started its preparation to assign deputy secretary-level officers for the posts immediately. The ministry will prepare a new DC fit-list soon. In this regard, the superior selection board, led by Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Bhuiyan, yesterday started a four-day interview session for choosing qualified candidates for the posts. A total of 242 deputy secretaries from the civil administration, who were never before called for such interviews,

15 fall victim to Agyan party men n Our Correspondent, Barisal At least 15 people of two families fell victim to Agyan party men in Agoiljhara upazila of Barisal yesterday. Police said the miscreants drugged family members of Emdadul Huq in Khazuria village under Bagda union of the upazila while they were taking dinner. Of the victim, Sajeda Begum, 24, Lovely Begum, 26, and Arefin, 8, were sent to Barisal Medical College Hospital. Meanwhile, family members of Mazed Molla in Purbo Bagda village became senseless after taking dinner. Mehedi Hasan, 8, Tanvir, 13, Tanim,9, Mahim, 5, Suraiya,13, Marry Begum, 35, Nasima Begum, 30, Marufa Begum, 35, Rekeya Begum, 60, Kamal Molla, 35, Dulu Molla, 28, Mazed Molla, 70, were admitted in hospital. The miscreants looted valuables in both incidents, the victims alleged. Sub Inspector Mustafizur Rahman of Agoiljhara police station visited the spot. l

were invited to attend the screening session. The list would be prepared after the interview session ends. Last February, the board screened around 600 senior assistant secretaries for including their names into the UNO fit-list. According to the cabinet division and public administration ministry officials, the processes of reshuffling field level administration was on the cards although there was no need of such reshuffling as the previous government was serving a second term. According to the public administration ministry, four joint secretaries had been serving the capacity of deputy commissioners, though traditionally deputy secretaries are considered for the posts. They were remained in their previous assignment even after being promoted as joint secretary on July 18, 2013. Ministry sources also said 12 deputy secretaries have been serving as deputy commissioner for last two years and all deputy commissioners would be withdrawn from field level administration and reassigned in other posts. l

Relatives wail after three of a family, including a child, were burnt alive when a gas cylinder exploded at their house in the capital’s Kamrangir Char area yesterday

Dr Akbar: Constitution should be amended as per people's will n DU Correspondent Former caretaker government advisor Dr Akbar Ali Khan has said an amendment to the country’s constitution should be done as per the will of its people, not for any particular political party. “Frequent changes of constitution is harmful for any nation, but it [an amendment] should be done according to the peoples’ will, not for any particular political party,” he said while addressing a discussion program - titled ‘Discussion on Bangladeshi Constitution,’ at Dhaka University’s RC Majumdar Auditorium yesterday. Terming the frequent changes of our country’s constitution as a evil scheme of political parties, he added: “We have seen many changes to our constitution, which were mostly done to fulfil their desires and by neglecting the peoples’ views.”

“This is why we notice so much criticism of these amendments,” he added. He also hinted that the rule of law and justice would be implemented

Akbar said most chnages to our constitution were done to fulfil the political parties' desires, neglecting people's views fully in the country when the philosophies and values of political parties will be made in line with the country’s constitution. On the recent political unrest of the

country, he said: “We will not be able to come to a stable political situation as long as the electoral system is not changed.” He further stressed on caretaker government system to avoid the electoral chaos and the segregation of power. Akbar also emphasised on reforming political parties, raising accountability among political parties and transparency for creating a better political atmosphere in the country. Speaking at the program, Barrister Sadia Aman stressed on segregation of power and emphasised on empowering local government for ensuring good governance in the country. Among others, Professor Harun-orRashid of the university’s Philosophy Department and Mizanur Rahman Khan, joint editor of Daily Prothom Alo, were also present at the discussion. l

Gas cylinder blast in capital kills 1, hurts 2 Leak in the gas connection n Mohammad Jamil Khan A fire that broke out following explosion of a gas cylinder in the capital’s Kamrangirchar yesterday killed a mother while her daughter and grandson sustained serious burn injuries and are now fighting for life. The deceased was Aklima Begum, wife of Abdul Zabbar, and she hailed from Baligaon of Munshiganj. The accident happened at her house at Noakhalibari in Mojibarghat of Kamrangirchar. “The 50-year-old died while undergoing treatment at the Burn and Plastic Surgery unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) around 6pm,” Dr Mohammad Adnan of the unit told the Dhaka Tribune. Aklima was an aged woman and sustained 65% burn injuries which also affected her lungs, Adnan said.

Lack of equipment hampers Chittagong BSTI testing n Tushar Hayat, Chittagong

Rajshahi Medical College Hospital Director Brig Gen Saidur Rahman tries to negotiate with agitated staff, who were demonstrating following the assault of two senior hospital staff, at the RMCH premises yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE

‘Even Ziaur Rahman did not claim to be the first president’ n Mushfique Wadud Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali yesterday slammed BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and son BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman’s claim that Ziaur Rahman was the first president of Bangladesh. Talking to reporters following a programme at the Bangla Academy Auditorium, the minister said: “Even Ziaur Rahman did not claim such in his times. “This is a low act and counter-productive for the BNP. They want to fabricate a false history. They have tried it before when they were in power,” he added. However, it appeared that the official website of the BNP and the encyclopaedias regarding Bangladesh acknowledged Ziaur Rahman as the seventh president. Ziaur Rahman, commander of the “Z force” during the 1971 Liberation War,

was the seventh president of Bangladesh, the Banglapedia says. He later formed the BNP in 1978. Meanwhile, replying to a query regarding low water flow in the Teesta, the foreign minister said they were waiting for the Indian election to end as it was not possible to do anything prior to that. He, however, said a technical team from India would visit Bangladesh soon to discuss the issue at the technical level. He did not give any time frame when the technical team would come. On the other hand, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert W Gibson, replying to a query, said British State Minister for International Development Alan Duncan was coming to Bangladesh to look after the development projects they were running here. He also said garment workers’ safety was one of the issues the British state minister would emphasise in his visit. l

Businessmen in Chittagong division have been facing hard times as Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute (BSTI) regional office is able to test only 55 sorts of products out of 155 because of unavailability of necessary equipment. Sources said there were drinking water, fruit juice, tomato sauce, condensed milk, glucose, energy drink, ice cream, power of light drinks, canned fruit, different kinds of baby food, soap, shaving cream, skin cream, toothpaste, mosquito coil, 11 sorts of jute and textile products, 19 sorts of electrical and electronic products and 12 sorts of engineering products among the goods which

the institute cannot test. However, the office can officially test only 64 locally-produced and imported items, and manufacturing and marketing of any goods without its approval is illegal. Shawkat Osman, deputy director of the BSTI in Chittagong, said: “We have to send 100 kinds of goods to Dhaka for quality test due to the lack of equipment in our laboratories.” He added that the manufacturers and importers have to wait for long because of sending the samples to Dhaka and the office also faces difficulties during drives against adulterators and substandard goods makers, as they could not detect those instantly due to equipment crisis. l

Eight killed in separate incidents n Tribune Report At least eight people, including two children, were killed in separate incidents across the country yesterday. In the capital, a woman named Moyna Begum, 25, who allegedly tried to kill herself by hanging herself at her Dholaipar residence, died later at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Moyna’s husband, Himel, had earlier taken her to a local clinic. But when doctors there referred her to the DMCH for better treatment, he asked a neighbour to take her and disappeared. Mozammel Haque, inspector of DMCH police camp, said police suspect that Himel might have killed his wife, and they were looking for him. Police in Shajahanpur recovered the hanging body of a woman, identified as Taslima Rahman Bristy, 22, from her house at Shantibagh. Taslima’s husband, Mohammad Mamun, found her hanging from the ceiling of their room in the morning, said Kazi Golam Mostofa, sub inspector (SI) of Shajahanpur police station. Police suspect that Taslima might

have killed herself over a family dispute, he added. Meanwhile, Roni Chandra, a 16-yearold construction worker, died when bricks fell on his head as he was working at a house in Basila, SI Khokon Mia of Mohammadpur police station said. Police also recovered the body of a young man, Al Amin, 25, from the canteen of the National Heart Foundation yesterday morning. Wahedul Islam, SI of Sher-e-Banglanagar police station, said Al Amin went to sleep at the hospital canteen after dinner, but a co-worker found him dead in the morning. The body sent to the DMCH morgue for autopsy. Meantime, police found the body of a new-born baby in a drain near a house at Second Colony in the capital’s Darus Salam area, said Titu Sardar, SI of Darus Salam police. The body of the nearly two-day-old baby bore marks of injury, he added. It was sent to the DMCH morgue for autopsy. In Satkhira, police recovered the body of a missing schoolboy from the washroom of a local school at Debhata upazila on Friday. The boy, Foysal Al


Hasan, 11, was a class 4 student of Nalta Primary School. Some local people found Foysal’s body in the washroom of Sakhipur High School on Friday evening, nearly 10 hours after he was reported as missing by his family at Debishohor village. The body bore injury marks in the neck, said Kazi Jalaluddin, officer in charge of Debhata police station. In Sirajganj, a husband allegedly beat and strangled his wife to death over a dowry dispute at Rayganj area of the district. The victim was identified as Sonali Khatun, 20, wife of Mozibur Rahman. Anis Ahmed, inspector of Rayganj police, said the couple had been quarrelling over dowry-related issues since getting married nine months ago. The husband went into hiding after the incident and police were looking for him. In Jessore, police recovered the slain body of an unidentified woman, aged about 35, from a garden at Lebutala village in Sadar upazila on Friday evening. Some locals found the body with its throat slashed and informed police. l

“Aklima’s 28-year-old daughter Joly Akhter and two-year-old grandson Alif are in critical condition and both, with 85% and 90% burn injuries respectively, are undergoing treatment at the Intensive Care Unit,” he added. Joly’s husband Ramjan Ali said the gas cylinder might have exploded because of a leak in the gas pipe connecting the cylinder and the burner around 11:30am. A mechanic by profession, Ramjan said he was away from home at the time of the accident. “We began using the gas cylinder due to disruption in Titas gas supply. I, however, never thought it would result in such a fatality,” said a tearful Ramjan. Sheikh Mohosin Alam, officer-incharge of Kamrangirchar police station, told the Dhaka Tribune that they were informed following the incident and the locals doused the flame. l

Computer Samity executive members elected n Tribune Report Six executive members of seven for 2014-2015 from the panel of Better Business of Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) were elected through an election held at Institute of Engineers Bangladesh (IEB) in Ramna yesterday. AHM Mahfuzul Arif, managing director of the BCS, bagged highest number of votes, while other members were Shafique Uddin Ahmed, Kazi Shamsuddin Ahmed Lavlu, Mujibur Rahman Swapan, SM Waheeduzzman, Nazrul Islam Milon and Ali Ashfaq . l

Life sentence demanded for killing mother, daughter n Tribune Report Teachers and students of Agrabad Girls’ High School formed a human chain yesterday demanding life sentence for the killers of Saima Najnin and her mother, Rizia Khatun. Rizia Khatun, 50, and her daughter Saima Najnin Nishat, 16, were murdered in their house on March 24. A case implicating Abu Raihan, an exboy friend of Saima and some unidentified people was filed on the day. l

Madrasa teacher 'rapes' student n Tribune Report Police nabbed a teacher of Jafotnagar Syedia Alim Madrasa in Fatikchari of Chittagong yesterday who allegedly raped a nine-year-old student. The arrestee was Mohammad Akram Ullah had allegedly violated the girl at the madrasa around 1pm when she was alone. The locals caught the teacher and handed him over to police. l



Sunday, March 30, 2014


Government, politicians blamed for filling wetlands n Abu Bakar Siddique Civil society members, including urban planners and environmentalists concerned, blamed the political leaders and the government, as well as unabated housing projects in the capital that are rapidly filling up wetlands, which has been ruining the adjacent wetlands and the rivers as well. At a seminar titled “Wetland Filling, Urbanisation and Good Governance” held at the capital’s Cirdap auditorium, the speakers also said lack of the government’s goodwill to save the wetlands was responsible for such kind of illegal and unplanned urbanisation. “The unabated wetland filling to set-up new housing scheme will not be stooped until the government takes it seriously,” said Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmentalist Lawyer’s Association (BELA). Even the government owned housing authorities Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) violates the Wetland Con-























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servation Act by making different housing projects, including Jhilmil Pahse 2 project by filling wetland, she also said, adding that the authorities should stop the plot selling process of the project. Regarding the government’s involvement in illegal hosing scheme, Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain acknowledged the issue and said different governments at different times had distributed plots to the Member of Parliaments and the ministers by filling up wetlands, including the Gulshan-Banani Lake in the capital. However, he said the incumbent government had decided not to continue the trends to save the country’s wetland, adding that wetlands were necessary for the sake of water circulation during flood and these wetlands works as a natural drainage system in a big city like Dhaka. He also assured that the government would not permit the land filling option further in the proposed revision of Detailed Area Plan (DAP) for the capital. Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury mean-

while urged the government to check such kind of unplanned urbanisation. Citing an example of the Department of Environment, Forest Minister Anwar Hossain Manju said the minister himself had paid Tk45,000 while taking an environment clearance certificate for one of his venture, before joining in the cabinet. Hossain Zillur Rahman, executive chairman of Power and participation Research Centre, said the issues of environment and economy should not be taken in a confront situation rather keep them separate. If the private sectors run their projects in line with proper law, the environment would not be degraded; rather the development would be sustainable, he added. Khondaker M Ansar Hossain, an urban planner, said the government was about to revise the existing DAP that would push more wetland filling in and around the capital. He rather suggested the implementation of the existing DAP as it could accommodate around 2.76 core people. l

Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury addresses a seminar on ‘Wetland Filling, Urbanisation and Good Governance’ at Cirdap auditorium in the capital yesterday MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

CU students A unique school for Dalit children demand n Mushfique Wadud reopening of Shah Amanat hall n FM Mizanur Rahaman Residents of Shah Amanat hall of Chittagong University demonstrated on the campus yesterday, giving the authorities a 48-hour ultimatum to reopen of the dormitory that has been closed for more than two months. Campus sources said the students of Shah Amanat hall formed a human chain and submitted a memorandum to Vice Chancellor Anwarul Azim Arif with their three-point demand. Their demands included immediate reopening of the hall and allowing only students allocated rooms there to stay, as well as freeing the campus from fundamentalism. The students claimed that they were facing difficulties as their classes and exams for the new academic session had already started. CU Proctor Siraj Ud-dowla said the authorities would reopened the hall soon. The student dormitory was closed on January 12 following a clash between supporters of Bangladesh Chhatra League, the ruling party’s student wing, and Islami Chhatra Shibir that left a student, Mamun Hossain, dead. Mamun was secretary of Shibir’s Shah Amanat hall unit. l

Tirtho Kumar Dey and some of his friends have established a school for Dalit children at Tala in Satkhira without taking any financial help from others. They made bamboo baskets to sell in the market and with that money, they had been running their school. Within four months of the journey, they are teaching a total of 36 Dalit students at the school. Tirtho told the Dhaka Tribune that after completing a training course under the British Council’s “Active Citizens” programme, he felt the necessity to do something for society. Then they came up with the idea of establishing a school for the Dalit children. Twenty community initiatives like this were showcased at the Active Citizens Summit 2014 held at the Bangla

Academy premises yesterday. Such social initiatives are run by “active citizens” who were trained on leadership and solving social problems under the “Active Citizens” programme.

The summit is arranged to award 3 social action projects This is a youth centred programme of the British Council running in 38 countries across the globe. The programme focuses on developing a network of “active citizens” who are learners, actors and influencers in their communities, promoting international and intercultural trust and understanding. Under this programme, over 15,500 Bangladeshi young people aged between

18-35 years were given training. Some 80 young Bangladeshis also got opportunities to take part in different international exchange programmes and conferences. The summit is arranged to award three social action projects that have created the most positive impact on the local communities through their work. Speaking at the inaugural programme, Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali said he hoped such initiatives would help Bangladesh to be a middle income country by 2021. He said such programmes were proof that Bangladesh was progressing, adding that if everyone worked with sincerity for the betterment of the country, success would come soon. Among others, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert W Gibson was present at the inaugural session. l

Art competition against forced marriage n Tribune Report Children here have participated in a painting competition on raising awareness against forced marriage practices in the country. Deputy British High Commissioner Nick Low gave away prizes to the children whose works were selected as best painting at the programme held in district council auditorium, where Sylhet City Corporation Mayor Ariful Haque Choudhury also attended as Chief Guest.

The competition was arranged by British High Commission to raise awareness about forced marriage among people and encourage them to take action against the bad customs, which the UK considers as a form of violence against women and men, domestic and child abuse as well as a serious abuse of human rights. Children aged between 12 and 16 years participated the competition to depict important message for taking the consent of girls and boys is a must before marriage.

Nick Low said, “Forced marriage cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis. It is an appalling and indefensible practice, which to stop our Government is committed. Statistics shows that Bangladesh is in third position having such type of cases.” Mayor Ariful said, “I would like to emphasise that forced marriage is not acceptable not only in Sylhet but elsewhere in the country. As Mayor, I promise to work against the forced marriage.” l

Mass-resistance needed to establish corruption-free society n BSS There was no alternative to build a mass-resistance to establish a corruption-free society, speakers at a discussion said. Stressing the need for forging a social movement against corruption, they added that community participation had become indispensable to make the anti-corruption campaign a total success. District Corruption Prevention Committee organised the discussion in Borokuthi Resort in Rajshahi yesterday to mark the Corruption Resistance Week 2014. Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr ANM Bazlur Rashid addressed the discussion as the chief guest with the committee President Advocate Mohsin Khan in the chair. Deputy Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission Nazrul Islam, Committee Vice-President Professor Shirin Sufiya Khanom, General Secretary Dr Tasiqul Islam Raja and member Maolana Maksud Ullah also spoke as special guests. The speakers viewed that wide participation of community people in the service sector could curb corruption and they underlined the need for enhancing empowerment of the community people so that they could raise voice against any sort of corruption and monopoly. l




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Plucking tea leaves brings fortune for 7,500 distressed women n BSS More than 7,500 extremely poor and distressed women have changed their fortune through plucking tea leaves in tea gardens of the sub-Himalayan district of Panchagarh in recent years. The successful women are now leading better life with their family members after changing overall socio-economic condition in the officially recognised third tea zone of Panchagarh in the country. The female tea-garden workers, including housewives, widows, divorcees and unemployed young girls said tea sector had been growing fast in the sub-Himalayan district ensuring their daily incomes and livelihoods. They are now taking meals thrice a day, using sanitary latrines, drinking safe water, taking health care and living peacefully though they lived in dire poverty in the pasts. They are getting Tk250-300 per day average wages through plucking tea-laves. Supervisor of Moynaguri Tea Company Limited Nazrul Islam said each of the female labourers get Tk80 for plucking the first 26kg green tealeaves per day and gets more Tk3 per kg for the subsequent each kg of the additional tealeaves they pluck. “A woman generally plucks 80100kg tea leaves everyday to earn a total of Tk250-300 or even more per day,” he added. According to Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) sources, tea farming increases every year in the sub-Himalayan district where 1.455 million kilogramme processed tea was produced in 2013, higher by 27.48% than the production in 2012. Tea Development Officer of BTB Amir Hossain said commercial tea farming increases every year on “smallscale gardening basis” since the beginning of its cultivation launched in Panchagarh from 2000 by the then Prime Mistier Sheikh Hasina. “A record quantity of 1.4551 mil-

lion kilogramme fine quality tea was produced in 2013 against 1.141475 million kilogramme produced in 2012 in Panchagarh,” he said, adding that the production might be around 1.8 million kilogramme in the current year. The average tea production is increasing by over 100,000kg annually in Panchagarh since the year 2005. President of Panchagarh Chamber Iqbal Kaiser Mintu said the growing tea sector enhances socioeconomic empowerment of the women through creating employment for over 10,500 people including 7,500 distressed and unemployed women so far.

Successful women are now leading better life after changing overall socio-economic condition in the officially recognised third tea zone of Panchagarh “Commercial tea cultivation on ‘smallscale gardening basis’ has got stronger footage in Panchagarh as the small, marginal and medium farmers are earning better profits through selling green tealeaves to the tea processing factories,” he added. Project Director of Kartoa Tea Associate Ltd Shah Alam Bhuiyan and Chief Operating Officer of Kazi & Kazi Tea Factory Shoyeb Ahmmed said the expanding tea sector would create more jobs for the local people including female labourers in future. Panchagarh Sadar upazila Chairman Anowar Sadat Samrat said the distressed female tea-leaves plucking labourers were earning better to help their families through there no such opportunity for them and almost all of them were jobless in the pasts. l

Children play ‘iching-biching’, a traditional game in rural Bangladesh, on a school ground in Dighinala of Khagrachhari yesterday

Clash over snatching accused hurts two policemen n UNB Two police constables were injured in a clash with villagers at Teljuri in Boalmari upazila on Friday night over snatching of two accused from the custody after their arrest. Witnesses said a team of police in a drive on Friday night arrested Aftab Mollah, 30, of Nidhipur village, and Miraj Mollah, 20, of Durgapur Chakpara area, in connection with different cases

Above 1,100 ethnic families attain food security in Godagari n BSS, Rajshahi With their relentless and sincere efforts, more than 1,100 underprivileged ethnic families of 26 villages under Godagari upazila of the district have attained food security and self-reliance. The villages are Choitanyapur, Shahanapara, Kantapasha-Edulpur, Nimkuri, Patharghata, Beldanga, Golai, Geolmari, Gardaing, Mulkidiang, Daingpara, Neemghutu, Shreerampur, Biroil, Baganpara, Gonoker Daing, Farshapara, Dadour, Gunigram-Rajpara, Idulpur, Narshinghagarh- Adarshagram, Agalpur, Madhaipur and Udpur. ‘The Aboriginals Village-based Sustainable Food Security Program’ has been playing a positive role in making them free from poverty and hunger through building food storage (Rakkshagola). By dint of their own initiatives, the underprivileged and disadvantaged community people have built food security to mitigate their long-lasting sufferings during the lean period. Center for Capacity Building of Voluntary Organization (CCBVO) has initiated the programme in 2003 through

disseminating updated ideas and extending some financial and technical support under the village-based community development approach. These were revealed at the daylong annual general meeting of all the benefited community members both males and females on Rajabarihat High school playground under the same upazila on Friday.

The Aboriginals Villagebased Sustainable Food Security Program’ has been playing a positive role in making them free from poverty and hunger through building food storage Dr HKS Arefin, a retired professor of Anthropology Department of Dhaka University, addressed the inaugural session as the chief guest while Editor of Daily Sonar Desh Prof Fazlul Haque, CCBVO President Ariful Haque Kumar,

including robbery, from the Teljuri High School playground in the upazila. At one stage, when police were taking the arrestees towards the police station, a group of villagers suddenly swooped on the law enforcers and snatched away the two accused from them around 9pm. The mob also pelted the police team with brick chips, leaving its two members injured. In retaliation, police fired several rounds of blank

15 fall victim to Agyan party men n Our Correspondent, Barisal

Joint Secretary Saiduzzaman Sipon and Chief Executive of Lahanti Foundation Everest Hembrom spoke on the occasion as special guests. CCBVO Executive Chief Sarwar-EKamal welcomed the participants with Convener of the Organizing Committee Santash Ekka in the chair. Some 5,665 organized community members including 1,630 women and 2411 boys and girls from the 1105 organized families attended the ceremony. The meeting was told that the community members have so far saved 1.76 metric tons of rice and 64 tons of paddy in addition to capital formation of around Taka 24.71 lakh. Besides, they disbursed 2.19 tonnes of rice and 2.08 tonnes of paddy and cash Taka 11.37 lakh for health, education and other family purposes to the needy members as risk assistance during the lean period. Apart from this, the beneficiaries are engaged in various income-generating activities like homestead gardening and dairy and poultry rearing, through which, they also meet up daily nutritional requirement along with building their capacity. l

At least 15 people of two families fell victim to Agyan party men in Agoiljhara upazila of the district yesterday. Police and victim sources said the miscreants drugged family members of Emdadul Huq in Khazuria village under Bagda union of the upazila while they were taking dinner. Of the victim, Sajeda Begum, 24, Lovely Begum, 26, and Arefin, 8, were sent to Barisal SBMCH. In another incident, family members

n UNB Environment activists yesterday demanded the authorities concerned cancelled the leases of lands on all riverbanks, including that of the Buriganga. They also demanded the removal of Bangladesh Inland Water Transports Authority (BIWTA) chairman for leasing out riverbanks in violation of a High Court order. The demands came at a press conference organised by nine



of Mazed Molla in Purbo Bagda village became senseless after taking dinner and were later rescued by neighbours. Among the victims Mehedi Hasan, 8, Tanvir, 13, Tanim,9, Mahim, 5, Suraiya,13, Marry Begum, 35, Nasima Begum, 30, Marufa Begum, 35, Rekeya Begum, 60, Kamal Molla, 35, Dulu Molla, 28, Mazed Molla, 70, were admitted to Agoiljhara UZHC. The miscreants looted valuables in both incidents, the victims alleged. Sub Inspector Mustafizur Rahman of Agoiljhara police station visited the spot. l

‘Cancel leases of riverbanks’

30 held in Benapole while entering India illegally

Children playing on the dried up river bed of the Jamuna in Bogra yesterday with the summer a couple of weeks away

shots to disperse the attackers. The injured police members were first taken to Boalmari Upazila Health Complex and later they were shifted to Faridpur Medical College Hospital. Later police managed to arrest one of the attackers. Ruhul Amin, officer-in-charge of Boalmari police station, said police launched a special drive in Teljuri area to re-arrest the accused and track down those who snatched them from police custody. l

Members of Border Guard Bangladesh arrested 30 people while they were going to India illegally through Putkhali border point on Friday night. Confirming the incident, SM Shafiuddin, sub-inspector of Benapole Port police station, said a patrol team of BGB 23 conducted a drive in the area and made the arrests. The arrestees include 16 men, eight women and six children – all of them hailing from different upazilas of Jessore, Khulna, Narail, Bagerhat and Barisal. Later, BGB troops handed over them to Benapole Port police and a case was filed in this connection. l

environment and civic rights bodies including Nou, Sarak, Raill Khat Rokkha Jatiya Committee [National Committee to Protect River, Road and Rail Sector] at the Jatiya Press Club. Speaking on behalf of the organisations, Ashish Kumar Dey, convener of the national committee, alleged that the BIWTA chairman had opened two vocational institutions in Barisal and Madaripur without taking any approval from the government. l


2,971 bottles of Phensedyl recovered n UNB Police recovered a total of 2,971 bottles of Indian Phensedyl syrup and four cans of beer from a covered van in Akij Transport area in Jhikargachha upazila of Jessore early yesterday. They also arrested the van driver in this connection. The arrestee was identified as Mostafa, 40, a resident of Garakhola village under Phultala thana in Khulna. Police sources said a team of police challenged a covered van of Akij Group while it was passing by Parbazar area of the upazila early in the morning. Being challenged, the van driver tried to flee but police caught the vehicle in Akij Transport area after a good chase. Later, they made the recovery after searching the vehicle and also arrested the van driver. A case was filled in this connection. l

Miscreants vandalise Idols in a temple

n Tribune Report Unidentified miscreants vandalised Idols at a temple in Nagbati village of Shemnogor polli at Shatkhira yesterday. The incident took allegedly over land dispute. Bimol Krishno Mistri, president of “Nagbati Sharbojonin Puja Mondir” said few Idols were made on the occasion of Bashonti Puja scheduled to be held on next Saturday, adding that unknown people vandalised some of those at night. Sogir Mia, officer-in-charge of Shyamnagar police station, said: “Dispute was going on with the owner of adjacent shrimp firm about the temple land. The incident might have occurred over that incident. “The temple authorities were taking preparation to file a case in this regard,” he added. l




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why multinational companies are ruling the job market n Nakibul Hoq and Naiian Yazdani What type of organisation do you envision yourself working in? This is one of the first questions we pose to our young graduates at GradConnect when they seek assistance regarding their career options. The majority of business majors are attracted to the blossoming multinational companies which offer competitive salaries and long-term career progression. Some are pursuing roles in the sparkling financial services sector in dynamic roles such as equity, securities and portfolio management. The rapidly emerging opportunities in business consulting and policy development have also made an indentation on the minds of many. Outside the large multinationals, ambitious youngsters, emboldened by the global market, are looking to become job-creators immediately, courtesy of inspiring initiatives such as Startup Dhaka and The Wave. Another deep pool of graduates, those with engineering majors, tends to be more diverse in their choice of career. Like the business graduates, many want to work in the existing multinationals of the country such as British American Tobacco, but many also embrace a life of civil service and NGOs, working towards the development of the nation. The most ambitious ones even dream of going to Silicon Valley, utilising their superior quantitative skills to place themselves in Google, Microsoft or even to establish their own tech venture. However, there is a distinct lack of interest when it comes to working for domestic corporations. Despite the fact that these companies add millions to the national tax revenue every year and supply the livelihoods of many, young graduates are not attracted to the prospect of working in these companies. It was hardly a surprise when Nielson Bangladesh named Unilever

Touch base with idioms n Career Desk At a premium - at a high price; at a relatively high price Back-of-the-envelope calculations - quick calculations; BIZ estimates using apVOCAB proximate numbers, instead of exact numbers Belt-tightening - reduction of expenses Bite the bullet - to make a difficult or painful decision; to take a difficult step Bitter pill to swallow - bad news; something unpleasant to accept Brownie points - credit for doing a good deed or for giving someone a compliment (usually a boss or teacher) Cash in on - to make money on; to benefit financially from Crunch time - a short period when there’s high pressure to achieve a result Drum up business - to create business; to find new customers Fast track a project - to make a project a high priority; to speed up the time frame of a project Jump the gun - to start doing something too soon or ahead of everybody else Keep one’s eye on the prize - to stay focused on the end result; to not let small problems get in the way of good results Keep something under wraps - to keep something secret; to not let anybody know about a new project or plan Nothing ventured, nothing gained - If you don’t try to do something, you’ll never succeed. On top of trends - modern; aware and responding to the latest tastes Pass the buck - to shift the blame; to blame somebody else (To) plug (a product) - to promote a product; to talk positively about a product Pull one’s weight - to do one’s share of the work Put a stake in the ground - to take the first step; to make a big move to get something started; to make a commitment Step up to the plate - to take action; to do one’s best; to volunteer Work down to the wire - to work until the last minute; to work until just before the deadline Work out the kinks - to solve the problems Yes man - an employee who always agrees with the boss or does whatever the boss says

Bangladesh the “Number One Choice of Employment for Young Graduates” in 2013. What is behind this trend? There are multiple factors both at an organisational level and at a countrywide level. Multinationals are run by professionals who have worked globally and know how to achieve success. The business nous of these individuals means they are equipped to create an organisational culture that is positive and successful.

houses of cards may crumble soon without substantial notice. Interestingly, the market for talent is one of the most transparent in the country. These youngsters are well equipped to decide where they can obtain their market value and in what form, whether it is through a higher paycheck or a prestigious role. Domestic organisations are latching onto this and there is recognition amongst them that they must now adapt or miss out on the talent which may help their organisations grow and keep their name in lights. The shift is tangible and the generation change is now weaving its way through these companies.

The multinational companies emanate a certain gloss; their ideas are bright and engaging and are almost always new to Bangladesh Talent attracts talent, and the best and brightest have quickly shifted their interest to these organisations, thus creating hyper competition and prestige for these positions. Those who are successful in obtaining roles have a sense of accomplishment matched by their colleagues, creating a sense of camaraderie and belonging not only while at office but also beyond it. The organisations are worn as a badge of honour, recognised by all those outside it which also enhances the reputation and status of the employee in the society. The injection of multinationals hasforced domestic conglomerates to look in the mirror and make due improvements. These companies are fraught with negative perceptions which are being rectified as we speak. The stigma attached to these companies is focused on the lack of transparency and the overbearing self-interest. For example, recruitment may be done on the basis of nepotism or direc-

The stigma attached to domestic companies is focused on the lack of transparency and the overbearing selfinterest


tors’ quotas making an uncomfortable treaty between employees. Furthermore, historically, domestic companies have had a rigid hierarchical structure leading to a tense and complex bureaucratic processes fostering inefficiency. Most of the HR departments of the local companies recognise this problem, and this is why some of the forward looking companies like ACI Group are increasingly restructuring to establish flatter organisational structures. Beyond the environment of the domestic organisations, the benefits

package in multinationals are much more incentivised, rewarding performance through bonuses and detailed feedback for self-improvement. This facilitates progress within the multinationals at a faster rate; which in turn is the reason why when the multinationals reach out, they can always recruit the best talent in the market. The domestic benefits packages on the other hand are perceived to be owner-centric and the rewards trickle down from the success at the top of the pyramid.

Perhaps the most obvious difference between multinational companies and the local conglomerates is the brand image they possess. The multinational companies emanate a certain gloss; their ideas are bright and engaging and are almost always new to Bangladesh. These elements appeal to the next generation who have been connected to the global environment since birth. In contrast, the local companies appear bland and draconian. They are littered with whispers, sometimes shouts, of corruption and a perception that these

Multinationals have changed the expectations of the prospective workers and have set a benchmark domestic organisations are now pushing towards. This change is a must for today’s graduates. l Nakibul Hoq is a Research Analyst at GradConnect, an international career information and advisory firm. You can email him at Naiian Yazdani is the Director of Strategy at GradConnect. You can email him at naiian@ and find more career information at and

A hands-on approach to managing conflicts at meetings n Ahsan Sajid There are conflicts which ruin organisations, and conflicts which save them. Anyone who has attended more than one meeting has experienced some amount of tension in the room. Sometimes such tension between colleagues is actually a good thing – conflict is not only exciting and energising, but a catalyst for great ideas. However, more often than not, conflicts deflate the team’s spirit and hurt its progress and morale. The same conflict that motivates one to think outside of the box can also make their thought process stagnant with the idea that everybody else is wrong. Furthermore, it takes little to nothing for a professional difference to turn to a personal issue. If you’re in a tense meeting and conflict is imminent, what can you do? Whether you are conducting the meeting or are simply participating, following are a few suggestions to address conflicts directly and nip it at the bud.

Types of conflicts

To stop conflicts, one must understand the two major kinds of conflicts that may arise at a meeting – professional differences and personality clashes. Conflicts most commonly arise from professional differences in opinions, and more so when the outcome is of extreme importance. More often than not these differences never become full-fledged conflicts unless the outcome is important, the decision being made cannot be reversed, or when the decision is going to impact everyone in the meeting. Such conflicts sour working relationships when left unresolved and can fast become a different and more personal kind of conflict. Less commonly, conflicts take an uglier shape when individuals or different departments participating in a meeting do not like one another, or one group or individual feels threatened by another. These conflicts are really more to do with personality issues than with facts or professional opinions. While they can be similarly handled, the un-

ASK YOURSELF How can I harness the positive force of the conflict to generate better results? How can I keep it from getting personal? How can I get everyone to accept a consensus that isn’t unanimous? Can I mitigate conflicts by being particular about attendees?

derlying problem behind such a conflict should be separately addressed.

Prevention is the key

The best way to resolve a conflict is to prevent it altogether. If you are conducting the meeting, make sure it is tightly structured – email everyone the meeting’s agenda beforehand so individuals have fewer opportunities to push personal agendas. If you are simply participating, keep the focus on the objective at hand by reminding the group when they seem to be straying.

When conflict happens it is best to end it at the source instead of letting it grow bigger than it needs to be. Do not simply react to a problem; address it before it becomes one If there are attendees in the meeting who have a reputation for causing conflict, one needs to be alert from the get go. Conflicts also arise in groups where individuals struggle and vie for influence without having established effective ways of working yet. The simplest way to overcoming these problems is by introducing a number of rules. 1. All attendees will be allowed to speak only after raising their hands, or in some way signalling that they have something to contribute. 2. Everyone will be invited to contribute at the end of each individual item on the agenda, to ensure no one hijacks the discussion. 3. One person will summarise the entire meeting, to ensure that all attendees are on the same page.

Keeping an eye out for it

When a conflict is due to real professional differences instead of a personality clash or power struggle, it is best to have individuals air their grievances as soon as possible. If you’re sensing disagreement brewing, make sure that people have the opportunity to express this disagreement first before moving on to a different issue. The discussion should not proceed with a number of meeting attendees dissatisfied with it. In the following section, we are discussing conflict resolution approaches.


When conflict happens it is best to end it at the source instead of letting it grow bigger than it needs to be. Do not simply react to a problem; address it before it becomes one.

Conflict resolution

When your best efforts to prevent conflict have failed, you may use the following conflict resolution techniques to calm the situation. Depersonalise: Through this technique, one phrases an issue of conflict to take focus away from any individual, or group and directing it towards the issue itself. For example, instead of saying that one person is simply better at the job than another person, a better way to put it would be to say that while both persons have strengths, one’s strengths are more in line for the issue at hand. The focus is directed towards the issue at hand and the individuals’ strengths, instead of themselves. Question: Turn every conflict into a question. Instead of allowing meeting attendees to simply state that they disagree with something, ask them to find a way out of it through research, brainstorming, etc. Ask for suggestions for how the disagreeable idea may be

SENSING DISAGREEMENTS Body language is the biggest giveaway for someone who is about to disagree with an issue. They may be shaking their head, rolling their eyes or fidgeting and being nervous or restless. Looking at others in the meeting to see where they stand. Staring at someone with a frown or intimidating expression. Whispering to others to seek approval for the potential disagreement. changed so that a consensus may be reached. Remove perceived threat: One of the biggest reasons that conflicts occur in a meeting is because of perceived threat. This is ubiquitous in nature – animals attack when they perceive a threat. The conflict may be arising because someone may feel that the discussion is putting their position or reputation on the line, or hampering their chances of enjoying a free weekend or a festival bonus. This kind of conflict may be addressed through a strict agenda, as mentioned earlier. If everyone is on the same page as to what the meeting

seeks to discuss, what the objective is and what is expected off it, a lot of individuals may relax a little and not jump in at every speed bump. Set up another meeting: Sometimes it may come to pass that a conflict at a meeting is simply irresolvable or that it is an issue that cannot be freely discussed amidst all the current meeting participants. In this case, the conflict needs to be acknowledged, and a future meeting should be set up, preferably on the same day, to only address the issue at hand.

Some conflict should be expected

The best way to avoid conflicts in meetings is to prepare for it properly. It is good to know exactly what the meeting entails, and not get derailed. Develop an atmosphere where individuals may comfortably state their problems and issues. It is not possible, nor required, to make everyone happy or get everyone to agree, it is important to remember this. If everyone has had a fair chance to offer their professional opinion at the meeting, and everyone has been a part of the process equally to reach the meeting’s objective, it has been a successful meeting. l




Obama reassures Saudis over Mideast policies The US president said he would reject a bad nuclear deal with Iran

n Agencies US President Barack Obama has sought to reassure Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah that he will support moderate Syrian rebels and reject a bad nuclear deal with Iran, during a visit designed to allay the kingdom’s concerns. Flying by helicopter to the king’s desert camp on Friday, Obama underscored the importance of Washington’s relationship with the world’s largest oil exporter in a two-hour meeting that focused on the Middle East but did not touch on energy or human rights. Last year, senior Saudi officials warned of a “major shift” away from the US after bitter disagreements over its response to the Arab uprisings, efforts to negotiate with Iran, and Washington’s decision not to intervene militarily in Syria, where Riyadh wants more American support for rebels. While the two leaders discussed “tactical differences,” they both agreed their strategic interests were aligned, a US official told reporters after the meeting. “I think it was important to have the chance to come look him [King Abdullah] in the eye and explain how de-

Biden calls for hike in US minimum wage n AFP, Washington US Vice President Joe Biden yesterday called for Americans to back President Barack Obama’s push to raise the federal minimum wage, intensifying debate ahead of mid-term congressional elections in November. Obama unveiled a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 (7.35 euros) an hour in his State of the Union address in January as he set about closing income disparity – an increasingly important theme in US politics. But rival Republicans have long argued that raising the minimum wage would hurt the economy and employment because it would prompt small businesses to tighten belts and lay off some workers. “There’s no reason in the world why an American working 40 hours a week has to live in poverty,” Biden said in a weekly address in place of Obama, who is in Saudi Arabia. “But right now a worker earning the federal minimum wage makes about $14,500 a year. And you all know that’s incredibly hard for an individual to live on, let alone raise a family on. “But if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, that same worker will be making $20,200 a year – and with existing tax credits would earn enough to bring that family or a family of four out of poverty. “Not only would it put more hardearned money into the pockets of 28m Americans, movingms of them out of poverty, it’s also good for business.” In January, Obama urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. A congressional watchdog says that it could lift 900,000 people above the poverty line but may cost half am jobs. l

UN: One million displaced by S Sudan conflict n Agencies More than one million people in South Sudan have been forced from their homes during more than three months of ongoing fighting, with conditions continuing to worsen, the UN warned. “In the 100 days since the start of the conflict in South Sudan, over onem people have fled their homes,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report late on Friday. More than 800,000 are displaced inside South Sudan, while almost 255,000 have fled as refugees to the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the report said. Violence erupted in South Sudan on December 15 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and fighters loosely allied to former Vice President Riek Machar. A January ceasefire between government and rebels is in tatters with fighting ongoing. “Fighting between government and opposition forces has continued, especially in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile state, where towns and rural areas have been ravaged by the violence,” the OCHA report added. l

termined the president is to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” the official said. The meeting was a chance to assure the king that the US “won’t accept a bad deal and that the focus on the nuclear issue doesn’t mean we are not concerned about, or very much focused on, Iran’s other destabilising activities in the region.”

US officials said Obama did not have time to raise concerns about the kingdom’s human rights record Aiding Syrian rebels

The leaders had a full discussion about Syria, where a three-year-old civil war has killed an estimated 140,000 people and uprootedms. The official said both countries shared the objective of a political transition in Syria and supporting moder-

ate opposition to Assad. Riyadh has long differed from Washington about Obama’s reluctance to supply rebels with surface-to-air missiles, sometimes known as MANPADS. The Washington Post reported on Friday that the US was ready to increase covert aid to Syrian rebels under a new plan that included training efforts by the CIA, and was considering supplying MANPADS. The White House has not closed the door to the possibility of such a move in the future, but officials said US qualms about providing those weapons to rebels had not changed. “We have made clear that there are certain types of weapons, including MANPADS, that could pose a proliferation risk if introduced into Syria,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters on Air Force One during Obama’s flight from Rome to Riyadh. “We continue to have those concerns.” US officials said Obama did not have time to raise concerns about the kingdom’s human rights record. They said Washington would continue to press Riyadh about its concerns, which include women’s rights. l

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Russia rules out intention to invade Ukraine n AFP, Moscow Russia has absolutely no intention of ordering its armed forces to cross over the Ukrainian border and the divisions between Moscow and the West on the crisis are narrowing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday. “We have absolutely no intention and no interests in crossing the Ukrainian border,” Lavrov told Russian state television in an interview, appearing to firmly rule out an invasion of mainland Ukraine after Moscow’s seizure of Crimea. “We (Russia and the West) are getting closer in our positions,” he added, saying recent contacts had shown the outlines of a “possible joint initiative which could be presented to our Ukrainian colleagues,” he added. Lavrov said Moscow’s priority was to see Ukraine implement reform that would create a federalised structure for the country with every region having a degree of autonomy. “To be honest, we do not see any other path forwards for the Ukrainian state other than federalisation,” he said. “Maybe someone knows better and can find a magical solution within a unitary state,” he added with characteristic sarcasm. He said that the West was showing openness to the idea of a federalised Ukraine. l

Obama faces criticism after Saudi visit n AFP, Riyadh US President Barack Obama flew home from Saudi Arabia yesterday under fire for not doing more to raise human rights concerns on a visit dominated by smoothing policy differences with a longtime ally. Obama met a campaigner for the rights of women in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom before leaving yesterday morning. But despite appeals from US lawmakers, he did not raise any rights issues in his talks with King Abdullah late on Friday, which were dominated by policy on Iran and Syria, a source of friction between the allies, a senior US official said. The official insisted that did not mean Obama did not share “significant concerns,” merely that the conflict in Syria and Riyadh’s concerns about Washington’s diplomatic engage-

ment with Tehran had left no time to discuss them. “We do have a lot of significant concerns about the human rights situation that have been ongoing with respect to women’s rights, with respect to religious freedom, with respect to free and open dialogue,” the official said. But “given the extent of time that they spent on Iran and Syria, they didn’t get to a number of issues and it wasn’t just human rights.” Saudi Arabia has strong reservations about efforts by Washington and other major powers to negotiate a deal with Iran on its controversial nuclear programme. The Sunni Muslim oil kingpin, long wary of Shiite Iran’s regional ambitions, views a November deal between the powers and Iran aimed at buying time to negotiate a comprehensive accord as a risky venture that could embolden Tehran.

Riyadh – a staunch supporter of the Syrian rebels – was also deeply disappointed by Obama’s 11th-hour decision last year not to take military action against Tehran ally Damascus over chemical weapons attacks. But Obama’s focus on smoothing over the strains in the alliance to the exclusion of concerns over women’s rights and religious freedoms drew criticism from international watchdogs and from activists inside the kingdom. “President Obama’s visit offered a crucial opportunity to raise a series of human rights issues from discrimination against women to the repression of independent human rights activists and freedom of expression and assembly,” said Amnesty International’s Saudi researcher Sevag Kechichian. “His failure to publicly voice his concerns over the dire state of human rights is disappointing and a real missed opportunity.” l

Lights off for Earth Hour’s global crowdfunding call n AFP, Singapore Lights went off in thousands of cities and towns across the world yesterday for the annual Earth Hour campaign, which is aiming to raise money via the Internet for local environmental projects. The Singapore-based campaign by conservation group WWF was boosted by Hollywood star power, with “The Amazing Spiderman-2” stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx leading ceremonies at the city-state’s Marina Bay district. Comic-book hero Spiderman is this year’s “ambassador” for Earth Hour, which was launched in Sydney in 2007. Sydney’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge were among the first landmarks around the world to dim their lights for 60 minutes during yesterday’s event. An estimated 7,000 cities and towns from New Zealand to New York are taking part. Hong Kong’s stunning waterfront skyline was unrecognisable yesterday evening, with the city’s tallest skyscraper, the International Commerce Centre, stripped of the vast light show usually wrapped around its 118 stories. Blazing neon signs advertising some of the world’s largest brands were shut off, leaving the view of the heavily vertical southern Chinese city peppered only with tiny lights from buildings’ interiors. Earth Hour partnered with payments giant PayPal to allow donors to contribute to specific projects from Russia and India to Canada and Indonesia, using Asian

fundraising site Crowdonomic. Earth Hour chief executive Andy Ridley said before the lights went off in Singapore that the event had moved beyond symbolism to concrete action. “If you want to get real social change you need to have symbolism. We are seeing some really big outcomes.” Projects under the “Earth Hour Blue” crowdfunding scheme – which aim to raise more than $650,000 in total – include a turtle centre in Italy and funding for forest rangers in Indonesia. The event is being marked in more than 150 countries, organisers said, estimating that thousands of cities and towns would have taken part by the time the ceremonies began in Singapore. The projects seeking crowdfunding include a 24,000-dollar effort in the Philippines to bring fibreglass boat technology to coastal communities affected by super typhoon Haiyan in November last year. In Nepal, $100,000 is being sought for a programme called “A Flame Called Hope” to provide access to biogas energy for 150 households in the Terai region, reducing the need for wood as fuel and helping protect the habitat of endangered wildlife, according to the Earth Hour website. Spiderman-2 star Garfield told journalists that he was a personal supporter of the Nepal project. Earth Hour also saw other landmarks including the Empire State Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow switch off their lights for an hour starting at 8:30 pm local time yesterday. l

This combination image of two photographs shows the landmark Taipei 101 building before (L) and after (R) its lights were turned off in observation of Earth Hour AFP

Crimea Tatar wants autonomy after Loyalty to embattled Erdogan lies deep in Russia’s seizure of Peninsula n Reuters, Bakhchisaray, Crimea The leader of Crimean Tatars proposed yesterday that the 300,000-strong indigenous Muslim minority seek autonomy on the Black Sea peninsula annexed from Ukraineby Russia. Speaking to more than 200 delegates gathered for the top Crimean Tatars’ assembly, Refat Chubarov said: «In the life of every nation there comes a time when it must make decisions that will determine its future.” “I ask you to approve ... the start of po-

litical and legal procedures aimed at creating ethnic and territorial autonomy of the Crimean Tatars of their historic territory of Crimea.” He did not specify whether he wanted the region, if it obtains autonomy, to be part of Russia or Ukraine. Crimea’s Tatars met in their historic capital Bakhchisaray to decide whether to hold a referendum among their people to determine their future. Such a vote would be a challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin who incorporated the region into Russia after Crimeans voted overwhelming-

ly to split from Ukraine following the overthrow in February of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president. Crimean Tatars largely boycotted that referendum, which the West said was illegitimate. “Nobody asked us, the Crimean Tatars ... in what conditions we want to live,” Chubarov said this week. Tatars, an indigenous population of Turkic origin, were deported from Crimea to Central Asia in 1944 under Soviet leader Josef Stalin who wanted to punish the community for cases of collaboration with the Nazi Germany. l


Free Syrian Army fighters fire towards forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Morek village, north Hama countryside


Turkey’s pious heartlands n Reuters, Turkey If Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is fighting the toughest battle of his political career as corruption allegations swirl and elections approach, Turkey’s conservative Anatolian heartlands appear to have his back. Here, far from dividing his pious core supporters, the graft scandal and bitter power struggle with a US-based cleric have served only to stir more devotion to a man they see as Turkey’s greatest modern leader, delivering hospitals and schools and breaking the grip of secular elites over the past decade. The run-up to pivotal local elections today had been overshadowed by a corruption affair that has seen almost daily recordings published anonymously on social media claiming to show illicit dealings by Erdogan’s inner circle. One senior official called the crisis “one of the biggest in Turkish history” and the government has responded by blocking Twitter and YouTube, drawing public anger and international condemnation. But in Konya, a conservative city that gave Erdogan’s AK Party 70% of the vote in a 2011 general election, many see the scandal as the prime minister does: part of a “dirty plot” to unseat him by ruthless and immoral political enemies. “Nothing but lies,” said 19-year-old Konya student Hatice Kubra, following the party line that US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally whose followers say they number in thems, was responsible. “Allah sees everything. Allah knows what Hoca (teacher) Fethullah is doing,” she said at an AK Party rally on Friday. “A flock of swines that stormed our spiritual gardens,” read one banner, referring to Gulen and his followers. Tens of thousands turned out for the rally, turning Konya into a sea of AK

Party flags and colourful Muslim headscarves. Some wore masks of Erdogan’s face, while old men scaled trees for a sight of their hero, only to be bitterly disappointed when he cancelled after orders to rest his voice.

‘Golden years’

The AK Party’s billboards praise their “ten golden years” in charge of Konya municipality, and opposition parties barely bother to campaign here. Thursday brought the release of a recording of top security officials discussing possible military action in Syria. Among those bugged was Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, member of parliament for Konya. He received a rapturous welcome when he took to the stage to speak in Erdogan’s place. “Are you ready to give our prime minister an even bigger share of the vote this time Konya?” he asked to cheers. In this city, where shopping centers, smart residential blocks and industrial parks have developed around the tomb of Rumi, a revered 13th-century poet and Sufi mystic who inspired the forming of Turkey’s iconic whirling dervishes, there is a treasured sense of well-being, prosperity and upward mobility - ascribed to Erdogan’s vision and management. A population of observant Muslims with strong business nous - who for decades felt sidelined in a state run by secular elites and their chaotic coalition governments - feels their hour has come. “We have hospitals at our doors, doctors, picnic places, the fast train to Ankara,” said Leyla Eroglu, a 54-yearold mother of six, a huge banner of Erdogan’s face tied around her body. “Turkey before was horrible, constant fighting between right and left, we couldn’t live easily. Erdogan is our second Ataturk,” she said, referring to the modern republic’s revered founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, almost a century ago. l



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Missing jet search looks for debris breakthrough n AFP, Perth

Afghan policemen take their positions atop a military vehicle near an election commission office during an attack by gunmen in Kabul. Taliban insurgents attacked the Independent Election Commission headquarters in Kabul yesterday REUTERS

Escalating attacks jangle nerves ahead of crucial Afghan vote n Reuters, Kabul With a week to go before Afghanistan’s presidential election, escalating violence across the country risks undermining the credibility of a vote meant to mark the first democratic transfer of power in Afghan history. The Taliban have declared war on the April 5 election, calling it a Western-backed sham and threatening to do everything in their power to derail the vote through a campaign of gun attacks, bombings and assassinations. A brazen raid by a squad of suicide bombers and gunmen on an election office in Kabul this week sent a chilling message to voters as they prepared to choose a successor to Hamid Karzai. “Such attacks may not derail the elec-

tion, but they will certainly create fear and anxiety among the people,” said Nader Nadery, chairman of FEFA, Afghanistan’s largest election monitoring group. “This is the aim of the Taliban and insurgent groups - to discourage people from voting.” Karzai is barred by the constitution from running for another term after 12 years in power, but he is widely expected to retain a hand in politics through officials loyal to him. A significant rise in violence could complicate the process of counting ballots and create uncertainty over the outcome of the vote, potentially allowing Karzai to stay at the helm for a much longer period than initially expected. In a move that could further dent confidence in the election, most for-

eign observers have withdrawn their monitors in the wake of last week’s attack on a luxury hotel in which nine people, including one election observer, were killed. The presence of a full-fledged international monitoring team is key to preventing a repeat of the widespread fraud seen during the previous presidential vote in 2009, when 20% of ballots had to be annulled. Now, only a handful of foreign observers, mainly from the European Union mission, are left in the country, with most confined to their compounds for fear of further violence. The United Nations estimates that total civilian casualties from the increasingly vicious insurgency rose by 14% in 2013, with 2,959 dead and 5,656 injured. l

Ship and plane crews yesterday searched a vast new area of the Indian Ocean for wreckage from a Malaysian plane which went missing three weeks ago, seeking closure for relatives and clues to the crash. China, which lost 153 people when the Boeing 777 went down on March 8 with a total of 239 on board, was at the forefront of the sweep across a vast expanse of sea about the size of Norway. One of its ships – the Haixun 01 – began hunting at first light for multiple unidentified objects seen from the air the previous day, and a Chinese air force Ilyushin IL-76 was the first of eight aircraft to depart from an air base near the west Australian city of Perth. China’s state news agency said the plane crew had spotted three unidentified floating objects coloured white, red and orange. The Haixun 01 would try to trace and retrieve them, it said. Numerous satellite and air sightings of unidentified debris have raised hopes that wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines plane will finally be found. On Monday Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that, based on fresh British analysis of satellite data, the plane had been lost at sea. But after three weeks of false leads and sometimes conflicting information, many desperate and angry relatives are refusing to abandon hope until physical proof of a crash is found. “Everyone knows that you are concealing the truth and delayed the research!” one of them told Malaysian officials at a tense briefing in Beijing on latest developments. Another said Najib had “rushed to a conclusion” with his announcement and should retract it. Most of the audience applauded loudly. The search moved Friday to a new sea zone after fresh data indicated the plane was flying faster than first thought before it is presumed to have

run out of fuel and plunged into the sea. Its disappearance, during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, is one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. Malaysia believes the plane was deliberately redirected by someone on board before being flown thousands of miles southwards, but nothing else is known.

New search zone

Attention has focused on the pilot but Malaysian transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said nothing incriminating had been found on a flight simulator seized at his home.

The new zone is closer to land, meaning planes can spend more time searching before having to return to refuel Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott – whose country is coordinating the search – said teams faced a formidable task. “We should not underestimate the difficulty of this work, it is an extraordinarily remote location,” he said. “We are trying to find small bits of wreckage in a vast ocean. While we’re throwing everything we have at it, the task goes on.” The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said six ships – five of them Chinese – were expected to be in place in the search area 1,850 kilometres (1,160 miles) west of Perth by the end of yesterday. Yet the objects they are trying to find are tiny, with New Zealand Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short saying the items spotted from a New Zealand Orion Friday were mostly rectangular and ranged in size from just 50 to 100 centimetres (20 to 40 inches). l

Space makes the heart grow rounder

Congress candidate arrested over ‘death threat’ to Modi

n AFP, Washington

n AFP, New Delhi

Astronauts’ hearts grow rounder while they are in space, suggesting that spending lots of time in microgravity could lead to heart problems, according to US research yesterday. That could mean trouble for people who want to embark on long-term missions to Mars. The data presented at an American College of Cardiology meeting in Washington was based on 12 astronauts who had ultrasounds while in space. Their hearts grew 9.4% more spherical in microgravity, and they also weakened. “The heart doesn’t work as hard in space, which can cause a loss of muscle

Bomb kills girl, injures 16 in SW Pakistan n AFP, Quetta A bomb blast targeting a vehicle carrying security forces killed a young girl and wounded 16 others – including up to eight children – in Pakistan’s troubled southwest yesterday, police said. The attack occurred in the Saryab area on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of the oil and gas rich Baluchistan province that borders Iran and Afghanistan. “An improvised explosive device, which was planted in an auto rickshaw parked along the roadside went off as a vehicle of paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) passed by it,” city police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema told AFP. He said a girl was killed and 16 others were injured, three of them seriously. The wounded included up to eight children, he added, without giving ages. Senior police official Imran Qureshi confirmed the attack. Nobody has so far claimed responsibility but Quetta and other cities of Baluchistan are rife with separatist and Islamist militants and plagued by sectarian bloodshed. Quetta has been hit by numerous attacks in recent years, including two devastating bombings in early 2013 which targeted minority Shiite Muslims and killed nearly 180 people. l

mass,” said James Thomas, lead scientist for ultrasound at NASA and senior author of the study. “That can have serious consequences after the return to Earth, so we’re looking into whether there are measures that can be taken to prevent or counteract that loss.” The astronauts’ hearts returned to their normal, more oval shape, shortly after their return to Earth. Astronauts currently spend up to six months at the orbiting International Space Station, which is staffed by rotating crews. Missions to Mars, foreseen in the next couple of decades, would take about 18 months and may offer no return trip. l

Police arrested a politician from India’s ruling Congress party yesterday over a threat to chop fiery Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi “into little pieces” if he stirred religious violence in the nation’s most populous state. A video handed to police allegedly shows Imran Masood, fielded by Congress as a candidate in national elections in Uttar Pradesh state, making the threat against the hardline leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a rally. Police said they had arrested Masood under hate speech laws, and that he had been remanded in custody for 14 days by a judge. Masood will be detained while po-

lice investigate whether there are sufficient grounds to file formal charges against him. Masood made the alleged threat in relation to deadly riots that erupted in the state of Gujarat in 2002, when Modi had just become its chief minister. “(Modi) thinks this is Gujarat where the Muslim population is four percent. There are 42 percent Muslims here...” he is seen to say. If Modi were to make Masood’s constituency into Gujarat, “he will be chopped into tiny pieces,” Masood adds. Masood is Congress’s candidate in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, which has a large Muslim population. Modi, tipped to lead his party to victory in the national elections kicking off

next month, has been accused of turning a blind eye to the deaths of 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, during the violence. The 63-year-old BJP leader has never been found guilty of any wrongdoing in connection with the riots. Uttar Pradesh sends 80 lawmakers to the lower house of parliament, and is seen as a potential flashpoint after its own deadly religious riots last September left at least 50 dead. Congress, meanwhile, said while it “condemned his words,” it would not cancel his nomination. “Why should we cancel his nomination? Just because 10 days before the election an old CD surfaced?” Rita Bahuguna Joshi, an Uttar Pradesh Congress leader, told AFP. l

Thai protesters rally ahead of Senate vote n Reuters, Bangkok Tens of thousands of Thai anti-government protesters rallied across Bangkok yesterday in their latest bid to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a day before a crucial vote to elect a new Senate. Waving flags and blowing whistles, protesters marched from Lumpini Park in the business district of Bangkok, where protesters retreated to earlier this month, toward the city’s old quarter after a brief hiatus in anti-government rallies. “The rally has been largely peaceful and very disciplined. Protesters are now heading back to their base in the park after a series of symbolic ceremonies,” Paradorn Pattanathabutr, a security adviser to the prime minister, told Reuters. “We expected the crowd to be around 50,000-strong but the number of protesters doesn’t look like it will exceed 30,000.” A grenade exploded as protesters passed the Foreign Ministry offices, but no one was hurt, police said. It was unclear who was responsible for the attack. Thailand has been in crisis since former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck’s brother, was ousted in a 2006 coup. The conflict broadly pits the Bangkok-based middle class and

royalist establishment against the mostly poorer, rural supporters of the Shinawatras. Yesterday’s march is seen as a test of the anti-government movement’s popularity as the number of protesters has dwindled considerably in recent weeks. Over the past five months, protesters have shut state offices and disrupted a February 2 election which was nullified by a court on March 21, leaving Thailand in political limbo and Yingluck at the head of a caretaker government with limited powers. Election officials have said it will take at least three months to organize a new election. Since the current round of protests kicked off in November, 23 people have been killed in sporadic political violence. Yingluck, however, has dismissed calls by protesters to step down but faces several legal challenges that could lead to her removal. She has until Monday to defend herself before the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for dereliction of duty over a rice-buying scheme that has run up huge losses. If the commission recommends her impeachment, she could be removed from office by the upper house Senate which may have an anti-Thaksin majority after an election for half its members on Sunday. l

Thai anti-government protesters shout slogans during a mass rally in downtown Bangkok, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra AFP

9 Malaysia: Search for ‘survivors’ to continue n AFP, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia’s transport minister vowed yesterday to continue the search for “possible survivors” from a missing passenger plane, three weeks after it crashed in the remote Indian Ocean. “No matter how remote the odds, we will pray, hope against hope, and continue to search for possible survivors,” Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters during a condolence visit to relatives of Malaysian passengers and crew. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished on March 8 after veering sharply off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Prime Minister Najib Razak has said satellite data analysis shows the Boeing 777 must have come down thousands of miles away in the southern Indian Ocean with the loss of 239 passengers and crew. But Hishammuddin, the public face of Malaysia during the crisis through his near-daily press conferences, has referred previously to what he called the possibility of survivors, however faint. “I cannot give them (relatives) false hope,” he said yesterday. “The best we can do is pray and be sensitive to them, that as long as there is even a remote chance of a survivor, we will pray and do whatever it takes.” Ships and planes from several countries have been searching vast stretches of ocean west of Australia – hundreds of miles from any land. Satellites and aircraft have spotted numerous floating objects, but none has so far been confirmed to be wreckage from the plane. Malaysia says the plane was deliberately diverted from its planned flight path, and investigations have focused on the captain. Police seized a flight simulator he built at his home and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation worked to recover data which had been deleted from its hard drive. Hishammuddin, confirming earlier US reports, said “there is nothing sinister from the simulator but of course that will have to be confirmed by the chief of police. l

Philippine vessel evades China 'blockade' of disputed reef n AFP, Philippines Philippine soldiers aboard a fishing vessel engaged yesterday in a dramatic stand-off with Chinese coastguard ships near a remote South China Sea reef claimed by both countries, an AFP journalist witnessed. The Philippine ship finally slipped past the Chinese blockade to reach Second Thomas Shoal, where a handful of Filipino marines are stationed on a Navy vessel that has been grounded there since 1999 to assert their nation's sovereignty. The Philippine military said the ship, a fishing vessel with soldiers on board, had completed its mission to deliver fresh supplies to the navy ship and rotate the troops. "They were able to pass through the Chinese coastguard vessel and the mission is a success," Cherryl Tindog, a spokeswoman for the military's western command, said. "We have successfully re-supplied and rotated the troops." An AFP reporter and photographer were on a Philippine military plane that circled above the area during the stand-off, which they said lasted for about two hours. Four Chinese vessels had encircled Second Thomas Shoal as the Philippine vessel approached, according to the AFP reporter. Two of the vessels, with "Chinese coastguard" written on the side of the boats, then chased the Philippine boat and tried to block it from reaching the shoal. The vessels appeared to get within a few hundred metres of each other. China claims most of the South China Sea, even waters and islets approaching its neighbours. Second Thomas Shoal is part of the Spratlys, a chain of islets and reefs that sit near key shipping lanes, are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are also believed to lie atop huge oil and gas reserves. They are around 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan and about 1,100 kilometres from the nearest major Chinese land mass. The Philippines grounded an old Navy ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, at Second Thomas Shoal in 1999, four years after China built structures on nearby, Filipino-claimed Mischief Reef. Filipino troops have kept a presence on the ship ever since. l




Letters to

Let all flags fly proud at the World Cup


t is to the credit of the Bangladesh Cricket Board that it has listened to fans and shown common sense by swiftly reversing its threat to ban Bangladeshi cricket supporters at the ICC T20 World Cup from carrying the flags of any of the other teams competing in the tournament. The idea of a flag ban always sounded unwarranted for a World Cup tournament. More importantly, it drew attention away from the highly commendable job the BCB has done in organising the World Cup in Bangladesh and in hosting many interesting, sold-out matches. The mere discussion of a ban unnecessarily inflicted damage on the country’s reputation among followers of cricket . We are grateful for the BCB’s quick u-turn, so that attention can all be focused on the field of play. Bangladeshis have a well deserved reputation as enthusiastic and knowledgeable sport fans. We trust that as the semi-finals approach next week, excitement will continue to grow and the stadiums will be filled by friendly crowds. Naturally, we hope all Tigers’ fans will cheer Bangladesh on to overcome their disappointing form and to excel in their remaining two Super 10 matches against Pakistan and Australia. However these two matches go, all Bangladeshis will still be able take pride in hosting T20’s most prestigious international tournament. As hosts, we should welcome all fans, of whatever team and nationality, from supporting their teams as far forward as possible.

The BCB has listened to fans. Attention can now be focused on the field of play

A regrettable debate about facts


e find it regrettable that the BNP leader chose to endorse her son’s claim in a speech in London, that the late Ziaur Rahman was the first president of Bangladesh. It is an incontrovertible fact that he was not the first president of the country. By repeating a remark that is plainly factually wrong, she was guaranteed to stir up negative comments. It is a lapse of judgement on her part to have made this statement. As an experienced politician and former prime minister, the BNP chief will have been highly aware of the amount of energy and time that is wasted in partisan and often very petty political debates about Bangladesh’s history. It makes no sense for her to add to this background by making a statement which is incontrovertibly incorrect. Nothing positive is achieved by remarks which seek to rewrite history. The general public does not wish to have politicians constantly trying to claim all credit for the achievements of the Independence war for just one person or party. Bangladesh needs politicians to look forward and not to constantly hark back to history, The outcome of Khaleda’s Zia’s statement was predictable. Calls for a retraction are being made loudly and there is a general increase in political mudslinging. This is not desirable at a time when the public wants to see the two largest political parties engaging in constructive dialogue.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

the Editor


How to be pro-business March 28

This is an issue close to my heart. Mr Sobhan largely nails it with an uncomplicated, accurate appraisal of the current scenario in the country. His recommendations for achieving a genuinely pro-business environment geared toward pervasive opportunity and prosperity are both pragmatic and long overdue. I’d add that our taxation and regulatory policies, particularly, need serious overhaul to dismantle the persistent disincentives to doing business in Bangladesh. So many of our anachronistic policies continue to hobble existing businesses, and prevent new ones even getting off the ground. Political cronyism has been another scourge of the growth of a dynamic, meritocratic, free-enterprise culture that could potentially catapult much of Bangladesh to genuine, enduring economic prosperity. It will take more than just businessmen to be pro-business. We can all pledge to support business, as much for the collective good as the individual. It’s time our governments walked their talk. Ronnie

A divided learning March 25

riazo I agree with this article completely except that I feel that the medium of instruction should be Bangla and Bangla only across the board. English should be taught effectively as a second language from a suitable age. Religious teachings can be taught according to one’s faith. I know that the government will never initiate a ban on English-medium schools and madrasas in the country. But a social movement can be created to raise awareness on the issue so that wealthy parents will not need to send their children to English-medium schools and poorer parents will not need to send their children to madrasas. Once the overall standards of Bangla-medium schools in the state system are significantly improved, we can hope for a unified education system. Raihan Hadi riazo: Thanks for reading my article and your kind feedback. I agree with a few things you have said. Have you on the other hand thought of kids learning international standard subjects using Bangla terms for things they really don’t need to use in the outside world? Yes I do agree that they need to learn Bangladeshi history and literature and culture in a more Bengali environment with ample use of their mother tongue, but what’s the use of learning Biology in Bangla and explaining to someone from a foreign country what “shalokshongsleshon” (photosynthesis) is for example? And as for religion, isn’t it better to get to know how different people follow their lives in terms of faith so that we don’t disrespect them somehow? Come on, it’s just like learning someone else’s culture and traditions, rather than teaching kids complex scientific formulas from childhood. Wouldn’t it be more fun for them to learn more

about the different kinds of people they will meet when they grow up? Sorry, probably rambling on too much now. :p Have a great day! riazo Raihan Hadi: I fully agree that religious instruction in my mythical Bangla-only schools can be multi-religious where pupils learn about people of other faiths. I think that is a noble idea. Regarding scientific terms, there is no reason why English or Latin terms (for biology, chemistry, physics etc) cannot be used within Bangla articles/chapters and discussed as such by pupils and teachers. When I was a kid, I first went to a Bangla school and then an English school. I absolutely did not like the atmosphere in the latter where kids had to speak English all the time even amongst themselves and they were more interested in the history and geography of the prairies than of the country they lived in. They had nothing but contempt for Bangladesh and, needless to say, looked down upon me for having come from a Bangla school. This is absolutely unacceptable. I wish English-medium schools and madrasas are banned. I know that will not happen. So the government really needs to fully develop the state education system in Bangla so that these other types of schools will not be needed and go out of business. Sam I am leery of government mandates; let the parents decide which suits their children’s needs the better. But the author does make a good argument which is grounded in genuine concern and good logic, as opposed to the usual emotional rantings when this sensitive issue is discussed. Hope to see more writings from this author.

Khaleda’s charge framing not political March 20

Such shameless pretenses don’t fool everybody. The framing of Begum Khaleda Zia in this spurious case is nothing but a pure political smear campaign. The minister knows it, just hasn’t the scruples to admit it. One

Is India on the way to Modification? March 21

If Modi gets elected as the next PM of India, it could be the worst tragedy for that country. ND

New generation not interested in Pakistan March 23

Just like the young generation of the Geneva Camp, many Bangla-speaking people continue to live in Pakistan in such inhuman conditions. Please write about them. This is a nice article. Many thanks to the author. Shakil Ahmed

Landlord rapes tenant in Badda

March 23 Women and girls in Bangladesh are not considered human, but are used as disposable “lust objects.” It all starts with the preference of having a son and wrongly educating boys as superior beings! Vikram Khan

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Nothing positive is achieved by remarks which seek to rewrite history



SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Spirit (3) 3 Harbour town (4) 6 Shoal (4) 7 Young male (3) 9 Lure (4) 10 Monkey (3) 11 Spoken (4) 13 Bodies of water (5) 16 Dogma (5) 18 Burrowing animal (4) 19 Fuss (3) 20 Thailand’s former name (4) 21 Fly trap (3) 23 Small, secluded valley (4) 24 Level (4) 25 Garden tool (3)

DOWN 1 Insurgent (5) 2 Flying saucer (3) 4 Gem (4) 5 Make lace (3) 6 Prepared (5) 8 Country bumpkin (5) 9 Foundation (4) 12 Replenish (5) 14 Minute particle (4) 15 Fruit of the oak (5) 17 Furniture item (5) 18 Labyrinth (4) 20 Prosecute (3) 22 Self (3)


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








Op-Ed H



Sunday, March 30, 2014






Taking a toll


n Matthew Islam

t’s always a welcome move when there is an update to an archaic and outdated legal framework or policy for governance. By okaying Toll Policy 2014, the government has taken a step to acknowledge that it is high time that we transport our roads and highways infrastructure from 1851 – the last time our policies regarding road tolls were visited upon some 163 years ago – to the present era. A lot of our nation’s problems stem from the fact that we are willing to complain about how we are shortchanged in terms of the development of our national infrastructure, yet we never pay our taxes the way we should, and neither do we want to be an equal partner in our own astounding growth story as a nation. A brother-in-law of mine told me last week, paying tolls is a problem for those who don’t like paying taxes. That insight at least to me couldn’t be any truer.

Wanting to reduce national criticism and acquiescing as a result will be most tragic It’s a very real problem, and our thought process about shelling out reasonable money for services is a major impediment to our development. Reluctance is our real enemy. Yes, and bureaucracy hasn’t done us any favours either. The lack of a distinct vision and direction that would allow our roads to develop along with us has always been more of a patchwork job than a coherent canvas until now. Major visions regarding our national roads and highways network were last put in place during the Ershad regime. The Sheikh Hasina-led governments post-1/11 have indeed done some stellar work in the area, as a result of which they will continue to have a shield against attacks directed at their rule and legitimacy. Their performance and progress in areas such as this will keep them and us, the people, in

good stead for the foreseeable future. We need to encourage steps that are productive. Motorists now pay tolls in three highways, 50 ferry crossings, and some 61 bridges. That is a pittance compared to what wonders a small sum from those traversing our highways often can do for the country we live in. We need a steady flow of money to keep up infrastructure development at a fast pace and compete with the world and our neighbours, who are leaps and bounds ahead of us. Most countries around the world have toll roads and congestion charges that work wonders for their road maintenance and traffic. Taking tolls for the usage of roads to travel is not a new idea, it existed since 2,700 years ago. It’s never been popular, but it’s been effective and in the present-day scenario, it benefits us more than it does our rulers. There has always been outrage, and governments have generally always overlooked it.  Our draft toll policy, while too far-reaching for its own good in taxing rickshaws and CNGs, which need to be excluded, is very reasonable in other aspects and forward-thinking. Toll charges are set not to exceed a maximum of Tk1,000, that too for heavy cargo trucks, and in fact decrease dramatically in price for the rest of the 13 categories. As a business owner, I will for the sake of my country’s growth and wide reaching benefits to my business, accept that Tk1,000 charge, and as a citizen be more than okay to pay the Tk400 or so for my car to travel from Dhaka to Chittagong on the rare occasion that I make that trip. All you have to ensure to continue to have my future patronage is wide, world standard, non-congestive, well-maintained highways where the conditions on the road do not end up killing thousands every year.  It’s not as oppressive as some are making it out to be, and it certainly isn’t going to significantly drive up prices of goods and services like some critics are preaching. It’s revisable every few years, so we can change it. The new policy keeps any future changes and moves regarding the matter in the hand of the RHD, and as such, no cabinet approval or act of parliament is required going forward except that the pricing tiers have to be

A toll is worth it if it can reduce traffic congestion approved by the relevant ministry. That move will likely empower the RHD to cut the red tape and get straight to developing our networks. I am surprised that the roads for cities will continue to remain under our city corporations, as they have had a terrible track record for maintaining our city roads and should be punished for it. I would like to see the government hand over all roads to the purview of the RHD. I was, in light of the above, surprised how after announcing such a good policy overall, the government had to backtrack from its celebratory rhetoric the very next day into telling people that the policy was only for new roads and highways under development. Fortunately for us, the draft policy in its present form is far more wide-reaching and was envisioned to ensure that the entire network of roads were taxable. The government must


have been conducting research on climate change adaptation of multinational corporations over the last three years. As a part of my research, I interviewed research participants from the government, NGOs, and certain private sectors in Bangladesh. At one point of the interview process, one of my interviewees started interviewing me regarding my understanding of climate change impacts in Bangladesh rather than answering my questions. I felt my interviewee’s disrespect toward me regarding my understanding of the subject while I was exploring the adaptation to those so-called impacts. My analytical interviewee provided me with an important perspective, saying: “Nowadays, everyone is jumping on the climate change bandwagon … I am not a sceptic but we are following a dangerous path of convicting others while totally ignoring our own duties. Take for example the infrastructure development, which turned natural hazards into disasters. A few years ago, we linked our drought, flood, salinity to India’s unilateral withdrawal of water at Farakka Barrage, but now those things are linked to climate change as if Farakka Barrage does not exist anymore and India does not have any role in making our climate change adaptation more difficult.” His disrespect had resulted from the understanding that I was one of those who had jumped on the “climate change bandwagon” and started to conduct a climate change adaptation research without understanding the main reasons behind the impacts. I convinced my interviewee that one of my goals is to gather alternative perspectives through my research which interviewees like him could provide. I had earned back his respect. As I observe, climate change and its impacts have extensively been discussed in Bangladesh over the last six years. Release of the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and subsequently the 13th Conference of Parties in 2007,

provided the momentum to that extensive discussion. Since then, there has been a growing tendency in Bangladesh to link natural hazards like flood, drought, and saline water intrusion to climate change because of rainfall anomalies, increased temperature, and the rising sea level. However, it was previously widely discussed and agreed in Bangladesh that unilateral and arbitrary withdrawal and release of Ganges water by India at the Farakka Barrage are to blame for the sudden and massive floods, drought, and increased salinity in Bangladesh. Therefore, when climate change suddenly overshadows the existence of Farakka Barrage, or how India tries to control the rivers upstream, people like my interviewee become curious about the intentions of those who do not highlight the role of upper riparian countries behind the natural hazards in Bangladesh.       

The government must acknowledge the importance of the shared water of Ganges While Bangladesh is termed as one of the most vulnerable countries due to climate change at the moment, we observe that the normative discussion highlights the historical and future responsibilities of developed and advanced developing countries in changing the climate. Along with climate change adaptation at different levels, it is generally argued that high-emitting countries should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to keep climate change adaptation feasible and manageable for countries like Bangladesh. However, as we can see from Bangladesh’s experience, such a common argument often under emphasises the responsibility of upper riparian countries like India when their self-interested trans-boundary river management

remain steadfast, despite criticism, and do what’s necessary. Wanting to reduce national criticism and acquiescing as a result, on the grander vision proposed in the draft policy, will be most tragic. Let us not be apologetic about the need for this.

up (easier said than done). To have forward thinking toll collection methods so as to not make the entire process cumbersome and counter-productive. I hope there is a digitisation of toll collection, the numbers of which are published every quarter, and that we

Our thought process about shelling out reasonable money for services is a major impediment to our development

What will make the entire process of toll collection and contracts awarded fully transparent and easily monitored? To not allow corruption and stealing in the process of setting this

use an open system of e-tendering. It is our duty and that of the media to highlight favouritism and manipulation as and when we see it. That all decisions taken by the RHD are beyond

reproach of mysterious awards. That is the biggest challenge, and that is where, like most forward thinking Bangladeshi policies, we fail to live up to the people’s aspirations. The prime minister must understand and recognise how this policy and its implementation will require her constant attention going forward, that lip service paid to the matter won’t be enough, and that her government must see it through. Substantively, this could be her government’s single most important game-changing policy. We, the people, must also do our part and pay up for the implementation of a vision that is far more real and patriotic than singing our national anthem in record numbers. l Matthew Islam is a Barrister-at-Law, a textile businessman and a columnist at the Dhaka Tribune. He can be contacted on twitter via @matthewislam.

Communicate with patience

Is it climate change? n Md Khalid Hossain


further fuels natural hazards in low riparian countries like Bangladesh that are already affected by climate change impacts. Ironically, the interests of India are often linked to their country-specific climate change adaptation process. Due to this paradox, existing trans-boundary river management may be conducive to national climate change adaptation of India and not to regional climate change adaptation, which includes Bangladesh. I have found that critical uncertainty has been evolved in terms of functional climate change adaptation due to faulty attribution of all natural hazards to climate change while ignoring some other significant reasons. However, I think such a faulty attribution by the Bangladeshi government or any other group and any related relief of the Indian government would be unsustainable in the long run. Based on the predictions and opinions of experts, it could be argued that India’s stability would be challenged due to the adverse impacts of both climate change and trans-boundary river management in Bangladesh. Therefore, in Bangladesh, whenever we face intense natural hazards, we need to ask the question – “climate change or not?” – to explore the reasons behind the hazards. The government of Bangladesh must acknowledge the importance of the shared water of Ganges and other rivers on social, political, environmental, and economic conditions of the country and pursue a regional climate change adaptation approach with support from India. This regional climate change adaptation approach should integrate concerns related to both trans-boundary river management and climate change and leave no room for ambiguity. Through this regional approach, the governments of both Bangladesh and India can ensure effective adaptation to climate change as well as a conflict-free and secure South Asia. l Khalid Hossain is a Bangladeshi PhD researcher at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He has worked as the campaign coordinator at Oxfam and as an international trade analyst. This article was previously established in the blog

n MH Bari


hat is going on in our society? There is disorder and anomalies everywhere. There are lots of complaints that we are not giving proper attention to each other. Wives are not listening to their husbands and husbands are not listening to their wives; sons are not listening to their fathers and daughters are not listening to their mothers; students are not listening to their teachers; subordinates are not listening to their bosses and bosses are not listening to their subordinates! These sorts of communication problems are arising in our society every day, and are creating manifold problems that could be avoided if we could attend to the matter at hand with some amount of patience. Let me illustrate using a personal anecdote. My cousin was suffering from various health complexities and doctors were presuming that his liver might be infected. As a result, we made an appointment with a reputed liver specialist and had my cousin admitted under him in a private clinic. To our utter disgust, the specialist never paid any attention to us, or even to the patient. We were just residing in the clinic and the consultant was visiting the patient, instructing various tests to be conducted. He could not diagnose anything even 14 days later. We were unable to talk to him freely. My nephew, who is also a doctor, just wanted to know from him what his thoughts were about the patient and his condition. In reply, the consultant shouted that he was too inexperienced to comprehend that. I don’t understand how a doctor will diagnose the disease without knowing anything from the patient. Is a doctor capable of reading our minds? We decided to travel to India for my cousin’s treatment after our futile attempts to know anything from the doctor here. The environment was quite different in India. Doctors listen to their patients

very attentively and brief attendants very clearly about the diagnosis and were fairly prompt in being able to diagnose the disease. Turns out, my cousin was suffering from pancreatic cancer. Another one: One of my relatives needs bail from the High Court for avoiding police harassment on a baseless and unfounded case. We made an appointment with a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court and handed over to him all the relevant papers in support of our plea. It was very funny that he did not feel it necessary to talk with the victim to know anything in favour of his submissions. We tried to brief him but he was not interested in hearing us.

full attention to us, he realised his errors and assured us that he would not interfere in that case anymore. My question is: Why had he done such a thing without hearing out the matters from the other side? We are in thrall to the police, and as a result are presumed guilty and are forced to plead unnecessarily to prove our innocence. Police arrested an A level student while he was returning home from his tutor’s place, on suspicion that he had been involved with a kidnapping case. It was to our utter surprise that this boy could be accused of such a heinous crime. We rushed to the police station after having been informed and met the officer-in-

Communication problems could be avoided if we could attend to the matter at hand with some amount of patience

On the day of filing his complaints, he called us and wanted to know this and that, and ultimately he could not file his petition on that day whereas he could have done it if he had listened to us on the first day. He could not hear the petition for want of time on the next hearing day. Now realise what the condition of an innocent person is. He cannot move freely, he cannot sleep in his bed, he has to pass his days in fear of unnecessary police harassment, and so on. His blood sugar is increasing along with his blood pressure. What will happen on each successive day, only God knows. By instruction of our local MP, police accepted an FIR, which was totally false and fabricated, even though police usually can not accept such information. We met our local MP, who is a bureaucrat-turned-politician, and asked him why he did it. After paying

charge, asking him to hear us out. We even assured him that we would not take the accused back if even the slightest trace of his involvement was found. Of course, the OC didn’t listen to us, but instead threatened us with consequences. These are some examples that I personally witnessed. It is my conjecture that millions of such cases are happening and remain unnoticed. Why we are not paying attention to the facts? There are serious shortcomings in every facet of life in this country. It is about time that the silent majority stood up to the bullies and said “enough is enough.” We hope our politicians, doctors, lawyers, law enforcers, and bureaucrats will look into the matters seriously. l MH Bari works in the global marketing of seafood from Bangladesh.




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Murad on his brutal army officer character in Shongram n Hasan Mansoor Chatak Arman Parvez Murad is a popular actor who got National Film Award-2006 for acting in the film Ghani and celebrated among fans for his polished acting in films including Bachelor, Khelaghor , Priyotomeshu, Rabeya and Amar Bondhu Rashed. Recently, Murad played a villainous role in the film Shongram, released on Friday, as Major Iftikhar, a notorious Pakistani army officer who tortures brutally the pro-liberation Bangladeshi. Dhaka Tribune caught up with the actor on his recent ventures and many more.

A group dance recital at the programme organised by Rabindra Sangeet Sammilan Parishad on the premises of Rabindra Sarobar yesterday. The show was arranged to celebrate the exquisiteness of the season Spring SADIA MARIUM


Close To You Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm Goethe Institut Bangladesh, Road 9(new), House 10, Dhanmondi R/A


Solo Sculpture Exhibition

Dhaka Art Center, House-60, Road-7A Dhanmondi

By Hamiduzzaman Khan Time: 10am – 8pm Athena Gallery of Fine Arts, Progoti Shoroni, Uttar Badda


Water | Ink | Paper- sketches of Japan 1996 By Salauddin Ahmed Time: 3pm – 8pm

Documentary Festival By Documenting Bangladesh 5 Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm Main Auditorum, National Museum, Shahbagh

As you never acted in a negative role before, how challenging was it to portray the role of Major Iftikhar? Actually the character was not that much challenging to me as I considered the character as simply acting, not as positive or negative role. Though, the character of Pakistani army is not so easy and my dialogue in the film was limited. I had to portray the character with outlook, gesture and voice. I think I succeeded in my job as when a character like the Pakistani army officer enters in the Bengali film’s screen he gets only slang and boo but in my turn I got applaud from the audience at the premiere of the film. What do you expect from the audience about the film, Shongram? International cast and crew wholeheartedly worked in the film. Director Munsur Ali did a tremendous job and I give my cent percent effort to portray the character. I think the audience will accept the film positively.

to be in the character apart from shooting.

What preparations did you take to portray the character in the film? I did some improvisation on my voice to suit the harshness of a brutal army office. Rather, I used

Tell us about your recent ventures. Recently I am busy with working on a television series titled Shodh and another single-episode play Malyodan. l

Photos from Kurt Cobain death probe released

Peya hosts traveling show

n Entertainment Desk

n Entertainment Desk From ramp to reel, Jannatul Ferdoush Peya came to the limelight in the movie Chorabali. Simultaneously working for three flicks including The Story of Samara, Gangster Returns and Probashir Bhalobasha, Peya has recently signed for hosting a traveling show Holiday Planner. Directed by Shahriar Shakil, the show will feature world famous holiday spots including Sri Lanka and Seychelles. Peya left Dhaka last week to shoot for the spots. The first episode which features Seychelles will showcase idyllic location where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their honeymoon. While exploring these exotic spots, Peya will give heads up to the viewers to travel in the city. After her arrival on March 31 in Bangladesh, the diva will visit South Africa. l

Chondraboti airs tonight n Entertainment Desk Drama series Chondraboti will air at 8:25pm tonight on Channel 9. Popular TV actors Jayanto Chattopadhyay, Hasan Imam, Suborna Mustafa, Bonnya Mirza, Saberi Alam, Shahed Sharif Khan, Maznun Mizan and many more stars can be seen in the drama. The series is about the frauds commonly done by the pirs, influential people who are believed to have supernatural power to solve different kind of physical and psychological problems. Set in the backdrop of a village, the story of the drama series revolves around pir Fazlu who is very popular with the villagers. Fazlu has a daughter named Chondraboti who is also very clever and smart, and the youngsters of the village have special interest in her. One day, a girl from a different village comes to seek help from Fazlu and eventually someone rapes her. Police come to investigate the case and Fazlu and his assistants fall into deep trouble. A young doctor named Kamal comes to the village and the fate of Fazlu becomes more uncertain. The story moves on with different snags in the life of Fazlu and his family. l

What makes you sign for a character? Before signing a film I don’t think first whether the role is positive or negative rather I think what space I will get from the character. Any character which offers space to the actor, I grab it.

Farah Ruma and Milon pair up n Entertainment Desk Anisur Rahman Milon is working for a drama Shaat Shomudro Tero Nodi, pairing up with Farah Ruma. Written by Matia Banu Shuku and directed by Zubair Bin Bokor, the drama revolves around a young man Tahsin and a lady Tania who are neighbours. Both are good friends, but end up discovering that they have a strong feelings for each other. After his success on the small screen, Anisur Rahman Milon is seen regularly on silver screen. But whenever he receives a good script of small screens, he gets back to his old days and gets ready to gear up for the role. “A well written story, the

director Zubair Bin Bokor is giving his best input in this drama,” said Milon. Farah said: “I always prefer a good script and I feel I fit the roll for this drama.” Milon and Farah both worked for Gauro Chandrika directed by Shahiduzzaman Selim. Two years back, Milon and Farah worked in a drama titled Jot directed by Matia Banu Shuku. After that they both have seen working together in a good number of dramas. Milon will start shooting for his upcoming film One Way very soon. Recently he completed his shooting for Prem Korbo Tomar Shathe. On the other hand, Farah is mostly seen working for single-episode TV plays. l

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has released 35 never-before-seen pictures from the death investigation of Kurt Cobain, the rock legend and front-man for the band Nirvana who was found dead in his Seattle-area home in April 1994. The photographs taken at the scene almost 20 years ago by responding SPD officers remained undeveloped until recently. Last week, the department announced it had developed the film as part of a re-examination of the rock superstar’s death investigation, first reported by CBS affiliate KIRO-TV. For the first time, a number of the photos show exactly how Cobain left what police say was a suicide note. It was on top of a planter in the greenhouse with a pen stuck through the center of the note. Although a copy of the note has been previously released, these photos of its placement in the greenhouse have not been. Other photos depict the scene where Cobain’s body was found: a sparse greenhouse room above a detached garage, with one stool as the lone piece of furniture. There are pictures of Cobain’s heroin kit authorities say was found at the scene, complete with syringes and other paraphernalia kept in a cigar box. Another photo shows Cobain’s wallet from which police removed his Washington State drivers license. A cigarette lighter, a pack of cigarettes, a winter hat, cigarette butts, and sunglasses lie on the floor strewn around his heroin kit. There are also photos of officers, detectives and supervisors securing the scene, and making a telephone call on an obsolete 1990s cell phone. Some photos also show where police covered the glass doors to keep out the prying eyes of gawkers and the media as the news got out that the pop culture icon was found dead. l

Kangana gearing up with Revolver Rani n Entertainment Desk After impressing fans with her applauding performance in the movie Queen, Kangna Ranaut is all set with upcoming movie Revolver Rani. The film is a satirical and unusual love story set against the back drop of politics. Kangna Ranaut plays Alka Gujjar (as Revolver Rani), the leader of a political party, and Vir Das plays her lover-boy Rohan Mehra, a rising star of Bollywood. Even before you see anyone on the screen, Kangana says, “Hum Hain Alka Singh. I louve phasion, phun aur gun. (I am Alka Singh and I love fashion, fun and gun.)” There is an overdose of rural language in the trailer but Kangana pulls it off well and makes it a realistic experience. However, the trailer looks unnecessarily high on expletives. Kangana, nonetheless emerges as an authentic and believable character. Revolver Rani is slated for release on April 25. Talking about her preparation for the role, Kangana said, “I have been taking lesson on how to use a revolver. My trainer is teaching me how to hold it right, how to aim and load it. It’s nice. Pistols are okay, but I didn’t expect revolvers to be so heavy.” l

Payer Awaj Pawa Jay by Theatre (Baily Road) was staged on April 28 at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy QUAMRUL ABEDIN

Did you know? New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum yesterday created history by becoming the first batsman to cross 2,000run mark in Twenty20 Internationals


Familiar foes eye first win Bangladesh will be looking forward to seal their maiden World Twenty20 win when they take on their familiar foe India in their third Group B match at the Sylhet International Stadium today afternoon. Both the sub-continental sides will take the field with the bitter experience of losing their opening two games and there is very slight hope that either of the team would make it to the next stage. Bangladesh lost three consecutive T20 warm-up matches against India recently and to improve the record they must ensure a better batting display. The performance of the home side in the bowling and fielding has been satisfactory with spinners Salma Khatun and Khadiza tul Kubra leading from the front. Bangladesh coach Shane Deitz wants his team not to repeat the mistakes they have done during their defeats against India in the warm-ups and the Australian said, “We will try to rectify our mistakes we have done against India and put up a good performance today.” Meanwhile Bangladesh pacer Jaharana Alam said, “We will play our natural game and try to utilize the powerplay so that we could put a decent total. We are practicing hard to improve our batting and hopefully it will click.” l

Sunday, March 30, 2014

14 Rooney bails

Moyes out after plane protest

going through. “We didn’t perform well in the last two games so confidence is slightly less than before. But this is the beauty of T20s, you can turn around any time. I don’t think any team can actually predict that they will win,” said Shakib at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

in Miami final after walkovers

Kiwis well on track A Brendon McCullum thrust with the bat kept New Zealand on track for the semis from Group 1 after they beat Netherlands by six wickets in the World Twenty20 Super 10s at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday. Chasing 152 runs, Ross Taylor’s dismissal in the 14th over to break the 32run 3rd wicket stand with McCullum put New Zealand in a spot of bother as they required 56 off 36 balls. But McCullum’s constant boundary-finding tendency ensured the Black Caps a smooth sail to the shore. McCullum played a captain’s knock putting up 65 off 45 balls and went past 2000 runs in T20Is before he was removed by Timm Van Der Gugten in the 17th over. The 13th T20 fifty for the right-handed included four fours and three sixes. New Zealand needed seven off the last 12 balls and three singles and two doubles between Jimmy Neesham and Corey Anderson sealed the win in the 19th over. Kiwi fast bowler Trent Boult, who played his first game yesterday, informed of their desire to win and said, “We knew we could deliver but it wasn’t a guaranteed win, we needed to play well, they’re a quality side the

Dutch, they’ve shown they’re a quality cricketing nation, we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy-beat win, we knew we had to deliver. A lot of the players stood up and contributed and got us that win in the end.” Dutch medium-pacer Van der Gugten bagged three wicket out off team’s four as he received no real support from other bowlers. Earlier, Netherlands were impressive against a strict Kiwi bowling and their aggression and intent was clear in their 151 for four, their highest score in the second phase of the tournament. Dutch skipper Peter Borren led from the front making a 35-ball 49 and he also added 60 off 35 for the 4th wicket with hard-hitter Tom Cooper. Kiwi pacer Kyle Mills removed Borren a run away from his maiden T20 half century after the right-handed batsman shoveled the ball straight into the hands of Kane Williamson at point in the 18th over. Cooper remained in the middle till the end and added 40 off 23 balls hitting four boundaries and two sixes. Opener Micheal Swart scored a run-aball 26 with three sixes. Netherlands are yet to win a game and the Associate side’s skipper during the post match conference said their journey so far had positives to it and that the side still looks forward to the aim of picking at least one win against a Test nation – in their last game. l

Calculations still have Bangladesh on a slim path to the last four and Shakib said, “Mathematically, we probably still have a chance for a semifinal place. But it will be difficult for us to reach that phase by winning two games. So at this moment, the pressure is off. We are hoping that it would give us the confidence of playing our natural game.” The 27-year-old, who survived three deliveries in the last two games, hinted his promotion in the batting order and also said their main target was to qualify for the Super 10. “I don’t think many people expected us to play in the semifinals, but we have reached the Super 10s which was our target. We are focusing on winning

both upcoming games. “If we can beat one of the two big sides at this stage, you can call it an okay tournament for us. When we did poorly, we made it quite worse. We should have played better, been more consistent,” he added. Meanwhile, Anamul Haque has been the only consistent host batsman in the tournament scoring 166 runs in five matches. He passed 40 in four occasions, but failed to convert it to a bigger score and he informed, “I am not looking at my own runs. The team could have had a bigger score had I converted my 40 into a 70. I think the batsman who’s scoring, has to take the responsibility. I think I should be doing that.”

Power failure disrupting the proceedings of ICC World Twenty20 continued to haunt the cricket extravaganza as South Africa-England match went through unwanted stoppage twice at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (ZACS) yesterday.   The lights of the North West tower went out twice during the Super 10s game yesterday. The first time the game got interrupted was at 1.5 overs, barring the action for 10 minutes. The game resumed but only to get interrupted once again at 7.3 overs delaying the progress for another 10 minutes.   Power failure had marked the beginning of the world event after the lights went out during the practice game between Afghanistan and Netherlands at the same venue on March 12. The warmup game was also disrupted twice as the floodlights went off after an unexpected

15 Siddikur shines

as Asia stage ‘miracle’ fightback


Fall of wickets 1-34 (Myburgh), 2-42 (Barresi), 3-81 (Swart), 4-141 (Borren) Bowling Mills 3-0-20-1, Boult 4-0-25-1 (1nb), Anderson 2-0-19-0 (1w), N. McCullum 4-0-20-1, McClenaghan 4-0-29-1 (1w), Williamson 1-0-17-0, Neesham 2-0-9-0 New Zealand M. Guptill c Barresi b Gugten 9 K. Williamson c Barresi b van Beek 29 B. McCullum c Bukhari b Gugten 65 R. Taylor c Barresi b Gugten 18 C. Anderson not out 20 J. Neesham not out 7 Extras: (lb2, w2) 4 Total: (for four wkts; 19 overs) 152

New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum plays a shot during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament cricket match against Netherlands at ZACS yesterday AFP

On the other hand, Pakistan will be looking to win their last two matches and advance to the semi final to keep their record of reaching all World T20 semis intact. Skipper Mohammad Hafeez informed that they can’t afford to make any mistake at this point of time. “The picture is very much clear in front of us. We have to win each and every game, but we will take it one at a time. We all know as a team that we can’t make any mistakes. We are ready for tomorrow’s game. In the last game, we pulled through a tough situation. Everyone showed great character, which helped us cross the line. It is a great sign for the team,” said Hafeez. l

Power disrupts again at ZACS power failure which delayed Netherlands’ innings for at least 20 minutes before their reply to Afghanistan’s 1507. The Dutch were given a revised target of 122 runs in 15 overs, which, however, they failed to achieve. On March 24, power disturbance materialised during the second round game between Sri Lanka and Netherlands. The game was stopped for 11 minutes owing to insufficient light which was duly criticised in some quarters. These failures made ICC (International Cricket Council) ask the LOC (local organizing committee) use generators for the flood lights rather than using the power from the national grid. But this move had also failed after the lights of the North-West tower went out during the South Africa-England game.  One of the officials on duty with the generators informed that the disruption was caused after circuit breaker of the generator tripped off. 


The Netherlands S. Myburgh c Guptill b Boult 16 M. Swart st Ronchi b N. McCullum 26 W. Barresi c Ronchi b McClenaghan 4 P. Borren c Williamson b Mills 49 T. Cooper not out 40 B. Cooper not out 1 Extras: (b8, lb4, nb1, w2) 15 Total: (for four wkts; 20 overs) 151

Pressure is off, says Shakib Twenty20 is a short game and Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan said they still have a chance to turn around from the latest debacle they are

14 Nadal-Djokovic


“It was taken care of right away but the lights take at least 10 minutes to burn in full,” informed the official who requested for anonymity. BCB influential director AZM Nasir and venue chairman of ZACS informed that all the lights are powered with generators since March 27 as per ICC demanded.  “We took their (ICC) demand into account and were running the lights with generators but we still faced problem. There wasn’t much to be done this issue to be honest,” said Nasir.    “Earlier we used the line from the Power Development Board and kept the generators for back-up, but from now on the games will be totally dependent on the generators,” Nasir added. It was learnt the former national cricketers and current BCB director Akram Khan and chief selector Faruque Ahmed’s firm provided the generators. l

Fall of wickets 1-14 (Guptill), 2-56 (Williamson), 3-88 (Taylor), 4-134 (B. McCullum) Bowling Swart 1-0-6-0 (1w), Gugten 4-0-30-3, Bukhari 4-0-31-0 (1w), Malik 4-0-43-0, Borren 2-0-10-0, Seelaar 2-0-16-0, van Beek 2-0-14-1 New Zealand won by six wickets

Australia, India in dead rubber? Australia will be taking on the mighty Indians in the night game today, but their eyes will be glued in the afternoon match between Bangladesh and Pakistan as if the hosts don’t beat Pakistan, Australia, who have lost two close matches out of two, will be out of the tournament, turning their remaining fixtures a dead rubber. “I think we under-clubbed with the bat in both games to be perfectly honest. And our match awareness has got to improve in this format. In this tournament, this format you can’t afford to learn, you’ve got to win,” said Australian coach Darren Lehman. The Aussies were exposed to spin in both games but Lehman thought more than that the batsmen gifted their wickets. It will be a big test against India who have so far cashed in on their spinners. “(Spin) not a weakness, because certainly spinners didn’t get us out - we got ourselves out. So we’ve certainly got some work to do in that area. “We’re lucky enough that we’ve played some decent one-day cricket against India, in India, not too long ago in October. So we know them very well, and they know us very well. It’s going to be a great challenge four our batters and bowlers to put a complete performance together,” he added. The four-time 50-over World Cup champions are yet to bag a World Twenty20 title and despite a terrific summer, the disappointment remains in the shortest format. “Very much so because we had played pretty good Twenty20 cricket obviously at home and then in South Africa just before we came here,” said the former Australian cricketer. “It’s a good learning curve

but as I said you’ve got to win those games. We have got to be on the mark each and every time, especially in this knock-out format.” Meanwhile India who have already secured a last four spot can afford to tinker with their playing XI. It will also be interesting to see whether MS Dhoni opts to bat first, if he wins the toss. India so far has bowled in all matches and their spinners made sure to restrict their opponents below 140 in each game. Dew has been a big factor in the night games, and team winning the toss did not hesitate to bowl first especially with the spin friendly wickets around. Indian off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said Australia are a good side and they won’t be taking them lightly. “I don’t want to comment on what they’ll be doing. Everybody’s comfortable doing what they want. In terms of that they’re a quality side. They’re a side any team will be threatened by. They have some quality batters and really quick bowlers,” said Ashwin. Amit Mishra has come out and served India brilliantly in the bowling department and Ashwin praised his partner and said, “As a combination, every bowling unit benefits from each other’s success and bowling strengths. Amit has been one of our potent forces in this tournament. We’ve been using him in all the situations where they actually have to go for it.” Asked if India would like to try batting first, Ashwin said, “I wouldn’t want to swim a tsunami. I wouldn’t want to challenge conditions. If we win the toss, we’ll again bowl first if that is what is required. You’ll be fighting against a wall if you’re fighting against conditions.” l

Waldron prefers cricket over football, hockey Mary Waldron’s appearance in the field as wicketkeeper would draw anybody’s attention. Her unique style of wearing a baseball mask instead of the traditional helmet used by wicketkeepers is something which is not only unprecedented, but also a rare thing for a wicketkeeper. However, this is not the only distinctive feature by which one can separate the 29-year-old Irish wicketkeeper-batsman. Waldron also has the experience of playing as a striker in Uefa women’s Champions League qualifiers for an Irish football club named Raheny United. In fact, she was the captain of the club when it won a national championship in 2013.

“As far as my contribution, I played up front, scored a couple of goals. But playing in a World Cup took over, so I’m here,” Waldron said to Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Waldron must have been happy to give away football for a while to take the opportunity to play World Twenty20 cricket in Bangladesh as she scored her highest individual score in T20Is when she scored 33 against South Africa yesterday. When asked what would be her choice if she ever has to pick one sport, Waldron went for cricket without a moment of hesitation and said, “Definitely cricket, no choice there. The opportunity to play in a World Cup is amazing. You never know what’s going to happen in cricket. You could be on top of your game and you get a first-ball duck which is why it’s

such a good game.” Waldron has been involved in football since 2001 and it has not been that long since she took another path of playing cricket over football. “I had a friend in college from South Africa and she loved cricket and that’s how I started playing.The love for cricket grew with the time after I started playing cricket for Pembroke 8 years ago and from there progressed onto the Irish women’s cricket team” and now she spends“all the time in cricket,” she added. When the talk was about his baseball mask, Waldron gave a smile and explained how she started wearing it, “The usual helmet is too heavy and I do a lot of diving. It just wasn’t very comfortable. So I just took a look on the internet. I’ve worn it for about 4/5 years and it’s comfortable.”

Playing as a striker in football and as a wicketkeeper in cricket don’t go in parallel but according to Waldron, it is about ‘fitness and agility’ that brought the two things together. Her attachment with sports is not limited to cricket and football only. She also played hockey before taking up cricket finally. “I used to play hockey. Then over the years football took over and when I made it to Irish Women’s cricket team, cricket took over. It’s actually good for the hand-eye co-ordination,” said the multi-talented Irish who is also a quick leaner. It has just been weeks since she stepped into Bangladesh but while leaving the room after the press conference, the Irish talent smiled and said, “Dhonnobad.” l




Van Gaal to Spurs is ‘done’: Gullit Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has agreed to take over at Tottenham Hotspur next season, former Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit claimed on Saturday. Van Gaal, 62, is due to step down as Holland coach after this year’s World Cup and recently expressed an interest in working in England for the first time. Tottenham gave Tim Sherwood an 18-month contract as head coach in December, but Spurs’ struggle to challenge for a Champions League place has seen his position come under scrutiny. –AFP


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hamilton beats Vettel to take pole Former world champion Lewis Hamilton avoided crashes and shrugged off a torrential downpour to claim a British record-equalling 33rd pole position at a thrilling Malaysian Grand Prix qualifier on Saturday. In a session which had nearly an hour’s rain delay, and was twice suspended for crashes on the slippery Sepang circuit, the Mercedes driver came out on top ahead of surging world title-holder Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg will start Sunday’s race from third with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso fourth after surviving a collision with Daniil Kvyat. –AFP

Injured Bolt out until mid-June Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt, who has suffered a foot injury, will not race again until mid-June at the Ostrava meeting in the Czech Republic, his agent confirmed to AFP. “At the moment, we have confirmed the presence of Usain at Ostrava, Paris and Malmo. We will announce other dates soon,” said Ricky Simms. The Ostrava meeting takes place on June 17 with Paris on July 5 and Malmo on August 5. Despite the setback, Simms said that Bolt will still train from next week. –AFP

Palace stun leaders Chelsea

Barcelona edge Espanyol in Catalan derby n AFP, Madrid

Rooney brace lifts Man United

n AFP, london Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho admitted defeat in the Premier League title race after his side slumped to a shock 1-0 loss at relegation-threatened Crystal Palace on Saturday. A second-half own goal by Chelsea captain John Terry settled the game, condemning the leaders to a second defeat in three games and leaving them at risk of being overtaken by both Liverpool and Manchester City. Earlier, Wayne Rooney inspired Manchester United to come from behind and beat Villa 4-1 in a game that witnessed a fresh protest against United manager David Moyes. A small plane towing a banner that read ‘WRONG ONE - MOYES OUT’ flew over Old Trafford shortly after kickoff and the under-fire former Everton manager then saw his side fall behind to an Ashley Westwood free-kick. However, Rooney scored twice before half-time, with Juan Mata and Javier Hernandez adding further goals as the under-performing champions provisionally moved to within nine points of the Premier League’s top four. Elsewhere, Mats Moller Daehli

RESULTS Crystal Palace 10 Chelsea Terry 52-og Man United 41 Aston Villa Rooney 20, 45-pen, Westwood 13 Mata 57, Hernandez 90 Southampton 40 Newcastle Rodriguez 45, 89 Lambert 49, Lallana 70 Stoke 10 Hull Odemwingie 62 Swansea 30 Norwich De Guzman 30, 38, Routledge 75 West Brom 33 Cardiff Amalfitano 2, Mutch 30, Caulker 73 Dorrans 9, Thievy 90+4 Daehli 90+5 scored a 95th-minute equaliser as third-bottom Cardiff City prevented West Bromwich Albion from climbing six points clear of the relegation zone in a dramatic 3-3 draw at The Hawthorns. Swansea City eased their own relegation fears by winning 3-0 at home to Norwich City, thanks to a first-half Jonathan De Guzman brace and a second-half Wayne Routledge strike. Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez scored twice in a 4-0 win at home to Newcastle United, with England team-mates Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana also on target, while Peter Odemwingie gave Stoke City a 1-0 win over Hull City. l


A picture shows a banner that reads "Wrong one - Moyes out" against manager David Moyes towed by a plane hired by Manchester United supporters over Old Trafford during their EPL match against Aston Villa in Manchester yesterday AFP

Barcelona rounded off a fine week to move top of La Liga as they overcame stiff resistance from local rivals Espanyol to win 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Lionel Messi. The Argentine scored the only goal of the game 14 minutes from time at Cornella El Prat after Javi Lopez was adjudged to have handled inside the area. Espanyol were then reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Kiko Casilla saw a straight red card for blocking Messi’s goalbound effort with his hands outside the area. Victory moves Barca two points clear of Atletico Madrid and five ahead of Real Madrid with both sides from the capital in action later on Saturday against Athletic Bilbao and Rayo Vallecano respectively. “Derbies are always the same and you have to win them,” said a relieved Barca boss Gerardo Martino. “It doesn’t come easy and they are always tight games, for that reason this was a risky away game for us and we value the three points even more.” Barca now firmly have the destiny of the title in their own hands as they host Atletico on the final day of the season. However, the Argentine is taking nothing for granted after suffering a shock defeat to relegation threatened Valladolid earlier this month. l

Conte ‘relaxed’ ahead of Juve clash with Napoli Benitez slams Mourinho Leaders Juventus visit third-placed Napoli on Sunday without suspended striker Carlos Tevez but “relaxed”, according to coach Antonio Conte, ahead of a clash which could further underline his side’s virtual invincibility in Serie A. A 2-1 win over Parma on Wednesday thanks to a Tevez brace was Juve’s 15th consecutive win at home and restored their 14-point lead over Roma to bring a third consecutive title even closer to Turin. Tevez was cautioned during the win, meaning he will miss the trip to the San Paolo due to a one-match suspension.

But with several strikers at his disposal including Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, Sebastian Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella, Conte was not too concerned. “Carlos isn’t available but someone will take his place,” the Juve handler said. “We are feeling relaxed, especially after a win over an excellent Parma side.” For South American fans of Serie A, Tevez’s absence is regrettable as it would have pitted the Argentinian against compatriot Gonzalo Higuain. Despite sitting six points behind Roma, who also have a game in hand, Napoli believe they can fight their way into contention for runner-up spot and the second automatic Champions League qualifying place. Benitez began preparations for Sunday’s clash by resting Higuain and

several other players during a 4-2 win away to Catania on Wednesday when the Argentine’s deputy, Duvan Zapata, scored a brace. With one eye on Juve’s commitments elsewhere – they face Lyon away in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals on April 3 – Benitez says this weekend could signal a turnaround. Roma coach Rudi Garcia has likely taken note, but the Frenchman leads his side to struggling Sassuolo, who have lost nine of their last 11 encounters, looking for a fourth consecutive win. Sassuolo are one of a handful of sides, along with Catania, Livorno, Bologna and Chievo battling to beat the drop. The fight for European places, meanwhile, continues apace with a handful of sides all in contention for

the two Europa League spots awarded to the fourth and fifth place finishers. Fiorentina will have to be focused for a tricky trip away to resurgent Sampdoria.

FIXTURES Sassuolo Verona Lazio Sampdoria Torino Napoli

v v v v v v

Roma Genoa Parma Fiorentina Cagliari Juventus

Inter sit only one point ahead of Parma, who could move up to fifth with at least a draw away to Lazio on Sunday. Inter are not in action until Monday when they travel to Livorno. l

Napoli manager Rafael Benitez hit back at Jose Mourinho on Saturday after the Chelsea boss claimed his predecessor had presided over a poor season for the Premier League leaders. “Mourinho speaks a lot about a lot of people, but I prefer to talk about the facts. At Liverpool we eliminated his Chelsea from the Champions League with a team that cost half as much as his side,” Benitez told reporters ahead of Sunday’s clash with table topping Juventus (1845 GMT). “He had an extremely strong Real Madrid and never did anything in Europe. Maybe if they sell (Eden) Hazard and Oscar for hundreds of millions he will succeed in winning something,”

added the Spaniard, whose Chelsea side won the Europa League in 2013. As well as playing down Chelsea’s efforts under Benitez, former Inter and Real manager Mourinho also upset Juventus fans by saying a Europa League triumph by the Turin side would mean nothing. “Chelsea last year didn’t have a good season. They had problems qualifying for the Champions League and found themselves playing in the Europa with a team built for other objectives,” Mourinho had told reporters on Friday. “If Juventus win the Europa League it will mean nothing, as they were built for the Champions League.” Mourinho’s perceived attack on Juve caused Turin-based sport daily Tuttosport to tell Mourinho to “shut up” on their front page. l

Nadal-Djokovic in Miami final after walkovers

Martina Hingis hits a forehand next to partner Sabine Lisicki (not pictured) against Cara Black and Sania Mizra (both not pictured) during their women's doubles semi final at the Sony Open at Crandon Tennis Center on Friday. Hingis-Lisicki won 6-3, 6-4 AFP

Kaka could leave Milan for the US Brazilian playmaker Kaka, who is set to make his 300th appearance for AC Milan later on Saturday against Chievo Verona, may move to the United States later this year. “At the end of the season I will speak to (chief executive Adriano) Galliani to understand what his ideas and those of the club are,” Kaka told the Corriere Della Sera newspaper. “I would like to play in the United States and if I was to leave the club I would go to America.” Kaka returned to Milan in the close season after spending four years at Real Madrid. He has scored five league goals, including his 100th for the club. l

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic reached the final of the Miami ATP Masters without lifting their racquets on Friday after their semi-final foes Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori withdrew. The two semi-final walkovers were a first in ATP history, with Nishikori pulling out with a groin injury and Berdych felled by gastroenteritis. “I ran into Cliff Buchholz, who was the tournament director before me for many, many years,” tournament director Adam Barrett said. “He looked at me and said, ‘Adam, that’s never happened before. I think you just set a record.’ “I said, ‘Cliff, not a record I want to set.”

The bizarre turn of events nevertheless produced a predictable pair of finalists in world number one Nadal and number two Djokovic. Berdych, who received IV fluids in a futile attempt to be ready for his evening match against Nadal, was at a loss to explain how he became so ill. “Last night was basically the same as every other night. I ended up in the same restaurant, everything was fine,” he said. “I woke up at 7:30 in the morning with pain in my stomach. I am disappointed about not getting a chance to play,” he added. Nishikori withdrew after attempting to warm up for his earlier match against Djokovic, saying the left groin

injury hindered his movement too much to allow him to play. The injury ended Nishikori’s sparkling run at the hardcourt tournament – where he saved four match points en route to a fourth-round victory over world number five David Ferrer and then vanquished Swiss great Roger Federer in the quarter-finals. “For me it was my biggest tournament in a couple of years, to reach a semi-final of a Masters,” a dejected Nishikori said. “It’s really sad. I was really playing well.” Nadal, who has never lifted the Miami trophy, has three runner-up finishes on his resume, including a loss to Djokovic in a third-set tiebreaker in the

2011 title match, one of the three times Djokovic has won this title. The pair will be meeting for the first time this season. Nadal leads their career head-tohead 22-17, but Djokovic has won their last two encounters, in the finals in Beijing and at the ATP World Tour Finals. Djokovic, who beat Federer for the Indian Wells Masters title two weeks ago, is bidding to complete the tough Indian Wells-Miami double for the second time after accomplishing the feat in 2011. The Serbian received two free passes in his progress to the final. He also advanced to the fourth round on a walkover after third-round opponent Florian Mayer withdrew from their third-round match with a groin injury. l

Rodgers relaxed as Liverpool eye title PSG edge past Nice Brendan Rodgers insists there is no pressure on his Liverpool team as they look to continue their push for the Premier League title against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday. Liverpool have been dark horses in the title race but have given themselves a real chance of securing their first top-flight championship for 24 years thanks to a run of seven straight league wins. That has left them in second place, just a point behind leaders Chelsea ahead of Saturday’s fixtures, with home games to come against Chelsea and fellow challengers Manchester City

before the end of the season. But Rodgers suggests Tottenham, who are struggling to secure a top-four finish and a Champions League place, are perhaps the ones with more to lose. “The players are very relaxed and focused,” said the Liverpool manager. “There is no expectation on us being where we are and there is certainly no pressure from ourselves. “I suppose the likes of Tottenham would maybe have been a team that was looking challenge to for the league this season. When you spend around £100 million ($166m, 121m euros) on players, it’s a group that was to set up to challenge. “There’s no pressure on us and we have shown over the course of the season that we are playing with no fear.”

“We are at Anfield and we expect to win at Anfield, no matter who we play,” he added. Meanwhile Tim Sherwood wants his Tottenham team to take advantage if Liverpool are hit with another bout of the championship jitters. And with Tottenham needing a win at Anfield to keep their Champions League hopes alive, Sherwood said: “It just boils down to whether Liverpool can cope in the run-in because it is nothing like anything else. “I know that myself from doing it. At one stage we were 12 points clear with a game in hand when we won the title. “We managed to scrape through at the last. We were shot and we managed to get over the line. It will be very interesting to see how they cope with it.” l

PSG forward Cavani celebrates after scoring against Nice on Friday AFP

Paris Saint-Germain warmed up for their Champions League showdown with Chelsea by recording a narrow 1-0 win at Nice on Friday that took them another step closer to the Ligue 1 title. For the second week in a row, the reigning French champions were some way short of their flowing best, but a solitary second-half goal, credited as an own goal by Nice full-back Timothee Kolodziejczak, saw them to victory by the same score as at Lorient seven days earlier. PSG’s club record-breaking sequence of consecutive wins now stretches to nine and they have also gone five straight matches without conceding a goal in Ligue 1 as they open up a provisional 13-point lead at the top of the table over Monaco, who visit Evian on Saturday. l



SA sneak through, Eng barely alive


Russell pitted in Group A of AFC President’s Cup Bangladesh Premier League champion Sheikh Russell Krira Chakra will have to pit their wits against Sri Lanka Air Force SC, KRL Football Club of Pakistan and and Ugyen Academy FC of Bhutan in group A of the AFC Presidents Cup scheduled to be held at Colombo, Sri Lanka in the first week of May next. Commenting upon the group Sheikh Russell coach Maruful Haque thought Russell have the firepower to move ahead. “I have every hope that if my team plays to its potential, it will move to the second round of the meet. As far as I know the matches would have to be finished within May 12. The hosts will finalize the dates accordingly,” said Maruf. Dhaka giants Abahani Ltd has featured in the AFC President’s Cup on five occasions till date but has never qualified for the second round. –RM

Uddin Khan n Minhaz from Chittagong

Sharif wins Blazer BD Rapid Chess title Md. Sharif Hossain of Titas Club emerged as the unbeaten champion with 6.5 points in the Blazer BD International Rapid Rating Chess Tournament held in the Bangladesh Chess Federation hall-room yesterday. Four players earned 6 points each and their positions were decided by tie-breakers. FM Mohammad Javed finished as the runner-up. FM Md. Saif Uddin secured the 3rd position while FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman finished 4th. Syed Shahed Reza, the secretary general of Bangladesh Olympic Association distributed prizes among the winners as the chief guest. A total 91 players including 1 international master, 4 FIDE masters and 1 international woman master participated in the event. The event was held according to the Swiss-League system and the prize money was given to the winners. –RM

Sumita wins gold in 16-18 years category Sumita won the gold medal in the 16-18 years category in the Independence Day Karate organized by Bangladesh Karate Federation at the National Sports Council gymnasium yesterday. Rahul clinched the gold in the 8-10 years Kumi category, Naimul Islam Niazi grabbed the gold in the 10-12 years kata (boys’) category while girls’ category gold was won by Klathmit. State minister for Water Resources Ministry Lt. Col. (rtd) Nazrul Islam Hiru inaugurated the meet as the chief guest. Shivnath Roy, the secretary of National Sports Council was the special guest. Md. Mokhlesur Rahman, the director general of RAB and the federation president presided over the program. –RM

South Africa batsman AB de Villiers plays a shot during their ICC World Twenty20 match against England at ZACS yesterday AFP

Team Asia pulled off a stirring comeback in the final round of the inaugural EurAsia Cup to snatch a share of the trophy by taking six of 10 singles matches played yesterday. After securing one full point with his Indian partner Anirban Lahiri in the Friday’s foursome round, Siddikur Rahman sparkled with his clubs once again yesterday when the Bangladesh star golfer crashed his Scottish opponent Stephen Gallacher 4 and 3 in the singles battle. It was one of the biggest victories in the final round and that one point eventually gave Team Asia a lead for the first time in the tournament. Meanwhile, The spectacular collapse of Team Europe, who entered the final day singles matches 7-3 up, was totally unexpected, despite Asia’s marvellous fightback on the second day after a 5-0 thrashing in the four-

balls on Thursday. It had echoes of Europe’s “Miracle of Medinah” at the last Ryder Cup in 2012 when they fought back from 10-6 down

Overall Result Team Europe 10-10 Team Asia

Thursday’s Fourball Result Team Europe 5-0 Team Asia

Friday’s Foursome Result Team Europe 2-3 Team Asia

Yesterday’s Singles Result Team Europe 3-7 Team Asia Jimenez bt Fung 1 hole; Mcdowell lost to Jaidee 3 & 2; Bjorn Lost to Aphibarnrat 2 & 1; Donaldson & Marksaeng halved; Larrazabal lost to Hyung-Sung 4 & 2; Dubuisson lost to Lahiri 2 & 1; Olesen lost to Bhullar 4 & 3; Luiten bt Oda 1-Hole; Fdez-Castano & Tanihara halved; Gallacher lost to Siddikur 4 & 3.

ICC World T20 2014 3:30PM Pakistan v Bangladesh 7:30PM India v Australia Star Sports 4 1:45PM Malaysian Grand Prix Main Race English Premier League 6:30PM Fulham v Everton 9:00PM Liverpool v Tottenham Star Sports 2 7:00PM Italian Serie A Lazio v Parma La Liga 9:00PM Osasuna v Real Sociedad 11:00PM Villarreal v Elche 1:00AM Valencia v Getafe

on the final day to beat the Americans 14.5-13.5. None epitomised Asia’s desire more than Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng who fought back from four down after the first nine to halve with world number 28 Jamie Donaldson in the fourth matchup of the day at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur. With the European players unable to find their range, Asia drew level at 8.5 after winning five of the opening seven ties and halving one. Only European captain Miguel Angel Jimenez held his nerve as he edged Malaysian Nicholas Fung at the last hole when the local youngster could only lip out his final putt after splendidly going toe-to-toe with the Spaniard through 17 holes. That miss would eventually prove the difference, but Fung’s performance gave his teammates a big boost. Asia got their points when captain

The members of Sylhet Divisional football team who won the Plan U-15 Football title was accorded a reception yesterday COURTESY

Independence Day football QFs deferred Bangladesh Football Federation re-scheduled the quarterfinals of the Modhumoti Bank Independence Cup Football yesterday as the semifinals and the final clashed with the ongoing ICC World T20 semifinals and the final. As per the previous schedule, a semifinal was set to be held on April 6, also the scheduled day for the ICC

World T20 final. So after crisscrossing the scenario, BFF decided to defer the date for two days yesterday and now the final will be held on April 12. According to the new QF schedule, Brothers Union plays Team BJMC on April 1, Soccer Club Feni takes on Sheikh Russell on April 2, Mohammedan faces Muktijoddha on April 3 and Abahani locks horns with Sheikh Jamal on April 4. The two semifinals will be held on April 8th and 9th with the final billed to be played two days later. l

Shoot-outs prevailed in the inaugural day of the final round of the First Security Islami Bank National School Hockey at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium yesterday. In the first match of the day BAF Shaheen School won against Latif Memorial Seminary, Potuakhali 2-0 in the shootout. Both teams scored a goal each in the stipulated time with Amit Hasan scoring for Latif Memorial in the 20th minute and Shihabuddin scoring the equalizer for BAF in the 55th minute. Khanjanpur High School beat Kurigram High School 1-0 in the shootout in the second match of the day after the stipulated time ended 0-0. Rafikuddin Memorial High School outplayed Fatullah Pilot High School 2-0 in the third match. Emdadul Haque and Javed Hossain scored the goals in the 33rd and 57th minute respectively. The fourth match was also decided in a shoot-out. The score was 1-1 after the normal time in the match between Nabab Habibullah High School and Yusuf Pilot Technical School. Rezvi scored for the winners and Kamrul for Yusuf School in the 21st and 51st minutes respectively. Later Habibullah prevailed 2-0 in the shoot-out. l

Police dethrone BGB in Independence Day Kabaddi

Star Sports 1 12:45AM Italian Serie A Napoli v Juventus Ten Action French Ligue 1 2013/14 5:30PM Stade Rennais FC vs SC Bastiais 8:30PM Lille SA v De Guingamp 1:00AM Olympic Lyon v Saint- Etienne

Australia thrashed Pakistan by 94 runs to set the new record of a win by the highest margin in terms of runs in the women’s World Twenty20 at the Sylhet International Stadium yesterday. Australia scored 185 for two and later restricted Pakistan on 91 for nine to set the new record. Earlier on the day, South Africa women’s crushed Ireland by 86 runs to wipe out the then record set by England who crushed Bangladesh by 79 runs recently. However, the new record by the Proteas lasted few hours before Australia set the new mark. South Africa put up a total of 165/5 after opting to bat first thanks to openers Lizelle Lee and Dane van Niekerk’s 57run opening stand. Lee’s 40-ball 43 was the highest while Niekerk added 25. Later Chloe Tryon added a stormy 12-ball 35 and Sune Luus added 29 from only 10 deliveries that steered them to the big total. Ireland was bundled out for 79 with Shabnim Ismail and Niekerk picking up three wickets each for 5 and 10 runs respectively. Only three Irish batters managed to reach double figures with Mary Waldron making highest 33. l

Thongchai Jaidee defeated Major winner Graeme McDowell 3 and 2. Reigning Asian number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat then beat Thomas Bjorn 2 and 1. After Marksaeng halved with Donaldson, Asia got more points when Kim Hyung-Sung beat Pablo Larrazabal 4 and 2, Anirban Lahiri edging Victor Dubuisson 2 and 1 and Gaganjeet Bhullar thrashing Thorbjorn Olesen 4 and 3. Asia went into the lead for the first time in the contest at 9.5-8.5 when Siddikur Rahman outplayed Stephen Gallacher 4 and 3, only for Joost Luiten to edge Koumei Oda on the final hole. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Hideto Tanihara were left to battle for the trophy and were all square after 14 holes. The pressure nearly took its toll on Fernandez-Castano on the 15th hole when he missed a two-foot putt to hand the advantage to his 35-year-old opponent. l

It was great. It is the best round of all three. I played solid today. I played like 3under and I had a really memorable shot.  My game was good and I putted well. I played well to win this match. It was a really good experience.  We had a team meeting with our captain after the round every day. It was unfortunate that we lost all five matches on the first day but we didn’t give up. I had really good confidence with the team as it’s like our home course for all Asian players. I think we did really good in the last two rounds. I think it’s a great achievement that we drew this match.  But we really had a good come back, very nice day.  First day, we made a fivedown but I think we had a very good players meeting and I’d like to thanks our captain that every morning and afternoon after the game, we had a really good meeting. There’s many Bangladeshis around and a lot of other Malaysians were supporting me very much and I think that was especially good for my energy to play well.  So that’s really  I always like to see spectators.  I appreciate them and thanks to all of them.

- Siddikur Rahman

Shoot-outs galore in opening day


BTV, Gazi TV, Maasranga TV Star Sports 1, HD1

A fine Twenty20 batting display followed by a disciplined bowling attack spirited South Africa to confirm a semifinal berth defeating England by 10 runs in their Group 1 game of the World Twenty20 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday. The win was the third for the Proteas off the four group stage games and the six points propelled them to the semifinal stage of the tournament, first time in its last two editions.   While for England all hopes have practically ended with their second defeat though they have a game left, against Netherlands on March 31, which perhaps will be a mere formality. Replacement South Africa skipper AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla scored aggressive half-centuries to propel South Africa to 196 and create the perfect platform for their bowlers to defend.   De Villiers, captaining in place for

suspended Faf du Plessis, hammered an unbeaten 28-ball 69 to get his fifth Twenty20 half-century. On the other hand, Amla scored a 37-ball 56, his first Twenty20 fifty to compliment his skipper’s effort after they were put to bat first. De Villiers was merciless in the final overs, taking 26 off Jade Dernbach’s 18th over and reached his fifty with a towering six off just 23 balls. In all, the right-handed batsman smashed nine boundaries and three sixes. Amla smashed six boundaries and two sixes before he was swallowed at deep mid-wicket off Stuart Broad.   Chasing the mammoth target England started with a bang. The openers, Michael Lumb and last match hero, Alex Hales fetched around 10 runs per over until the partnership was broken in the fifth over. Lumb after scoring 38 off 22 was removed by Wayne Parnell to break the opening stand on 46. Parnell went on to take two more wickets in the game, Hales (38) and Moeen Ali (10), in the eight over which perhaps broke the momentum for the English side in the chase. The innings had two 30-plus partnerships which was never enough to propel England to shore. l

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bangladesh Police lifted the title of the Independence Day Kabaddi dethroning Border Guards Bangladesh winning the final 37-26 at the Laboni Point, Cox’s Bazar yesterday. Cox’s Bazar DC Md. Ruhul Amin was the chief guest of the prize giving cereony. Additional Director of Walton A.F.M. Iqbal bin Anwar Dawn, Senior Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs Babul Mia were also present among others during the occasion. l

Bangladesh Police team captain receives their prizes of the Independence Day Kabaddi from the dignitaries at Cox’s Bazar yesterday COURTESY

Team Europe and Team Asia pictured with the winner's trophy afer they both tied 10-10 at the inaugural EurAsia trophy at Glenamarie Golf in Kuala Lumpur yesterday AFP



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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lack of new market shrinks manpower export Manpower export came down to 409,253 last year from 607,798 in 2012 n Rabiul Islam Manpower export from Bangladesh has significantly declined as no new job market was created overseas in more than a year. Moreover, many of the major recipient countries continued restricting recruitment from Bangladesh. The major countries to recruit manpower from Bangladesh are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia, Oman and Singapore, of which, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Oman have imposed restriction on recruitment from Bangladesh. According to reports of Bangladesh embassies there, various illegal activities including murder, theft and illegal stay carried out by Bangladeshi migrant workers there have tarnished the image of the country. The situation has brought sufferings to many Bangladeshi aspirants. “I have submitted my passport and relevant documents to a recruiting agency to pursue a job in abroad but whenever I contact them, they say that visa had not arrived yet,” said Monirul Islam from Khulna

who is waiting to fly to Iraq to work there as an electrician. He said: “Two of my children are studying in schools and colleges. It is difficult for me to bear their expenses as I earn only around Tk6,000 a month by working in a jute mill.” Four years back Monirul had gone to Libya and stayed there for over a year to support his family, he said. According to the website of Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), this year, 34,200 people went abroad for jobs in January, 28,510 in February and 26,205 until March 24. Last year, the number of workers who had gone abroad was 38,337, 32,189 and 37,100 in the months of January, February and March respectively. In 2012, the number of manpower exported was 607,798 which came down to 409,253 last year. “We have held talks with these counties and the situation is gradually improving,” Khondaker Showkat Hossain, secretary to the Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry, told the Dhaka Tribune over phone yesterday.

Founding chair of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) Tasneem Siddiqui observed that the government was trying to explore labour market “in its own way,” which was not yielding any positive result. The government should hold a brainstorming session with owners of the recruiting agencies and retired ambassadors to find out where the problems lied and plan a course of action accordingly, she suggested. The Finance Ministry, the Planning Ministry and the Foreign Ministry should work together as labour migration has become a crucial sector that brings remittance of about Tk1400 crore annually, she said. A data of BMET shows that annual remittance earned from the sector was $13,832.13 million (around Tk1300 crore) in 2013 and $14,163.99 million (around Tk1400 crore) in 2012. Tasneem said the government should engage special envoy to the Prime Minster HM Ershad to explore the sector in Middle East as he had

played important roles in labour migration in the past and had good connections. Referring to RMMRU’s findings, she said family members of the migrated workers were doing better in education and agriculture compared to those who did not have any family member working abroad. A senior official of Expatriates Welfare Ministry said the cause behind the decline in labour migration was government’s decision of not allowing recruiters to send workers who were not registered with the government database. “We are trying to expand the labour market and in this regard we have held talk with the ambassadors in Dhaka on March 10 to plan actions to be taken,” Khondaker Showkat Hossain said. Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) Secretary General Ali Haidar Chowdhury said: “We have been discussing the issue with the government to expedite labour migration. We have asked the government and the Expatriates’ Welfare Minister to instruct us in this regard,” he added. l

Low turnout in Tangail 8 by-elections n Tribune Report Awami League-backed candidate Anupam Shahjahan Joy was ahead by 2,236 votes in the Tangail 8 by-polls held yesterday. Anupam bagged 73,565 votes while his nearest contender, Awami League rebel Abdul Malek Mia, got 71,329 votes with the results of one polling centre out of 117 left to be announced. The EC postponed the voting at the Ghachua Government Primary School polling centre because of violence. Senior Assistant Secretary of EC Farhad Hossain said the constituency would need re-election because the number of voters at the centre was higher than the difference between the number of votes secured by the two contenders. Presiding officer of the centre Shukur Ahmed said: “A group of miscreants held me hostage and stamped 1,500 ballot papers illegally.” According to our Tangail correspondent, voter turnout was low in all the polling centres in the constituency. Khalilur Rahman, chief agent of Abdul Malek Mia, alleged that the ruling party-backed candidate occupied 38 polling centres and rigged votes. l

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SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014

Indian firms plan big investment in Bangladesh They eye on telecom, automobile, paints, pharmaceuticals and other sectors: Pankaj n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman A good number of Indian investors are now keen either in increasing their investments or to set up new manufacturing units in Bangladesh for manufacturing various products to export those items to other countries. Despite the prevailing crisis relating to infrastructure facilities, regulatory framework, domestic laws, transparency and political stability, the Indian biggest companies have now targeted Bangladesh for setting up their plants not only for grabbing the huge domestic market but also to export their products to other markets. They are showing interests in telecom, automobile, paints, pharmaceutical and other sectors. Many Indian companies are thinking of setting up factories and export from Bangladesh back into India or to China

or to Myanmar or wherever they find markets, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran told the reporters yesterday, after attending a seminar on foreign investment in Bangladesh held in the city. He did not explain why the Indian companies are interested to come here with investment. Jetro (Japan External Trade Organisation) in a recent survey, however, found some 80% of Japanese companies are planning to expand their business activities in Bangladesh in next two years. This is due lowest production cost than any other countries as well as higher rate of return. “This is really happening. I don’t want to mention the names but there are many companies who are now looking exactly like this. They will come in, set up factories and they will export from Bangladesh,” Pankaj said.

Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran addresses a seminar in Dhaka yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE

The Indian High commissioner, however, pointed out that lack of information in India about the prosper-

Asian Paints may grow further n Tribune Report

As the focus of Asian Paints on Bangladesh is extremely high, there has been a strong commitment for further investments in future by the multinational company. “In about 3-4 years time, we would need a second plant as the current one won’t be able to support the growing demand for our brands,” said General Manager of Asian Paints Ltd Bangladesh Aroop Chatterjee while addressing a seminar titled “Foreign Investment in Bangladesh: Opportunities and Prospects” held yesterday in the city. Asian Paints started its operation in Bangladesh in 2002 with local partner, Confidence Group and it is the company’s largest green field venture outside India. In the last 11 years, Asian Paints emerged as the second biggest company in the paint market with around 20% market share, which counts a sell

RMG workers’ database opens today n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi The government will launch workers’ database for the apparel sector today in line with a condition set by the US authorities for the reinstatement of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility. State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu will formally open the database at his office. Name and number of workers and factory locations will be included first in the database and then other things like information on workers’ rights and safety will be entered gradually, said Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar. He said information on a total of 3,498 factories would be placed in the data base. The information were collected by the government’s Department of Inspection of Factories and Establishment. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has been opposing the step to make data public as, according to it, may create misunderstandings about the factories and thus affect their business. But Mikail Shipar said the government had formed a sub-committee which would recommend on what and how much data should be published. The labour and employment ministry in cooperation with International Labour Organisation (ILO) is preparing the database. The launch of workers’ database is under the “Improving Working Condition in RMG Sector in Bangladesh” project. The publicly accessible database is one of the key requirements outlined by the US government for the restoration of GSP. On June 27, last year the US government suspended GSP facilities for Bangladesh citing that it’s has not been able to show improvement in workers’ rights to employees in the RMG sector. After the suspension, the US government set an Action Plan to restore GSP facility, where it demanded publicly accessible workers’ database. l

of 17,000 tonnes finished products, said Aroop. The total paint market is around Tk15,000 crore in Bangladesh where Berger is leading the market with about 50% market share. Asian Paints has a team of over 500

The complete supply chain is managed locally and the products are completely manufactured in Bangladesh by Bangladeshis for Bangladeshi consumers direct and indirect employees and sells to over 1000 direct customers and being applied by lakhs of painters across the country, said the general manager

of Asian Paints. “The complete supply chain is managed locally and the products are completely manufactured in Bangladesh by Bangladeshis for Bangladeshi consumers,” he said The category of paints play a big role in a nation’s economy and saves huge money in terms of replacement of assets – assessed to around 0.8-0.9% of GDP in certain studies, he added. The company contributed Tk200 crore as VAT, supplementary duty and tax over the last five years and it is growing at a rate of 18-20%, Aroop added further. Asian Paints Group began its journey with four friends in Bombay in 1942 and it has become the leader in the Indian paint market with over 55% market share since 1960. Now, the group has operations in 18 countries across the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and Carribean and Pacific Islands with a turnover of over US$2bn. l

ous Bangladesh is still a big problem as many Indians don’t really know enough about today’s Bangladesh.

“There is lack of information, there is lack of enough business-to-business contacts, and there is also lack of frequent exchange of business delegations between the two countries.” Infrastructure, regulatory framework, domestic laws, transparency and political stability are other factors, which hinder the overall investment in Bangladesh, he added. However, Pankaj categorically mentioned that Indian companies are showing interest in telecom, automobile, paints, pharma and other sectors. “Now because of the line of credit, we are getting Indian consulting companies here for building bridges and for working in the railway sector.” According to Bangladesh Bank data, a total of US$42m Indian investment came to Bangladesh in the last fiscal and the amount was about $28m in the previous fiscal. l

Ceat to go for commercial operations next year n Tribune Report Ceat Bangladesh, the biggest-ever Indian investment in the country, is finally going to start its commercial operations next year. “We’ve completed acquisition of 28 acres of land in Bhalluka, Mymensingh and plant construction and resource mobilisation work have also been started,” said Managing Director of Ceat Bangladesh Rajiv Kumar Jain. He was addressing a seminar styled “Foreign Investment in Bangladesh: Opportunities and Prospects” held in the city yesterday. The funding tie-up completed for the entire project worth US$52m and most of the long lead-time machines have already been ordered, said Jain. The company is planning to produce 65 tonnes of tyres for all types of vehicles to meet about 40% demand of

tyres in Bangladesh. “It will need around 500 employees when it goes into full production and at present it has 65 employees including 20 graduate engineers, said the managing director. Establishing a joint venture with a ratio of 70:30 between Ceat Limited and AK Khan and Company Bangladesh, the company is also planning to export 20% of its production, he said. “Most of the government agencies are very cooperative and business and economy are moving forward despite the socio-political turmoil in Bangladesh,” he added. Ceat Limited is an Indian multinational with a history of 90 years and annual sales of over $1bn. It is the largest exporter of tyres from India with annual exports of $200m with three plants in India and two in Sri Lanka. l


One and half years on, no sign yet n Asif Showkat Kallol

The law got through parliament more than one and half years ago to ensure fair practices of competition in the country’s business sector. But the body which will make it happen under the law is yet to come out of the womb. Bangladesh had its Competition Act passed by the parliament in June 2012 but wait for the Competition Commission has continued since then with no signs of having it soon. The commerce ministry has launched a seemingly never-ending search for commissioners for it while no officials know when this will end. As Ramadan closes, the necessity of such a watchdog is deeply felt to check any uneven competition among traders

during the holy month when demand for essentials goes up. Commerce ministry sources said rules and organogram for the commission had not been finalised yet. Md Sujayet Ullah, additional commerce secretary, was placed as the Commission secretary in September last year. He who was recently transferred to another ministry took no tangible steps to make rules and organogram. A senior commerce ministry official said Md Sujayet Ullah had no expertise on the subject. Viewed as an effective tool against unfair business practices, the competition law is expected to pave the way for healthy competition among businesses.

Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed says the Competition Commission is unlikely during Ramadan. He put more stress on selecting good and eligible persons for the posts of commissioner than on quick implementation of law. A sum of Tk10.32 lakh has been released last year for the Competition Commission from the government’s unexpected expenditure fund. Business ethics were being persistently flouted through cartels, syndication, hoarding, black marketing etc, which necessitated a legal tool to tackle the situation. And competition law came in. As per the law, the government will select one commissioner from five possible commissioner candidates.

The commission, which will be comprised of a chairperson and a maximum of four members, is entrusted with probing into any allegation on its own or on receiving complaints. It will monitor the market situation and take necessary steps against law-breaking business organisations. The law provides punishment of jail sentence up to one year and a fine of Tk1 lakh per day in case of non-compliance of commission’s order. Under the law, the body empowered as a civil court, will take measures against business syndication to ensure healthy competition. The commission will be responsible for ensuring the enforcement and implementation of the Competition Law-2012. l

Texweave, a local garment manufacturer, presents Bangladesh cricket team’s jerseys to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Texweave designed and supplied T20 World Cup 2014 jerseys for the hosts

StanChart facilitates Indian investors n Tribune Report Standard Chartered Bank in Bangladesh is facilitating Indian investors to come to Bangladesh and do business here. We facilitate Indian businessmen by providing information on regulation, how to set up business or how to raise capital, Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bangladesh Abrar A Anwar told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. “We even facilitate discussion among potential investors of both the countries by setting up meetings. When I meet my colleagues in India or when I meet the Indian investors, we tell them about the business potentiality of this country,” he added. Citing an example Abrar said: Standard Chartered Bangladesh has successfully been able to convince Indian Exim Bank to invest in a Bangladeshi company BSRM Steel. “Indian Exim for the first time invested with us in a project in Bangladesh. We are able to bring them here in Bangladesh,” Abrar added. Standard Chartered is the largest foreign bank in Bangladesh and also in India and the largest corporate houses are its major clients. Indian Exim Bank is providing US$1bn line of credit to Bangladesh government but this is for the first time, it has invested $20m in a Bangladeshi company. Claiming that all the big Indian companies, which invested in Bangladesh are happy, Abrar said: All the big Indian companies - Asian Paints, Marico, Ceat, Airtel – are happy in Bangladesh with their investment. “The big Indian companies under any scale are large corporations and if they could invest in other countries why not Bangladesh,” he questioned. Per capita income of Bangladesh has already crossed over $1,000 and any product from the fast moving consumer goods to electronics items can be sold in Bangladesh, he said. “We should take advantage of the situation and embrace the reality that we need to provide investment-friendly environment,” he added. l

Tax claim creates confusion among 3G operators n Muhammad Zahidul Islam National Board of Revenue has requested Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to pay a tax of about Tk286 crore on the earnings from 3G spectrum auction, creating confusion among the telecom regulator and the mobile phone operators. In a letter to BTRC on March 10, under the Income Tax Ordinance 1984, the NBR asked for 5% source tax on about Tk5,715 crore earned from five mobile phone operators through allocating 35 megahertz of 3G spectrum on September 8. BTRC sources said the commission discussed about the issue at its meeting and decided to inform the mobile phone operators and the NBR Chairman to remove the confusion. The regulator already informed the mobile operators about the issue and requested them to solve the problem. “We have received a letter from the telecom regulator and reviewing the matter from different grounds,” Zakiul Islam, senior director of Banglalink told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. He, however, viewed it was not a public auction but restricted within the limited operators. “So, Income Tax Ordinance 1984 would not be applicable here.” And, he argued, it was an auction not to sell goods, but leasing out spectrum for 15 years. Mahtabuddin Ahmed, chief financial officer of Robi, said the claim is not logical from any ground. A senior executive of another mobile operator said: “We took the licences following the auction as well as the payment procedure, but there was nothing like it in the procedures.” At the same time, six months have already passed after the auction. So, there is no way to claim money from the operators, he added. Earlier, the telecom regulator tried to convince the revenue authorities that the 3G spectrum auction was not an open auction. “Only the mobile operators were eligible for attending the auction and lots of conditions were tagged with it,” a BTRC commissioner said. l

B2 Stocks lose ground for 5th week n Tribune Report

the week despite gains in last two trading sessions. First two days of the past week were deep in red in continuation of the previous week, it said. During the past week, the DSEX dropped to 4,463 level at one point reaching near to support level of 4,456 which has brought back some investors from the sideline, it said. “Buying pressure in some heavyweight companies during the last two trading sessions of the week pulled the index over 4,500 level.” It said institutional participation has gone down greatly as Bangladesh Bank is strictly monitoring capital market exposure of banks. “Continued downfall of the market, have brought the index, almost to its support zone, from which the trend may take a reversal any moment,” said Zenith Investments. Losers took a strong lead over the gainers at DSE as out of 300 issues traded, 184 declined, 94 advanced and 22 issues remained unchanged. All the major sectors suffered from the market setback last week except telecommunications which gained more than 1%. Food and allied, and non-banking financial institutions were the worst losers with drop of over 2% and 1.5% respectively, followed by fuel and power 1% and pharmaceuticals 0.9%. Engineering and, food and allied sectors dominated the turnover, making up 15% and 10% respectively of the past week’s total turnover. Square Pharmaceuticals dominated the week’s top turnover chart with shares worth Tk62 crore changing hands in the past the week, followed by Bangladesh Shipping Corporation, Emerald Oil Industries, Lafarge Surma Cement and Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd. l

Stocks lost their ground for the fifth consecutive week, as continued selling pressure mainly from institution hit investor sentiment. The bourses have shortened trading session in the past week that ended Thursday to four instead of usual five to mark Independence Day on March 26. The benchmark DSEX lost nearly 51 points or 1% to close the week at 4,508. The blue chip index DS30 fell 27 points or 1.7% to 1,608. The Shariah Index dropped marginally 8 points or 0.8% to 981. The Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) Selective Categories Index, CSCX, shed 86 points or 1% to close the week at 8,773. Volume of trade continued to worsen with the DSE turnover sinking to five months low on first trading day of the past week. The week’s average daily turnover plunged to Tk285 crore, registering a drop of more than 7% over the previous week’s average of Tk300 crore. “Current downtrend in the market continued with few unsuccessful resistances in the past week. The bearish spell sucked up enthusiasm from the investors, leaving them directionless and timid,” said IDLC Investments in its weekly market analysis. Consequently, participation was conservative, bringing down average turnover level below Tk300 crore, it said. “Demoralised investment sentiment turned shaky amid ever shrinking volume, depleting breathing space for the participants. In this scenario market continued to sink. Naturally, contrarians tried to get in and reverse the direction of the market, seeing 4,500 points level to break.” Lanka Bangla Securities said selling frenzy of investors continued over

Weekly capital market highlights DSE Broad Index : DSE - 30 Index : CSE All Share Index: CSE - 30 Index : CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS Company GBB Power Ltd-A Safko Spinning-A BD Finance-A First Security Bank-A MutualTrust Bank-A Apex Footwear-A UCBL - A IFIC Bank - A LankaBangla Fin. -A BDCOM Online-A

Closing (% change) -16.73 -13.67 -11.83 -10.42 -8.62 -7.89 -6.88 -6.71 -6.19 -6.01

CSE LOSERS Company GBB Power Ltd-A Safko Spinning-A BD Finance-A First Security Bank-A Midas Financing-Z Marico BD Ltd-A Phoenix Insur -A Eastland Insur -A MutualTrust Bank-A Apex Footwear-A

Closing (% change) -16.01 -10.99 -10.81 -10.34 -9.87 -9.53 -9.48 -9.48 -8.09 -6.95


(-) 1.12%


(-) 1.65%


(-) 1.08%


(-) 0.40%


(-) 0.98%

Average (% change) -15.60 -13.62 -9.71 -9.46 -8.54 -7.18 -4.90 -4.93 -4.94 -5.06 Average (% change) -14.83 -12.30 -9.85 -9.70 -5.52 -9.72 -18.10 -7.76 -8.75 -6.95


Closing average 23.76 24.16 16.64 13.01 15.96 493.38 23.28 29.31 59.64 30.05

Closing average 23.90 24.25 16.57 13.04 27.40 1,045.00 38.00 47.69 15.64 495.00

Weekly closing

Bank NBFI Investment Engineering Food & Allied Fuel & Power Jute Textile Pharma & Chemical Paper & Packaging Service Leather Ceramic Cement Information Technology General Insurance Life Insurance Telecom Travel & Leisure Miscellaneous Debenture

DSE Million Taka 1017.87 429.31 165.92 1665.31 1123.83 1001.20 30.18 1194.00 1203.54 6.02 149.93 259.33 76.10 699.79 83.34 214.92 396.90 802.57 109.28 794.48 5.81

▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ Weekly high

23.40 24.00 16.40 12.90 15.90 487.10 23.00 29.20 59.10 29.70

Weekly closing 23.60 24.30 16.50 13.00 27.40 1,045.00 42.00 46.80 15.90 495.00

28.40 26.40 18.90 14.70 16.60 534.00 25.00 31.80 63.60 31.90

Weekly high 28.30 25.20 18.50 14.60 27.40 1,083.00 44.00 49.00 16.00 520.00


DSE key features March 23-27, 2014 Turnover (Million Taka)



Turnover (Volume)


Number of Contract


Traded Issues


Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)


Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)

186 4

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)


Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


CSE key features March 23-27, 2014 Turnover (Million Taka)


Turnover (Volume)


Number of Contract


Traded Issues


Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)


Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)


Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)


Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)


Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


Turnover in million

22.50 22.00 15.90 12.90 14.40 481.10 21.00 26.20 55.00 28.50

Weekly low

Latest EPS

27.560 11.493 21.503 31.309 5.514 133.246 74.331 48.484 79.024 15.028

1.90 1.04 0.40 1.87 1.86 28.27 3.66 3.60 4.36 1.70

Turnover in million

23.60 24.00 16.50 13.00 27.40 1,045.00 42.00 46.80 15.20 486.10

Northern Jute -Z Renwick Jajneswar-A Al-Haj Textile -A Desh Garments -B Shampur Sugar -Z Eastern Lubricants -A Anwar Galvanizing-B Zeal Bangla Sugar -Z Monno Ceramic -B Atlas BD-A

Closing (% change) 43.13 34.41 24.40 23.03 19.18 18.55 17.99 16.85 16.76 16.11


Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

Weekly low

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Latest EPS

4.855 0.125 2.290 5.375 0.096 0.106 0.061 0.930 0.068 2.003

1.90 1.04 0.40 1.87 -5.96 46.53 3.81 3.60 1.86 28.27

Latest PE 12.5 23.2 41.6 7.0 8.6 17.5 6.4 8.1 13.7 17.7

Latest PE 12.6 23.3 41.4 7.0 -ve 22.5 10.0 13.2 8.4 17.5

Company Anwar Galvanizing-B Monno Ceramic -B Samorita Hospital -A Samata LeatheR -Z Eastern Housing -A Hakkani P& Paper -B National Polymer -A Paramount Textile Ltd.-A City Bank - A City G Insu.-A

Closing (% change) 14.63 14.12 11.67 11.52 9.98 9.97 9.65 8.29 7.87 7.57

Average (% change) 43.76 35.83 19.37 20.10 20.55 18.21 19.30 17.32 13.61 15.62 Average (% change) 18.62 12.94 6.43 11.52 8.96 9.72 8.71 9.85 7.05 7.57

Closing average 91.00 406.57 136.91 131.17 8.80 489.41 33.32 10.50 39.16 216.64

Closing average 33.25 39.18 109.41 36.80 51.34 34.10 75.03 45.05 18.99 27.00

Weekly closing 90.60 414.40 140.70 133.00 8.70 489.50 32.80 10.40 39.70 219.10

Weekly closing 32.90 39.60 114.80 36.80 51.80 34.20 75.00 44.40 19.20 27.00

Weekly high 90.80 414.50 143.00 135.80 8.80 489.50 34.40 10.50 39.90 220.00

Weekly high 34.40 40.00 115.60 36.80 52.60 34.80 76.10 46.90 19.40 27.00

Weekly low 68.00 314.90 112.00 111.00 7.30 405.00 28.10 8.50 33.80 180.00

Weekly low 28.70 33.70 101.20 32.50 46.60 33.60 69.70 42.00 17.20 26.40

Turnover in million

Latest EPS

0.276 53.513 129.201 48.104 0.376 21.890 52.431 1.351 36.953 219.025

Turnover in million

-10.24 5.32 2.06 1.18 -50.84 6.02 0.02 -25.08 0.38 3.72

Latest EPS

5.691 2.354 1.763 0.375 8.855 0.308 5.751 28.931 6.496 0.083

0.02 0.38 2.74 -0.04 1.56 0.28 1.70 2.80 1.17 1.99

Latest PE -ve 76.4 66.5 111.2 -ve 81.3 1666.0 -ve 103.1 58.2

Latest PE 1662.5 103.1 39.9 -ve 32.9 121.8 44.1 16.1 16.2 13.6

Weekly news from trade server IFIC: The Board of Directors has recommended 15% Stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. The Board has also decided to issue 'Subordinated Debt (Bond)' for Tk. 3,000.00 million for raising Tier-II Capital to meet future Capital Adequacy Requirement of the Bank as per Basel-II subject to approval of the concerned Regulatory Authorities and the shareholders. Date of AGM: 01.06.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Bashundhara Convention Center-2, Block #C, Umme Kulsum Road, Bashundhara R/A, Baridhara, Dhaka. Record Date: 24.04.2014. The Company has also reported consolidated Net Profit after Tax of Tk. 1,370.93 million, consolidated EPS of Tk. 3.60, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 24.29 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. 37.47 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. IBBLPBOND: The Board of Directors has recommended annual profit rate of 12.80% for IBBL Mudaraba Perpetual Bond (IBBLPBOND) for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Record Date for entitlement of profit of the Bond: 03.04.2014. Date of profit distribution: Within 30 (thirty) days from holding of AGM of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. which is scheduled to be held on 31.05.2014. ISLAMIBANK: The Board of Directors has recommended 8% cash dividend and 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 31.05.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), Agargaon, Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka. Record date: 03.04.2014. The Company has

also reported consolidated EPS of Tk. 3.45, consolidated NAV per Share of Tk. 29.92 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. 23.09 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. UNITEDINS: The Board of Directors has recommended 10% cash dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 30.04.2014, Time: 10:30 AM, Venue: Trust Milonayaton, 545, Old Airport Road, Dhaka. Record date: 06.04.2014. The Company has also reported profit after tax including unrealized share of profit of associate (Tk. 54.99 million) of Tk. 110.89 million, EPS of Tk. 2.77, NAV per share of Tk. 23.82 and NOCFPS of Tk. (0.04) for the year ended on December 31, 2013. BIFC: The Board of Directors has recommended 5% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. The Board has also decided to issue Rights shares @ 1R:2 (i.e. 1 Rights share for every 2 shares) at an issue price of Tk. 10.00 each at par on paid up capital after considering bonus shares subject to approval by the shareholders and the Regulatory Authorities. The purpose of Rights Issue is to meet up the regulatory requirements of Bangladesh Bank. Date of AGM: 24.04.2014, Time: 10:30 AM, Venue: 'Institution of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh', IDEB Bhaban, 160/A, Kakrail VIP Road, Dhaka-1000. Record Date: 03.04.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 0.71, NAV per share of Tk. 19.29 and NOCFPS of Tk. 7.82 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Another record date for entitlement of the proposed rights shares to be notified later after obtaining approval from BSEC

UTTARABANK: The Board of Directors has recommended 15% cash dividend and 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 11.05.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Rangamati Waterfront, Sinaboho Bazar, Shafipur, Gazipur. Record date: 06.04.2014. The Company has also reported consolidated profit after provision and tax of Tk. 1,319.47 million, consolidated EPS of Tk. 3.63, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 29.42 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. 11.61 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. ICBIBANK: The Board of Directors did not recommend any dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 10.06.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: "Trust Milonayaton", Old Airport Road, Dhaka Cantonment. Record Date: 16.04.2014. The Company has also reported net profit/(loss) after tax of Tk. (680.75) million, EPS of Tk. (1.02), NAV per share of Tk. (14.06) and NOCFPS of Tk. 0.71 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. ONEBANKLTD: The Board of Directors has recommended 9% cash dividend and 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 15.05.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Police Convention Hall, Eskaton Garden Road, Ramna, Dhaka-1000. Record Date: 07.04.2014. The Company has also reported consolidated EPS of Tk. 2.68, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 17.61 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. (3.74) for the year ended on December 31, 2013.

Buying pressure in some heavyweight companies during the last two trading sessions of the week pulled the index over 4,500 level




% change 8.91 3.76 1.45 14.57 9.83 8.76 0.26 10.45 10.53 0.05 1.31 2.27 0.67 6.12 0.73 1.88 3.47 7.02 0.96 6.95 0.05

Million Taka 102.68 30.40 8.68 118.58 174.92 194.03 0.00 238.96 85.36 270.32 12.60 284.17 6.56 39.01 11.54 7.68 16.16 114.54 20.37 111.05 0.81


% change 5.55 1.64 0.47 6.41 9.46 10.50 0.00 12.93 4.62 14.62 0.68 15.37 0.35 2.11 0.62 0.42 0.87 6.20 1.10 6.01 0.04

Million Taka 1120.54 459.71 174.60 1783.89 1298.75 1195.23 30.18 1432.96 1288.90 276.34 162.53 543.50 82.66 738.80 94.88 222.60 413.07 917.12 129.65 905.53 6.62


% change 8.44 3.46 1.31 13.43 9.78 9.00 0.23 10.79 9.71 2.08 1.22 4.09 0.62 5.56 0.71 1.68 3.11 6.91 0.98 6.82 0.05

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 or call 01552153562 or go to

DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Square Pharma -A BSC-A Emerald Oil Ind. -N LafargeS Cement-Z BD Submarine Cable-A Grameenphone-A Padma Oil Co. -A National Tubes -A BD Building Systems -A Meghna Petroleum -A CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company BD Submarine Cable-A BSC-A Square Pharma -A LafargeS Cement-Z Paramount Textile Ltd.-A BD Building Systems -A Appollo Ispat CL -N Padma Oil Co. -A Grameenphone-A UNITED AIR-A

Volume shares 2,365,568 872,600 8,713,500 9,462,500 2,076,338 1,774,700 991,326 1,649,068 3,449,550 820,504

Volume shares 446,842 132,005 148,396 621,000 648,060 384,425 971,600 69,264 105,600 1,108,683

Value in million 622.09 592.18 483.35 448.73 427.14 375.43 332.04 283.04 248.62 225.39

Value in million 92.21 89.42 39.17 29.66 28.93 27.70 27.01 23.24 22.34 16.16

% of total turnover 5.44 5.18 4.23 3.93 3.74 3.28 2.91 2.48 2.18 1.97

% of total turnover 10.21 9.90 4.34 3.28 3.20 3.07 2.99 2.57 2.47 1.79

Weekly closing 271.50 674.50 52.10 47.00 212.00 214.50 334.80 181.90 70.00 274.60

Weekly closing 212.60 672.80 271.10 47.00 44.40 70.00 27.20 335.80 214.40 14.30

Price change 1.57 -0.04 -5.62 -3.49 0.28 1.32 -0.89 14.69 -0.85 -1.44

Weekly opening 267.30 674.75 55.20 48.70 211.40 211.70 337.80 158.60 70.60 278.60

Weekly high 272.40 702.00 58.90 49.40 215.00 217.00 350.00 183.90 74.40 280.00

Weekly low 235.00 660.00 51.40 46.20 183.70 195.00 307.20 143.90 66.00 249.00

Weekly average 270.51 675.18 53.06 47.03 210.08 212.92 336.44 178.65 70.93 275.81

Price change 0.28 0.00 1.61 -4.08 8.29 -0.99 0.37 -0.56 1.61 -3.38

Weekly opening 212.00 672.80 266.80 49.00 41.00 70.70 27.10 337.70 211.00 14.80

Weekly high 215.80 703.00 274.00 49.20 46.90 74.30 28.50 340.00 217.90 16.00

Weekly low 196.20 660.00 252.10 46.30 42.00 65.70 27.10 332.00 207.10 13.20

Weekly average 209.54 674.43 270.20 46.95 45.05 71.00 27.33 337.10 214.34 14.38




Sunday, March 30, 2014

How rumour sparked panic and three-day bank run in Chinese city

Economic ‘honeymoon’ between Germany and China fades

n Reuters

n Reuters, Berlin

The rumour spread quickly. A small rural lender in eastern China had turned down a customer’s request to withdraw 200,000 yuan. Bankers and local officials say it never happened, but true or not the rumour was all it took to spark a run on a bank as the story passed quickly from person to person, among depositors, bystanders and even bank employees. Savers feared the bank in Yancheng, a city in Sheyang county, had run out of money and soon hundreds of customers had rushed to its doors demanding the withdrawal of their money despite assurances from regulators and the central bank that their money was safe. The panic in a corner of the coastal Jiangsu province north of Shanghai, while isolated, struck a raw nerve and won national airplay, possibly reflecting public anxiety over China’s financial system after the country’s first domestic bond default this month shattered assumptions the government would always step in to prevent institutions from collapsing. Rumours also find especially fertile ground here after the failure last January of some less-regulated rural credit co-operatives. Jin Wenjun saw the drama unfold. He started to notice more people than usual arriving at the Jiangsu Sheyang Rural Commercial Bank next door to his liquor store on Monday afternoon. By evening there were hundreds spilling out into the courtyard in front of the bank in this rural town near a high-tech park surrounded by rice and rape plant fields. Bank officials tried to assure the depositors that there was enough money to go around, but the crowd kept growing. In response, local officials and bank managers kept branches open 24 hours a day and trucked in cash by armoured vehicle to satisfy hundreds of customers, some of whom brought large baskets to carry their cash out of the bank. Jin found himself at the bank branch just after midnight to withdraw 95,000 yuan for his friend from a village 20 kms (12 miles) away. “He was uncomfortable. It was late and he couldn’t wait, so he left me his ID card to withdraw his cash,” Jin said. By Tuesday, the crisis of confidence had engulfed another bank, the nearby Rural Commercial Bank of Huanghai.

As Xi Jinping prepares to make the first trip to Germany by a Chinese president in eight years, lofty goals to boost trade between the world’s top exporters look hopelessly out of reach, and German firms are beginning to rethink their aggressive push into China. In 2012, when then Chinese premier Wen Jiabao paid a visit, he announced an aim to hike bilateral trade to $280bn by 2015, a target that seemed ambitious but realistic at the time, given a 54% surge to $180bn in the prior two years. Business ties were flourishing, exemplified by Chinese construction group Sany’s record-setting purchase of Mittelstand firm Putzmeister months before Wen flew in. And Berlin, grappling with the euro zone debt crisis, was keen to cultivate closer economic and political ties to Beijing. But two years on, the rapid rise in trade has stalled - slipping back in euro terms - and German companies are diversifying into other emerging markets, from sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America, spooked by rising Chinese wages, slowing growth and official pressure to expand into China’s restive western regions. Suddenly, alongside China, coun-

Chinese President Xi Jinping looks on during a visit at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris “One person passed on the news to 10 people, 10 people passed it to 100, and that turned into something pretty terrifying,” said Miao Dongmei, a customer of the Sheyang bank who owns an infant supply store across the street from the first branch to be hit by the run. Claiming to be a Yancheng resident, one user of Sina Weibo’s Twitter-like service repeated the story on Monday about the failed 200,000 yuan withdrawal, adding that “rumours are the bank is going bankrupt.” When later contacted by Reuters online, he said he had heard the rumour from his mother when she came back from town. Huanghai and Jiangsu Sheyang banks declined to comment. Yancheng police said on the force’s official microblog on Thursday that they had detained a person suspected of spreading rumours. China’s banks are tightly controlled by the state and bank bankruptcies are virtually unheard of, so the crisis has baffled many outsiders. Yet in Sheyang, fears of a bank collapse resonate. In recent years, this corner of hardstrapped Jiangsu province has experienced a boom in the number of loan guarantee, or ‘danbao’, companies and

rural capital co-operatives. These often shadowy private financial institutions promised higher returns on deposits than banks, but many have since failed. Qu Guohua, a spiky haired former migrant worker in his 50s, nearly lost 30,000 yuan in a credit guarantee scheme that went up in flames. What saved him one day in January 2013 was a tip-off from a friend at a rural co-operative just down the street from the loan guarantee company where he had his money. “He told me the other one was going to go out of business and I better go get my money quick,” he said. Qu managed to get his cash, but others behind him in line were not so lucky, he said. That helps explain why lines formed so quickly once the rumours started circulating this week. Luck has it, he deposited the cash in a bank next door: Sheyang Rural Commercial Bank. Banks are different than credit cooperatives and guarantee companies in that they are regulated by China’s banking watchdog and subject to strict capital requirements. On Wednesday, officials’ painstaking efforts to drive that message home were in full swing. Bank managers stacked piles of yuan


behind teller windows in full sight of customers to try to reassure them that they had plenty of cash on hand. Local officials used leaflets, radio and television to try to calm nerves. Near one of the troubled banks, a branch of the China Construction Bank - one of China’s ‘Big Four’ state-owned banks - was running a ticker message on an electronic board over the entrance stating: “Sheyang Rural Commercial Bank is a legal financial organisation approved by the state, just like us”. While small groups of depositors still gathered at several bank branches in and around this part of Yancheng, some arriving by motorbike, others by three-wheeled motor vehicles common in the Chinese countryside, there were signs that the banks’ efforts were bearing fruit. Jin said he did not panic when the rumours were spreading and on Wednesday, like many others, he made a deposit. Others, like Qu, are holding their nerve. On a visit to see his hospitalised granddaughter, he decided to nip into a local bank where he still has about 10,000 yuan - just for a look. “I’m not nervous about my money in the bank. It’s protected by national law.” l

tries like Ghana and Colombia are being talked about as priority targets for German business. “We had our pivot to Asia. Now a lot of companies are asking whether they shouldn’t be swinging in another direction,” said Stefan Mair, executive board member at the Federation of German Industries (BDI) in Berlin. “Those companies that have invested heavily in China are beginning to view their presence more critically.” Germany’s economic ties to China dwarf those of its European counterparts. Led by the big carmakers, German firms moved into China faster and more aggressively than many of their rivals. Volkswagen was the first foreign auto manufacturer to set up shop there over 30 years ago. Last year, China accounted for a fifth of BMW’s sales, well above the 13% it makes in Germany. Annual trade flows between China and Germany exceed Chinese trade with France, Britain and Italy combined. But the lofty expectations of a few years ago, when Chancellor Angela Merkel’s dominant role in the euro zone debt crisis made her the go-to European leader for Beijing, have given way to a more realistic sense of what the relationship can deliver. l

Germany: No alternative to Russian gas for Europe n AFP, Berlin There is “no sensible alternative” to Russian gas to meet Europe’s energy needs, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday. Many people acted as if there plenty of other sources from which Europe could draw its gas, but this is not the case, Gabriel told a energy forum organised by the local daily Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung on Thursday. The comments were printed in the newspaper’s Friday edition. Germany’s dependence on Russian gas should be a motivation to seek dialogue on the issue of Ukraine and not let the current crisis with Russia escalate further, Gabriel said. But “Russia met is contractual obligations even in the darkest times of the Cold War,” the minister noted. Germany imports around 35% of its

gas from Russia, while the ratio was even higher in some Eastern European countries. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk recently suggested that German dependence on Russian gas constituted a threat to European sovereignty. Gabriel argued that Norway, which is often portrayed as a possible alternative source, had only limited export capabilities, while gas from the Netherlands was not of sufficient quality. His comments appear to contradict those by other German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said on Thursday that the events in Ukraine should lead to “a new way of looking at energy policy” and reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas. But a spokeswoman for Merkel insisted that “there is no divergence” of views between Merkel and Gabriel on the issue. l

China’s premier seeks to reassure markets with pledge of support for economy

Oil prices mixed in Asia trade

n Reuters

Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade Friday after posting solid gains in New York on optimism over the US economy and concerns about supply disruptions in Nigeria. New York’s main contract West Texas Intermediate for May delivery was up 26 cents at $101.54 a barrel in late afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for May settlement fell five cents to $107.78. Analysts said prices were supported by robust consumer spending in the United States, the world’s biggest economy and user of oil. The Commerce Department on Thursday said the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter of last year, stronger than the 2.4% previously estimated, as consumer spending picked up.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang sought to reassure jittery global investors that Beijing was ready to support the cooling economy, saying the government had the necessary policies in place and would push ahead with infrastructure investment. Recent weak economic data and mounting signs of financial risks have dimmed outlook for the world’s second-largest economy, sparking talk of imminent government action or even a mini-stimulus plan to shore up growth. “They don’t want investors and businesses to lose confidence. So obviously they want to make it clear they have the ability to step in if necessary. So I think that’s probably the main point behind it,” said Julian EvansPritchard, China economist at Capital Economics in Singapore. In a speech to a meeting in China’s northeast made on Wednesday and reported by the Xinhua news agency early on Friday, Li said government has policies well prepared and would roll out targeted measures step by step to aid the economy. “We have gathered experience from successfully battling the economic downturn last year and we have policies in store to counter economic volatility for this year,” Li said. “We will launch relevant and forceful measures according to what we have planned in our government work report,” he said, referring to his report to China’s annual parliament session earlier this month. Among those measures are speeding up construction of basic infrastructure, including railways, highways and water conservation projects in the central and western provinces, as well as boosting trade and cutting companies’ financing costs. “The overall performance in the economy so far this year is relatively stable and we saw some positive changes, but we cannot neglect the

n AFP, Singapore

increasing downward pressure and difficulties,” he said. China’s exports unexpectedly tumbled last month and other economic data and business sentiment surveys have consistently undershot expectations, suggesting the economy’s first quarter performance was the weakest in five years.

Sense of unease

Adding to market jitters are signs of financial strain - China’s first ever bond default earlier this month, a bankruptcy of a small property developer and a run on small rural banks in one of China’s coastal provinces earlier this week. While isolated and of limited scale, the events feed into growing sense of unease about risks stemming from a combination of a rapid rise in corporate debt and slowing economy. But Li said the economy was robust enough to fend off potential risks. “We must also note that China’s economy has quite strong tenacity and large wiggle room.” Market reaction to Li’s comments was muted, with only Hong Kong shares ticking up. “The market reaction really hasn’t been that great as these comments have been said many times before,” said Du Changchun, an analyst at Northeast Securities in Shanghai. “No matter whether you look at industry performance or economic data, things aren’t looking too optimistic. So even if he (Li) says this, unless we see some positive policies the market will not go up too much.” China has set a GDP growth target of around 7.5% for 2014, which some economists said could be too ambitious after a likely weak first quarter. The government itself has said that the target is not fixed and that growth near that level would also be acceptable. However it has also pledged to boost employment, meaning that it must keep growth near the target or risk failing to meet its job promise. l

The loading screen of the Facebook application on a mobile phone is seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny


Facebook to use satellites, drones to spread the Internet n Reuters, San Francisco Facebook Inc is harnessing satellite, drone and other technology as part of an ambitious and costly effort to beam Internet connectivity to people in underdeveloped parts of the world. The world’s No 1 social network said on Thursday it has hired aerospace and communications experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and its Ames Research Center for the new “Connectivity Lab” project. “Today, we’re sharing some details of the work Facebook’s Connectivity Lab is doing to build drones, satellites and lasers to deliver the internet to everyone,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Facebook. He gave few specifics and did not specify a time frame. The move extends the social networking company’s effort, aimed at connecting billions of people who do not currently have Internet access in places such as Africa and Asia. Facebook has been working with

telecommunications carriers to make Internet access more available and affordable. “We’re going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too,” Zuckerberg said in his post. Facebook envisions a fleet of solarpowered drones as well as low-earth orbit and geosynchronous satellites delivering Internet access to different regions of the world. Invisible, infrared laser beams could allow Facebook to dramatically boost the speed of the Internet connections provided by the various aircraft, Facebook said on a Web page that explaining the project. Facebook’s plans to take to the skies underscore the company’s rising ambitions to exert its influence beyond the confines of its 1.2 billion-member social network and to set the pace for new technology that will shape society. On Tuesday, Facebook announced plans to acquire Oculus VR Inc, a maker of virtual reality goggles that Facebook

hopes could become the computing platform of the future. Facebook is following in the steps of Google Inc, the world’s largest Internet search engine, whose Google X division is working on a variety of so-called “moonshot” projects including selfdriving cars and wearable computers. Google announced plans last year to use solar-powered balloons to deliver Internet access to remote regions of the world. Among the jobs openings posted on Facebook’s website on Thursday were roles such as Antenna Systems Engineer and Electro-Optical Network Access Hardware Engineer. Facebook also said it had hired a five-member team that worked at Ascenta, a British company whose founders created early versions of the Zephyr, which Facebook said held the record for the longest-flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft. Shares of Facebook were up 28 cents, or less than 1%, at $61.25 in afterhours trading on Thursday. l

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, accounting for more than two million barrels per day. Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said in a market commentary the data was “adding optimism to the US economy”. It said there were also “concerns about Nigerian oil supplies being disrupted after Shell announced a major Nigerian pipeline being sabotaged”. Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell on Wednesday said it had declared a “force majeure” on crude from Nigeria as it struggles to repair the pipeline. “Force majeure” is a legal term releasing a company from contractual obligations when faced with circumstances beyond its control. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, accounting for more than two million barrels per day. l



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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Microsoft CEO signals new course with Office for iPad n Reuters Microsoft Corp’s new Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, finally unveiled Office for Apple Inc’s iPad in a polished debut that set him apart from his energetic predecessor while signaling his plans to make mobile apps the top priority at the world’s largest software company. At a news conference Thursday, executives demonstrated a new “touchfirst” version of Office crafted for the iPad, available for download as a free app, though a subscription is needed to let users create or edit documents rather than just read them. Significantly, they did not demonstrate any software on Windows machines, telegraphing a departure from former Chief Executive Steve Ballmer’s focus on the personal computer operating software and its own devices. “Their absence speaks volumes,” said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. “Nadella’s a cloud-centric guy; he’s going to focus on what’s been successful, and where the future’s going. Windows 8 thus far has been extremely underwhelming.” Nadella kicked off the presentation with a fluid, low-key introduction to Microsoft’s approach to the new mobile, cloud-centric world of computing, in his first public appearance since taking the helm 52 days ago. Dressed in a black polo shirt and dark jeans, the 46-year-old computer scientist threw in some geek humor and lines of poetry from TS Eliot, marking a change in style from his energetic predecessor Steve Ballmer. His lack of references to Windows indicated a deeper strategic shift. Nadella gave no indication of when Microsoft would release “touch-first” versions of Office apps for Windows 8, the latest version of the operating software, which he acknowledged had fallen behind in the mobile era. “The Windows strategy, there’s no change, except we want to be known as the innovative company that’s coming from behind in some categories,” Nadella told reporters in an ad

PCs to lose more ground to tablets n AFP, Washington Sales of traditional computers will lose more ground in 2014 to tablets and other mobile devices, a market tracker said Thursday. A report by the research firm Gartner said the overall market for connected devices - PCs, smartphones and tablets - is likely to grow 6.9 percent to nearly 2.5 billion devices in 2014. More people will dump their PCs for other devices, but the drop in PC sales will moderate to around 6.6% this year, with unit sales of 276 million. Some surveys showed a drop of around 10% in PC sales last year. “Tablet substitution of notebooks will start to dissipate from this year onwards as consumers and businesses align the right device with the right usage pattern,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “As they do this, we will see where dedicated devices (such as tablets), or hybrid devices (detachable or convertible devices), fit in the overall portfolio.” The global tablet market is expected to grow 38.6 percent , with much of the increase coming outside North America, Gartner said. Total tablet sales will nearly equal that of PCs at 270 million, the firm said. “The adoption of tablets has been largely concentrated in the US, with the dominance of Apple,” Atwal said. “Market dynamics in other regions are different, as the uptake of lower cost, smaller, non-branded tablets, becomes more apparent.” Mobile phones, the largest segment, is seen as growing 4.9% to 1.9 billion units - led by “the lower end of the premium phone market and the higher end of the basic phone market,” Gartner said. l

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, speaks at a media event in San Francisco, California on Thursday hoc question and answer session after the presentation, another sign of new openness at the company. “If you look at the story of Windows, we lead in some, we have fallen behind in some. We’re grounded in that reality,” he said. “What we need to be is a challenger there and be able to show what we’re capable of doing in these new form factors.” Apart from the absence of any Windows devices, the Surface, one of

Ballmer’s prized concepts, was conspicuously missing from a show floor at the event that included Google Inc Android tablets from Samsung and Acer as well as the iPad. Nadella did not mention the poor-selling tablet at all in conversations with reporters.

Office, at last

The Office apps are free to download from Apple’s app store, but to create new documents, users will need a sub-

The world’s richest countries will borrow less from the market this year than at any time since 2007, the OECD said Friday, as governments tighten their belts in the wake of the debt crisis. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that the net new borrowing needs of its 34 member countries would fall to $1.5tn (1.09tn euros) this year.

That is analogous to the way Apple treats magazine subscriptions. “Welcome to the #iPad and @AppStore!” Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook tweeted after the announcement. “Thanks @tim_cook, excited to bring the magic of @Office to iPad customers,” Nadella tweeted back. Analysts have estimated that Microsoft could rake in anywhere from $840 million to $6.7 billion a year in revenue from iPad-native Office, although some

Nikkei: New iPhone likely out in September

Putin: Russia to create its own national payment system

Apple is to release its newest iPhone in September, with higher resolution and bigger screens, a report said Friday, its latest salvo in the smartphone wars where it has lost global market share to rivals such as Samsung. The new handset, expected to be called the iPhone 6, is to come in two versions with a 4.7- or 5.5-inch screen, both bigger than the current four-inch panel, the respected Nikkei business daily said, without citing sources. US-based Apple is ordering its higher-resolution liquid crystal display screens from Japanese electronics giant Sharp, Japan Display and South Korea’s LG Display, it added. Apple released the iPhone 5 in September 2012 and newer versions in the series last year. A Japan-based spokesman for the California tech giant could not be immediately reached for comment on the Nikkei report, which was widely picked up by a string of technology news websites. The Nikkei story comes after Taiwan’s Commercial Times said this month that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. had started producing chips for the next iPhone. That news fed rumours that Apple is reducing its reliance for parts on South Korean giant Samsung, its main competitor in the mobile phone market and a bitter rival with which it is contesting several copyright court battles globally. Samsung in February unveiled its new flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone armed with a fingerprint scanner and a built-in heart rate sensor, as it tries to cement its leadership of the multibillion-dollar market. However, the South Korean giant voiced annoyance after domestic telecoms operators released its latest smartphone ahead of schedule in order

n AFP, Moscow

n AFP, Tokyo

to dodge sales restrictions imposed by regulators. The world’s biggest mobile phone maker had planned a worldwide debut of the Galaxy S5 on April 11. Samsung made about 30 percent of all smartphones sold globally last year, nearly twice the share of Apple. Fierce competition, profit concerns A survey by International Data Corporation (IDC) last month said Google’s Android system - used by Samsung among others - extended its gains over Apple’s iPhone in the last quarter of 2013, and Windows Phone grabbed the number three market position. But other challengers are moving up the ranks with Taiwan’s HTC Corp. having launched an update of its HTC One smartphone while Sony has seen strong sales of its Xperia offering. Global shipments of smartphones last year topped a billion for the first time, up 38.4% from the 725.3 million shipped in 2012. Apple, however, had the lowest year-on-year increase of all major smartphone makers even though its 5S and 5C models were available in more countries, according to IDC. While record iPhone and iPad sales

OECD: Rich countries to borrow less as crisis eases n AFP, Paris

scription to Microsoft’s existing cloudbased service called Office 365. Microsoft’s Office 365 Home Premium, designed for home consumers, costs $100 a year. For businesses it costs $60 or more per year, depending on features. Apple gets its standard 30% cut of new Office 365 Home subscriptions sold through its app store, but no share of existing Office 365 revenue or multiple subscriptions bought by companies.


fear it may have moved too late to grab the attention of many. Easy to use, touch-friendly work apps like Haiku Deck, Quip, Smartsheet and Evernote, not to mention Google Apps, have quickly gained a following among younger users who have never worked with Office applications, or relish the change. Sources have said an iPad-friendly version of Office - which encompasses such popular applications as Word, Excel and PowerPoint - had been ready for years, but the Redmond, Washingtonbased company had been reluctant to compromise its signature PC operating system. At the time, the sources could not speak because they were not authorized to talk to the press. However, Microsoft’s own efforts to produce a touch-friendly operating system capable of challenging the iPad have floundered, with poor sales of its Surface tablet, and a general lack of interest from third party hardware makers in making tablets running Windows 8. Nadella’s willingness to break with the Windows tradition, which remains co-founder Bill Gates’ most enduring legacy, helped spur Microsoft shares to $40-plus levels not seen since the dotcom boom of 2000. Wall Street is now guardedly optimistic on a company that, while still garnering billions of dollars in annual profit, risks gradual obsolescence in a mobile-powered tech industry. To some investors, steering a new course for such a massive entity Microsoft is the second-largest U.S. tech company by market value - is a daunting task. Before Nadella’s appointment, some investors had hoped for an outsider open to change to take the reins. But bold moves with Office, and signifying a renewed drive to conquer the mobile arena and ‘cloud’ computing after years of shackling its best products to PC-centric Windows, are seen as a promising start. “He talks the talk,” said Ives at FBR, referring to Nadella. “Now the big question is, will he walk the walk?” l

This is a sharp drop from the $2tn last year and less than half the borrowing requirement at the height of the debt crisis in 2009 when they borrowed $3.3tn. The drop is mainly due to governments reining in the ballooning deficits and debt that sparked the debt crisis in the first place. Net new borrowing is the amount raised on the markets minus the redemptions governments receive when their sovereign bonds mature.

Gross borrowing is also set to fall in the OECD club of advanced democracies -- from $10.8 trillion in 2013 to $10.6tn this year. However, the OECD warned that the next few years could see a hive of activity on the bond markets given what it termed a “challenging” redemption profile. “For the OECD area as a whole, governments will need to refinance close to 29% of its outstanding long-term debt in the next three years,” the report said. l

pushed Apple’s fourth-quarter revenue to a new high investors have been concerned over weaker profits in fierce mobile gadget markets. The California-based tech giant reported net income of $13.1bn on revenue of $57.6bn in the quarter that ended December 28, helped by selling 51 million iPhones. The profit was the same as Apple reported in the same quarter a year earlier when its revenue was $54.5bn. The firm is leaning on the potentially huge Chinese market as its looks to power future growth. In January, that goal got a boost as China Mobile, the country’s biggest wireless provider, started selling the iPhone to millions of customers nationwide, ending a six-year wait in a crucial market. China Mobile has a 760 millionstrong customer base and its plans to roll out the world’s largest 4G (fourth generation) network have both companies forecasting a fruitful union. A Sharp spokeswoman declined to comment on the Nikkei report Friday, as the company’s Tokyo-listed shares rose 1.63%, outpacing a 0.50% increase in the broader market. l


President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russia should create its own national payment settlement system, in a bid to reduce economic dependence on the West amid the controversy over Moscow’s seizure of Crimea. “In countries such as Japan and China these systems work, and work very well,” Putin told lawmakers in televised remarks. “Initially, they started out solely as national systems limited to their own markets, their own territory, their own population but they are becoming more popular right now.” “Why should we not do it? We should definitely do it and we will do it,” he said, noting that Russia’s Central Bank and the government have been looking into the matter. Last week the United States hit more than 20 Russian officials, including some of Putin’s closest allies, with sanctions over Moscow’s takeover of Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea. A lender described as a “crony bank” for the Russian elites, Bank Rossiya, was also blacklisted. As a result of punitive measures, several banks last week saw their customers barred from using Visa and MasterCard credit cards prompting talk among officials and lawmakers that Russia should create its own operational network. “It’s a great shame that some companies have taken a decision on certain restrictions,” Putin said. “I think it will simply lead to a loss of certain segments of the market for them, and a rather profitable market at that.” “We should protect our interests and we will do it.” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday that the govern-

ment had no plans so far to ditch Visa and MasterCard. “But at the same time we are beginning to pay more attention to the creation of our own payment settlement system.” US President Barack Obama has threatened to target the broader Russian economy if Moscow moves into east Ukraine after its takeover of Crimea. This week, Washington and its partners in the G8 club of leading industrialised countries cancelled an upcoming summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in a bid to punish Russia further. Putin has shrugged off the sanctions, insisting Moscow will conduct an independent foreign policy and would not take orders from the West. Ratings agencies Standard and

Russian President Vladimir Putin Poor’s and Fitch last week revised Russia’s outlook to negative from stable, citing the direct and anticipated impact from the sanctions and the country’s increasing isolation. Some Russia officials dismissed the revision, claiming the move was politically motivated. Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev warned earlier Thursday that the country risked growth of just 0.6% this year with capital flight expected to reach $100bn. l

30 march 2014