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Boishakh 14, 1421 Jamadius Sani 26, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 2, No 28




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Muhith slams US for interference in internal affairs

Huge cache of gold recovered from flight washrooms at Dhaka airport n Mohammad Jamil Khan In a major haul, customs officials yesterday recovered at least 906 gold bars worth around Tk47 crore from a Biman flight that landed at Shahjalal International Airport in the capital. Acting on a tip-off, the officials swooped on seven separate washrooms of Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight No. BG 058 around 1:45pm and recovered the smuggled gold, Mostafizur Rahman, deputy director of Customs Intelligence, told the Dhaka Tribune. The gold bars were found in 14 packets wrapped with black and blue clothes and the flight mechanical assistant, Anisuzzaman, was arrested, he said. “Interrogating Anis and checking his cellphone, we recovered the gold bars from the washrooms,” he added.

He says the US gives less but takes back more n Asif Showkat Kallol Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday criticised the US for interference in many internal affairs of Bangladesh, despite giving only a “very small” amount of aid to the country. Terming the US practice “indecent,” Muhith said the amount of annual US aid was around $150m-$200m, which was far less than what Japan provided. The finance minister made the comment during a press conference at his secretariat office, following his return from spring meetings of the World Bank–International Monetary Fund in Washington and Mexico City. Muhith’s comment came a day after US Senator Robert Menendez criticised the Bangladeshi government for its alleged lack of institutional capacity and political will in protecting garment workers. Saying the US government did not entertain the request for duty and quota-free entry of Bangladeshi products into its market, Muhith claimed that Bangladesh paid 16% duty fees worth $800m each year for exporting $3.5bn

worth of products to the US market. “They [the US] are extracting money from the poor country,” he said. Although least developed countries usually obtained duty and quota-free benefits, Bangladesh’s request for the benefit had been ignored for the past five years, the minister claimed, adding that Bangladeshi exporters have to pay one-third of their export earnings to the US government as import tax. He also said claims that duty-free benefits for Bangladesh would cause financial losses to the US were “untrue”. Muhith said the government would prepare a report containing data on 10 years of exported products and import tax paid to the US as there was no accurate statistics regarding trade with the US government. Muhith said he had discussed the issue with US assistant secretary for economic and business affairs, Charles H Rivkin, during a recent bilateral meeting. Replying to a query, Muhith said Bangladesh-US relationship had always been “cold,” but added that he wanted to thaw the relationship.  PAGE 2 COLUMN 6


6 Water level in 16 rivers including the Teesta, Brahmaputra, Dharla, Dudhkumor, Phulkumor, Gangadhar, Kalzani and Zinziram flowing in the district have declined significantly in recent years.


11 The history and heritage season is largely over with the arrival of scorching Boishakh, but the debates regarding our historical leaders refuse to wilt in the summer heat.

Customs officials recover a huge cache of gold from seven separate washrooms of a flight at Dhaka airport yesterday


Police on high alert to foil likely violence after Sayedee verdict Islam and n Rabiul Mohammad Jamil Khan The law enforcement agencies are on high alert to avert any kind of destructive activities the activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its students’ wing Islami Chhatra Shibir will presumably carry out following the Appellate Division verdict in Delawar Hossain Sayedee appeals case. Top officials of police and intelligence agencies have held a number of meetings following reports that the BNP’s key ally might go on the rampage and even carry out suicidal attacks across the country like what they did after the verdict in Sayedee case at the International Crimes Tribunal on February 28 last year. The Appellate Division is likely to

give verdict any day in the appeals case of Sayedee, a Jamaat Executive Council member. Both Sayedee and the government filed appeals challenging the tribunal verdict that gave death sentence to Jamaat leader.

Intelligence officials asked to prepare list of Jamaat-Shibir men who were freed from jail in recent times Meanwhile, the tribunal is also set to deliver its verdict any day in the war crimes case against Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami who is facing charges of incitement and involvement in crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liber-

ation War in Dhaka and Pabna. An intelligence agency has already submitted a special report to the Home Ministry mentioning about the possible subversive activities, saying that the Jamaat-Shibir had been making an effort to organise their activists and supporters. The agency has also mentioned the names of around 2,000 activists of Jamaat-Shibir suspected to instigate and carry out subversion across the country. At a recent meeting, the field-level intelligence officials have been asked to prepare a list of the Jamaat-Shibir men who were freed from jail in the recent times after getting bail. According to sources, over 1,000 Jamaat-Shibir men came out from jail after taking bail recently. They are now  PAGE 2 COLUMN 3


Jamaat raises fund for demonstration at hand n Manik Miazee Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami is reportedly raising fund for “massive demonstration” to be held if the appellate division verdict goes against war criminal Delawar Hossain Sayedee. Jamaat has already formed a committee namely “Sayedee Mukti Sangram Parishad” comprised of Islami Chhatra Shibir activists and other sympathisers. Shibir activists and Jamaat sympathisers are contributing to the propaganda exercise. The fund is being collected for Sayedee’s release and helping families of those that were either killed or injured during clashes with police on February 28 last year. The fund-raising move of the  PAGE 2 COLUMN 3




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bangabhaban life is not always pleasurable I came here with a responsibility. What I do here is routine work, says President Abdul Hamid n Tribune Online Report President Abdul Hamid has said the regulated and relatively secluded life of Bangabhaban, the presidential palace, appeared always "not pleasurable" as it debarred him from usual socialization with people at the grassroots. He said: "Actually this place (Bangabhaban) is not always pleasurable for a highly political person... I mean someone (like me) who comes from grassroots politics." The number one citizen of the republic made the statement while talking to BSS along with two other journalists attached to the Bangabhaban. He added: "I don't feel good here, whatever good food you give to a caged bird, the feeling would not be like a bird

in the wild. In fact, I find no personal or private life here." The president's remarks came as he was approached for comments coinciding with the completion of the first year as the 20th President of Bangladesh. In the conversation, the President frankly said about his early political life, parliamentary activities and Bangabhaban lifestyle. About his one-year in Bangabhaban, Abdul Hamid said he has not that much work to do as a President as every work is being done here by his staff. "I came here with a responsibility. What I do here is routine work," he said. He added: "In parliament, I used to get the food for mind, here in Bangabhaban, I don't get it . . . I can't do many things even if I wish, and you know, there are

problems in making any wish," he said. Explaining, the President said if he wanted to visit somewhere, he often held back the desire fearing that his motorcade movement would cause traffic jam on the street. "And if I still want to visit someone's house, I know my motorcade would be ready in half an hour, but the street would be temporarily closed for general people, the security officials even check the kitchen of that house. . . this is embarrassing," he said. The President said, "I can't even get rid of protocol abroad. When I went abroad first time after becoming the President, I thought I would be a little bit free there. But I wasn't free there. Security personnel were always with me. I am not at all a free man."

Recalling that he used to stay in his home district for 5-7 days when he was the speaker, the President said, "I can't do it now. I may stay there in comfort but the constables who will be deployed there for my security might not get space to sleep." He added that previously most of the residents of Bangabhaban were Supreme Court judges and educationists, which was alright for them "as they were not accustomed to interact freely with common people." Replying to a question that which position he enjoyed most, the smiling President said, "I had enjoyed the duty of deputy speaker as there was no administrative responsibility. The responsibility of deputy speaker is to only run the session. However, the

speaker has to look after many things." "I had done many things when I was the speaker. I had curtailed many expenses of parliament. But I can do nothing here at Bangabhaban. Oh yes, I have done one thing here. I reduced expenses of foreign trips. In the past, the rent of my hotel suite in Singapore was 6,000 Singaporean dollars per day. I reduced it to 600 dollars per day as I opted for a room,” he said. The 70-year-old politician previously earned the repute of being a veteran parliamentarian for his election seven times to the House since 1970, when he was the youngest (26 years) lawmaker. His parliamentary career earned him the position of the deputy speaker and eventually the speaker twice as well as popularity across the political lines. l

Cabinet Division website hacked n Mohammad Jamil Khan The hackers on the webpage have identified themselves as “Black Dragon (Indian Hackers Online Squad)” The official website of the Bangladesh Cabinet Division is back three and a half hours after being hacked by an Indian hackers group on Saturday. The website has been restored to its previous state around 8.30pm. The hacker/hackers on the webpage identified themselves as “Black Dragon (Indian Hackers Online Squad)” and left a message. The message read:” --==[[ LOVE TO ALL INDIAN HACKERS OUT THERE ]]==--” “It is a warning to Bangladeshi hackers, Stop defacing Indian sites. We do not have a fight with you but if you do not stop then get ready for #OP Bangladesh.” Additional Secretary of the Cabinet division Mohammad Nazrul Islam said the site was found hacked around 6.00pm. The authorities concerned were notified about the incident immediately and it ordered for necessary step to bring the site back, he added. While visiting the site at 7pm, the website was displaying the notification “Site is under Maintenance”. But, the message of the “Indian hackers” appeared at 7:30pm. l

Separate wage board for electronic media n BSS Prime Minister's information advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury yesterday said the draft of the exclusive wage board for journalists and employees of electronic media has been finalised. He said the draft of the Newspaper Employees Service Condition Act of 1974 incorporating separate wage structures for electronic media has also been finalised and it would soon be placed in the parliament. The advisor made the announcement while exchanging views with journalists of both print and electronic media at Chittagong Press Club in the afternoon. l

The playground of Banker Hat Cooperative College has been rented out to an Indian power company for only Tk60,000 per annum, depriving students from their right to play at the field. The picture was taken yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE

Suranjit: Rana Plaza victims not compensated equally n Emran Hossain Shaikh A senior ruling party leader has alleged that compensation funds were not properly distributed among the victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy. “The compensation money was not distributed properly among the affected families and rehabilitation activities have not been handled right. Even foreign funds were not distributed equally,” Suranjit Sengupta, a member of Awami League’s advisory committee, said while addressing a discussion, organised by Bangabandu Academy, in the capital yesterday. Earlier, BNP had questioned the transparency in disbursing the compensation funds collected from different organisations, including some international groups and garments businesses. Suranjit, a former minister, proposed forming a monitoring cell under the leadership of the labour minister to protect the interest of workers. “It is necessary to allow workers to form trade unions,” he said. He also urged immediate action for rehabilitation of the Rana Plaza victims through coordination of factory owners and the government. Meanwhile, terming BNP’s recent long march towards the Teesta barrage as a political stunt, Suranjit claimed that the former opposition party did not want a Teesta water-sharing agreement with India. “You have not been able to do anything for the people of the county through riding vehicles in the name of long march. You failed to involve the people and your aim did not succeed,” he said. Suranjit added that the Awami League had never done any deal compromising the state’s interest, and would not do so in future. l

Muhith slams US for interference  PAGE 1 COLUMN 2

Upazila chairmen can use official vehicles only in their districts n Mohosinul Karim Upazila chairmen will only be allowed to use their official transports inside their respective areas and would require authorisation to use the vehicles outside their districts. The local government division (LGD) imposed the restrictions recently through a circular sent to the chairmen. The elected local representatives will have the authority to use the vehicles provided by the government to travel to district headquarters for meetings or other important work. However, they will need prior approval of the local government division to use the transports outside their districts. The circular, signed by deputy secretary Sobur Hossain, also asked the chairmen to refrain from using the vehicles for private errands. It further said that fuel supply would be stopped

and legal steps would be taken against anyone violating the directives. The LGD also sent letters to the newly-elected chairmen with several other instructions, including preparing

A letter ordered the chairmen to prevent slow transports from plying on highways budgets for the new fiscal year to get government allocations and creating funds from different sources to prevent misuse of public money. Citing decisions taken by the cabinet committee on law and order, one letter ordered the chairmen to prevent slow modes of transport, like “easy-bikes” and “nosimons”, from plying on high-

ways and remove roadside bazaars to avoid accidents and traffic congestion. The chairmen would have to inform the local government division about the progress of stopping the illegal local transports, and the steps taken against setting up bazaars along highways, the letter said. They were also asked to protect state-owned assets, including trees planted along highways and railway lines and forest areas. The letters, issued on April 24 and signed by LGD joint secretary Akram Al Hossain and deputy secretary Sobur Hossain, also said tough measures would be taken against those who do not comply with the orders. According to LGD officials, the instructions were given to make the new chairmen, who assumed office after the recently held local elections, aware about their duties and responsibilities. l

Sylhet city mayor Arif hospitalised n UNB Sylhet City Corporation Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury was admitted to the United Hospital in the capital yesterday. Family sources said Mayor Arif was admitted to Mount Adora Hospital in Sylhet city on Friday after he complained of severe chest pain around 8pm while returning home after attending a meeting. Doctors at the hospital diagnosed him to have suffered a heart attack and he was then shifted to the coronary care unit there. Later a medical board was formed which referred him to Dhaka. Dr Sudhamoy Majumdar, chief health officer of SCC, said Mayor Arif was taken to United Hospital by an air ambulance yesterday morning as per the decision of the medical board. l

“There is a historical background regarding the birth of Bangladesh; because as a superpower, the US government opposed the birth of our nation unlike any other superpower,” he pointed out. He added that the US-Bangladesh political relationship was “uncomfortable.” He admitted the issues of Grameen Bank and the recently concluded national election might cause Bangladesh-US relationship to become colder. Blaming the US government for Grameen Bank issue, Muhith added: “They said Professor Yunus is a very honoured person in the US, so the Bangladesh government should respect him.” The minister also claimed that the Bangladeshi government had no intention of dishonouring Yunus. Saying Dr Yunus had controlled the microcredit institution under “martial law,” Muhith added that the bank was now a well-established institution with 97 % loan recovery rate. Yesterday’s press conference was also attended by State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan, Economic Relations Division Secretary Mohammad Mejbauddin and Additional Secretary Arastoo Khan. l

Huge cache of gold recovered

Police on high alert to foil likely violence after Sayedee verdict



The deputy director said during primary interrogation, Anis confessed that he had link with a smuggling gang and efforts were underway to detain the remaining gang members. Being informed of the haul, National Board of Revenue Chairman Golam Rahman visited the spot. This is the second biggest gold haul. Earlier on July 23 last year, the customs officials recovered 124kg gold from a flight at the airport. Kamrul Hasan, assistant commissioner of Airport Customs, told the Dhaka Tribune the Dhaka-bound flight from Dubai landed there around 9am. “Primarily we asked all passengers to come out of the flight and found the gold bars after a thorough check of the washrooms,” he said. Contacted, Moinul Haque Khan, director general of Customs Intelligence, told the Dhaka Tribune the airbus was about to move towards the Hanger Complex for washing and from there the cleaners would have handed over the gold bars to their smuggling gang. The customs officials also recovered the biggest cache of 124kg gold smuggled into Bangladesh the same way. In recent times, gold seizure from the airport has been very common. Last Monday, 20-kg gold was recovered after searching three woman bodies. A day after that, 2kg gold was recovered and finally 3kg gold was recovered on Friday. According to sources, the Indian gov-

ernment has increased its import duty on gold from 10% to 15% on September last year. The Customs Director General, Moinul Khan, said due to hike in import duty on gold, smugglers were busy making some quick bucks by re-smuggling gold into India through Bangladesh. The smugglers are bringing gold from the Middle East to Bangladesh and smuggling that into India using different routes. The official said gold rate between Dubai and Bangladesh varied a minimum of Tk8,000 per tola, and for this reason, a number of Bangladeshi gold traders were allegedly engaged in such smuggling of gold. “We have increased our intelligence vigilance in recent times and as a result of which we have recovered smuggled gold,” he added. Although smuggled gold is being recovered, the masterminds are always remaining untraced. According to the airport source, around 3,600 individuals including airline crew members, civil aviation staff, customs and immigration officials, members of National Security Intelligence and Ansar members had been arrested for complicity in smuggling over the last three years by APBn, Customs, Immigration and Rapid Action Battalion. Of the arrestees, 89 were airlines employees including nine female flight attendants, 396 belong to Civil Aviation of Bangladesh, 34 were customs and immigration officials and 210 Ansar members. l

organising the party and trying to bring out other leaders now in jail. The alleged criminals of Jamaat-Shibir who are at the helm to implement their plan are Saifullah Khaled, Ziaur Rahman, Mahmudul Hassan, Rayhan Ahmed, Al-Amin, Sadeq Al-Hossain, Mohiuddin, Mamunur Rahman, Suzauddin, Saifur Rahman, KM Kamal Uddin, Mamun, Abdullah Al-Azim, Shamsuzzaman, Faruq Hossain, Khalilur Rahman, Asaduzzaman Mamun, Zakirullah Haque, Md Shafiullah, Ismail Nazim, Monirul Islam, Mohabbet Ali, Abul Kashem, Jalal Uddin, Hafizur Rahman, Habibur Rahman, Naimul Is-

lam and Shakhawat Hossain. Most of these top cadres are expert in carrying out an act of sabotage. They have taken special training about it in the last two years, intelligence sources say. The law enforcers have also decided to keep eye on madrasas and student messes in the capital, and Satkhira, Joypurhat, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Khulna, Jessore, Sylhet and Comilla districts. Moreover, three public universities – Rajshahi, Chittagong and Islamic University in Kushtia – would be given special priority. According to sources, upon getting special instruction from the Police Headquarters, the superintendents of

police in all districts have already asked the OCs of all police stations to conduct special drives if information came from anywhere about suspected subversive activities. As part of precautionary measures, the intelligence agencies have been asked to strictly monitor Facebook activities of the suspects. In most cases of the past, it was found that the Jamaat-Shibir men motivate the ordinary Muslims by providing false and fabricated information about its party leaders and activists, especially those facing trials for the 1971 crimes. After the Sayedee verdict of February last year, the Jamaat-Shibir men spread

Jamaat raises fund for demonstration at hand  PAGE 1 COLUMN 6

“Sayedee Mukti Sangram Parishad” includes banner advertising and door-todoor activities. A private bank employee and Jamaat sympathiser Nayan, who lives in Mirpur 10, said a team came to him and demanded Tk2,000. Jamaat activists were also seen campaigning in Chittagong, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali and Comilla for fund collection, hanging banner vehemently in front of lawmen. They were urging like-minded people to donate through mobile money transfer, said our sources. Asked about it, Shibir Press Secre-

tary Abu Saleh Yahia said thus they collected fund from their activists and supporters to run the organisation. Abu Saleh Yahia, however, ruled out the notion that the fund-collection system was a kind of “extortion”. According to Rezaul Karim, former Shibir central president and Jamaat central leader, “Sayedee Mukti Sangram Parishad does not belong to Jamaat. His fans have formed it.” The party insiders say general people will also participate in the campaign that will be launched for Sayedee’s release. They also think it will be an opportunity for Jamaat to secure release of all party leaders at a time.

Jamaat and its students wing Islami Chhatra Shibir yesterday observed a countrywide demonstration that resulted in clashes between the party members and lawmen. Several senior Jamaat leaders told the Dhaka Tribune if the verdict went against Sayedee they would impose a nonstop blockade in upazilas and districts known for Jamaat strongholds. The party has also a plan to persist with their blockade programmes till all its leaders including Sayedee branded as war criminals are released from prison. Jamaat leaders also said they were bracing for all odds, even repression by law enforcers, keeping in mind police

a rumour that the senior Jamaat leader, who was then in jail, was seen in the moon. The people mainly in the villages were asked to free the leader from jail and street demonstrations sparked massive violence between the Jamaat-Shibir supporters and the law enforcers. Many ordinary people and a number of police were also killed during the violent attacks by the Jamaat-Shibir. “We have a general instruction for the law enforcers to remain alert so that the supporters of Jamaat-Shibir cannot carry out destructive activities centring the verdicts of Jamaat leaders,” Additional Secretary (political) of the Home Ministry Kamal Uddin Ahmed said. l

crackdown on Hefazat’s May 5 rally last year. A highly placed source told the Dhaka Tribune Jamaat had already instructed their leaders and activists to gear up for any action necessary to take Jamaat leaders out of jails. It vowed that Jamaat-Shibir was ready to face any crackdown by law enforcers and the Awami League activists’ violence against them. Jamaat central leader Syed Abdullah Mohammad Taher said Jamaat activists were very active in all programmes and the trend of their spontaneous participation in party activities would continue in days to come. l



Bangladesh poorly prepared for crucial Ticfa meeting n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman The government has decided to discuss only trade issue in the first Trade and Investment Forum Cooperation Agreement meeting while the US side has asked for more elaborate and specific agenda. Bangladesh would like to discuss two general issues – market access for goods and services, and market access for service – in the first Ticfa meeting to be held tomorrow. On the other hand, the US side wants to speak on nine specific issues: tariffs of fire, electrical and structural safety equipment; public tender specification; insurance; double fumigation (cotton); diabetic drugs; currency issue; delayed payment; intellectual property rights (IPR); and regional economic development. The first line of the Ticfa stipulates: “Desiring to enhance bonds of friendship and spirit of cooperation, to expand trade and to strengthen economic relations between the parties.” A Commerce Ministry official said four components – friendship, cooperation, trade and economic relations – are mentioned in the first paragraph,

but Bangladesh would only be discussing trade issue in the Ticfa meeting. Former ambassador Dr Toufiq Ali said the items for discussion indicated that the US side had detailed preparation, while the Bangladesh side did not. “We may continue to face a great deal of problem with the Ticfa in future. For the first time, the US has a forum to take up issues and the Bangladesh side cannot avoid responding to them, whether in this meeting or later. The US will keep hammering them, and we will be in the defensive position,” he pointed out. About the IPR, Ali said: “It will be suicidal for our people to concede on anything relating to the intellectual property rights.” The least developed countries including Bangladesh got an exemption until 2021 regarding the IPR during a WTO negotiation in Geneva last year. A possible deal on the IPR with the US might result in paying more for the US-made software, copyright fee for films and music, royalty for books and other services. Meanwhile, the Ticfa Labour Affairs Committee and the Ticfa Women’s Empowerment Committees must not be allowed to be formed as Bangladesh

has done a great deal in these areas, Toufiq added. “My experience with decades of negotiations with the US tells me that strong bargaining is required. One cannot give anything without getting something substantive in return. There is nothing substantive that the US is offering us here,” said the former permanent representative in Geneva where most of the WTO negotiations take place. Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue Debapriya Bhattacharya told the Dhaka Tribune: “If we look at our agenda, it is obvious and general while the agenda of the US side is more elaborate and specific.” He said: “One must be flexible enough to accommodate the issues but specific enough to achieve them.” At the meeting, the government would discuss market access for goods and services and it is understandable that they would ask for duty-free and quota-free market access for textile products, Debapriya said. “The Ticfa is a platform for review but there are immense possibilities for expressing our concern,” he said. The jurisdiction of the Ticfa is limited but the issues raised in the meeting


Sunday, April 27, 2014

could be referred to concerned authorities of both the countries, he added. “If the government raises the duty-free issue, the meeting can notify the concern of Bangladesh to the Congress, which will make decision on tariff and revenue,” Debapriya explained. He said Washington wanted to talk about tariffs of fire, electrical and structural safety equipment as they wanted to export fire door and other equipment to Bangladesh. In the first Ticfa meeting, the Bangladesh side will be led by Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed while Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia Michael Delaney will lead the visiting side. Bangladesh and the US signed the Ticfa on November 25 last year to promote bilateral trade between the two countries. The legally “non-binding” agreement, which emphasises prohibition of protectionist trade policy, was signed after having a negotiation of about 12 years. The US is the single largest export destination of Bangladeshi products with around $3.5bn export (about 15% of total exports), out of which about 90% is readymade garment goods. l

Tender for JoydevpurChandra-Tangail-Elenga 4-lane road in May Tender of the project next month, work order by September An estimated cost of Tk 3,066 crore n Rabiul Islam with our Tangail project was approved at ECNEC on Correspondent

Communications Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday said the tender for upgrading Joydevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga into four lanes would be floated by May and work order would be issued by September this year. The minister made the disclosure while talking to reporters after visiting the project site at Tangail. The project, titled “South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Project: Improvement of Joydevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga to a 4- Lane Highway,” has been undertaken to improve the road communication with the country’s northern region and connecting with the neighboring countries. According to the project, the road would connect SAARC Highway Corridor-4, Asian Highway-2 and Asian Highway-41.

2 Juba League activists killed in Jessore

Three snatchers lynched to death in Sreepur n Our Correspondent, Gazipur

n Our Correspondent, Jessore Two Juba League activists were killed in a clash between two groups of the youth front of the ruling party over distribution of money earned from smuggling gateway at Baropota under Benapole port police station yesterday. The deceased are Iman Ali, 35, of Shibnathpur and Lalon Mia, 26, of Uttar Baropota. Apurba Hasan, officer-in-charge of Benapole port police station told reporters that the two were killed over establishing supremacy on two groups of terrorists. “The bodies were sent to Jessore Medical College Hospital for autopsy and additional police were deployed in the area following the incident, he added. Locals said a group of Juba League activists hurled bombs at Iman Ali, leaving him spot dead at Baropota. Later, fellows of Iman Ali, another faction of Juba League, gunned down Lalon in retaliation. Tension gripped the area following the clash. No case was filed and no one was arrested in this connection till filing the report. l

Wet laundries are seen hanging from a balcony of Dhaka Medical College yesterday, posing great risks to high-voltage lines that might catch fire any moment

Structures around Kalyanpur ‘K’ canal to be removed n Mohosinul Karim Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan has asked the authorities concerned to remove illegal structures from both sides of Kallyanpur “K” canal in the capital within a week. The directive came as the minister, also chief of the taskforce formed for recovery of rivers, paid a sudden visit to the area yesterday. The minister expressed dissatisfaction seeing illegal structures on both sides of the canal, Jahangir Alam Khan, Public Relations Officer of the Shipping Ministry, told the Dhaka Tribune. The canal, located near the National Institute of Traumatology and Ortho-

pedic Rehabilitation at Shyamoli, was earlier recovered from the clutches of illegal occupants. A section of illegal occupiers, however, encroached on both sides of the canal, one of the key points through which sewage flows out of the capital, again and erected structures due to lack of surveillance by the authorities concerned. Expressing his concern over illegal occupation of the canal, Shajahan Khan said: “The government has recovered some of the canals in Dhaka during its previous tenure and constructed walkways on both sides of those. Consequently, there was a reduction in water-logging and environment pollution.”

Two-year-old girl sustains acid burn n Tribune Report A two-year-old girl sustained burn injuries when her playmate poured acidic substance on her head in the capital’s Kamrangirchar yesterday. Following the incident, Marium was admitted to the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) where doctors said her condition was critical. Her father Musa Mia is a rickshaw van driver and mother Razia Begum works as a housemaid. The child lives with her family at Begumbari of Kulamora Ghat in the area. Razia said the incident took place in the yard in front of their house around noon. “She was playing with a toy and was watching some senior playmates who

April 24 and the project would be completed by 2018. Under the project, the existing two-lane 70 kilometers-long highway would be upgraded into four lanes. Five flyovers, 26 bridges and 60 culverts would be constructed while a separate lane would be kept for slow moving vehicles. Kunhwa Engineering & Consulting Company (Korea) in joint venture with Korea Consultants International Company and International Consultants and Technocrats (India) in association with Development Design Consultant (Bangladesh) had been appointed as consultant companies for the project. According to a communications ministry press release, the detailed design of the project was likely to be finalised. The government is currently acquiring some 35.43 hectares of land in Gajipur and Tangail for the project. l

were also playing there. Suddenly, Mahbub’s seven-year-old son appeared and poured the liquid on her head,” she said. Razia said Mahbub is their neighbour but she could not say his son’s name. “I do not know whether he poured the liquid deliberately or otherwise,” the mother said. Musa Miah, however, said Mahbub recently collected a bottle of carbolic acid and kept it near the door to prevent snakes from entering the house. “He said his son took the bottle in the absence of family members and then poured it on my daughter’s head just to have fun,” he said. Mohsin Ali, officer-in-charge of Kamrangirchar police station, said no one filed any complaint in this connection. l

“A section of illegal occupants, however, occupied those again because the authorities concerned did not monitor the areas closely and there were shortage of funds. The government will ensure adequate funds to protect the canals from occupiers to make the city liveable,” he added. Stating that the WASA authorities have signed an agreement with the government of the Netherlands to dredge the canals in order to make those usable and to protect the banks, the minister said: “Construction will start soon and once completed, problems related to water-logging and environment pollution will be eradicated.” Shajahan said the government had

found existence of only 23 canals out of a total of 46 in Dhaka, adding that the rest were filled up either by illegal occupants or owners. “The government built walkways on both sides of 13 canals after evicting encroachers, removing illegal structures and carrying out maintenance tasks. A portion of Kallyanpur “K” canal and Ramchandrapur canal were dredged and maintained while maintenance of Shuvadda canal will begin soon,” said the minister. Additional Secretary of the Shipping Ministry Md Alauddin, Joint Secretary Sohrab Hossain Sheikh and top officials of Dhaka WASA and Dhaka North City Corporation accompanied the minister during the visit. l

BNP announces fresh agitation programmes n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla The BNP yesterday announced fresh agitation programmes including demonstration and mass hunger strike protesting what the party said was filing false cases against Chairperson Khaleda Zia and Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman, and killing and abduction. The party will hold protest rallies at the upazila and district towns and divisional cities across the country on April 28 and stage mass hunger strikes on May 4 from 9am-6pm. Acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the programmes after holding a joint meeting with the associate bodies at the Nayapaltan office. The spokesperson alleged that the government had been filing false cases

against the opposition leaders and activists to keep them away from the next elections. “BNP leaders are being abducted and the number of extrajudicial killings is rising at an alarming rate.” Fakhrul accused the media for not giving proper attention to the killings, abductions and extrajudicial killings. While addressing another programme in the capital, Fakhrul termed the fluctuations in Teesta water level a “substandard drama.” “During our long-march programme, we heard that the water level in Teesta rose and it fell when we returned. It is nothing but a joke,” he said. The BNP held a long-march towards Teesta demanding fair share of water. The party claimed that the rise in Teesta water level, which coincided with the long march, was its success. l


Three snatchers at Sohadia village of Sreepur upazila in Gazipur were lynched to death in the early hours of yesterday. Of the three, one was identified as Nurul Islam, 27, son of Abul Hossain of the same village. The two others, however, could not be identified. All three died on the spot when villagers beat them up around 4am yesterday. The snatchers were chased by villagers when they attempted to snatch a motorbike standing on a road of Gilashwar village in Sreepur, said officer-in-charge of Sreepur police station Mohsinul Kadir. Villagers captured them in neighbouring village Sohadia and lynched them to death, the OC said, adding that bodies of the three could not recovered until 9am because of obstruction by the angry mob. Nearly one and a half months ago, dead Nurul Islam snatched a CNG-run scooter after killing 22-year-old Jasim, son of Manik Mia of the same village. He is an accused in lawsuit filed with Sreepur police station. l

Home ministry seeks permission to procure arms for using EC allocation n Mohammad Zakaria The Home Ministry has sought permission from the Election Commission for procuring arms for Ansar and VDP members using a Tk12.18 crore fund allocated during the 10th parliamentary polls for procuring their uniforms and necessary equipments. The ministry sent letter to the commission on March 23 seeking the permission. In the letter, the ministry said it was not possible to procure uniforms and necessary equipment for Ansar and VDP members during the election time and at present, the Ansar-VDP does not have necessary arms and equipment. The ministry letter also mentioned that it seeks to procure shotguns for the force. Sources of the commission said the EC has sent a letter to the finance ministry to know whether it has any objections regarding the home ministry’s

request. Senior Assistant Secretary Enamul Haque yesterday confirmed the matter to the Dhaka Tribune. “If the finance ministry has no objection, the home ministry can procure arms using the election budget allocation,” Haque also said. Similarly, EC Deputy Secretary Shahjahan Khan said the commission will not oppose the procurement if finance ministry allocates fund. During a meeting of the commission, the EC also concluded that it was necessary to provide sufficient arms to Ansar and VDP so that they can play an important role in future elections, EC official said. The home ministry letter also noted that most of the Ansar personnel, out of 225,000 deployed during the elections, performed their duties without being armed, adding that police authorities also did not provide rifles to Ansar personnel for election duty. l




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Exploration of two offshore blocks uncertain n Aminur Rahman Rasel The fate of oil and gas exploration at two offshore blocks in Bay of Bengal has become uncertain, as time was running out for the US-based energy company ConocoPhillips to finalise its 2D seismic survey for deciding whether it would continue its exploration efforts. The company, which has already conducted 2D seismic survey of a 4,000km area, has only two months left to submit its survey report to Petrobangla. In June 2011, a production sharing contract (PSC) was signed between ConocoPhillips Bangladesh Exploration 10/11 Ltd and state-run Petrobangla for the exploration of offshore blocks 10 and 11, the country's first-ever deep-water hydrocarbon hunt. As per the PSC, if the contractor does not commit drilling of an exploration well after geophysical survey, Petrobangla can terminate the contract after three years from the signing of the contract, which falls on next June. According to the PSC, ConocoPhillips would explore the blocks for nine years, while after the initial five years of primary exploration, it would develop the well. The two blocks – with depths of 1,000-1,500 meters – cover an area of 5,158 square kilometres, some 280km from the Chittagong port. A general manager of Petrobangla, seeking anonymity, said it was essential for the country that the exploration was carried out, as the country currently had only 16 trillion cubic feet of gas as recoverable reserve that would last around 16 years. The country’s energy security also depended on the exploration of deepsea blocks, the official added. Meanwhile, Thomas J Earley, managing director of ConocoPhillips Bangladesh

17,500 RMG workers lose jobs following inspection n UNB Some 17,500 workers became jobless following the closure of 16 garment factories in Dhaka after the inspection by Accord, an association of European garment buyers. Disclosing the figure, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Atiqul Islam yesterday apprehended that the number of jobless garment workers would reach 100,000 in next three months and 500,000 in next 5 months if the inspection continued. He made the observation at a discussion on national budget at Dhaka Chamber Auditorium in the city, seeking special support from the government to protect the country’s leading foreign exchange-earning industry. Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) organised the seminar titled “Upcoming Budget: Promises and Challenges” with its President Sultan Mahmud Badal in the chair. The BGMEA president said about 160 European brands had joined the Accord which was conducting inspections of the garment factories located in shared and multipurpose buildings. He informed that the European team had been conducting visual inspections and declared some factory buildings abandoned, that resulted in making their workers jobless. The BGMEA president also said they were not even getting time to relocate the factories. Even three BGMEA directors’ buildings were declared abandoned, and the organisation had nothing to do. Atiqul Islam said the buyers would start detailed engineering assessment of the factory structures from July next and about 1.5 million labourers were at risk of losing their jobs. He said Dhaka had 769 factories in shared buildings, while 1,434 factories are located in multipurpose buildings. In such a situation, there were two alternatives – prefabrication of the buildings and relocation of the factories. But prefabrication was very expensive, while relocation was time-consuming, said the BGMEA leaders and urged the government to reduce the present 61% imposed on pre-fabrication materials to facilitate the abandoned garment factories. He said many building owners would not agree to prefabrication unless the cost was lowered. l

Exploration 10/11 Ltd, told the Dhaka Tribune by an e-mail that ConocoPhillips had completed two seismic acquisition projects on blocks 10 and 11, totalling over 4,000 kilometres of 2D data, which was nearly double the PSC work obligation. “The work was conducted safely without environmental incidents. In the interest of accelerating evaluation of the blocks, our most recent seismic program was acquired during the 2013 monsoon season, which is a first in offshore Bangladesh,” he said. “We have already presented and delivered a technical evaluation report to Petrobangla with our integrated analysis of the blocks.” Earley added. “We are currently evaluating the latest seismic data acquired in 2013 which is just coming out of seismic processing. We have not made any decision yet regarding further work pending the ongoing evaluation.” he said. According to the PSC, ConocoPhillips would only get the chance to export liquefied natural gas, if Petrobangla and other local buyers failed to purchase the gas or oil. The energy giant has pledged a $160m bank guarantee for the work in three phases. “ConocoPhillips is now studying and analysing the data acquired from the survey of two offshore blocks. It is now working on the final report,” Petrobangla Chairman Hossain Monsur told the Dhaka Tribnue, expressing hopes that the final result would be published by June. On the other hand, ConocoPhillips recently refused to sign the PSC for oil and gas exploration in shallow sea block 7. In January this year, the US-based firm and Norway-based Statoil also jointly dropped bidding documents for exploring oil and gas in three deep sea blocks (12, 16 and 21) in the Bay of Bengal. l

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina poses for a photo after a meeting with cabinet secretaries and equivalent officers of the Saarc member countries yesterday at Ganabhaban

ICDDRB to get interim permission for rice-based saline n Moniruzzman Uzzal The ICDDRB is likely to get interim permission from the drug administration to manufacture its rice-based saline, but only for treating the patients who are admitted to the hospital, the Dhaka Tribune has learnt. A senior-level official at the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) said the ICDDRB was likely to be granted the conditional permission after a DGDA team’s scheduled inspection of the saline manufacturing facility on Tuesday. Seeking anonymity, the official added that the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease and Research Bangladesh (ICDDRB) would get interim permission for only six months, but would not be allowed to go for commercial production without acquiring a legal drug license. Last week, the ICDDRB applied to the drug administration authority, seeking permission to resume the production of rice-based saline by the ICD-

DRB Employees’ Multipurpose Cooperative Society, which was halted earlier this month. The application also read that the rice-based saline would be manufactured only to meet the need of ICDDRB’s admitted patients. When asked about the issue, Selim Barami, a director of the DGDA, acknowledged about receiving an official application from the ICDDRB, but refused to disclose details. The Dhaka Tribune has learnt that the ICDDRB was planning to launch commercial manufacturing of its ricebased saline and was currently looking for a reputed drug company who were interested in starting a joint venture. Meanwhile, the number of diarrhoea patients continues to increase at the ICDDRB, with 786 patients – the highest number of the year – receiving treatment at the Mohakhali facility on Thursday. Dr Azharul Islam Khan, chief physician and head of diarrheal diseases unit of the ICDDRB Hospital, told the Dhaka Tribune that they were yet to face any

problem in treating the patients as the saline of a private company was being used as an alternative. When asked about the spike in patient numbers, he said the number was greater than last year, but not unusual. At least 60% of the patients were children, Dr Azharul said, adding that most patients were coming from the capital’s Badda, Jatrabari and Tejgaon areas. He further advised everyone to drink fresh water and food for protecting themselves against diarrhoeal disease. Sources said the ICDDRB needed a daily average of around 11-12 thousand litres of rice-based and oral saline to treat its patients. Earlier, the production of ICDDRB’s saline was suspended indefinitely after recent mobile court drives found different fake saline factories in the capital, while there were claims that some ICDDRB staffs were involved in selling the rice-based saline outside the hospital. It was also alleged that the ICDDRB had no legal drug licence to manufacture the rice-based saline. l

Deputy Commissioners want more deputation within civil administration n Mohosinul Karim The country’s deputy commissioners have asked for more scope for deputation to posts within the civil administration. Claiming a large number of military officers were being deputed to various government departments, the bureaucrats urged the government to create more chances for civil servants. At present, there are about 150 military officers in charge of different departments, including several state-run hospitals.

The district administrators sent the proposal to the cabinet division ahead of a district commissioners’ (DCs) conference, scheduled to be held in the capital from July 8-10. The cabinet division is compiling individual suggestions from district and divisional commissioners to be placed at the annual conference. In their proposals, the commissioners have also requested reintroducing subsidised sale of essential items for public servants, and risk allowances for field-level officers who operate mobile courts, work in law and order or perform

election duties as executive magistrates. Expressing concerns about workplace security, the DCs proposed installing close circuit cameras at their offices, considering them as key-point installations. They also suggested housing all public offices in one building to prevent misuse of government property. Furthermore, they urged increasing the amount of group insurance to Tk20lakh from Tk5 lakh, with a monthly premium of Tk200. The proposals also include constructing dormitories for gazetted officers, increasing the limit of inter-

‘Bangladesh second in piracy’ n Tribune Report Bangladesh ranks second in the world when it comes to piracy of intellectual properties, speakers said at a daylong boot camp yesterday. The programme styled “Youth, The Driving Force for Creativity and Innovation” was held at Dr Muzaffar Ahmed Chowdhury Auditorium of Dhaka University. It was arranged on occasion of the World Intellectual Property Day. “Without having permission according to the copyright law, lots of intellectual properties are being copied every day. As a result, owners of the works as

well as the country are being deprived of a huge amount of money,” they said. Bangladesh Copyright and IP Forum (BCIPF) arranged the programme with the assistance of Bangladesh Copyright Office. The speakers stressed the need for creating awareness of the issue among the countrymen. Around 100 students from different universities attended the programme which was comprised of workshop sessions, keynote address and question-and-answer sessions. The event was an initiative to generate active involvement of the youth community in

fostering intellectual property awareness in the country. Ronjit Kumar Biswas, Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs was the chief guest at the programme. Md Manjurur Rahman, former copyright registrar; Barrister ABM Hamidul Misbah, founder of BCIPF; Korvi Rakhsand, founder of Jaago Foundation; Pubudu Basnayake, representative of Microsoft Bangladesh; Kazi Zahin Hasan, Chairman of BCIPF; Jishu Tarafder; and musician Maqsudul Haque addressed the programme and discussed a range of issues related to piracy and intellectual property. l

BGMEA President Atiqul Islam poses for a photo during the opening of an orphanage for the children of those killed in Rana Plaza disaster . The programme was organised in the National Press Club yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE

est-free housing loan to Tk20lakh from the current Tk1.20 lakh, and allocating residential plots at low cost. Some DCs recommended creating a new post of assistant commissioner (finance) for the offices of upazila nirbahi officers to ensure tax collection and operate the funds collected from local revenues and taxes. They reiterated a proposal _ despite being rejected by the government over the years _ to give magistracy power to executive magistrates and enhance the power of mobile courts by amending relevant laws. l


PM: Sincere efforts needed to implement political decisions n UNB Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday emphasised on the sincere efforts of the top administrative officials of the Saarc member states to implement the political decisions of their respective governments. The premier made the observation when the cabinet secretaries and equivalent officers of the Saarc member countries called on her at the Ganabhaban. Briefing reporters following the meeting, PM’s Special Assistant Mahbubul Hoque Shakil said she mentioned that the politicians made decisions, but it was the administration of a country which was responsible to implement those. The two-day second meeting of the Saarc Cabinet Secretaries began at a city hotel yesterday with a view to identify the priority areas of increased cooperation among the countries of the region. Hasina said the common enemy of the region was poverty, and advocated to work unitedly against it. She also said the Saarc member states would have to work together to combat terrorism, trafficking in children and women, and smuggling of arms. “It is not possible to fight against these elements alone; for this united efforts are needed.” About the economy of the region, Hasina said the Saarc region had a huge population. “We could strengthen our economy by increasing the purchasing power of the people.” Emphasising establishing of peace in the region, she said coordinated efforts are essential for this. “To make the region a peaceful one, the implementation of the political decision of the politicians depends on your actions,” the PM told the top administrative officials. Saarc Secretary General Arjun B Thapa and representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were present during the meeting. l

IGP: Law enforcers to quell any violence after Sayedee verdict n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong Inspector General of Police Hasan Mahmud Khandaker yesterday said the law enforcement agencies would play an effective role if the Jamaat-Shibir supporters carry out violent activities after the delivery of Appellate Division verdict against convicted war criminal Delawar Hossain Sayedee. “We are working to deal with all possible violent activities by the Jamaat-Shibir men after the delivery of the verdict in Sayedee appeals case. In the recent times, we succeeded to control these types of violence,” he told reporters after inaugurating the newly-constructed building of Pahartoli police station in Chittagong. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has already completed hearing in the appeals case – filed both by Sayedee and the government – with the top court challenging the International Crimes Tribunal’s death sentence. The government has sought death penalty for the war criminal in all the charges proved in the tribunal while the convict sought acquittal. On abductions, the IGP said the police always try to arrest the abductors while many victims had been rescued. “It is not true that the abductors are not being held,” he said. “The investigation teams are now working on the abduction of Abu Ba-

kar Siddique and Mridul Chowdhury, and hopefully the mysteries behind the two abductions will be unearthed very soon,” he added. He also said the police had successfully uprooted militancy in the country, and “it is praised by the rest of the world.”

‘We are working to deal with all possible violent activities after the delivery of the verdict in Sayedee appeals case’ Addressing the inauguration programme as chief guest, he said a total 17 policemen had sacrificed their lives and more than 3,000 policemen were injured during the pre- and post-national election violence, while around 300 policemen still receiving treatment. Former Chittagong City Corporation mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury, who is also the president of the city unit of Awami League, addressed the programme as special guest. CMP Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam presided over the programme where Chittagong Divisional Commissioner Mohammad Abdullah and Chittagong Range Deputy Inspector General Nowsher Ali were also present. l




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Second bone marrow transplant successful n Moniruzzaman Uzzal The country’s second bone marrow transplant was successfully performed on a cancer patient at the BMT unit of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital yesterday. Professor Dr MA Khan, head of haematology department and programme director of the bone marrow transplant (BMT) unit, has confirmed the news to the Dhaka Tribune. A team of trained Bangladeshi doctors, nurses and technologists led by Dr Khan implanted stem cells into the body of 51-year-old retired army sergeant Alamgir Hossain, in a procedure that lasted around one and a half hours. Although the country’s first ever BMT procedure was carried out by a pool of national and international specialists, the latest transplant was carried out by mostly local medical officials, assisted by just two nurses from the Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital. Alamgir was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma in December 2009 and had been receiving treatment at the capital’s Combined Military Hospital. Although stem cells were initially

collected from Alamgir last October, the BMT procedure could not be carried out then as the patient was not physically fit at the time, Dr MA Khan said. Chemotherapy was given to Alamgir on Wednesday and Thursday to prepare him for the procedure, the doctor said, adding that stem cells were collected again from the patient a few days back. Meanwhile, Omar Ali, the first patient to successfully undergo a BMT procedure in the country, has recently left the hospital. “His [Omar’s] physical condition is now fine. The number of white blood cells and platelets are coming to a normal figure and he is regaining his weight. Hopefully, he would join work within two or three months,” Dr Khan said. Several BMT specialists told the Dhaka Tribune that the transplant was a five-stage process. The stages were: physical examination – assessing general level of health; harvesting – the process of obtaining the stem cells; conditioning – preparing the patient’s body for the procedure; transplanting the stem cells; and recovery – during which patients are monitored for any complications or side effects. l

Environmental activists form a human chain on boats on the Sitalakhya River yesterday, demanding preservation of the river’s bio-diversity from pollution

Construction of 14 fuel An emotional return of a French journalist storage tanks at Mongla n Port awaits approval Tazlina Zamila Khan

n UNB A tender proposal of Tk145 crore on setting up of 14 petroleum storage tanks in Mongla Port area is likely to be considered by the Cabinet Purchase Committee in its any meeting. Once the tanks are built, the storage capacity of the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) will increase by 100,000 tonnes against its present storage capacity of 1.2 million tonnes. BPC Chairman Yunusur Rahman said the storage tanks would also provide an alternative fuel storage arrangement alongside its existing storage in Patenga in Chittagong port areas. He said BPC has selected a firm for the project and its proposal was forwarded to the Energy Ministry three months ago for the Cabinet Purchase Committee’s approval. Yunus, however, would not give details of the tender proposals. Officials said the growing demand for petroleum fuel, particularly for the liquid fuel-based rental and quick power plants, has heavily pushed up the requirement for more fuel storage spaces. In the last few years, the annual


























41.3ºC Chuadanga

22.2ºC Syedpur

Source: Accuweather/UNB

PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha

Bernerd-Henri Lévy

Fire incidents rise alarmingly


Cox’s Bazar

consumption of petroleum fuel has increased to 5.5 million in 2014 from 3.2 million in 2009 following the installation of 2,200 MW rental and quick rental power plants where BPC is responsible for their fuel supply. According to Energy Ministry officials, the BPC has selected the proposal of a local joint-venture firm among three qualified bidders for awarding the contract to build up the fuel reservoirs. Of the firms, Maxwell Engineering Limited-Pipeliners Limited became the first lowest bidder offering a cost of Tk155.98 crore for the construction of the 14 fuel tankers while MBEL-CPCL (JV) emerged as the second lowest bidder with its offer of Tk159.31 crore as cost. Local firm Dipon Gas Company was the third lowest bidder offering a cost at Tk192.50 crore. Officials said all the tender offers were above the approved project cost of Tk144.89 crore as per revised development project profile (RDPP). But, the officials claimed that the Maxwell had finally agreed to slash its offer to Tk 145crore from its original offer of Tk155.98 crore through negotiations. l

Visiting veteran French journalist Bernerd-Henri Lévy yesterday said it was a great feeling for him to visit Bangladesh after 43 years of its independence, a visit he believed would never be possible in his lifetime. Bernerd was one of those foreign journalists who witnessed and reported on the birth of Bangladesh from the battleground during the 1971 Liberation War. “I could not believe that I could ever come back to Bangladesh in my lifetime. For me, it is a great feeling,” he said while sharing his experience at a seminar, titled “Philosophy and Commitment: For a philosophy of action,” organised by Alliance Française de Dhaka and hosted by University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). The programme was hosted on the main campus of ULAB in Dhanmondi area yesterday. He said: “On my second day in Dhaka, I am deeply moved. The Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was in Dhaka when I was here for the first time. I understood the tragedies of a war. I understand how intellectuals could be targeted.” “Bangladesh succeeded in such a short time. The young people sitting here know how rare it was. I do not know of other such an example in history.” From ground zero after the creation of the nation, Bangladesh had reached a satisfactory level, the French journalist noted.

Bernerd said: “Still the exact figure of the victims of the war is not known. It is very hard for a county to go forward with such a big hole in its memory.” He called upon the international community to come forward for a deep investigation to figure out the exact number of victim in the Liberation War. His first book, Les Indes Rouges, where he recalled his experience in Bangladesh during its birth, has been translated in Bangla for the first time. Alliance Française de Dhaka Director M Olivier Litvine said he brought a book called ‘Bangladesh Nationalism in the liberation war’. The only copy was available at the time in French written by Bernerd-Henri Lévy. Among others, ULAB Vice Chancellor Professor Imran Rahman, ULAB Trustee Board Vice

4:07am 5:26am 11:56am 4:32pm 6:25pm 7:46pm Source:

n Our Correspondent, Chittagong

Fire incidents have reached an alarming rate in Chittagong this month. Over 25 fire incidents had already been recorded in the current month, Deputy Assistant Director Jasim Uddin of Fire Service and Civil Defence in Chittagong said. The incidents left at least five people, including three children, dead. The fire service officials opined that hike in temperature, lack of caution in houses and factories, faulty electric

supply lines and use of defective gas cylinders were responsible for this rise in fire incidents. A RMG factory and a furniture shop were gutted in separate incidents in the port city’s Bakalia and Kalurghat industrial areas yesterday. The incidents burned down assets worth Tk15 lakh. Mohammed Yahea Khan, assistant director of Fire Service and Civil Defence Headquarter, Agrabad, said fire originating from an electric short-circuit had engulfed a RMG factory in Natun Chaktai area under Bakalia police station.

Another fire broke out at Kitco Furniture Limited in Kalurghat industrial area. Fire service officials estimated the loss to be worth Tk15 lakh. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Jasim Uddin said: “Because of the current temperature hike, all substances remain dry and fire engulfs them very quickly.” He further said overheated machineries also caused fire some time because of frequent fluctuation in electric voltage, adding that the rate could be reduced if the people could be made more aware of such incidents. l

President Dr Kazi Anis Ahmed, ULAB Registrar Lt Col (retd) Md Foyzul Islam, were also present at the seminar. Earlier in the day, Bernard paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her Gonobhaban residence. “Bangladesh was a colonial province and Bangabandhu rebuilt the country as a complete independent country in only three and a half years, which was unprecedented in the world,” he said during the call. He further added that the name of Bangabandhu will be always be remembered as a revolutionary leader. Praising the socio-economic development of Bangladesh, he also said Bangladesh had emerged as a model of a modern democratic nation in the global arena. l



College boy ‘burned’ to death n Tribune Report A college student succumbed to his burn injuries at Dhaka Medical College Hospital yesterday. Family members of the deceased alleged that a neighbouring family had set fire on him. The incident took place at Shaheenbagh in the city’s Tejgaon are on Friday afternoon. The deceased, Rayhan Rahman Ovik, 19, was a higher secondary student of Dhanmondi Ideal College. Deceased’s father Wahid Uddin said Ovik had a relationship with a girl of City College, who lived nearby. The affair evoked feud between the two families. “On Friday, the girl’s mother called Ovik to their house over phone. After around an hour, she again called Ovik’s mother and claimed that Ovik set him on fire following an altercation with the girl in her house,” Wahid Uddin said. “My wife rushed to their house and saw a number of unknown men have left him in front of the house,” he alleged. With help of the locals, she rushed him to the hospital in a critical condition, the deceased’s father added. Contacted, Tejgaon police said no case was filed in this connection till the evening. An autopsy will be conducted at Dhaka Medical College Hospital morgue. l

Coastguard seizes arms and ammo from two boats n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong Bangladesh Coast Guard (East Zone) yesterday seized four light guns and five rounds from two boats of sea robbers from Karnaphuli River at Marine Academy area. However, no one was detained in this connection, said a press release. Bangladesh Coast Guard (East Zone) Lt Commander Rajibul Islam said a drive was conducted at the Karnaphuli area at

around midnight following on a tip-off. During the drive, the Coast Guards spotted and chased two boats owned by sea robbers, who fled leaving the boats behind. “Four lighter guns and five rounds were recovered from the two boats,” he said. The seized items were handed over to Karnaphuli police station while a case was lodged with the police station in this regard, added the coastguard official. l

Escape bid ends in death n Ashif Islam Shaon

A man drowned in a pond while attempting to escape arrest by police following a clash between law enforcers and slum dwellers over disconnection of illegal electricity lines in the capital’s Mirpur yesterday morning. Abdul Khaleque, 38, was a cook by profession. Locals said the incident took place around 11am when Desco officials, accompanied by Rupnagar police, went to the slum to disconnect illegal power lines. According to sources, the Desco officials were prevented by slum dwellers from cutting the illegal electricity connections when the former arrived there in the morning, triggering a chase and counter chase.

At one point, the slum dwellers beat up policemen and confined the Desco officials. Later as additional police officials arrived on the scene, many agitators, including Khaleque, jumped into a roadside pond when chased by law enforcers. Khaleque however did not emerge from the pond after the police had left. Around 3pm, a team of firefighters searched the pond and found him. He was declared dead after an hour of being taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, police sources said. OC Motlubur Rahman of Rupnagar police station said the slum dwellers were not baton charged, they had jumped into water out of fear. Police filed a case against 40 slum dwellers in connection. l

Members of the Ongohin Protibondhi Samity, a organisation of physically-challenged individuals, form a human chain in front of the National Press Club, demanding government jobs and other faciltities NASHIRUL ISLAM




Sunday, April 27, 2014

16 rivers run dry Life, bio-diversity at stake n Our Correspondent, Kurigram Water level in 16 rivers including the Teesta, Brahmaputra, Dharla, Dudhkumor, Phulkumor, Gangadhar, Kalzani and Zinziram flowing in the district have declined significantly in recent years. Most of the parts of the rivers have dried up which have turned into a canal in the current dry season. Water vehicle movements and agriculture are being hampered seriously. Many chars have developed which turned into a sandy and desert. The river routes of Jatrapur under Kurigram Sadar upazila, Roumari and Rajibpur upazila are at stake. Navigability has fallen drastically in the areas. Meanwhile, several river routes have been closed, local sources said. Environmentalists say the reduced flows are linked to climate change and will have a major impact as the human population grows. Abdul Gafur, chairman of Jatrapur union council, said: " Water vehicle movements and agriculture are being hampered seriously as the Brahmaputra and Dudhkumor rivers run dry in the area."

Hakaluki Haor sees tube well of late n Our Correspondent, Moulvibazar M Saifur Rahman , a Bangladeshi expatriate living in Qatar , has come up recently with setting up a tube well in Hakaluki Haor of Kulaura upazila in Moulvibazar district to ensure drinking water for the people in the region. Hazi Md Elise Miah, of Bade Bhukshimul village and also a local social worker has installed the tube well on behalf of Saifur. When contacted, Elise he said due to ongoing drought, all the water sources had dried up in the haor. Taking consideration of this situation, Qatar expatriate Saifur of his village had decided to reduce woe of the people and he had given fund to install the tube well at the main point of the region, he said. Now , the massive crisis of drinking water had been solved, he added. l

Saheb Mia of Kumurpur area said: "The Nilkumar river bed in the area has turned into cropland as there is no water." Char Livelihood Programme activist Manik Chowdhury said: "The rivers entered Bangladesh from India. Nowadays the low water-flow of such affects the navigability badly." "The vast tracts of rivers are sandy and it could not be identified as big river," an inhabitant of the Dharla river bank said. The people of char area are crossing the Brahmaputra, Teesta, Dharla and Dudkumer on foot. The people of the Brahmaputra river side are crossing the river on foot at Hatea point daily as it has dried up. Local people are crossing the Teesta river on foot from one place to another in Rajarhat and Ulipur upazila. Such dried-up rivers impact the bio-diversity every year. A boat trader of Rajibpur upazila, said that his two boats were abandoned at present due to the drastic fall of water level in the Brahmaputra River. Executive Engineer of Kurigram Water Development Board Abu Taher said: " To solve the problem, dredging in the rivers is needed." l

The recent photo shows the Atrai river in Manda upazila of Naogaon district almost dries up during summer

Settler goes ‘from rags to riches’ n Jasim Majumder, Khagrachhari

Imagine somebody telling you he has gone ‘from rags to riches’ when he is doing illegal business right in front of you. It is what a settler says though he still earns money by smuggling wood and bamboo after cutting them even illegally at Gachchhabil under Manikchhari Upazila in Khagrachhari. Abul Kalam alias Razzak Farayezi, who is also chairman of Manichharhi Union Parishad, now owns properties worth Tk 100 million. More than one person preferring not to be named say Abul Kalam has been involved in illegal businesses like wood and bamboo smuggling. He has amassed his wealth mostly in the last five years after becoming chairman, they say. The Dhaka Tribune correspondent has acquired some papers through which it is learnt that Abul Kalam was allotted 210 metric tonnes of food for implement-

ing 40 projects in the last five years. Rather than implementing the projects, he has misappropriated all, the papers indicate. Abul Kalam, also a settlers’ leader, is also involved in tender manipulation and land grabbing, but nobody usually dares say anything about it as he becomes harsh with them. Many ruling party leaders have also been tortured by Abul Kalam’s cadres for speaking out against his illegal business. Manikchharhi Upazila Awami League General Secretary Mohammad Mainuddin, however, comes out of that circle of people who is afraid of him. The settlers’ leader has been committing illegal business like wood and bamboo smuggling and extortion in collusion with government officials, police and some ruling party men, he says. Abul Kalam and his family also own around 150 acres cultivable and hilly land, 50 acres orchards houses, four hino tractors and two cars, he adds. “Two cases have been recently filed

against him by Chhatra League leaders as his men tortured them for speaking up against his illegal trade,” says the Awami League leader. “But police have not yet taken any action against him.” Manikchhari Upazila Awami League President Mragya Marma also echoed Mainuddin and says Abul Kalam is doing his illegal business by managing police and other officials, possibly through bribe. Abul Kalam, however, denied the allegation of illegal business “I have never been involved in any wood and bamboo smuggling,” he said, adding, “I have, however, bamboo and wood business but I do that in line of law.” He, however, admits that he had been involved in illegal and criminal activities until 2001. Asked about so much wealth, he says, “I have amassed this wealth through honest ways like hard labour.” About beating up ruling party men for speaking out against him, he says,

Drought affects growth of tea leaves n BSS

The prevailing drought like situation for lack of rains during this dry season has severely affected normal growth of the tender tea leaves now in the gardens and smaller tea fields in Panchagarh. The green tea leaves are facing growth problems in the gardens and smaller tea fields where the farmers are trying to provide irrigation though the situation will improve soon after rainfalls, farmers and official sources said. Due to no rainfall during the past few months, normal growth of the tender tea leaves and growth of the newly pruned branches and saplings have been severely affected in the gardens in recent weeks in the sub-Himalayan district. According to Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) sources, 10,000 workers, including 7,000 distressed women, have been working now in the large, medium and

small sized tea gardens and tea estates in Panchagarh. Tea Development Officer of BTB at its Panchagarh Regional Office Amir Hossain said moderate rains during the months of February and March are required for excellent growth of tea plants and leaves. But, there were no rains so far in recent months following changed behaviour of the weather caused by the climate change impacts in the subHimalayan district as elsewhere in the region and the globe as a whole, he said. According to BTB sources, a total of 1.455 million kg high quality tea was produced in Panchagarh and was sold in Chittagong auction market at about Taka 300 million in 2013 with selling rates between Taka 175 and 225 per kg. Tea in now being cultivated on over 3,110 acres land inclu ing 866 acres of 405 small-scale farmers, 163 acres of 15

medium scale farmers and 2,081 acres of 21 bigger tea estates in Panchagarh. As a result of drastic reduction in production and supply of green tea leaves due to prolonged drought, processing of tea leaves is being severely hampered now at all six tea processing factories in Panchagarh. Manager of Dahuk Tea Estate at Buraburi area in Tentulia upazila Yasin Ali told BSS that they are failing to provide adequate irrigation to their tea garden to cope with the drought like situation. As a result, the drought like situation has affected growth of the tea leaves and the growing tea plants are being attacked by red spider pests, he said and feared that their tea production target would not be achieved this year. Talking to BSS, small-scale tea farmers Mozahedul Hassan, Abdur Rahman, Esahaq Ali Mandal and Mostafa Jamal Raju requestedthe government for

making adequate arrangements to provide artificial irrigation for smooth tea farming during droughts. Tea grower Motiar Rahman called upon the BTB authority for irrigating the dried up tea fields of the smallscale tea farmers as they are unable to purchase the costly machine to irrigate their tea field adopting the sprinkler method. Manager of Green Care Agro Limited Faridul Islam said they have already suspended tea processing in their factory now for inadequate supply of green tea leaves as they need at least 1,000kg green tea leaves to keep the factory running at this time of the year. Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension in Panchagarh Nazrul Islam said the drought like situation with high temperature due to no rainfall in recent months has reduced soil moisture affecting growth of all crops including tea. l

RAB 9 arrests 12 armed robbers

RAB arrested 12 armed robbers in Sylhet’s Osmani Nagar area yesterday


One arrested for acid attack n Our Correspondent, Barisal Police arrested a person in Bhandaria under Pirojpur district on Friday in connection with acid violence. The arrested was identified as Delwar Hossain. According to sources, Pakhi Aktar, maternal cousin of Laily Begum, alleged that a group of terrorists led by Mohidul-Masum forcibly ousted Nanboru from her home. At one stage of the event, the criminals threw acid to Pakhi’s maternal cousin Laily Begum, Mojibor Rahman, mother and brother of Laily. Matiur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Bhandaria police station, said a case was filed against seven accused in this connection. On the day, the police arrested Delwar , one of the accused. The acid victims were admitted to Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital. l

4 ‘criminals’ hurt in Jessore gunfight n UNB Four alleged criminals were injured in a gunfight between their gang and Detective Branch (DB) of police in Bablatala Bridge area on the edge of Jessore district town on Friday night. The injured were identified as Rumon, Rhidoy, Anik and Sohan. Maniruzzaman, officer-in-charge of Jesore DB police, said acting on secret information that a gang of criminals, led by Rumon, an alleged notorious terrorist of the area, was preparing to commit criminal activities in the area, a team of DB police went there. Sensing the presence of the DB po-

lice, the criminals opened bullets on them prompting the law enforcers to fire back, triggering a gunfight. The criminals also hurled three bombs during the incident. After the gun battle that continued for a while, police arrested four members of the gang, including Rumon, with bullet injuries while the others managed to flee. Police recovered a shutter gun, one round of bullet and three bombs from their possession. The injured criminals were rushed to Jessore 250-bed Hospital. The criminals were wanted in several cases including that for snatching. l

Daudkandi mayor Nasiruddin dies n UNB

n Our Correspondent, Sylhet

A team of RAB 9 arrested 12 armed robbers in Sylhet’s Osmani Nagar area early yesterday. RAB 9 officials said the arrest was made while the robbers were preparing for a robbery around 1:30am. A total of three Light Guns, four iron made “Panjas,” four cartridges, nine sharp weapons and two torch lights were also seized from their possession, they added. A mini-truck was also seized in this connection. Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan told reporters that the arrestees were members of inter-district robbers’ group, adding that process to hand them over to police were on. The arrestees are Sanjab Ali, 45, of Habiganj, Amirullah, 32, Suman, 23, Wahad, 48, Abdul Mukaddis, 35, Waheed, 35, Ismail, 30, Shafik Ahmed, 22, Bakul Mia, 21, Abdul Hai, 23, Al Mamun, 22; all of them are from Habiganj; and Sohel Mia, 22, of Brahman Baria. l

“I have some responsibility as a chairman to keep peace here.” Manikchharhi police station’s Officer-In-Charge Keshob Chakraborty denied the allegation of not taking any action against Abul Kalam because they get bribe from him. “We are investigating the two cases on Abul Kalm and his cohorts’s criminal activities. We will take action on our investigation report,” he said. Background of Abul Kalam: Along with his family, Abul Kalam was settled on five acres of land at Gachhbil village in 1980. He hails from Uttar Khanta Kata of Sharokhola upazila in Bagerhat. He had then formed a 20-member gang who used to carry out criminal activities like extortion under his leadership. Abul Kalam and his cohorts had been accused of 17 criminal cases until 2001. All the cases were withdrawn against them as they had surrendered with two arms to Laxmichharhi army zone under then caretaker government. l


Nasiruddin Ahmed, mayor of Daudkandi municipality and senior vicepresident of district BNP, died of cardiac arrest at a hospital in the capital on Friday night. He was 65. He breathed his last at LabAid Hospital around 8:30pm. Nasiruddin had an open-heart surgery at the LabAid Hospital early April after he suffered a heart attack. Since then, he had been at the CCU of the hospital, said family sources. He left behind his wife, two daughters, one son and a host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn his death.

Nasiruddin was buried at Eidgah graveyard in Daudkandi following a namaz-e-janaza after Zohr prayers on Saturday. Nasiruddin was elected mayor of Daudkandi municipality twice -- first in 1999 and then in 2011. He was also the former chairman of Sadar union in the upazila. l



Sunday, April 27, 2014


Sher-e-Bangla: The Tiger of Bengal ‘I am the living history of Bengal and East Pakistan of the last sixty years. I am the last survivor of that band of unselfish and courageous Muslims who fought fearlessly against terrific odds…’ – AK Fazlul Huq 1873-1962


he three-storied picturesque 19th-century-mansion that once stood on a corner of a total land area of over 5 bigha, surrounded by a pond on one side, at 27, KM Das Lane, Tikatuli, was our permanent residence until the mid-90s, where we spent most of our halcyon days of childhood, and where the fond memories now lie buried under its high-rise condominiums. It was also the home where late Sher-e-Bangla Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq would breathe his last exactly 52 years ago, on this day. Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq, popularly known as “Huq Shaheb,” was born into a respectable and wellknown middle class Muslim family in his mother’s town, Saturia (under the then Bakerganj District), present day Jhalokathi District on October 26, 1873. His brilliant and extraordinary career made him a living legend in his time and a household name for the generations thenceforth, and therefore, to attempt a thorough summari-


n AK Fazlul Huq, Jr

‘For a while, the two of them [Nazimuddin and Suhrawardy] were called Prime Minister of Pakistan. Fazlul Huq was not. But only he was spoken of as the Royal Bengal Tiger’ – Rajmohan Gandhi timent that the latter took up the challenge and halfway down the academic calendar, changed his Master’s degree subject to Mathematics (in which he later secured First Class First). As for Mr X, he had to obviously cower in shame after having been confuted and taught a lesson by a man almost half his age!

Jinnah’s ongoing speech was drowned by the public outburst that welcomed Sher-E-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq with open arms, compelling Mr Jinnah to retire with, ‘When the Tiger had come, the Lamb should definitely give way!’

sation of it here would not do justice to the late illustrious leader of the entire Indian subcontinent. Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq, a meritorious student in his youth, had passed both his Entrance and Intermediate Exams with distinction under the then Dhaka Board. Thereafter, he went on to obtain his higher degree with triple honors in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics from Calcutta University, and that, securing First Division in all three academic subjects – something quite unheard of then, and still somewhat rare today! When the late Tiger of Bengal had decided to take up English Literature for his Master’s degree, he was confronted by a gentleman and a friend of his father (let us provisionally call him Mr X), of Hindu faith, abroad a steamer they were both travelling on. According to the consistent facts and reliable sources from the past (in particular, my late father and the only son of the Sher-e-Bangla, Mr X struck up a conversation with Mr Huq abroad that steamer, and it was one of the most unfriendly yet historic and memorable conversations, per se. Mr X passed a snide remark in the context of how academically weak the Muslim boys and girls of Bengal were, in particular, in the subject of Mathematics, and Mr Huq was anything but pleased to hear such an uncouth and inconsiderate statement. Mr X’s comment had such a profound impact on the young man’s sen-

Two years later, Mr Huq went onto pursue a degree in Law, completed his LLB, and started his career as an article clerk under the legendary Bangali educator and jurist, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee. Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, father of late Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee, treated Mr Huq as his own son, and needless to say, Mr Huq was the first Muslim (Law graduate) taken in as Sir Ashutosh’s junior. As fate would have it, Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee would later lend his support to see Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq reelected as the chief (ie., prime) minister of undivided Bengal for a second term and serve as the latter’s Finance Minister. Even the honorary title of Shere-Bangla (which translates to “The Tiger of Bengal”) prefixed to AK Fazlul Huq’s name, has a true story behind it. In 1937, when the late Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq was in his prime and serving as the chief minister of undivided Bengal, he was invited to address the Lucknow conference of the All India Muslim League. It was there that he delivered such an awe-inspiring fiery speech, it instantly earned him the title amidst the well-deserved standing ovation. It has been observed by the Huq family that some ignorant historians have a habit of distorting the facts and erroneously penning-in, inter alia, that the conferment of the Sher-e-Bangla title was at Lahore in 1940; this is not the case.

In fact, 1940 was the year when Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq was called to move the historic Lahore Resolution, which he jointly drafted with another Muslim League stalwart, Chowdhury Khaliquzzaman. Legend has it that at this Lahore session, when Mr Huq arrived, there was a spontaneous and positive round of applause. As Mr Huq slowly made his way up the rostrum, Mr Jinnah (Pakistan’s first Governor-General and Father of the Nation) found himself in an awkward position; ie, Jinnah’s ongoing speech was drowned by the public outburst that welcomed Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq with open arms, compelling Mr Jinnah to retire with, “When the Tiger had come, the Lamb should definitely give way!” In a touching incident, the then Chief Minister Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq, accompanied by his wife, late Khadija Begum, was invited to approve a piece of land at 22, Hare Road, Dhaka, of late Altaf Gauhar (the Premier’s private secretary) proposed for conversion into the chief minister’s home. The same land was home to a large mansion, and its landmark, a banyan tree on its front lawn. Though at first Mr Huq was determined to approve the proposal, as he was getting into his car, he noticed Mr Altaf’s children playing under the said tree and inquired, “Where will they play when you shift into an apartment?” Mr Altaf paused for a second and

limited to, students, the destitute, and shrines. On one such occasion and in the midst of examining his legal briefs, he was interrupted by a group of students trying to raise funds for a milad. Mr Huq patiently listened to the students, and then, without reservations, reached into his “rickety old drawer” and said to have pulled out a ten-taka note (which was considered a lot of money in those days). Moreover, whenever he encountered a stranger in need, he would reach down his pocket and hand out whatever sum his palms could accommodate; a distinctive propensity of the legendary leader still a rarity in today’s so-called politicians. In fact, Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq provided people loans even when he was repaying his own debts. On one particular occasion, the situation was such, he asked his chauffeur to lend him money so he could buy sweets for a family invitation! Obviously, the chauffeur obliged and was later repaid more than he had lent, but one can only imagine the chauffeur’s reaction, and the pride it was to come in handy for a man of such high political stature and reverence. Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq’s compassion for the poor was so genuine, he helped enforce the Bengal Agriculture Debtors’ Act in 1938, which effectively protected the agriculturists from the control of “usurious creditors.” He was also responsible for setting-up the Debt Settlement

His brilliant and extraordinary career made him a living legend in his time and a household name for the generations thenceforth

it was enough for Mr Huq to seriously reconsider; the latter had changed his mind there and then; ie, not to deprive the children of their playground. In fact, the incident moved Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq so much, he permanently settled at his old address, 27, KM Das Lane, Tikatuli. Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq was also of an altruistic nature, benevolent, yet, at times, rendered insolvent: he ran into innumerable debts through his donations and financial support to categories of which included, but not

Boards in all parts of Bengal, tremendously improving the daily lives of peasants. Political leaders will come and go, but there will not be another Sher-eBangla AK Fazlul Huq. Undeniably, Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq, the man who “simultaneously held the posts of the President of All India Muslim League and the General Secretary of the All India National Congress,” was also concurrently responsible and instrumental (in 1918) for the unity of Hindu and Muslim communi-

Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq ties by virtue of the Lucknow Pact. At the very end of his life, when he made an effort to write his autobiography, he felt it impossible to contain it all in just one volume, and withdrew with, “I do not remember very much of what I have been or done.” Perhaps, his sorrow was greater than that: the man who passionately dedicated a significant portion of his life for the betterment of his people and his motherland, Bengal, died a lonely death. Rajmohan Gandhi, a biographer and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, in his historical book “Understanding the Muslim Mind,” had this to say of the late Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq: “He who in 1943 had wanted to see Nazimuddin and Suhrawardy bite the dust now shares the same stretch of earth with them. All three are buried, side by side, in the grounds of the Dhaka High Court. For a while, the two of them were called Prime Minister of Pakistan. Fazlul Huq was not. But only he was spoken of as the Royal Bengal Tiger.” Indeed, Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq was second to none. l AK Fazlul Huq, Jr is a barrister (Middle Temple, UK) and an advocate at AM Amin Uddin & Associates.





Sunday, April 27, 2014

Abbas: Palestinian unity govt will reject violence n AFP, Ramallah Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said yesterday the new unity government he is set to head with Hamas backing would reject violence and recognise Israel and existing agreements. Abbas was speaking to members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Central Council, which had convened to chart a course of action after Israel suspended US-brokered peace talks in response to the deal with Hamas. Israel said it would not negotiate with a government backed by Hamas, the armed Islamist movement ruling Gaza, which is pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state and has always rejected peace talks. “The upcoming government will obey my policy,” Abbas told members of his PLO on Saturday. “I recognise Israel and reject violence and terrorism, and recognise international commitments.” Abbas stressed that negotiations with Israel would not be held by the new government but rather by the PLO, which “represents the entire Palestinian people.” The PLO is the internationally recognised representative of the Palestinians and their interlocutor in peace talks, while the Palestinian Authority was created as part of the Oslo peace process of the 1990s to administer the occupied Palestinian territories. Abbas heads both, as well as the sec-

Ecuador orders US military group to leave n AP, Quito, Ecuador Ecuador has ordered the US Embassy’s military group, about 20 Defense Department employees, to leave the country by month’s end, in a further indication of strained relations. The group was ordered to halt operations in Ecuador in a letter dated April 7, the US Embassy confirmed Friday. Late Friday afternoon, Ecuador’s embassy in Washington issued a statement saying the “scaling back” of the US military presence reflected the country’s “improved political stability” and “increased internal security and defense capacities.” The shuttering of the US Embassy’s “Security Cooperation Office” was first reported by The Associated Press overnight after it was alerted by a senior Ecuadorean official. That official refused to be identified by name due to the information’s sensitive nature. The closing of the military group office does not affect the US military attache’s office, the US Southern Command and the Ecuadorean statement said. As there is no accusation of espionage, U.S reciprocation is not anticipated. In January, President Rafael Correa publicly complained that Washington had too many military officers in Ecuador, claiming there were 50, and said they had been “infiltrated in all sectors.” l

Dying British teenager raises record sum for charity n AFP, London A terminally-ill teenager has broken all records on the JustGiving fundraising website by breaking the £2.5 million ($4.2 million, three million euro) mark yesterday in donations to charity. Stephen Sutton, 19, was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 15, but despite surgery, the cancer spread, and doctors concluded it was incurable. He has smashed his original target of raising £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, though he feared he might not live to see the £1 million mark achieved – a figure hit on Wednesday – after his right lung collapsed. “I am feeling well and would describe my current situation as stable,” said a Facebook post from Sutton late Friday. “The last few days have showed me truly how amazing people and the world can be.” More than 100,000 individual donations have been made. The largest individual donation previously received by the Teenage Cancer Trust was £500,000. l

ular Fatah party, which dominates the PLO. Under the Wednesday agreement signed in Gaza between Hamas and the PLO, Abbas would head an “independent government” of technocrats, to be formed within five weeks. The new interim administration would be charged with holding parliamentary and presidential elections within six months of taking office. Israel and Western nations view Hamas as a terrorist organisation, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas must chose between reconciling with the Islamist group and negotiating peace with the Jewish state.

No ‘Jewish state’ recognition

Abbas also reiterated that the Palestinians would never recognise Israel as the “Jewish state,” saying they recognised it as a state in 1993 and shouldn’t have to accept its religious identity, which has been a central demand made by Netanyahu. The Palestinian leader pointed out that no similar demand was made of Egypt or Jordan when they signed peace treaties recognising Israel. The dispute over recognition and Israel’s continuing construction of settlements in the occupied territories presented major obstacles to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s dogged efforts to coax the two sides towards a historic peace agreement. l

Al Qaeda chief urges Muslims to kidnap Westerners n Reuters, Dubai

Israeli soldiers take position during clashes with Palestinian protesters (unseen) following a weekly demonstration against the expansion of settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on April 25, near Ramallah. Israel and the Palestinians were back to square one in the peace process after Israel torpedoed US-sponsored talks in response to a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal AFP

Iran welcomes ‘anti-Zionist’ Palestinian reconciliation n AFP, Tehran Iran welcomed yesterday a reconciliation deal between the two main Palestinian  factions – the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Hamas – which it said was against the “Zionist regime,” a reference to Israel. “The Islamic Republic of Iran salutes the reconciliation of the Palestinian groups against the Zionist regime...

and against the excessive demands and aggressions of the Qods (Jerusalem) occupation regime,” said foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham. Under a Wednesday agreement, Abbas will head an “independent government” of technocrats, to be formed within five weeks. That new interim administration would be charged with holding par-

liamentary and presidential elections within six months of taking office. Israel has said it would not negotiate with a government backed by Hamas, the armed Islamist movement ruling Gaza, which is pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state and has always rejected peace talks. Iran, which does not recognise Israel, traditionally supports Palestinian resistance movements. l

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, particularly Americans, who could then be exchanged for jailed jihadists including a blind Egyptian cleric convicted in 1995 of conspiring to attack the United Nations and other New York landmarks. In a wide ranging audio interview, the al Qaeda leader expressed solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood which is facing a violent crackdown by the army-backed government in Egypt and urged unity among rebels in their fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the Zawahiri tape, but the voice resembled that of the al Qaeda leader. “I ask Allah the Glorious to help us set free Dr. Omar Abdel-Rahman and the rest of the captive Muslims, and I ask Allah to help us capture from among the Americans and the Westerners to enable us to exchange them for our captives,” said Zawahiri, according to the SITE website monitoring service. Abdel-Rahman is serving a life term in the United States for a 1993 attack on New York’s World Trade Center. Zawahiri also urged “jihad and overthrowing the criminal al-Assad regime” in Syria and renewed his call to end infighting among jihadists that increased this year, pitting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against rival rebels including other hardline Islamists. “The Ummah (Muslim world) must support this jihad with all that it can, and the mujahideen (Islamist militants) must unite around the word of Tawhid (unity),” said Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born doctor. l

Western intel suggests Syria can still G7 leaders agree on produce chemical arms new Russia sanctions n Reuters, United Nations Syria maintains an ability to deploy chemical weapons, diplomats say, citing intelligence from Britain, France and the United States that could strengthen allegations Syria’s military recently used chlorine gas in its bloody civil war. The comments reflect a growing conviction among Western capitals that President Bashar al-Assad has failed to come clean about Syria’s chemical weapons program despite his promises to end it, and they insist the United States

and its allies will resist calls by Assad to shut down a special international chemical disarmament mission set up to deal with Syria. Syria denies it maintains the capacity to deploy chemical weapons, calling the allegation a US and European attempt to use their “childish” policies to blackmail Assad’s government. But in a tacit acknowledgement of the original declaration’s incompleteness, Syria earlier this month submitted a more specific list of its chemical weapons to the international disarmament mission after discrepancies were reported by in-

spectors on the ground, officials said. Diplomats say Western governments have long suspected Syria did not declare all aspects of its chemical arms program. But the envoys say they have kept silent on the issue to avoid giving Assad an excuse to curtail cooperation with the UN-OPCW mission and slow down an already delayed timetable for shipping toxins out of the country. With more than 90 percent of Syria’s declared chemical stockpiles now out of the country, Western officials have started to break their silence. l

88 dead in two days of clashes in Syria’s Daraa, monitor says n AFP, Beirut At least 88 rebel and regime forces have been killed in two days of clashes for control of strategic sites in Syria’s southern Daraa province, an monitoring group said yesterday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based in Britain said 45 opposition fighters and 43 regime forces had been killed in the fighting that began on Thursday.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that rebel forces, including fighters from Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate Al-Nusra Front, had seized the strategic Tal al-Jabiyeh hill on Thursday. Clashes were continuing as the opposition fighters sought to take another hilltop nearby in a bid to connect territory they hold in Daraa and the Quneitra region, alongside the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Observatory said rebel forces had seized weapons and ammunition during the clashes and that regime forces had called in support from heavy artillery and helicopters to try to retake the hill. On Saturday, Abdel Rahman said, the opposition was focusing its efforts on capturing Tal Jamu, some five kilometres (three miles) from Tal al-Jabiyeh, in a bid to link areas under its control. l


n Reuters, Slaviansk Leaders of the Group of Seven major economies agreed to impose extra sanctions on Russia  over its intervention in Ukraine, where armed pro-Moscow separatists detained a group of international observers and accused them of being Nato spies. The United States said its part of the new punitive measures, which US officials said would target “cronies” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, could be unveiled as early as Monday unless  Russiamoved fast to defuse the Ukraine crisis. In a joint statement, the G7 leaders said Russia had not taken any concrete steps to implement an accord, signed in Geneva, that was intended to rein in illegal armed groups. “Instead, it has continued to escalate tensions by increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military maneuvers on Ukraine’s border,” it said. “We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia ... We have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia’s actions.” Russia denies it is to blame for the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where armed pro-Russian separatists have taken control of about a dozen officials buildings are

Interpol reports low use of stolen passport database n AFP, United Nations

Preparations are underway a day before the canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II on St Peter’s square on April 26 at the Vatican. Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will join the roster of saints at a historic Vatican ceremony today seen as an attempt to unite conservatives and reformists, with some 800,000 pilgrims expected in Rome. The double canonisation of two of modern-day Catholicism’s most influential figures will be presided over by Pope Francis AFP

defying the rule of the Western-backed government in the capital, Kiev. The Kremlin argues that the crisis began when a new leadership took over in Kiev, in what Moscow calls a coup d’etat, and started persecuting the Russian-speaking community in the east for wanting closer ties with Russia. The crisis has brought relations between Russia and the West to their lowest level since the Cold War, and is increasingly turning into a military stand-off. Russia has massed troops and helicopters on the border with Ukraine where it says they are conducting exercises, while Nato has deployed extra forces in eastern Europe, saying they are needed to reassure its allies. Meanwhile, the international observers were being held in the eastern city of Slaviansk, a flashpoint between the Moscow-backed separatists who control the city, and Kiev’s forces who are trying to squeeze them out. They were part of a German-led monitoring mission visiting the area under the aegis of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a Vienna-based body whose 57 member states include Russia. The group was made up of eight observers, including nationals from Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic, along with several Ukrainian army officers who were accompanying them, the OSCE said. l

Fewer than 10 countries in the world systematically use an Interpol database to verify whether a passenger is flying with stolen documents, the organization’s secretary general said Friday. The Stolen or Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database contains 42 million records from 167 countries, Ronald Noble told a press conference. But of the 1.2 billion passengers who flew internationally in 2013, at least one in three were never checked in the system, he said. The number has come to light after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which was carrying two Iranian men who boarded with stolen passports. It was later reported that they were illegal migrants, and Malaysian authorities were criticized for not consulting the database. Malaysian Interior Minister Zahid Hamidi said making the checks was too time consuming for immigration officers and caused airport delays. “Most governments unfortunately have not yet taken their responsibilities seriously,” Noble said. “Stolen or lost travel documents are

in the hands of too many international terrorists,” he added. The executive director of the UN’s counterterrorism committee said that scanning passports takes no more than three seconds. “We’ve encouraged member states to use consistently the tools available to strengthen border management and security,” Jean-Paul Laborde said, speaking at the same press conference. But Raymond Benjamin, secretary general of the UN’s Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), noted that non e-passports are unscannable, and they will remain valid until November 2015. The Interpol database, which was established in 2005, is used more than 230 million times per year by the United States, more than 140 million times by Britain, more than 100 million times by the United Arab Emirates, and more than 29 million times by Singapore, according to Interpol. In all, 800 million checks are completed each year, allowing authorities to see the date and place a passport was issued and the date the document was declared stolen or lost. l


Five Nato troops killed in Afghan helicopter crash n AFP, Kabul Five members of the US-led Nato force in Afghanistan died in a helicopter crash in the south of the country yesterday, Nato officials said, adding the cause of the incident was being investigated. The crash was the largest single loss of life for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since another Nato helicopter crashed in December after being hit in a Taliban insurgent attack. “Five International Security Assistance Force service members died as a result of a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan,” the Nato force said. “ISAF is still in the process of reviewing the circumstances to determine more facts.” The statement did not name the province where the crash occurred and made no reference to whether any insurgents were active in the area. But local officials told AFP the helicopter came down in volatile Kandahar and was not attacked by militants. “A helicopter belonging to Nato troops has crashed in Takhta Pul, Kandahar province,” Zia Durrani, the provincial police spokesman, said. “It was doing military exercises and crashed as a result of technical fault.” In line with Nato policy, the coalition deferred casualty identification to national authorities. Six US troops were killed in the December attack when a Blackhawk chopper went down in the southern province of Zabul. Immediately after that crash, US officers suggested the helicopter had come down due to a mechanical failure

but that the crew may then have come under fire. Officials later said that Taliban militants brought down the aircraft. There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the insurgents after Saturday’s crash. In 2011, Taliban fighters shot at a US helicopter head-on from close range in what was the single deadliest incident for US and Nato forces in the Afghan war. That attack killed 30 Americans as the chopper transported Navy SEAL commandos, along with other American and Afghan troops, to flush out a Taliban commander in Wardak province, near the capital Kabul. Aircraft crashes have been a regular risk for the Nato mission in Afghanistan, with troops relying heavily on air transport to battle the Taliban insurgency across the south and east of the country. Nato troop movements have fallen sharply over the last year as soldiers withdraw from the 13-year war. From a peak of 150,000 in 2012, about 51,000 troops – 33,500 of them from the US – now remain in Afghanistan. All Nato combat forces are due to pull out by December. A small US force may remain from 2015 on a training and counter-terrorism operation if a long-delayed deal is signed between Kabul and Washington. Last April, two US troops were killed when a helicopter crashed in the east of Afghanistan, while five US troops died in the southern province of Kandahar the month before when their helicopter came down during a heavy rainstorm. l


Sunday, April 27, 2014


More than 100 dead in Afghanistan flash floods

n AFP, Mazar-I-Sharif

The death toll from flash floods in northern Afghanistan rose to more than 100 yesterday with many others still missing, officials said, as helicopters carried trapped villagers to safety. The national disaster management authority told AFP that 58 people were killed in Jowzjan province, 32 in Faryab, six in Sar-e-Pul and six others in Badghis as floods struck a large swath of rural communities. OCHA, the United Nations humanitarian affairs office, said it had reports from provincial officials of 123 people killed, with Jowzjan province alone suffering 80 deaths and 6,000 displaced people. It said clean water, medical supplies, food and shelter were needed immediately as relief efforts got under way after days of torrential rain. The floodwaters swept through villages, engulfing thousands of homes and leaving many people seeking safety on the roofs of their mudbrick houses. “Unfortunately, we have over 100 people killed and dozens of others missing due to flash floods in four northern provinces,” Mohammad Sadeq Sediqqi, of the national disaster management authority, told AFP. The Afghan defence ministry sent two helicopters to Jowzjan, where the aircraft rescued more than 1,000 people and carried them to higher ground. Officials in Faryab province said nearly 2,000 houses were washed away and more than 8,000 cattle were killed by the floods. Authorities said food and other emergency supplies were being distributed, as well as cash hand-outs. President Hamid Karzai in a statement said he was deeply saddened by the loss of life and property, and ordered relief work to be stepped up. l

Afghan relatives of victims of the country’s war lay flowers alongside coffins symbolising those killed during a memorial ceremony in front of the destroyed palace of Darul Aman in Kabul on April 25 AFP

As war winds down, Afghan Taliban targets foreign civilian workers n Agencies The killing of three American doctors in a Kabul hospital Thursday by an Afghan police officer assigned to provide security at the American-run hospital is a tragic reminder of a shift in attacks on foreigners in Afghanistan from military to civilian targets. After years of carrying out so-called green-on-blue violence, in which Afghan security forces have attacked American and other foreign soldiers working closely with the Afghan mil-

itary and police, the Taliban, the uniformed forces they’ve recruited, and other Afghans motivated by anti-foreigner sentiments are increasingly turning their rage against foreign civilians. Earlier this month an Afghan army officer killed a German Associated Press photographer covering the Afghan elections and wounded the Canadian AP reporter working with her. Other attacks against foreigners, though not by uniformed Afghans, are part of the increase, resulting in a grim toll of at least 22 foreigners killed at the hands of Afghans.

Muslims feel Lalu Prasad, not Nitish Kumar, can stop Modi


n Agencies, Patna

South Korean Buddhist followers march with lanterns tied with yellow ribbons of hope for a safe return for missing passengers of the sunken ferry during the Lotus Lantern Festival in downtown Seoul on April 26. Warrants for the arrest of the remaining crew members of the ferry were to be issued yesterday, a prosecutor said, as the search for bodies was suspended due to bad weather AFP

It was an alliance that nearly didn’t take place and now it’s the one to watch out for in Bihar. RJD and Congress have come together after they split in 2009, having realized how they faltered fighting separately — and against each other — getting six out of Bihar’s 40 seats. In comparison, BJP-JD(U) had swept Bihar with 34 seats. Today, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) is plowing a lonely furrow, and is up against a resurgent Congress-RJD-NCP alliance that has emerged as a potent force, becoming the first choice of 26% Muslims and Yadavs in Bihar. Nitish Kumar’s messy parting with BJP in 2013 appears not to have impressed Muslim voters, who are rooting for Lalu. After three phases of polling that covered 50% of Bihar’s seats, there is a spring in the steps of RJD and Congress busybodies who now look sure of reviving their electoral fortune. Enthused by the overwhelming re-

sponse, especially in Muslim pockets, Lalu is claiming he will improve even on his 2004 Lok Sabha performance when the Congress-RJD alliance, along with then ally LJP, had walked away with 29 of the 40 seats. It would be a tall order to repeat that: RJD had then won in 22 constituencies, LJP in four and Congress in three seats. RJD in 2009 was the largest constituent of UPA-I after Congress. An analysis of the voting pattern of different communities in 20 seats in the last three phases and interviews with a cross-section of voters reveals Congress-RJD candidates are in a good position on 10 seats, with the BJP-LJP alliance looking good in the other 10. “It’s an even battle so far, with a slight advantage to the BJP-led alliance,” said a political analyst in Patna. BJP, which had won 12 seats in 2012, is likely to improve its tally riding the Modi wave, and both the saffron party and RJD are gaining at the cost of JD(U), the political analyst added. l

With the US-led Nato operation in Afghanistan drawing down to its scheduled conclusion, there are fewer foreign soldiers to become targets. With the drawdown, more soldiers are sticking closer to their bases, and after the past years’ spikes in green-on-blue attacks, measures have been put in place to reduce the risks of such attacks. But civilians such as aid workers are the foreigners now in most frequent contact with Afghans, and that leaves them susceptible to anti-foreigner attacks, experts in the field say. l

Manmohan’s halfbrother joins BJP n AFP, New Delhi Indian premier Manmohan Singh, whose ruling Congress party is trailing in election opinion polls, has suffered another blow with his half-brother opting to support the Hindu nationalist opposition, according to media reports. “I feel very sad. I have no control. They are all adults,” Singh told reporters in New Delhi, responding to the news as India’s marathon general election heads into its final stretch. Singh’s half-brother, Daljeet Singh Kohli, a businessman in northern Punjab state, was welcomed Friday into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fold by the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Kohli joined the BJP at an election rally in Amritsar, home to the Sikh Golden Temple, dealing another blow to the prime minister who has been accused by the opposition of being one of  India’s weakest and most ineffective leaders. The latest embarrassment for the Indian leader comes on the heels of the release of a tell-all book by a former adviser to Singh describing him as a powerless dummy prime minister. l

Bali hijack alert 50 days on: Hunt for Obama reminds N Korea of ‘military might’ passenger ‘mistook ens the United States and South Korea and greater security.” Reuters, Seoul MH370 set to be extended nPresident North Korea is already subject to UN with destruction. cockpit for toilet’ “We don’t use our military might sanctions over its previous three atomBarack Obama said yesterday The search for MH370 is the longest the United States did not use its mili- to impose these things on others, but ic tests. Recent satellite data shows n Agencies n Reuters, Perth and most expensive in aviation history, tary might to “impose things” on oth- we will not hesitate to use our military continued work at the nuclear test site An Australian passenger who sparked a hijack alert on a flight to Bali has denied being drunk and claimed he banged on the door of the cockpit after mistaking it for the toilet, Indonesian police said. Matt Christopher Lockley also said he was in a state of depression during the Virgin Australia flight on Friday to the resort island, as he was searching for his Indonesian wife with whom he had lost contact, they said. Security forces rushed to the airport on the Indonesian island when the Boeing 737-800 from Brisbane touched down following a report from the pilot of a hijacking attempt after a passenger started thumping on the cockpit door.  Lockley, wearing flip-flops, white shorts and a T-shirt, was dragged off the plane by heavily armed air force personnel and arrested by police. The alert prompted a shutdown of the airport and the diversion of several flights.  Indonesian officials initially said he had been drunk but police said Saturday the 28-year-old, who is in custody but has been admitted to hospital suffering from fatigue, has denied being under the influence of alcohol. l

The undersea search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is to be extended beyond the small area identified as its most likely resting place as the quest for any sign of the missing plane entered its 50th day yesterday. The submarine drone Bluefin 21 has so far searched about 95 percent of a 10 square km (6.2 square mile) area of the Indian Ocean seabed, pinpointed after the detection of acoustic pings believed to be from the plane’s black box flight recorders. Bluefin 21 had to abort the search on Friday and resurface due to a software malfunction. Technicians fixed the drone overnight and its 14th, 16 hour trip to the sea floor at depths of more than 4.5 km (2.8 miles) was underway on Saturday. “If no contacts of interest are made, Bluefin-21 will continue to examine the areas adjacent to the 10km radius,” Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in charge of the search said in a statement. Flight MH370 disappeared without a trace on March 8 flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

with ships and aircraft from some two dozen nations taking part. The air and sea search continued on Saturday with up to 8 military aircraft and 11 ships. A US defense official told Reuters on Friday that the sea search is likely to drag on for years as it enters the much more difficult phase of scouring broader areas of the ocean near where the plane is believed to have crashed. Speaking under condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the search effort, the official said Malaysia would have to decide how to proceed with the search, including whether to bring in more underwater drones. The Australian and Malaysian governments are under pressure to show what lengths they are prepared to go to in order to give closure to the grieving families of those on board flight MH370. Malaysia is also under growing pressure to improve its disclosure about its investigation. Prime Minister Najib Razak told CNN on Thursday his government would make public a preliminary report into the plane’s disappearance next week. l

ers, but that it would use that might if necessary to defend South Korea from any attack by the reclusive North. Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye presented a united front against North Korea at a joint news conference following their summit on Friday, warning that they would respond firmly to any “provocations” by Pyongyang which routinely threat-

might to defend our allies and our way of life,” Obama told cheering US forces at the Yongsan garrison on a sunny spring morning. “So like all nations on Earth, North Korea and its people have a choice. They can choose to continue down a lonely road of isolation, or they can choose to join the rest of the world and seek a future of greater opportunity,

in North Korea, although experts analyzing the data say that preparations do not appear to have progressed far enough for an imminent test. Adding to tensions surrounding Obama’s visit to South Korea, the North announced on Friday it had detained a 24-year-old American this month who demanded asylum after arriving in the country on a tourist visa. l

Kim urges soldiers to ready for US conflict n AFP, Seoul North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has chided his soldiers, telling them to be ready for “impending conflict with the United States,” Pyongyang media reported yeseterday as satellites showed a nuclear test could be near. The report comes as US President Barack Obama finishes up a two-day visit to South Korea, where he warned the North it faced tougher sanctions if the underground detonation went ahead. It also comes after Pyongyang claimed it had been holding a young

American for two weeks. Kim, the supreme commander of the North’s 1.2-million-strong armed forces often visits military units to deliver on-the-spot “guidance” on ways to strengthen preparedness. He usually lavishes them with praise and presents gifts such as rifles or binoculars as symbols of their vigilance. But after watching a shelling drill by an artillery sub-unit on Friday, he upbraided soldiers for their lax approach, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. “Dear Supreme Commander Kim

Jong-Un said nothing is more important than preparing for combat now, in the face of an impending conflict with the United States,” KCNA reported. Pointing at a map, Kim ordered the unit to establish a firing position and start the shelling exercise, the agency said, without revealing the location. “Watching the drill, he severely criticised the sub-unit for failing to make good combat preparation” citing the time it had taken to deploy, it said. He blamed a lack of enthusiasm over training among the sub-unit’s commander and his superiors. l




Letters to

Menendez no friend to RMG workers


obert Menendez, chairman of the US Senate Committee of Foreign Relations, has said the US would not buy clothes from Bangladesh as they were stained with the blood of Bangladeshi workers. The senator went on to threaten that soon, the “made in Bangladesh” label may become “tarnished beyond repair” in the eyes of Western buyers. While we agree that the BGMEA should do everything it can to improve labour and safety standards in the garment industry, we find the senator’s admonition to be hypocritical and counterproductive. The US has been importing clothing from Bangladesh for quite some time, happily exploiting many of the realities of our business sector for its own gain. To now suddenly boycott Bangladeshi RMG products serves the interests of neither country. The garment sector is a key economic driver of Bangladesh. Despite the imperfections of the industry, the sector employs millions of poor people and makes up a significant portion of our GDP. Foreign retailers have been all too happy to buy cheap clothing from Bangladesh while making steep profits in their own local markets. Senator Menendez’s threat smacks of insincerity and political opportunism. The fact is that US retailers who squeeze every last cent out of RMG manufacturers are every bit as culpable for the plight of Bangladeshi garment workers. Threatening to put millions out of work is no solution, it is simply political posturing and moral grandstanding under the guise of humanitarian concern. If Menendez cared one whit about Bangladeshi garment workers he would not make such unhelpful and incendiary comments. Let us hope that the senator’s words do not at all reflect either the prevailing sentiment or the policy direction in Washington.

Threatening to put millions out of work is no solution

Practical ways to protect IP rights


reativity and knowledge are central to the world economy. On World Intellectual Property Day this Saturday, a number of events were held to raise awareness of the importance of incentivising creative activity, by protecting copyright and patents. Future economic growth in Bangladesh will benefit from better implementation and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Awareness-raising is key to getting more consumers and decision makers acting on IP issues. One question which advocates always face however is that people assume it is impossible to protect certain copyright rights such as films and music because technology makes these easy to pirate. This is not always the case. For example, it is straightforward to monitor music and songs played on radio and television. It would be very easy to put in place a structure to protect and reward the rights of songwriters and performers, whose work is played on national television and radio stations. Paying a fee to composers, performers and music publishers for using the fruits of their work and creativity on the radio is normal practice in many countries. Yet Bangladeshi musicians are not paid any fees when their songs are repeatedly played on often very profitable commercial stations. This is a situation which can and should be changed. As well as rewarding artists, it would help create awareness among the public. Another simple area which can be looked at is foreign academic textbooks. There is no reason why universities should not work together to secure licences rather than leaving students to rely on pirated copies.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

the Editor


Make powdered milk affordable to the masses

April 25 In this country, a litre of Milk Vita cow milk costs Tk62 whereas, last month, it was Tk58. Nearly 50% of children here aren’t able to drink milk, a great source of nutrition, due to low production and a supply shortage. One might recall that in the 90s, the then BNP-led government imposed a high customs duty and supplementary duty on the import of powdered milk to encourage its production and to make the country self-sufficient. Subsequent governments have followed the same policy. However, production has not increased significantly so the masses can avail it. Instead, only the well-off can afford it, due to the short supply and high prices. Even many in the middle-class seldom prepare food with milk. Up until the middle of the last century, drinking milk and eating foods made from milk were common for us. Milk is said to be an ideal food for all. The government needs to review its policy of high customs duty, VAT and supplementary duty on the import of powdered milk. It needs to withdraw these duties and make milk accessible to more people. Mohd Ashraf Hossain

Death before awakening April 20 Zafar This is akin to a forensic report on Gonojagoron A perfect analysis. AL backed this moncho from Moncho. the very first day to be re-elected using public sentiment. Now they have returned to power and Samiur Rahman it is obvious that the current government will not Accurate and hits all the right chords. accept it any longer. NH 6md atiqul Haq This article is spot on!

Thank you to our readers April 20

Wahid Choudhury Congratulations on your first year anniversary! Please continue to report the truth and don’t bow to political pressure from any of the parties controlling the power. The best thing going for Bangladesh is the ability of newspapers like yours to publish the facts, for people to know, of those who abuse their power. Ronnie Kudos on your first birthday. It’s an important, happy milestone. I’m certain of many more to come with each passing year. I started regularly reading the print version of the Dhaka Tribune from Septem-

ber last year, and also commenting on its articles, online. I think it’s an unfailingly modern, progressive paper with a very topical and eclectic content mix provoking thought and debate on issues, daily. Also, DT seems largely free of the pretty staid outlook and preachy tone of some of the other older, and even newer, English dailies. I’d suggest that some of the writing definitely needs marked improvement. I’d love to see regular long-form articles through the week – on science and technology, religion, art, architecture and design, education, philosophy, books and literature etc – be a strong feature of DT’s content. Wishing you a lot of luck ahead anyway.

Most abductions veiled in mystery

April 20 Irie Keith Garcia People For me, there is nothing more important than being This makes me wonder about the Bangladesh safe. Right now offenders like these abductors are Chhatra League activists. The BCL has also allegedly everywhere and may attack you and your family in carried out such heinous activities. But haven’t they no time. And also we can never predict what will also suffered and lost their own men? Don’t they happen to us. We should always take certain actions feel the pain of this loss? If they really did feel it, for this not to happen and not just rely on other they would stop these activities and take up good people to do it for us. projects.

Relatives mourn Rana Plaza collapse victim at grave in Jurain April 22

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since that day! Rayhan Mamun

HC: No male doctor should examine rape victims to determine age April 21 Yeah. This is a good omen for Bangladesh. Muktir Dip

Suranjit: Teesta deal already inked April 21

So, when will the implementation be started? Shamiul Adnan

RU: Intern doctors’ certificates not frozen

April 22 What a claim! As for those who have had their certificates frozen, who don’t have one in hand, what are they going to do?? Muktir Dip

Be Heard

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Bangladeshi musicians should be paid when their songs are played on radio and TV



SUDOKU ACROSS 1 Summit (4) 3 Needy (4) 7 Monkey (3) 8 Labours (5) 11 Dry (4) 12 Narrow places (5) 13 Out of order (5) 15 Mines (4) 18 After proper time (4) 19 Skin disease (5) 20 Bellows (5) 21 Sibilate (4) 23 Concretion of nacre (5) 24 United (3) 25 Daybreak (4) 26 Expensive (4)

DOWN 1 Starry (6) 2 Bring out (6) 4 Rowing implement (3) 5 Narcotic (6) 6 Blushing (3) 9 Unlucky contestants (6) 10 Distress signal (3) 11 Be eager (6) 14 Yachting station (6) 16 Mad (6) 17 Tar (6) 19 Faucet (3) 21 Bricks carrier (3) 22 Ply the needle (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.





Sunday, April 27, 2014

Married at twelve n Shazia Omar


Why do we keep celebrating certain people?

hen Shonkori prepared egg curry that Friday afternoon for a visitor, she didn’t know she would be married to him by evening. Shonkori’s mother drowned several years earlier from a fit of hysteria when she jumped into a river. Shonkori’s father remarried, and Shonkori and her younger siblings moved in with her maternal aunt. Shonkori’s older brother went into bonded labour to support his siblings, and Shonkori stayed in school. Her father rarely visited, but that Friday morning he came by in great spirits, and gave her a sari. He left saying he was going to visit friends. He returned an hour later, grinning, and asked her to prepare some lunch for four friends who would be visiting. The four friends, two brothers and their parents, came and ate. They didn’t speak much to her, only asked what her age was (12), what grade she was in (VI), and whether she could cook (of course). When they left, her SYED LATIF HOSSAIN father informed her that the younger man, 30, would be her husband, and the wedding would be that very night at her aunt’s house. Best of all, the family had not asked for any dowry! This, he insisted, was because of the negotiating power of the ghotok (match-maker) who was a friend indeed, and was charging them only a reasonable fee of Tk2,000 for his service. we can see the hero archetype at play. Shonkori wept in her aunt’s arms, Communists, for all their dialectic saying she didn’t want to marry this materialism of impersonal historman, for she was already in love ical forces, proved the most adept with someone else. The boy was fair, practitioners of hero archetype, as educated (grade X in her school), and evidenced by the personality cults from a good family. Her aunt explained of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. When we gently that a boy from a good family laugh at images of Putin’s semi-naked would never marry her, that the rich machismo, we fail to see how effective look down on the poor , and besides, this crude propaganda is in fulfilling the Russian ideal of heroic leadership.        the man her father had chosen was a widower with a young son. This son BNP leadership has decided that at had lost his mother, just as Shonkothis time of crisis, the most effective rallying idea for their party supporters, ri had, and it was hoped she would understand his hurt and perhaps give weak and strong, is not a burning contemporary issue, but refurbishing Zia’s him the love he so desperately needed. role in our history. They are, in effect, trying to give the sense of deep meaning and shared ideals to the supporters. The effectiveness of this effort will only be known in time, but we should see that this may not be a frivolous campaign with no forethought. For all its power and prevalence, the hero archetype is largely receding from the mainstream political discourse in advanced democracies. Higher level political discussions in countries like the US, Britain, and Germany is largely devoid of adulation or iconoclastic discussion of past political heroes. The contribution and exploits of Shonkori remembered how heartbroleaders are regarded as remarkable achievements of normal men with some ken she was when her mother died, and though she was still a child, this exceptional abilities. Personal identiignited a deep sympathy within her, fication with heroic leaders is looked so she agreed to the marriage. That down upon as a sign of intellectual weakness. But until our country reaches evening, she wore her mother-inlaw’s wedding sari, and married the that stage of political enlightenment, stranger. Her father gave her a matwe should expect to see a lot more of the hero archetype at play in our nation- tress, blanket, bedsheets, a few saris, pots and pans, and gave her husband al and personal discourses.  l Tk6,000 with which to start a small business. Her father-in-law gave her a Shafiqur Rahman is a freelance contributor.

And then a hero comes along


n Shafiqur Rahman he history and heritage season is largely over with the arrival of scorching Boishakh, but the debates regarding our historical leaders refuse to wilt in the summer heat. This preoccupation with Zia and Mujib at these eventful current times exasperates many of us. The more sophisticated among us deplore our chronic predisposition to raise leaders above broad historical trends and the personality cult-like behaviour of our major parties. We fail to add up why the BNP, faced now with perhaps the biggest crises since the overthrow of President Sattar, resorted to focus on Zia’s role in 1971 while countless other burning issues remain uncontested in the public arena. But if this seems madness to us, there is a method in the madness – the method may be by design or accidental. Rumi Ahmed in his article “History wars: Zia and BNP’s future” (DT, March 16), in my opinion, puts the finger on the essence of the problem and opportunity that compelled BNP to bring anew Zia’s historic role in 1971 to popular attention. His money quote from the article, “A party cannot build an army of selfless street fighters without positive reinforcement of an idol father figure. Without memory of Zia and his pragmatic politics of synthesis, BNP is now a loose collection of people of varying negative sentiments like anti-secularism, anti-India sentiment, or other competing interests. This may be the major reason there is this terrible inertia among its activists, which is preventing the BNP from launching an

all-out decisive movement. And that is why BNP needs Zia again …” The art of projecting leaders as heroes is as old as human civilisation. For a country beset with rivalry of narratives of heroic leaderships, we have remarkably little discussion of psychological underpinnings behind this atavistic urge. Human society has a need to find and celebrate leaders as heroes programmed by thousands of years of cultural and social evolution.

This preoccupation with Zia and Mujib at these eventful current times exasperates many of us

The storyline of a hero struggling against men and nature, overcoming adversity, and then bringing salvation to his people is the oldest and simplest storyline. A leader as a hero is a basic human archetypal construct. Archetypes are mental models that developed early in human society to enable our forbearers to make sense of a bewildering world, and increasingly complex society. Carl Jung, the famous psychologist-philosopher, developed the theory of archetypes, and found that a few universal patterns are present in all stories and mythologies. Among them, the most consistently present is the hero archetype. From the Epic of Gilgamesh

‘Pohela’ is okay n Nahian Asadullah


have trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that “Pohela” in the phrase Pohela Boishakh is not a Bangla word. If that was the case, I don’t think I would be speaking Bangla now. Most of what we speak in Bangladesh today is actually foreign. Try avoiding the words “chair,” “table,” and “veranda” to name a few. (Some of them have their own Bangla equivalent, but who uses them?) Recently in an op-ed published in the DT, the author Syed Almas Kabir said he believed that the term “Pohela Boishakh” was not correct. His reasoning was that the word “Pohela” was an Urdu or Hindi word, and therefore should not be used with the word Boishakh. He offered the word Prothoma instead, which he claims is a pure Bangla word. But languages, by their very nature, evolve and work in a very flexible manner. In all languages, there is a group of words which are foreign. Is it reasonable for me to say I won’t go abroad or use foreign languages to interact with the outside

to the story of Moses, from Achilles-Odysseus in Iliad-Odyssey to Rama in Ramayana, the same hero archetype keeps reoccurring with remarkable fidelity. We keep reverting to hero archetype because heroes play a fundamental role in making sense of the world for confused and distressed minds. Heroes give us the illusion that someone can be in control of events, bring order to the chaos, and dispense justice to the wronged. The myth of

world because it is not a local thing to do? No. Because interacting with the outside world is critical for the development and survival of your nation. Likewise, it is not possible for a language to avoid some influence from other languages. However, no one in his right mind would say that foreign words that exist in Bangla have remained exactly the same since when they were borrowed. Would anyone claim that words such as geometry and trigonometry were not English words? These are two of the foreign words which have been anglicised from Sanskrit. I can speak of many other foreign words which have become inseparable from English. They are English words. No one complains that “en masse” is Spanish or that “harikiri” is Japanese. Puritanism is not good when it comes to language. What would it be like to try to speak English without all the foreign words it has in it? l Nahian Asadullah is a Staff Writer at the Dhaka Tribune.

heroes also creates shared meaning for their community and enhances group cohesion in the face of disintegrating forces. A shared sense of quest and meaning is the most effective glue that bonds groups together and heroes provide that in the most simple and effective form.   Many of us who moan the cult of heroic leadership prevailing in this part of the world fail to see how this basic archetype is being employed even in the most developed societies. When we see how the Republican faithful in the USA try to elevate Ronald Reagan to the altar of saint, or how the Democratic political intellectuals spin the unfinished saga of JFK from Camelot,

I ask her how she feels. She says she is happy, though I am not sure what happiness means to her

golden nosepin and told her she would no longer go to school. Now, three years later, Shonkori says she loves her two sons, the boy from another mother, and her own, who is now ten months old. She says labour was difficult, but her child is very sweet, and her husband does not beat her as she had feared he might.

Most forced marriages at tender ages are related to extreme poverty and reduced dowry costs

She says with pride that he neither drinks nor gambles, but he doesn’t earn either, and they are dependent on her mother-in-law’s income (her mother-in-law owns a boat which she received from shiree’s asset-transfer program two years ago). I ask what happened to the Tk6,000 her father gave her husband as startup capital (not “dowry,” as he liked to point out). She tells me glumly about the stomach problem her husband suffered soon after their wedding that cost over Tk6,000 to diagnose and treat. Most forced marriages at tender ages are related to extreme poverty and reduced dowry costs on the basis of age. Young girls are married to the least desired men in the community, men who are also extremely poor and jobless, and so the poverty perpetuates. I return to the questions in my notebook to see what else I can learn. I ask if she has a say in any of the household decisions. She says she does not like to interfere. I ask if she gets to eat as much as her husband. She looks at me as if I am strange. “Why would I?” she says. “I am small and he is big.” She is small, a tiny 4’9”, and frail. I ask if she has any dreams. She says she wants her sons to go to school. I ask if she has faced any severe deprivations. She laughs and says no, she has been unusually lucky in life. I smile politely, but I know from my notes that she was a victim of Aila five years ago, and her aunt and her father both lost their homes to the cyclone. For weeks she lived in a shelter and for months she ate less than two meals a day. Her own sister died of a snake bite. Finally I ask her how she feels. She says she is happy, though I am not sure what happiness means to her. When we part, she gives me a hug and says she shall call me “apu” for she has never had anyone take so much interest in her before and for this she is grateful. This is a true story but the names have been anonymised. l Shazia Omar is an Advocacy Advisor at shiree. She can be reached at shazia@

Protect our ideas n ABM Hamidul Mishbah


esterday was World Intellectual Property Day – mostly referred to as World IP Day. On April 26 of each year, this day is observed throughout the world with a variety of initiatives and events with the underlying objective of increasing mass awareness and understanding on Intellectual Property (IP). In 2014, we celebrated the day with the theme “Movies – A Global Passion,” commemorating the contribution of Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, popularly known as Charlie Chaplin – an icon and one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. Charlie Chaplin was an actor, director, and producer, who, exactly 100 years back, had a great contribution in the modern film-making process. Chaplin brought depth of character to the screen as an actor, embraced new technologies as a director, and, as a producer, he introduced innovative methods of financing and distribution which many think have helped in creating the modern film industry and established film as one of the most popular mediums of art around the world. 100 years later, today, movies have become a global passion for the countless viewers who watch them every day, and also for the millions

who work relentlessly on and off screen in making such films throughout the globe. Movies have come a long way since Chaplin’s days, and are considered to be one of the most powerful mediums for influencing our lives, our choices, and decision-making process. Movies have always been the outcome of a collaborative effort. From script to screen, each stage of the movie-making process requires contribution from a crew of creative and innovative minds, of which intellectual property (IP) rights remain at the core.

innovations in the making of the film and help to generate revenue through invoking fresher distribution channels. In other words, every aspect of film-making – be it protecting the script, sourcing funds, protecting artists’ rights or distribution rights, merchandising, technical innovations, marketing strategies, or application of digital technologies – spins around a variety of issues. WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) works together with various government agencies, non-government organisations,

Bangladesh is a country where we often see our creative ideas and innovations get battered due to inadequate protection

It is the IP rights that draw the producer to invest in a film, encourage the screenwriter and director to create, and motivate the artists and the rest of the crew to work and earn a living as well as a reputation. They encourage the use of advanced technology and

community groups, and individuals to hold different events and activities, including concerts, public performances, essay competitions, seminars and workshops, art exhibitions, and so on to observe and promote World IP Day each year.

Bangladesh is a country that encompasses a massive number of creative and innovative minds. It is one of the most linguistically, culturally, and ethnically homogeneous country in the world – an emblem of pride for the glory of her heritage and tradition of creative practices in art, culture, and innovation. Bangladesh is also a country where we often see our creative ideas and innovations get battered due to a lack of self-awareness and inadequate protection. To this extent, Bangladesh Copyright & IP Forum (BCIPF), a notfor-profit entity which works towards promoting creativity and innovations and protecting right-holders’ interests within Bangladesh, is observing this year’s World IP Day through holding a campaign titled “Volunteer for IP” (VIP), which is a youth-engagement campaign to promote IPR awareness in Bangladesh among the community. The youths are considered to be the driving force for creativity and innovation in any given society. The power of the youth has always triumphed in bringing positive changes to Bangladesh. Despite all odds, the youth are the ones who are expected to shape the creative and innovative future of Bangladesh. l ABM Hamidul Mishbah, Barrister-at-Law, is an intellectual property lawyer, practising at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Jibondhuli to be screened in 64 districts n Entertainment Desk

A group dance recital at the auditorium of Music and Dance Centre of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy yesterday as part of Bangladesh Dance Artistes’ Association's weeklong programme to celebrate the International Dance Day. The event brings together dance artistes from all over the country to participate in performances, seminars, discussion, fair and procession. The programme will come to an end on the International Dance Day on April 29 SADIA MARIUM

Tanvir Mokammel’s latest film Jibondhuli will be screened in sixty four districts of Bangladesh as an initiative taken by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and the production house Kino Eye Films. Based on the history of the Liberation War of Bangladesh, Jibondhuli received a grant award from the government of Bangladesh. The director of five feature films and several documentaries, Tanvir Mokammel released his latest production Jibondhuli on February 14. In an conversation with the Dhaka Tribune, Mokammel said: “With the support of Shilpakala Academy for the first time, a film will be shown in sixty four districts of Bangladesh. This is a moment of great joy for the cast and crew of the film. This an important movie for the young generation to learn about our Liberation War. This initiative will enable the youth of every corner of the country top watch the film.” Talking about the audience’s response on the Jibondhuli so far, the director said: “It is getting positive feedback from the critics and the audience as well. We are glad and hope our journey to continue more.” The cast of the film features Shatabdi Wadud, Wahida Mallick Joly, Jyotika Jyoti, Ramendu Majumder, Paresh Bhuiyan and many others. Set against the backdrop of the Liberation War in 1971, the story revolves around Jibonkrishna Das, a lower-caste Hindu drummer. When the Pakistani armed forces occupies Jibon’s village tries to flee with his family. But his fam-

My first priority is my family: Urmila Srabanti Kar n Shadma Malik

Who inspired you to center the entertainment industry? My mother. She was a theatre performer and also, my father inspired me to work onscreen.

What was the first performance? In 2010, my first drama Jotil Prem was aired on Channel i. My co-artist was Chanchal Chowdhury. During my childhood I also worked in several TV plays.

Depp not required to testify at murder trial

n Entertainment Desk Actor Johnny Depp will no longer be required to testify at a murder trial after lawyers concurred that he was not in a relationship with the accused. Nancy Lekon was accused of killing a pedestrian with her car in 2009, and she has taken the insanity plea. Lekon said she is in a relationship with Depp, reports The prosecution and defence lawyers have now agreed that the actor has no connection with Lekon and neither does he have any involvement in the case. Hence, he is no longer required to give evidence. The Pirates of the Caribbean star was served with legal papers relating to the case while attending a film premiere in Los Angeles earlier this month and Lekon's lawyer was expecting that the actor would reinforce her insanity plea with his testimony. l

Dhaka Graam reminisces old beauty of Dhaka

What is the most challenging aspect in acting? The most challenging aspect would be to transform myself into the role I am suppose dto portray. It was quite difficult on my part to get inside a character and play accordingly. At first, I use to be myself, but more was dememded of my abilities. With knowledge and experience, I learned to play the characters with certain traits and expertise.

When did you first realise that you want to be an actor? I participated in the Lux Channel i Super Star competition in 2009. That gave me the boost necessary to enter showbiz. I was not set on acting at first, it was a coincidence. At this point, I don’t intend to limit my career to acting only, but would like to explore other mediums as well.

Which is your favorite role so far? I have worked with numerous veteran artistes in several TV plays and so far, my favourite one is the character of Pushpo in Kalo Ar Dholo Bahirey Kebol. The character was

ily members get killed on the way. Jibon survives, and after roaming around the war-ravaged countryside, when he finally returns to his native village it is being ruled by the Razakars. The commander of the Razakars spares Jibon’s life on the condition that he have to play the drum for his force. The story moves forward depicting how he struggles to survive against the brutality of the Pakistanis and local collaborator. l

hayanaut. I also learned drawing and in my school days and was involved in various sports activities. Additionally, I learned dancing for seven years.

An enthusiastic actor, Urmila Srabanti Kar likes to explore life and delve deeper into fields of work. In a conversation with the Dhaka Tribune, the budding actor talked about her interest in the showbiz world.

Do you want to act in films? At this moment, I am doing many TV plays. If my schedule permits, I will consider working in a film. Based on future prospectives, I may tread into filmdom. Apart from work, my first priory is my family, after giving them ample attention, I will explore my opportunities.

A scene from Jibondhuli

What is your dream role? Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Bilashi, a love story between Mrityunjai and Bilashi. Daughter of a snake charmer, Bilashi breaks all the norms and customs of the society. My dream role would be to play the character of Bilashi. complex and I really enjoyed portraying it. I also performed Rabindra Shangeet for use in the drama. What other talents do you have? My mother is a singer. I learned singing from her and obtained a diploma from Ch-

Tell us about your recent ventures. Recently, I finished shooting for a drama Aporahnno which will be aired on NTV during Eid. I feel grateful for the opportunity to work with Partho and Tareen. During my shooting, I followed the talented actor Tareen and was mesmerised to see her acting skills. Actor Tareen is my role model. l


n Hasan Mansoor Chatak We rarely find the sweetness of village life in the chaotic city. But a group of photographers with investigative instincts and aesthetic minds, framed some beautiful features of the city which still exist in the milieu of the concrete jungle. A day-long photo exhibition presenting images taken on the mobile phone application Instagram was held at the footpath of 7/A, Dhanmondi yesterday in the capital. The exhibition title Dhaka Graam seems to be derive from the suffix of Instagram that enables its users to take pictures, apply digital filters to them and share them on a variety of social networking services. There is also a wordplay on the Bangla word “graam,” which means village, as the assembly of the photo portrays elements of the rural life. The photographs innovatively depict the contrast and combination of elements of rural and city life. Horse carriage, natural beauty, shadow of greenery and more have been portrayed in con-

trast of the the city’s modren objects. Despite the suffocation and everyday exhaust, the assembly of the photographs bring a refreshment to city dwellers. Both professional and amateur photographers took part in the exhibition which they claim “not a conventional exhibition” but a “nemesis gaze of Dhaka city.” The photographers chose the public space for the display to reach the general citizens of the city. From renowned photographer Andrew Biraj to singer Shayan Chowdhury Arnob, Imran Firdaus, Anindya Kabir Ovik, Abedin Safi, Ismail Ferdous, Kazi Tahsan Agaz Apurba, Jessica Islam Lia, Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy, Stalin Joseph and many others participated in the show curated by Amirul Rajiv. Amirul Rajiv said: “The exhibition aims to create bonds between the the city and its inhabitants. Its our first venture and the series of Dhaka Graam will continue with more exciting photographs.” l

Joiboti Konyar Mon airs tonight n Entertainment Desk Drama serial Joiboti Koinyar Mon, based on iconic playwright Selim Al-Deen’s popular narrative on the same title, will be aired tonight on SATV at 8:30pm. Following the traditional performing art form, Al Deen’s play illustrates the difficulties and challenges faced by a female artiste in the fields both in the past and present. It depicts the two distinct, parallel mental states of a reincarnated girl. During her first birth in the Middle Age, she was born as Kalindi, the daughter of a renowned singer Srikar, a traditional singer of manosa mangal. Kalindi, who grew up learning classical dance and mangal music, falls in love with Sankar, the adopted son of Srikar. Kalindi is reincarnated as an artiste again, this time belonging to a traditional theatre troupe in the contemporary time. Tisha plays the protagonist of the serial which also features Shahiduzzaman Selim, Dipa Khandakar, Rokeya Rafique Baby, Khairul Islam Pakhi and more. l

Aditya-Parinneti starrer Dawate-Ishq first look released n Entertainment Desk The teaser for Habib Faisal's Dawaat-e-Ishq looks quite delectable. The lead pair of the film Aditya Roy Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra is seen trying out jalebis against a background at a splash of colours. At first look, the film promises to be a love story with food playing an intrinsic part in the story line. A deliciously romantic coming together of Gulrez “Gullu” Qadir (Parineeti Chopra) a Hyderabadi shoe-sales girl disillusioned with love because of her encounters with dowry-seeking men; and Tariq “Taru” Haidar (Aditya Roy Kapoor) a

Lucknawi cook who can charm anybody with the aroma and flavours of his biryani and kebabs. In the clash of diametrically opposite but equally spicy cultures of Hyderabad and Lucknow, Gullu and Taru arrive at a “tuning-setting”, rewrite traditional recipes of love, crush sold-fashioned world-view and make their own masaledaar albeli rangreli pichchar... Daawat-e-Ishq! Produced by Aditya Chopra, the film is written and directed by Habib Faisal, the music is by Sajid-Wajid and lyrics by Kausar Munir. Daawat-e-Ishq also features Anupam Kher in pivotal role and marks the Bollywood debut of TV actor, Karan Wahi. l

Did you know? Mainz striker Shinji Okazaki became the highest-scoring Japanese in a single Bundesliga season when he scored his 14th goal on Saturday


Sunday, April 27, 2014

14 Balotelli clashes

with pundits after loss

14 Spain press

mourns Barca ‘great’ Vilanova



15 Own-goal

derails Everton’s Euro bid

BCB reluctant over only vacant director’s post

Brothers Union’s Nigerian forward Kester Akon shoots the ball towards the Sheikh Russell at the BNS yesterday

Brothers grow on Russell’s fall Sheikh Russell KC stumbled again in the Nitol-Tata Bangladesh Premier League as the reigning champions suffered another 1-0 defeat and this time against a spirited Brothers Union side at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. Nigerian striker Kester Akon netted the all important goal for the Oranges at the stroke of half-time after defender Rezaul Karim Reza made a blunder. Sheikh Russell tried hard to stage a come back to the game, but none clear scoring chance saw them leave the field with another defeat. Russell’s fate didn’t change despite sacking their treble winning coach Maruful Haque and replacing him with Montenegro’s Dragan Dukanovic. They were held to a shocking draw against bottom placed Chittagong Abahani in their previous match. They earned only one win in their last eight games losing three and drawing four. Meanwhile for Brothers, who had won only two games out of nine in the first phase of the league including a same margin win over Russell, it was their second victory in their third game

in second phase. They defeated Abahani Limited 1-0 and lost to Sheikh Jamal 3-2 with before edging past last season treble winners yesterday. The result put both the side on equal points, 16, at the table though a better goal difference kept Sheikh Russell ahead at fifth place. The Gopibag outfits initiated the first attack in the 28th minute when Rubel Miah’s lob from the top of the box was tipped away by Russell keeper Biplob Bhattacharjee for a corner. Eight minutes later, Serbian midfielder Miroslav Savanovic unleashed a powerful free-kick from the left side of the box which was parried away by Brothers goalkeeper Sobuj Das Rogu. Mithun Chodhury found the rebounder but his shot was blocked by a defender. The Oranges stunned all to take the lead one minute into the extra time of first-half. Nigerian midfielder Simon Ezeodika stole the ball from Rezaul Karim’s possession inside the box and slid it onto the path of Kester Akon before the Nigerian striker slotted home past Russell custodian Biplob. Russell’s best chance for the equaliser came in the 67th minute when Shakil Ahmed headed on a cross of Sohel Rana from the right flank only to see the effort blocked for the expense of a corner. l


Jurgensen’s Bangladesh future uncertain Shane Jurgensen, the Bangladesh head coach, faces an uncertain future with some BCB directors wanting a new man with international experience to take charge of the team ahead of the World Cup as the fallout from Bangladesh’s woeful World T20 campaign continues. However, the situation could yet be taken out of the BCB’s hands with Jurgensen saying he is considering how own future. It is far from a unanimous view of the board that a new coach is required, but BCB sources have told ESPNcricinfo that the search is on for a coach with a batting background. With less than a year before a major tournament, the appointment must be made by mid-June when Bangladesh take on India in three ODIs. The BCB are also exploring short-term specialised consultants from among the recent crop of retired international players. “Some of the directors are trying to find a head coach who is more batting oriented,” the source said. “We are trying to find a high-profile coach but they are hard to find in this market. We are targeting the 2015 World Cup, so we must have one by June. “The board would want to make changes after a debacle. It is almost like a rule around the world. We need the

right people in place, and that could be consultants who will remedy technical and mental blocks. For the time being, [Shane Jurgensen] will probably stay because we are leaning towards finding more specialists, like former international stars to help us in specific areas.” The rumour mill began whirring last month when BCB president Nazmul Hassan said he foresaw “many changes” in the national team, but he was not specific. The statement was made the day after Bangladesh lost to the West Indies in the Super 10s of the World T20. There were three further losses which fuelled the notion that it would be the coaches who would have their contracts cut short. In subsequent press briefings, Hassan has eluded that the current set-up may be kept since they have been unable to find suitable replacements all of which has left Jurgensen feeling uneasy “It [the situation] is not ideal and I am considering my own position at the moment,” Jurgensen told ESPNcricinfo. “However I feel I have been subject to this situation ever since I have been given the honour of being the head coach. Having not played Test cricket, I knew I had to prove myself as a team coach and success along with that was important. “I have had to work extremely hard and adapt to the conditions and circum-

Naeem credits players for hard work, Dukanovic points lacking Sheikh Russell’s Montenegrin coach Dragan Dukanovic predicted more hard times ahead and was soul searching for the solutions after their defeat against Brothers Union in the Nitol-Tata Bangladesh Premier League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. Meanwhile, his counterpart winning coach of Brothers Union Syed Naeemuddin felt it was his players’ hard work and the mental integrity that paid the dividends. Dukanovic termed his team composition is not a good one as it does not have any strikers and said, “All I have are midfielders and there are no forwards who can penetrate the opposition defence with ball holding capabilities inside the opposition defence, there are no typical forwards in the line up, forget a good forward, at the moment I don’t have any solutions ready.” The coach thought that Russell had the better possession of the ball throughout the match but it had no

impact. “We could not finish the ball, I am really disappointed with the situation, we conceded the ball due a stupid mistake at the end of the first half and

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) according to the amended constitution is supposed to have a 27-member board – a president and 26 directors. The BCB election was held in October 10 last year, but the board is yet to get its 26th director and also the two vice-presidents. It was learnt, the National Sports Council (NSC) is also helpless on the issue because of the BCB’s lack of interest on the vacant posts. The BCB got three of its directors after they were nominated by the NSC as per the constitution. Among the three was Nazmul Hasan who later was elected as the president of the board making the chair of a director from the NSC go vacant. When quarried for the reason behind the vacant spot, even after six months of the election, NSC secretary Shibnath Roy said, “We are not being able to nominate a name because of the lack of interest from BCB. The NSC can only nominate when the BCB gives it in written.” Shibnath also informed that the nomination will be done following the constitution and that only a councilor

can get the nomination. The BCB director and chairman of media and communication Jalal Younus admitted of the delay. “There are passable reasons behind it. The board was busy with the World Twenty20 and the Asia Cup. And secondly, you need to have all the board directors in a meeting to discuss this which we didn’t have in the recent meetings,” said Jalal. Jalal hopes that the very important pending issue will be taken care of soon if not in the next board meeting which is scheduled take place tomorrow. In December 2013, five candidates emerged for the two BCB vice-president posts for an election supposed to take place on December 4. Former senior vice-presidents Mahbub Anam and Ahmed Sazzadul Alam expressed their interest, along with Enayet Hossain, Ahmed Iqbal Hasan and AZM Nasir. The BCB failed to reach a consensus over the two largely ceremonial posts and consequently asked for a vote. Officials said that a total of 26 directors will cast their votes in a secret ballot. l

could not recover, we will be going to Sri Lanka for AFC President’s Cup commitments and only two foreign players are allowed, the proceedings will be re-

Maruful Haque, the former coach of Sheikh Russell follow the proceedings against Brothers Union with his assistants at the BNS yesterday MUMIT M

ally tough,” opined Dukanvic. The Montenegrin felt the sickness of his Jamaican midfielder Ricardo Cousins cost him a lot. Naeemuddin credited the players and said, “the players responded to my urge that don’t concede defeat before you are really defeated. I asked them to fight it out and they did it, it was a result of perfect teamwork, the team was spirited and well focused.” Asked about if he found anything new in the opponents strategy as Russell was playing under a new coach, he said, “I did not feel much difference and over all the strength was same but I feel Maruful Haque, the former coach of Russell was more aggressive.” Kester Akon, the Nigeran forward who struck the winner for Brothers was focused to go ahead. “With the inclusion of the new Nigerians, Brothers is now a force to reckon with, Simon Ezeodka, the Nigerian and Augustine Walson of Haiti are good players and the level of strength had increased with their arrival, we took the field to win and we won it,” said Kester. l

stances given to us at times. I’d like to think that this has been a huge positive for all players, support staff and myself involved that we have had success despite the circumstances.” Bangladesh’s difficult period started in January when they were crushed by Sri Lanka in the first Test, before bouncing back with a drawn game in Chittagong. They lost the T20 and ODI series, albeit through narrow defeats. The Asia Cup brought four defeats, including one to Afghanistan, while their World T20 campaign crumbled when they were shocked by Hong Kong in the first round. Jurgensen had been asked to provide a report into the performances but he felt that a lack of T20s leading up to the tournament was always going to hold Bangladesh back. In the period between the end of the 2012 World T20 and the start of the 2014 tournament, Bangladesh played seven T20s, winning one. Only India and Zimbabwe of the Full Member nations played fewer matches. “I gave my views in an extensive report detailing the reasons why for our recent performances,” he said. “There are very valid reasons for the World T20 performance. One is purely the lesser number of T20s played before the tournament. “This was raised as well as other

concerns early last year that in 2013 we were only playing four T20 matches and usually all our T20 matches are held at the end of series when the team is decimated with injuries. However there were still quite a few positives from the World T20.” Jurgensen became full-time coach in February 2013 after doing the interim job quite successfully for one series, against West Indies, in 2012. He was given a twoyear contract, up to the 2015 World Cup alongside batting and fielding coach Corey Richards, trainer David Dwyer and physio Vibhav Singh. l

Mental calmness the key: Enamul Left-arm spinner Enamul Haque Jr stated that mental calmness is a must for enhanced performance. The top cricketers of the country went through a three-day long mental grooming course with psychologist Ali Khan that ended yesterday. Enamul further said the process that the course suggested will also make players ‘mentally calm’. “The processes we’re learning from psychologist Ali Khan are very important matters for us. But I think it’ll be more important and effective for our juniors than us. If they do follow the process from the very beginning of their career it will have a huge positive impact on them,” said Enamul. “Mental calmness is the prerequisite for better performance. This is the right process that will be effective to keep players mentally calm,” said the spinner after the one-to-one session with Ali yesterday. Meanwhile national pacer Al Amin Hossain said the initiative is praiseworthy and the process should be done more often.

“It’ll be beneficial to everyone if we could do it regularly, say about every six months,” said Al Amin. Psychologist Ali was happy to see the eagerness of the players and said, “Every cricketer takes the matter very seriously. “Everybody’s goal is not alike. So, we had to work behind making those planning what is actually needed for reaching to that goal.” He said he made plans for every individual so that they can routinely practice and get the real benefit from the process. “We’ve devised plan so that everybody can hone their skills. Splitting the whole thing into three-month, sixmonth and a year. I gave a plan for each of the player so that they can exercise over it per day or five days in a week. If any of them fails to overcome it then I’ll talk with them over phone,” Khan said. After passing two days’ session with the players, Khan said, “It’s an interesting matter that every player understands mental issue can affect their games closely. After hearing their words I made a discrete routine for them. When they’ll work as per their routine then the problem will start solving.” l



Nantes dent Marseille’s Europe quest Marseille’s ambitions of securing European football next season took a knock on Friday after the south coast club were held to a 1-1 draw at Nantes. The stalemate left Jose Anigo’s side in sixth place, two points adrift of Europa League-bound Lyon, who travel to the Stade Velodrome next weekend. Midfielder Florian Thauvin, who arrived at Marseille on a 15 million euro move from Lille at the start of this season, put the sleeping French giants into the lead after half an hour with a shot from 20 metres. Senegal international Issa Cissokho levelled for Nantes with 25 minutes left for his fourth goal in the last three games. –AFP


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Daniels lifts Rockets to OT victory Troy Daniels hit a three pointer in the closing seconds of overtime to lift the Houston Rockets to a 121-116 win over Portland in a Western Conference playoff contest Friday. James Harden tallied 37 points and Dwight Howard finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets in game three of their best-of-seven opening round NBA series. The Trail Blazers lead the series two games to one. Harden set a Rockets’ playoff record with 35 field goal attempts Friday. He attempted 11 three pointers, making good on three of them. But it was seldom used rookie Daniels who stole the limelight. –AFP

Merritt beats James to clinch 400m Reigning world champ LaShawn Merritt beat 2012 Olympic Games gold medal winner Kirani James to win a star-studded 400 metre race at the Drake Relays on Friday. American Merritt posted a winning time of 44.44 seconds to beat James of Grenada in front of a crowd of 10,924 at Drake Stadium. “It is my first time at the Drake Relays,” Merritt said. “The crowd was awesome. I like how they cheered my name before I started. Great atmosphere.” The field featured the top four ranked runners in the world. Merritt’s time was the fastest of the young season, but he failed to break the meet record of 44.41 set by Michael Johnson in 1996. –AFP

Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen players observe a minute of silence to commemorate former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova before their German Bundesliga match in Munich yesterday. Vilanova died aged 45 following a battle with cancer that forced him to stand down at the end of last season, the club announced on Friday REUTERS

Liverpool wary of traps in Chelsea title clash Liverpool will attempt to surmount the last major obstacle barring their path to a first league title since 1990 when they welcome third-place Chelsea to Anfield on Sunday. Victory for Brendan Rodgers’s side would eliminate Chelsea from the title race and leave Liverpool needing just four points from their final two games against Crystal Palace and Newcastle United to claim the crown. Should Liverpool win and City lose their game at Palace later on Sunday,

Ferguson backs Giggs for United job full-time Alex Ferguson believes Ryan Giggs should take up the position of Manchester United on a full-time basis following the sacking of David Moyes, according to a report on the Daily Telegraph website on Friday. “I think that he is the one man they should go to really,” the Telegraph quoted Ferguson saying of Giggs at a charity function earlier this week. “He’s got 20-odd years of experience at Manchester United. I signed him as a kid at 13 years of age. He’s gone through the gamut of emotions at the club – he’s experienced all the highs and lows. l

however, the Merseyside club could secure the Premier League trophy as early as next weekend. With Liverpool on a run of 11 straight wins and the title now in sight, these

FIXTURES Crystal Palace v Man City Liverpool v Chelsea Sunderland v Cardiff are heady days at Anfield, and Rodgers has dismissed fears that his players might suddenly succumb to the pressure of expectation. Chelsea will definitely be without

injured quartet Petr Cech, John Terry, Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o, while Ramires starts a four-game ban for lashing out at Sebastian Larsson in the loss to Sunderland. Cup-tied in the Champions League, Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are both expected to feature, while Lampard and John Mikel Obi, who will miss the second leg of the Atletico tie through suspension, are also in line to play. For Liverpool, Jordan Henderson will not feature as he serves the second game of a three-match ban, while onloan Chelsea winger Victor Moses is ineligible to play against his parent club. l

Balotelli clashes with pundits after loss AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli lost his temper in front of the cameras after his performance in Friday’s 2-0 loss to AS Roma was criticised by Italian television pundits. Speaking to Sky Italia after the game, Balotelli, who was substituted for Giampaolo Pazzini in the 69th minute having contributed little, ripped into Zvonimir Boban, Giancarlo Marocchi and Christian Panucci. “You don’t understand anything about football. Trust me, you really don’t,” Balotelli snapped at Marocchi, who had asked the striker why he did not move around more on the pitch.

TITO VILANOVA FACTFILE Full name: Francesc Vilanova i Bayo Date of birth: September 17, 1968 Birthplace: Bellcaire d’Emporda, Spain Playing career: Clubs - Barcelona B (1988-90), Figueras (1990-92), Celta Vigo (1992-95), Badajoz (1995-96), Mallorca (1996-97), Lleida (1997-98), Elche (1998-2000), Gramenet (2000-01) Managerial career: Palafrugell (2003-04), Barcelona B assistant (2007-08), Barcelona assistant (2008-12), Barcelona (2012-13) Honours: As Barcelona assistant Champions League (2008-09, 2010-11) La Liga (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11) Copa del Rey (2008-09, 2011-12) Club World Cup (2009, 2011) UEFA Supercup (2009, 2011) Spanish Supercup (2009, 2010, 2011) As Barcelona manager La Liga (2012-13)


Played Won Drawn Lost Goals for Goals against La Liga 38 32 4 2 115 40 Champions League 12 5 3 4 18 17 Copa del Rey 8 5 2 1 21 9 Spanish Supercup 2 1 0 1 4 4

Balotelli had been heavily criticised by former Milan forward Boban after the match, with the Croat calling his performance shameful, in particular for an aggressive gesture directed at Adel Taarabt after giving the ball away. “You always talk about me. When Milan win Mario’s great, but when Milan lose it’s all Mario’s fault. I don’t need your criticism, I criticise myself,” Balotelli responded. Boban had said the 23-year-old was not a top player during the clash. “I never said I’m a top player. I am a perfectly normal player, it’s you that say I am an exceptional player, you always expect me to score five goals a game,” he said. l


Van Gaal to be Man Utd coach after WC Louis van Gaal and Manchester United have agreed to the Dutch coach taking over as the club’s manager next season once he has completed the World Cup in Brazil with the Netherlands, the De Telegraaf reported on Saturday. The Dutch daily said first talks between the parties began a fortnight ago, before the sacking of David Moyes, and that an agreement was reached on Friday night after talks with one of the Glazer brothers, club director Ed Woodward, and a club lawyer at Van Gaal’s holiday home in Portugal. Glazer family own Manchester United and would give Van Gaal a budget of 100 million Euros to spend on new players, it said on its website. l

‘Don’t see Cup as Brazil’s salvation’ Brazilian football legend Ronaldo warned his compatriots on Friday that the upcoming World Cup could not solve the country’s deep-rooted social problems. Ronaldo, a member of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup-winning side and a member of the organizing committee said only politicians could properly address issues such as poor public services and crumbling infrastructure. “Brazilians hope the World Cup will prove the salvation of our country, with improvements in education, health and security. It will bring benefits but will not resolve our problems,” Ronaldo told a forum in Sao Paulo. l

Spain press mourns Barca ‘great’ Vilanova Spanish newspapers bid an emotional farewell Saturday to former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, hailing him as a footballing great and lamenting his death from cancer at 45. Vilanova’s smiling face made the front pages of all the major sporting and general newspapers, even those of the partisan Madrid press. Pro-Real Madrid daily Marca published a 12-page supplement on the “unforgettable” Vilanova and a rare Barca-related front page with a fulllength portrait of him and the headline: “Goodbye, Tito, your struggle was a lesson to us.” Barcelona sports daily El Mundo Deportivo hailed the “Eternal Tito” on its front page, praising him in its lead article as “a strong personality and a coach

of great and inexhaustible resources”. “Today children and grown-ups, friends and rivals, coach and players around the world, Spaniards and Catalans all cry for him,” it said. The other major Barcelona football daily Sport lamented the young age at which Vilanova succumbed on Friday to a nearly three-year fight with cancer of the salivary gland. “It is unjust that a person of just 45, a sportsman, full of life and plans, had to leave his loved ones this way,” Sport said. The other major Madrid sports daily AS described Vilanova as “a footballing great” and “an actor in a fundamental part of the history of modern football”. Spain’s biggest-selling general newspaper El Pais described Vilanova as “a natural leader” and the Barcelona squad he led along with ex-coach Pep Guardiola as “an unforgettable team”. l

LIONEL MESSI (Barcelona forward) “A difficult person to forget. We will always remember him. All my love to Tito’s family.”

VICTOR VALDES (Barcelona goalkeeper) “Tito Vilanova is one of the best coaches I have had in my career. All my love and support to all his family.”

CESC FABREGAS (Barcelona midfielder) “Tito, thank you for all you have given football and Barca. All Barca fans will be eternally grateful to you. All my condolences are with Montse, Carlota and Adria and the rest of your family and friends. There will always be a place for you in our hearts. Rest in peace.

JOSEP MARIA BARTOMEU (Barcelona president) “Tito Vilanova was a wonderful person, and will never be forgotten at FC Barcelona. Thank you for everything you taught us. Rest in peace.”

JOSE MOURINHO (Chelsea manager) “On behalf of everybody at Chelsea Football Club I send my deepest condolences at this most difficult time.”

ERIC ABIDAL (Monaco and former Barcelona defender) “For all that we lived through together I will always remember you friend. Rest in peace. Thank you for the fight. My love and support to your family.”

VICENTE DEL BOSQUE (Spain manager) “It is a disaster. A man aged just 45 has left us with half his life in front of him. I had the chance to talk to him, including during his illness and he was a warm person that was always willing to help.”

RAFAEL NADAL (World number one tennis player) “To lose is not a drama. What has happened to Tito Vilanova is. We are left with his example and I send my support to his family.” FLORENTINO PEREZ (President of Real Madrid) “I want to express my profound sadness for the death of Tito Vilanova and transmit, in the name of Real Madrid, our condolences, support and love to his family, to FC Barcelona and especially to his wife and children. Today is a day of sadness for all fans and recognition for his personal and professional life.”

PEPE REINA (Spain and Napoli goalkeeper) “Hopefully one day there will be a cure for the scourge that is cancer. RIP Tito. My profound condolences to his family and friends.”

MICHEL PLATINI (President of Uefa) “I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Tito Vilanova’s passing. He was a great person and a fantastic coach who will always be remembered for his work at FC Barcelona. I send my condolences to Tito’s family and to the club.”




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dutch GM to guide national chess team

QUICK BYTES Marcel Inter-District Women’s Kabbadi starts today The Marcel Inter-District Kabaddi comprising 10 teams starts at the Kabaddi Stadium today. The teams are Dhaka, Faridpur, Jamalpur, Narail, Jhenaidah, Rajshahi, Panchagarh, Comilla, Barisal and Habiganj. In a press conference held at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday, the general secretary of Kabbadi Federation presented the event to the media. Additional director of Walton AFM Iqbal bin Anwar Dawn, head of news ATN Bangla Bhanu Ranjan Chakrabarty, tournament committee member secretary Md Munir Hossain and assistant secretary general Mir Kaiser Sadik were also present on the occasion. –RM

MO Green lift Robi int-dept football title MO Green won the title of Robi Recreation Club Khandokar Zakir Memorial Football beating Spike 1-0 in the final held at the Wapda ground, Banani yesterday. A total of eight departmental teams of Robi participated in the tournament that kicked-off on April 11. Edotoco finished third while Shamsul Arfifin was adjudged as the man of the match. Supun Weerasinghe, Chief Executive Officer, Matiul Islam Nowshad, CHRO , Mahtab Uddin Ahmed -COO, A.K.M. Morshed CT0 of Robi Axiata Limited and Dewan Nazmul Hasan, president of Robi Recreation Club was present on the occasion. –RM

Giles quits as England selector Ashley Giles has resigned as an England selector after being passed over for the role of national team coach, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Friday. Former England spinner Giles had been England’s oneday coach since 2012, having joined the selection panel four years earlier. But after Andy Flower stood down as head coach following the team’s 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia, England officials decided they wanted just one man in charge of the side across all three major international formats – Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20s. –AFP

Marquez tops in Argentina, Yamaha struggle

World champion Marc Marquez dominated practice for the Argentina MotoGP at the brand new Termas de Rio Hondo track on Friday. The Spanish Honda rider is seeking to make it three wins out of three this season as the world championship returns to Argentina for the first time since 1999. And the 21-year-old proved a quick learner as he made light of the alien surroundings to top the times by over one second from his teammate Dani Pedrosa. “It was a fun day, it is always interesting to learn all the different corners and their secrets at a new track and the practice sessions go by more quickly,” said Marquez after clocking 1min 39.313sec. –AFP

DAY’S WATCH Sony Six NBA Play-off 2013-14 5:00AM Toronto vs. Brooklyn Indian Premier League 4:30PM Delhi vs. Mumbai 8:30PM Hyderabad vs. Chennai Ten Golf 9:00AM Cimb Niaga Indonesian Masters Day 4 Star Sports 1 8:00 PM Barcelona Open Tennis Star Sports 4 English Premier League 4:50PM Sunderland vs. Cardiff City 8:50PM Liverpool vs. Chelsea 9:00PM Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City Italian Serie A 12:40AM Atalanta vs. Genoa Star Sports 2 La Liga 2013/14 8:55 PM Valencia CF vs. Atletico de Madrid 10:55 PM Athletic Club de Bilbao vs. Sevilla FC Star Sports HD 1 8:00PM MotoGP: Argentina Race Day

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney celebrates after scoring against Norwich during their English Premier League match at Old Trafford in Manchester yesterday


Giggs’s United reign starts with win Own-goal double derails Everton’s Euro bid n AFP, manchester Ryan Giggs’s first match as Manchester United’s interim manager ended in a 4-0 Premier League thrashing of Norwich City at Old Trafford on Saturday. Wayne Rooney and substitute Juan Mata scored two goals apiece as the faltering English champions, still a relatively lowly seventh in the table, proved too strong for the struggling Canaries. United great Giggs, previously a player-coach, was put in caretaker charge for United’s final four games of the season after David Moyes was sacked on Tuesday. Moyes was dismissed just 10 months since replacing the retired Alex Ferguson after a 2-0 defeat by Everton -- Moyes’s former club -- made it mathematically impossible for United to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The 40-year-old Giggs, English football’s most decorated player, resisted naming himself in either the starting

line-up or on the bench against Norwich. Meanwhile, Everton suffered a huge blow in their quest for Champions League football after a pair of owngoals saw them lose 2-0 to Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday. Defeat meant Everton remained a point behind Arsenal, who currently occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot on offer to Premier League clubs, ahead of the Gunners’ match at home to Newcastle on Monday. But Everton manager Roberto Martinez insisted the Merseysiders, whose final two league games of the season are against title contenders Manchester City and FA Cup finalists Hull, had not given up on a Champions League place. Everton, whose 2-0 victory over Manchester United last week led to their former manager David Moyes’s sacking by the English champions, were behind as early as the first minute courtesy of a bizarre own-goal. Antolin Alacaraz got in front of the player he was marking to somehow head a cross from Southampton’s Rickie

Punjab keep winning, Rajasthan crush RCB n Agencies


Glenn Maxwell and David Miller failed for the first time this season, but that didn’t prevent Kings XI Punjab from extending their winning streak to four this year, and seven overall. Sandeep Sharma had the new ball curling around, Akshar Patel showed why he is the most economical left-arm spinner in the tournament, Rishi Dhawan also kept it tight before the spearhead Mitchell Johnson finished off the job. In the other match of the day, Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered a humiliating six-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here Saturday. Veteran spinner Pravin Tambe (420) along with Australian pacer Kane Richardson (2-18) were the main conspirators as RCB were bowled out for a dismal 70 runs in 15 overs.

Royal Challengers Bangalore 70 all out in 15 overs (Virat Kohli 21, Mitchell Starc 18; Pravin Tambe 4-20, Kane Richardson 2-18) Rajasthan Royals 71 for four in 13 overs (Shane Watson 24, Ajinkya Rahane 23; Mitchell Starc 2-29, Yuzvendra Chahal 1-17)

Rajasthan Royals won by 6 wickets Kings Xi Punjab 132 for nine in 20 overs (Sehwag 37, R Dhawan 19; P Chawla 3-19, S Narine 3-24) Kolkata Knight Riders 109 all out in 18.2 overs (S Yadav 34; S Sharma 3-21, A Patel 2-16)

Kings Xi Punjab won by 23 runs Rajasthan had little trouble chasing down the meagre score as they strolled to 71 for four in 13 overs. l

The famous Dutch Grandmaster Sergei Tiviakov is likely to take charge of the Bangladesh national chess team for one month before the 41st Chess Olympiad which will begin in Tromsa, Norway in the first week of August. Tiviakov is currently ranked 101th worldwide among the active players with a rating of 2651. The Soviet Unionborn Dutch chess player earned GM title in 1991 and clinched the Dutch Chess Championship in 2006 and 2007 before going on to win the European Individual Chess Championship In 2008. Bangladesh Chess Federation (BCF) general secretary Gazi Saiful Tareq revealed that they had already contacted with Tiviakov and the Dutch’s response was positive. It was learnt, the federation wanted Tiviakov for more than a month, but the Dutch did not want a longer stint and also demanded 5000Euro including accommodation facilities and air fair. Earlier, the federation asked the players for suggestion for a foreign coach and they suggested Tiviakov’s name. “We recommended his name when federation asked us. It will be great beneficial for us if Tiviakov agrees to work with us” said country’s youngest GM Enamul Hossain Rajib. l

Nadal loses in Barcelona for first time since 2003

Victory saw Southampton remain eighth in the table. Elsewhere, Fulham missed the chance to climb out of the relegation

zone after Hull came from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage. Fulham’s Ashkan Dejagah curled a 55th minute shot into the top corner and three minutes later there was further joy for the home crowd in southwest London when Fernando Amorebieta headed in Kieran Richardson’s cross. Hull though pulled a goal back in the 75th minute when Nikica Jelavic nodded in from close range and the FA Cup finalists were level three minutes from time when Shane Long headed in Sone Aluko’s cross. West Bromwich Albion moved five points clear of relegation with a 1-0 win at home to West Ham. Saido Berahino scored the only goal at The Hawthorns when he turned in Morgan Amalfitano’s centre in the 11th minute. The Baggies’ victory helped them leapfrog Aston Villa after their Midlands rivals suffered a 4-1 loss away to Swansea that left them just four points above the bottom three. l

Sharapova marches into Stuttgart semis

Bayern flatten Bremen in Real warm-up

Lambert past goalkeeper Tim Howard. And the visitors fell further behind shortly after the half-hour when Seamus Coleman diverted Nathaniel Clyne’s cross beyond Howard.



Dejagah 55, Amorebieta 58

2 2

Hull Jelavic 75, Long 87

2 0



0 1



4 1

Aston Villa


Alcaraz 1-og, Coleman 31-og

Bony 10, 90-P, Shelvey 26, Hernandez 73

West Brom Berahino 11

Man United Rooney 41-pen, 48, Mata 63, 73

Rose 33 Agbonlahor 22

1 0

West Ham

4 0


Defending champion Maria Sharapova marched into the semi-finals of Stuttgart’s WTA tournament with a 6-4, 6-3 win over top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska on Friday. “That was a big win for me,” admitted Sharapova after picking up her 11th straight win in Stuttgart where she is bidding for a hat-trick of titles having won the 2012 and 2013 tournaments. “That was my biggest win since my comeback from injury,” she added having missed four months last year with a shoulder injury. Sharapova claimed her ninth win in 11 matches against world number three Radwanska of Poland, but the Russian did not have things her own way in her one hour, 39 minute victory. After a total of seven breaks at the start of the match, as the momentum swung back and forth, Sharapova finally won her first service game to take control of the first set. l

Bayern Munich warmed up for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg at home to Real Madrid with a comefrom-behind 5-2 win against Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Just three days before they try to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit against the Spanish giants, Bayern fell behind twice against Bremen at the Allianz Arena before scoring four second-half goals without reply. The flattering scoreline failed to mask Bayern’s woeful first-half defending, which must sound the alarm bells for coach Pep Guardiola given the danger of conceding an away goal to Real. VfL Wolfsburg squandered the chance to go fourth in the table, and get amongst the Champions League qualifying places, when they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Freiburg. Eintracht Braunsch-

World number one Rafael Nadal suffered his first defeat in Barcelona since 2003 on Friday when compatriot Nicolas Almagro ended his 41-match winning run in the Spanish city. Top seed Nadal, the eight-time champion, lost 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to Almagro in a quarter-final lasting 13 minutes short of three hours. Nadal, who lost in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals to David Ferrer last week, had last been beaten in Barcelona when he was just 15 years old. Despite the defeat, 27-year-old Nadal refused to panic with the defence of his French Open crown starting in just a month’s time. “I was better in parts of the match, but sport is like that. It was my turn to lose and I congratulate Nico,” said Nadal. Nadal will next defend his Madrid and Rome Masters claycourt titles – two of the 10 tournaments he won in 2013 after a seven-month injury lay-off. He could lose his world number one ranking with Djokovic set to pounce. l

weig remain rooted to the bottom of the table after their 2-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin with USA international John Brooks and Tunisia striker Sami Allagui scoring the capital club’s second-half goals. Striker Shinji Okazaki became the


2 0


0 0 5 2

Frankfurt Werder Bremen

2 0


2 2


Okazaki 30, Moritz 44

Hoffenheim Bayern Munich

Ribery 20, Pizarro 54, 57, Schweinsteiger 61, Robben 74

Hertha Berlin Brooks 61, Allagui 77

Wolfsburg Perisic 3, 70

Gebre Selassie 10, Hunt 36

Mehmedi 61, Terrazzino 83

highest-scoring Japanese player in a single Bundesliga season when he scored his 14th goal to break Shinji Kagawa’s previous record in Mainz’s 2-0 win at home to Nuremberg. l

Taekwondo training concludes at Shaheen College

BAF Shaheen College Taekwondo trainees display their skills in the concluding ceremony at the college auditorium yesterday


A month long taekwondo training programme participated by 545 girls of the BAF Shaheen College concluded at the college auditorium yesterday. The month long training focused upon the self defence act. Group Captain Md Monjur Kabir Bhuiyan, the director administration of BAF Base Bashar distributed the prizes as the chief guest. Mahmudul Islam Rana, the general secretary of Bangladesh Taekwondo Federation, vice president Ohiduzzman Majumdar were also present on the occasion. A total of 40 girls were selected for advanced training. l



Abduction: An unsolved mystery n Kailash Sarkar Mysteries over the incidences of recent abductions still remain unsolved even after the return of the victims or their release by those who have picked them up, posing as the members of law enforcement agencies. The victims and their family members or even their relatives usually keep mum or avoid talking about enforced disappearances due to unknown reasons while the law enforcement agencies are yet to solve these mysteries. The increasing incidences of enforced disappearances have caused concern among the country’s people and different human rights bodies have also raised voice, alleging that the incidents of enforced disappearances are just replacement for extrajudicial killings by the lawmen. “Please let me live with my family in peace. I do not want to talk about it and remember those days in my life,” said Abul Hasnat Pauline, a resident of Mirpur who got release after his abduction.

After the release of Siddique, top police officials said they would continue with the investigation in a bid to unravel the mystery surrounding his abduction Pauline, who is a contractor by profession, returned on April 20 after he had been picked up from in front of BAF Shaheen School in the capital on February 9. “To avoid you (journalists), I am living elsewhere. I am sick and undergoing treatment in a hospital. I am not interested to talk about the incident,” he told this correspondent over phone. He also declined to comment about who had picked him up and how he got release. During visit to his house in Mirpur, his family members said he (Pauline) was not at home. But none of his family members agreed to disclose his whereabouts. Rather they were found busy offering prayers at different mosques and mazars alongside serving food among orphans for his safe return. His father-in-law Mashiur Rahman said they do not want to know about the cause of abduction of Pauline. “We are much happy with the return of my son-in-law.” Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, at least three such victims declined to make it clear or narrate actually what had happened to them, who had picked them up and why they were set free. All of them had avoided all the questions, saying that they could not guess anything as they had been abducted blindfolded. In another incident, former employee of a stationery shop Mahiuddin Ahad, 26, claimed to have been dropped at Section 10 in Mirpur by a microbus on March 6 after he had been picked up by some people in the guise of RAB personnel from his house in Mirpur. While talking to this correspondent, he avoided talking on his story, claim-

ing that he could not recognise the persons who had picked him up. “I do not know why they abducted me and released me.” He said, “At least two among the people who picked me up were wearing black uniform like RAB men. They confined me in a room blindfolded and told me nothing. Although they always kept me in handcuffs, I am not sure whether they were RAB men.” “I was dropped from a microbus around 4:00am and asked not to look behind,” he said. His parents said they were happy with the return of their son and they had no interest to know about those who kidnapped their son and why. Businessman Abu Bakar Siddique, husband of BELA’s chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan, also claimed to have been dropped from a microbus at Section 1 in Mirpur at night on April 17, over 30 hours after he was kidnapped by a gang of armed criminals on April 16 on way to Dhaka from his workplace at Fatullah in Narayanganj. Even though the incident shook up the people at home and abroad, the authorities concerned are yet to hunt down the kidnappers. Even the car used to kidnap him still remained untraced. Immediately after his abduction, the police headquarters formed a five-member committee and police in Narayanganj constituted a 12-member body, but no headway has been made yet in probe into the case. After the release of Siddique, top police officials said they would continue with the investigation in a bid to unravel the mystery surrounding his abduction. Siddique said he could not recognise the “criminals” who picked him up and even he did not know why they kidnapped him. His wife said her husband was not kidnapped for his own activities and business related issues. She suspected that her husband was kidnapped for her own activities, saying that the kidnappers were powerful. Narayanganj Superintendent of Police Syed Nurul Islam said the investigation was going on and they would inform if any headway was made. The three persons — Pauline, Ahad and Siddique — were dropped in Mirpur area, but police officials concerned could not provide any information about the incidents. Imtiyaz Ahmed, deputy commissioner of Mirpur division said, “We are still investigating the incidents to unravel the mysteries behind the abduction of Pauline and Ahad as well as dropping of Siddique in Mirpur area. Our investigation is on even after their release. But there is no headway yet.” Wing Commander ATM Habibur Rahman, director of Legal and Media Wing of RAB, said in many cases, the families of the victims used to bring allegations against the lawmen, but after the return of a number of victims, none of them said that they were kidnapped by RAB men. “It means that RAB is not involved in such illicit acts. Rather, RAB is always trying to rescue the victims,” he claimed. He, however, said they were trying to unravel the mysteries over all the incidents of disappearances. l

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Sunday, April 27, 2014


After more than a week of unbearable high temperature, a sudden spell of rain in the afternoon brings much relief to dwellers of different parts of the capital. The picture was taken from Baitul Mukarram area yesterday MUMIT M

Prospects bleak for BNP grassroots n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla

The top brass might be telling everyone to not be frustrated and keep spirits high, but the grassroots BNP leaders and activists – the force that should be driving the party – do not see anything to be enthusiastic about; at least not for the time being. On many occasions in recent times, the grassroots leaders and activists of the party have vented their discontent in front of the senior leaders. That frustration now seemed to have infected the central leaders as well. At a discussion in the capital yesterday, BNP acting secretary general MirzaFakhrul Islam Alamgir said he did not anymore feel like talking about the government’s “misdeeds” because they always landed on deaf ears. Fakhrul said: “People have forgotten the Hall-Mark, Destiny and the stock market scams. It is simply unbelievable how can the people, who fought for the language in 1952, staged the mass upsurge in 1969 and fought in the liberation war in 1971, be so tolerant. I do not know why people are tolerating everything silently.” He said: “I do not feel like giving speeches anymore. I do not feel like saying the same things again and again. Who should I tell them to? What will we get?”

Virtually nothing had been going right for the party – neither before the national election, which it boycotted, nor after the voting. Despite staging months of violent and bloody street protests, the party could not prevent its arch rival Awami League from holding the national election, which the BNP boycotted. The party seemed to have lost its edge in drumming up support even when the issue relates to public interests. The much-hyped Teesta long

NEWS ANALYSIS march – the first major programme of the party since the January election – could not be termed successful by any stretch of the imagination. Khaleda Zia has time and time again slammed the senior party leaders for not taking to the streets during the major movements. That trend remained unchanged with the long march as well. Only a few senior leaders took part in the long march. Even most of the senior leaders of the partner parties of the 18-party combine did not take part in the long march. The grassroots’ frustration was visible in the way the long march contingent was greeted. Most district units of the party appeared to be indifferent

to the programme. Nothing was there that could tell that it was the party’s first major move in months. Many senior leaders including its chief has been claiming for many days that the party had been going through a reorganisation process. They have vowed to kick off a strong movement for “toppling” the “illegal” government as soon as the reorganisation was complete. However, there has been very little visible progress made in that regard. The party has not yet managed to announce the committee for its Dhaka city unit although Khaleda Zia has on many occasions stressed the needs for forming the committee. Among its associate wings, only Sramik Dal – the labour wing – has managed to hold its council so far. But, neither the central Sramik Dal nor its Dhaka city unit, succeeded in forming new committees amid factional disputes. In recent times, many pro-BNP professionals could be heard saying openly that the party needed to change its movement strategy if it had to ensure its existence. However, with the party reverting back to its usual strategy of banking on political issues instead of those of public interests, it could be easily said that things were going to remain unchanged for the grassroots. l

Three yaba traders killed in ‘gunfight’ with coastguard n Our Correspondent, Cox’s Bazar Three yaba traders have died allegedly in a gun battle with members of the Coastguard at Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf Upazila. They were Amin Majhi of Shahpari Island of Teknaf, Mohammad Kalu of Moheshkhali Upazila and Jahir Ahmed of Sadar Upazila. “The incident occurred at Seradia Island on Friday morning. We ran a raid on a tip-off there when yaba traders fired at us. We then fired back in self-defense and they fled back to Myanmar,” said St Martin Coastguard Station Commander Lt Shahid Al Hasan. “Three of us, including operator of the trawler we were in, were injured during the gunfight,” said Shahid. He, however, could not say whether any Yaba trader was injured in the gun battle. Asked, Cox’s Bazar police station’s Officer-in-Charge Anwar said, “We cannot say anything about it for sure right now because the coastguard have not yet informed us about the gunfight in details.” “However, we have so far learnt that all the three whose bodies are now at the hospital were yaba traders,” he said, adding, “We are investigating it with importance. l

Jubo Dal leader’s Fire at Mongla Port tanker kills two body recovered n Tribune Report Our Correspondent, Lakshmipur n

The body of a Jubo Dal leader was recovered in Lakshmipur yesterday after two days of his abduction. Deceased Solayman was the joint secretary of district unit Jubo Dal and hailed from Syedpur village in the sadar upazila. The body was recovered near a Swiss Gate area of Lakshmipur’s Syedpur around 7am. l

Two employees of an oil tanker were killed as a fire broke out when it was anchored at Mongla Port in Khulna early yesterday. Greaser Mosleh Uddin Miah, 40, and sailor Badal Miah, 38, were critically injured in the incident that took place in MV Jakah, anchored in Pashur Channel. They were first admitted to Khul-

na Medical College Hospital and later shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where they died in the morning. Altaf Hossain, member (operations) of Mongla Port told reporters that they had received news of the fire in the early hours. Fire fighting vessel of the port authorities MV Agni Prohari and another of Bangladesh Navy doused the fire after five hours. The fire could not be devastating as

the tanker was empty, he said. Vessel Contractor of the tanker Hekmot Carrier’s Manager Joynal Abedin told reporters that the empty tanker had come to Summit Refinery of Mongla from Daulatpur of Khulna on Friday afternoon to take oil which was supposed to begin soon. The fire was originated from an electric short-circuit of battery in the engine room. The engine room was gutted entirely, officials said. l

Human skin grown in lab ‘can replace animal testing’ n BBC

Two brick kilns emit thick black smoke at Aminbazar yesterday. The government’s deadline to convert the conventional brick-making plants into environment-friendly and energy efficient units expires in June this year SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

Skin grown in the laboratory can replace animals in drug and cosmetics testing, UK scientists say. A team led by King’s College London has grown a layer of human skin from stem cells - the master cells of the body. Stem cells have been turned into skin before, but the researchers say this is more like real skin as it has a permeable barrier. It offers a cost-effective alternative to testing drugs and cosmetics on animals, they say. The outermost layer of human skin, known as the epidermis, provides a protective barrier that stops moisture escaping and microbes entering. Scientists have been able to grow epidermis from human skin cells re-

moved by biopsy for several years, but the latest research goes a step further. The research used reprogrammed skin cells - which offer a way to produce an unlimited supply of the main type of skin cell found in the epidermis. They also grew the skin cells in a low humidity environment, which gave them a barrier similar to that of true skin. Lead researcher Dr Dusko Ilic, of King’s College London, said: “This is a new and suitable model that can be used for testing new drugs and cosmetics and can replace animal models. “It is cheap, it is easy to scale up and it is reproducible.” He said the same method could be used to test new treatments for skin diseases. Researcher Dr Theodora Mauro said it would help the study of skin

conditions such as ichthyosis - dry, flaky skin - or eczema. “We can use this model to study how the skin barrier develops normally, how the barrier is impaired in different diseases and how we can stimulate its repair and recovery,” she said. The Humane Society International, which works to protect animals, including those in laboratories, welcomed the research, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Research and toxicology director Troy Seidle said: “This new human skin model is superior scientifically to killing rabbits, pigs, rats or other animals for their skin and hoping that research findings will be applicable to people - which they often aren’t, due to species differences in skin permeability, immunology, and other factors.” 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 China to further ease currency controls in pilot

B4 New report calls US a ‘rising star’ of global manufacturing

SUNDAY, APRIL 27, 2014

Vendors exploit public sufferings Heat-stricken people rush to find cooling appliances

‘I had to pay double the price’ n Syed Samiul Basher Anik An air-conditioner had become urgent for Shahed Mehbub as his two children cannot sleep at night due to the abnormal rise of temperature that continued for the last few weeks. The executive of a private firm, who earns Tk47,000 per month, went to the Bangabandhu National Stadium Market in the capital in the first week of this month to buy an AC, but failed due to meager budget than the appliance price.

n Syed Samiul Basher Anik During the mid-afternoon yesterday, Bangabandhu National Stadium Market of Gulistan in Dhaka was really overcrowded with customers, who were desperately looking for buying cooling home appliances including fans, air coolers and air conditioners as the heat wave is still sweeping the country, putting the life of the people in a real misery. But, many of the buyers were failed to buy their desired products as the showrooms owners could to deliver them the cooling appliances, which have gone out of their stock due to the sudden rise of sales in the wake of the scorching summer, which continues for the last few weeks. “I have come here from Mohammadpur to buy a Walton brand air conditioner, but there has been no stock left to purchase. Besides, the price of other brands also shoots up comparing to the three weeks before when I had visited the same place,” said Dilruba Zaman. She also alleged that some unscrupulous traders made an artificial crisis of the cooling appliances in the market just to push the prices up for making a huge profit in short time. The mad rush of the buyers continued to increase as the country’s temperature has been increased for the last few weeks. On April 24, Dhaka has experienced the highest temperature by reaching the mercury at 40.2 degree celcius, which is highest in the last 54 years. Admitting the shortage of the cooling appliances, manager of the Singer showroom Aslam Hossain noted that the stock of air coolers and fans were finished last week and still there were only some ACs to sell.  B 3 COLUMN 1

'The vendors have created an artificial crisis of ACs to jack up prices as the temperature is rising gradually'

As heat wave continues to sweep over the country, the sales of air conditioners and electric fans have marked a rise to an extent that vendors are running out of stocks. To no body’s surprise, the traders are charging higher, adding woes to the consumers. The photos show an electronic products store in the capital’s Bangabandhu Stadium Market while a customer was taking the purchased goods to home yesterday RAJIB DHAR

Stimulate investment to salvage economy, economists say n Tribune Report The main challenge of the upcoming budget is to take measures to stimulate private investment that remained stagnant for last few years, economists and businessmen said in Dhaka yesterday. They urged the government to present a credible budget, also focusing on education, health, employment generation and infrastructure development. Their observations came at a discussion meeting on “Upcoming Budget: Promises and Challenges” organised by the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF). A host of economists and business leaders took part in the pre-budget discussion. Senior journalist Farid Hossain moderated the meeting where ERF president Sultan Mahmud was present. Centre for Policy Dialogue distinguished fellow Debapriaya Bhattacharya said private investment falls below 1% of GDP for the first time, which is unimaginable, and public investment to GDP is also weak. Considering the situation, he said, “The basic problem is that investment remained stagnant.” He said many hoped that the political violence in the run up to the general election on January 5 has made investment sluggish but this is not true. “The fact is that slow investment begins from the starting of the second half of 2012-13 financial year,” he said. He said suspended production resumed, but no new investment was added after the political violence due to persisting political uneasiness. Former finance adviser to the caretaker government Mirza Azizul Islam said it has been apprehended

that present political situation might not last long, making investment slower. “It is notable that whether this situation indicates lulls before storm. Political stability is pre-requisite to rid investment sluggishness,” he said. He said if political situation is not improved, potential investment with incentives is unlikely to work. He stressed the need for ensuring credibility in the budget, which he would like to estimate it should be of Tk234,000 crore taking into account the non-NBR and non-tax revenue. “So, the government needs to be careful about this.” The ADP size should not be not more than Tk66,000 crore to Tk67,000 crore, he added. Dr Binayak Sen, research director at Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), emphased on developing infrastructure on priority basis. “To boost investment, the budget should focus on infrastructure development and building image of the country for retaining low wage competitive edge.” Becoming a middle income country by 2021 would bring qualitative changes in the people’s life – this concept is not true, he said. “Our next door neighbour India has become middle income country, but it is still beset with poverty, malnutrition, and income disparity. “Middle income country means zero extreme poverty and nutrition deficiency.” Sen suggested bringing changes in tax structure putting importance on imposing direct tax in the budget for increased revenue income. Former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed said four things – investment, poverty alleviation, employment generation and equal distribution of resources

– should be given priority in the budget. “We need to come out from incremental budget. Every year budget size increased but was not implemented. It is like a ‘pie in the sky’,” he said. He recommended increasing allocation in health and education sector to ensure basic needs of the people. “Allocation in these sectors in the budget is falling.” Former NBR Chairman Abdul Mazid said timeframe of the financial year should be changed to AprilMarch from June-July. Criticising poor governance in regulatory bodies and institutions, he said most important point is that weakness has engulfed financial sector, which affects real sector. Former FBCCI president Abdul Awal Mintoo said the government talks big about becoming a middle income country soon. “But we need to know whether a middle income country improves lives of the people.” He said the government institutions are now under the clutches of vested quarters, questioning their efficiency. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Atiqul Islam said big challenge is to relocate factories that have already been closed down, leaving more than 17,000 workers jobless due to visual inspection by the Accord and Alliance inspection team. He demanded to ensure utility services for closed factories to save the workers’ lives. Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Shajahan Khan said: “We are concerned about a big budget as it might intensify tax burden on business.” l

Bankers urge NBR to raise tax rebate on CSR spending n Tahmidur Rahman Bankers and policymakers at a round-table in Dhaka yesterday urged the government to increase the tax rebate on the banks’ CSR spending, which they believe would play the exact role as development funds. The round-table was held in Dhaka on policy support to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the context of tax exemption for the banking sector. Management and Research Development Initiative (MRDI) organised the function at the BIBM auditorium. “Paying tax to government is also a social responsibility and, therefore, we can as well identify part of it asked to be exempted for further activities of CSR,” said Dr Shah Md Ahsan Habib, director of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM). However, the event’s chief guest, Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman urged the banks to carry out its social involvement without hampering the source of revenue earnings of the government. Nevertheless, the governor agreed upon the need for regular research and regulatory coordination for finding policy gap to explore the hidden potential of successful CSR operations. In addition, he also requested the NBR to raise tax rebate on CSR activities from the existing 10% (on a maximum of Tk8 crore or 20% of a bank’s gross income, whichever is lower) for greater value addition to the society. Experts at the panel pointed out that a layout of a strategy for planned implementation of the CSR fund by creating joint initiative will result in tremendous and astonishing growth of the country. Syed Md Aminul Karim, member of National Board of Revenue (NBR), has also attended the discussion and noted down the requests made. The keynote presented to the panel put up recommendation for consideration that was read

BB Governor Dr Atiur Rahman out by the central bank’s deputy governor, SK Sur Chowdhury. “Tax exemption under CSR activities should be enhanced while the rate needs to be reviewed and also tax rebate for CSR should be simplified and made easier so that banks can avail of it.” He added: “A closer linkage between NBR and Bangladesh Bank is a must for better functioning of CSR initiatives.” Other speakers including Swapan Kumar Bala, CEO of Dhaka Stock Exchange, shared the possible positive impact a tax exemption on the banks’ profitability may bring for the common people. Editor of the Financial Express Moazzem Hossain moderated the programme. l

Again he went to the market last week to buy a one-tonne AC, but found the price shoot up abnormally. He had to buy two air coolers, instead. “The vendors have created an artificial crisis of ACs to jack up prices as the temperature is rising gradually,” Mehbub said. “The AC, which I wanted to buy during my first visit at Tk48,000, is now selling at Tk63,000 per unit. We are helpless as my children have to be safe from diseases,” he told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. He was compelled to buy two air-coolers each worth Tk13,000 – double the price he first checked at the same outlet. “I’ve been cheated,” he said. The city has been witnessing high temperature from the last one month due to lack of rainfall which has forced many citizens to buy air cooling appliances to meet their needs. The vendors are taking advantage of the helpless people, alleged many of the intending buyers, who were roving around the stadium market yesterday. l

Muhith: BASIC Bank board will be dissolved if BB asks n Tribune Report If Bangladesh Bank advises, the board of directors of BASIC Bank will be dissolved, said Finance Minister AMA Muhith. On Grameen Bank, the minister said the central bank will be independent and free of government’s meddling in administering board election. He was speaking to the journalists after returning home from Washington DC. Muhith said actions will be taken against BASIC Bank management as soon as the central bank sends any recommendation in this regard. He cited BASIC Bank board already suspended six senior officials of the bank over the loan scam. “The bank’s board of directors will also be dissolved if Bangladesh Bank makes any such recommendation as it did in the case of state-owned Sonali Bank.” “After the central bank recommendation, we dissolved Sonali Bank board over loan forgeries. We also do the same in case of BASIC Bank if the central bank recommends us.” The minister alleged Dr Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, arbitrarily appointed directors, but “the new rules will introduce an independent system for electing board.” “Governor of the central bank will be free and independent in his activities for Grameen Bank board election. Ministry will not interfere,” he said. l


Stocks pick up some steam in past week n Tribune Report


Familytex (BD) Ltd.-N Eastern Cables-A Renwick Jajneswar-A Fareast Finance-Z Eastern Lubricants -A Usmania Glass -A BSC-A Atlas BD-A LafargeS Cement-Z Samata LeatheR -Z

Closing (% change) -42.35 -16.49 -16.24 -13.39 -10.55 -9.32 -8.67 -8.58 -7.91 -7.67

CSE LOSERS Company Familytex (BD) Ltd.-N Pioneer Insur -A Eastern Cables-A Fareast Finance-Z Usmania Glass -A LR Global BD MF1-A Samata LeatheR -Z LafargeS Cement-Z BSC-A Prime Islami Life -A

Closing (% change) -41.96 -18.31 -16.40 -12.50 -11.17 -10.39 -9.51 -8.99 -8.56 -8.37



(+) 2.25%


(+) 1.00%


(+) 2.18%


(+) 0.35%


(+) 2.43%

Average (% change) -41.32 -15.67 -13.89 -12.52 -11.38 -10.42 -7.21 -8.90 -11.98 -7.85 Average (% change) -41.18 -18.31 -17.90 -12.46 -10.01 -10.00 -9.51 -12.72 -7.36 -8.37

Closing average 29.84 134.29 372.32 9.85 546.61 175.78 582.85 169.94 63.06 31.33

Closing average 29.94 58.00 133.54 9.84 176.58 6.93 29.50 63.28 580.00 104.00

Weekly closing 29.40 129.10 364.20 9.70 534.90 173.10 576.75 168.30 62.90 31.30

Weekly closing

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

▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ Weekly high 58.40 157.90 427.50 13.50 608.00 199.00 635.00 185.00 73.50 33.10

Weekly high

29.60 58.00 129.50 9.80 172.60 6.90 29.50 62.80 576.50 104.00


58.00 58.00 153.50 13.30 194.00 7.00 29.50 73.80 636.00 105.00


Traded Issues


Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)


Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)

82 2

Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)


Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


CSE key features April 20-24, 2014 Turnover (Million Taka)


Turnover (Volume)


Number of Contract


Traded Issues


Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)


Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)


Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)


Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)


Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)


Turnover in million

28.10 127.50 358.00 9.40 531.00 171.90 572.25 166.60 62.70 30.20

Weekly low

345.513 67.829 57.859 38.099 21.479 100.854 358.482 69.354 1220.221 0.442

Turnover in million

28.30 58.00 128.10 10.00 172.40 6.90 29.50 62.50 573.00 103.10

35.737 0.058 4.765 17.332 4.208 0.024 0.030 90.297 49.753 0.120

26.60 19.40 19.08 18.01 17.33 16.05 15.71 13.82 13.67 13.57


Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)

Weekly low

Northern Jute -Z Prime Bank-A Bay Leasing.-A City Bank - A Agni Systems -A UCBL - A Southeast Bank-A Mercantile Bank -A GlaxoSK (BD) -A Maksons Spinning-A

Closing (% change)

Latest EPS

Latest PE

3.63 1.40 3.92 0.12 6.02 4.07 23.48 2.99 2.19 -0.04

Latest EPS

8.2 95.9 95.0 82.1 90.8 43.2 24.8 56.8 28.8 -ve

Latest PE

3.63 2.52 1.40 0.12 4.07 1.52 -0.04 2.19 23.48 4.95

8.2 23.0 95.4 82.0 43.4 4.6 -ve 28.9 24.7 21.0

Company Argon Denims Limited-A Prime Bank-A Agni Systems -A City Bank - A UCBL - A Maksons Spinning-A Southeast Bank-A Dhaka Bank -A National Bank - B Mercantile Bank -A

Closing (% change) 20.47 18.48 17.33 16.05 15.70 15.11 14.58 13.90 13.33 13.25

Average (% change) 26.35 17.16 18.92 16.55 16.64 14.90 16.08 14.25 13.46 17.61 Average (% change) 19.69 18.70 17.98 16.07 15.22 18.29 15.55 14.65 10.88 11.80

Closing average 122.14 23.76 34.06 18.80 23.69 28.00 21.95 17.24 1,797.13 16.23

Closing average 61.28 24.31 23.89 18.78 27.93 16.23 21.92 21.44 13.35 16.96

Weekly closing 122.30 24.00 33.70 19.00 23.70 28.20 22.10 17.30 1,798.10 15.90

Weekly closing 61.80 25.00 23.70 18.80 28.00 16.00 22.00 21.30 13.60 17.10

Weekly high 123.40 24.70 35.00 19.30 24.50 29.00 23.00 17.40 1,798.10 17.50

Weekly high 63.00 25.00 24.50 19.20 28.20 16.50 22.10 21.70 13.70 17.30

Weekly low 98.00 18.10 26.50 14.80 18.40 22.00 17.20 13.80 1,560.10 12.60

Weekly low 47.00 20.00 18.50 15.00 21.80 13.00 17.30 18.60 11.00 13.60

Turnover in million

Latest EPS

0.234 170.333 27.710 205.145 95.565 647.734 636.400 145.740 131.232 166.513

Turnover in million

-10.24 0.56 1.56 1.09 1.10 3.66 3.69 2.68 45.35 0.64

Latest EPS

0.970 0.952 9.731 21.079 78.678 10.412 50.130 2.739 35.366 11.257

2.74 0.56 1.10 1.09 3.66 0.64 3.69 3.49 -3.63 2.68

Latest PE -ve 42.4 21.8 17.2 21.5 7.7 5.9 6.4 39.6 25.4

Latest PE 22.4 43.4 21.7 17.2 7.6 25.4 5.9 6.1 -ve 6.3

Weekly news from trade server BDFINANCE: The Board of Directors has recommended 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 18.06.2014, Time: 10:30 AM, Venue: Institute of Diploma Engineers, 160/A VIP Road, Kakrail, Dhaka. Record Date: 12.05.2014. The Company has also reported consolidated EPS of Tk. 1.34, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 14.91 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. (0.78) for the year ended on December 31, 2013. CENTRALINS: The Board of Directors has recommended 14% cash dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 19.06.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Trust Milonayaton, 545 Old Airport Road, Tejgaon, Dhaka. Record Date: 28.04.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 1.98, NAV per share of Tk. 20.69 and NOCFPS of Tk. 2.59 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. ACTIVEFINE: The Board of Directors has recommended 5% cash dividend and 20% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 12.06.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: Institution of Diploma Engineers, Kakrail, Dhaka. Record Date: 29.04.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 4.85, NAV per share of Tk. 18.74 and NOCFPS of Tk. 3.81 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. AGRANINS: The Board of Directors has recommended 5% cash dividend and 5% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 29.05.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh,

160/A, Kakrail, VIP Road, Dhaka. Record Date: 29.04.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 1.83, NAV per share of Tk. 14.91 and NOCFPS of Tk. 1.96 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. PROVATIINS: The Board of Directors has recommended 12% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 22.06.2014, Time: 10:30 AM, Venue: Trust Milonayaton, 545 Old Airport Road, Dhaka Cantonment (Shaheed Jahangir Gate). Record Date: 04.05.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 1.83, NAV per share of Tk. 16.13 and NOCFPS of Tk. 1.36 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. SHAHJABANK: The Board of Directors has recommended 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 29.06.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: 'Bashundhara Convention Center-2', Block-C, Umme Kulsum Road, Bashundhara R/A, Dhaka-1229. Record Date: 08.05.2014. The Company has also reported consolidated EPS of Tk. 1.96, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 16.42 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. 10.13 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. CITYGENINS: The Board of Directors has recommended 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 24.06.2014, Time: 10:30 AM, Venue: Multipurpose Hall, Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh, Kakrail, Dhaka. Record Date: 29.04.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 1.73, NAV per share of Tk. 15.96 and NOCFPS of Tk. 2.08

for the year ended on December 31, 2013. 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. NHFIL: The Board of Directors has recommended 12.50% cash dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 28.05.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Lakeshore Hotel, Road#41, House#46, Gulshan-2, Dhaka. Record Date: 04.05.2014. The Company has also reported net profit of Tk. 167.47 million, EPS of Tk. 1.57, NAV per share of Tk. 13.40 and NOCFPS of Tk. 2.72 for the year ended on December 31, 2013 as against Tk. 41.44 million, Tk. 0.39 (restated), Tk. 13.34 (restated) and Tk. 4.98 (restated) respectively for the year ended on December 31, 2012. AFCAGRO: The Board of Directors has recommended 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 12.06.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Institution of Diploma Engineers, Kakrail, Dhaka. Record Date: 08.05.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 2.03 (including Tk. 0.33 interest from Income IPO amount), Post IPO EPS of Tk. 1.54, NAV per share of Tk. 12.34 and NOCFPS of Tk. 0.18 for the year ended on December 31, 2013.

Probably investors are sensing good first quarter results for banks and MNCs



Number of Contract

Weekly capital market highlights DSE Broad Index : DSE - 30 Index : CSE All Share Index: CSE - 30 Index : CSE Selected Index :


Turnover (Million Taka) Turnover (Volume)

Sunday, April 27, 2014


DSE key features April 20-24, 2014

was mainly driven by Grameenphone on the news of its beginning WiMex operation. MNCs remained lucrative to the investors in the past week as some of the MNCs have announced board meeting date for corporate declarations. IDLC Investments said the bourses passed a positive week with the shuffle of investors’ preference and subsequently swapping across sectors and scrips. “Amid the major issues, entrance in WiMax services and business re-structuring of two pharmaceutical giants stimulated investors much at the later part of week,” it said. Meanwhile, large cap segment slowed a bit, while remaining caps showcased better performance, it said adding that throughout the week, investors also continued re-balancing their position on the basis of corporate declarations as well as first quarter’s earnings expectation. Starting with positive news of export growth especially in textile sector, market vibrated throughout the week. Stimulated with this, textile came in front line. Large caps faced significant correction at the following day as investors booked some profit over recent bullish trend. At the later part of week, the bourse moved up on the basis of corporate news--GP’s entrance in WiMax services and Glaxo SmithKline and Novartis’s business re-structuring. Gainers outpaced losers as out of 302 issues traded, 198 advanced, 97 declined and 7 issues remained unchanged on the DSE. l

After two-weeks of range-bound, stock market picked up some steam, buoyed by upcoming first quarter results of banks and multi-national firms. During the week that ended Thursday, the benchmark DSEX rose over 103 points or 2% to close at 4,702, which is seven-week high. The blue chip comprising index DS30 gained 17 points or 1% to 1,720. The DSE Shariah Index, DSES, rose 5 points or 0.6% to 1,040. Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE)’s Selective Categories Index (CSCX) soared 216 points or 2.5% to close the week at 9,084. The week’s average daily turnover stood at Tk494 crore, registering a rise of more than 13% over the previous week. The investors’ attention was mainly focused on bank, fuel and power and cement sectors, making up nearly 16%, 15% and 11% respectively of the week’s total market turnover. “Market rally was mainly dominated by banking and multinational corporations (MNCs) stocks. Probably investors are sensing good first quarter results for banks and multi-national firms,” said Lanka Bangla Securities in its weekly market analysis. “Probably investors are sensing good first quarter results for banks and MNCs,” it said. Banks with large Treasury bond portfolio are supposed to observe healthy capital gain as interest rates of treasury bonds have gone down in recent auctions, it said. The second highest return yielding sector was telecommunication, which




DSE Million Taka 3383.03 1042.14 435.04 1355.44 1668.61 3062.46 8.67 1569.00 2052.49 4.44 178.29 309.46 65.53 2201.61 163.83 259.47 367.69 1934.44 151.94 519.36 1.33

% change 16.32 5.03 2.10 6.54 8.05 14.77 0.04 7.57 9.90 0.02 0.86 1.49 0.32 10.62 0.79 1.25 1.77 9.33 0.73 2.50 0.01

Million Taka 340.87 74.60 22.05 89.61 72.19 176.86 0.00 160.81 89.60 47.53 8.59 61.79 5.49 156.31 17.42 10.12 22.33 115.09 28.17 68.26 0.04


% change 21.74 4.76 1.41 5.72 4.60 11.28 0.00 10.26 5.72 3.03 0.55 3.94 0.35 9.97 1.11 0.65 1.42 7.34 1.80 4.35 0.00

Million Taka 3723.90 1116.74 457.08 1445.05 1740.80 3239.32 8.67 1729.81 2142.10 51.97 186.88 371.25 71.03 2357.92 181.25 269.59 390.02 2049.53 180.12 587.62 1.37


% change 16.70 5.01 2.05 6.48 7.81 14.52 0.04 7.76 9.60 0.23 0.84 1.66 0.32 10.57 0.81 1.21 1.75 9.19 0.81 2.63 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

DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Grameenphone-A Meghna Petroleum -A Olympic Ind. -A LafargeS Cement-Z HeidelbergCement -A Padma Oil Co. -A Square Pharma -A UCBL - A Southeast Bank-A AB Bank - A CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company LafargeS Cement-Z Grameenphone-A UCBL - A HeidelbergCement -A Meghna Petroleum -A Matin Spinning-N Padma Oil Co. -A BD Submarine Cable-A Southeast Bank-A BSC-A

Volume shares 7,128,224 4,625,319 5,765,698 18,125,000 1,850,300 2,465,642 2,742,774 24,267,961 30,037,860 16,970,360

Volume shares 1,332,000 341,600 2,952,171 123,650 178,499 1,296,400 147,013 251,135 2,370,963 82,810

Value in million 1876.95 1437.59 1391.26 1220.22 1078.48 862.34 770.03 647.73 636.40 511.80

Value in million 90.30 89.29 78.68 71.27 55.45 52.39 51.47 51.45 50.13 49.75

% of total turnover 7.59 5.81 5.63 4.94 4.36 3.49 3.11 2.62 2.57 2.07

% of total turnover 5.29 5.23 4.61 4.18 3.25 3.07 3.02 3.02 2.94 2.92

Weekly closing 270.30 308.50 244.70 62.90 612.70 344.90 278.70 28.20 22.10 29.70

Weekly closing 62.80 269.90 28.00 612.60 309.10 42.00 344.80 200.50 22.00 576.50

Price change 6.17 -0.74 0.91 -7.91 3.64 -3.34 -1.76 16.05 15.71 3.48

Weekly opening 254.60 310.80 242.50 68.30 591.20 356.80 283.70 24.30 19.10 28.70

Weekly high 276.20 317.40 246.70 73.50 624.80 360.00 295.00 29.00 23.00 32.30

Weekly low 235.00 282.00 215.00 62.70 550.00 325.00 260.10 22.00 17.20 26.00

Weekly average 270.79 309.42 244.03 63.06 610.65 345.56 279.39 28.00 21.95 30.15

Price change -8.99 6.13 15.70 3.60 -0.58 7.97 -3.36 -4.20 14.58 -8.56

Weekly opening 69.00 254.30 24.20 591.30 310.90 38.90 356.80 209.30 19.20 630.50

Weekly high 73.80 275.40 28.20 622.00 317.90 42.50 360.00 210.00 22.10 636.00

Weekly low 62.50 248.00 21.80 553.00 290.00 38.30 344.00 200.00 17.30 573.00

Weekly average 63.28 270.63 27.93 612.46 309.11 42.01 345.71 202.36 21.92 580.00




Sunday, April 27, 2014

China to further ease currency controls in pilot n Reuters, Beijing China will expand a trial programme to make it simpler for multi-national firms to transfer funds within and outside the country, in a move that will further open its tightly controlled capital account.

'The freer flow of funds across China’s borders would boost efficiency and cut costs' The experiment, which began in 2012 in Beijing and Shanghai, came in response to growing demand from international companies operating in China for more freedom to use their growing amounts of yuan to boost the efficiency of their management of capital. However, Chinese regulators have also been keen to keep any speculative pressures on the currency at bay. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), which manages the country’s $3.3tn foreign exchange reserves, is expanding the trial programme to any Chinese or foreign com-

pany with operations inside or outside China with an annual forex income of over $100m, the regulator said in a statement on its website late on Friday. One of the goals of the trial programme is to “explore and reproduce a mechanism for the capital account convertability system”, SAFE said. The new rule, which would take effect from June, will allow multi-national companies to open overseas and domestic accounts simultaneously as well as conduct collection and settlement of accounts in foreign exchange. It allows free transfer of overseas accounts within the company without quota caps, while domestic accounts will continue to have limits. Firms say the freer flow of funds across China’s borders would boost efficiency and cut costs. China has pledged to allow market forces to play a greater role in the economy and its markets. Beijing wants to expand the Chinese currency’s footprint beyond Hong Kong, where more than 80% of yuan trade settlement transactions are handled, and foster greater confidence among offshore businesses to adopt the yuan as a currency for trade. l

US oil prices fall n AFP, New York

Oil prices retreated on Friday, with the New York market finishing sharply lower for the week as mounting US stockpiles appeared to counter worries over the mounting tensions around Ukraine. In New York WTI crude for June delivery gave up $1.34 at $100.60 a barrel, taking the US benchmark to a loss of

$3.70 a barrel for the week. In London trade Brent North Sea crude for June dropped 75 cents to settle at $109.58 a barrel, roughly where it was a week ago. In London the Ukraine crisis kept the focus on how a feared outbreak of fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops could impact the European economy and particularly energy supplies. Russia is a key supplier of oil and natural gas to Western Europe. l

Air Arabia connects Dhaka to Ras Al Khaimah in UAE n Tribune Business Desk Air Arabia, the newly designated carrier of Ras Al Khaimah has announced that it will soon open a hub at RAK International Airport in UAE where flights from Dhaka will fly three times a week from May 6. During a joint press conference with the RAK Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the Tourism Development Authority, Air Arabia announced that two new Airbus A320 aircraft would initiate the service regularly. Engr. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al

Qasimi, chair of DCA said: “The important collaboration will give a major boost to the economic development of Ras Al Khaimah and reinforces the growing excitement about the emirate as an investment destination.” “The increase in tourists and visitors entering Rasl Al Khaimah suggests that a solid potential for developing the emirate travel and tourism sector exists,” added Adel Ali, group chief executive officer of Air Arabia. Air Arabia already flies to Sharjah in UAE, from Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh. l

Heat-stricken people rush  PAGE 1 COLUMN 1

“We are selling at least 15 air conditioners each day. If we could stock more cooling products, we would have been able to sell 500 units of air coolers and fans in a week,” he said. While visiting the markets and some retail showrooms at the capital, it was found that buyers were looking for air conditioners and air coolers, but most of them were looking for the local made home appliances as these are less expensive. However, the cooling appliances were out of the market due to the sud-

den mad rush of the customers. “As the temperature increased suddenly in the last week, people are now mostly looking for purchasing air coolers and air conditioners. But, we don’t have any more stock left to sell,” said Md Sharifullah, assistant manager at Walton Plaza at Bashundhara City Shopping Mall. Anwarul Islam, branch manager at Gulshan branch of Butterfly said the sales of air conditioners had been increased unbelievably all on a sudden. He, however, declined to disclose about the sales volume of his branch. l

MIGA chief arrives today n Tribune Report

A vendor holds a ten yuan note as a customer pays for her vegetables at a market in Shanghai


Keiko Honda, Executive Vice President of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) – the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group – is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka today on a four-day visit to Bangladesh. During her visit, Honda will meet with government representatives, stateowned enterprises, and banks to identify areas where MIGA can help the country mobilise capital for important power and infrastructure projects to meet its development goals, said a World Bank press release yesterday. Since MIGA’s inception, the Agency has insured projects in Bangladesh in several sectors, including power, manufacturing, telecommunications, and banking. Most recently, the Agency issued guarantee in support of the Ashuganj South power plant, which is adding clean generation capacity to the nation’s grid through an indigenous fuel source. MIGA’s current gross exposure in Bangladesh is $330mn. “While Bangladesh’s recent economic growth is certainly a positive trend, it brings higher demand for power and better infrastructure,” said Honda. l

Chinese take Manhattan: Replace Russians as top apartment buyers n Reuters, New York For the first time, the Chinese have become the biggest foreign buyers of apartments in Manhattan, real estate brokers estimate, taking the mantle from the Russians - whose activity has dropped off since the unrest in Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions against Russia by the United States. Wealthy Chinese are pouring money into real estate in New York and some other major cities around the world, including London and Sydney, as they seek safe havens for their cash and also establish a base for their children to get an education in the West. Reuters asked five of the top real estate brokerages for their ranking of foreign buyers in New York City. The Chinese ranked first in both volume and value of sales in all their estimates. Opinions differed on just how the Russians, Europeans and South Americans stacked up next. There are no official figures collected on the national and ethnic backgrounds of home buyers because of US fair housing laws, designed to protect against discrimination. The Chinese interest is mainly a valuation play, real estate experts say. After the US housing bust in 2007-2010, home prices in major US cities fell to levels that made them attractive. While US prices have been recovering, they are still appealingly low by comparison with many other parts of the world. Many Chinese buyers are switching their interest away from markets like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore amid fears that prices have soared to frothy levels in those cities. Luxury apartments cost between $4,100 and $5,000 per square foot in Hong Kong, while in Manhattan and Sydney they cost half that, ranging from about $2,100 to $2,500, according to Knight Frank’s Prime International Residen-

tial Index. London is also cheaper, at $3,300 to $4,100 per square foot. The brokers say that many Chinese buyers are also investing abroad so they can own property near major educational institutions. Some are buying homes near top colleges — even though their children are so little they can’t walk yet. More than 80 percent of wealthy Chinese want to send their children overseas to school, according to the Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based publication.

sians in every segment of the market.”

“By far and away, the Chinese are the fastest growing demographic,” said Dean Jones, a US-based broker with Sotheby’s International. “They are the top consumer for real estate, and New York is front and center.” Added Pamela Liebman, CEO of the Corcoran Group, one of the best known New York real estate firms: “In sheer numbers, the Chinese outspend the Rus-

Ukraine will worsen leading to increasingly tough US sanctions on politicallyconnected and wealthy Russians. “They’re gone, they’re gone,” said Sotheby’s International broker Nikki Field, “They’ve been gone since the Crimean outbreak.” The Chinese grew to 28.5% of Field’s international business in the first quarter of 2014, up from 19 percent last

The russians: “they’re gone”

In Manhattan, it wasn’t long ago that Russian oligarchs dominated the gilded world of real estate, gobbling up statusheavy, marquee properties, such as an $88m, Robert A.M. Stern-designed penthouse and a $75m mansion with a ballroom and a rooftop aerie. Now, many brokers say, Russian buyers have become scarce largely because of fears that the struggle over

year. “We’ve only scratched the surface with Chinese demand,” Field said. Chinese buyers typically used to pick up properties in the $1 to $5m range in New York, often buying two and three at a time for investment purposes, the brokers said. But lately they have been moving up market, brokers say. The current invogue building among the Chinese is Central Park’s One57, a new skyscraper designed by Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Christian de Portzamparc, where they can spend $18.85m for a three-bedroom or $55m for an apartment taking up the entire 81st floor. The building comes with all of the amenities of a five-star hotel. The Chinese are also venturing out to Long Island, where they are buying Gatsby-esque mansions set atop rolling greens. Broker Shawn Elliott ferries around groups of Chinese buyers in Rolls Royce and Mercedes-Benz luxury sprinters every week, often catering to entire families at a time. “They’re looking for trophy properties,” said Elliott. “They’re looking for their children to be comfortable, and to be near Columbia or New York University.” Some Chinese aren’t even bothering to come to the United States at all, going so far as to pick up multi-milliondollar properties sight unseen. One Chinese buyer recently purchased two properties, worth $13m, at the Baccarat Hotels & Residences in New York. The entire deal was done via the Chinese social networking site WeChat, according to the broker who did the deal, Douglas Elliman’s Emma Hao. “I think the Chinese trend is onwards and upwards,” said Liam Bailey, a partner with Knight Frank. “There will be more Chinese buyers, and they will take more share of the market.” l

First Security Islami Bank Limited held its 15th annual general meeting on Friday at a local hotel in Chittagong. The meeting was presided over by the bank’s chair Mohammed Saiful Alam MJL Bangladesh Limited has recently sponsored the 6th Mobil Cup Golf Tournament at Shaheen Golf and Country Club in Chittagong. Kh Md Sanaul Haque, the company’s CEO was present at the tournament’s grand event along with the chief guest, Air Commodore Md Humayun Kabir

Reckitt Benckiser Bangladesh Ltd on Thursday held the prize giving ceremony of Veet “Ready, Set, Smooth” contest at its head office. The prizes were handed over by the company’s high officials including its marketing director, Mahbub Baset

Midland Bank Ltd yesterday held its maiden annual general meeting at a hotel in the capital. The bank’s chair, M Moniruzzaman Khandaker presided over the meeting

NCC Bank is going to build a gate named “Freedom and Democracy” at the Nilkhet entrance of the University of Dhaka with Tk1 crore from the bank’s corporate social responsibility programme. The bank’s acting managing director Golam Hafiz Ahmed and Raquibuddin Ahmed, president of DUAA signed an agreement on this regard

Partex Fashions has recently launched its 2nd outlet at Uttara. MA Hashem, the group’s chair was chief guest at the inauguration ceremony



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New report calls US a ‘rising star’ of global manufacturing

Yue Yuen counts cost of China shoe strike n Reuters, Shanghai

n Reuters A new ranking of the competitiveness of the world’s top 25 exporting countries says the United States is once again a “rising star” of global manufacturing thanks to falling domestic natural gas prices, rising worker productivity and a lack of upward wage pressure. The report, released on Friday by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG,) found that while China remains the world’s No 1 country in terms of manufacturing competitiveness, its position is “under pressure” as a result of rising labor and transportation costs and lagging productivity growth. The United States, meanwhile, which has lost nearly 7.5 million industrial jobs since employment in the sector peaked in 1979 as manufacturers shipped production to low-cost countries, is now No 2 in terms of overall competitiveness, BCG said. The biggest factor driving the U.S. rebound, according to BCG: cheap natural gas prices, which have tumbled 50 percent over the last decade as a result of the shale gas revolution. Also contributing to the country’s attractiveness, according to BCG, is “stable wage growth” - a euphemism for the fact that, in inflation-adjusted terms, industrial wages here are lower today than they were in the 1960s even though worker productivity has doubled over the same period of time. “Overall costs in the US,” the re-

The base of several wind turbine blades are seen outside TPI Composites in Newton port’s authors write, “are 10 to 25 percent lower than those of the world’s ten leading goods-exporting nations other than China” and on par with Eastern Europe. Another standout in the rankings is Mexico, which BCG categorizes as a “rising star” with lower average manufacturing costs than China. But the country failed to make BCG’s list of Top

10 manufacturers because of other factors, including rampant crime and corruption. BCG arrived at the rankings using a proprietary index that focuses on four major factors: wages, productivity growth, energy costs and exchange rates. In addition to China, four other countries with reputations as low-cost

Dollar-euro flat, yen stronger ahead of BOJ, Fed meetings n AFP, New York

China underlines interest in Latin American investment

The dollar and euro stayed virtually unchanged Friday as the boiling Ukraine crisis kept traders cautious going into the weekend. But the Japanese yen inched higher, with eyes looking to policy meetings next week in both the Bank of Japan and the US Federal Reserve. Firm inflation figures - a 1.3% pace in March - released in Tokyo Friday drove expectations that the BOJ will keep policy unchanged, instead of expanding stimulus efforts as some have hoped for. The inflation figures “do not inspire much hope that the Bank of Japan will engage in more monetary easing any time soon”, said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities There were virtually no expectations of any shift by the US Federal Reserve at their policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Another $10bn cut in the monthly bond purchase program is expected, with the Fed accepting that the economic stall during the winter was largely related to the repeated storms. l

n AFP China’s Foreign Minister ended a Latin American tour Friday in Brazil, stressing Beijing’s goal of investing in the region as he prepared the way for a July visit by President Xi Jinping. “There is a complementary economic relationship between China and Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Wang Yi. “We would like to deepen cooperation via the China-CELAC forum which will start this year,” added Wang, who earlier visited Cuba, Venezuela and Argentina. The Chinese president’s upcoming July visit coincides with the sixth BRICS summit of developing nations, which will bring together the emerging economic powers of Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa. Xi will also use the occasion to make an official bilateral visit to Brazil, South America’s biggest economy. And he will be in town during a meeting of representatives of the 33-strong CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states.

Wang said China was particularly seeking to invest in infrastructure projects - chiefly roads, railways and power generation - and he touched on the proposed creation of a “high value fund to aid infrastructure construction in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Energy-hungry China also has plans to increase investments in major oil producer Venezuela, as well as in Brazil, where last October a multinational consortium with Chinese participation won rights to develop Brazil’s biggest oilfield. With its recent mass buying of commodities from the region, China is a vital trade partner for Latin America, and in 2009 it surpassed the United States and Argentina as Brazil’s number one trading partner. Wang identified strong potential for Chinese investment in Brazil and its neighbors beyond the $16.5bn in investment the region received from Beijing in 2013. “We are talking about means of widening trade, which is already intense, and increasing investment of both countries,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo said. l

Sunday, April 27, 2014


production centers - Brazil, the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia - are classified as being “under pressure” in terms of their manufacturing costs. Here is BCG’s ranking of the world’s Top 10 countries in terms of manufacturing competitiveness: China, United States, South Korea, United Kingdom, Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Belgium and France. l

Most of the thousands of shoe factory workers who staged one of China’s biggest strikes over the past two weeks have returned to work after the company agreed to some of their core demands. Hong-Kong-listed Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd - a $5.6bn manufacturer of footwear for Nike Inc, Adidas and other international leisure brands - said that more than 80% of the workers at its Dongguan factory returned to work. Three workers at the vast complex in southern China had on Friday estimated that more than half, maybe as many as 70%, of the 40,000-strong workforce had gone back to work. Labour activists say the strike has been one of China’s biggest since market reforms started in the late 1970s, prompting German sportswear firm Adidas to shift some orders to suppliers elsewhere in China. A spokesman for rival Nike said the company was watching the situation closely. In its statement late on Friday, Yue Yuen estimated the direct cost of the strike at around $27m. Workers went on strike on April 14 to protest against what they said were chronically low company contributions to state-mandated social insurance and housing provident fund accounts. On Friday, a spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Social Security told reporters in Beijing that Yue Yuen had underpaid its social welfare contributions. “The related department has al-

ready ordered the factory to rectify the wrongdoings before April 25,” Li Zhong said. “Our ministry will continue to keep a close watch on the progress of the issue.”

‘No wrongdoing’

Several workers in Dongguan reached by telephone said they had returned to work after Yue Yuen offered to backfill social insurance and housing payments. But workers would be watching carefully for concrete action, said one female, surnamed Liu. The company had created some pressure for workers to return to their factories by removing electronic card readers used to clock in and out, workers said. “They’re making us sign a timesheet once an hour to make sure we’re in the factory,” said one. Some were signing in, but not working. Yue Yuen executive director George Liu denied the company had violated any laws or regulations with the insurance payments it had been making. “There is no wrongdoing. We have always been in compliance with the relevant government laws and regulations,” he told Reuters. The strike has made officials nervous, however, and labour activist Zhang Zhiru and a colleague, Lin Dong, were detained this week by state security agents. Zhang was freed after two days, but Lin was still in detention, Zhang told Reuters. Zhang, who has been assisting workers for a decade, had been working with other activists and lawyers to help Yue Yuen workers organize and press their demands. l

Rating agencies buy into euro zone recovery story n Reuters, Milan Ratings agencies gave a broadly upbeat assessment of the euro zone’s creditworthiness on Friday, contrasting sharply with reviews of recent years and reflecting growing confidence in the region’s fiscal and economic recovery. On a day of credit updates scheduled for three of the bloc’s top four economies, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its ratings on France, while Fitch raised its outlook on Italy and was expected to boost its view of Spain after Europe’s markets close. S&P also raised its rating on Cyprus, suggesting the recovery is spreading to the peripheral regions left most exposed to the euro zone’s financial crisis, in what was its second upgrade of the bailed-out country since it came close to financial collapse last year. Borrowing costs for the countries worst hit by the crisis have fallen sharply this year as the European Central Bank’s loose monetary policy encourages investors hunting for returns to bet on their recovering economies. Fitch’s outlook upgrade on Italy to ‘stable’, with the sovereign rating affirmed three notches above junk at ‘BBB+’, follows a rise earlier this month

of its outlook on bailed-out Portugal to ‘positive’ from ‘negative.’ Italy was a fulcrum of the debt crisis a couple of years ago together with Spain, whose sovereign rating many investors and analysts in Madrid expect Fitch to upgrade or underpin with an improved outlook later on Friday. S&P confirmed France’s long-term rating at ‘AA’ with a stable outlook.

Blame game

During a wave of euro zone credit downgrades during the financial crisis, policymakers and economists blamed ratings agencies for exacerbating investor flight from the region — blame the agencies say is misplaced. Prosecutors in southern Italy have requested that two ratings agencies stand trial for allegedly prompting a sell-off of Italian assets with downgrades between 2010 and 2012. The agencies say the accusations are baseless. Today, the mood seems to be shifting in Europe. The euro zone’s recession ended in the second quarter of last year. Market pressures on weaker countries has eased, in part because of domestic reform efforts but also due to an ECB

pledge to do whatever it takes to save the euro. For France, S&P praised efforts by the country’s Socialist government to boost competitiveness by reducing labor costs and corporate taxation. France on Wednesday signed-off a fiscal package including 50bn euro in spending cuts between 2015 and 2017, as it raised its official deficit forecasts for this year and the next. In Italy, Fitch cited improved funding conditions, as well as an end to the country’s worst post-war recession, among reasons to raise the outlook. The agency also mentioned recapitalization efforts at Italian banks, which are planning to raise about 10bn euros in total from investors and are less likely now to require public aid. However, it warned that with public debt set to peak at 135% of national output this year and stay above 130% until 2017, Italy had limited ability to react to potential shocks. “Generally, and for Italy in particular, the upwards ‘re-rating’ process is very slow and reflects the fact that risks remain that cannot be ignored,” Alberto Gallo, head of European macro credit research at Royal Bank of Scotland, said. l

Facebook buys fitness app Moves n AFP, New York Facebook has bought the fitness app Moves, which helps users monitor daily physical activity and their calorie counts on a smartphone. The two-year-old Finnish startup ProtoGeo, which developed the app, said Thursday it had been acquired by the US social networking giant, and that key members of its team would be moving to the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Both companies said Moves would continue as a standalone application, rather than be integrated into the Facebook framework. Moves assured users that “there are no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook.” “The Moves team has built an in-

credible tool for the millions of people who want to better understand their daily fitness activity, and we’re looking forward to the app continuing to gain momentum,” Facebook said in a statement. Facebook executives told analysts in a conference call Wednesday that they were focused on building up their “ecosystem” of apps as a way to bring more users to the company and, eventually, find more avenues for revenue via advertising or other means. The company made two large acquisitions earlier this year, spending $19bn for the instant messaging service WhatsApp and $2bn for a virtual reality company, Oculus. No financial details of the Moves deal were given. l


A demonstrator holds a sign against US computer and phone manufacturer Apple, in front of Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York on Friday


27 april 2014  
27 april 2014