Page 1

Boishakh 9, 1421 Jamadius Sani 21, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 2, No 23




20 pages plus 16-page T-Mag tabloid | Price: Tk10



Factories shut on inspectors’ ‘whims’ Accord team allegedly forces government committee to shut down RMG units; workers unpaid though there is fund to the workers of the closed factories, n Tazlina Zamila Khan although it was handed over a fund by At least 10 readymade garment factories have been recently shut down in the country amid allegations that nothing much was wrong with some of these factories in terms of fire and structural compliance. The owners of some of these factories have blamed Accord – a team of inspectors sponsored by European buyers – for “forcing” a government-formed review committee to shut those factories down on the basis of their “verbal” reports. According to Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), the Accord has produced only 10 complete inspection reports, although it has visited around 80 factories in the last six months and recommended halting production of at least 10. Sources said the Accord team did not have either the expertise or the equipment to properly inspect a factory. There are allegations that the recommendations were mostly based on the inspectors’ whims. Among many other allegations against Accord, one is that it has so far not paid a penny as compensation

the European buyers for this purpose. On November 21 last year, the Labour Ministry formed a six-member review committee, tasked with evaluating Accord’s recommendations and close factories if needed. The committee was formed on the basis of an agreement called the National Tripartite Plan of Action (NTPA) on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity in the Garment Sector of Bangladesh, signed on July 25 last year among the government; representatives of the employers and workers associations; and foreign buyers. The members of that committee are: Brad Loewen, chief inspector of Accord; Kazi Wahidul Haque from the Alliance for Bangladesh Workers’ Safety; Prof Ahsanul Kabir and Prof Syed Fakhrul from Buet; Syed Ahmed, inspector general of the Labour Ministry’s Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments; and Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of BGMEA. Usually, about two weeks before inspecting a factory, the Accord team would send an email to the owner.

Security dialogue with US starts today n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman

Load shedding compounds summer heat

The third security dialogue between Bangladesh and the US is set to begin today in the capital with a view to strengthen cooperation in the areas of strategic priorities, military-to-military engagement and counterterrorism. The Secretary (bilateral) of the Foreign Ministry Mustafa Kamal will lead the Bangladesh side of the dialogue while Acting Assistant Secretary Thomas Kelly will lead the visiting team. Both sides will discuss regional priorities and issues that include India, Afghanistan, Myanmar and the Indian Ocean region. The officials will review the last military-to-military dialogue held in November of last year in Dhaka and discuss maritime security, potential cooperation in command and intelligence. Outcomes of the security dialogue will be discussed at the partnership dialogue led by the foreign secretary in June. The previous security dialogue was held in Washington last year. Peacekeeping operations and counterterrorism issues will be highlighted in the dialogue, said sources. The officials will exchange views on defence trade, the purchase of arms under the Excess Defence Article and  PAGE 2 COLUMN 6


n Aminur Rahman Rasel

With the ongoing heat wave causing demand for electricity to grow, the country is facing fresh rounds of load shedding, despite the state minister for power’s recent claim that the country would not experience any load shedding during summer. The daily production of electricity has reportedly been reduced to bring down the cost of buying power from rental plants, forcing the power supply

5 Environmental activists and leaders of 50 organisations termed the recent comments of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club President Manjur Kader on the Dhanmondi playground issue as a reiteration made by the ‘ghost’ of late former Pakistan dictator General Ayub Khan, yesterday.


6 Thousands of passengers suffer everyday as there are no facilities for them at the bustling Patgudam Bridge Bus Stand in Mymensingh.


11 The government, leading financial institutions, prominent entrepreneurs, and

TIB: 50K RMG workers lost jobs for order cancellation n Tazlina Zamila Khan Around 20-25 factories were closed and around 50,000 workers lost their jobs in the past year due to the cancellation of orders by buyers, reveals a study of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB). Findings of the study titled “Good Governance in Readymade Garments Sector: Promises and Development” were revealed at the Hotel Abakash in the capital’s Mohakhali, yesterday. It is

companies to enforce daily load shedding to cover the shortage of around 100-800MW of power, according to official sources. The crisis has intensified as import of electricity from India has also come down to 350MW a day, although it was around 400-450MW last month, officials said. The country is likely to experience around 500-800MW of load shedding during summer, with power demand reaching 7,500MW. The Power Division

a follow-up study of the previous TIB report styled “Readymade Garments Sector: Problems of Good Governance and Way of Solution.” Another 500,000 workers could become jobless and more factories could face closure in the future for the same reasons, the study states. Two forums, Accord, comprising European retailers, and Alliance, comprising North American retailers, have sometimes presented wrong information about factory inspection and as a

has reportedly asked the power distributors to use load shedding to balance the power shortage during summer Although the country had achieved a record daily production of 7,356MW on March 30 from the existing production capacity of 11,000MW, the average daily power production has now fallen to 6,800MW. The website of the Power Development Board (PDB) put yesterday’s load shedding forecast (sub-station end) at 449MW, the first time it had raised the

result, the factories were shut down, said the study. The forums suggested the shutting down of another 13 factories employing 11,500 workers that are housed in shared buildings and the cancellation of orders valued at $110m of some 57 factories. However, BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) officials stated that the buildings are safe for work and not vulnerable. TIB Deputy Programme Manager



n Emran Hossain Shaikh

intelligence agencies are in league with one another to preserve the status quo of the oppression of the average citizen at any cost.


12 A brand new set of The Tom and Jerry Show, one the world’s most loved cartoon duo, is back with a fresh take on the classic cat and mouse ‘frenemies.’


13 According to the International Cricket Council, the eighth and ninth ranked side of the ICC ranking will have to play in the qualifying round to play in the fifty over World Cup which is scheduled to be held in England in 2019.


BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has called the long march towards Teesta as part of her subtle politics, said senior Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta yesterday. “She has called it to instigate an anti-India campaign when the elections take place in India,” he said at a discussion in Dhaka city, calling it evil politics. The BNP will begin its long march towards the Teesta Barrage in Lalmonirhat from Dhaka today. “The Teesta treaty has already been

Couple presumes cause, police doubtful n Kailash Sarkar

signed with India and so they should not make it a political issue. We will resolve it through talks with India’s next government,” he said. He urged the BNP leaders to stop the long march from happening and to support the government for the sake of national unity, saying, “The BNP chairperson has called the long march for mere politics, not for resolving anything.” Suranjit, a member of the Awami League Advisory Council, warned that strict action will be taken in the event of any anarchy resulting from the long march.


n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla The Bangladesh Nationalist Party will begin its long road march toward the Teesta Barrage in Lalmonirhat from Dhaka, today, to highlight the scarcity of water in the country’s northern areas, which they are blaming on the unilateral withdrawal of common river waters by India. The organisers, however, have changed the starting point of the march from the party’s Nayapaltan headquarters to the airport intersection at Kurmitola, considering the capital’s traffic situation.


Although police have yet to make any headway in pinpointing the motive for the abduction of apparel businessman Abu Bakar Siddique, the husband of prominent environmental lawyer Syeda Rizwana Hasan, the couple have narrowed down the list of reasons by excluding the ones they believe are not linked to the kidnap. Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, BELA (Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association) chief Rizwana and her husband claimed that the abductors have not picked Siddique for anything concerning his business since there was no dispute between him and the owner of the factory. The factory had faced a closure and Abu Bakar resumed operations. “There was no row over ownership of the factory located in Fatullah of Narayanganj. State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid Bipu was the sole owner of it and he had no partner,” Rizwana asserted. Although the environmental lawyer could not reveal any exact reason for her husband’s abduction, she claimed he might have been kidnapped for her professional activities and not for his own acts.

‘Teesta long march to play politics’

“We have shifted the starting point of our march considering the traffic congestion in the city. Usually, there are huge jams during office hours. That is why we have decided to start our motorcade from the airport intersection, instead of our Nayapaltan office,” Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, BNP’s joint secretary general, told reporters at a press briefing yesterday. Rizvi said the Teesta River is facing water shortages and this is a national problem. “India withdraws water unilaterally by constructing dams and barrages

Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury said: “We noticed a lack of transparency in the published inspection reports and a lack of compulsion to show the reports to the authorities concerned on the part of the forums. Thus far the Accord has published 10 probe reports, though it is required to publish reports within a maximum of six weeks. Besides, there is no binding on the Alliance for publishing inspection reports.” “The Accord has only completed the


forecast from zero megawatt in the last couple of months. Currently, the production of 1,500MW of power is reportedly suspended because mechanical faults, along with a further suspension of around 11MW of power production because of gas and oil shortage. “As we are unable to generate additional electricity because of shortage of gas, we have to manage the gap with load management, which will be

BNP’s long march to Teesta begins today


Relatives mourn at the grave of a Rana Plaza collapse victim at the Jurain graveyard in the capital yesterday. The first anniversary of the country’s biggest industral disaster will be observed on Thursday SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

GTF compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims to be disbursed from today n Mohosinul Karim The compensation for the victims of Rana Plaza and their family members from the Global Trust Fund (GTF) will be disbursed today, on the eve of the first anniversary of the catastrophic disaster. The fund authority will begin the disbursement at the conference room of the labour and employment ministry by handing over compensations to only two persons as a token distribution. Rest of the victims will receive their due compensation through their mobile accounts, Labour Ministry Joint Secretary Khandoker Mostan Hossain confirmed the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. He further added that the authority had already completed all arrangements for opening mobile accounts for all victims and their families. “A programme will be arranged at 3pm on Tuesday [today] at the minis-

try to distribute the compensation. The state minister will hand over the money from the global trust fund to two of the victims,” he added. Mostan said a total of 3,080 victims and their family members will be compensated, each receiving Tk50,000 from the trust fund created by international retailers. Earlier, ILO Country Director Srinivasa Reddy, the key stakeholder for managing the fund, had assured that the compensation for Rana Plaza victims would be handed over shortly. According to the ministry, the some 580 victims who have already received compensation from the British retailer Primark have been excluded from the lists. The Primark gave $1,000,000 for compensating the victims of the tragedy. Of the amount, $900,000 was disbursed among the employees and workers of Neway Bottom, one of the factories housed in the collapsed Rana

Plaza. The rest was transferred to the fund for common compensation. Currently, the trust fund has only $1.7 crore, while it needs around $4 crores to complete the compensation process. The compensation figure was summed as per the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 121, used as a guideline to pay off victims of industrial accidents across the globe. Meanwhile, IndustriALL, a global union federation; UNI, a global trade union; and Clean Clothes Campaign, a leading rights network for the garment sector, recently demanded that the 29 brands which sourced from factories housed at Rana Plaza must pay towards the trust fund before April 24. Currently, 15 retailers including Benetton, Matalan, Adler Modemarkte and Auchan have failed to even make an initial contribution to the trust fund, UNI Global Union General Secretary Phillip Jennings said. l

TIB trustee board Chairperson Sultana Kamal speaks at a programme marking the launch of a research report on the country’s garment sector at Abakash Hotel in the capital yesterday RAJIB DHAR

IGP: Terrorism and militancy under control 20kg gold seized, CAAB guard among 4 held n Kailash Sarkar Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker yesterday claimed that although the people of the country had to face the worst consequences of terrorism in recent times, the law enforcement agencies have kept terrorism and militancy under control. “Terrorism and militancy in the country are now under control due to the activities being carried out by the law enforcement agencies,” the police chief said while addressing as the chief guest the in-

augural session of a four-day workshop. The event on “Responding to Terrorism: Alternative Approaches” began at Police Staff College in Mirpur. The IGP said: “The professional members of the law enforcement agencies have combated terrorism and militancy efficiently and we want to play more active role in curbing terrorism.” In the global perspectives, he said, terrorism was no more an issue of any specific country so regional and international cooperation was essential for controlling terrorism.

TIB: 50K RMG workers lost jobs  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

inspection of 80 factories out of 1,626 when they had said they would inspect all by April 2014. On the other hand, the Alliance inspected 247 factories among 626 and BUET engineers inspected 247 among 2,000. Inspection is running at a snail’s pace which is killing time. Besides, there could be uncertainty over ensuring safety in the factories because of the sluggish progress in completing inspection,” he added. Moreover, during the period that a factory is temporarily shut down for a retrofit, the lack of coordination between buyers and the owner over workers’ pay was observed, though there is a condition which says buyers will continue placing orders for at least two years if a factory is temporarily shut down for structural flaws.

It has been found that some buyers have reduced the volume of orders and sometimes have even stopped placing orders, the TIB study pointed out. “If the buyers don’t act sensibly then social unrest will grow. In addition, our economy will be hampered and workers will become jobless,” Sharif observed. “A hotline for receiving complaints made by workers was supposed to be set up as part of the National Tripartite Plan of Action, which hasn’t been set up yet,” he added. The speaker suggested including Rajuk and the fire service officials in the Accord and Alliance team so that their skills can be developed. TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said: “When it came to compen-

“Time has come to improve the efficiency of law enforcement agencies for curbing crimes. Effective measures needs be taken through joint efforts,” the IGP said. “This workshop has been organised for the personnel of those agencies which are working to fight crimes and terrorism in Bangladesh.” Police Staff College, Bangladesh organised the four-day workshop in cooperation with Singapore-based International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR). l

sating the Rana Plaza collapse victims, a lack of responsibility among buyers was noticed. We suggest forming a “Sramik Kallyan Tahabil” for workers where buyers and owners will contribute.” He also demanded a separate ministry for the readymade garment sector to ensure labour rights and improved working conditions. “There is a lack of coordination among the government agencies involved in the sector,” said TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal. TIB also made around nine suggestions, including mandatory formation of trade unions in every factory and the formation of a separate authority titled “Readymade Garment Good Governance Authority”, for resolving the existing problems. l

Load shedding compounds summer heat  PAGE 1 COLUMN 5

implemented through load shedding,” acting PDB chairman Tamal Chakraborty told the Dhaka Tribune. Abul Kalam Azad, managing director of West Zone Power Distribution Co Ltd (WZPDCL), also admitted that they had to enforce load shedding as demand exceeded supply. Comments could not be collected from the State Minister for Power, Nasrul Hamid, as he was visiting Japan. A PDB official, seeking anonymity, said people in the urban areas might have to experience up to four hours and rural people up to six hours of

load shedding, adding that efforts were on to keep load shedding at around 500MW during the irrigation season. Each spell of rolling blackouts reportedly lasts one hour or longer, varying for different areas. According to Power Division officials, irrigation requirements prompt an additional demand of 1,700MW of power during summer. Last year, the country experienced about 2,000 MW of load shedding during summer, as 5,000- 5,600MW of power was produced against a demand for 7,500MW.

Sources said the Rural Electrification Board (REB) was getting only an average of 3,300MW against its peak demand of 3,700MW during the Boro season. The Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) – which covers Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Tejgaon, Moghbazar, Dhaka (south) and Narayanganj – had a demand of 1,100MW, against which it got only 900MW on Sunday. The Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco) covers Mirpur, Shyamoli, Gulshan, Badda, Dhaka (north) and Tongi areas. Against a daily de-

Factories shut on inspectors’ ‘whims’  PAGE 1 COLUMN 2

After inspection, they would hold a meeting with the government review committee to discuss the findings and decide on next course of action. Buet Professor Ahsansul Kabir told the Dhaka Tribune that: “During our discussion, we [the committee and Accord] try to find out the discrepancies between the original approved design and the actual structure. The Accord team verbally tells us about their findings following which we do some rough calculations and reach certain estimations.” When the Dhaka Tribune wanted to see documents, he claimed: “Those are engineering terms, which you will not understand. The estimations are 100% accurate.” There are also discrepancies between what the Accord team says and the review team knows about how the inspections are done. Rob Ways, executive director (Bangladesh operations) of Accord, claimed that they used ferro scanners and thermal imaging cameras to check structural compliance of factories.

However, Prof Kabir said the Accord inspectors only used sledgehammers to check the material used in the columns. Last month, the team recommended the review committee to temporarily shut down two factories – Fame Knitwear and Softex Cotton – both located in the same building in the capital’s Mirpur. They said the columns and the foundation of the building was not strong enough bear the load. They also claimed to have found discrepancies between the original design and the actual structure. Md Moshiul Azam Shajal, owner of Fame Knitwear and also a BGMEA director, told the Dhaka Tribune that: “The Accord team told me that the foundation of the building was weak.” He claimed that the Accord team did not conduct the “soil boring test” and therefore could not comment on the foundational weakness of the building. Mahbubur Rahman, officer of Dhaka development authority Rajuk, also said a soil test was needed for determining the strength of the building’s foundation.

Interestingly, the Accord team has not discussed anything about the matter with the review committee. Prof Kabir said they discussed problems with the building’s structural design, not about foundational weaknesses. When asked, Mahbubur Rahman said there was absolutely nothing wrong with the structural design of the building. Rajuk or the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakka is the authority in charge of approving structural designs of the buildings erected within the capital. The Labour Ministry review committee does not have any representative from Rajuk. Mahbubur also said: “The Accord team cannot say anything verbally and recommend closing a building. What they are doing is not the proper way. They have to give a certificate mentioning the tests they have conducted and also their results so that we can understand. If any building is unsafe, it should be written in a certificate.” Earlier this month, a member of the review committee informed the Dhaka Tribune that Accord had recommend-

n Kailash Sarkar Members of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) last night seized 20kgs of gold at the Shahjalal International Airport after arresting four persons, including a security guard of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh. Ayesha Akhter, an assistant commissioner of the CIID, said they had seized the gold bars following the arrests. Each of the bars weighs 1kg. The four are businesspersons

Shahnaz Hossain, 44, Anjila Hossain, 26, Navil Ibne Ekram, 35, and CAAB security guard Mobarak Hossain, 40. “Shahnaz, Anjila and Navil arrived at Dhaka on a flight of the Singapore Airlines around 10:30pm. They were arrested along with CAAB security guard while crossing the immigration area around 11:15pm,” Ayesha said. “The CAAB man was arrested for helping the smugglers to cross the immigration area. The gold bars, smuggled into Bangladesh from Singapore, were found after searching all the four persons.”

Couple presumes cause  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

Abu Bakar also firmly claimed that he had not been abducted for ransom as the abductors did not demand any money from him. “They just discussed how much they should have demanded among themselves,” he said. Superintendent of Police in Narayanganj Syed Nurul Islam said they have yet to ascertain whether claims made by the couple are the real facts behind the abduction. “We are still investigating and the probe is being carried out with scrupulous attention to details. We are working with total sincerity. We, however, cannot jump to a conclusion until we can get hold of a lead,” he said.

Policemen conducting the investigation said they had taken all possibilities into consideration. Abu Bakar, who was kidnapped by armed miscreants on April 16 while on his way to Dhaka from work, claimed to have been dropped off at the capital’s Mirpur in the later hours of the night on April 17, bringing his more than 30 hours of captivity to an end. Apart from police in the Fatullah police station, where Rizwana lodged a case in connection with the abduction, the Narayanganj district police formed a 12-member committee while the police headquarters formed another 5-member committee comprised of officials from the police, RAB and DB. l

mand of around 850MW in these areas, average supply was only 700MW. The PDB supplies electricity both to rural and urban areas except Dhaka Metropolitan, Barisal and Khulna metropolitan areas. PDB was getting an average of 1,300MW supply against its demand of 1,600MW. The WZPDCL covers 21 districts including Barisal and Khulna City in the southwestern region of the country. Against daily demand of about 900MW, the average supply was only 800MW. Meanwhile, power consumers across the country complained of sufferings caused by the frequent spells of

blackout. Shafiqul Islam, a farmer from Satkhira sadar upazila, said: “We are not getting electricity properly to operate irrigation pump and Boro cultivation.” Abu Talib, a resident of Dhaka’s Uttara, said: “Sometimes we have to wait for two hours without electricity. It is really unbearable.” Shamima Khatun, a resident of Khulna, told the Dhaka Tribune: “My baby could not sleep at all last night (Sunday) because of frequent power failures… We are experiencing load shedding five to seven times a day.” l

ed closing Attune Garments Ltdin the capital’s Mirpur area. It is located in the same building as the Softex Cotton, which the Accord team had actually inspected and recommended for closing. Interestingly, Attune owner claimed that the factory had been under lock and key for more than 15 years because of fund crunch. “Neither did I get any email for did any Accord team inspect my factory. I have no idea how the team could call for closing a factory that had been closed many years ago,” said Towhid Islam, owner of Attune. According to the working norms of the review committee, if just one member disagrees with the Accord recommendations, the committee cannot shut down a factory. Shahidullah Azim, a member of the review committee, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Accord is kind of stubborn. During a meeting, our Buet specialists did not want to sign a closure order but they literally forced them to.” Azim said: “Accord did not give any money for remediation as is mentioned in their rules. They have a fund for the

workers but the workers did not get any money from it.” He also said: “If the results are based on estimation then they are not correct. I am not a technical person so I do not understand. If it is true then I will not sign [any closure order]. As far as I know, they use a formula for calculation.” Softex Knitwear owner and BGMEA Director Md Moshiul Azam Shajal said he had a suspicion that the Accord team might have come on a mission to destroy the highest foreign currency earning sector of the country’s economy, only to serve the interest of some other countries. When asked whether they made recommendations based on estimations, Accord ED Rob ways said: “The allegation is misplaced. Accord assessments are based on professional assessments performed by highly qualified experts.” When inquired about the name and qualification of the engineers, he did not give any direct answer. “Our engineers are very busy, so it is not possible to talk to them,” he said. l

According to sources, smuggling of gold has turned a common phenomenon since the Indian authorities imposed some restrictions in the import of gold. Over 1,200kg gold was seized at the airports in Bangladesh in the last one year. The sources also said a section of unscrupulous officials and employees of different government and private organisations including customs, NSI, CAAB and different airlines working at the airports have been aiding the smugglers. l

BNP’s long march  PAGE 1 COLUMN 3

upstream in the Teesta River. The neighbouring country has been withdrawing water from the common river, violating international laws,” he said. BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will lead the long march, while the party’s standing committee members, vice chairmen, advisers and hundreds of leaders and activists will take part. Rizvi said they are hopeful that the general people will also join the march. The former opposition party will hold six roadside rallies on the way to the northern region to drum up public support in favour of their programme. Rizvi said the meetings will be held at Kaliakoir in Gazipur, at the Tangail bypass crossing, at Koddar Mor in Sirajganj, at the Matidhali intersection in Bogra, at Gonidaganj in Gaibandha and at Palashbari. The marchers will stay overnight in Rangpur city and head to the Dalia point in Nilphamari tomorrow. l

Teesta long march  PAGE 1 COLUMN 5

“The government and the law enforcers will extend every co-operation if you observe it peacefully,” he said. Award-winning environmental lawyer Syeda Rizwana Hasan’s husband Abu Bakar Siddique was rescued on Thursday a day after he was abducted. “We also don’t like incidents of the abduction and/or kidnapping of anybody. The nation heaved a sigh of relief following his recovery 35 hours after abduction. The nation should know about the questions raised regarding his abduction. We want it to be solved through proper investigation,” Suranjit said. l

Security dialogue  PAGE 1 COLUMN 1

review international military education. Bangladesh usually procures US arms under the Excess Defence Article initiative. “These are the agendas fixed for discussion during the dialogue,” said a Foreign Ministry official. Earlier, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque said the dialogue will enhance partnerships in peacekeeping, counterterrorism and security cooperation as well as joint military exercises and exchanges. He said cooperation between the countries has increased – in training, information sharing and counterterrorism – and collaboration in other areas has also increased since the first dialogue in 2012. About the regional briefing, he said both the countries will discuss strategic relationships with regional countries in terms of security issues. “Bangladesh would like to know the US-India relationship while the US may want to know about the Bangladesh-Myanmar relationship,” Shahidul said. l


ACC seeks affidavit of Ruhul Amin Hawlader n Mohammad Zakaria The Anti-Corruption Commission has sent a letter to the Election Commission, seeking the copy of the affidavit of the former secretary general of Jatiya Party (Ershad) Ruhul Amin Hawlader, to investigate his wealth statement. A senior assistant secretary of the EC told the Dhaka Tribune that the commission received the letter signed by ACC Assistant Director Hamidul Hasan yesterday. The letter was submitted to the returning officers concerned in the ninth and 10th parliamentary polls, he added. The official also said the ACC sought the certified copies of Hawlader’s affidavit by April 22. Hawlader contested from the Barisal 6 and Patuakhali 1 constituencies in the 9th and 10th parliamentary polls, respectively. It is alleged that in the affidavit of the ninth parliamentary polls, Hawlader gave incorrect information regarding his educational background. Recently, the ACC also sought the affidavit of Mozammel Hossain from the EC who contested from the Bagerhat 4 constituency in 2008 and 2014. ACC officials said they have received the copies of affidavit from the EC. l


Only 19 out of 37 cabinet decisions made since January implemented Sheikh Hasina asks ministers to stop illogical hike of house rents

n Mohosinul Karim Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked the cabinet members to take immediate steps to execute the existing law on house rents in a bid to resist illogical hike of house rents in the capital city and its suburbs. At the regular cabinet meeting held at the secretariat, she also asked them to create new posts and fill the vacancies in the civil bureaucracy, a senior cabinet member who attended the meeting told the Dhaka Tribune, seeking anonymity. Chaired by the prime minister, the meeting was also attended by senior officials. After the meeting, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters that the premier had asked the high officials to take immediate steps to create new posts and fill the vacancies in different ministries and public offices. “There are few stages to complete a recruitment process. It takes enough

time to create new posts and recruit manpower as recommendation of the Public Service Commission is a must for appointing Class I and Class II officers. It is time-consuming. But the authority can easily appoint other employees,” he said, adding that the premier asked them to develop a mechanism to expedite the process. “The cabinet, finance and public administration secretaries as well as secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office will find out a way to streamline the process. A committee would be formed, if necessary.” He added: “The PSC will do it; we will just help them work out the mechanism.” The meeting also discussed the progress in implementing the cabinet decisions. It was informed that around 51.35% decisions of the present government were implemented during its three months. Only 19 out of total 37 decisions taken by the present cabinet have been implemented, the cabinet secretary said.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

“The premier asked the authority to accelerate the preparation of their plans as per the election pledges of the government.” She ordered completion of preparation for laws following important military ordinances which became invalid due to High Court’s order. State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu raised the issue of hike in house rents across the country mainly in industrial areas, causing sufferings to the labours. He requested the prime minister to take initiative to resist increasing house rents as garment workers and labours can easily lead their life with their existing wages. Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan also supported the state minister. The prime minister said, “We have a number of good laws, but those are not being enforced properly. As a result, the people of the country have to suffer a lot. People’s sufferings would ease, if the house rent act is executed. The au-

thorities concerned should take steps in this regard.” Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain informed the meeting that the government is building some flats in Dhaka city and other areas. It will reduce the crisis of houses and house rents too. Another cabinet member said most of the ministers took part in an open discussion on shortage of manpower and huge vacancies. The issues of shortage of doctors and nurses as well as AC (land), kanoongo and surveyors came up in the meeting. The premier asked the ministers and high officials concerned to take steps in this regard. She also asked the ministries to follow the recruitment and posting rules. She said, “The ministries must take the rules into account while posting public servant couples. They must get a posting in nearer place, if it is not possible to accommodate them in the same place.” l

Seventh witness in Qaisar case cross examined n Udisa Islam The seventh prosecution witness, Shah Ali Hasan alias Fulu Mia, in the case against former Jatiya Party state minister Syed Mohammad Qaisar was cross examined at the war crimes tribunal, yesterday. Fulu testified on Sunday and described the abduction of his father Shah Hossain Ali by the Qaisar Bahini, a group of collaborators led by the accused in Habiganj. During the questioning, defence counsel Abdus Sobhan Tarafder asked the witness more questions about his personal life rather than focusing on the deposition he had submitted earlier. The tribunal refused to accept some of the questions related to Fulu’s personal life. The International Crimes Tribunal 2 adjourned the proceedings until today and asked the prosecution to call in the next witness. Qaisar was indicted on February 2 this year on 16 counts of crimes against humanity which he had committed during the 1971 Liberation War. l

Forgery of NID card increased as none follows EC directives n Mohammad Zakaria The Election Commission says forgery of national ID card has increased because of making it a mandatory document for enjoying different services, which it has always opposed. A number of EC officials have told the Dhaka Tribune that ignoring the commission’s suggestion different service sectors, especially banks and insurance and other private companies, have made the national ID card mandatory for getting their services, and vested interests have taken the opportunity to make illegal businesses out of it. Law enforcers seized around 53,000 fake national ID cards on April 19. Election Commissioner Mohammad Abu Hafiz yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune that the commission had issued circulars twice, asking all authorities concerned not to make the national ID card mandatory in any service sector. “But no one followed it,” he said.

“Aggrieved people can file cases against the institutions that have made the national ID card mandatory for getting their services.” About the recovery of fake ID cards, the commissioner said those who forged the national ID cards would be punished as per the laws. “As per the National Identity Card Registration Act, a person can be sentenced to maximum seven years’ imprisonment and fined Tk1 lakh for forging the national ID card,” Hafiz said. The parliamentary standing committee on the Public Administration Ministry has assigned two lawmakers to inquire into the incident of counterfeiting of national identity card and talk to the EC on the possibility of opening of its database to stop such forgery. At a meeting the 10-member committee observed that the EC database containing the numbers and names of nationals should be opened to enable people to verify the authenticity of the data. l

Picture shows the depleted condition of the Dhaka-Purbachal highway due to ongoing construction work of a nearby flyover. The picture was taken yesterday

Mugger eats up gold ring in capital n Kailash Sarkar

In a bizarre mugging incident, a mugger ate up a gold earring as he was caught red-handed by mob during his attempt to flee after whisking away the ornament from a teenage girl in the capital’s Gulistan last evening. The 28-year-old mugger was identified as Amir Hossain who was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital while the 15-year-old Munni and her mother Anwara Begum, an employee of the capital’s Shuhrawardi Medical College and Hospital, had been waiting at the infirmary for recovery of the gold ring. Anwara said the mugger whisked off the earring from one of the ears of her daughter, Munni, while they were crossing the road in Gulistan around 6pm.

“As my daughter cried out, pedestrians caught the mugger red-handed while he was trying to escape,” she said, adding that when the mugger could understand he would not be able to escape, he ate up the gold ring. Assistant Sub-Inspector Iqbal Monir of Sergeant Ahad police outpost in Gulistan said the mugger admitted that he had eaten up the ring as the pedestrians gave him a sound beating. “We rescued the mugger at a critical condition and took him to DMCH for treatment,” said ASI Monir. He added that the mugger, who was mainly an addict, resided in the vicinity near the Golap Shah Majar. Anwara Begum said they came to DMCH by hiring a rickshaw following the policemen, who took the mugger to

the hospital. “I purchased a pair of rings for my daughter with my income and we want the gold ring back,” she said, but failed to say how. Meanwhile, a gang of criminals took away Tk65,000 by stabbing a fruit trader at Dholaipar in Jatrabari in the morning yesterday while he was on his way to Jatrabari intersection for purchasing fruits. Identified as Sabuj Hossain, 27, the trader said four-five criminals intercepted him on his way and stabbed him as he was trying to resist their attempt to take away his money. Abani Shankar Kar, officer-in-charge of Jatrabari police station, said the injured trader was taken to DMCH by the pedestrians and police were trying to nab the muggers. l

Excessive heat and lack of adequate water destroy yields of a brinjal farm causing immense losses to farmers in Rajshahi. The photo was taken yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE


Court grants defence time petition n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu

The Dhaka Special Judge’s Court 3 yesterday deferred the date for the submission of the High Court order in two corruption cases filed against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia until May 21. It also said the prosecution witnesses will testify if the High Court order is not submitted on that day. The Judge’s Court passed the order after the defence filed a petition seeking time for witnesses to testify in the cases. Judge Basudev Roy granted the time petition and the deferral. In the petition, Khaleda’s defence said the High Court would pass its order on April 23. The HC heard the defence last Sunday when they challenged the lower court’s order on the charges against the BNP chairperson. As the High Court order was pending, they asked for more time to begin the testimonies of the witnesses, said the defence counsel. On March 19, the court framed charges against Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust and the Charitable Trust graft cases. On August 8, 2011, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed a case with the Tejgaon police station, accusing four individuals, including Khaleda, of abusing power while raising funds for the Zia Charitable Trust from unknown sources. The ACC filed another case with the Ramna police station on July 3, 2008, accusing Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman and four others of misappropriating over Tk21m which came in as “grants” from a foreign bank for the orphans. l


ETV sues Mitford Hospital director and four interns n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu Ekushey Television Director Md Zahidul Islam yesterday filed a case against Mitford Hospital Director Brigadier Md Zakir Hasan and its four interns over assault on journalists. The four other accused are Mohammad Nayeem, Mohammad Soeb, Shawon and Md Shahin. Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Keshab Roy Chowdhury asked Detective Branch of police to investigate the case and submit a probe report by May 11. According to the case filed with Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate’s court, a group of interns working in the hospital assaulted ETV reporter Mohammad Elias Hossain and cameraperson Monirul Islam on April 19 when they went there to cover news for “Ekusher Chokh” programme. At this time, the interns along with the hospital employees attacked them, snatched their cameras and confined them in a room. After getting information, two oth-

er newsmen went there, but they also confined them in the same room, the complainant said. When another reporter Nurun Nabi and cameraman Rumi reached there, he said, the staff of Mitford Hospital beat them up and smashed their cameras.

The court asked DB police to investigate the assault of four ETV newsmen at the hospital on April 19 and file a report by May 11 Meanwhile, the interns in the hospital started work abstention from 2pm yesterday in protest at filing of the case. Soeb, one of the accused in the case, said they would not join work until the ETV authorities withdrew the case. A total of 207 interns are now working at the hospital, he claimed. l




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

10 journalists injured in attack by RMCH interns

UK envoy: Active opposition needed for democratic accountability

n Our Correspondent, Rajshahi

n Our Correspondent, Sylhet

At least 10 journalists, who were covering the news of a scuffle between doctors and a patient’s relatives, were injured in an attack carried out allegedly by interns at the Rajshahi Medical College Hospital on Sunday night. The injured have received medical attention at local clinics, while one journalist – Jamuna TV camera person Rasel Mahmud – was shifted to the capital’s Apollo Hospital in critical condition. Sources said the initial scuffle between interns and a patient’s relatives broke out when an intern named Subrata refused to check on the patient at ward number 13, reportedly because he was busy watching an Indian TV serial. When journalists from the electronic and print media arrived at the scene to cover the incident, the interns – equipped with hockey sticks and bamboo sticks – attacked the media workers. The interns also allegedly snatched truncheons from police personnel and beat up the journalists in the presence of law enforcers, smashing their TV cameras. The injured included Channel 24 camera person Raihan Ali and reporter Abrar Shair, Jamuna TV camera person Rasel Mahmud, Kaler Kantha photojournalist Salauddin Ahmed, ATN News camera person Mahfuzur Rahman Rubel, Maasranga TV camera person Sayed Masud and Independent TV reporter Mynul Hasan Jony. Protesting the attack, a large number of local journalists staged a sit-in programme in front of the RMCH emergency department on Sunday night,

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Gibson has stressed the need for an active opposition for establishing a democratic system characterised by accountability. “Britain wants to see the country having a democratic system where there will be accountability. For this to happen, an independent media, an active opposition in the parliament and institutional independence are important,” Gibson said. He was speaking with reporters following a meeting with Sylhet City Corporation Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury in the district yesterday. Commenting on the January 5 general elections, the UK envoy said the international community, including Britain, wanted to see an inclusive election in Bangladesh with participation of all political parties. As that did not happen, many got the opportunity to be elected parliamentarian uncontested, Gibson said, adding that they were now working to strengthen the ties between the two countries. The British High Commissioner said he was content with local government polls as those had been inclusive. He talked about the curry industry in Britain and said the UK government was trying to overcome the crisis in that sector. Our efforts are on to assist people involved in the sector, he said. Speaking of yesterday’s visit, Gibson said it was his first visit in the district since Mayor Ariful had taken office.

Schoolboy killed, 20 injured in Lakshmipur gunfight n Tribune Report A schoolboy was killed and 20 others sustained injuries when separate gunfights issued between law enforcers and two criminal groups in Latifpur and Deopara village of Chandraganj upazila in Lakshmipur last night. The deceased was Rabiul Hasan Shimul, a class VIII student of Pratapganj High School. The injured include local Chhatra League President Kazi Babul. Police and witnesses said members of Awami League-backed Nasir Bahini of Chandraganj attacked and set fire to the residences of two local BNP leaders, Tofail Ahmed of Deopara and Ali Karim of Latifpur, to establish supremacy in the area. Later, firefighters from Lakhsmipur rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control after a two-hour long effort. After the news of the attack spread, members of the BNP-backed Jishan Bahini rushed to the area and the two groups were locked in a gunfight. At one state, members of Jishan Bahini attacked the residence of Kazi Babul. During the gunfight, Shimul, who was also the nephew of the Chhatra League leader, sustained bullet injuries while trying to escape the scene. Police intervened and exchanged several rounds of bullets with both the criminal gangs in separate gunfights. Later, the law enforcers recovered the body of the schoolboy and sent it to Sadar hospital. “A gunfight took place between the members of Nasir Bahini and Jishan Bahini. A minor boy was killed and two houses were also set ablaze during the clash,” confirmed Chandraganj police investigation centre In-charge Abu Taher. l

Injured journalists being transported by an ambulance after being assaulted by intern doctors of RMCH yesterday while local lawmaker and president of the RMCH conducting council Fazle Hossain Badshah, lawmaker Ayen Uddin and Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mahbubur Rahman spoke to journalists at the spot. The RMP commissioner later closed the Officer-in-Charge of Boalia police station, Sayedur Rahman, and assured justice for the journalists. Meanwhile, a large number of journalists yesterday brought out a proces-

sion from the city’s Shaheb Bazar Zero Point and held a rally demanding immediate punishment of the attackers. A wide selection of people including Rajshahi Rakkha Sangram Parishad joined the rally to express their solidarity with the journalists’ demands. Rajshahi journalists gave the police administration a 24-hour ultimatum to arrest the attackers and announced the holding of rallies tomorrow at every upazila and district of the greater


Rajshahi region. When contacted, RMCH Director Brig Gen AKM Nasir Uddin told the Dhaka Tribune that the hospital administration held an emergency meeting at noon yesterday to form a seven-member body, headed by himself, and probe the incident. On the other hand, the intern doctors of the hospital have started an indefinite work abstention programme since yesterday. l

Mentioning the historic relation between England and Sylhet, he said many people from Sylhet now live in the United Kingdom. This is why Sylhet bears a significant importance to the British High Commission, he observed. Earlier in the day, during his courtesy meeting with Mayor Ariful, the British envoy said England is a key development partner of Bangladesh and the relation is getting stronger day by day.

Britain wants to see the country having a democratic system where there will be accountability In response to the UK envoy’s assertion, Mayor Ariful said the city corporation authorities are very sincere about the expatriates. He said a website would be launched soon for solving problems of the expats. The Mayor said the city corporation would be extending all necessary supports so that the expatriates could invest safely in Sylhet. He also sought assistance of the British government in solving a variety of problems in the city, including water-logging. Chief Executive Officer of Sylhet City Corporation Enamul Habib, Secretary Mamtaz Begum, Chief Health Officer Dr Sudhamoy Mazumder and acting chief engineer Nur Azizur Rahman were present there among others. l

‘Civil initiative needed to improve trade between BD and 7 sisters” n Tribune Report Speakers at a seminar held yesterday in Shilong, the capital of Meghalaya, India, underscored the need for informing the new generation of the century-old glorious history and traditions of Bangladesh and northeastern India (called Seven Sisters) in order to improve trade relations between both sides. A north-eastern India based social

organisation called “Asian Confluence” arranged the seminar, aiming to find ways and means to increase trade relations between both sides. In the day-long seminar, a three-member team, comprising DU History Department Professor Mejbah Kamal, journalist Sumi Khan and the founder of the Bangladesh Foundation for Tourism Development Rezaul Ikram Raju from Bangladesh, and some distinguished people as well as local

business leaders of the state attended the seminar. The speakers urged the concerned authorities to ease the visa process and the transport system between Bangladesh and Seven Sisters so that people can exchange views easily and build up a smart trade relationship. When contacted, the DU professor told the Dhaka Tribune that a followup seminar will be held in Dhaka in June. l

Mother, two others to be hanged for killing son

Abducted Jamaat man found dead n Our Correspondent, Jhenaidah

n Our Correspondent, Satkhira

An activist of Jamaat-e-Islami was found dead at Mamunshia village under Sadar upazila of the district yesterday. The deceased was identified as Abul Kalam, 38, UP member of Elangi union under Kotchandpur upazila of the district and resident of the area. Additional superintendent of police Mohammad Hasanuzzaman said Abul Kalam Azad was abducted Friday night from his resident. Later his bullet hit body was found in a field of Bakultala area of the Mamunshia village. On information, police recovered the body and sent it to Jhenaidah Sadar Hospital morgue. Kothcandpur police station Officer-in-Charge Fazlur Rahman said he was a front-line leader of the Jamaat in Kotchandpur upazila. Enmity with the villagers might have led the killing, he also said. However, he did not say who abducted the man and why. No case was filed in this connection. l

A housewife in Bagerhat yesterday was condemned to death for murdering her one and a half years old son over an extramarital affair. Thirty-four-year-old Latifa Begum, wife of Iku Biswas from Nagarkandi village of Mollahat upazila in Bagerhat, was given the death penalty as the court had found her guilty of killing her son Dipjol back in 2005. Bagerhat District and Sessions Judge SM Solaiman pronounced the verdict. Apart from Latifa, two others were also sentenced to death, namely Monir Molla, 44, and his sister Nazma Begum, 33. The two are Latifa’s neighbours living in the same village. According to the case statement, it was proved in the court that Latifa developed an extramarital affair with Monir and killed her son Dipjol on April 12, 2005. Before killing her son, the mother had decided to tie the knot with Monir as the relation between them led to a

dispute with her husband. Latifa and Monir then teamed up with Nazma and the three conspired to kill the child. Iku Biswas was away from the house on the day before the killing. Dipjol went missing the next morning and his body was later recovered from an adjacent pond. Following the recovery, police recorded an unnatural death case with Mollahat police station in this connection. On October 29 the same year, Iku as plaintiff filed a murder case accusing Monir and Nazma of murdering his son Dipjol. Sub-inspector of Mollahat police station and investigation officer of the case Nazibul Haque submitted the charge sheet on May 10, 2006, upon completion of probe. Latifa’s name was also included in the charge sheet as an accused. Following long case proceedings, the verdict was finally handed down yesterday. Bagerhat court public prosecutor Sheikh Md Ali was the counsel for the prosecution while Advocate Farid Uddin Ahmed was in the defence. l

Picture shows mealybugs infest a tree trunk on Dhaka University campus yesterday. The infestation of the foreign pest continues to grow in different parts of the capital SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

Registered doctors’ details published

Belkuchi fruit trader, employee released five days after kidnap

n Moniruzzaman Uzzal

n Our Correspondent, Sirajganj

The Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) has published detailed information of 60,000 registered doctors and dentists on its website, in a bid to allow people to verify the authenticity of doctors as well as identify the fake ones. The details, including pictures and registration numbers, will be available on the website: Dr Zahedul Hoque Basunia, registrar of the BMDC, told the Dhaka Tribune that information on 60,000 doctors have already been uploaded on the website, while details on a further 5,000 registered doctors and dental surgeons

will be uploaded within a few days. BMDC President Professor Dr Abu Shafi Ahmed Amin said they have started a two-week long awareness programme regarding the so-called fake “expert” doctors. The BMDC is publishing advertisements in different newspapers to inform both people and doctors to follow their instructions, he added. The existing BMDC act will be updated to make it compulsory for doctors to write their BMDC registration numbers on their prescription pads and visiting cards, Dr Amin said, adding that more initiatives will gradually be taken up to stop the illegal activities of unscrupulous doctors. Admitting that extensive details

about doctors’ qualifications are yet to be published, since the website is still in its primary phase, the BMDC president said the website will be developed further in the future. On April 17, the BMDC issued a circular to all registered doctors and dental surgeons, directing them to not use any name, designation, educational qualification, or description of experience that is not recognised by the council. Several senior health sector officials told the Dhaka Tribune that a large number of doctors, claiming to be “specialists,” have been putting up nameplates and printing visiting cards by using different abbreviations beside

of their names to signify their medical qualification. The combinations most commonly used 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. Moreover, doctors have been writing the names of fellowships and training from home and abroad such as FRCP, FRHS, FICA, FICS, FAMS and FIAGP, which were not medical educational qualifications and are not recognised by the BMDC. When questioned, Basunia said this is simply a matter of cheating the patients, and a violation of the BMDC rules and a punishable offence. l

The kidnapped fruit trader and his employee from the Mukundagati Bazar under the Belkuchi upazila of the district were released on Sunday night in a village in Natore by their abductors, five days after their kidnapping. Following their release, the abducted – fruit trader Abu Bakkar Siddique and his employee Yusuf Ali – came to Hatikumrul, Sirajganj on different modes of transport around midnight, and later reached their relative’s house at Belkuchi under police custody. The Belkuchi police station Officer-in-Charge Abdul Hye Sarker said the kidnappers were forced to release

them because of the prompt actions taken by the police to rescue them. They were hale and hearty, the OC said, adding that the fruit sellers were taken to the office of superintendant of police and their depositions were recorded through legal proceedings. “We cannot disclose any of the information we received from them in the interest of arresting the abductors,” he said. Sources said the fruit trader and his employee were abducted from near a crematorium on the night of April 16. The two were returning home on a rickshaw after closing shop and the kidnappers were lying in wait in a microbus. The abductors demanded a ransom of Tk80 lakh for their release. l



‘Manjur Kader is Ayub Khan’s reincarnation’ n Abu Hayat Mahmud

Environmental activists and leaders of 50 organisations termed the recent comments of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club President Manjur Kader on the Dhanmondi playground issue as a reiteration made by the “ghost” of late former Pakistan dictator General Ayub Khan, yesterday. The protesters made the remarks at a rally held in front of the National Press club in the morning. They further alleged that residents of Dhanmondi and its adjacent areas are not allowed to enter the playground due to the boundary walls and tight security measures enforced by the private sporting club. Children residing in the area have also been barred from playing at the venue. The activists also noted that the club’s president Manjur Kader spoke like the “ghost of General Ayub Khan,” when he cited that playground had been reserved for the society’s elite by the late former Pakistani dictator. Earlier on Saturday, Manjur Kader while addressing a press briefing said: “This is why only the elite living in the Dhanmondi area will use the playground. It’s not for street children, and not for all.” Manjur, however, did not mention whom he considered to be part of the elite class in the residential area. The activists also pressed home its 4-point demands, which included the withdrawal of the false suit against environmental activists and the demolishing of illegal establishments of the occupier and opening the playground for all. The rally, chaired by the National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas, Port-Power and Mineral Resources leader Ruhin Hussain Prince, was also addressed by the Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) General Secretary Dr Abdul Matin, Jahangirnagar University former vice chancellor Professor Saleh

Railway Nirapatta Bahini (RNB) arrested a ticket tout along with 16 tickets of different trains plying on the Dhaka-Chittagong from the Chittagong Railway Station area in the port city, yesterday morning. The arrested, Mohammed Imran, 32, was handed over to the Government Railway Police (GRP), said Yasin Faruk, officer-in-charge of the GRP Outpost at the railway station. He said the tout had been arrested after he had been caught red-handed around noon near the station area while he was moving suspeciously. The tickets were found when he was searched, he added. A case was lodged with the GRP Outpost. l


























Cox’s Bazar




40.7ºC Rangamati

20.2ºC Rangpur & Dinajpur

Source: Accuweather/UNB

PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha

n DU Correspondent

The Nagarik Somaj forms a human chain in front of the National Press Club yesterday, demanding withdrawal of a case filed against green activists, who have been demanding opening of Dhanmondi playground for public DHAKA TRIBUNE are now using portraits of Bangabandhu’s family members for personal gain. “The general public should protest against this ‘Pakistani ghost’ immediately,” he added. He also said the movement to free the public playground will continue and will not be deterred by lawsuits and arrests. Professor Saleh Ahmed said: “The club authority has misinterpreted the High Court order and thus, we urge the government to open the public play-

ground to all.” Bapa General Secretary Abdul Matin said: “The club has been using funds from the Bangabandhu Trust for commercial activities, which is illegal.” Demanding the withdrawal of the false lawsuit against the environment activists, he further urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to direct authorities to open the playground for all as the children in the capital have no place for recreational activities and sports. l

ty Teachers’ Association, demanding measures against Obidul. Asked about his reaction about the action, Obidul Islam said he did not misbehave with Chairman and termed the move a “politically-motivated conspiracy.” “It is clear to everyone that it is political game as the syndicate members have taken the decision against me without the probe committee report”, he said. Syndicate member Farid Uddin said it was a primary decision against himand he would get every facility during his leave, including salary. He also said a five-member probe committee was formed to investigate the matter. “Further action will be taken according the probe committee report,” he added. But Chairman of the department Azizur Rahman could not be reached over phone despite several attempts. However, teachers of White panel of the university have expressed great discontent at the decision. They termed it a “politically-motivated decision” and hoped that the real picture would be disclosed after proper investigation. l

AL activist shot by Jamaat men MizanurRahaman, n FM Chittagong An Awami League activist was shot by activists of Jamaat-e-Islami in Satkania upazila, Chittagong yesterday afternoon following a political dispute. According to Nayek Abdul Basar of Chittagong Medical College Hospital Police Outpost, the admitted injured was Md Kamal Hossain, 35, son of late Md Ismail of Safi Para area, Madarsha union. Sub-Inspector (SI)  Samsul Islam of

Satkania police station said Kamal was picked up by 10 or 12 Jamaat activists from a local market in Madarsha around 2pm. They later shot Kamal in the right knee around 2:30pm and fled, leaving him critically injured, he added. The SI said Awami League activist was rescued by locals and rushed to the upazila health complex, where the duty doctor referred him to CMCH. No one was arrested in this connection according to the SI who adding that a case with Satkania police station was in the process of being lodged. l

Missing girl found dead in city coaching centre

Train ticket tout held in Chittagong n CU Correspondent


DU teacher sent on ‘forced’ leave Dhaka University yesterday sent a teacher on forced leave for an indefinite period following a complaint that he had misbehaved with the Chairman of his department. The DU syndicate took the decision against Dr ABM Obidul Islam, a professor of Physics Department and also convener of White Panel, the BNP–Jamaat panel of teachers, at a meeting in the Senate Bhabanon Sunday with Vice-Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique in the chair. Dr Farid Uddin Ahmed, syndicate member of Dhaka University and also incumbent president of Dhaka University Teachers’ Association informed the Dhaka Tribune about the matter. According to campus sources, Chairman of Physics Department Professor D Azizur Rahman and Obaidul were locked in an altercation over buying some instrument for the department’s laboratory. During the argument, Obidul Islam castigated the Chairman with abusive words. Following the issue, D Azizur Rahman sent a written complaint to vice-chancellor and Dhaka Universi-

Ahmed and Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba) President Abu Naser Khan. Addressing the rally Ruhin Hussain Prince said: “The real owners of the Dhanmondi playground are the general people. So the general people should file suits against the grabbers of a public playground. Instead, the grabbers have filed suits against the environmental green activists, who are fighting to recover the grabbed playground.” He further alleged that many groups


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4:14am 5:32am 11:58am 4:25pm 6:23pm 7:42pm Source:

n Kailash Sarkar A teenage girl was found dead inside a coaching centre, run by a minister’s relative, in the capital’s Shiddheshwari last evening, two days after she had gone missing. Daughter of eye specialist Saiful Islam, deceased Irin Akhter, 18, was a first year student of Hafena Womens’ Dental College at Malibagh. They resided in Shantibagh. Police detained Mujibul Huq, security guard at the coaching centre named ECCP. Police and witnesses said Irin was found hanging with her scarf from a ceiling fan on the ground floor of the coaching centre located on Khandaker Goli in Shiddheshwari. The coaching centre is housed in a building owned by Lutfor Rahman, a

brother of Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan. It is run by Ira Rahman, a niece of the minister. Inspector Mashiur Rahman, officerin-charge of Ramna police station, said the girl had gone missing on Saturday. Her father filed a general diary with police in this regard. “It is also a mystery why the girl went to the coaching centre although she was not a student there,” the OC said. The ground floor of the building was being used as class rooms, which are supposed to remain close after 3pm. Office of the coaching centre is housed on the first floor. Detained security guard Mujibul said they had found the girl hanging in a room after opening the door and informed it to Ira Rahman. She was then staying on the first floor at her office. l

Two youths hacked to death in Mirpur n Ashif Islam Shaon Two youths were hacked to death in a feud between two families over a relationship between a painter and a teenage girl in the capital’s Mirpur area early yesterday, police said. The victims are Jahangir Hossain, 32, an electrical goods trader in Mirpur 1, and Kaiyum Hossain, 32, a former expatriate. They were killed around 12:10am in the Dakkhin Pirerbagh’s Bottola area. Mohammad Salauddin, OC of the Mirpur police station, said the men were victims of a clash between the families of the teenage girl and her alleged boyfriend. “The girl is aged between 12 and 14 years. She went missing from her Bottola Lane house on Friday. In a primary investigation, we learned that she was in a relationship with a painter named Billal,” said the OC. After the girl went missing, her family went to Billal’s elder sister Parvin’s house on Sunday night. Both the families got into a fight, and at one point, a member from the girl’s family slapped Parvin. In return, Parvin’s family harassed them and left the house. “Later, four men including Jahangir and Kaiyum went to Parvin’s house on two motorbikes. Jahangir and Kaiyum

were killed in front of the house,” the OC added. Asked about the other two men, he said they had fled the scene. “Parvin and her son have also been on the run since the incident.” One of Parvin’s neighbours told the Dhaka Tribune that she had heard shouting around midnight. “We closed our front door when we saw some men shouting and knocking on Parvin’s door,” the woman said, requesting anonymity. “We talked with the workers of a nearby construction site. They heard some youths shouting and exchanging heated words there. The workers also heard someone screaming for help but they did not take any step fearing danger,” the OC said. Police went to the place around 1:30am and found the bodies on the road. They also recovered two motorcycles and two mobile phones from the scene. Families of the victims did not file any case. Kayser, Kaiyum’s brother, said his brother had gone out around 11:30pm with some men. Later, Kayser and his family were called by the police from Kaiyum’s mobile phone and were informed of his death. After conducting an autopsy, the bodies have been handed over to the victims’ relatives. l

Garment workers block a road at Rasulpur in the city yesterday, protesting closure of their factory without prior notice DHAKA TRIBUNE

One killed, five injured in ‘gunfight’ n Our Correspondent, Cox’s Bazar A robber was killed during a “gunfight” between the police and a gang of robbers in Cox’s Bazar’s Ramu on Sunday night. The “gunfight” left Faridul Alam dead and five others, including ASI Milton Dey, injured. Officer-in-Charge of Ramu police station Oppela Raju Naha said the robbers stopped a CNG-run auto-rickshaw that was being used by police personnel near the Rubber Garden area on the Cox’s Bazar-Naikshyongchhori road around 9:30pm. The robbers opened fire when the police personnel tried to nab them and the law enforcers also opened fire in retaliation, triggering a fierce clash in the area. Injured Faridul Alam was arrested from the scene while the police were conducting drives according to his statement. Faridul succumbed to his injuries during the drives to nab the other robbers. Additional Police Super of Cox’s Bazar Tofayel Ahmed said ASI Milton was admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, adding that two rifles and four round bullets were recovered from the scene. Police patrol in the area was on to nab the other robbers, he added. l

BCL leaders beat up JCD member at JU n JU Correspondent Activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League beat up a member of their rival Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal with metal rods and pipes yesterday for allegedly bothering a female student at Jahangirnagar University.

‘I never disturbed any of their friends. The Chhatra League leaders and activists beat me up because of political rivalry and their rage against me’ Sources said Chhatra League leaders Asif Ahmed and Shamim Molla of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall, along with some activists, swooped on Rabbi Hasan in front ofthe Zahir Raihan auditorium on) the campus around 3.30pm, when few people were around. Rabbi, a student of Bangla department and joint convener of the hall’s Chhatra Dal unit, sustained injuries in his head and body. He was first rushed to the university’s medical centre, and

later referred to the Enam Medical College and Hospital at Savar for better treatment. Touhid Hasan, a doctor at the JU clinic, said Rabbi had severe injuries all over his body. The sources said Rabbi was probably assaulted as he allegedly sent a text message over mobile phone to a female student, who happens to be a friend of Asif. Rabbi, however, denied the allegation of bothering a female student. “I never disturbed any of their friends. The Chhatra League leaders and activists beat me up because of political rivalry and their rageagainst me,” Rabbi told the Dhaka Tribune. Rabbi was assaulted twice and driven out of the hall in the past by activists of the ruling party’s student wing. Abu Sayeed Bhuiya, general secretary of the JU unit of Chhatra Dal, the student wing of former opposition BNP, claimed that Chhatra League leaders were torturing their activists intentionally. He also demanded immediate action against those who beat up Rabbi. JU Proctor Tapan Kumar Sahasaid the university authorities would take stepsin accordance with a written complaint made by the victim. l




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lack of bus stand causes traffic congestion in Mymensingh n Our Correspondent, Mymensingh Thousands of passengers suffer everyday as there are no facilities for them at the bustling Patgudam Bridge Bus Stand in Mymensingh. “There are neither any passengers’ shed nor any public toilets, which cause huge suffering for passengers here,” says a bus passenger, Rafiqul Islam. Another bus passenger, Selina Begum, says, “I have been waiting for a bus to go to Dhaka for about an hour here. I need to go to the toilet, but there isn’t one here.” This bus stand was built in an unplanned manner in the early 1990s, after the bridge was erected over the Brahmaputra River, say locals. Hundreds of vehicles, including those from six districts in the greater Mymensingh region, cross this bus stand every day, they add, stressing its importance. But steps have yet to be taken to give it a planned look. They added that they often hear of passengers falling victim to mugging and other varied kinds of harassment. They also said the traffic jams, which result from unplanned bus parking, is unbearable, and demanded better planning of the bus stand. There should be certain rules and regulations for the buses to park when picking up passengers, which may ease the traffic jam, they suggest. Mymensingh Motor Sramik Union President Nazrul Islam also speaks of

NEWS IN BRIEF Two found dead Police recovered two bodies from separate places in Savar yesterday. Sources said the locals found the body of an unidentified person near the Madhumati Model Town in the morning and informed the police. Later, the police recovered the body. The police also recovered another body, that of a youth, from the Sreepur bus stand on the Nabinagar-Kaliakoir road. The police suspected that the youth might have been killed in road accident. – Our Correspondent

Schoolboy killed Miscreants killed a minor schoolboy yesterday in the Gorsthanpara of the district. The deceased was identified as Mohontha Robi Roy ,12, the son of Chun Moon Roy in the area. He was a class IV student at the local primary school. Sources said Robi went missing on Monday and did not return home. Later his body was found in a paddy field near the school. – Our Correspondent

Two held with firearms Police arrested two persons with possession of two firearms in the Brahmanpara upazila of Comilla district, yesterday. The arrested were identified as Maznu Pramanik, 31, and Sabuj, 18. Sources said the police, on a tip-off, stopped a private car in the Dhainnodol Kazi Market in the upazila and arrested the duo with the firearms. Uttam Kumer Barua, officer-in-charge of local Brahmanpara police station, said the arrested were involved in the drug business in the area. – Our Correspondent

Boy run over by tractor A 10-year-old boy died yesterday after he was run over by a tractor in Sajhimara village under the Bakshiganj upazila in the district. The deceased was identified as Suman, son of Bhanu Pagol. Sources said Suman was hit by the tractor while he was working in the field. He died on the spot. Mostafizur Rahman, officer-in-charge of the Bakshiganj police station confirmed the incident. – Our Correspondent


Driver, his assistant again blamed for accident n Our Correspondent, Sirajganj Another probe committee said the negligence of the driver of the Ekota Express and his assistant caused the train accident at the Ullapara Railway Station in Sirajganj on April 13 which left two people dead and at least 30 people injured. The Managing Director of western region railway Abdul Awal Bhuyan handed the report over to the Director General of Bangladesh Railway Md Tofazzal Hossain yesterday morning. According to the report, the driver Bankim Chandra Roy and his assistant Abdus Shafi are, either directly or indirectly, responsible for the crash that took place at the Ullapara Railway Station. Both the driver and his assistant were suspended immediately for their alleged negligence while driving. The Station Master of Ullahpara Rail Station Khan Moniruzzaman was also sus-

pended in this regard. In the probe report, the director general of western region railway put forward a set of recommendations on how to avoid train accidents on the route. The recommendations include the appointment of greater manpower in the railway sector and providing training to the employees of the railway. Earlier, another probe committeeled by the Additional District Magistrate Md Shafiqul Islam also found the driver Bankim Chandra and his assistant Abdus Shafi responsible for the accident. The probe committee submitted its report to the Deputy Commissioner Belal Hossain on April 15. A head-on collision between the Lalmoni Express and the Ekota Express at the Ullahpara Railway Station killed two people and left at least 30 others injured, including the driver of the Lalmoni Express, in the early hours of April 13. l

Robbers shoot 2, loot Tk2 lakh In the absence of a bus stand, a good number of buses are parked in Patgudam bridge area of Mymensingh town, causing traffic congestion DHAKA TRIBUNE the mismanagement here, such as the bus parking, traffic jams and the passengers’ sufferings. Recently, a truck collided into buses and CNG-run auto rickshaws that were randomly parked there. Six people died in the incident, he says. Traffic Inspector Syed Mahbubur Rahman says, “There are no exit or en-

try points for buses here and so buses are parked randomly to pick up passengers.” “That causes huge traffic jams and to ease that, police have to struggle every day,” he says, adding, “It is not possible to get rid of this jam unless it is better planned and constructed.” Mymemsingh Municipality Mayor

Muksudpur farmers excited over large production of onion seed n Our Correspondent, Gopalganj Muksudpur upazila of the district has experienced a large production of onion seed, which is gradually being considered one of the most profitable agricultural varieties by the local farmers. The farmers are not only making profits but also being able to supply quality onion seed to others, thus playing a pivotal role in the increase of local production. Sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) of Muksudpur said it would be a relief for the country to have the onion import burden removed. The sources added that onion, a vastly used spice, has been grown on 350 hectares of land in the upazila this year and the onion seed production per hectare is expected to be around 500 kg priced at Tk1 lakh.

Nazmul Hasan, a farmer from Posargati village, said: “Onion seed farming is very profitable and I produced 27 kg on nine decimals of land last year.” The quality of the seeds supplied by the local DAE is very good, and the growing rate is 90-95%. That is why we started commercially producing onion seed, the farmer added. Muksudpur DAE official Abul Bashar Miah said we supply quality onion seeds to the farmers so that farming of the crops increases and the farmers can reap the rewards. Another official, Dr Mosarraf Hossain, echoed Bashar, adding that the country imports huge quantities of onion from India and thus the latter controls its price. “To lessen the burden, the government has taken on the onion seed production and expansion project and the farmers also get special facilities.” l

3 Hindu houses, seven shops vandalised in Lakshmipur n Our Correspondent, Lakshmipur A gang of miscreants vandalised three houses and seven shops at Deopara and Amanilakshmipur villages of Lakshmipur Sadar Upazila in the early hours, yesterday. Local sources said a gang of over 100 armed miscreants vandalised the houses of Motilal Majumdar. The miscreants also set fire to seven shops adjacent to the house and looted gold ornaments from other houses. Afterwards, the attackers kidnapped Motilal and demanding a ransom of Tk6 lakhs from his family for his release. Shikha Rani Majumdar, Motilal’s daughter, said his father was freed in the morning as her family agreed to pay the ransom. Another gang of miscreants torched the house of Noman, Chandraganj union unit

Awami League vice president, and that of its member, Mamun, in the morning. The attackers also ransacked furniture and looted gold ornaments. The victims blamed “Jisan Bahini” for the attack. In response, a number of Awami League leaders and activists blocked the Dhaka-Raipur road by setting fire to tyres and putting logs on road. Police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control assuring the protesters that they would look into the matter. Sheikh Sariful Islam, officer-in-charge of Sadar police station, said they were informed about the matter and would take action against the attackers. A case was filed in this connection. People from the Hindu community demanded measures from the district administration to ensure their security. l

Ikramul Haq Tito blames the traffic police and motorised vehicles’ associations for the passengers’ sufferings. “The passengers suffer as traffic police and motorised vehicles’ associations do not fulfil their duties properly.” He, however, hopes that this bus stand will be given a modern twist to ease the passengers’ sufferings. l

n Our Correspondent, Gaibandha A group of robbers have shot two persons and looted Tk2 lakh from them in front of a National Bank branch in Park Road of Gaibandha on Monday morning. Asihk Jahan Pallab, 42, owner of Grameenphone Flexi Load Distributor Messrs Somechi Traders, was admitted to Gaibandha sadar hospital while night guard Shakhawat Hossain was admitted to Rangpur Medical College Hospital.

District Superintendent of Police Mofazzal Hossain said a group of robbers numbering six to seven shot Pallab and Shakhawat when they were going to deposit Flexi Load money to the National Bank branch around 11am. “The robbers also snatched Tk2 lakh cash and two cheques of Tk46 lakh and Tk7 lakh from the duo,” said SP Mofazzal. Gaibandha sadar police station Officer-in-Charge Rajiur Rahman said police were conducting drives to arrest the criminals. l


Long Form

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


How you can prevent corruption The Right to Information Act, 2009 (RTI Act) empowers all citizens of Bangladesh to stand up to corruption, clientelism and secrecy for societal and own benefit


n Benjamin Kuehne did not know until now that the RTI Act can be so powerful,” said Mohammad Saud Khan, after getting an Agriculture Input Assistance Card and Tk800 for one bag of fertiliser and 2kg seeds. Bangladesh’s Right to Information Act was adopted by the Jatiyo Sangshad in 2009. It is among the more elaborate RTI laws around the globe. As the law provides a great opportunity for citizens to change their personal situation and to get involved with transparency and accountability of public authorities, it is a commendable step towards good governance. Under the law, every citizen has the right to access information from any public authority and their private contractors. Upon demand of the citizen, the authority is bound to provide this information. At best, only one form has to be filled and delivered to the designated official, to request the information and receive an answer within 20 days. However, some exceptions exist - ongoing police investigations, personal data and information that pose a threat to public security and international relations. Mohammad Saud Khan is a nomadic river gypsy belonging to the Bede community in Munshiganj district. He has been farming alongside the Padma River for a long time. Due to lack of agricultural utilities including seeds, fertilisers and equipment, his harvest has always been scarce. He repeatedly sought help from the local agricultural officials, who promised him financial support if money was officially sanctioned. He soon gave up all hope for assistance. In 2010, Khan became an animator in a non-governmental organisation’s (NGO) Right to Information project. It was only then that he became aware of the Agriculture Input Assistance Card, which the Government of Bangladesh issues to small farmers to provide them with cash subsidies. He felt that he had been denied this assistance because he belongs to the Bede community. After learning about the RTI Act, he requested for a copy of the rules to obtain a card and a list of most recent recipients in his area from the designated officer of the Upazila Agriculture Office. Khan received part of the information


The establishment of the Information Commission as an overseeing public body, is an important step towards properly implementing the RTI Act. An RTI applicant who was denied information, or is dissatisfied with the information received, can file a complaint with the commission. The institution then makes the final decision, if and which information is to be disclosed. The Information Commissioners can exercise the power of a civil court and therefore enforce the attendance of officials and compel them to give testimony. If the Commission is convinced that an official or an authority has violated duties under the RTI Act, it can take action against them.

If the Commission is convinced that an official or an authority has violated duties under the RTI Act, it can take action against them

and was invited to the office, where he was informed that his name would be added to the list of beneficiaries. Since he was not satisfied with the information he received within the RTI Act’s time limit, he decided to file a complaint to the Information Commission. A few days before the scheduled hearing, he finally received the missing information.

“After Mr Saud Khan applied for the information, we started collecting it. Since the RTI Act was new and we were not really aware of it, we did not furnish all the information in a proper manner. Now that we are aware of it, we will furnish all information requested,” stated the Upazila Agriculture Officer. The Information Commis-

sion admonished him for not caring to learn about the law when it was announced by the Government. The reaction of the Upazila Office to Saud Khan’s request shows two shortcomings lingering since the adoption of the RTI Act - a lack of awareness not only among citizens but also among designated officers and an insufficiently effective information management system. To overcome these and other shortcomings is not only a responsibility of public authorities themselves but also of citizens. While training designated officers, creating awareness of the RTI Act, enhancing proactive disclosure and removing bureaucratic hurdles are public duties; making regular use of the RTI Act will inevitably compel officers to develop a habit of properly responding to requests from citizens and to resort to good practice. Authorities will lack motivation to make a big effort towards properly implementing the law if there is no serious demand. According to the Information Commission, Bangladeshis submitted 16,475 RTI requests in 2012. But many requests were not related to the aim of the law. The Information Commission takes any request into account which is delivered on an RTI form, although information on how to open a bank account or how to get a passport are matters relating to proactive disclosure and can be enquired over the telephone or through face-to-face conversation with an employee of the concerned authority.

So far, more than 12,500 designated officers have been appointed throughout the country. Many of them were not concerned with a single RTI request. As being responsible for responding to these requests is an additional task for an officer who already has other duties, it loses significance for him if there is no demand. A 2013 study conducted by The Nielsen Company revealed - 38% of the designated officers who received training on RTI, have forgotten most of what they had learnt since they handled no RTI application following the training. Furthermore, case studies conducted by NGOs point out that an initial hostile reaction to a citizen’s request is often derived from a lack of awareness regarding the RTI Act among officers and this behaviour changes as soon as they get to know about the law. Bangladesh has a long tradition of government secrecy. The efforts taken in recent years to make governance, bureaucracy and public private partnership more transparent and accountable to citizens are highly commendable. But if public officers are not aware of their new duties they will act according to old patterns. An increasing number of RTI applications can serve as a catalyst to change their mentality. An extrapolation conducted by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative indicates that Indians filed around 40 lakh RTI requests in the business year 2011-12. That is about 32 times as many applications per capita as in

RTI act can only unfold its full impact on society, if it gets used massively, if the educated middle class gets involved and asks serious questions like journalists do


Bangladesh. This success story can be traced back to grassroot activities dating back to the mid 1990s. The government facilitated the movement by institutionalising the right to information. The Indian RTI Act in its current form was adopted in 2005.

So far, more than 12,500 designated officers have been appointed throughout the country. Everyone can be an agent for change by using RTI

Indian citizens since then uncovered fraud in the construction sector, healthcare system and the Public Distribution System among other things. Using RTI has become very popular in India. Examples from India and Bangladesh show that RTI can make a difference. Not only restricted to a person’s life, it can also affect society as a whole. Misuse of public money and bad governance in general are less likely, if the designated personnel fear that their misdeeds have a high probability of getting discovered. Additionally, RTI is a gain for authorities as well - it provides an easy way to assess the citizens’ needs and wishes. Apart from that, reducing corruption should be a shared goal. RTI-related success is possible in Bangladesh, as the story of Mohammad Saud Khan shows; but it is a rare example. Today, RTI is mainly used by marginalised people for personal benefit, if they get facilitated by NGOs. It can only unfold its full impact on society, if it gets used massively. NGOs can play a key role in promoting RTI, especially when it comes to raising awareness; what really counts is the people’s commitment. To go beyond personal benefit, it is inevitable that the educated middle class gets involved and asks serious questions like journalists do for research purposes. One might ask to see documents, which show what designated authorities are doing to assess environmental pollution by tanners in Hazaribagh of Old Dhaka, to monitor workers’ rights in the garment sector or to monitor its contract partners in the construction of the Padma Bridge. Everyone can be an agent for change by using RTI. l Benjamin Kuehne is working for NETZ Partnership for Development and Justice and Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) as volunteer since September 2013.




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gaza Strip, Israel exchange strikes n Reuters, Gaza Seven rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel during the Jewish Passover holiday yesterday, drawing retaliatory air strikes from the Israeli army, officials said, the first cross-border clash in several weeks. Israel’s army said its strikes hit two training camps run by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls Gaza. Medical sources there said two Hamas militants were lightly wounded. Hamas has largely maintained a truce with Israel since a brief war in late 2012, but it has sometimes struggled to rein in smaller armed Islamist factions hostile to the Israel. There was no claim of responsibility for the latest rocket salvo from any of those factions, who are opposed to troubled peace talks between their Palestinian rivals in the occupied West Bank and Israel. Two of the projectiles from Gaza exploded in the southern Israeli border community of Sderot in a road and an open area, Israeli police said. There were no reports of any injuries. Israel holds Hamas responsible for

A look at the dual justice system in the West Bank n AP, Jerusalem Israeli and Palestinian minors accused of crimes in the West Bank are subject to two different sets of laws. Israeli settlers are prosecuted under Israeli civilian law, while Palestinians are thrust into the military justice system. Critics complain that the conviction rate in the military system is higher and the penalties stiffer. Here are some statistics about juvenile arrests between 2008 and 2013 from Israel’s national police force: CRIME REPORT

BOTH SIDES Palestinians: 2,213

Total arrests for all crimes

Israelis: 851 Palestinians: 45 percent

Indictment rate for all crimes An Israeli boy looks at shrapnel at a parking lot in the Israeli southern city of Sderot after a rocket fired by Palestinian from Gaza Strip landed in the town REUTERS any rocket fire from the Strip and routinely retaliates against it. “Israeli civilians celebrating the Passover Holiday woke up this morning to the sound of Code-Red alarms and rockets ... Hamas rocket terrorism is an intolerable reality Israelis should not have to accept,” Israeli army spokes-

man Peter Lerner said in a statement. Residents of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza said an Israeli helicopter opened fire there, though it was not clear what it was targeting. Hamas confirmed its training camps had been attacked but did not comment on the reports of rockets. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005

after 38 years of occupation, a unilateral move that boosted Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups. Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Two Islamist groups fired rockets at Israel over several days in early March, and Israel responded with air strikes. l

Israelis: 34 percent Palestinians: 1,142

Total arrests for stone throwing

Israelis: 53 Palestinians: 46 percent.

Indictments for stone-throwing

Israelis: Six cases, or 11 percent. Palestinians: 100 percent

Indictments resulting in convictions

Brown steps up bid to keep Scotland in UK

Egypt vote a two-man race between ex-army chief, leftist

n Reuters, London

n AFP, Cairo

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is stepping up his efforts to stop Scotland leaving the United Kingdom as opinion polls show growing support for independence. Brown, a Scot, will today make his first speech in support of the cross-party Better Together campaign, warning Scots of a possible deficit in pension funds if they opt out of the 307-year old union in a September 18 referendum. Polls show growing support for independence with the gap between the two sides narrowing to just a few percentage points after a split seemed unattainable a year ago. Brown, a former Labour leader who has kept a low profile since losing the 2010 general election, said he will set out the case for why Scotland should stay in the United Kingdom in a speech at Glasgow University. “I will set out a positive, forward-looking case for the best future for Scotland, showing how in areas such as pensions it makes good sense to combine having a Scottish parliament with being part of Britain,” Brown

said ahead of the speech. Campaigners believe working-class Labour supporters could be key to the referendum with both sides seeking to woo Labour voters as well as women, who opinion polls suggest are more likely to oppose independence. Brown has acknowledged most of Scotland’s 5.3m population want change although not necessarily separation as advocated by the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) that trounced Labour at the 2011 Scottish parliament elections. An ICM poll on Sunday showed support for independence unchanged from a month ago at 39 percent while opposition fell four points to 42 percent. A Survation poll put the pro-independence side at 38 percent, up one point from 10 days ago, and pro-unionists on 46 percent, one point lower. Scotland set up its own parliament in 1999 after a referendum on devolution, with London handing over powers for issues such as education, health, transport and housing. The anti-independence campaign has focused heavily on warnings that Scotland would lose the pound. l

Egypt’s presidential election has turned into a contest between the ex-army chief lauded by millions for ousting an Islamist government and a leftist who claims to represent the ideals of the 2011 uprising. Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is the frontrunner in the May 26-27 vote, riding a wave of popularity after deposing Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first elected and civilian president. Sisi’s sole rival is Hamdeen Sabbahi, who came third in the 2012 election which Morsi won, and is seen by supporters as the only leader representing the aspirations of those who revolted against the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood will not feature in the election. Not only is it boycotting the vote, but it has also been blacklisted as a “terrorist” organisation amid a brutal crackdown by the military-installed authorities, despite sweeping all elections since Mubarak’s fall. The movement’s top leaders are behind bars, and its members are blocked from contesting any poll.

Next month’s vote comes against the backdrop of unprecedented violence set off by Morsi’s overthrow. Amnesty International says more than 1,400 people have died in the police crackdown targeting Morsi’s supporters, while over 15,000 have been jailed.

With the economy in ruins, many are looking to Sisi to return the stability needed to reassure investors and tourists The authorities say more than 500 people, mostly policemen and soldiers, have been killed in militant attacks since the overthrow of Morsi. It is precisely this insecurity from which Sisi derives his unparalleled popularity, as supporters see in him a leader capable of bringing stability to the country. Since a military coup in 1952, every president in Egypt has come from the military, except Morsi. However, with the economy in ruins,

many are looking to Sisi to return the stability needed to reassure investors and tourists. But Sabbahi hopes to capitalise on fears that Sisi represents a return to the authoritarian era of Mubarak, as the ongoing crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood has also targeted some leading activists of the 2011 revolt. “We are facing a clear situation: there is a candidate who could take us to the future and there is another who could take us to the past,” said Amr Badr, Sabbahi’s spokesman. Sabbahi officially submitted his candidacy on Saturday as a group of young people, who form the backbone of his support base, chanted “Justice comes before force” and “No need to be a marshal to be strong”. His supporters see in Sabbahi echoes of the social justice policies associated with Gamal Abdel Nasser, the charismatic and socialist-leaning military ruler who toppled the monarchy in 1952 and stood up to Western powers. Sabbahi gathered around 30,000 signatures backing his candidacy, an electoral commission official said. That compares with almost 200,000 backing Sisi’s campaign, the official added.l

Lavrov: Kiev authorities violating Geneva accord n AFP, Moscow Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday accused the government in Kiev of breaching an international accord reached last week aimed at defusing the crisis in Ukraine. “The Geneva accord is not only not being fulfilled, but steps are being taken, primarily by those who seized power in Kiev, that are grossly breaching the agreements reached in Geneva,” Lavrov said at a televised news conference in Moscow. He spoke after a warning from Washington that time was running out for implementing the agreement hammered out last Thursday in Geneva between Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union. US President Barack Obama had warned Russia that it would face additional sanctions if progress was not made within days. But Lavrov dismissed the risk of Russia falling into greater international isolation.

“Attempts to isolate Russia have absolutely no future because isolating Russia from the rest of the world is impossible,” he said. He said Kiev authorities had not granted an amnesty to arrested protesters, as required by the Geneva deal. “Instead of freeing those already arrested, particularly the ‘people’s governor of Donetsk’, Pavel Gubarev, the authorities in Kiev are continuing to arrest political figures from the southeast,” Lavrov said. He also said calls by Ukrainian MPs to preserve a protest camp on Kiev’s central Independence Square, known as the Maidan, were “absolutely unacceptable”, saying “even under Ukrainian law, such things cannot be done.” He acknowledged the complaint from the Kiev authorities that pro-Russian forces were not fulfilling their part of the agreement, but accused the government of taking no action to end the conflict. l

n AFP, Riyadh A Saudi court has sentenced to death five people over deadly 2003 attacks that marked the start of a wave of Al-Qaeda violence, media reported yesterday. Dozens of Saudis and expats were killed and wounded that year in car bombings that ripped through three residential compounds in Riyadh where foreigners lived. Sabq news website did not say when

Suicide bombings, attacks in Iraq kill 19 people n AP, Baghdad Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed at least 19 people and wounded 36 yesterday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. In one suicide attack, the bomber drove his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint in the town of Suwayrah, killing 12 people — five policemen and seven civilians. A police officer said the explosion in Suwayrah, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Baghdad, also wounded 19 people. In the nearby town of Madain, another suicide car bomber struck an army checkpoint, killing three soldiers and two civilians, a second police officer said. Twelve other people were wounded in that attack, he said. An Iraqi soldier was killed and three were wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol in the northern town of Mishahda. And in the town of Latifiyah, gunmen in speeding car went on a shooting spree, killing one civilian and wounding two, a police officer said. Four medical officials confirmed the causality figures. l

Ukraine peace deal falters as rebels show no sign of surrender n Reuters, Kiev

A pro-Russian protester stands at barricades at the police headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk

Saudi sentences five to death over 2003 Qaeda attacks the five suspects were sentenced to death, but reported that they were found guilty of rigging car bombs used in the 2003 attacks. Thirty-seven other defendants were given jail terms ranging from three to 35 years, it said. The suspects were also convicted of plotting and carrying out an attack on a military base near Riyadh and of providing financial and logistical support to their now-slain leader Turki al-Dandani. Dandani was a top Al-Qaeda opera-

Israelis: Four found guilty but not convicted. One was cleared. Fate of last case unknown.

tive who was eventually killed in clashes with Saudi police. Saudi authorities set up specialised terrorism courts in 2011 to try dozens of Saudis and foreigners accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda or of involvement in the wave of unrest unleashed in 2003. The attacks prompted authorities to crack down on the jihadist network founded by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US commando operation in May 2011. l


Syria announces presidential election on June 3 n Reuters, Beirut Syria will hold a presidential election on June 3, the speaker of parliament said yesterday, setting a date for a vote likely to give President Bashar al-Assad a third term days after he said his forces were winning the country’s civil war. Assad is facing a three-year-old conflict against his rule that has killed more than 150,000 people and forced millions from their homes. Under Syria’s constitution the election is due by July, though the international powers that back As-

sad’s opponents have described plans to hold it as a “parody of democracy”. Assad has not said whether he will stand in the election, but his allies in Russia and in Lebanon’s Shi’ite movement Hezbollah have predicted he will stand and win. Announcing the election on state television, parliamentary speaker Mohamed Jihad al-Laham said requests for nomination would be accepted until May 1. Voting for Syrians outside the country would take place at Syrian embassies on May 28, he said. l

An agreement reached last week to avert wider conflict in Ukraine was faltering as the new week began, with pro-Moscow separatist gunmen showing no sign of surrendering government buildings they have seized. Washington says it will hold Moscow responsible and impose new economic sanctions if the separatists do not clear out of government buildings they have occupied across swathes of eastern Ukraine over the past two weeks. US Vice President Joe Biden was due in Kiev later on Monday. Kiev and Moscow traded accusations over a deadly shooting on Easter Sunday morning, when at least three people were killed at a checkpoint manned by armed separatists. Moscow and its separatist allies accused Ukrainian nationalists of attacking the checkpoint; Kiev said Russia  had provoked the violence. In a later incident, the Ukrainian defence ministry said gunmen on motorcycles fired on an army checkpoint between Donetsk and Slaviansk shortly after dark on Sunday. The troops opened fire, wounding one attacker and capturing two, it said. Russia, Ukraine, the European Union and the United States signed off on an agreement in Geneva on Thursday, designed to lower tension in the worst confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War. The agreement calls for occupied buildings to be vacated under the auspices of envoys from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a security body. All sides are meant to refrain from force. But no sooner had the accord been signed than both sides accused the other of breaking it, while the pro-Moscow rebels said the pledge to withdraw from occupied buildings was not binding on them. l



S Korean president: Ferry crew actions murderous Sixty-four people are known to have died and 238 are still missing, presumed dead had been involved in a sea accident off n Reuters, Jindo Japan years before. South Korean President Park Geunhye said yesterday the actions of some crew of a ferry that sank with hundreds feared dead were tantamount to murder, as a four-year-old video transcript showed the captain promoting the safety of the same route. Sixty-four people are known to have died and 238 are missing, presumed dead, in the sinking of the Sewol ferry last Wednesday. Most of the victims are high school children. Captain Lee Joon-seok, 69, and two other crew members were arrested last week on negligence charges, with prosecutors announcing four further arrests - two first mates, one second mate and a chief engineer - on Monday. Lee was also charged with undertaking an “excessive change of course without slowing down” while traversing a narrow channel. Several crew members, including the captain, left the ferry as it was sinking, ahead of the passengers, witnesses have said. Park said the crew’s desertion was tantamount to murder. “Above all, the conduct of the captain and some crew members is unfathomable from the viewpoint of common sense, and it was like an act of murder that cannot and should not be tolerated,” she told aides. Lee, the captain, said in a promotional video four years ago that the journey from the port city of Incheon to the holiday island of Jeju was safe as long as passengers followed the instructions of the crew. He also told a newspaper that he

The irony of the video is the crew ordered the passengers to stay put in their cabins as the ferry sank. As is customary in hierarchical Korean society, the orders were not questioned. However, many of those who escaped alive either did not hear or flouted the instructions and were rescued as they abandoned ship. Of the 476 passengers and crew on board, 339 were children and teachers on a high school outing.

Sub search for MH370 two-thirds complete n AFP, Perth

Malaysia Airlines jet in emergency landing after tyre bursts

Two-thirds of the planned underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been completed, with no signs so far of the jet, Australian officials said yesterday. As many as 10 military aircraft and 11 ships are taking part in the search for the aircraft, which was carrying 239 people when it vanished on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No debris from the plane has been found despite an intense air and sea search and hopes centre on the underwater autonomous vehicle (UAV) Bluefin-21 finding wreckage on the Indian Ocean seabed. “Bluefin-21 has searched approximately two thirds of the focused underwater search area to date,” the Joint Agency Coordination Centre managing the search said in a statement. “No contacts of interest have been found to date.” The torpedo-shaped sonar scanning device has so far made eight missions to the vast depths of the ocean with no result, despite exceeding it’s operating limit of 4,500 metres (15,000 feet). MH370 inexplicably diverted from its course towards Beijing and is thought to have crashed into the remote Indian Ocean. Authorities believe acoustic signals picked up from the seabed far off the west coast of Australia by specialist US equipment -- known as a towed pinger locator -- are the best lead so far in solving the mystery. l

‘I know how he said ‘dad’’

Parents of the children missing in the accident in what is likely to turn out to be one of South Korea’s worst maritime disasters sat exhausted from days of grief on Monday, waiting for the almost inevitable news that their loved ones had died. They have spent all their time since the accident in a gymnasium in the port city of Jindo, taking it in turns to vent their anger at the crew’s inaction and slow pace of the rescue operation. One of those waiting in the gymnasium was Kim Chang-gu, whose son Kim Dong-hyup is among the missing. “I dream about him and hear hallucinatory sounds,” he told Reuters. “Somebody told me he was alive but I now have given up. I know how he said ‘Dad’. I keep hearing that.” Divers are retrieving the bodies at a faster pace and some parents have moved from the gymnasium to the pier to await news. Others stay put on their mattresses in the gym, where one by one, parents are informed that a body

n AFP, Kuala Lumpur A Malaysia Airlines plane with 166 people aboard was forced to make an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur early Monday in another blow to the flag-carrier’s safety image after the loss of flight MH370. Flight MH192, bound for Bangalore in India, turned back to Kuala Lumpur shortly after it was discovered that a tyre had burst on take-off, the airline said. “As safety is of utmost priority to Malaysia Airlines, the aircraft was required to turn back to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport),” the airline said in a statement. The episode caused deep anxiety among passengers, with some crying or reciting prayers as the plane circled for hours off the coast, Malaysian media reported. The plane circled in order to burn up fuel -- a common practice in such landings, designed to make the plane lighter and minimise fire risks. “The passengers were very scared when we learnt that the flight was having trouble,” the New Straits Times quoted a Dutch traveller as saying. “Some were crying, while most of us had already started reciting prayers.” The plane landed safely at 1:56 am

N Korea slams Obama’s ‘dangerous’ Asia tour n AFP, Seoul North Korea warned yesterday that an upcoming Asian tour by US President Barack Obama could escalate military tensions, as South Korean media cited intelligence reports of increased activity at the North’s main nuclear test site. Obama’s April 23-29 tour includes visits to Japan and South Korea, the two main US military allies in Asia and key partners in the effort to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme. A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said the “reactionary and dangerous” trip would only serve to “escalate confrontation and bring dark clouds of a nuclear arms race” over the Korean peninsula. In a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency, the spokesman said recent Asia visits by the US Secretaries of State and Defence had sought to demonise the North’s nuclear and missile programmes and justify a growing US military presence in the region. “It is as clear as noonday that Obama will trumpet the same thing,” he said.

The last two months have been a period of elevated tensions on the Korean peninsula, as South Korea and the United States conducted annual, largescale military exercises. North Korea protested by test-firing dozens of short-range missiles and conducting its first mid-range missile tests for nearly four years. On Monday, the South’s Yonhap news agency, citing unidentified military sources, said increased activity had been observed at the North’s underground Punggye-ri site where its three nuclear tests were carried out in 2006, 2009 and 2013. “South Korean and US forces have been closely monitoring the latest development to detect signs of another test,” one source told Yonhap. At the end of last month, North Korea said it would not rule out a “new form” of nuclear test after the UN Security Council condemned its latest medium-range missile launches. Experts saw this as a possible reference to testing a uranium-based device or a miniaturised warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile. l

South Korea Coast Guard members transfer the bodies of passengers from the sunken South Korean ferry ‘Sewol’, to a ship at sea off Jindo. Divers began retrieving bodies on April 20 from inside the submerged South Korean ferry that capsized five days ago with hundreds of children on board AFP matches a family DNA swab, prompting wailing and collapses. Two US underwater drones have been deployed in the search for bodies, a coastguard official said. Strong tides hampered operations overnight but the weather was better on Monday.

(1756 GMT), nearly four hours after take-off, and all 159 passengers and seven crew members disembarked, the airline said. It added that tyre debris discovered on the runway had led to the decision to bring the Boeing 737-800 aircraft back. “They have landed safely -- thank God,” tweeted Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said police would probe the incident, including the possibility of sabotage, though he gave no indication sabotage was suspected. “We will take the necessary steps to investigate from all angles,” he was quoted by Malaysian media as saying. A Malaysia Airlines spokeswoman confirmed the re-scheduled flight took off at 3:35 pm local time on Monday. Malaysia Airlines is still reeling from the loss and presumed crash of MH370, which disappeared on March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane is now believed to have crashed into the remote Indian Ocean with 239 people aboard after inexplicably diverting from its route. Malaysia Airlines had previously enjoyed a good safety record, as did the Boeing 777 aircraft used for MH370. l

Hamid Mir’s condition stable n AFP, Karachi A leading Pakistani journalist and TV anchor who was shot three times in an attack in Karachi is conscious and in stable condition, his hospital said yesterday. Hamid Mir, who hosts a prime-time current affairs talk show on the Geo News channel, was attacked on Saturday while travelling by car to his office from the airport in Karachi. The government has announced a special commission to investigate the attack and offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. A spokesman for Karachi’s Aga Khan University Hospital said Mir was “conscious and stable”. The shooting came less than a month after gunmen tried to murder another prominent liberal journalist, Raza Rumi, known for criticising the Taliban. Rumi survived the attack but his driver was killed. Mir has survived previous attempts on his life including a bomb under his car last year which police defused before it could go off. He has long been a critic of the country’s powerful intelligence agencies and military for their alleged role in the abduction of thousands of people in the restive southwestern province of Baluchistan. l


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A clearer picture has started to emerge of the time around the accident after coastguards released a recording of a conversation between vessel controllers and the ship. Witnesses have said the Sewol turned sharply before it began listing. It took more than two hours for

it to capsize completely but passengers were ordered to stay put in their cabins. According to the transcript, the controllers told the captain to “decide how best to evacuate the passengers” and that he should “make the final decision on whether or not to evacuate.” l

Sherpas consider boycott after Everest disaster n AP, Katmandu, Nepal Buddhist monks cremated the remains of Sherpa guides who were buried in the deadliest avalanche to hit Mount Everest, a disaster that has prompted calls for a climbing boycott by Nepal’s ethnic Sherpa community. A Sherpa boycott could critically disrupt the Everest climbing season, which is key to the livelihood of thousands of Nepali guides and porters. Everest climbers have long relied on Sherpas for everything from hauling gear to cooking food to high-altitude guiding. At least 13 Sherpas were killed when a block of ice tore loose from the mountain and triggered a cascade that ripped through teams of guides hauling gear. Three Sherpas missing in Friday’s avalanche are presumed dead. “Right now, I can’t even think of going back to the mountain,” said Tashi Dorje, whose cousin was killed. “We have not just lost our family members, but it is a loss for the whole mountaineering community and the country.” Since the avalanche, the Sherpas have expressed anger that there has not been a bigger response from Nepal’s government, which profits from the permit fees charged to the climbing expeditions. The Tourism Ministry said it has not been told of any cancellations by expedition teams. Some Sherpas had already left the mountain by Monday, either joining the boycott or mourning their friends and colleagues. The government has announced an emergency aid of 40,000 rupees ($415) for the families of the deceased climbers. l

Bismillah Khan’s family refuses to be Modi’s proposer n Agencies The family of late Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan has refused to become a proposer for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi when he files nomination for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on April 24, reports Times of India. Bismillah’s grandson Affaq Haider said they do not want to be associated with any political party on this ‘hot seat’. Varanasi will go to polls on May 12 with Modi, Congress candidate Ajay Rai and

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal in the fray. “We got a phone call from BJP mayor Ramgopal Mohale on April 16 who expressed his desire to meet us. My father Ustaad Zamin Hussain, and our family friend Shakeel Ahmed went to meet him at his residence.  “We thought that he wanted to arrange some cultural programme but he told us that Modiji has sent some people from Gujarat especially to meet us as he wants Zamin to be his proposer along with the grandson of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya,” Haider said.  “We told him that we will take a

decision after consulting family members. He then gave us a day’s time. We politely told him that we cannot be Modiji’s proposer as neither Bismillah was involved with any political party nor do we wish to. Bismillah used to say that you can talk to me for hours about music but keep me away from politics,” he said. When contacted, the Varanasi mayor said he shares a warm relationship with the shehnai maestro’s family but denied that he had approached the family members for standing as Modi’s supporter. l

Clock ticking for embattled Thai PM n Reuters, Bangkok

A Thai court will decide this week whether to give embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra more time to defend herself against charges of abuse of power, accusations that could bring her down, or whether to move swiftly to a verdict. The fate of Yingluck and her government will determine the course of politics in Thailand which is polarised between the supporters of her and her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and supporters of the

royalist establishment. The confrontation between the two sides, marked by occasional violence, has undermined growth in Southeast Asia’s second biggest economy. Yingluck’s government has faced months of sometimes violent antigovernment protests but it appeared to be weathering the storm until legal challenges against her began to mount in February. The charges Yingluck faces this week relate to the transfer of National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri in 2011, which opponents say was done

to benefit her party. The Constitutional Court will decide on Wednesday whether to grant her an extension to prepare her defence. If the court eventually finds her guilty, Yingluck will be forced to step down. “If the court does not grant the prime minister an extension this week and there is enough evidence, then the next court date will be the verdict,” Constitutional Court spokesman Pimon Thampitakphong told Reuters on Monday, adding that the verdict could come at the end of April. l


Supporters listen as unseen union minister, patron for the National Conference and candidate for Srinagar’s seat for the lower house of parliament in India’s general election Farooq Abdullah speaks during an election rally in Chadoora. The sixth phase of the world’s largest election will begin on April 24 AFP




Letters to

Playgrounds belong to the people


he long-running misappropriation of the Dhanmondi playground by the Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and its barring of the public to this popular recreation area, contrary to a High Court order, is an outrage. Insult has now been added to injury by the club’s recent attempts to denigrate park users and its spokesperson’s ridiculous and offensive statement claiming that this playground is the preserve of an “elite.” The lack of swift action on this matter is symptomatic of the low priority given by authorities towards managing and facilitating public space for the benefit of all citizens. This attitude, to which the club is now seeking to pander, is perverse as all citizens want and deserve more access to safe and green public space for recreation. In a city that sorely lacks public spaces for citizens, and in particular playgrounds for children, an incident such as this is unconscionable. Urgent intervention is now needed from the government to ensure that the Dhanmondi playground is promptly reopened for public use. The PM, whose family name is being used by the club in question, should support immediate action to open up this playground to for public use. Those groups such as the Bangladesh Cricket Board and Bangladesh Football Federation, which have lent support to the club, need to remember that they have a duty to encourage more access to and participation in sport. Barring the public from a playground is contrary to everyone’s interests.

All citizens deserve more access to safe and green space for recreation


e welcome the announcement by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety that it will pay 50% of workers’ wages for two months if production is suspended at a factory due to remediation works. This is an important practical measure towards alleviating the burden on workers whose workplaces are affected by closures brought about by renovation requirements. It is also a valuable acknowledgment of the fact that responsibility for the costs of improving workplace safety should be shared between factory owners and brand buyers. As government safety inspections and those conducted by the two brand-led stakeholder safety initiatives, the Accord and Alliance, continue, thousands of workers face the prospect of major layoffs following safety inspection-related suspensions. This hardship is brought about through no fault of the workers themselves. The garments industry globally relies on many tiers of sub-contractors, in order to meet short lead times for getting goods into shops. It is inevitable that some workers will have been working in locations which come up short on safety requirements, even though these may have been processing garments for major brands for many years. It is only right that brands acknowledge a duty to alleviate hardships caused to factory owners and workers affected by safety improvements and renovations. With many factories still due to be inspected, it is important for all stakeholders to work together in improving training and raising awareness of safety to prevent accidents. Sharing costs for improvements is a key way to build confidence and long-term commitment to the industry.

the Editor


Training science teachers

April 19 Our government should earnestly expedite an agreement on CERN’s interest in training our science teachers. The longer the agreement remains valid, the better for us! For technological development and awareness, this deserves the highest priority and attention to improve the quality of education. CERN’s proposed teacher training facilities offer is the best way to go about it to have a knowledgeable pool of trained teachers. However, it must be noted that we need to improve our access to and understanding of the available scientific and technological information, as this is vital in developing our country. Unfortunately, in this important matter, we are going downhill every day. This very important deficiency also needs to be addressed. The scope and depth of English teaching urgently needs to be upgraded at both the primary and secondary levels. Otherwise, we will remain a technically backward country. SA Mansoor

Telling the story of the war April 17

nds In the garb of pristine neutrality and untainted integrity, it seems what the author wants to dish out is a BNP-Jamat version of our liberation war. His alignment with the said forces is crystal clear even to a semi-literate person like me. He has taken much effort to sort out some texts that suit his purpose more than what suits the true history of the liberation war. The exact death toll in any war is always a mix of facts and fiction. Some facts definitely get exaggerated but the opposite is also true, that some inexorable facts remain understated. But giving full concentration to the facts of exaggeration is definitely not without ill motive from which the author is not free. Yes, the different stake holders of the war each had their own axe to grind but that does in no way belittle the significance or importance of the interest of the people of Bangladesh that carried their struggle for the country’s liberation. It appears that the author’s clear intention is to denigrate the very struggle in which millions or thousands sacrificed their life.

Imran blames AL leader

Cooperation on remediation costs is vital

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 13

Any street protest with government-backing is suspicious. rutland waters

Muggers stab bKash employee, loot Tk5 lakh April 18

Why don’t bKash agents use e-banking to transfer money, instead of carrying cash? RW

Sam The poor author! He is trying to look objectively at an emotional moment of history which is held sacrosanct by very emotional people like us. I hope he is not in Bangladesh because after David Bergman’s indictment yesterday, he may be the next one hauled to court. Nascent Craft Yes, I also feel pity for the author! He could neither write a story nor a history of our liberation. A boy of 10 in 1971 is not expected to know either. I strongly disagree with his concluding paragraph that unless Bangladesh matters significantly to the rest of the world, we may not get a true and more acceptable history of the emergence of Bangladesh. I would advise him to go through the book, “Bangladesh – Reflection on water,” written by James Novak, and he will come to know that the history of Bangladesh has already been written by many. Mr. Novak researched over 20 years to write it, and his bibliography will give the author an insight into the research on Bangladeshi history, and not only its liberation.

Bangladesh among top tippers in Asia April 16

Mehedi Miraz I don’t find any reason to give tips. Hotels and restaurants should render the best possible service to their customers if they want their customers to come back again. They should train the waiters well to make a good impression. But, it’s important for the restaurant owners to make sure that waiters receive the perfect amount of salary that they deserve. Breadbitten That’s fine and all, but someone needs to raise the question of “tip coordination.” The average Bangladeshi, I believe, is still too inconsiderate when it comes to coordinating the tip after a shared meal.

BELA chief Rizwana’s husband abducted

April 16 The law and order situation of this nation was never good. Shamim E Haque

Pakistan’s Akmal in trouble over wedding party April 17

What a wedding day! clair estelle

Be Heard Siddique released unhurt after 30 hours April 18

fahad That’s great to hear, I thought he would’ve been gone forever! deep purple blue Rizwana thanked the prime minister, which I found odd. To me it seems the media deserves the entire credit, not the law enforcers nor the prime minister.

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


Sharing costs for improvements is a key way to build confidence in the industry



SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Top cards (4) 5 Retains (5) 9 Long, deep narrow valley (6) 10 Corded fabric (3) 11 Encourage in crime (4) 12 Sweetener (5) 14 Cosy retreats (5) 16 Woody plant (4) 19 Painful spot (4) 21 Packages (5) 24 Country (5) 27 Old-stringed instrument (4) 29 Perfect score (3) 30 Fierce looks (6) 31 Put on (5) 32 Tidy (4)

DOWN 1 Desert dweller (4) 2 Taxi (3) 3 Happenings (6) 4 Location (4) 5 Small falcon (7) 6 Work unit (3) 7 Vegetable (3) 8 Merry frolic (5) 13 Employ (3) 15 Odd (7) 17 Make certain (6) 18 Squander (5) 20 Kimono sash (3) 22 Dash (4) 23 Direction (4) 25 Female swan (3) 26 Also (3) 28 Beverage (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.





Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Completely fair n Faruq Hasan


What is the price of speaking the truth?
















Rinse and repeat


n Ikhtisad Ahmed he government, leading financial institutions, prominent entrepreneurs, and intelligence agencies are in league with one another to preserve the status quo of the oppression of the average citizen at any cost. Their collusion has resulted in unlawful harassment and inhuman treatment of those determined to exercise the freedoms granted to them by the fundamental doctrines of human rights, thereby quashing anything remotely resembling a stance taken for justice and what is right. This is not a conspiracy theory, nor is it the plot for a thriller about the common man facing the adversities presented by a crooked system. Recent revelations have shown these to be the appalling facts of the demise of the Occupy movement in the US. Supported by Noam Chomsky and the late Eric Hobsbawm amongst other academics and figures of note, the defeated physical movement and its limited tangible achievements gave way to a cerebral movement that still hopes to win the war in the long-run. The nature of its defeat, however, in a country that forces all others to fall in line with its beliefs because these values are seen as the best, should act as a cautionary tale. The movement was born out of the need to take a stand against the actions of the financial institutions that were responsible for the worldwide crisis, whose effects can still be felt. The frustrations took the shape of

a collective protest. From its inception, it was treated as a “criminal” and “potential terrorist” group rather than the peaceful people’s movement that it was, despite this definition being publicly acknowledged by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Granted, some of the methods of protest fell foul of the law, but these minor and infrequent infringements were far outweighed by law-abiding citizens lawfully exercising their fundamental rights. The attitude of the authorities was little more than a clear distrust for any sort of movement that went against the status quo, especially one that espoused justice and egalitarianism.

New York Stock Exchange, at least one local Federal Reserve and several large banks in organising the surveillance that was conducted as early as August 2011, a full month before Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy movements took to the streets. The FBI, in true trustworthy law-enforcement agency manner, tried to hide the existence of all surveillance-related documents. It was only under the Freedom of Information Act that this knowledge became public, albeit heavily redacted and after their existence had previously been denied. This shows that Occupy was treated as a matter of serious national security. It is staggering, to say the least, that a

Freedoms of speech in countries that champion human rights exist on condition that they never threaten to speak the whole truth

FBI branches across multiple states, including states like Alaska where Occupy did not take off actively like in New York, were given powers to have special task forces to tackle this potential “threat.” The eventual, violent police crackdown was not just coordinated by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, but also involved the big banks. There was clear involvement of the

country that was actively fighting two wars physically, and countless others (such as its War on Drugs and Terror), zealously, often covertly, was investing so much of its resources in keeping lawful citizens on a leash and suppressing evidence of such activities. This is the nightmare police state that horrify citizens of third world countries. They need not worry: Their reality has come about because their

governments are following the developed world. It would appear that the freedoms of speech and assembly in countries that champion human rights exist on condition that they never threaten to speak the whole truth, demand exact justice, and seek accountability and egalitarianism. The future for third world countries where politics is synonymous with autocracy and sycophancy, and who take their lead from these champions – often funded by their bureaucratic development programs – is therefore bleak in a world that has accepted that there is to be no defence against oppression. When security is prioritised over freedom, the ideal circumstances are created for protectors to become tyrants. The price of complete subjugation, loyalty, and compliance out of fear, and regular tributes that always steadily increase, becomes too high for the average citizen, the defenceless, and the wronged. The perfect storm that is created only benefits those at the top. The heinous injustices and unlawful activities of the authorities will cause a small amount of embarrassment before becoming an anecdotal footnote post-haste. This will be repeated again followed by shameless defences, sporadic apologies sans remorse, and a continued preservation of this absurd system. l Ikhtisad Ahmed is a writer and an erstwhile lawyer. He can be contacted on Twitter via @ Ikhtisad.

airness creams get a bad rap. If they’re not racially dividing the country, they are lowering self-esteem, embedding patriarchy, consigning women as sex objects, etc etc. Heck, they are probably to blame for vote rigging during the upazila polls as well. What our unfair detractors don’t seem to know, or care, is that the debate is seldom black and white. First item on the charge sheet is that fairness creams contribute to a kind of racism. I’ll be the first one to admit that they kind of do. Bangladeshi society loves, nay worships, fair skin. Any product that plays on our obsession with a particular skin tone is obviously partly responsible for engendering societal blinkers. After all, you don’t walk down a Bangladeshi departmental store aisle and see a lot of skin tanning lotions. But walk down the same aisle and you will see a gazillion products that basically serve the same purpose as a whitening cream: They accentuate one part of your body, and cater to a stereotype that has been perpetuated long before skin whitening creams entered the local markets. Want luscious lips, cherubic cheeks, enticing eyes, and a free (sugar-free) candy bar with it as well? Yes, we have them all, and we have been gleefully buying them over centuries without feminists and marketing Nazis breathing down upon our collective necks. Bottom line is, a fairness cream is a cosmetic product that totes the marketing line that it will make you aesthetically pleasing. And like any other successful cosmetic product, the rules of how it works is based on a narrow definition of what we, as a society, find attractive and appealing, and then shoving ourselves into that category. Don’t want to play the game? Perfectly fine, just discard all makeup then, don’t just pick on our poor buddy the fairness gel. The irony of course is that when you are typing an article on fairness cream promoting hypocrisy with your perfectly manicured hands using that trendy nail polish, you are a hypocrite yourself.

Don’t want to play the game? Perfectly fine, just discard all makeup then

But my biggest gripe about the morality police trying to handcuff fairness cream peddlers and junkies is the patronising and condescending tone they bring to the table. A consumer of any product by definition exhibits rational behaviour. A quick caveat: By

rational I do not mean the Spock-induced variety where every decision is logically debated, pros and cons weighed, and a consensus is reached where the benefits of buying a Pran mango bar outweigh the costs (why would anyone NOT buy a Pran mango bar, they are awesome!) Rather, a rational consumer is one who is conscious about what is best for her, and in the grand scheme of things, will end up making decisions that cater to her best interests. Always.

Skin whitening products exist because we want to use them

Are fairness creams part of that equation that guarantees an elixir, or does it just make you a pawn in a (fairness-obsessed) man’s game? It’s up to the consumer to decide. Appealing that fairness products be banned because they promote racism and sexism, a society that judges you by the colour of your skin, all miss one single point: Skin whitening products exist not because evil companies force us to use them, they exist because we want to use them. And here is the crux of the problem with all that finger wagging. If you want to ban a product that you think sends all the wrong messages to the public in large, what’s to stop someone else from trying to ban something that you may think is sending all the right signals? Video games for kids might make them violent, but they also promote tech savviness and expedite decision-making skills. A product that you find fulsome may be wholesome to someone else. The solution, of course, would be to let the invisible hand do all the picking. If people really find fairness creams repulsive, they will stop buying them in the long run, and eventually evil companies will go bankrupt. No amount of hurtling abuse, pleading sanity, or downright banning has made any impact on people smoking, drinking, or gambling. Why do you think your moralising and demonising fairness creams would work any better? Caveat emptor, I say! A fairness cream, a bottle of wine, or a cigar may do all kinds of mischief and promote all the wrong messages. But moral policing and calling outright bans on them is not the answer. If you want consumers to make informed choices, give us information, not opinions or your disapproval. Just give us the facts, man. l Faruq Hasan is a journalist at the Dhaka Tribune.

Too close to call? n Uday Sankar Das


ith voting in 311 seats of the 543-seat Indian Lok Sabha set to commence in a few days in four phases, it is thought that the results of these seats would be crucial in deciding who forms the next government in India. About 50 crore voters are eligible to vote in the remaining phases and that’s why they are being dubbed as the “game makers” of this election. Turnout in the first few phases so far have far exceeded that of the 2009 polls and is expected to remain so in the coming four phases. Of the 311 seats to be contested, 266 seats are in the nine most important states of India - Tamil Nadu(39), Maharashtra(19), Karnataka(28), Bihar(20), Andhra Pradesh(42), Gujarat(26), Punjab(13), Uttar Pradesh(47), and West Bengal(32). In the last Lok Sabha elections, the current ruling Congress-led alliance bagged 109 seats while the opposition BJP and its allies could muster only 57 seats. But, with the Modi wave currently sweeping the country, holding on to these seats would be a Herculean task for the ruling alliance. Uttar Pradesh (UP) has the highest number of seats in the Lok Sabha (80), polling having been completed in 33 of these already. Although the BJP-led alliance’s prime ministerial candidate, the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, has been able to make

some inroads into this crucial state, the important question is: Would this be enough to eat into the votes of Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), although the events of Muzaffarnagar have made a dent in SP’s popularity? In Uttar Pradesh, political analysts are saying that the main thing to watch is whether voters, despite Muzaffarnagar, shy away from SP and go into the BSP camp or the Congress. It must be remembered that BJP and its allies did not fare well at all in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the last polls.

It is now being predicted that the BJP-led alliance will just cross the magic figure of 272

Bihar would be another state to keep a close eye on. Of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in this state, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD has forged an alliance with the Congress Party in 27, and this has placed them in an advantageous position. It is thought that Gujarat and Punjab would go the BJP way, Gujarat

being Modi’s stronghold and Punjab being ruled for a number of years by BJP’s ally Akali Dal. In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the regional parties are so strongly placed that the national parties have to come to some sort of understanding with them. Tamil Nadu could pose to be very difficult for both the BJP and Congress, with chief minister Jayalalitha and her AIADMK riding high on popularity. Some experts even say that in case of a hung parliament, Jayalalitha could even flex her muscles to decide who would become the next prime minister of India. In Andhra Pradesh, however, Jagmahon Reddy’s USR Congress could do better than expected, and Congress may have to cut a sorry face in this state. Added to that, the Telengana factor could put Congress under pressure. In West Bengal, voters would go to elect 32 of the 42 members of the Lok Sabha from this state in the remaining four phases. The state’s ruling Trinamool Congress is expected to make gains at the expense of Congress Party, and the Chief Minister Mamata Bandopadhyay could have a say on who forms the next government at the Centre. It was quite significant that veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, during a recent speech in West Bengal, did not even utter her name, keeping in mind that after the elections, her support could become crucial. A new phenomenon in the political

arena in India is the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party, (AAP), led by a former civil servant, Arvind Kejriwal, who not only surprised the people of India but also themselves by becoming the single largest party in the Delhi polls last year. They did form a government with the support of Congress Party but had to resign shortly thereafter. Nonetheless, AAP has now fielded the largest number of candidates by a single party in the current elections and they have entered into politics with a different notion – idealism, and not money, would be the driving force. It is also quite interesting that AAP leader, Arvind Kejriwal has pitted himself against the BJP supremo Narendra Modi from Varanasi in UP where the other parties have fielded relatively weaker candidates. So, this would be a head-to-head fight between these two leaders on the last day of polling, May 12. Narendra Modi is also contesting from Vadodara in his home state. After defeating Sheila Dixit in the Delhi polls, Kejriwall would have to prove his mettle against Narendra Modi. This would also be a test of Kejriwal’s secular identity. What impact could AAP have on this election? This is a question asked by many. Many pundits opine they may well corner a reasonable percentage of votes in the midst of a huge Modi wave. They have definitely caught the imagination of the people by taking on the two established political parties,

the BJP and the Congress. They have been able to position themselves as a “clean alternative” to a prevailing corrupt system. It is not just the educated, elitist class who are supporting them, but they have also won the hearts of the men on the streets.

better as a political party. Their major challenge will be to win with absolute majority in the Delhi polls, deliver, and be counted. All eyes are now squarely on the next four phases of polling for the 16th Lok Sabha of India. Because of

Because of the diverse electorate and dominance of local candidates, it is extremely difficult to forecast Indian elections

Some say that quitting the government in Delhi was a big jolt to their prospect, and their hasty decision to quit isolated a section of their supporters. AAP is expected to bag around 10 seats, but what their candidates could do is create an arithmetical problem in some pockets as they are likely to pull anti-Congress and anti-BJP votes. In fact, in some constituencies there could be havoc. Experts also say that although AAP came into the political scene with a loud bang, their main problem is that they are yet to get themselves organised as a “party.” But people hope that after the elections, they will get themselves more structured and function

the diverse electorate and dominance of local candidates, it is extremely difficult to forecast Indian elections. In 2004, opinion polls predicted that the BJP-led alliance would win, which was proved wrong. In 2009, the margin of the Congress-led alliance’s win was underestimated in the predictions. It is now being predicted that the BJP-led alliance will just cross the magic figure of 272 to clinch absolute majority. The Indian voters do have a history of proving the experts wrong, and they would have the final say. l Uday Sankar Das is a senior journalist who worked for BBC World Service radio and is presently based in Chittagong.




Fahmida Nabi's tribute to national poet

n Hasan Mansoor Chatak For the first time, celebrated singer Fahmida Nabi is giving her celestial voice for a Nazrul song album which is scheduled to release marking the 115th birth anniversary of the national poet on May 25. Since the name of the album is yet to be finalised, the popular singer who is active on social networks asked her fans to suggest an apt name for the venture on her Facebook page. Gift-

Deconstructing is on display at Athena Gallery

ed musician Bappa Mazumder is composing music for the album and the recording of the songs is being held in a recording studio in the capital. The songs of the album are designed to capture the attention of the younger generation. The singer believes that the youth of the country should cherish the music of Nazrul as it is highly motivational and revolutionary in nature with strong and powerful words and captivating tunes. Nine popular romantic songs of Nazrul will be placed in the album. At present, the singer does not want to reveal the title of the tracks as she hopes to surprise her audience with the track listing. With smooth melodic tunes, romantic ambiance is created through the brilliant music composition of Bappa, aiming to connect with the mood of listeners, shares Fahmida. Maturity and perceptive of Nazrul's philosophy is indispensable while working on his songs, reasons the singer, for bringing a solo album of Nazrul song at this stage of her career. From her early childhood she practiced Nazrul and Rabindra songs with her father and legendary Bengali modern singer Mahmudun Nabi. Her father preached to her that no singer should be limited in a repetitive sphere. To render Nazrul's song, she had to study the backdrop story of every song of the album to endow her entire ardor in the venture. Although it is the first solo Nazrul song album of Fahmida, earlier she presented a Nazrul song titled Durdip Bashini in the film Daruchini Dip and in few live gigs. l

Exile in Calcutta by Thomas Meyer Time: 3pm – 8pm Drik Gallery, House 58, Road 15/A (New), Dhanmondi

Last Summer by Iffat Ara Dewan Time: 12pm – 8pm Bengal Art Lounge, Gulshan Avenue

Serenading Suchitra Time: 12pm – 8pm Shilpangan Gallery House-7, Road-13, Dhanmondi

Freezing Moments Time: 3pm to 8pm Drik Gallery House 58, Road 15/A (New), Dhanmondi

n Shadma Malik

A solo exhibition titled Deconstructing by eminent artist Khalid Mahmood Mithu is being held at the Athena Gallery of Fine Arts and will remain on display till May 15. This is his 11th solo exhibition consisting of 101 paintings and is the personal motivation of his artistic proficiencies. The paintings on display are a treat for the art lovers as it offers a wide range of subjects and the use of vibrant and dull colours are fascinatingly insync. His series of work on musical instruments transport the tunes on canvas and his artwork Music of Joy depicts his desire of painting saxophones. It is an attempt to create a resonance through brush strokes. The rough textures give the painting a more dynamic and active look which appears irreducible and charming. On and other hand, Music of Garment’s worker is made evocative by embedding buttons and fabric which will surely capture the attention of the viewers.

Natyajan to stage Tagore’s comedy today n Entertainment Desk Theatre troupe Natyajan will stage Rabindranath Taogore’s acclaimed comedy Sheshrokkha this evening at the Experimental Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Tagore wrote the play on empowerment of women in our society. The play Sheshrokkha is a romantic comedy about three friends Chandrakanta, Binod and Gadai who, in a comedy of errors, face a series of confusing situations emanating from mistaken identities. The entertaining play ends with a collective relief for all the protagonists. Theatre troupe Natyajan, founded in 1997, regularly stages plays in Dhaka and all around Bangladesh. They premiered the play in 2013. l


Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D & 2D) Jonakir Alo, Boishommo The Legend of Hercules 3D Avatar in 3D , Frozen in 3D Time: 10am – 10pm Star Cineplex, Level 8 Bashundhara City

Khalid’s artwork A cup of memories is done in such a manner that the painting seems to be in motion. The use of vibrant colours along with light shades and topsy-turvy cups adds movement to the artwork. His series of artworks Inner Burn addresses the political instability that disrupted the normalcy of everyday life. He incorporates the frightening headlines in his artworks that tells the story of human brutality of that unstable period. His artistic talents has breached the boundaries of fine arts and the versatile artist has mastered photography and film-making along with other genres of art. Khalid Mahmood Mithu’s recent film Jonakir Alo has been successful in representing the culture of Bangladesh and shows the artist’s intrinsic understanding of the norms of the society. Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP inaugurated the exhibition , Abul Khair Litu, Chairman of Bengal Foundation and US Ambassador Dan W Mozena were present at the inaugural ceremony on April 18. l

Orsha asks Apurbo to wait for 3 months n Entertainment Desk Lux Superstar Orsha will be seen in the role of a cancer patient in a single episode play titled Bondhu Bhalobashi. Her co-actor in the play is the popular star of small screen Apurbo and the story is written and directed by Mehedi Hasan Jony. Other members of the cast includes Dolly Johur, Chaity, Adi and many others. The drama is set to be aired on the occasion of Eid. The story of the drama revolves around a girl who is affected by cancer. When Apurbo meets Orsha, he is immediately taken in by her feminine charms and good looks. From the very first day, he is set on impressing her and applies every technique available to convince her that he is the right guy to choose as a boyfriend. Her reluctance surprises Apurbo and Orsha, who secretly falls for him requests him to wait for three months. Unaware of the truth, when he seeks her out after three months, he comes to know that Orsha died after suffering from blood cancer. l

Tom and Jerry returns in a new avatar n Entertainment Desk

Indian actor Paoli Dam, who created controversies by acting in the erotic film Hate Story, will be seen opposite to Shakib Khan in a film titled Shotota. Directed by Hasibur Reza Kallol, the shooting of the film is set to begin from July. Paoli will play the role of a prostitute in the film which is based on a story titled Ma by Sohani Hossain.

Captain America soars to top box office spot

n Entertainment Desk Marvel’s superhero in Captain America: The Winter Soldier claimed a third straight box office win, collecting $26.6 million at the domestic box office to beat the colorful birds of animated film Rio 2. Heaven Is for Real, based on a best-selling Christian book about a boy who claims to have witnessed heaven during surgery, was a strong third at US and Canadian theaters with $21.5 million over the Easter holiday weekend. Transcendence, the science fiction thriller starring Johnny Depp as an artificial intelligence researcher, was a disappointing fourth with $11.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates provided by tracking firm Rentrak. The film has earned a global total of $586 million, including more than $200 million domestically, since it started rolling out internationally on March 26, validating the strategy of distributor Disney to ramp up its pipeline of films featuring Marvel Comics super heroes. The film is also being screened in Bashundhara City’s Star Cineplex. l

A brand new set of The Tom and Jerry Show, one the world’s most loved cartoon duo, is back with a fresh take on the classic cat and mouse “frenemies.” The all-new series, which will go on air April 21 on Cartoon Network, promises to offer exciting new slapstick storylines and new worlds. “The Tom and Jerry Show is a timeless classic loved by children and adults across the world. We are thrilled to have this legendary cat-and-mouse comedy team back with new episodes on Cartoon Network to continue their never-ending chase,” Krishna Desai, executive director and network head - Kids, South Asia, Turner International India Pvt Ltd, said in a statement. The new show will feature the legendary pair continuing their never ending chase with a fresh take on the classic. This time, Tom’s determination and Jerry’s cleverness will not be limited to their usual suburban setting. The episodes will include new worlds as their settings, in new situations and storylines set in different eras, be it in a witch’s den in the medieval period of magic or a crazy scientist’s laboratory in the modern science age. l

Kiesza tops UK Charts with debut single Hideaway

Ranbir and Deepika to romance again

n Entertainment Desk

n Entertainment Desk

New music sensation Kiesza has reached the top spot in the UK chart singles with her debut single Hideaway. The Canadian singer-songwriter has incredibly sold 136,000 copies in the UK in the last week, beating Sigma and their new track Nobody To Love from the top spot down to second place. Kiesza’s new song has become the third “fastest-selling single” of the year – so far. Revealing her surprise, she told “Being Number 1 is the most amazing feeling ever. I just want to say thank you to everybody who's supported it. I never expected this at all when I created Hideaway; it's amazing to see people come out of the woodwork and fall in love with it, so thank you!" Shift K3y bagged his first Top 10 hit with Touch at number three, while John Legend's All Of Me stayed at number four with Aloe Blacc's The Man dropping to five. Meanwhile, Scottish singer Paolo Nutini scored the fastest-selling album of 2014 with his third album Caustic Love. The album sold a staggering 109,000 copies in the past seven days. l

Previously real life couple, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone might again be seen pairing together in Imtiaz Ali's next film Tamasha. Following their romance in a couple of films like Bachna Ae Haseeno and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Ranbir and Deepika's love continued in real life as well, but the duo could not carry on for long as they broke up. Tamasha, the film, like Imtiaz Ali's recent re-

lease Highway, will also have Sajid Nadiadwala producing it as well as AR Rahman handling the music. In fact, this movie had been in the gossip mills for some time now, but then it was called as Window Seat. Well, buzz is that the makers have changed the film's name to Tamasha. If the rumours are to be true, the film's team has started the groundwork of the project and it will go on floors any time this year. l

Did you know? Man Utd have lost all four games to Everton and Liverpool for the first time in a single topflight season


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

14 Atletico ready

for familiar foe Mourinho

14 Messi free kick

ends Barca nightmare



15 Struggling Nadal

seeks homeground solution

Top eight now a must for Tigers n According to the International Cricket Council (ICC), the eighth and ninth ranked side of the ICC ranking will have to play in the qualifying round to play in the fifty over World Cup which is scheduled to be held in England in 2019. This means Bangladesh might have to play in the qualifying round with six associate nations and the qualifying stage will be hosted by Bangladesh in 2018. However, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury informed that if Bangladesh can get into to the top eight of the ICC rankings before 31st December 2017, then the tigers won’t need to take part in the qualifying stage. “It’s not yet finalized that Bangladesh will have to play in the qualifiers of the 2019 World Cup. If Bangladesh can become one of the top eight sides then we don’t need to play. But if Bangladesh can’t make it then we will have to play,” said Nizamuddin. The ICC have already finalized that

BFF takes concert U-turn n Less than two months after the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) strongly objected to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and the National Sports Council (NSC) arranging a celebration concert for the World Twenty20 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS), the BFF are now planning to organise a musical concert of their own at the same venue in order to raise funds for the development of football. The decision, that contradicts their ideology, was made during the meeting of the executive committee which was held on April 12. Not long ago the football federation howled at the BCB and NSC for arranging BCB celebration concert at the same venue just before the opening of the ICC World Twenty20. They then claimed the concert would hamper their scheduled fixtures and the pitch but now seem intent on doing it themselves. It was not the first time BFF showed their anger at holding concerts at the BNS. The disappointment was first seen when the inaugural ceremony of ICC World Cup 2011 took place at the venue. The event reportedly damaged the turf and it took the BFF some time to fix the scratches and repair the pitch. “We have come to a decision in principle during our last meeting to hold a concert at the Bangabandhu National Stadium to raise funds for the development of football,” said BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag yesterday. “If we can get some money for the development of football by arranging a concert, why shouldn’t we take the chance? Of course, our priority will be to not to harm the stadium. Even if the concert takes place, we will take care of the field,” he added. BFF is also looking for other options to raise funds for football and the top officials are expected to meet State Minister for Youth and Sports Biren Sikdar and deputy minister Arif Khan Joy today to seek financial support from the government. l

Bangladesh would be hosting the qualifiers of the 2019 World Cup in 2018, a year before the main event. Zimbabwe will host the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and these decisions were taken in an ICC meeting which took place back in June 2011. The tigers will play a total of 44 one day international matches till 2017. The 2015 World Cup will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand where Bangladesh will play directly with other eleven nations while England will host the 2019 World Cup where only ten teams will be playing in the main event. Despite being the host and a Test playing nation, Bangladesh had to play in the qualifiers of the recently concluded World T20. The tigers will have to go through the same system again in order to qualify for the next World T20 which will be hosted by India in 2016. Earlier it was revealed that the bottom ranked Test playing nations will have to play four Test matches, home and away. But now the performance in the ODIs will also play a role in deciding the fate of Bangladesh. l

Sheikh Russell’s Haitian forward Pascal Millien tries to go past Chittagong Abahani goalie Salimullah at the BNS yesterday

No change of luck for Sheikh Russell DPL to skip one season? n

Appointing a foreign coach after sacking country’s one of the best coaches didn’t bring any change of luck for Sheikh Russell KC as the reigning champions were held to a 1-1 draw against bottomplaced Chittagong Abahani in the Bangladesh Premier League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. The port city club, who almost shocked Sheikh Jamal in their previous game, took the lead in the early second half through their Guinean midfielder Mohamed Conte before Pascal Millien equalized for Sheikh Russel in the 66th minute from the spot. Having failed to win a single game in five league appearances, the last-year treble winners finally got themselves on track with a 5-2 victory over Uttar Baridhara Club in their previous game. However, yesterday’s draw against a bottom club puts them behind again. Having played a game more than others, Rus-

sell now sits fourth in the table with 16 points from 11 matches. It was Sheikh Russell’s newly appointed Coach Dragan Dukanovic’s first match after taking the charge only a day before and it seems like the Montenegrin will need further time to put the squad in order.

Having played a game more than others, Russell now sits fourth in the points table with 16 points from 11 matches National forward Mithun Chowdhury created the first real chance for Sheikh Russell just five minutes into the game. However, his defense splitting through pass was wasted by the Haitian forward Pascal Millien as goalkeeper Salim Ullah moved forward to clear the ball. Salim Ullah produced a superb save five minutes later by punching away Serbian midfielder Miroslav Savanovic’s curled free kick. Sheikh Russell went

close once again in the 19th minute when Mithun Chowdhury hit the sidebar from inside the box. After surviving those early scares, Chittagong Abahani started to get back in the game and dominated the midfield for a while but what they lacked was the clinical finishing touch from their attackers. The visitors, however, stunned the defending champions by taking the lead in the 53rd minute, courtesy of Mohamed Conte. Ugandan defender Dumba Michael’s free-kick found Conte inside the box who showed great technique and control to calmly send the ball into the net. Chittagong Abahani’s delight didn’t last long though as Sheikh Russell restored parity in the 66th minute when Pascal’s shot from outside the box hit Guinean defender Camara Uba’s hand. Pascal made no mistake to score from the subsequent penalty by sending the keeper wrong way. Russell had their last chance to salvage all three points when Shakil Ahmed fired the ball just wide following Sohel Rana’s cross from the right flank. l

Dhaka Division securing the title of the 15th Walton National Cricket League with still a day left in their last round game against Khulna made the other three games a mere formality. For Dhaka to lift the title after six seasons, they either needed to score 250plus runs in the first innings or required secondplaced Rajshahi to get bowled below 400 runs in their first innings. As it turned out on the second day, Dhaka recovered from a precarious 96 for 5 to post 252 to confirm the championship.

Dhaka Div v Khulna

Dhaka trailed by 127 runs chasing 224


The 2012-13 Dhaka premier League (DPL) season was full of drama as the cricketers almost begged for the league to take place while the clubs pressured the BCB and introduced the players by choice system for the first time. That being said the 2013-14 season may not even take place at all as the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Cricket Operations Committee sent a letter to the clubs to get ready for the 2014-15 season while 2013-14 season needs to be completed by July 1 this year. The Cricket Operations committee will hold a meeting today where the agenda will be to form a cricket calendar while the club officials will be asking to form a complete cricket schedule for the next three years for premier League, First Division and other leagues. “We have received a letter from the BCB Cricket Operations manager Sabbir Khan where we have been asked to get ready for the Dhaka League’s 201415 season as the last date of holding the 2013-14 season is July 1 which at the moment looks impossible as the rainy

season will be in full flow by then,” said a club official requesting anonymity. Which means the current 2013-14 DPL season will not take place any more while the BCB are planning to hold the 2014-15 seasons by scheduling the cricket calendar. Earlier last year the clubs had negotiations with the board where the clubs were not interested to play the league in the absence of national cricketers first and later the clubs demanded a huge token from the BCB and after that the clubs demanded to form the players by choice payment system which was later introduced for the first time in Dhaka League history. However the cricketers opposed the players by choice system and it was later informed that the system will be applicable for that particular season only where the cricketers received much less than previous seasons where the cricketers have been divided into five categories which was also given in installments where most of the cricketers did not receive their full salary from most of the clubs yet. l

We need time to improve: Dragan n Dragan Dukanovic, the Montenegrin coach of Sheikh Russell thinks his team will improve in the upcoming days and he has full faith on his players after yesterday’s 1-1 draw against Chittagong Abahani, a club which is languishing in the second place from bottom in the league. His counterpart Nazrul Islam, however, hailed his players as he thought his players deserved credit because they could practice for just eight days before the kick-off of the second phase. He also opined that the penalty awarded by the referee was not justified. Dukanovic said Russell controlled the game but his plans were dashed by the negative football of the oppo-

nents. “They were just stopping the game whenever we got the rhythm. They were falling down and wasting time. The referee was also below par. However, I thought we fought well and I believe this team will improve. I have every faith on my players,” affirmed Dukanovic. The Montenegrin coach also pointed out that he did not have many choices. “Some players are injured and I don’t have many choices in my tent. The players will have to work hard to lift the spirits and I think it’s possible to see Russell as an energetic team,” said Dukanovic. Haitian forward Pascal Milien said he couldn’t figure out what had happened to Russell’s attacking line. “I can’t figure it out. We are lacking the

control of final passes. Now the new coach is here and I think he will figure it out,” hoped the Haitian. Nazrul Islam thought the players responded well to the challenge. “We practiced for only eight days before the start of the second phase and then we played against two big teams- Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russell. We took the field to snatch at least a point and we did it. But I want to say that the penalty was not right. It was not a hand ball but ball hand,” complained Nazrul. Mohammed Conte, the Guinean midfielder who scored for Abahani, said that his team would have loved to leave the field as winners. “We thought that we would win but everybody saw the mode of the penalty. It destroyed our aspirations,” said Conte. l

Anamul, Mominul notch hundreds n


at stumps on day three against Khulna at Cox’s Bazar. Khulna resumed their second innings with overnight score of 94 for 3 and ended the innings on 232 runs losing all wickets. Anamul Haque’s 119 from the top was the highlight of the innings while Nazmul Apu, Shuvagata Hom and Taiabur Parvez picked three wickets each for Dhaka. Later, with Rony Talukder’s unbeaten 45 Dhaka scored 96 in 36 overs losing one wicket. Taibur was unbeaten on 32.

Sylhet v Chittagong

At BKSP, Sylhet trailed by 374 runs chasing 439 against Chittagong. Mominul Hauqe’s 168 off 235 balls that included 20 boundaries saw Chit-

tagong post 415 in the second innings. Abdullah Al Mamun added 42 runs to the tally. Ahmed Sadiqur bagged seven wickets for Sylhet. Later, Sylhet scored 64 runs losing one wicket at stumps. Opener Sayem Alam scored 39 runs.

Monir Hossain picked five wickets for Barisal while Sohag Gazi picked two. In reply, Barisal lost two wickets before young guns Salman Hossain and Nuruzzaman saw the day off with 38 and 29 runs respectively. Nasir Hossain picked the wickets for Rangpur.

Rangpur v Barisal

Rajshahi v Dhaka Metro

In reply to Rangpur’s 254-run first innings lead, Barisal posted 133 runs at the end of day three at Fatullah Outer Stadium. Rangpur resumed their first innings with an overnight score of 346 for five. The side went to stretch the innings to 543 for nine (declare) with Tanvir Haider’s unbeaten 121. His 262-ball innings included nine fours and a six.

At Chittagong’s Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Rajshahi trailed by 151 runs chasing 224 against Dhaka Metro. Metro scored 352 runs in the second innings riding on Asif Ahmed’s 54. Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam bagged five wickets for Rajshahi. Pace bowler Shohid and left-arm spinner Elias Sunny claimed two wickets each for Metro as Rajshahi were reduced to 120 for six. l

Nazrul Islam, (L) the general secretary of Bangladesh Bodybuilding Federation speaks at the press conference of Muscle Mania Bodybuilding at the BNS yesterday COURTESY

Muscle Mania Bodybuilding starts Thursday n

The Walton 3rd Muscle Mania Body Building, comprising 100 top bodybuilders in the country, starts at the National Sports Council auditorium from Thursday. Bodybuilders will be inspired to put their best as all the top three performers will receive cash awards with the best among them to be awarded with Tk30000. The winners of the six weight (kgs) categories - 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 and 80+ - will be awarded a purse of Tk12000 while the second and the third placed bodybuilders will receive Tk6000 and 3000 respectively. The top six bodybuilders from each

category will engage in the duel of muscle flexing to be adjudged as the Mr. Muscle Mania. The prejudging will be held on Thursday while the final round will be held on Friday. In a press conference held at the Bangabandhu National Stadium conference room yesterday Abdur Rahman Rajiv, an official of Muscle Mania presented the details of the event to the media. Nazrul Islam, the general secretary of Bangladesh Bodybuilding Federation, AFM Iqbal Bin Anwar Dawn, the additional director of Walton, Debashish Ghosh, an official of Muscle Mania Gymnasium were also present. l



Aimar axed by Malaysian club


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Antinio Spurs subdue Mavs

Former Argentina star Pablo Aimar has been axed by Malaysia’s Johor Darul Takzim after being sidelined by injury problems, the club’s president said. The 34-year-old World Cup veteran was part-way through a two-year contract which reputedly made him the highest paid foreigner ever to play in Malaysia. Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, the crown prince of Johor state, announced the move as part of a clear-out strategy which also involved replacing coach Cesar Jimenez with Bojan Hodak. –AFP

Kuchar wins Heritage title

The San Antonio Spurs, led by Tim Duncan’s 27 points, rallied for a 90-85 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday to open their NBA first-round playoff series. The Spurs, trying to get back to the NBA finals after falling to the Miami Heat in last year’s championship series, trailed 81-71 with 7:45 left to play, but closed the game on a 19-4 scoring run to secure the win. “We’re very fortunate,” said Duncan, who added seven rebounds for the Spurs. “First game of the playoffs, just get that one out of the way, get the jitters out of the way was a good one for us.” –AFP

Matt Kuchar holed out from a bunker at the final hole on Sunday to win the US PGA Tour’s Heritage and hand Luke Donald another Harbour Town disappointment. “I told my caddie before that last shot, ‘I’m about due to make one of these,’” said Kuchar, who started the day four shots off Donald’s 54-hole lead and fired a seven-under par 64 for an 11-under total of 273. England’s Donald carded a twounder 69 for 274. The former world number one now has five top-three finishes in this $5.8 million tournament in the past six years – but no victories. –AFP

Atletico ready for familiar foe Mourinho n Atletico Madrid may be in uncharted territory as they prepare for their first Champions League semi-final in 40 years, but they will meet a familiar face in Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho when the Londoners travel to the Spanish capital on Tuesday. Mourinho won his first eight meetings against Atletico in a three-year spell in charge of Real Madrid. Then last May Los Rojiblancos exacted revenge by beating Real for the first time in 14 years in the Portuguese’s last competitive game in charge of Los Blancos to win the Copa del Rey last May. Atletico have built on that success and are on course for the greatest season in their history as they are just three games away from winning both La Liga for the first time in 18 years and a first ever Champions League. Atletico will be boosted by the news that on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will be available to

play against his parent club as UEFA declared a clause in his contract forcing Atletico to pay an extra fee to field him as ineligible. The Belgian international has becomes a key part of the Atletico side over the past three seasons and Gabi is confident that despite his tender age the 21-year-old has the temperament to handle the situation without any problems. Simeone’s men were handed a further boost on Sunday as midfielder Arda Turan returned to training meaning the Argentine coach now has a fullfit squad to choose from. Mourinho has no such luck as he must lift his players from a stunning 2-1 defeat at home to the Premier League’s bottom club Sunderland on Saturday that left their title hopes in tatters. Eden Hazard missed that match as he continues to recover from a calf injury picked up in the quarter-final win over Paris Saint-Germain, but Chelsea are hopeful the Belgian international will be fit to play some part at the Vicente Calderon. l

Chelsea players take part in a training session at Cobham in Surrey in south England yesterday. Chelsea will play Atletico Madrid in their Champion's League semi-final first leg match in Madrid today REUTERS

Messi free kick ends Barca nightmare Moyes clings to positives n

Lionel Messi smashed in a superb free kick to complete a 2-1 comeback win for injury-hit Barcelona at home to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday that kept alive their slim hopes of a fifth La Liga title in six years. After a wretched 12 days when they were eliminated from the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, beaten in the King’s Cup final by Real Madrid and suffered a shock 1-0 reverse at lowly Granada in La Liga, Barca badly needed a morale-boosting victory in front of their fans at the Nou Camp. However, after Messi, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez squandered clear scoring opportunities, Aritz Aduriz fired fourth-placed Bilbao ahead five minutes into the second half, prompting

rumblings of discontent among the home faithful.

RESULTS Almeria Rodri 39, Diaz 88

Rayo Vallecano

2 4

Celta Vigo

3 1

Real Betis

4 0


2 1

Athletic Bilbao

Nolito 18, 71, Charles 50, Orellana 75

Rochina 14, Paulao 27-og, Larrivey 51


Chica 79

Mainz 14-og, Gameiro 51, Mbia 58, Vitolo 68

Barcelona Pedro 72, Messi 74

Aduriz 50

Pedro levelled in the 72nd minute after more chances had gone begging and Messi struck the winner three minutes later when he drove the ball powerfully into the net, the Argentina forward’s 26th goal of an injury-disrupted

season. With four matches left including a trip to Barca on the final day of the season, surprise leaders Atletico top the standings on 85 points following Friday’s 2-0 home win over Elche. Barca are second on 81 points, two ahead of Real, who have a game in hand. Bilbao are a further 17 points behind Real and remain well placed to secure a berth in Champions League qualifying for next season. Bilbao are three points clear of fifthplaced Sevilla, who continued their fine recent run with a 4-0 victory at home to Andalusian rivals Granada on Sunday. Celta Vigo pulled further away from danger when they won 4-2 at secondfrom-bottom Almeria, while basement side Real Betis are on the brink of relegation after they were beaten 3-1 at Rayo Vallecano. l

after United loss n Manchester United manager David Moyes maintains that there are positives for the club’s fans to cling to despite them being out of contention for the Champions League. Last season’s champions suffered an 11th Premier League defeat of the season when they lost 2-0 at Everton on Sunday. United were already guaranteed their worst points tally since the start of the Premier League era in 1992 and the result at Goodison Park means that it is no longer possible for them to finish in the top four. Moyes, however, is adamant that the supporters under-

Barca rumours ‘groundless’: AVB n Zenit St Petersburg manager Andre Villas-Boas on Monday dismissed out of hand rumours linking him with Spanish giants Barcelona. “All the rumours about my negotiations with Barcelona representatives are completely groundless,” former Chelsea, Tottenham and FC Porto coach told reporters. “I’ve signed the contract with Zenit and I’m set to stay here until its expiry date.” The 36-year-old Portuguese said he was completely focused on his work with Zenit adding he was happy with the club’s plans to strengthen the squad. l

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo completed a full training session on Monday as he races to regain fitness before Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final, first leg at home to holders Bayern Munich. The Portugal captain, who has missed Real’s last four matches with knee and muscle problems in his left leg, is the top scorer in Europe’s elite club competition this term with 14 goals, equalling the record for one edition. Wales winger Gareth Bale was unable to train due to a bout of flu, the club added without specifying whether he was expected to recover for the match at the Bernabeu. l

Berbatov brilliance inspires Monaco n

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (L) tries to score against Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz during their La Liga match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Sunday REUTERS

stand the problems he has faced in taking over from Alex Ferguson and is sure that he can turn the situation around. “I think everybody knows that we are on track to make changes and do some different things. We are rebuilding. We have got things we want to do,” he said. “At Everton there were things that were not that good, but there were things that were good. We need to try and get rid of the bad things and do better with the things we should have done. “The supporters have been incredibly behind the team and supported the team throughout. They understand it has not been good. I recognise it has not been good. It needs to be better.” l

Ronaldo back in training, Bale has flu n

Dimitar Berbatov’s delightful goal gave Monaco a 1-0 win against Nice on Sunday to leave Paris Saint-Germain’s title celebrations on ice while Ajaccio’s relegation was confirmed with defeat at Bastia. Berbatov’s nonchalant fifth-minute lob was the only goal of the Cote d’Azur derby at the Stade Louis II and the victory got Claudio Ranieri’s side back on track after their shock exit from the French Cup to Guingamp at the semifinal stage on Wednesday. A third successive league win for the principality club means they are now certain to finish in the top three and qualify for next season’s Champions League. They are eight points clear of third-

placed Lille, who were held 0-0 at Marseille, and seven behind leaders PSG, who do not host Evian until Wednesday having beaten Lyon 2-1 in the League Cup final on Saturday night. Even if PSG win that game, they will not secure a second consecutive Lige 1 championship until next weekend at the earliest. For all the money spent last summer, finishing second would be an excellent achievement for Monaco, who were in Ligue 2 a year ago, but coach Ranieri’s future has been the subject of much speculation recently. However, the 62-year-old Italian revealed that Vadim Vasilyev, the club vice-president, had reassured him over his position after the match. Ajaccio made the trip across Corsica for the derby against Bastia knowing they had to win to stand any chance of further postponing their inevitable relegation.

But a 2-1 loss left them 15 points from safety with only 12 points left to play for. l

RESULTS Monaco Berbatov 5


1 0 2 1

Nice Ajaccio

Raspentino 32, Squillaci 89

Camara 4

5 1


4 4



Diabaté 8, 20, 26, Jussie 48, Rolan 68-pen

Lorient Aliadiere 31-pen, Monnet-Paquet 87, Aboubakar 90, 90+3

Reims Valenciennes Medjani 80, 86-og, Bahebeck 84


0 1 2 6

Mu. Diallo 29 Cabella 26, 81, Niang 56, Deza 78

Sochaux Corchia 41


Audel 24, Bedoya 41, Gakpe 44, 54,Nicolita 89

0 0


Capello sets out WC, retirement plans

Benfica claim 33rd league title



Russia manager Fabio Capello on Monday set the quarter-finals as his team’s minimum objective at their first World Cup finals since 2002. The Italian also revealed that he planned to retire after the 2018 World Cup in Russia. On his hopes for the upcoming 2014 edition Capello quoted by R-Sport news agency said: “We want to reach the quarter-finals in Brazil but sometimes if you play really well any surprises are possible. “Just remember that nobody expected us to finish top of our qualifying group but we did it.”

He added: “Russia’s players are completely focused on the World Cup. “After 12 years of absence at the world football feast they want to perform at their best, to win something. And they’re ready to show their best to

achieve a top-class result in Brazil.” Turning to his future he said: “After the 2018 World Cup I will be 71. “I think it’s the right time to say ‘stop’. “Russia is my last job. I want to be like Alex Ferguson. He quit at 72, I will resign being a year younger.” Capello explained why he had decided to prepare his squad for Brazil in Moscow. “I know the Russians,” he said. “It’s very important for them to be with their families. Here, in Russia we have such opportunities. We have all the necessary conditions here and I decided to prepare for the World Cup in Moscow.” l

Portugal’s most decorated club Benfica added further silverware to their overladen trophy cabinet on Sunday in the shape of a 33rd league title. The Lisbon giant’s 2-0 win over Olhanense moved them up to an uncatchable 73 points with two games of the season remaining. Their city rivals Sporting, who beat Belenenses 1-0 on Saturday, are destined for the runners-up spot on 66 points. Benfica’s success ended FC Porto’s run of three successive championships. Aside from a record 33rd title haul the former two-time European champions also have a record 24 Cup wins. l

Benfica's Oscar Cardozo kisses the trophy title after beating Olhanense at Luz stadium in Lisbon on Sunday REUTERS




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BCCI proposes panel to probe IPL scandal


Zia draws against top seed

Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman on Sunday drew with 2699 rated GM Bu Xiangzhi of China in the 4th round of the Open Section of the Asian Continental Chess Championships held in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Zia played with white pieces used Queen’s pawn opening against the top rated player in the event Bu. The game continued to irregular line and Zia made draw after 30 moves. Zia earned three points after the end of 4th round and shared the 2nd position in the points table along with other 12 players. Meanwhile in the women’s section, WFM Nazrana Khan Eva drew with Al Najar Huda of Syria. Eva earned 1.5 point out of 4 games. –Tribune Desk


Deadlines handed out to venues outside Dhaka Yesterday the Professional Football League Committee handed over deadlines to three venues outside the capital to renovate them in order to be eligible to hold Bangladesh Premier League matches. In a meeting of the committee held at the BFF House, it was decided that Feni Stadium will have to complete the required modifications within 3rd May while the venues of Gopalganj and Chittagong will have to make necessary adjustments before 26th April. The committee will review the state of affairs in a meeting scheduled for 28th April. –RM

Kuchar wins Heritage with dramatic final birdie Matt Kuchar holed out from a bunker at the final hole on Sunday to win the US PGA Tour’s Heritage and hand Luke Donald another Harbour Town disappointment. “I told my caddie before that last shot, ‘I’m about due to make one of these,’” said Kuchar, who started the day four shots off Donald’s 54-hole lead and fired a seven-under par 64 for an 11-under total of 273. England’s Donald carded a two-under 69 for 274. The former world number one now has five top-three finishes in this $5.8 million tournament in the past six years -- but no victories. Americans Ben Martin and John Huh shared third place on 275. Martin closed with a 67 and Huh -- who was lying second, two strokes behind Donald, going into the round -- posted a final-round 68. It was a further two shots back to Americans Scott Brown and Brian Stuard. –AFP

Ajax crushed by Zwolle in trouble-hit Cup final Ajax suffered a 5-1 humiliation in Sunday’s Dutch Cup final at the hands of unheralded Zwolle with the match held up when angry fans of the Amsterdam giants pelted the pitch with smoke-bombs and fireworks. PEC Zwolle, based 120km to the north-east of Amsterdam, were a goal down after just three minutes before sprinting into a 4-1 lead at the break on their way to their first Dutch Cup triumph. But the game was twice held up -- including for half an hour just after the start -- when Ajax fans hurled flares on to the pitch and play was delayed to allow smoke to clear. Ricardo van Rhijn put Ajax ahead after three minutes but Ryan Thomas and Guyon Fernandez scored two each before half-time to put Zwolle in charge. Bram van Polen added the fifth after 50 minutes. Zwolle qualify for the Europa League while Ajax are on the verge of a 33rd league title which they can secure next Sunday. –AFP

DAY’S WATCH Star Sports 2 3:55 PM AFC Champions League Sydney Wanderers vs Guizhou Renhe Star Sports 4 5:30 PM Barcelona Open Sony Six 6:00 AM NBA Playoffs 2014 Memphis vs. Oklahoma City 8:30 AM Golden State vs. LA Clippers 8:30 PM Indian Premier League 7 Punjub v Hyderabad Ten Sports, Ten HD, Ten Action 11:30 Uefa Champions League Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea

Captain of the Australian cricket team Michael Clarke is coaching American kids in the Cricmax indoor cricket facility in Sayreville, New Jersey on Sunday


Struggling Nadal seeks homeground solution n World number one Rafael Nadal targets a ninth Barcelona Open title this week desperate to prove his shock Monte Carlo Masters quarter-final exit is not a sign of decline. The 13-time Grand Slam champion failed to reach the final of the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time since he was 16 as he was defeated in straight sets by fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. It was his earliest loss in the principality since 2003 and came 12 months after his eight-year winning streak at the event was ended in the final by Novak Djokovic. “I just have to keep working to try to find the solutions in Barcelona. I am going to try and play well there and fight for the matches,” said Nadal, who in-

sists his faltering form is not the consequence of the back injury which struck him down in his Australian Open final defeat to Stanislas Wawrinka. “After what happened in Australia it was a little bit harder for me to find again the intensity, the confidence, the inside power that always I have,” added the 27-year-old. “Even if I won Rio, I played the final

in Miami, there remains something in my mind and in my game.” Despite recent setbacks, Nadal is still firmly the favourite for a ninth title in Barcelona where he has only ever lost once, again as a youngster back in 2003. The Mallorcan will kick off his campaign against another Spaniard Albert Ramos or Nikolay Davydenko on Wednesday and could have a chance for immediate revenge against Ferrer should the top two seeds reach Sunday’s final. The main threats to Nadal in the tophalf of the draw would appear to come from fellow Spaniards Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco, although he could also face third-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini in the semi-finals. Ferrer has lost four times in the fi-

nal to Nadal in the last six years and his road to another meeting with the king of clay looks trickier as he faces a potential quarter-final against one of the in-form Ernests Gulbis or Alexander Dolgopolov. Number four seed Kei Nishikori could also lie in wait for Ferrer in the semi-finals and he is hoping to make an impact in his first claycourt tournament under the tutelage of former French Open champion Michael Chang. “This is my first tournament of the claycourt season so hopefully I can start really strong,” he said at the draw for the tournament on Saturday. “It’s nice working with a legend like Michael Chang, he knows a lot of things and he knows what I need to do to take me to the next level and I think I have already shown improvement with him.”l

The Indian cricket board on Sunday decided to recommend to the Supreme Court a three-man panel to probe a spot-fixing scandal that hit the Indian Premier League, an official said. The Supreme Court had last week asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to provide details of how it planned to conduct a fresh probe into the scandal, or face investigation by a court-appointed tribunal. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel declined to reveal the names in the proposed panel, saying they will be handed to the court at the next hearing on Tuesday. But the Press Trust of India and TV channels said the panel will comprise former captain and commentator Ravi Shastri, Jai Narain Patel, an ex- chief justice of the Kolkata Hight Court, and R.K. Raghavan, who earlier headed the federal Central Bureau of Investigation. Lawyers for the BCCI will put forward the three names on Tuesday, hoping the court will accept the proposal to prevent an outside agency from interfering in the case. The apex court had last week rejected N. Srinivasan’s plea to reinstate him as BCCI chief, saying he had effectively turned a blind eye to allegations of wrongdoing in the IPL. l

Chequered flag blunder shortens Chinese GP n

An embarrassing blunder forced the Chinese Grand Prix to be shortened by two laps on Sunday after a steward mistakenly showed the chequered flag early to race winner Lewis Hamilton. Race sources told AFP the “experienced” steward was distraught after unfurling the flag and showing it momentarily to Hamilton, before realising he was a lap too early. Under FIA rules, if the flag is shown early the race is deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the line, in this case after lap 54. The mishap was not announced until after the race, meaning the last two laps of the 56 were effectively null and void and the finishing times and race distance had to be hastily revised. The only race position to be changed affected Kamui Kobayashi, whose hapless season continued when his late pass on Jules Bianchi was cancelled and he was demoted to 18th place. l

Wawrinka plays down French Open hopes n Stanislas Wawrinka played down his French Open hopes despite his Monte Carlo Masters title success against Roger Federer, claiming that the sport’s big names remain in a class of their own. His convincing 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 fightback at the Monte Carlo Country Club sealed the first all-Swiss final on the ATP in 14 years and left Wawrinka with fresh confidence in his big-swinging game. “I did an amazing job. I’m really happy after winning my first Grand Slam to now win my first Masters 1000,” said the Australian Open champion. “When mentally I’m there and I’m fighting, I can play (good) tennis, I can beat all the players. “I play well on clay. It’s normal that I would be a favourite for the French Open, but I don’t think so because I’m very far from players like Rafa (Nadal),

Novak (Djokovic) and Roger. He added: “I think the big four will always be the big four -- Rafa, Novak, Roger and Murray. They won all the tournaments since many years and you cannot change that. “The rankings may be different, but the statistics are the same. Anyway, I will not change anything in the way I approach the tournaments.” Third-ranked Wawrinka, who fired 33 winners on Sunday, lost his previous two Masters finals – in Rome in 2008 to Djokovic and last year in Madrid to Nadal. The title was his third of the year after trophies at Chennai and Melbourne in January. Even 17-time Grand Slam title winner Federer, who has lost all four of his Monte Carlo finals, was happy for his good friend’s success. “It was, of course, a great pleasure to share this moment with Stan. I didn’t feel frustrated, I was happy for Stan. “I focused on myself, I didn’t want

Australian coach joins emerging Afghanistan n

Afghanistan’s new cricket academy coach, Peter Anderson from Australia, has started work in Kabul, officials said Monday, as the fast-developing team prepare for their debut at next year’s World Cup. Anderson coached Papua New Guinea for two years before joining Afghanistan, where cricket is a rare symbol of optimism in a country beset by war, corruption and poverty. “I am excited to be here,” Anderson, 52, said in a press release from the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB). “I hope I can make a contribution to the quality of cricket here. I will start slowly, watching, listening and learning.” Anderson played 56 first-class matches for Queensland and South Australia as a wicketkeeper, scoring

1,399 runs at an average of 17.93. “We are pleased to be welcoming a person of Peter Anderson’s calibre to head our new Afghanistan Cricket Academy,” said Noor Mohammad Murad, head of the ACB. “He brings to us 35 years of cricketing experience both in Australia and internationally. His experience with Papua New Guinea Cricket, a developing cricket country, will fit him well for his work in Afghanistan.” Anderson will head the new academy, which will seek out and train players from youth level through to the full national squad. Afghanistan’s cricket team have taken big strides over the last decade, gaining one-day status in 2009. The side have featured in three World Twenty20 tournaments and qualified for the 2015 one-day World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. l

anybody to feel uneasy. I’ve played so many finals already, I was relaxed. The important thing was that Stan had to feel comfortable. Before anything else, it was a tennis celebration on a beautiful court.” And after taking a month to come down to earth after his Melbourne title which was achieved over Nadal, Wawrinka will be hoping not to fall into the same psychological rut after this major breakthrough. “I’ve been experiencing the best emotions ever during the past year or so. It’s incredible. This is why I’ve been practicing all those years. It’s to live those moments.” Wawrinka’s next stop is a title defence at Oeiras, Portugal, starting a week from Monday. He is then entered in the final pair of claycourt Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome before the May 25 start at Roland Garros, where he reached the quarter-finals last year. l

Donna Vekic of Croatia holds her trophy during the prize presentation as she celebrates her victory against Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia at the BMW Malaysian Open tennis tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday AFP

Windies bowler Roach shrugs off car crash n

Vekic upsets Cibulkova for maiden WTA title

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach escaped serious injury when his BMW car flipped over several times on a rainlashed Bridgetown road, local media reported Sunday. The 25-year-old suffered a head injury and was taken to hospital, the Barbados Today online newspaper claimed. But Roach insisted he had not been seriously hurt. “Sorry To Scare My Friends, Family And Fans But I’m Straight! Thanks For The Love! #BlessUp,” he wrote on Twitter. Roach has played 23 Tests and 61 one-day internationals but has not featured for the West Indies in nearly a year. l

Croatia’s Donna Vekic became the first player under 18 to win a WTA title for eight years on Sunday when she stunned top seed Dominika Cibulkova 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) in the Malaysian Open final. The 17-year-old shrugged off another rain-hit day to beat the world number 10 Slovakian and win her first title after two unsuccessful final appearances in Tashkent in 2012 and Birmingham in 2013. Vekic, the youngest player in the main draw, had a healthy 5-1 lead in the third set and should have served out the match. However, Australian Open runnerup Cibulkova clawed her way back into the match to 5-5 in an absorbing final at the Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala


Lumpur. “It was a tough match, she played very well. I was 5-1 up in the third set but she played insanely well to get back. The fans here really helped, so this win is for them as well,” said Vekic. Vekic’s win was also her first victory over a top 10 player. At 17 years, 10 months and 23 days, she is the first player under 18 to win a WTA title since Vania King won Bangkok in 2006 aged 17 years, 8 months and 12 days. Cibulkova, who was stretched to three sets in both the semis and quarterfinals, conceded an early break in the first set but took advantage of a break in play due to rain to recover. When play resumed, Vekic made errors, allowing Cibulkova to take the opener after breaking her 95th-ranked opponent’s serve in the 12th game. l



Back Page

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

India agrees on Lalmonirhat environment takes a hit from stone extraction from rivers Khulna-Kolkata illegal n direct train Abu Bakar Siddique, back from the north

Bangladesh continues bargaining for Benapole-Bongaon route, India prefers Darshana-Gede point The Indian delegation, led by Addin Kamran Reza Chowdhury tional Member (traffic) of the Railway Unlike in the past, the Indian authorities have agreed, in principle, to introduce a second direct passenger train between Bangladesh and the West Bengal capital Kolkata as the first train, Maitree Express, has gained huge popularity. The Indian railway officials attending the India-Bangladesh Inter-Governmental Railway Meeting (IGRM) in Dhaka yesterday told the home side that the proposed train between Khulna and Kolkata could be operated through the Darshana-Gede point. AK Maitra, chief interlocutor of the Indian side, told the meeting that they cannot accommodate a second Maitree Express via the Khulna-Benapole-Bongaon-Sealdah route, which has a high frequency of trains. The Bangladesh Railway proposed the route in 2011 as passengers from the south-western and south-central districts must come to Dhaka to avail the Maitree Express train. Head of the Bangladesh side Shah Zahirul Islam, the additional director general (operation), and his officials requested India to reconsider the decision as the passengers must travel an additional 72 kilometres via the Darshana-Gede route. An official from Bangladesh said the passengers would be able to reach Kolkata by the time they arrive at Darshana, stating, “It will be a useless additional distance to travel.” The distance between Khulna and Kolkata via the Benapole-Bongaon is 175km (around four hours) while travel via the Darshana-Gede would be 247km (around six hours). The first Maitree Express train takes 10 hours and 25 minutes to run between Dhaka and Kolkata (396km).

Board AK Maitra, met the Bangladesh Railway officials at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday on possible cooperation between the two state agencies. The two sides, however, agreed to continue the discussion. The IGRM will end tomorrow. “They [Indian side] are positive about it. The discussion has been going on about the train between Khulna and Kolkata. Let it be conclusive,” Mazibul Hoque, the railway minister, told the Dhaka Tribune. He said the proposed train would facilitate smooth movement of the people travelling between the countries. Railway officials said Bangladesh, in 2011, proposed for the first time the launching of the second Maitree Express between Khulna and Kolkata. It also proposed turning the existing local train between Khulna and Benapole into the second Maitree Express. However, the response from the Indian side was lukewarm at that time. On April 14, 2008 the military-backed interim government started the Maitree Express between Dhaka and Kolkata, a service that was stopped during the India-Pakistan war in 1965. In the first two years, the train ran with 50-70 passengers, raising questions about the justification of its operation. During the last two years, it has been running at full capacity. The Maitree Express train has 326 seats in the Bangladesh train and 388 seats in the Indian one. The Bangladeshi train starts from the Dhaka Cantonment Station at 8:10am (BST) on Fridays and returns the next day. The Indian train starts from Kolkata (Chitpur) Station at 7:10am (IST) on Tuesdays and goes back to Kolkata on Wednesdays. l

Ignoring a government ban, politically influential people have been allegedly running a profitable business of extracting stones from three rivers in Lalmonirhat – Dharla, Shaniajan and Singimari – significantly hurting the area’s environment. Local administration has expressed concerns that a large portion of Patgram upazila might face a major landslide at any time, as mechanical extractors like dredgers have been lifting stones from the rivers and it adjacent areas at depths of over 100 meters, creating a hollow space underground. “The district administration launches regular drives against them, but somehow they are continuing their activities with the help of political influence,” said Rafiqul Haque, the Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Patgram. Citing an example, Rafiqul said although he had seized some stone extraction machines during a drive on April 8, some of the unscrupulous people continued their operations at night time. Professor Mujibur Rahman of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), who specialises on water resources, also pointed out the risk of landslide, adding that stone extraction should not be carried out without any assessment of the particular soil structure. The locals alleged that politically influential people – both from the Awami League and the BNP – have been carrying out the business of illegal stone extraction for almost two decades. Previously, the business was run by BNP-Jamaat men, while it is now controlled by Awami League men, they claimed, adding that the owners did not come to the spot as the local administration conducted regular raids. Seeking anonymity, workers at different locations in the Burimari union said they were hired for a daily wage of Tk300-400 to lift stones from the rivers using dredgers. Asked why the stone extraction could not be stopped, UNO Rafiqul told the Dhaka Tribune that most of the

Politically-backed influentials continue to lift stones from the Dharla River and its adjacent areas in Lalmonirhat’s Patgram upazila, ignoring a government ban on stone extraction ABU BAKAR SIDDIQUE

Ruling party men alleged to be involved; authorities helpless to stop the business people involved had direct or indirect political affiliations and cared about nothing but earning profits. At least 600 machines – each with an ability to extract 700 cubic feet of stones – have reportedly been extracting stone illegally from the three rivers since 2001. In a recent visit to the area, the Dhaka Tribune found that the extractors were lifting stones along with a huge amount of sand from the Dharla River

and piled up the sands to obstruct all the channels of the river. Buet’s Professor Mujibur said lifting and piling sand along with stone chips would heighten the river bed, increasing the risk of flood over a vast area during monsoon. Apart from the river area, the unscrupulous businesspeople have also been expanding their stone extraction operation in the nearby arable lands. Seeking anonymity, a local Awami League leader told the Dhaka Tribune that the stone extraction activities were currently going on under the patronisation of ruling party MP Motahar Hossain. However, the Dhaka Tribune failed to get any comment from the lawmaker on the issue, despite repeated attempts.

Alal Hossain, an Awami League leader of Patgram who was also involved in stone extraction, admitted the issue of political patronisation, adding that at least 15,000 workers and their families were directly or indirectly dependent on stone extraction, although it was declared illegal by the government. Along with inflicting environmental damage, the stone extraction business was also hurting the area’s roads, which were used by heavy trucks to load and unload stones. Kholilur Rahman, executive engineer of Lalmonirhat’s Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED), told the Dhaka Tribune that he has sent a letter to the district authority to take necessary action in this regard. l

NBR revises outstanding SIM replacement tax n Muhammad Zahidul Islam The National Board of Revenue has once again finalised a report which says four mobile phone operators will now have to pay Tk2,464.88 crore, instead of Tk3,010 crore claimed earlier, as tax for SIM resale. This time the NBR has got approval of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) but none of the four operators – Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Airtel – gave consent on the report terming it “unilateral and unacceptable.” The operators say they did not resell the subscriber identification modules (SIMs), rather replaced them, so no tax would be applicable. The telecomm regulator signed the report with some reservations, and if its argument proved to be true, the claimed figure will come down to Tk520.60 crore, sources said. According to the NBR’s latest claim, Grameenphone’s tax outstanding is Tk1,305.52 crore. It was Tk1,562 crore in the NBR’s final report published last December. Banglalink’s outstanding comes down to Tk566.98 crore from Tk762 crore, Robi has to pay Tk558.92 crore instead of Tk647 crore while Airtel Tk33.46 crore from Tk39 crore mentioned in the previous report. But if the NBR takes the regulator’s argument, these amounts would come down for Grameenphone to Tk331.88 core, Banglalink Tk65.79 core, Robi

Tk121.69 crore and Airtel Tk1.24 crore only. The NBR has been demanding the amount of tax from the four companies since early 2012. After analysing the documents, it first demanded Tk3,062 crore. Of the amounts, Grameenphone was supposed to pay Tk1,562 crore, Banglalink Tk762 crore, Robi Tk647 crore and Airtel Tk39 crore. According to the latest report, 79% of the documents show that the SIM cards were resold to different subscribers. SIM resale to a different owner is not allowed by the rule. The review committee – comprising representatives from the BTRC and the four operators – says the operators have dodged tax through selling old SIMs to new clients. Currently, the companies pay Tk300 tax against the sale of a SIM card. The NBR’s SIM Card Replacement Review Committee (SCRRC) prepared the final report in December last year after scrutinising the SAF, SIM Registration Form (SRF) and Undertaking Form (UTF) of the operators submitted between August 2010 and December 2011. At that time, SIM tax was Tk800. The Dhaka Tribune obtained a copy of the revised report. The NBR came up with the findings after scrutinising the SIM replacement data supplied by the operators – 1,400 samples of Grameenphone; 1,200 of Banglalink; 1,200 of Robi and Airtel’s 1,097 samples. “Random sampling is never applicable for taxation anywhere in the world,” a senior executive of a mobile operator told the Dhaka Tribune about the report seeking anonymity. The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bang-

ladesh (Amtob) terms the report very confusing. “Foreign investors want a respectable solution and our government is cordial about the issue,” TIM Nurul Kabir, secretary general of Amtob, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. In December last year, the Amtob sent a letter to the NBR, the BTRC and the Telecommunications Ministry seeking a solution saying that the revenue authorities had used a new process for re-verification of the SIM information. The NBR report says nearly 79% of the submitted documents did not match with the original Subscriber Application Forms (SAF). Before the 3G auction, a report of the tripartite committee labelled a few of the documents to be “problematic.” The NBR prepared terms of reference (TOR) last year. It was approved by the Finance Ministry before the auction to quantify the resold SIMs, said Vivek Sood, chief executive officer of Grameenphone. But the NBR unilaterally revised the TOR after the operators had participated in the 3G auction which is “not acceptable,” he said while speaking at the company’s year-end financial disclosure at a city hotel last week. He hoped that the NBR chairman would review the matter and find a solution. Meanwhile, the NBR has found inconsistencies in the provided information, but the telecom regulator claims that there is no inconsistency. According to the SCRRC report, Grameenphone’s 94.79% of the provided information were inconsistent. This is the highest among the operators, followed by Banglalink’s 94.83%, Robi’s 93.42% and Airtel’s 29.81%. Grameenphone failed to provide any Call Details Record (CDR) data before 2010, so the committee could not cross-check the data for the period, says the report. It also mentions that Banglalink provided incomplete data of a specific field while Airtel’s CDR failed to provide the incoming call records, subscribers’ handset IMIE numbers and some system logs before the committee. l

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

B3 TCS, Mitsubishi to create new Japan IT services firm

B4 Commodity markets: Hedging your bets


Rupali Bank asked to expedite credit growth It seeks Muhith’s intervention to revise the BB condition n Asif Showkat Kallol Rupali Bank Limited has expressed doubt whether it would not be possible for them to overcome the losses if it has to comply with a new condition Bangladesh Bank is going to impose on the bank to increase credit growth by 12%. Rupali Bank apprised Finance Minister AMA Muhith of their discomfort vide a letter served last week, said a senior official of the Bank and Financial Institutions Division. The bank’s chairman Dr Ahmad Al Kabir requested the minister to use his influence in convincing the central bank to revise the condition. The banking division said Bangladesh Bank has sent a new Memorandum of Understanding to Rupali Bank for signing as part of an effort to help revive its financial health. In accordance with the proposed MoU, the central bank fixed a credit growth target of 12% or Tk976 crore for this year. On the other hand, Bangladesh Bank has imposed a condition that the credit growth should not be more than 3% every quarter of this year. Banking Secretary Dr M Aslam Alam told the Dhaka Tribune that the bank did not provide loans to the potential clients for last six years as it was under

Photo shows head office Rupali Bank at Motijheel in Dhaka the process of privatisation. As a result, the bank had distributed only a small amount of loan as compared to Sonali, Janata and Agrani banks for last couple of years, and that, the bank would face financial difficulties because of the credit growth limit, he said.

The Rupali Bank authorities viewed that the MOU would just impose extra financial burden. It would not be right to compare Rupali Bank with three other state-owned banks. Rupali Bank has incurred an accumulated loss Tk1,200 crore during a period between 2002 and 2009. It could

Bidi manufacturers want tax discrimination with cigarettes to go n Syed Samiul Basher Anik

Representatives from bidi manufacturers yesterday termed the tobacco taxation policy “discriminatory” as the taxes imposed on bidi is much higher than cigarettes and urged the National Board of Revenue to remove the discrimination. Bidi and cigarette both are tobacco products, but the government has imposed higher taxes on bidi that has led to a situation where many factories were closed down already and many others dismissed employees in a large number, said leaders of Bangladesh Bidi Shilpa Malik Samity. They proposed the NBR not to impose more taxes on bidi, rather adjust the disparity by imposing more taxes on cigarette. The association president Bijoy Krishna Dey placed the demand at a pre-budget meeting with the revenue body at its headquarters at Segunbagicha in Dhaka. The NBR also held a meeting with representatives of small, medium, and large industries with NBR member Farid Uddin in the chair.

Bijoy Krishna Dey said discrimination against bidi industry is nothing new, rather it has been continued for years. “Tax on bidi was only 10% in 2003, which has now been raised to 20% whereas the tax on cigarette has been raised by only 4%.” He said the discrimination was mostly reflected in the last 2013-14 budget, when the government increased slabs in bidi with 23% tax hike as compared to 7.9% on cigarettes. “In the last budget, the government has introduced 10% Advance Income Tax on the sector and, therefore, we are now paying 61% AIT whereas the cigarette businesses do not want to pay any AIT though it is a tobacco product,” he added. The association leader said the discriminated policy has resulted in dismissal of around 25 lakh employees and closing down of 100 factories in the last 10 years. The other demands from the association includes withdrawal of supplementary duty from bidi, cancellation of AIT, cancellation of Value Added Tax at source and cancellation of fourth slab of cigarette.

According to statistics compiled by NBR, the government has collected Tk5,123 crore of revenue from the tobacco sector in FY 2008-09, Tk6,368 crore in 2009-10, Tk7,448 crore in 2010-11, Tk10,176 crore in 2011-12, and Tk9,928 crore in 2012-13. NBR Chairman Md. Ghulam Hussain earlier told media that the tax on health hazardous products will see a rise in the coming budget. “The government is planning to increase tax rates on cigarette, bidi, jarda and other health hazardous products,” he added. Sectors demand duty cut Bangladesh Furniture Owners’ Association has proposed the NBR to withdraw 10% duty on import of wood to promote furniture business. They also demanded reducing the tax on particle board from 54% to 12%, and sand papers from 74% to 5%. At the same meeting, Bangladesh Resham (Silk) Shilpa Malik Samity demanded withdrawal of 35% duty on import of silk while Bangladesh Paduka Prostutkarok Samity demanded withdrawal of VAT from the sector. l


not also collect enough clients in last five years due to the accumulated loss. M Farid Uddin, Managing Director of Rupali Bank, said the financial situation of the bank is different from the three other state-owned commercial banks. So, the credit growth limit is too high for Rupali Bank. l

Government plans to bring BTCL under PPP n Muhammad Zahidul Islam The government plans to bring Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL), state-owned telecommunication operator, under Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative. As the BTCL remains as a losing concern, it might be a profitable one only if any other private company comes forward to lead this organisation from the front under a PPP format. Post, Telecommunication and Information Technology Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui came up with the plan while sharing views at a dialogue held in Dhaka on Sunday. The Asia Foundation and Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) jointly organised the dialogue. “You people are welcome to take the lead of the BTCL as we are ready to put it under PPP. I have a plan to do so and the authorities also want to make it a holding company, but no one has so far showed interest to be a part of it,” said Abdul Latif Siddique. The minister said: “As the BTCL could not make profit over the years, no body shows any interest to get involved with it.” During the last couple of years, as the BTCL has become a losing concern, the monthly salaries of the existing employees are being paid from its fixed deposit account, said a source in the BTCL. It incurred a loss worth Tk546 crore in the last fiscal year (2012-13) – worst in the company’s history – as earnings from international calls dropped sharply.

In response to a question, the ministers told the Dhaka Tribune: “Whatever I have told the public meeting, it is true and I really meant for it. There has been no other meaning of my statement.” He added: “It is my plan and I am really thinking on how to implement it as there has been no other alternative for sustaining the BTCL.” In the last 15 years, the state-owned company faced another setback for the second time in the year 2007-08 when it had incurred a loss worth Tk190 crore. In the year 2012-13, BTCL, however, had earned Tk1,056 crore and spent Tk1,602 crore while the income was falling down by around 58% with the revenue target of Tk2,498 crore. A senior executive of the operator said the BTCL had been facing the setback due to massive privatisation of most of the international call termination services. BTCL had earned only over Tk401 crore from the foreign market, which is only little over 37% of previous year’s earnings of Tk1,070 crore. In 2008-09, the company had earned about Tk1,238 crore, which is the highest from international call termination. The income of BTCL from local market increased marginally to Tk654 crore in 2012-13 from Tk632 crore in 2011-12. BTCL emerged as a state-owned company in July 2008 under the caretaker government, when the then BTTB (Bangladesh Telephone and Telegraph Board) divided into two different companies BTCL and Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company LTD (BSCCL). l

HSBC launches fifth export excellence awards n Tribune Report HSBC Bangladesh yesterday launched its Export Excellence Awards for the fifth consecutive year to recognise five exporters for their outstanding performance. The bank has been giving the award to promote Bangladeshi exporters and recognise their contribution to the sustainable growth of the country’s economy through export. “HSBC has 150 years of experience in facilitating global trade and this enables us to help businesses thrive and connect to global opportunities,” said Andrew Tilke, chief executive officer of HSBC Bangladesh at a press meet in Dhaka. “We are pleased to provide a platform for Bangladeshi exporters to showcase their capabilities and global potential.” The five award categories are — readymade garments and textiles exporters (Group A and Group B), EPZ enterprises, traditional and emerging sectors, and SMEs (small and medium enterprises). HSBC, which started the awards in 2010, divided RMG and textiles exporters into two categories as these sectors account for a majority of the country’s exports. RMG exporters with annual export turnover worth $50m or more are in Group A, and those with less than

Andrew Tilke (centre), CEO of HSBC Bangladesh seen addressing the press yesterday in Dhaka NASHIRUL ISLAM $50m are in Group B. Companies in the export processing zones will be awarded under the EPZ enterprises category. The non-RMG or textiles companies with annual export turnover worth $5m or more will be awarded under the traditional and emerging sectors category. The SME category is for the nonRMG or textiles companies with annual export turnover below $5m. Through a sophisticated process of adjudication by an independent panel of jury members, winning exporters are selected based on not only the annual contribution to the national exports but also on the diversity, responsibility sustainability and governance strengths of their respective businesses. HSBC does not get involved at any stage of the winner adjudication process of this awards programme.

The bank’s head of corporate banking Md Mahbub-ur-Rahman said: “The excellence of entrepreneurs of Bangladesh is often best displayed by the exporters.” He said they make Bangladesh more international. “The journey of Bangladesh has been a success story and the relentless efforts of our exporters help the country being recognised as a country of great potentials across the globe.” Local exporters can participate in the programme by filling out a nomination form on the bank’s website. Exporters can also nominate other exporters in any category for the programme. The deadline for submissions is May 21 and HSBC is expected to announce the winners in next two or three months. l

Hero launches operation in Bangladesh to manufacture motorbikes n Tribune Report Hero MotoCorp Ltd (HMCL) – the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer – yesterday launched its operation in Bangladesh through a joint venture with Nitol Niloy Group. To make it effective, a deed was signed between the two companies in Dhaka. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Hero MotoCorp Pawan Munjal and Chairman of Nitol Niloy Group Abdul Matlub Ahmad signed the agreement on behalf of their respective companies. Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu and Acting High Commissioner of India in Dhaka Sandeep Chakravorty and Managing Director of the Group Abdul Musabbir Ahmad were present at the signing ceremony. Under the deal, the two companies will set up a plant in Gazipur at an investment of $40m or Tk311 crore to produce 1.5 lakh motorcycles annually by 2016. Hero will hold majority stake of 55% in the new joint venture while the Nitol Niloy Group will hold the rest 45%

Photo shows Pawan Munjal, MD & CEO of Hero MotoCorp Ltd, Industry Minister Amir Hossain Amu among others at the launching ceremony held yesterday MAHMUD HOSSAIN stake. There will be a total equity injection of $12.6m in a ratio of 55:45 over a period of two years. The new venture will have a capital expenditure of $23.2m in the first year of its operation (financial year 2014-15) and the total investment of $40m over the next five years. While the manufacturing plant will be operational by the second quarter of 2015-16, the Hero range of two-wheel-

ers are already being made available in Bangladesh through the initial 50 retail outlets. More outlets are also being rapidly added in markets across the country. After expiry of the deal with Japanese automaker Honda in 2011 and state-owned automobile company Atlas Bangladesh in 2013, Hero now joined hands with Nitol-Niloy Group for producing motorcycle in Bangladesh.

Pawan Munjal said the commencement of our operations in Bangladesh is a significant milestone in our strategic global expansion plan. In addition to being our first overseas joint venture, this is also where our first manufacturing plant outside of India will come up, he said. He said once operational by the second quarter of 2015-16, the plant will have an annual capacity of 150,000 units. “We are aiming to have around 20% of market share here in the first year of our operation.” While Hero MotoCorp has rapidly expanded its global footprint, this is the company’s first overseas joint venture to set up a two-wheeler manufacturing plant outside of India, since it commenced its solo journey almost three years ago. The range of Hero two-wheelers being made available in the country include successful models like the entry-level segment 100cc bikes – HF Dawn and HF Deluxe, Splendor+, Splendor

Pro, Splendor iSmart, Passion Pro, the deluxe segment125cc Super Splendor and Glamour and the premium segment 150cc Xtreme and Hunk, and the 100-cc scooter Pleasure. Hero has launched an unprecedented 5-year warranty on all these models in Bangladesh – a statement of confidence in the technological superiority of its products. Hero MotoCorp (formerly Hero

Honda Motors Ltd) will soon launch brand-building initiatives in this market with the Bengali version of the iconic Hero anthem “Hum Main Hai Hero” (There’s a Hero in Each of Us), which will be aired across television platforms in Bangladesh. “There will also be brand-specific communications to establish Hero products in the country.” As of today, Hero two-wheelers already sell in as many as 18 countries. l




Banks drive stocks up

DSE key features April 21, 2014

n Tribune Report

Traded Issues


Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)


Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)



4,611.84 109,199,474

Number of Contract

and mutual fund that inched up. Increased level of focus in banks pushed up trading activities. The total DSE turnover stood at Tk460 crore, an increase of 15.5% over the previous session, and banks accounted for nearly 19% over the previous session. Profit booking took place on other sectors, including power, pharmaceuticals and food and allied. The market breadth was also positive as out of 290 issues traded, 168 advanced, 103 declined and 19 remained unchanged. Lanka Bangla Securities said buoyant by the high level of trading volume in financial stocks, especially in banking stocks, market ended the day closed to more than one month high. Zenith Investments said banks and financial sector made way for the market to set its gear and ride along towards the positive track. It said stocks from other industries kneeled before the two sectors, hardly showing any performance to divert the attention of the investors. Meghna Petroleum was the most traded stock of the session with almost Tk30 crore. It was followed by Lafarge Surma Cement, Heidelberg Cement, Square Pharmaceuticals, Padma Oil and Familytex. l

Stocks rallied for the third straight session yesterday driven mainly by banks that gained almost 4% after remaining under pressure for long. The benchmark index DSEX gained 32 points or 0.7% to close at 4,648, which is one month high. Shariah Index DSES witnessed marginal fall of 3 points to 1,030. The blue-chip comprising DS30 edged 1.6 points up to 1,700. Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, closed at 8,942 with a gain of 62 points. Banks – the largest cap sector – posted an impressive 3.7% gain featuring five of its issues in top gainers list. The sector rallied led by Mercantile Bank, Dhaka Bank, United Commercial Bank and Jamuna Bank. “Financial sector, especially bank, came in frontline as lucrative valuation level and quarterly earnings expectation knocked investors’ sentiment very strongly,” said IDLC Investments in its daily market analysis. “As a result, all the banks except three gained.” After banks, ceramic came second that rose over 1%, followed by non-banking financial institutions


Turnover (Million Taka) Turnover (Volume)


Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)


Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)


Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


CSE key features April 21, 2014 Turnover (Million Taka)


Turnover (Volume)

Daily capital market highlights


Number of Contract


DSE Broad Index :


(+) 0.70%

Traded Issues


DSE Shariah Index :


(-) 0.32%

Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)


DSE - 30 Index :


(+) 0.09%

Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)


CSE All Share Index:


(+) 0.61%

Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)


CSE - 30 Index :


(+) 0.12%

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)



(+) 0.70%

Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS

Renwick Jajneswar-A Eastern Cables-A Bangladesh Welding -A Emerald Oil Ind. -N Ambee Pharma -A Delta Life Insu. -A BD. Autocars -Z Marico BD Ltd-A

-8.56 -5.25 -4.57 -4.47 -3.70 -3.70 -3.69 -3.61

Average (% change) -7.92 -2.87 -1.29 -0.62 -2.42 -3.28 -3.81 -2.28

Barakatullah E. D.-A Paramount Textile Ltd.-A

-3.53 -3.53

-2.60 -2.34


Closing (% change)


Aziz PipesZ Prime Islami Life -A Rupali Life Insur.-A Eastern Cables-A GPH Ispat Ltd-A Global Heavy Chemicals-N Delta Life Insu. -A Padma Islami Life*-N

-9.05 -8.37 -8.18 -6.09 -4.91 -4.75 -4.51 -4.49

Average (% change) -9.20 -8.37 -7.45 -2.82 -4.75 -2.98 -4.83 -5.69

Salvo Chemicals-B ACI Formulations-A

-4.25 -4.18

-2.58 -4.19


Closing (% change)


Closing average


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 863.95 333.81 117.03 307.14 257.90 737.84 1.43 401.71 390.19 1.16 30.34 49.82 15.12 497.49 33.14 114.82 97.66 199.12 37.26 124.64 0.29

Turnover in million

Daily low

Latest EPS

Latest PE

398.14 147.82 19.16 48.06 298.25 219.40 26.00 1200.70

397.60 142.70 18.80 47.00 294.30 216.30 26.10 1188.40

400.00 154.70 19.80 49.30 312.00 226.80 26.40 1225.00

397.40 141.50 18.00 46.70 292.50 215.00 26.00 1175.00

0.856 23.547 3.112 47.049 1.536 51.241 0.065 3.422

3.92 1.40 0.57 1.40 5.01 2.92 0.04 46.53

101.6 105.6 33.6 34.3 59.5 75.1 650.0 25.8

30.35 38.74

30.10 38.30

31.20 43.50

28.10 36.50

7.143 13.857

1.74 2.80

17.4 13.8

Closing average


Daily high

Turnover in million

Daily low

Latest EPS

Fareast Finance-N Mercantile Bank -A Rahim Textile -A Bay Leasing.-A UCBL - A Southeast Bank-A Jute SpinnersA First Lease- A Shahjalal Islami -A Grameen M F One-A

18.10 104.00 101.00 141.80 46.50 46.10 215.90 68.00

18.20 104.00 103.00 150.00 47.00 47.00 226.10 68.00

18.00 104.00 101.00 141.80 46.50 44.60 215.00 68.00

0.003 0.062 0.255 1.293 0.101 0.276 5.934 0.034

0.59 4.95 5.33 1.40 2.42 2.21 2.92 1.10

30.6 21.0 19.1 104.9 19.2 20.8 74.7 61.8

20.37 78.00

20.30 78.00

20.80 78.00

20.20 78.00

1.102 0.008

0.93 2.13

21.9 36.6

Buoyant by the high level of trading volume in financial stocks, especially in banking stocks, market ended the day closed to more than one month high

% change 18.73 7.24 2.54 6.66 5.59 16.00 0.03 8.71 8.46 0.03 0.66 1.08 0.33 10.79 0.72 2.49 2.12 4.32 0.81 2.70 0.01

Million Taka 130.85 22.27 6.79 18.55 23.91 49.62 45.15 20.52 14.42 1.27 17.90 1.34 63.15 3.76 1.26 6.57 20.08 8.00 20.83 0.02

% change 27.48 4.68 1.42 3.89 5.02 10.42 0.00 9.48 4.31 3.03 0.27 3.76 0.28 13.26 0.79 0.26 1.38 4.22 1.68 4.37 0.00

Million Taka 994.80 356.08 123.81 325.68 281.81 787.46 1.43 446.86 410.72 15.58 31.61 67.71 16.45 560.64 36.90 116.08 104.23 219.19 45.26 145.47 0.32


9.32 9.15 8.65 8.45 8.06 7.00 6.89 6.47 6.43 6.40

CSE GAINERS Company Rahima Food -Z Mercantile Bank -A Fareast Finance-N Prime Insur -A AIBL 1st Is. M. F.-A Asia Pasific Insu. -A Grameen M F One-A Dhaka Bank -A Republic Insu.-A Southeast Bank-A

Closing (% change) 10.00 9.80 9.09 8.89 8.33 7.88 7.60 7.25 7.23 7.00

Average (% change) 10.67 9.93 6.90 7.44 5.12 5.75 4.69 5.92 4.26 5.79 Average (% change) 9.91 6.31 9.24 9.13 7.88 7.71 5.53 5.16 7.24 5.05

Closing average 12.86 16.38 324.26 31.61 26.07 20.97 69.80 21.46 14.68 44.59

Closing average 49.48 16.35 13.01 24.50 7.80 26.00 44.47 19.99 34.05 20.81

Closing 12.90 16.70 329.00 32.10 26.80 21.40 69.80 21.40 14.90 44.90

Closing 49.50 16.80 13.20 24.50 7.80 26.00 45.30 20.70 34.10 21.40

Daily high 12.90 16.80 329.20 32.50 27.10 22.00 69.80 21.90 15.20 45.90

Daily high 49.50 16.80 13.30 24.50 7.80 26.00 45.50 20.70 34.10 21.60

Daily low 12.50 13.80 302.80 28.00 22.40 18.00 69.80 19.00 12.60 42.40

Daily low 49.30 15.30 12.10 24.50 7.80 26.00 43.50 19.70 34.00 19.90

Turnover in million 9.021 40.216 8.200 5.676 144.829 126.748 0.003 11.431 23.695 15.898

Turnover in million 0.396 4.592 4.904 0.012 0.023 0.039 0.867 0.921 0.034 12.130

Latest EPS -0.97 2.68 11.56 1.56 3.66 3.69 -43.98 1.20 1.96 3.40

Latest EPS -1.00 2.68 -0.97 2.23 1.24 2.67 3.40 3.49 2.45 3.69

Latest PE -ve 6.1 28.1 20.3 7.1 5.7 -ve 17.9 7.5 13.1

Latest PE -ve 6.1 -ve 11.0 6.3 9.7 13.1 5.7 13.9 5.6

News from trade server MJLBD: The Board of Directors has recommended 25% cash dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 28.06.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Chittagong Boat Club. Record Date: 08.05.2014. The Company has also reported consolidated EPS of Tk. 2.93, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 32.63 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. 3.19 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. The Board has also decided to construct a 10 storied commercial building on turn-key basis at Halishahr, Chittagong at a contract price of Tk. 15.12 crore only. NTLTUBES: (Q3): As per un-audited quarterly accounts for the 3rd quarter ended on 31st March 2014 (Jan'14 to March'14), the Company has reported net profit/(loss) after tax of Tk. 32.43 million with EPS of Tk. 1.80 as against Tk. (3.35) million and Tk. (0.19) respectively for the same period of the previous year. Whereas net profit/(loss) after tax was Tk. 52.74 million with EPS of Tk. 2.93 for the period of nine months (July'13 to March'14) ended on 31.03.2014 as against Tk. (43.26) million and Tk. (2.40) respectively for the same period of the previous year. RENWICKJA: (Q3): As per un-audited

DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Meghna Petroleum -A LafargeS Cement-Z HeidelbergCement -A Square Pharma -A Padma Oil Co. -A Familytex (BD) Ltd.-N AB Bank - A


Closing (% change)

quarterly accounts for the 3rd quarter ended on 31st March 2014 (Jan'14 to March'14), the Company has reported net profit after tax of Tk. 0.99 million with EPS of Tk. 0.49 as against Tk. 1.61 million and Tk. 0.80 respectively for the same period of the previous year. Whereas net profit after tax was Tk. 5.87 million with EPS of Tk. 2.94 for the period of nine months (July'13 to March'14) ended on 31.03.2014 as against Tk. 5.73 million and Tk. 2.86 respectively for the same period of the previous year. Accumulated profit/(loss) of the Company was Tk. (76.65) million as on 31.03.2014 resulting total shareholders' equity stands at Tk. (56.65) million. BERGERPBL: (Q1): As per un-audited quarterly accounts for the 1st quarter ended on 31st March 2014 (Jan'14 to March'14), the Company has reported consolidated net profit after tax of Tk. 334.40 million with consolidated EPS of Tk. 14.42 as against Tk. 292.24 million and Tk. 12.60 respectively for the same period of the previous year. EASTLAND: The Company has informed that the Board of Directors of the Company has decided to hold an EGM on 25th May 2014 at 3:00 PM at Lakeshore Hotel, Road No.

41 House No. 46, Gulshan-2, Dhaka-1212 to discuss status of Company's Right offer issue approved by the shareholders in the 4th EGM held on 28th April, 2011 and obtain decision thereof in view of collateral causes. Record date for EGM: 30.04.2014. BoardMeeting: FAREASTFIN on April 22, 2014 at 4:30 PM. GHCL on April 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM. SONARGAON on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM. CONFIDCEM on April 27, 2014 at 3:00 PM. BATASHOE on April 24, 2014 at 2:30 PM. KAY&QUE on April 23, 2014 at 3:00 PM. RIGHT SHARE: DELTASPINN: Subscription 05.08.2014 to 31.08.2014. RD for entitlement of rights share: 28.04.2014. RUPALILIFE- Subscription 06.04.2014 to 05.05.2014. RD for entitlement of rights share: 16.01.2014. BRACBANK: Subscription 20.04.2014 to 15.05.2014. RD for entitlement of rights share: 10.02.2014. IPO Subscription: Shahjibazar Power Co. Limited subscription date 06-04 April 2014, NRB upto 19 April 2014. @ taka 25, face value taka 10 and market lot 200. Khulna Printing & Packaging Limited subscription date 04 – 08 May 2014, NRB upto 17 April 2014. @ taka 10, face value taka 10 and market lot 500.

Latest PE

18.07 104.00 101.80 146.88 46.55 45.98 218.18 68.00


Daily high

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

% change 19.55 7.00 2.43 6.40 5.54 15.48 0.03 8.78 8.07 0.31 0.62 1.33 0.32 11.02 0.73 2.28 2.05 4.31 0.89 2.86 0.01

Prepared exclusively for Dhaka Tribune by Business Information Automation Service Line (BIASL), on the basis of information collected from daily stock quotations and audited reports of the listed companies. High level of caution has been taken to collect and present the above information and data. The publisher will not take any responsibility if any body uses this information and data for his/her investment decision. For any query please email to or call 01552153562 or go to

Olympic Ind. -A UCBL - A Grameenphone-A

Southeast Bank-A FAS Fin. & Inv. Ltd-B Jamuna Oil -A LankaBangla Fin. -A GreenDeltaInsu -A CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company HeidelbergCement -A

LafargeS Cement-Z Bank Asia -A Rupali Bank - A UCBL - A Padma Oil Co. -A Familytex (BD) Ltd.-N BSC-A Meghna Petroleum -A Southeast Bank-A Grameenphone-A LankaBangla Fin. -A AB Bank - A BD Submarine Cable-A Matin Spinning-N

Volume shares 977,465 3,389,000 345,220 631,633 494,538 2,794,500 4,862,958 624,100 5,554,725 562,276

6,044,906 7,667,079 431,368 1,524,186 843,474 Volume shares

61,900 343,000 1,324,710 300,400 737,885 46,188 259,000 23,665 40,455 582,895 43,600 188,852 339,383 43,910 224,600

Value in million 305.21 239.69 195.02 177.18 173.89 153.20 148.29 147.25 144.83 142.79

126.75 107.66 101.26 83.80 77.31

Value in million

35.01 24.35 23.58 21.03 19.09 16.24 14.32 14.20 12.64 12.13 11.05 10.43 10.32 9.03 8.80

% of total turnover 6.62 5.20 4.23 3.84 3.77 3.32 3.22 3.19 3.14 3.10

2.75 2.33 2.20 1.82 1.68

% of total turnover

8.22 5.72 5.53 4.94 4.48 3.81 3.36 3.33 2.97 2.85 2.59 2.45 2.42 2.12 2.06

Daily closing 308.80 69.80 564.10 281.80 347.30 54.10 30.80 232.80 26.80 252.70

21.40 15.00 232.90 54.90 85.20

Daily closing

562.00 69.80 18.00 70.00 26.70 347.70 54.40 596.00 309.20 21.40 251.60 55.20 30.70 204.60 38.90

Price change -0.83 -3.06 1.51 0.39 -1.53 -3.39 4.05 -2.31 8.06 0.96

Daily opening 311.40 72.00 555.70 280.70 352.70 56.00 29.60 238.30 24.80 250.30

Price change

Daily opening

7.00 0.00 -1.06 1.67 -2.29

1.22 -3.46 4.05 1.45 7.66 -1.59 -3.03 -2.30 -0.90 7.00 0.48 1.66 3.72 -0.53 -2.51

20.00 15.00 235.40 54.00 87.20

555.20 72.30 17.30 69.00 24.80 353.30 56.10 610.00 312.00 20.00 250.40 54.30 29.60 205.70 39.90

Daily high 317.40 73.50 585.00 295.00 359.00 58.40 31.00 240.00 27.10 256.00

Daily low 290.00 69.30 550.00 274.90 346.50 53.60 27.00 230.20 22.40 240.00

Daily average 312.24 70.73 564.90 280.51 351.62 54.82 30.49 235.94 26.07 253.95

Daily high

Daily low

Daily average

22.00 15.40 240.00 59.00 93.00

571.00 73.80 18.00 70.00 27.00 360.00 58.00 615.00 317.90 21.60 255.80 56.00 30.90 209.90 40.50

18.00 14.00 215.00 50.20 84.00

555.00 69.20 17.60 70.00 24.80 345.00 53.50 592.00 308.50 19.90 250.10 53.50 29.00 204.00 38.60

20.97 14.04 234.73 54.98 91.66

565.59 70.99 17.80 70.00 25.87 351.59 55.28 599.96 312.48 20.81 253.39 55.23 30.39 205.59 39.16



TCS, Mitsubishi to create new Japan IT services firm n AFP, Mumbai India’s biggest outsourcing firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp said Monday they are teaming up to create a Japanese software services provider with annual revenues of $600m. Tata Consultancy Services Japan, Nippon TCS Solution Center and IT Frontier Corp - a Mitsubishi unit - will merge to create the provider under the agreement slated to close in June. “This strategic transaction signifies our serious commitment to the Japan market,” TCS chief executive N Chandrasekaran said in a joint statement with Mitsubishi. “TCS will now have the scale, strong local presence and our full range of global capabilities to serve the Japanese corporations effectively and accelerate our growth in Japan’s market,” Chandrasekaran said. TCS Japan will initially hold a 51% stake in the new company while Mitsubishi Corp will hold 49%. TCS Japan

Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade n AFP, Singapore

Oil prices eased in subdued post-holiday Asian trade yesterday, but retained support from the escalating Ukraine crisis following a deadly gunfight over the weekend, analysts said. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery, dipped 13 cents to $104.17 in afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for June eased 42 cents to $109.11 a barrel. Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said trading volumes are thin owing to the long Easter weekend. Financial markets in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand are closed for public holidays. However, investors were increasingly concerned about events in Ukraine, Chua said. A deadly gunfight in a town in the east of the country on Sunday killed at least two pro-Kremlin rebels, shattering an Easter truce and raising fears that Russia would send in troops to the ex-Soviet state. The attack undermined an accord worked out in Geneva last week between Russia, Ukraine and Western powers for pro-Moscow rebel groups to surrender their weapons. With Ukraine a major conduit for Russian gas to western Europe, there are concerns that any full-scale armed conflict in the region will disrupt supplies and send oil and gas prices rocketing. Chua said investors will next be focusing on United States first quarter corporate earnings data to be released this week, for clues about the world’s biggest economy. Nearly one-third of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies will be reporting earnings this week, he said. l

will have an option to raise its holding later. The company, due to start up in July, will have over $600m a year in revenues, the statement said. Last week TCS reported a 48.2% jump in quarterly net profit, led by new European and emerging market contracts.

TCS expects its new joint venture to generate more Japanese turnover. Analysts estimate the Japanese IT market to be worth over $100bn in revenues. The Japanese market has strong existing players but “is under-penetrated from a global delivery model perspective”, TCS chief financial officer Rajesh


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gopinathan told AFP. “The opportunity for us is to use our global network model to service Japanese customers locally and in their international efforts,” Gopinathan said on the sidelines of a news conference in India’s financial hub Mumbai. The agreement would give TCS the scale and expertise to increase its presence in Japan’s IT market, he added. IT Frontier Corp has longstanding relationships with Japanese corporations and know-how in sectors such as retail and distribution, TCS said. “This will complement TCS’s deep domain knowledge, technology expertise and strong execution track record,” the Indian company added. Shares of TCS closed up 0.14% at 2,220.50 rupees on the Bombay Stock Exchange in an overall firmer market. India has become a back office to the world as companies, especially in developed nations, have subcontracted work to firms such as TCS, taking advantage of the country’s skilled English-speaking workforce. l

Yen under pressure as Japan’s trade deficit swells n AFP, Tokyo The yen was weaker against the dollar and the euro in quiet Asian trade yesterday after data showed Japan’s trade deficit quadrupled year-on-year in March. The greenback fetched 102.52 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from 102.46 yen Friday, while the euro was up at 141.66 yen from 141.46 yen. The single currency drifted lower to $1.3817 from $1.3812. Most leading financial markets around the world were closed Friday and yesterday for Easter. The yen faced moderate selling pressure after Japan said early yesterday that its trade deficit surged to $14bn in March, with a weak yen compounding surging imports as consumers rushed to buy ahead of a sales tax rise on April 1. But the dollar is unlikely to breach 103 yen any time soon as investor sentiment has yet to completely turn the risk-on mode, says Osamu Takashima, chief FX strategist at Citi Bank Japan, in a morning note. “We don’t feel any sign that aggres-

sive yen selling is set to start amid falling volatility,” Takashima said. Eyes are on the release this week of key economic data, including manufacturing activity around the world as well as retail, jobs and housing figures in the United States.

'We don’t feel any sign that aggressive yen selling is set to start amid falling volatility' In other currencies, the greenback firmed to 1,039.00 South Korean won from 1,038.18 won Friday, to Tw$30.23 from Tw$30.18, and to 11,437.00 Indonesian rupiah from 11,423.80 rupiah. It also edged up to 32.23 Thai baht from 32.18 baht and to 60.33 Indian rupees from 60.29 rupees. It was almost flat at Sg$1.2525 against Sg$1.2526, while it weakened to 44.41 Philippine pesos from 44.43 pesos. The Australian dollar firmed to 93.34 US cents from 93.32 cents while the Chinese yuan fetched 16.46 yen against 16.45 yen. l

New EU law to help investors pick good corporate citizens n Reuters, London Investors looking for companies with good environmental, social and governance track records will find the job easier after European politicians ruled that thousands of firms must reveal their performance as corporate citizens. Trillions of dollars of pension fund, insurer and mutual fund money is already invested in companies that are screened for a range of ethical criteria because of evidence that such firms tend to be more profitable in the long term. Until now, the release of information has been patchy. The new legislation, though watered down from initial proposals, will compel around 6,000 mostly listed firms across the European Union to provide details on how they tackle issues such as bribery and human rights. “We’re very, very pleased with the outcome; we think it will make a big difference,” said Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors, the fund management arm of the UK insurance group, which has 241bn pounds ($404.7bn) in assets under management. “This really is an eleventh-hour agreement ... we were very concerned that nothing would have been agreed at all and that this would have been knocked back three or four years and that a great deal of work would have been wasted,” he added. The legislation, which still needs to be approved by EU member states, will require companies to disclose information on environmental, social, employee, human rights, corruption and bribery matters in their management reports. What this looks like in practice has yet to be hammered out and could vary. The rules do not prescribe the information to be given. Matthew Doyle, director of Hermes

A Euro sign is seen in the window of a discount store on Moore Street in Dublin Equity Ownership Services, said the rules would “start important new developments in corporate reporting” and enable investors to access “materially important” information that would help them to better evaluate the sustainability of companies’ operations. A January report by fund manager Hermes found that well governed companies had outperformed returns on the poorly governed by an average of over 30 basis points over the past five

years. Total global ESG (environmental, social and governance) assets under management amounted to at least $13.6tn at the end of 2011, with Europe accounting for 49%, according to The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), a group of membership-based investing organizations. “We believe that in many cases, as a business, doing the right thing over the long term pays shareholders because of


things like regulation, fines, your brand and so on,” said Aviva’s Waygood.

Seen as historic turning point

The legislation builds on the work of pressure groups, academics, investors and politicians over the past decade. Some 1,200 asset owners, investment managers and service providers managing nearly $35tn around the globe have signed up to the United Nations-backed Principles for Respon-

sible Investment (PRI) Initiative, which launched in 2006 to support sustainable investing. Some countries such as France already require certain information from companies, but the legislation goes much further and will make comparisons easier between a company in Poland and one in Spain, for example. “It’s an historic piece of legislation”, said Francois Passant, executive director at advocacy and sustainability think-tank Eurosif, which represents asset owners and managers with more than 1tn euros in assets under management. “ESG matters tend to materialize over the long term. So, if you’re a pension fund with long-term liabilities, it’s really vital you take into account nonfinancial risks,” he added. The draft had proposed applying the rules to 17,000 listed and unlisted companies, but it was scaled back following complaints from businesses. The requirements also were softened. Companies must ‘comply or explain’, which means they can avoid giving data if they have a good excuse. They also may be allowed to delay the release of some information. “Sure, there are weaknesses. It’s a compromise. But it’s the turning point for non-financial reporting,” Eurosif’s Passant said. “If explanations are not reasonable, you can be challenged by shareholders.” Even after compromises were made, the BDI trade association for German businesses still said the legislation is unnecessary, because more and more firms are already producing reports on corporate social responsibility (CSR) without being forced into it. “In recent years, the number of companies in Germany who publish annual sustainability or CSR reports on a purely voluntary basis has steadily increased,” said Holger Losch, a member of the BDI’s executive board. l

China seizure of ship could hurt Japan business n Reuters, Tokyo

Green Delta Insurance Company Limited recently held its 28th annual business conference in the capital. The company’s chair AQM Nurul Absar delivered the inaugural speech as chief guest at the conference

Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited for the first time in the country will be installing POS terminals in the Taxi Cab which is to be launched by Toma Group. This will enable the passengers to pay their taxi fare through DBBL Nexus Debit Card or VISA / MasterCard / UnionPay card (issued by any bank) by using DBBL POS Terminals. An agreement was recently signed by Mohd. Ataur Rahman Bhuiyan, managing director of Toma Group and Md Kamruzzaman, head of the bank’s personal banking division on behalf of their respective organisations

Microsoft yesterday announced in a press conference the national finals round of the Imagine Cup Bangladesh 2014 will be held at Independent University, Bangladesh. On behalf of Microsoft Pubudu Basnayake was present at the conference that was held at Microsoft Bangladesh office in Dhaka

Standard Chartered Bank recently arranged a corporate seminar with select clients from a variety of industries, highlighting challenges and solutions in management of working capital leveraging technology at a city hotel. Gautam Jain, global head of client access, Standard Chartered Bank was present at the seminar

China’s seizure of a ship owned by Japanese shipping firm Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd for allegedly failing to pay compensation stemming from a wartime contractual obligation is “extremely regrettable” and could hurt Japanese business there, Japan’s top government spokesman said on yesterday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also told a regular news confer-

ence that Japan was asking the Chinese government to provide information on the ship seizure and expected Beijing to take appropriate action. Suga declined direct comment on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ritual offering to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, seen as a symbol of past Japanese militarism, but said the episode would have no impact on Abe’s summit with US President Barack Obama, who arrives in Japan on Wednesday for a state visit. l

AB Bank Limited approved 7% stock and 5% cash dividend for its shareholders at the 32nd annual general meeting at the Bashundhara Convention Centre yesterday. The meeting was presided over by the bank’s chair M Wahidul Haque



Back Page

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Commodity markets: Hedging your bets Japan’s digital eyes n show your emotions for you Kashif Choudhury

Exciting times we live in. Never before in the history of humanity have we been able to boil down millions of tons of coal and acres upon acres of wheat to mere numbers in a Bloomberg terminal. However, such a mechanism exists in Wizard of Oz world of high finance. It’s in the form of commodity markets and exchange traded commodities in those markets. Trading commodities is not a new phenomenon; in fact it is the oldest one when it comes to business in its truest sense. People have traded wheat for corn and coal for clothes since the beginning of time. However, global commodity markets operate a little differently than they used to before; well, actually, it operates in a way that is worlds apart from the way it used to, before alternating current turned into 0s and 1s. What hasn’t changed since is the fact that commodities such as oil, natural gas, coal, wheat, corn, and others, play a pivotal role in industry and

is the fuel that keeps globalisation ticking. The process by which this mechanism works will be explained below, from the perspective of a layman, by a layman, for a layman. The principle difference between a vanilla commodity trade (the way it has always been traded) and the status quo (the way global commodities are traded) is the concept of hedging. Suppose a farmer grows potato every year and sells his harvest in his local market. Now, the supply of potatoes varies from year to year, the reason being that the climatic conditions may be favorable for potato harvest one year and unfavorable in the next; and the farmer has no way of forecasting this beforehand. So the farmer might have to absorb a huge loss in a bad year and undue gains in good ones. Take, on the other hand a fast food franchise such as KFC (KaluMiyar Fried Chicken) that buys potatoes, makes french fries with them and sells them at obscene prices. Now, in a particular year, when there has been a bumper

harvest of potatoes, its bottom line improves because the spread between its high selling prices and the price of the potato has increased. The opposite happens during a bad year for potatoes. What has just been described is a situation where there are cyclical variations in the price of a particular commodity, in this case potatoes, that affects the seller (farmer) and the buyer (KFC) in opposing ways; that is, when one goes bust the other has a ball. Now, suppose the farmer comes to KFC and makes a deal. He says, “I will sell you 30 tonnes of potatoes (he’s apparently a potato baron) one year from now and you are going to pay me 20 taka per kg for it regardless of what the market price is at that time.” What just happened is that the two parties have hedged (trimmed) their risk profiles and settled somewhere where they will neither go bust nor have a ball. I therefore welcome you to the world of derivatives by way of the forward contract. Where prices of commodities are set beforehand (sometimes years ahead of

Farmers harvesting boro paddy in traditional way


time) by both the buyer and the seller. If the story ended here it would not have been worth writing about, but being the geniuses that some of our particular brethren are, they figured out new ways of “hedging” risk to the point where the actual physical commodities that were being traded were made to take a back seat to people such as Mr Black, Scholes, and countless others. Another sort of derivative is called the futures contract. The principle difference here is that futures, unlike forwards, are traded in exchanges. Hence they are a form of standardised forward contracts that allow for increased liquidity in the market for these instruments and take away from the counterparty risk because the exchange guarantees settlement of all transactions. In addition, because futures are traded in exchanges and are inherently more flexible, gains and losses from these contracts are settled daily. This gives rise to a very interesting and sometimes confounding phenomenon. That is, even though futures contracts, in essence, function to reduce the price risk for a commodity, the person trading the futures contract doesn’t necessarily have to take delivery of the commodity. In other words, if person X buys 500 tonnes of crude oil futures, he doesn’t necessarily have to take delivery of said commodity (so he doesn’t have to worry about waking up one morning to see an oil tanker berthed in the nearest harbor). This creates scope for speculation in the futures market where investors who have absolutely nothing to do with crude oil or potatoes will nonetheless be trading them and making money off of them. This sort of speculative trading was argued to “hedge” and distribute risk in an efficient way. But after the recent financial crisis, these voices have quieted down quite a bit. l Kashif Choudhury is a business analyst at LightCastle Partners. This article was originally published in the LCP Blog (

n AFP, Tokyo Can’t be bothered to show anyone what you’re thinking? Then a Japanese scientist has the answer - a pair of digital eyes that can express delight and anger, or even feign boredom. Building on a long line of slightly wacky and not-very-practical inventions for which Japan is famous, Hirotaka Osawa has unveiled the “AgencyGlass”. “I wanted to build a system that is capable of carrying out social behaviours for humans,” he told AFP. Just as robots can reduce the need for physical labour, the AgencyGlass which looks like two small TV screens set in spectacle frames - aims to cut down its user’s emotional demands by carrying out their eye movements for them. The two organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, which are connected to motion sensors and an external camera, show a pair of eyeballs that can appear to be making eye contact while the wearer is looking somewhere else entirely. The wearer has to choose their emotion in advance - if they want to appear “attentive”, for example, they must switch it to this mode before putting the glasses on. Osawa, of the prestigious Tsukuba University, said possible applications include for flight attendants dealing with irritating passengers, or teachers who want to project an image of kindness towards shy students. “As the service sector grows and becomes more sophisticated, it becomes increasingly important that we behave by showing understanding to others,” he said. “That requires us to behave

The photo shows the "AgencyGlass", developed by Osawa, which has OLED screens in the prototype dark glasses to display emotional expression with wearer's digital eyeball images at Osawa's laboratory in Tsukuba in Ibaraki prefecture, suburban Tokyo AFP differently from our true feelings.” Such “emotional labour” has caused some people to become deeply conflicted and develop emotional illnesses, Osawa said, adding that his technology could eventually help them. The glasses weigh around 100 grams (3.5 onces) with the battery lasting roughly an hour, Osawa said, adding that the prototype cost just over 30,000 yen ($290) to make. They are currently not in production. l

A tough sell: Insurance against a China financial crisis n Reuters, Singapore Selling insurance against a financial crisis should not be difficult, five years after the last one nearly wrecked the global economy. But when it comes to China, the world’s second-largest economy, the probability of a full-blown crisis is apparently so remote that hardly anyone will buy an insurance policy against it, no matter how cheap. Financial wizards have been trying to sell peace of mind to investors in China for years, but fewer and fewer of those investors are interested, despite some worrying headlines. In the past few months alone, China has seen its first domestic bond default, a small bank run, its weakest export performance since the global financial crisis, a marked slowdown in its property market and a rise in labour unrest. Steve Diggle, a Singapore-based

hedge fund manager who crafts strategies to protect investors against financial catastrophes, says investors have faith that the Chinese government, armed with almost $4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, will simply not allow things to get out of hand. He had to close down a fund that used to bet on doomsday outcomes in Asia last year. “There’s a sense you are playing poker against a guy who makes his own chips,” Diggle said. Before the 2008-09 global financial crisis, he had run a successful fund, Artradis, which thrived on volatility in financial markets. Now, he says, hedging against a catastrophe seems to be passe - and not just for China. Governments and central banks around the world have shown themselves willing to deploy vast sums of money - China alone launched a 4tn yuan ($643bn) stimulus package in late

2008 - to avert a financial meltdown. “You are no longer in an environment where market forces will play themselves out because you have an extraordinarily powerful and motivated intervention in the market process from someone, such as a central bank or government, who has a strong ability to influence those processes,” said Diggle.

Betting on a black swan

There are still some hedge funds that take out insurance against extreme, improbable events - such as the notion that China’s economic miracle will end in tears. Andrew Wong, co-chief investment officer of Fortress Convex Strategies Group, runs a fund that aims to make money from these so-called “black swan” events. “A pattern we’ve seen through long cycles is that in the period leading up

to a systemic crisis, people buy hedges, lose money and unwind those hedges. Because it hasn’t been efficient and has lost money, by the time the real thing happens they may end up being completely unhedged,” said Wong.

Hedges can be expensive, though one relatively cheap method is to buy put options on the yuan or on Chinese stocks at strike prices well below current market levels. Typically, though, the cheapest

'It’s very hard to time the market precisely, so in general you need to have the insurance before the house is on fire' “It’s very hard to time the market precisely, so in general you need to have the insurance before the house is on fire.” For cautious or contrarian investors, taking out insurance on such apparently unlikely events as a China crisis has to be cheap. It is futile to spend large sums of capital on so-called tailrisk bets, waiting for such long odds to pay off.

hedging strategies can also be the most complex. One such strategy involves variance swaps, a financial instrument that tends to pay the investor when volatility of an underlying bond or stock spikes. In hedging against the risk of a major outbreak of defaults, a straight-forward approach such as buying credit default swaps (CDS) is not the most cost-effective. Instead, funds will off-

set the cost of buying CDS insurance against a distressed company by also selling CDS protection against a more creditworthy one. “If they want to hedge, it is relatively cheap,” said Camiel Houwen, head of equity derivatives trading at ING Asia. “But not too many people are setting up the trade.” In China’s case, some fund managers think investors may be overestimating the hold Chinese authorities have on markets. “A China hard landing is not our base-case scenario, but if it were to happen, it is one of these events that would have significant implications for a wide number of assets,” said Viktor Hjort, head of Asian fixed-income strategy at Morgan Stanley. “So it is a low-probability, highimpact type of scenario, and against those it always makes sense to consider hedges.” l

Hitachi to provide world’s fastest elevator to China n AFP, Tokyo Japan’s Hitachi said Monday it will provide the world’s fastest elevators, which can clock speeds of up to 72 kilometres (45 miles) per hour, to a highrise building in China. The lifts will be delivered to the 111-storey, 530-metre (1,740-foot)-tall Guangzhou CTF Financial Centre due to be opened in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in 2016, the electronics and engineering firm said in a press release. They will be able to travel the length of the 440 metre shaft - from the first to 95th floor - in a stomach-churning 43 seconds. Hitachi will install a total of 95 elevators at the tower, including two of the superfast lifts, as well as slower machines such as double-decker lifts,

the statement said. The centre will be the tallest building in Guangzhou, complete with office, hotel and residential space. The world’s fastest elevator uses a newly developed permanent magnet motor that achieves both a thin profile and a high output, the statement said. It is also equipped with a braking system capable of withstanding the terrific heat that might be generated if a malfunction ever develops. China accounts for about 60% of global demand for elevators and is at the centre of fierce competition among the world’s elevator makers, a Hitachi official said. The world’s fastest elevator currently in operation is the 60.6 kilometre per hour lift at Taipei 101, in Taiwan’s main city, he said. l


Visitors take photos of a model posing on a Toyota FV2 concept car at the China International Exhibition Center new venue during the 'Auto China 2014' Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in Beijing on April 21. Leading automakers are gathering in Beijing for the kickoff of China's biggest car show, but lackluster growth and environmental restrictions in the world's largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased at the auto show, which opens to the public on April 21 AFP

22 april 2014 0  
22 april 2014 0