Boishakh 22, 1421 Rajab 5, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 2, No 35
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RAB ‘blamed’ for abductions, murders Shamim Osman now accuses his aide Nur Hossain for the Narayanganj crime vehicle having a RAB-11 sticker on it n Ashif Islam Shaon was waiting there since morning the and Ahmed Zayeef
Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) were hired in exchange for Tk6 crore to abduct and kill Narayanganj City Corporation Councillor and Panel Mayor Nazrul Islam along with six others, family members alleged. Nazrul’s old foe Councillor Nur Hossain and General Secretary of Shiddhirganj Thana Awami League Yasin Mia P2
UNDER SURVEILLANCE HE FLED
had hired the elite force, Nazrul Islam’s father-in-law Shahidul Islam brought the allegation yesterday in Narayanganj Rifle Club while talking to journalists. Shamim Osman, parliament member of Narayonganj-4 and Selina Islam, wife of Nazrul Islam, were also present there. When he was asked how he was sure of the involvement of RAB members Shahidul Islam said: “Several witnesses to the abduction told us. The abductors took them by two microbuses. A
day Nazrul along with seven others were abducted.” Shahidul said they informed Shamim Osman of the abduction soon after the incident. “He told us to meet Tarique Sayeed, the CEO of the RAB-11. When we went to meet him he confined and interrogated us for several hours.” He also said they went there around 5.30pm. “They kept us waiting for several hours. At 9pm the RAB CEO told us to meet him later. “He asked us if we have any conflict with Shamim Osman. He advised us to meet Shameem Osman. After that we met Shamim Osman at the Rifle Club.” Asked why he did not go to police he said the next day of the abduction they went to the police super to file a case against the RAB CEO Major Jahangir, Major Rana, Nur Hossain, Yasin and eight others. But police super said if the case was lodged against the government employees the case would lose merit. PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
MAYHEM ON MAY 5
Hefazat yet to come up with a ‘casualty list’ Miazee and n Manik Mohammad Jamil Khan One year elapsed since the radical Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh had claimed that thousands of its activists were killed in a combined operation of law enforcers to drive them out of the capital, but not a single name of the dead had so far been revealed. Hefazat men turned up in the heart of the capital’s Motijheel area on May 5 last year to stage a rally in support of their 13-point demand. Despite repeated entreaties by the
law enforcers to leave the commercial hub, the Islamist group vowed to continue their seizure of the capital till their demand was met. The obduracy of Hefazat activists led the lawmen to use force to drive them out, but the fundamentalists claimed that law enforcers’ action cost thousands of avid supporters their lives. From that time on, Hefazat was repeatedly asked to provide a list of people killed in the joint forces operation, but it failed to name any. “We have yet to draw up a complete PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
Restrictions on plainclothes police operation n Kailash Sarkar
A protester writes slogans on a street protesting abduction and murder of advocate Chandan Sarker, during the day-long hartal called by Narayanganj Lawyers' Association, in the city yesterday RAJIBDHAR
ZERO DEATH IN JOINT OPERATION May 5 2:00pm — 10:00pm Death
May 5 - May 6 10:00pm — 6:00am Death
May 6 6:00am — 5:00pm Death
Expressing concerns over illegal operations and arrests conducted by a section of law enforcement officials in exchange of bribes, high officials of the police yesterday abolished civil teams in different units of the force and Rapid Action Battalion, and imposed specific conditions for conducting drives in plainclothes. The decisions came at a closed-door day-long meeting of senior police officials, ranking from the Deputy Inspector General of police to above, at the Police Headquarters. Sources in police said the meeting elaborately discussed the law and order situation of the country and the involvement of law enforcers in criminal activities. The meeting also agreed to take stern actions against officials found guilty in arresting people in exchanges of bribes. In the back drop of widespread allegations against the police and RAB for committing illegal activities in plain-clothes, the meeting also decided that specific civil teams will no longer PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
The meteoric rise of a fanatic outfit
Political rivals blame each other n Ahmed Zayeef and
n Julfikar Ali Manik
then announced its presence loudly by staging a major rally on April 6 last year at the Shapla Chattar in Motijheel, the capital’s commercial hub. It grabbed a lot of spotlight then by not only mobilising a huge number Qawmi madrasa students to the capital city, but also by the way its supporters behaved like fanatics, attacking many male and female journalists. The Hefazat men intimidated and brutally beat up a number of female journalists because they believed that women should stay at home and wear burqa (Islamic veil) if they come out.
The Narayanganj city has turned into a city of rumours as the law enforcers are yet to trace any of the killers of seven people including a ward councillor and lawyer. The police have made no visible progress in their investigation. Most people, including the councillor’s wife and relatives, believe that elite force RAB is directly involved with the abductions. The situation has worsened further as two powerful political “rivals” of Narayanganj – city Mayor Selina Hayat Ivy and Awami League lawmaker Shamim Osman have pointed fingers
PAGE 2 COLUMN 3
PAGE 2 COLUMN 3
The overnight rise of the fundamentalist Islamist organisation Hefazat-e-Islam is a frightening tale. The outfit’s fanatic face became clear after it staged atrocities in the capital on May 5 last year during a rally that was organised to press home its 13-point demands. The Qawmi madrasa-based outfit was launched on January 10, 2010, to oppose the education policy and amendments brought to the constitution to give it back its original 1972 outlook. However, the little know group till
Ashif Islam Shaon
Monday, May 5, 2014
EC warns parties for not submitting expenditure n Mohammad Zakaria The Election Commission yesterday sent letters to all twelve political parties, who contested in 10 Parliamentary Election, issuing a warning for not submitting their polls expenditure return to the commission in due time. The letters, signed by EC Deputy Secretary Mihir Sarwar Morshed, together with a copy of a related article of the Representation of the People Order (RPO), were sent to general secretary or secretary general of the respective parties. “The commission sent letter to political parties asking to submit their polls expenditure within the next 30 days,” Sarwar said while talking to the Dhaka Tribune. The 10th Parliamentary Election
was participated the ruling Awami League, Jatiya Party (Ershad), Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Jatiya Party (JP Manju), Tariqat Federation, Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF), Gonotontri Party, National Awami Party (NAP), Gonofront, Khelafat Majlish and Bangladesh Islami Front. According to the RPO, party-based election expenditure return must be submitted to the commission within 90 days of the gazette publishing of the polls. The gazette of 10th parliamentary polls was published on January 8. However, the commission published last gazette for the re-elections in two centres in Kurigram-4 parliamentary constituency on January 23. The twelve political parties were supposed to submit their election ex-
penditure return to the commission by April 23 as per the law, the letter stated. “If any party does not submit the party-based election expenditure return within this time frame, the party can submit the polls expenditure return to the commission in next 15 days following a Tk10,000 fine,” he added. However, if any party does not submit the returns, the commission has the right to cancel the party’s registration. As per the law, if 50 candidates of any party contest in the polls, they are allowed to spend Tk75 lakh to the maximum. Similarly, aparty can spend Tk1.5 crore to the maximum for 100 candidates, Tk3 crores to the maximum for 200 candidates and Tk 4.5 crores to the maximum for 300 candidates for all constituencies. l
RAB ‘blamed’ for abductions, murders Ghulam Azam’s ex PAGE 1 COLUMN 2
“And as per their suggestion we filed cases against the seven.” Shaidul said the SP and DC of Fatulla instructed the officer-in-charge of the police station to file the case. We reached there in the afternoon but they filed the case at 10pm. Shahidul Islam alleged that police did not conduct any raid even after filing the case. Selina Islam, wife of Nazrul Islam said: “I do not have any doubt that Nur Hossain and Yasin killed my husband. They have a lot of money and they can do anything.” Nazrul Islam’s family members brought the allegation against RAB members in front of Shamim Osman. After that Shamim Osman said: “Many of the administration officials are involved in criminal activities and I believe the prime minister has no knowledge of it.” “I appealed to the prime minister to find out those involved in this brutal murders,” Shamim said. After talking to the journalist at the Rifle Club Shamim Osman and the fam-
ily members of Nazrul Islam joined a protest rally in Shidhdhirganj. Shamim Osman at the rally accused Nur Hossain of the abduction and murder of Nazrul. “Previously Iqbal (one of the accused) paid RAB Tk1 crore to abduct Nazrul. I myself helped Nazrul’s release at that time. Iqbal was also involved in the incident,” he said. Not only Nazrul’s family members, lawyer of Narayanganj also blamed the RAB for its involvement in the abduction and murders. Shakhawath Hossain, president of the Narayanganj District Association of Lawyers, told the Dhaka Tribune that after Chandan Sarkar went missing they went to the RAB office. “But they did not let us enter the office.” Tareq Sayeed, the CEO of the RAB-11 declined to make any comment on the allegation of taking money. Mokhlesur Rahman, DG RAB told the Dhaka Tribune allegation brought against them was not true. “Investigation is going on. After that the truth will come out.” l
Restrictions on plainclothes police PAGE 1 COLUMN 6
exist in any police station or unit of the law enforcing agencies, but police and Rab officials would be allowed to conduct raids or operations in plainclothes upon specific conditions. According to sources, the meeting decided that from now on, police stations concerned must be kept informed before any operation by any law enforcement agency takes place in the respective jurisdiction. Moreover, uniformed officials must be included or remain present at the spot where a plainclothes team will conduct an operation. The decision on plain-clothes operations came immediately after Dhaka Range and Chittagong Metropolitan Police and Sylhet Metropolitan Police separately put a ban on operations in plainclothes. Although it was a scheduled quarterly crime conference, the meeting was focused by the incidents of intensified killing after abduction, involvement of the law enforcers in extortions and their various other criminal activities, sources said. The killings of seven people after their abduction in Narayanganj and other recent abductions elsewhere in the country were also highlighted in the meeting. However, officials at meeting claimed the scenario in Narayanganj did not project the overall law and order situation of the country. The meeting also decided for in-
depth monitoring of the cases linked to JMB and other militant organisations and emphasised the importance on the Community Policing activities. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday night, IGP Hassan Mahmood Khandker had said the incidents like in Narayanganj did not take place in the rest 63 other districts. He also claimed that the number of abductions had not risen and the law and order situation had not been out of control. However, at the meeting DIG (Crime)Helal Uddin Badri claimed that in last three months crimes related abduction, killing, mugging, extortion, trafficking of women and children have been declined compared to the past across the country. Chaired by IGP, Additional IGP AKM Shahidul Hoque, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Director General Mokhlesur Rahman, commissioners of all the Metropolitan of Police, DIGs of all the ranges, among others, were present at the meeting. Meanwhile, a press release issued by Kamrul Ahsan, senior information officer at the Police Headquarters, mentioned that IGP Hassan Mahmood Khandker in his speech asked the police and Rab officials to discharge their duties through their best capacities. “The IGP also ordered police officials to unveil the motives behind abductions across the country and asked senior police officials for monitoring the cases,” the statement added.l
Hefazat yet to come up PAGE 1 COLUMN 2
list of those dead,” Hefazat Secretary General Junaid Babunagri said. Asked why make no list so far, he said they were continuously subject to police harassment and their activists were always on the run because of false cases filed against them. “The making of a list is not a fact here. What matters most is thousands of innocent lives were lost and all know about it,” he said. The list would be placed before the media shortly after making, added the leader. Although the Hefazat leader gave an account that their rally in the capital was peaceful, the scenario was entirely different on the fateful day. According to eyewitnesses, Hefazat activists were locked into clashes with police around 11am in Paltan and Baitul Mukarram Mosque areas, Motijheel, Bangabandhu Avenue and at Dainik Bangla intersection. After 6pm on the day, the Hefazat men vowed to stay in Motijheel even at night and the lawmen smelt rat in their resolution. In an emergency meeting, law en-
forcement officials decided to clear the area considering safety and security of the city’s commercial hub. The Dhaka Tribune met a Hefazat leader who was at the hotspot right at that time. No one was killed in the lawmen’s drive, he said. A Lalbagh Madrassa student Mamun Hossain, also a Hefazat activist, said the drive was launched at 2:45am and ended within 10 minutes. He saw police fire tear gas, entering the vicinity from all sides excepting Tikatoli and Bangladesh Bank corridor, which were kept open for Hefazat men to escape. The entire area was cleared out within just 20 minutes, and he did not see anybody die at that time. The Dhaka Tribune investigation also found no trace of bodies during the overnight operation by the joint forces. In the next day of May 6, after the law enforcers drove out Hefazat activists from the capital, the disappointed Islamist forces resorted to vandalism and were locked into clashes with police at Kanchpur and Narayanganj, leaving 20 individuals including three law enforcers killed. l
bodyguard held n Kailash Sarkar
Law enforcers yesterday arrested the former personal security guard of Ghulam Azam, the former ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami convicted for war crimes, with four licensed firearms in the capital’s Mirpur. Mozaffar Hossain, 50, is also the father-in-law of a son of fugitive death row convict Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar. He was arrested around 9pm while holding a meeting with Jamaat men. Inspector Salah Uddin, OC of Mirpur police station, said: “Apart from a shotgun, a pistol, a rifle and a double-barrel gun, police found a significant number of weapons at the office.” He confirmed that all the firearms had been licensed. Police said Mozaffar had been arrested for his involvement with Jamaat. He used to hold meetings against the government and the country at the building.l
Police seize the private car of Nur Hossain's brother in connection with the recent abduction and killing of Councillor Nazrul Islam from Shimrail in Narayanganj yesterday RAJIB DHAR
‘Under surveillance, yet Nur Hossain fled’ n Rabiul Islam
State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday said prime accused Nur Hossain of Narayanganj abduction case and his family were under law enforcers’ surveillance but went into hiding at one stage. He came up with this information after a meeting on the security of river routes at the conference room of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The minister, however, did not go into details about Nur Hossain’s escape. The law enforcers were trying their best to arrest those involved in the abduction and murder of seven persons, said the junior minister. The minister yesterday parried a number of questions, including that of why law enforcers felt the need for raiding the house of Nur on Saturday, seven days after seven persons were abducted and murdered.
On April 27, seven people including Narayanganj City Panel Mayor Nazrul Islam and lawyer Chandan Kumar Sarker were abducted, and two days later their dead bodies were recovered from the Shitalakhya river. The following day Nazrul’s wife Selina Islam filed a case with Shiddhirganj police station, implicating Shiddhirganj Awami League Vice-President Nur. Asked whether law enforcers have any hand in the abduction, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman said: "Everything is subject to investigation. “If they [law enforcers] are proved to have been involved in the abduction, they will be punished. None shall be spared, even the godfather. We have got the clue and it will help to identify the criminals." When asked, the minister said: “It is not true that law and order has collapsed. The situation has not worsened that much.” l
Inqilab editor secures bail n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court yesterday granted bail to AMM Bahauddin, editor and publisher of the daily Inqilab, in a case filed over publishing a false report on the law enforcers’ drive in Satkhira. Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate SM Ashiqur Rahman passed the order on Tk10,000 bond when Bahauddin surrendered before the court with a bail petition. On February 20, another Dhaka court granted bail to Inqilab’s News Editor Rabiulla Ulla Robi, Deputy Chief Reporter Rafiq Mohammad and Diplomatic Correspondent Ahmed Atik in the case. Police arrested the three on January 16, seized various items at the newspaper office and sealed off its press. However, the press was later unsealed and the seized items were returned. The raid was conducted after a case had been filed alleging that the daily published a fake and fabricated report on January 16. l
The meteoric rise of a fanatic outfit PAGE 1 COLUMN 5
Nadia Sharmeen, a female television journalist who was assigned to cover Hefazat’s April rally, described to this correspondent how Hefazat men harassed her. “You are a woman; why are you here? Get out of here right now!” – That was what one of the Hefazat fanatics told her while assaulting. Another one told her, “Do not you know about our 13-point demands? Why are you here, being a woman? Just get out of here!” she was told. From that rally, the Chittagong-based outfit declared its 13-point demands that included banning all “foreign culture” such as free mixing of men and women and candlelight vigils, and bar on erecting sculptures at intersections, colleges and universities across the country, and so on. Hefazat leaders asked the government to implement their demands, which
constitution experts, social scientists, human rights activists, women rights defenders and civil society leaders believed was against the spirit of the constitution and the fundamentals of the state and society. Hefazat’s demands became an issue of concern making everyone wonder how a group of fanatics had been rising beyond the purview of the mainstream society with an aim to take the country back to the dark ages. The Hefazat men, who had been working with an aim to realise the 13-point demands, did not only beat up Nadia. In an interview with this correspondent, she said: “I was beaten up by the attackers five to six times. The attackers also tore my shirt and tried to rip everything on my body apart.” Jakia Ahmed was another female journalist harassed by Hefazat men on the same day. She was told by one of the attackers that: “Why do women come out? How dare she not only
comes out of the house, but also do journalism?” When women are considered as equal development partners not just in the country but only across the world, Hefazat wants them to remain in cache. In his sermons, Hefazat chief Shah Ahmed Shafi has been heard several times speaking against women’s freedom, education and employment. “Women should take care of furniture, bring up children and stay within the confines of their homes,” Shafi said in one of his sermons. This Dhaka Tribune correspondent has found out that many Hefazat leaders not only played role in the founding of banned Islamist outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (Huji-B), but also campaigned for establishing Taliban-styled state in Bangladesh. In the late 1990s, terrorist organisation Taliban grabbed state power in Afghanistan and took the country into a
dark age. Many leaders of Hefazat have been in Afghanistan in the past where they fought alongside the local militants in favour of the Taliban’s cause. One of them was Maulana Habibur Rahman, a key organiser of the May 5 Hefazat rally. He campaigned to establish Taliban-styled rule in Bangladesh. He said: “Only the establishment of a Khilafat [pan-Islamic movement]-based state following the Taliban ideology can change the lot of the nation.” These are only a few of many such examples that plunged the country’s people into a state of panic. Hefazat men destroyed trees on the road, demolished concrete dividers, torched and vandalised vehicles, public and private offices, banks and attacked police on May 5. It is often said that many political quarters of the country extended their explicit and implicit support, propelling the fanatic group to give rise to the unprecedented atrocities. l
Sufiyan has used abusive towards me. I have a video of that. I think whoever is involved should be brought to book.” The lawmaker also said if any member of the law enforcement agencies had committed the abductions in exchange of money, the person should be arrested. “If Ivy blames me, it means she knows everything about the abductions. She should be arrested and interrogated,” he said.
Case transferred to DB
Political rivals blame each other PAGE 1 COLUMN 6
at each other for the killings. The bodies of Councillor and Panel Mayor Nazrul Islam, senior lawyer Chandan Sarkar and five others were found in Shitalakkhya River on Wednesday and Thursday. Yesterday, Narayanganj District Lawyers’ Association enforced a hartal protesting the death of Chandan peacefully. During the shutdown, rail and road communication were suspended while shops were closed. The association arranged a rally in front of the press club in the morning which continued until afternoon. From the rally, the lawyers blamed RAB for the abduction. They also demanded legal action against Lt Col Tareque Sayeed Mohammad, the recently removed commanding officer of RAB 11. President of the association Shakhawat Hossain said removal of three RAB officials was not enough. “The authorities have to bring them to book after independent probe into the incidents.” Meanwhile, Shahidul Islam, father-inlaw of Nazrul, claimed that RAB had killed the seven people in exchange of Tk6 corer which they had got from the main suspect, Councillor Nur Hossain, and his associates. However, when his body was recovered wife Selina Akhter Beauty had told reporters that Shamim Osman might be behind the abduction. Shahidul yesterday claimed that her daughter had been wrong. “We have realised that Osman was
not involved. He has helped us to find Nazrul,” he told reporters at an informal press meet with the Awami League lawmaker sitting beside him. In the afternoon, the family members arranged a rally at Shiddhirganj demanding arrest of the killers. Shamim Osman was present.
Ivy, Shamim blame each other
Meanwhile, in front of the Nagar Bhaban, colleagues of Nazrul observed work abstention since the morning. Mayor Ivy speaking at the gathering said: “The dwellers of Narayanganj are anxious over the consecutive incidents of forced disappearance and abduction. They have become prey to a certain family.” Indicating Shamim Osman, she said people wanted respite from the godfathers of criminals. “People are yet to get justice in the killing of school student Towki, businessman Ashique, Bhulu and cultural person Didarul Islam. “The family buys every official of the law enforcement agencies and the local administration. People do not dare to talk against them. If they speak up, they are disappeared and get killed.” Following the rally, she told reporters: “I do not know whether RAB is involved in the abductions. But it is true that a family in Narayanganj has huge manpower and cohorts who can abduct seven people in broad daylight.” On the other hand, Shamim Osman told reporters: “Abu Sufiyan, a close aide of Ivy, threatened to kill Nur and me.
Police seize a ‘suspected’ car
Lawmen yesterday confiscated a car from a glass factory owned by an in-law of Shamim Osman at Shiddhirganj, suspecting that it was used in the abduction and killing of Nazrul. Officials at the factory said Nuruzzaman alias Joj Mia, younger brother of main accused Nur Hossain, owns the car. The vehicle (Dhaka Metro-Ga 298862) was found inside the compound of JMS Glass Industries Ltd at Shimrail. Not only the doors, but also all the four wheels of the car, were found locked. Shamsuddin Ahmed, an uncle-inlaw of Shamim Osman, is the managing director and one of the eight owners of the factory, General Manager Abdul Awal said. “Sometimes they used to park the car here for one or two years. But since the driver kept the car here on Friday afternoon, nobody came to take it back,” he said. Habib, a member of the Detective Branch of Police, said they had raided the factory around 11:30am on a tip-off.
The case filed over the abduction and killing of Nazrul and his aides has been transferred to the DB police. Mahbubur Rahman, officer-incharge of DB in Narayanganj, said they had been given the charge yesterday to probe the case. A day into the abduction of Nazrul, his wife filed the abduction case with Fatulla police station on Monday against Nur Hossain, Shiddhirganj unit AL General Secretary Hazi Yasin and four others. The law enforcers on Saturday seized a microbus suspected to be used in the abduction and detained at least 10 people raiding the house of Nur Hossain. The police, however, failed to arrest Nur Hossain or any member of his family during the raid.
Police stay mum
Narayanganj Police Superintendent Khandoker Mahid Uddin claimed that they had got some important clues during the investigation. “It is a well-planned murder. So, we are progressing cautiously,” he said. The official said there were 16 people when they had raided Nur’s house yesterday. Police also got important information from the two detainees from who the mobile set of lawyer Chandan was recovered. The paper of the car recovered on Saturday has been cross examined by the BRTA. Meanwhile, police yesterday produced 11 arrestees before a Narayanganj court. They were granted seven-day remand. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
Pictures taken on May 5, 2013 show leaders and activists of Hefazat-e-Islam run amok and clash with law enforcers in the capital’s Paltan area
Rightwing parties gave Hefazat a mercenary role n Julfikar Ali Manik Hefazat-e-Islam’s May 5 rally last year can be remembered as the latest example of how the fanatic and radical Islamist outfits are repeatedly being used as mercenary groups by rightwing communal political parties to serve their motives. Last year, Hefazat was inducted into a list of mercenary role-players alongside banned outfits Harkat-ulJihad-al Islami Bangladesh (Huji-B), Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB). Before the May 5 rally at Shapla Chattarin Motijheel – the busiest business district of the city – Hefazat said it was for pressing the 13-point demand. However, pre- and post-rally circumstances and developments
made it clear that Hefazat was used as mercenary group by the then BNP-Jamaat-led 18-party opposition alliance to topple the Sheikh Hasinaled government. Hefazat labelled itself a “nonpolitical” organisation that worked for Islamic religious issues. But, a confessional statement, given to law enforcers by its Secretary General Junaid Babunagari after the May 5 mayhem, revealed how they had been used by BNP and Jamaat for “political” purposes. Babunagari claimed that on the day of the rally, many leaders of Hefazat had told him that the movement was not only for pressing the 13-point demand but also for ousting the government. “The 18-party will provide [them with] all sorts of assistance – money, food and water. We have
an understanding with the 18-party leaders,” Babunagari claimed to have been told by the Hefazat leaders. The Hefazat second-in-command also blamed Jamaat-Shibir, Chhatra Dal and Jubo Dal activists for the rampage and looting in the Motijheel, Paltan and Baitul Mokarram areas on that day. The Hefzat men were supposed to leave the Shapla Chattar area in the afternoon after ending their rally. But, out of the blue, they decided to continue their stay. In the evening on that day,BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, then the leader of the opposition in parliament,asked her party men to extend their support to Hefazat by joining rally. On the day before the rally, Khaleda warned the ruling Awami League saying: “...we will declare such programmes that you will have to flee
or quit power.” The next day, a Hefajat leader in his speech at the rally issued a similar warning,asking the ruling party leaders to think about where they would hide after that night. Babunagari also described how they had been given money by the BNP-Jamaat alliance to continue their program for ousting the Hasinaledgovernment. Compared to some of its predecessors such as the Huji-B and the JMB, Hefazatis a relatively newIslamist fundamentalist and fanatic outfit. It was launched on January 10, 2010 by Qawmi Madrasa leaders, many of whom were founders and organisers of Huji-B. But Hefazat, who had not been in the scene for most of time since its launching,surfaced suddenly after the Shahbagh-based Gonojagoron
Hefazat faces division over leadership n Manik Miazee
Platform of Islamist parties pursuing 13-point demands, Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh has split into three apparent divisions centring leadership and political interest following last year’s demonstrations on May 5. They have also been facing obstructions from the law enforcers who did not allow the group to hold rallies in the capital several times in the last one year. Internal feud is also seen regarding the means of the movement to realise the demands that include death penalty for atheists, cancelling the women development policy and ban on free mixing of men and women. The fractions are now blaming each other for carrying out negotiations with the government secretly and for destroying the movement that drew attention of the local and international media as well as gained support from different quarters including some ruling Awami League allies. The Hefazat men campaigned in favour of the BNP-led alliance during the city corporation polls and afterwards.
Currently, Hefazat has three active factions. One of those is run by Hefazat chief Shah Ahmed Shafi and its Secretary Junaid Babunagari of Hathazari Madrasa. Another section is led by Islami Oikya Jote Chairman Abdul Latif Nezami, also Hefazat’s adviser, and Secretary General Mufti Fayez Ullah, one of the conveners of Hefazat’s Dhaka unit. Operated from Lalbagh Madrasa, this group is known as pro-BNP-Jamaat. It led the May 5 Dhaka-siege programme. On the other hand, Jamiat-e-Ulamae-Islam Secretary Nur Hossain Kashemi, who is also Hefazat’s Dhaka City convener, is leading the other group. Kashemi is also the chief of Baridhara Madrasa. Even though the party is an ally of the BNP-led 19-party alliance, this faction is known as pro-government. When contacted, Fayez Ullah told the Dhaka Tribune that the real Islamist movement had been destroyed only for few people, “who do not want to realise the 13-point demands.” Criticising Kashemi, he said: “After May 5, I cannot come outside in daylight, but they are moving freely and
communicating with the law enforcement agencies. Interestingly, the government did not file any case against them. This is not a favourable symptom for the movement.” Back from the May 5 rally at Shapla Chattar of Motijheel following crackdown of the law enforcers, Hefazat called rallies in the capital for more than three times, but the government did not allow them to do so. The group called a rally for December 24 last year, only a week ahead of the national election amidst the anti-poll movement of the BNP-led alliance. Kashemi cancelled the programme from a press conference in Baridhara saying that they had not got the government’s permission. He did it unilaterally, without consulting with Nezami and Mufti Fayez. The statement came minutes after the police had barred Shafi and his deputy Babunagari in Chittagong on their way to the capital on December 23. A senior Hefazat leader told the Dhaka Tribune, seeking anonymity, that the platform had clearly been di-
vided into three factions centring political interest. Meanwhile, according to the leaders linked with the BNP-led alliance, the group is divided into two parts centring the general election. Irked by the internal feud, Hefazat chief Shafi made two separate media statements. He said: “Some people are actively trying to break up our unity which is a very bad practice.” Alerting the leaders and activists, he said: “Everyone needs to be careful about the persons who are trying to divide the group.” Shafi also urged all to inform him about any irregularities within the organisation. “If anyone wants to clash with us, even if it is an organisation, we will take action against them.” The Hathazari-based organisation comprises Qawmi madrasa teachers and students. It was formed in 2010 when its supporters took to the streets demanding cancellation of the education and the women development policies. They surfaced again in February last year demanding death penalty for the organisers of Shahbagh movement terming them atheists. l
No headway in cases against Hefazat leaders in one year n Mohammad Jamil Khan One year has elapsed but police are yet to complete any single investigation into the 42 cases filed with different police stations in the capital for the May 5 mayhem wreaked by the Hefazat-eIslam.
Of the 42 cases against Hefazat leaders, the Detective Branch of police is investigating 15 cases, the DB west team investigating 13 while the DB south team two other cases Not only that another 14 cases filed in Narayanganj and Chittagong have not seen any progress too. The Hefazat leaders arrested in connection with the May 5 anarchy secured bail. Even no action has been taken against Junaid Babunagari, secretary general of the party, who have never appeared before the court since he
was granted bail although a number of hearing dates have passed. A number of investigation officers (IO) said investigations were underway but they were yet to take any decision as they had received no instruction from the high officials. They said they were waiting for video footage and still pictures of the incidents of that fateful day. However, the leaders and activists accused in those cases are regularly attending press briefing, conference and rally under the nose of law enforcers. Those who are accused include Junaid Babunagari, Hefazat Chittagong unit President Mainuddin Ruhi, Joint Secretary General Farid Ullah, Shamsul Alam, Mahibullah Babu, Tazul Islam, Abul Malek Halim, Azizul Haque Islamabadi, Fazlul Haque Zihadi, Harun Izahar, Iliash Osmani, Nur Hossain Kasemi, Mufti Faezullah, Mahfuzul Haque, Golam Uddin Ekram and Rafiqul Islam Madani. Of the 42 cases the Detective Branch (DB) of police is investigating 15 cases, the DB west team investigating 13 while the DB south team two other cases. Babunagari is accused in 11 cases. Jahangir Hossain Matubbor, deputy
commissioner of the DB (west) police, said: “We are investigating the cases but it will take time as we have to collect evidence from among millions of people gathered at the May 5 rally of the Hefazat.” When asked how much time it would take he said he could not say right now as charge sheets would be submitted after investigations were over. After the incident, the DB police took Babunagari and 41 other activists of the Hefazat on remand and gleaned sensational information from them. Besides, BNP standing committee members MK Anwar, Rafiqul Islam Mia and Maudud Ahmed were interrogated too in this connection. Monirul Islam, joint commissioner of the DB police, too said they would submit charge sheet after the investigations were done. Apart from DB police, 27 others cases in the capital are being investigated by Motijheel, Paltan and Ramna police officials. Contacted, Morshed Alam, officer-in-charge of Paltan police station, told the Dhaka Tribune they would start the investigation after the decision of the higher authorities. Moshiur Rahman, officer-in-charge
of Ramna police station, however, said they had made some progress in the investigations of three cases but could not say when they would complete the procedures. Forman Ali, officer-in-charge of Motijheel police station, said they were waiting for the guideline of the higher authorities. About the rest 14 cases filed in Narayanganj and Chittagong Sentu Miah, sub-inspector of Hathazari police station, echoing others said it would take time. Asked, Sazzadur Rahman, additional police super (general) of Narayanganj, said investigations of the cases were underway and hoped they could submit charge sheets shortly but he failed to specifically say when they could complete the process. In this regard, Hassan Mahmood Khandker, inspector general of police, refuted the allegation of delay in the investigation saying that some cases need evidences, information and statements of witnesses to complete the probe. Law enforcers are busy collecting information and evidences and soon the reports on the incident could be submitted, he added. l
Moncho in February last year raised a strong demand for ensuring capital punishment for the war criminals of 1971, most of whom are top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami. A source in Jamaat said although they had an open rivalry with Hefazat, still they decided to hire them to foil the Shahbagh movement. Hefazat labelled the organisers of the Moncho as atheists. Soon after, Rajib, a blogger and one of the organisers, was hacked to death. Similarly, radical outfit Huji-B that emerged in 1992, not only carried out several terrorist attacks since then to press its own agenda, but had also been used as a mercenary group. In August 2004, Huji-B carried out deadly grenade attacks on an Awami League rally with an aim to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, then the opposition leader.
Khaleda Zia’s eldest son Tarique Rahman, many of her close associates, and influential ministers and leaders of BNP and Jamaat have been accused for plottingthe attack that Huji-B carried out. In 2004-2005, notorious Sidduqul Islam Bangla Bhai and his spiritual leader Abdur Rahman’s outfits JMB and JMJB were used as mercenary groups in the country’s northern districts to eliminate political rivals of BNP-Jamaat. These two outfits were patronised by some influential ministers, lawmakers and leaders of the then ruling party BNP. Even the then administration did not challenge the militant operations. Many people, who were known for their secular political, social, cultural and intellectual beliefs, have been killed or maimed in the last two decades through planned attacks by these terrorist groups. l
Ershad played the role of an opportunist n Manik Miazee The role of Jatiya Party (JaPa) chief HM Ershad centring the May 5 rally of Hefazat-e-Islam last year was one of an opportunist, who wanted to remain by the side that emerged on top. Ershad, who leads a party that belonged to the ruling alliance, reportedly kept liaison with both Hefazat and the government side. On May 3 last year, the former autocrat ordered his men to join the Dhaka siege programme and help the Hefazat troop by supplying water and dry food on the streets. The next day, his Press Secretary Sunil Shuvo Roy issued a statement in which Ershad called upon the government to accept Hefazat’s demands. The statement read: “The demands placed by Hefazat are legal and I call upon the government to accept them with a spirit of sacrifice for Islam.” Hefazat’s 13-point demand included revoking the women education policy, banning free mixing of men and women and demolishing all the sculptures including those built to pay tribute to the Liberation War. On May 5, JaPa’s the then secretary general ABM Ruhul Amin Howlader, Kazi Zafar Ahmed, who is not with Ershad anymore, and Joint Secretary Iqbal Hossain Raju, along with some other activists, took part in Hefazat’s rally. Upon his orders, mineral water and dry food were distributed among Hefazat men at 10am in the capital’s Abdullahpur area – one of the six entrances to Dhaka. At the same time, Ershad instructed senior leaders Anisul Islam Mahmud and Zia Uddin Ahmmed Bablu – now secretary general of the party – to keep in touch with the government.
“If Hefazat succeeded in toppling the government from power, then Ershad’s intention was to be a part of the new government,” said Kazi Zafar Ahmed, then a presidium member of JaPa and now the leader of a faction. On the other hand, Bablu, the current secretary general of the party, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Why would we participate in Hefazat’s programme? We were allied with the ruling party.”
The demands placed by Hefazat are legal and I call upon the government to accept them with a spirit of sacrifice for Islam However, after Hefazat backtracked in the face of a crackdown, Ershad changed his voice, show-causing Iqbal Hossain Raju for taking part in the rally and the Dhaka siege programme. A few days later, Ershad, known for changing decision in matters of minutes, said he supported the Muslims but not Hefazat’s 13-point demands. Recently, State Minister for LGRD Mashiur Rahman Ranga, also a leader of Ershad’s JaPa, told the Dhaka Tribune that the party chief had exiled those who had participated in the Hefazat programme. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Iqbal Hossain Razu claimed that Ershad had given him instructions to take part in the May 5 rally. Ershad was made a special envoy to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after Awami League assumed state power after the 10th national election. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
Over 4,000 killed in launch capsizes in last 38 years Department of Shipping struggles to check unfit vessels, citing manpower shortage n Mohosinul Karim At least 4,420 people died, 520 were injured and 400 other have remained missing in more than 550 passenger launch accidents in last 38 years, including the latest launch capsize in Ramnabad River in Golachipa under Patuakhali. However, experts claim the actual number of accidents, death and missing was higher than shown in the government statistics. According to the experts and officials concerned, gross negligence of the authorities in ensuring safety measures, awarding licenses coupled with a lack of awareness among passengers and plying the launches with inefficient masters (drivers) caused most of these accidents. As such fatal mishaps continue to recur, the death toll from Saturday’s launch capsize rose to 16 with the recovery of two more bodies on Sunday morning while at least, 25 passengers have remained missing. Many of the accidents happened either because the launches were unfit or overloaded or due to collision with other vessels or structures. Although hundreds of probe committees were formed and the incidents were investigated, however, nobody was reported till date to have been punished in this regard, experts added. Between January 2002 and July
2013, only five to seven probe reports were made public following some major river mishaps. Almost all the recommendations made by those committees towards putting an end to such loss of lives remain unimplemented. According to the statistics of the government, the number of death of the people was only 29 in five accidents in 1977, after the Independence of Bangladesh. The highest numbers of launch accidents were occurred in 2004. A total of 127 lives were lost in 41 launch accidents in a single year. Meanwhile, the highest numbers of lives were lost in 2003 and 1986. A total 464 people died in 31 accidents in 2003 while 426 people died in only 11 launch accidents. According to statistics of the Nirapod Noupath Bastabayon Andolon (Safe Waterway Implementation Movement), around 6,000 people died and more than 700 persons are missing in 535 major launch accidents in the country from 1976 to 2012. Although there were no major incidents in 2013, some 22 people lost their lives in seven launch accidents. The movement’s General Secretary Aminur Rasul Babul told the Dhaka Tribune that the reports of 863 probe committees, formed to investigate 535 accidents, were not made publicly. At the same time, the recommendations
of the committees were never implemented by the government. As a result, these accidents continue to recur in the waterways, he added. He further informed that all of these probe committees recommended strict monitoring to stop plying of unfit launches, increasing the number of ship surveyors and inspectors in the shipping department, bringing all the inland vessels under marine insurance, arrangement for formal training for the drivers and modernisation of the Inland Shipping Ordinance 1976. “But the government has yet to implement most of them. In many cases, the investigations focused on wrong issues instead of the main reasons behind the accidents. Many probe bodies were more concerned about finding out a ‘culprit’ and paid no heed to identify measures to prevent such accidents,” Babul added. The Department of Shipping, which regulates waterways transport, has been struggling to check and monitor the plying of unfit and overloaded vessels due to a lack in manpower. Acknowledging the shortage, Department of Shipping’s Ship Surveyor and Examiner SM Nazmul Huq told the Dhaka Tribune that the staff crisis was indeed crippling the department’s monitoring work. At present, only four surveyors were posted to verify the fitness of
vessels registered by the department. According to a statement of the department in December 2012, there were around 8,668 registered vessels, where 984 of them were passenger carriers. Despite having a plan to increase the number of surveyors to 24 in 2012, the plan never saw light due to lack of interest of the government and high officials of the department. In most cases, the passenger launches carry insufficient lifebuoys and no life jackets at all, thus a higher death toll occurs following a mishap, experts said. Under the terms of an ordinance of the shipping department, passenger vessels should keep as many life jackets as passengers on board and at least one lifebuoy for every four passengers. But this provision has never been implemented. Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune: “The authorities concerned were asked to ensure that the ships or launches are not being driven by inefficient masters or staffs. We are also taking measures to resist them to reduce the launch accidents.” “We are also going to start the activities of newly formed ‘Shipping Police’ to ensure the security and safety of the water routes of the country. It will eliminate the problems of the sector,” he added. l
Rescuers salvage sunken MV Shathil-1, death toll rises to 16 n Our correspondent, Barisal
Rescue workers are in search of bodies of passengers of the ill fated water vessel that sank in the Ramna River on Saturday DHAKA TRIBUNE
Housewife stages kidnapping n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong A woman, along with her six-year-old daughter in Chittagong’s Halishahar area, went into hiding on Saturday afternoon pretending to be kidnapped as a result of domestic disputes. Police report that the woman, Ayesha Akhter, 30,with her daughter Tashrifa, 6, left their house in Halishahar in the port city around 2pm saying they had to go run some errands like purchasing medicine. But she failed to return home. When Ayesha’s husband Abu Naser did not find his wife and daughter at home, he tried to reach her over her cell phone. A person answered, claiming to be their kidnapper, and demanded Tk 50,000 in ransom in exchange for the safe return of his wife and daughter. Naser lodged a case with Halishahar police station. The police conducted several drives, according to Syed Abu Mohammad Shahjahan Kabir, officer-in-charge (OC) of the police station. Later the police were able to trace Ayesha’s mobile phone location and the “kidnapper’s”. They found both the phones to be in “H” Block of Halishahar and proceeded to surround the area. Sensing the presence of law enforcers, Ayesha, wearing a Borkha, along with her daughter came out from a building and said that kidnapper fled the scene in an auto-rickshaw. Ayesha’s statement aroused the police’s suspicion, as they began interrogating her; at one stage she confessed to feigning the kidnapping over domestic disputes, said the OC. ADC Tanvir Arafat said Ayesha has a history of feigning kidnappings regarding domestic disputes. She was taken to the police station when the police were conducting drives trying to capture the culprits behind her and her daughter’s kidnapping; according to ADC. l
Rescuers yesterday salvaged the sunken launch MV Shathil-1, which capsized on Ramnabad River near Galachipa upazila under Patuakhali district a day earlier. Meanwhile, government has formed three separate probe committees to investigate the capsizing of the ill-fated vessel. “Salvage vessel Hamza started rescue operation at about 5pm after reaching the spot from Barisal. The operation was completed at around 9pm,” confirmed BIWTA Deputy Director Abul Bashar Majumdar from the spot. No dead body was recovered from inside the salvaged vessel. Meanwhile, the death toll of the incident has risen to 16 after the two bodies, one of an unidentified woman and a newborn child, was recovered in the evening. Among the bodies recovered, 12 bodies have been identified. The bodies identified were of Wahida Begum, 26, Rashida Begum, 40,
MYMENSINGH JMB SNATCHING
Eight placed on 10-day remand n UNB A court yesterday placed eight people on a 10-day remand in a case filed in connection with the snatching of three convicted JMB militants from a prison van in Trishal upazila on February 23, killing a policeman. The eight people were Kamal Hossain Sabuj, Yusuf Ali Sohagh, Sohel Rana, Murshed Alam, Ilias Uddin, Abu Bakar Siddique alias Swapan, Bashir
Uddin and Anwar Hossain. Judge Farhana Yasmin of the 4th Cognisance Court passed the order when police produced them before the court, said Majedul Islam, officer-in-charge of Mymensingh DB. Members of Rapid Action Battalion recently arrested the eight people from different parts of the capital. On May 1, the Detective Branch of police produced them before the court, seeking 10 days’ remand.
Miscreants snatched the three convicted JMB members - Rakib Hasan Russel, Boma Mizan and Salahuddin -- from a prison van killing one policeman at Signboard in Trishal on February 23. However, one of the snatched JMB men - Rakib Hasan Russel – was recaptured hours later. Rakib was killed in a gunfight with police in Mirzapur upazila of Tangail the following day. l
Survey: Most RMG workers not members of any union
Housewife murdered n Our Correspondent, Tangail
n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla
A housewife was allegedly killed in acid attack by her in-laws in Mirzapur upazila under the district on Saturday. The victim was identified as Shapna Akter, 17, wife of Aslam, in Borati village of the upazila. The victim’s father, Hazrat Ali, said Aslam and his parents including other members of his family confined Shapna to a bathroom after throwing acid on her in the morning. Later, the neighbours came to her rescue and took her to Mirzapur Kumudini Hospital. Shapna succumbed to her injuries on the way to Dhaka Medical College hospital. Md Anwar Hossain, sub-inspector of Mirzapur police station, said on information police recovered the body and later sent it to Tangail General Hospital. The victim’s father filed a case, accusing four including Aslam with Mirzapur police station Saturday night. Police arrested Joynal Miah, 50, victim’s father-in-law, on the same day. l
A recent survey conducted on RMG workers by Democracy International, a consulting firm, found that most of the RMG workers who took part in the survey were still not members of any labour union. 87% of the respondents are not members of any labour unions, but 82% consider forming labour unions effective or very effective in solving the workers’ problems, according to the survey results. However, 74% think that workers’ problems can be solved by asking BGMEA and the factory owners to help. Focusing on the RMG workers in the greater Dhaka and Chittagong areas, Democracy International conducted the survey to have an in-depth understanding on labour issues, formation of labour union and activities, policy aspiration and political participation of the RMG workers.
Fieldwork for the survey was done between March 28 and April 6 this year. By using multi-stage random sampling technique, a total of 1,508 RMG workers were interviewed during the survey. Also, it was found that the respondents worked 10.09 hours each day on average. The average take-home salary is Tk7,341 each month and 82% of the respondents believe that safe working conditions are prevalent or very prevalent in their factories. David Dettman, chief of party for Democracy International in Bangladesh, said: “Democracy International is delighted to continue to support the growth of an empirical public opinion research culture in Bangladesh. “The garment sector is critical for Bangladesh’s economic future, and understanding workers’ perspectives can help all stakeholders improve their working conditions,” he said. l
Renu Aktar Liza, 26, Nasima Aktar, 30, Mizanur Rahman, 35, Rishat, 5, Luthfa, 50, Runia, 20, Manowara, 50, Isahuq, 6, Nipu Begum, 35, and Tinni, 6. Of the 16, four bodies were yet to be identified, confirmed Kalagachhia river police camp Sub Inspector Abdul Halim. The vessel, MV Shathil-1, was carrying about 50-60 passengers on Rangabali-Patuakhali route when it capsized at Shikdar Bari Mor between Ishadi and Kalagachhia stations on Ramnabad River at about 3pm Saturday. The launch departed from Galachipa upazila station at around 2pm. Although many of the passengers managed to swim ashore with the help of locals, at least 20 other passengers of the vessel were still missing. Galachipa acting upazila nirbahi officer Kazi Md Saimuzzaman said Tk20,000 will be aloocated for each of the dead victims to cover carrying and burial cost. Confirming the reports, Patuakhali Deputy Commissioner Amitav Sarkar said a 17-member team from the fire
service and 10-member team of naval forces have been searching the area to rescue the victims. However, rescue and recovery operation would be begin fully after the salvage vessel MV Hamza, which left Barisal base station for the spot on Saturday afternoon, will reach at the spot around 2pm, the administrative and police officials said. Meanwhile, three separate probe committees were formed by the Shipping Ministry, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority and the district administration respectively to investigate deeper into the causes of the accident. The Shipping Ministry has formed a 5-member investigation committee, led by Director (conservancy) Muhammad Hossain and including Additional Secretary Md Alauddin, to probe the incident. AKM Fakhrul Islam, chief engineer of shipping ministry, said these launches were constructed in 1983-85 and has become outdated now. “Since 2006, these outdated launches were ordered to stop plying,” he added. l
AL men ransack Public Health Nutrition office, assault official n Kailash Sarkar A group of Awami League men yesterday allegedly assaulted several officials of the Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN) at the capital’s Mohakhali after failing to secure a work order of the institute, sources said. Police and witnesses said a group of around 20 leaders and activist of the ruling party, led by former general secretary of Ward-20 Aslam Hossain, beat up IPHN Director Mohammad Hedayetul Islam after storming into his office in the afternoon. They also allegedly van-
dalised his office and tried to various furniture and also tried to pick him up. The victim later filed a case with Banani police station accusing the AL leader and his accomplishes for assaulting him and vandalising his office. “In the case statement, the victim alleged that Aslam attacked him and vandalised his office as he could not take part in the institute’s tender competition due to his illegal activities,” said Banani police station Sub-Inspector Sohrab Hossain. However, no one was arrested in this connection till filing of this report at 1:40am today. l
7kg gold seized, four held at Shahjalal airport n Kailash Sarkar Around seven kilograms of gold was recovered in separate drives by personnel of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) and Armed Police Battalion at the capital’s Hajarat Shahjalal International Airport yesterday. They also arrested four persons in connection with the smuggling of the gold into the country. The Investigation Directorate (CIID) officials seized six gold bars weighing six kilograms around 12pm from a passenger who landed at the airport from Kuala Lumpur on a flight of the Malaysia Airlines. “As we frisked the body of passen-
ger Abdur Razzak (60) and checked his luggage we found the gold bars immediately after his arrival in Dhaka,” said Ayesha Akhter, an assistant director of the CIID. She said detained Abdur Razzak, who is suspected to be a member of a gold smuggling ring, was handed over to airport police and a case was filed in this connection. Meanwhile, Assistant Superintendent of Police Alamgir Hossain Shimul said they also recovered 800 grams of gold around 8am by arresting three other passengers who came from different countries. The detained passengers were identified as Hanif Mahmud, Mohammad Latif and Shipon Miah. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
Passenger sheds out of passengers’ reach City Corporation sources say most sheds were leased out to different people, companies during Ershad’s regime
n Abu Hayat Mahmud As a result of Dhaka’s two city corporations’ indifference and lack of monitoring, commuters are unable to use the passenger sheds around the capital as most of them are either leased out, illegally occupied, or in shambles. The daily travellers are forced to stand on the pavements and streets while waiting for transport, as both Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) have been unable to free the spaces for public use. Most of these sheds are used for business purposes, housing hawkers, small traders, and ticket selling booths for local buses. Many are taken over by drug addicts, sex workers, and even patrol police. This means commuters have to brave sun and rain while waiting for transport, as in most places they are unable to find shelter. In many areas around Dhaka, permanent shops have been built inside the passenger sheds. No steps have been taken by the two governing authorities of the capital to remove these establishments. Visiting the city’s Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Farmgate, Shahbagh, New Market, Gulshan, Motijheel, Paltan, Malibagh, Mouchak, Moghbazar, Mohakhali, Sayedabad, Jatrabari and Sadarghat areas, this reporter found that only a handful of passenger sheds, mainly those privately built by banks and other companies, were free for public use. All the DNCC and DSCC-owned sheds were, however, found occupied. Sources at DNCC and DSCC said that most of these sheds were leased out to people and companies for 25 years by the military government headed by HM
Girl gang-raped, two held n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong A 15-year-old girl has been gang-rapped allegedly by five persons at a hilltop at Chittagong city’s Enayet Bazar area. Kotwali police station Inspector (investigation) Nizam Uddin said they arrested two persons involved in the rape after a case was filed yesterday morning. The case in brief is that the girl went out of her house at Goalparha on Thurday night for buying kerosene at a nearby shop, when five locals picked her up and took her to a nearby hilltop and violated her from Thursday night to Friday morning. The alleged rapists are Shahjalal, 30, Sohel, 18, Ratan alias Boidda, 26, Bahar Mia, 45, and Rasel, 27. All the alleged rapists are locals, Inspector Nizam told Dhaka Tribune, adding that Bahar and Rasel were already arrested. He added that efforts were on to arrest the others involved in the rape. l
WEATHER DRIZZLES LIKELY
MONDAY, MAY 5 DHAKA
TODAY SUN SETS 6:29PM
TOMORROW SUN RISES 5:22AM
FORECAST FOR TODAY Dhaka
YESTERDAY’S HIGH AND LOW
PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha
4:00am 5:21am 11:55am 4:32pm 6:29pm 7:51pm Source: IslamicFinder.org
Ershad in 1989-90. Some of these lease contracts had already expired, while the rest would end later this year, they said. Two sides of the coin Shafiq Ahmed, resident of Tejturipara area, said the passenger sheds were now taken over by BRTC ticket counters, newspaper stands and fast food shops. “The travellers hardly get space to stand inside the sheds. I am surprised by the city corporations’ role in this, or lack thereof,” he said. Tania Islam, a private bank official, travels by bus between Motijheel and Mohammadpur every day and has to wait for bus on the pavement. “There is no room under the shed. The space is taken up by vendors,” she said. When asked about the matter, Habibur Rahman, a newspaper seller occupying the passenger shed near Ananda Cinema Hall in Farmgate, said: “The space was leased out to Newspaper Hawkers’ Association by the former Dhaka Municipal Corporation for 99 years.” Shamsul, a fast-food joint owner occupying the passenger shed in front of Tejgaon College, echoed Habib’s defence, saying the city corporation authority had leased the space out to him.
What the officials say
Requesting anonymity, a DSCC official admitted that the departments in charge of the passenger sheds’ maintenance had failed to carry out their responsibilities. “We do not have any plan to build more sheds in the city at the moment,” he said, adding that the private companies who had taken up repairing the old sheds and building new ones were doing so in an unplanned way and to suit their own business interests. Md Fasi Ullah, chief estate officer
The photo taken yesterday from Farmgate area in the city shows ticket selling booth and food shops have been set on a passengers’ shed at DNCC, told the Dhaka Tribune that the city authority had not taken appropriate measure to free the passenger sheds due to legal complications.
“Most of the sheds were leased out in 1989-90 by the then government. We could not do anything because of legal matters,” he said.
He also claimed that they would repair and reconstruct the existing sheds once all the leases expired in August-September this year.
ABU HAYAT MAHMUD
Khalid Ahmed, chief estate officer in DSCC, agreed. “The leases will expire later this year. We will take care of the matter after then,” he said. l
BRTC bus drivers going through hardship Judge embarrassed for non-payment of salaries to hear Dhanmondi n playground writ petition Tazlina Zamila Khan
Drivers of air-conditioned bus service under Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) have not got salaries for the last two months, thanks to the negligence of the authorities concerned. The BRTC has around 30 air-conditioned single decker bus services that run on the Abdullahpur-Motijheel route in the capital every day. At least 90 bus drivers have been going through financial hardship, even sometimes they fail to manage foods for their family members. Bus driver Abul Kashem said: “We have to run buses from 8am to 12pm. But, the authorities are not giving us our fair wages of two months (February-March). I have two children. Sometimes we have to starve for lack of money.” Another driver Jahir Uddin said he lived in a slum at Uttara. He paid around Tk3,000 as rent. He said: “My wife and I work together to run the family. She is pregnant now. It has become very hard for me to run my family. But, the authorities do not pay any heed to our problems.” Expressing their woes, many drivers said when they had wanted their sala-
ries to the authorities, they told them that they would not be able to disburse salaries as the BRTC incurred a huge loss during last year’s political unrest.
As a result, drivers have been involved in various types of irregularities. They are taking passengers from different points of the capital rather than from the bus stops As a result, drivers have been involved in various types of irregularities. They are taking passengers from different points of the capital rather than from the bus stops. A passenger Asma Khatun, an employee of a private firm, said: “I get into a bus from Kurmitola without tickets. I have to go to Banglamotor, so I gave Tk50 to the driver.” When asked the driver Nasir said: “We do not have any choice as we have
to earn money to feed our children.” The salaries of the drivers varies from Tk4800-Tk10,000. The BRTC officials said the corporation had lost 139 buses and incurred a loss of Tk500 crore for damages during political violence. Also it bear Tk 38.9m for arson attacks while its revenue loss has stood at Tk 336 crore. The total loss had stood at Tk440 crore in the last five years. In this regard, Joar Shahara Depot Manager Abu Bakar Siddique said: “The drives are putting wrong allegations. They did not get the salaries of March. But, it is not a problem for them as they could earn pocket money from passengers.” He added: “When we will get money from the head office, we could pay driver’s salaries.” Munshi Iqbal Hossain, Director (Finance & Accounts) of the BRTC said,” Because of political violence in last year the buses could not ply the road. So, we faced income crisis. Besides, the government also did not gave us money for the damages.” He added: “Besides, it is normal in transportation sector and there are always dues. If there are dues, then the drivers will get their wages within next two or three months.” l
n Nazmus Sakib A judge of a two-member High Court bench yesterday felt embarrassed to hear a writ petition seeking its directive to remove structures that are under construction in Dhanmondi playground in the capital. The bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo said in its order that one of them felt embarrassed to hear to the petition and the reason was cited to be personal. They said the petition was sent to Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain to arrange another bench for hearing it. Supreme Court lawyer Fida M Kamal appeared for the petitioners while Additional Attorney General Murad Reza represented the government. Sara Hossain, another counsel for the petitioners, told the Dhaka Tribune that the judge who felt embarrassed to hear the petition refused to cite any specific reason except saying that it was a personal one. The petition concerns the ongoing construction work apparently by the
‘Shoddy work on sewer line at Ashulia’
Egg trader stabbed, robbed of Tk20 lakh n Our Correspondent, Savar n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong Mir Akter Construction is shoddiMuggers stabbed an egg trader and robbed him of Tk20 lakh at Chittagong’s Double Mooring yesterday. Trader Delwar Hossain was admitted to a private clinic with a stab wound on his leg, said police. Delwar was attacked by five or six muggers near his house at Challish Quarter area around 11am, said Motiul Islam, Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Double Mooring police station. The police were trying to arrest the muggers, he said, adding that a case was filed in this regard. Meanwhile, police arrested a listed mugger in possession of a toy pistol and a machete at the city’s Mimi Super Market area. Mugger Mohammad Motaleb, 24, was accused in several cases filed with Panchlaish and Kotowali police stations. Abu Jafar Mohammad Omar Faruk, OC at Panchlaish police station said on a tip-off, they arrested the mugger around 7am. Mugger Motaleb faced several cases with Kotwali and Panchlaish police stations, he said, adding that a case was also filed in this connection. l
ly setting up sewer line along Nabinagar-Chandra Highway, which is being upgraded into a four-lane highway, at Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka city, locals have alleged. The sewer line wall has been collapsing off and on at many places due to use of sloppy materials, locals say, adding that they have already infomed the Roads and Highways Authority but it did hardly work. Bricks, sand and cement being used in building the sewer line are of very poor quality, says Babul Hasan, an inhabitant of Baipail. The firm is even resorting to the diversion of the drainage design at many places in exchange for bribe from land grabbers here, he says. Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune yesterday, Mir Akter Contrstruction’s Sher Shah, who is superintending the work, denied the allegation of using sloppy materials in the sewer line construction. “The sewer line wall is collapsing due to soil pressure, not for using substandard materials.”
Nayarhat Roads and Highways’ Sub-Divisional Engineer Dilip Kumar Das says, “The drainage wall is collapsing due to rains, not for using sub-standard materials.”
“The sewer line construction was put on hold at its beginning due to use of poor materials, but now quality bricks, sand and cement are being used,” he claimed. l
Workers engaged in constructon of the sewer line along the upgrading Nabinagar-Chandra four-lane highway at Ashulia on the outskirts of the city DHAKA TRIBUNE
LGED in the name of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd, she said. How does a public body proceed with a project in the name of a private company and how does it do so without prior permission from Rajuk under the Building Construction Act, Sara questioned. Earlier on April 28, another High Court bench of Justice Salma Masud Chowdhury and Justice Md Habibul Gani dropped the plea from its cause list. The order came following a contention of Fida M Kamal. When the lawyer said the bench should not have head the plea if it had already decided not to issue any rule in this regard, Justice Gani expressed unwillingness to hear the petition and the bench dropped it from the cause list. The petition, filed on April 22 by six people including architects Mobassher Hossain and Iqbal Habib, also sought the High Court’s directive to ensure unhindered access of everyone to the playground. In the wake of protests and criticisms, the playground was reopened to public on April 24. l
Two hurt over land grabbing n CU Correspondent Two persons were injured in a clash between two groups of Jubo League in Bangla Bazar area of the port city yesterday afternoon over grabbing land. The injured were Md Yusuf, 22, and Rashed, 30, admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH), said police. Nurul Absar, officer-in-charge (investigation) of Baizid police station, said the two groups- one led by Kuddus, a local terrorist and Mehedi had engaged in a brawl and took position with lethal weapons in Saymol Chaya Residential area around 3:30pm over establishing supremacy. At one point the rivals, stabbed Yusuf with sharp weapons and beat up another, leaving Yusuf critically injured. On receiving information, police rushed to the spot and dispersed the local goons by chasing them, added the OC. Police raided the area after the incident, however, none was arrested following the incident, the OC said. Pankaj Barua, assistant sub-inspector of CMCH, police outpost said Yusuf had sustained fatal injuries in his belly. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
Hi-tech park in Rajshahi demanded n Our Correspondent, Rajshahi
Students of Shoilarani Girls’ High School form a human chain yesterday, protesting ‘forced coaching’
KIDNEY THEFT LEAVES BOY DEAD
Accused placed on 10-day remand n Our Correspondent, Sirajganj A Sirajganj court yesterday placed on a 10-day remand one of the people accused of removing both the kidneys of a six-year-old boy, who subsequently died at Ullahparah upazila. The court passed the order to place Jahangir Hossain Chand, 27, on remand after the Investigation Officer Abdul Jalil sought a 10-day remand for a proper investigation. Harun, son of Belal Hossain from Tarafbaira village, went missing on April 22. His body was later recovered from a water body on April 23. Abdul Mannan, uncle of the victim,
filed a case with Ullapara police station against Jahangir Hossain Chand, 27, Montu, 30, and Delwar Hossain.
They had made a deal of Tk10 lakh with a Dhakabased gang involved in the kidney trade Police arrested Chand, son of Kalu Pramanik from Tarafbaria village, Ullapara upazila, from Dakbanglo area, Jhenaidah in the early hours of Friday. Earlier, police arrested Khalil, one of Chand’s accomplices, on April 27. During investigation, Khalil told police that Chand was the mastermind.
Khalil said they had made a deal of Tk10 lakh with a Dhaka-based gang involved in the kidney trade to sell the Harun’s kidneys. Khalil said they drugged the child near their house on April 22 evening and put him in a sack. He was taken to near Udhunia bridge in the early hours of April 23, where they along with three people from the capital, removed his kidneys. Later, three people who were from Dhaka put the kidneys in a packet and left the scene hurriedly on a motorbike. Khalil claimed the gang was supposed to give him Tk 200,000. But later they offered him only Tk 20,000, which he refused to accept. l
Attack on college principal protested n Our Correspondent, Tangail
50 fall sick for food poisoning in Kushtia
Teachers of Basail Emdad Hamida Degree College in the district formed a human chain yesterday protesting an attack on its principal. Bangladesh College Teachers Association, Tangail district unit organised the programme in the morning. Some unidentified miscreants attacked Principal Habibur Rahman on April 24 at 7:30pm on Mymensingh road in front of Water Development Board office in the town, leaving him critically injured. He was later rushed to Tangail General Hospital. A General Diary (GD) was logged. l
n Our Correspondent, Kushtia At least 50 people including 13 children fell ill after eating at a marriage ceremony at Farakpur village, Bheramara upazila Saturday night. Locals said the victims had gone to a wedding ceremony at Abdul Barik’s house in the village at noon. After the meal, they fell sick. Of them Siam, 10, Sajim, 3, Mina , 2, Darpan, 3, Lipi, 15, Ruhan, 11, Samia, 2, Ejaj, 6, Adori, 3, Salam, 28, Rahul, 4, Sagar, 17, Sumia, 11, Ismail, 5, Fakir Uddin, 70, Shamoly, 13, Shahin, 8, Rajani,
20, Rakhi, 4, Tarik, 38, Maria, 10 and Shanto, 10, were admitted to Bheramara Health Complex. Bheramara Health Complex Residential Medical Officer (RMO) Moshiul Alam said: “The people fell sick due to food poisoning.” Shariful Islam, son of Abdul Barik, said: “We bought 315 cups of curd from Pabna Sweets. The guests might be fallen sick after eating the curd.” On information, UNO Rejaul Karim and Bheramara police station officer-in-charge Parvez Islam visited the spot. l
Truck driver killed in road crash n Our Correspondent, Tangail
A truck driver was killed and five others were injured in a road accident on the Tangail-Bangabandhu Bridge highway in Sadar upaizla yesterday. The deceased was identified as Shakil, 22, son of Saidul Islam from Sherpur upaizla, Bogra district. According to police sources, a Bogra bound truck collided head on with a passenger bus coming from the opposite direction at Bikram Hati area on the highway, leaving Shakil dead on the spot and five passengers injured. The injured were sent to Tangail General Hospital. l
Youth dies falling off train rooftop Correspondent, n Our Tangail
A young man died as he fell off the rooftop of a train in Basail upazila of Tangail early yesterday. The deceased, who was 17, could not be identified immediately. Sahidul Islam, gatekeeper of Sonalia rail crossing in the upazila, said a man died after falling off the rooftop of the Dhaka-bound Sundarban Express at Sonalia rail crossing area around 4am. Police were informed of the death, he added. l
Rajshahi Raksha Sangram Parishad, a pressure group, held a meeting yesterday in front of its office in the district demanding an information and biotechnology park immediately. The Parishad president Liakot Ali presided over the meeting while its general secretary Jamat Khan conducted the programme. Lawyer Hamidul Haque, Ankur Sen, Entajul Haque Babu, freedom fighter Abdul Mannan, Workers Party city unit general secretary Debashish Pramanik Debu addressed the meeting among others. Liakat Ali in his speech said it was a fact that information technology has been identified as the “thrust sector”
for the economy of the region. “Rajshahi has enormous potentialities of setting of hi-tech park as Rajshahi University and Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET) are creating more than 200 ICT people every year,” he said. Both university and industry can achieve their objectives by utilising the potentialities. The proposed hi-tech park must to be established in order to establish a world class business environment for targeted high growth industrial sector and new business, he added. The park will facilitate to develop indigenous technological capability for the development of the local industries that will also help entering foreign markets by exporting state of the art
technology products In Rajshahi, the developed infrastructure will facilitate hassle-free industrial operation with necessary support. They said the government took the decision two years ago to establish a park in the city but has delayed starting the work. DC Mejbah Uddin Chowdhury told Dhaka Tribune the site selection had been completed and land acquisition was progressing successfully. “We will go one more step forward in this regard when the park authority gets possession of a 19-acre piece of land from the Water Development Board and the Department of Public Works within the next 15 days,” he added. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
Change and continuity Looking back on recent history to discern the dynamics of Indian foreign policy in light of the Lok Sabha elections
n Shafiqur Rahman he ongoing 16th Lok Sabha elections in India has attracted unprecedented interest among the people of Bangladesh. While India has always been by far the most important foreign country for Bangladesh international relations, the extraordinary concern about the current election is mainly due to the manifestly decisive influence of India in the recent political struggle in Bangladesh. We are at once morbidly fascinated by the seemingly inexorable march of Narendra Modi towards the Delhi throne and ambiguously titillated by the prospect of a reboot in the Indo-Bangladesh high-level relations. Some people are claiming, without providing convincing argument, that there will be a major recalibration of the cast-iron relationship between Delhi and Dhaka that seems to be in place now with Awami League and Indian National Congress at the helm of their respective countries. While others are dismissing such speculation by asserting that foreign policy of big powers are anchored in long-term strategic goals, and are not perturbed substantially by change in government. At this time, it may be instructive to look back on recent history and try to discern the dynamics of change and continuity in Indian foreign policy.
The definition It is said that “All politics is local” and the International Relations corollary of that is “foreign policy is an extension of domestic politics.” Foreign policy experts have long expounded on the primacy of domestic politics in determination of a state’s external policies. States are not black boxes; like organisms and organisations, internal dynamics are the biggest determinant of external behaviour. A simple model of two interacting levels captures the entanglement between a country’s domestic and international affairs very nicely. At the national level, government, major political parties, different interest groups, organised and unorganised people’s coalitions maneuver among themselves for favourable policies; the politicians try to enhance their power by building alliances and opposition. Governments then seek to enhance their power to build desirable coalitions by trying to influence unfolding developments both in the foreign and domestic arena. Therefore, a government’s internal position best predicts how it attempts foreign policy. This interplay is valid for democracies as well as not-so-democratic regimes. The best way to analyse why Russia under Putin now is pursuing an aggrandising foreign policy while previously Yeltsin let the Russian periphery fall apart, is not to look at the two leaders’ personality or pathology but their respective internal positions. This interplay is even more pronounced for established democracies. Those who discuss American foreign policy while treating USA as a
is my last election… After my election I have more flexibility.” Recently Europe wide foreign policy conversation more or less shut down for a few months before the German election, when everyone in Europe waited to see who will emerge victor and what kind of coalition she will head. Interestingly, the USA and India, the two largest democracies, are regarded as quintessence of large countries that are obsessively preoccupied with internal politics and dynamics while being somewhat oblivious to the outside world. Outsiders seldom gauge correctly the intensity of acrimony and enmity in the political rivalry of these established democracies. In line after line of the election manifesto of 2014, BJP excoriates Congress party leadership past and present in the starkest language and seek to position itself in diametric opposition to its rival in philosophy and practice. With stark contrast as the main differentiator, it is not unreasonable to expect that a BJP government will pursue a foreign policy that also distinguishes itself from the predecessor, at least during the initial couple of years. But before looking at the current foreign policy scenario, it will be instructive to look into change and continuity in Indian foreign policy with change in governments in the last few decades to understand the institutional and political background of any probable change.
We are at once morbidly fascinated by the seemingly inexorable march of Narendra Modi towards the Delhi throne and ambiguously titillated by the prospect of a reboot in the Indo-Bangladesh high-level relations monolithic imperialistic world-power, grossly miss out the features and nuances of its foreign policy incentives. Only through an expert grasp of US politics, its institutions, its business, security and economic interests, different ethnic, social and regional groupings, etc, one can start getting a handle on US foreign policy.
The dynamics Politics becomes particularly important for the foreign policy of democratic government during times of election and regime changes. We have seen the leaked personal conversation between President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia before the 2012 election where Obama said: “This
The premise Those who follow the foreign policy debates inside India know that the diversity in opinion is no less than the diversity of politics. An analyst detected at least five major schools of FP and many minor ones. He labelled them as classic and militant Nehruvians, Gandhians, centre-right realists and Hindu-revivalists. The major national and regional parties harbour within themselves people from many different schools, but the general observation is that with a change in government, a new school emerges to dominate government policy, at least for some time. Narasimha Rao, prime minister 1991-96, was the first significant head
of government to emerge after the long era of Gandhi family at the helm of India. Rao, who served both Indira and Rajiv Gandhi cabinets as home, defence and foreign minister at different times, is remembered today as a hard realist who fundamentally reoriented India in the post-Cold War era. Most importantly, Rao and his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh deregulated Indian economy from the statist control and opened it for private and outside investment. Rao restructured political and economic relationship with the West and developed the “Look East” policy to replicate the East and South East Asian successes in the economy of India. Rao also firmly set India on the path to nuclear power. But it was in the South Asian neighbourhood where Rao’s hard, unsentimental governance was most keenly felt. Because of Rao, the government’s preoccupation with bigger things like the economy and foreign relations with distant East-West powers, the local neighbourhood was demonstratively neglected. Although the relationship with Pakistan blew hot and cold, historians now say that there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the Indian side to invest in great effort. Bangladesh perhaps felt the effects of Rao’s “neighbourhood neglect” policy most acutely. Indo-Bangladesh water sharing and Farakka Barrage were the most important bilateral issues, but these were never a priority in Narasimha Rao’s domestic and political considerations. Rao did not have an official bilateral visit to Bangladesh in his entire five year tenure as he wanted to avoid the “embarrassment” of the water sharing issue. Muchkund Dubey, a former Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh, wrote in his reminiscence that: “If there were any diplomatic designs behind these postponements of dialogue, they were never articulated explicitly and publicly. They, therefore, did not serve any purpose except being viewed as instances of India’s arbitrary and overbearing demeanour.” Mostly because of financial scandals and pains of economic reforms, the Congress party lost the 1996 Lok Sabha election and a United Front government, comprising left and regional parties, took the helm of power. First Deve Gowda and then his Foreign Minister IK Gujral became Prime Minister during the period 199698. Deve Gowda and Gujral sought to reorient Indian foreign policy from its hard self-interest anchor to a more idealistic pragmatism. IK Gujral is remembered today as perhaps the most neighbourhood-friendly statesman to come out in India in recent history. His famous “Gujral Doctrine” proposed that as the regional hegemon, India should be prepared to make concessions in bilateral issues for peaceful
co-development of the whole sub-continental region. During the brief period of UF government, India and Bangladesh signed a 30-year bilateral water sharing agreement and India Pakistan high level meetings resumed after a lapse of more than three years. The Bharatiya Janata Party at last gained its place under the Indian sun in the mid-term elections of 1998 and the Hindu revivalist school gained prominence in the foreign policy thoughts. The new government eagerly sought to differentiate itself from the perceived “weak” idealism of previous governments and promised to follow a more muscular and assertive foreign policy.
Reversal and re-reversal The first years of neighbourhood foreign affairs were dominated by formal entry into the nuclear weapons club through test detonation by both India and Pakistan and their heated rhetorical tussle.
she, who had a long history of great rapport with Kremlin, significantly toned down Indian opposition to Russian incursion in India’s neighbourhood. We saw another reversal during the First Gulf War of 1990-91. Prime Minister VP Singh and his foreign minister IK Gujral strongly opposed the military buildup of US led coalition in the Arabian peninsula to repel the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. But at the end of 1990, VP Singh was replaced as premier by Chandra Shekhar Singh and he reversed the Indian opposition through providing logistic support for the US counter offensive in Iraq in early 1991. Furthermore, we are aware of how Rajiv Gandhi sent Indian troops to Sri Lanka in 1987 in the guise of peacekeeping forces to preserve the separation between battling Tamil Tiger and Sinhalese Army. The VP Singh government ordered quick withdrawal of Indian forces when it came into power in 1989.
Interestingly, the USA and India, the two largest democracies, are regarded as quintessence of large countries that are obsessively preoccupied with internal politics and dynamics while being somewhat oblivious to the outside world Since the early 2000s, as India’s economic and defence capabilities grew rapidly, foreign policy has been increasingly focused at playing the great power game in the global arena. At the neighbourhood, India mainly sought to keep influence of other global powers at check and put a lid on potential disruptions through unrests. Goals of regional integration and mutual co-development have been put into the back-burner of priorities although rhetorical observance continued. A recent and acclaimed book by a western diplomat claimed that: “there is a sense that India today would rather ‘opt out’ of its region (if it could) than work hard to make something of it.” It is not just in the affairs of neighbourhood that Indian foreign policy have undergone sudden reversal with change in government; it happened with great power politics too. When the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan took place in December 1979, Morarji Desai of Janata Party was in power at Delhi. The JP government strongly protested the invasion and supported its condemnation in the United Nations. But Indira Gandhi regained power a few months later and
Continuity In the past decades, Indian foreign policy went through so many reversals due to reactions to external events, that it had been accused of lacking an overarching strategic vision and being largely reactive. But we can also see a strong current of continuity flowing through changes in government and leadership. One of the most consistent aspects of Indian foreign policy since the end of the Cold War is maintaining primacy of economic relationship. India has thoroughly internalised the lesson that trappings of a great power can only be sustained over durable economic power. Supporting Indian business and big-businessmen all over the world is a core brief for all foreign missions and diplomatic efforts. Another unflagging continuance of foreign policy in the recent decades, is emphasis on bilateral relationship at the expense of multilateralism. In the first few decades after independence, when India’s economic and strategic strength was disproportionately weaker than its size, Indian foreign policy adhered to multilateralism and non-alignment to promote an equality of nations in the global
scale, while India demonstratively exploited the unequal relationships in the South Asian neighbourhood by avoiding multilateral constraints and professing to stick to bilateral relations. Now that India has gained stature both in the local and global arenas, the foreign policy embraces great power diplomacy through bilateralism both in the local and global arenas. We can only speculate on any prospective change of Indian foreign policy towards Bangladesh in broad strokes if a BJP-led government takes power at Delhi. As we have already seen in the election campaign, temperature of rhetoric from Delhi is bound to rise substantially because of internal political expediency. Also the inter-governmental relationship between the two countries is bound to cool down in the short time because of the close relationship between Awami League and BJP’s bête noire, the Congress Party. Even before the election in Bangladesh in January, we have seen that some BJP leaders and intellectuals express unease at how the Indian government is being closely identified with the governing party in Bangladesh. BJP’s election manifesto gives few clues, resorting mostly in sound bites. “BJP believes that political stability, progress and peace in the region are essential for South Asia’s growth and development. The Congress-led UPA has failed to establish enduring friendly and cooperative relations with India’s neighbours. India’s relations with traditional allies have turned cold… Instead of being led by big power interests, we will engage proactively on our own with countries in the neighbourhood and beyond. In our neighbourhood, we will pursue friendly relations. However, where required we will not hesitate from taking strong stand and steps. We will work towards strengthening Regional forums like SAARC and ASEAN.” We can be sure that political and economic self-interest will retain its primacy in a new government’s policy towards Bangladesh. If the people of Bangladesh and the anti-government opposition want Indian help in restoring democracy in Bangladesh, it must demonstrate to a new Indian government that denying the people of Bangladesh the right to choose its own government and perceived closeness of India to an unpopular and mandate-less government, is fuelling resentment and unrest in the country; a bitterness that will be harmful to the long-term interest of both the government and the state of India. l Shafiqur Rahman is a freelance contributor. This article was first published in alochonaa. com.
‘Odessa violence part of Russia plan to destroy Ukraine’ 42 people killed in deadly clashes and a fire in Odessa
n AFP, Odessa Deadly clashes and a fire in Odessa that killed 42 people in one day were part of a plan by Russia “to destroy Ukraine,” the prime minister of the ex-Soviet republic said yesterday. “Russia’s aim was to repeat in Odessa what is happening in the east of the country,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a news conference. He was speaking during a visit to the southern port city of one million inhabitants after the violence that erupted on Friday. After street clashes between pro-Russian militants and proUkrainian activists that killed four, a huge inferno in a building where the
pro-Russians took refuge killed another 38 after both sides traded petrol bombs, according to witnesses. The tragic confrontation abruptly plunged Odessa into the same sort of violence that has gripped east Ukraine for the past two months. Kiev accuses Moscow of being behind an insurgency that has seen rebels taken control of more than a dozen eastern towns. “What happened in Odessa was part of plan by the Russian Federation to destroy Ukraine and its statehood,” Yatsenyuk said. “Russia sent people here to create chaos.” He urged all Ukrainians to unite and to bury their differences “so as not to give the terrorists backed by Moscow
the opportunity to divide our people.” He also said that the police chiefs of Odessa have all been sacked for not preventing the clashes and ensuing deaths. They would be replaced, he said. Yatsenyuk’s visit to the grief-stricken Black Sea port city came on the last day of a weekend of mourning decreed for those killed in the violence there and in the east. Ukraine’s authorities have previously admitted its security forces were “helpless” to roll back the pro-Russian militants in the east. They have ordered the military to conduct an operation to against the rebels. Fierce fighting has been going on since Friday, especially around the flashpoint town of Slavyansk. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
CIA, FBI agents advising Ukraine government! n AFP, Berlin Dozens of specialists from the US Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation are advising the Ukrainian government, a German newspaper reported yesterday. Citing unnamed German security sources, Bild am Sonntag said the CIA and FBI agents were helping Kiev end the rebellion in the east of Ukraine and set up a functioning security structure. It said the agents were not directly involved in fighting with pro-Russian militants. “Their activity is limited to the capital Kiev,” the paper said. The FBI agents are also helping the Kiev government fight organised crime. Last month the White House confirmed that CIA director John Brennan had visited Kiev as part of a routine trip to Europe, in a move condemned by Moscow. l
Timeline of unrest in east Ukraine n AFP, Kiev Below is a timeline of the main developments in the armed uprising in Ukraine. The unrest started in the east and south of the former Soviet republic after pro-European protesters forced the Kremlin-backed government in Kiev from power on February 22.
APRIL 2014 m 6: Pro-Russian demonstrators seize government buildings in several towns in eastern Ukraine, including Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk. m 7: Pro-Russians occupying offices in Donetsk declare an “independent republic.” Ukraine’s government accuses Russia of wanting to invade the country and break it up. m 12: Pro-Russian militants launch offensives in the towns of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, where they take over the police headquarters. m 13: Kiev announces an “anti-terrorist” operation in the east.
m 16: Ukrainian troops turn back from Slavyansk, after pro-Russians seize six armoured vehicles. Militants seize Donetsk town hall. m 17: A deal is reached in Geneva between Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union to “de-escalate” tensions. m 18: The Kremlin confirms Russia has built up troops on the border. Nato puts the deployment at 40,000. m 20: The leader of pro-Russian demonstrators in Slavyansk appeals to Moscow to send in peacekeeping troops after a deadly shootout. m 21: In Lugansk, protesters pledge to hold their independence referendum on May 11. m 23: Russia says it will respond if its interests are attacked in Ukraine. m 24: Ukraine’s military launches assault on Slavyansk. Five rebels are killed, according to Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin says there will be “consequences.”
m 25: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accuses Moscow of seeking to trigger a “third world war.” A group of OSCE military observers is detained in Slavyansk. m 27: Rebels say the OSCE observers are “prisoners of war” and make them give a news conference. m 28: West imposes new sanctions on Moscow. Russia vows a “painful” response. Nato says there is no sign of a Russia troop pullback claimed by Moscow. Russia assures the US it will not invade Ukraine. m 29: Russia warns sanctions could harm Western interests in Russia’s lucrative energy sector, denies there are Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. m 30: Kiev places its armed forces on “combat alert” against a possible Russian invasion. Authorities admit local security forces are “helpless” to stop rebels over-running eastern towns. The IMF approves $17-billion aid deal for the beleaguered Ukrainian economy.
MAY 2014 m 1: Some 300 pro-Russian militants seize the prosecutor’s office in Donetsk amid violent clashes with police. Conscription reintroduced for all Ukrainian men aged 18-25. m 2: The bloodiest day since new government came to power. At least 10 die in fresh army assault on Slavyansk. In the southern city of Odessa, 42 die when clashes between pro-Russian militants and pro-Ukraine supporters culminates in a massive blaze. Russia declares the Geneva peace plan dead and calls an emergency UN Security Council meeting. m 3: Slavyansk rebels free OSCE inspectors after Kremlin envoy intervenes. Two days of mourning proclaimed over Odessa deaths. Fierce firefights around Slavyansk and nearby towns as military seeks to retake control. m 4: Kiev vows to expand “anti-terrorism” operations. Yatsenyuk launches probe into security forces in Odessa over the deaths. l
Europe’s cybersecurity policy settings under attack n AFP, Brussels Even as Europe powered up its most ambitious ever cybersecurity exercise this month, doubts were being raised over whether the continent’s patchwork of online police was right for the job. The exercise, called Cyber Europe 2014, is the largest and most complex ever enacted, involving 200 organisations and 400 cybersecurity professionals from both the European Union and beyond. Yet some critics argued that herding together normally secretive national security agencies and demanding that they spend the rest of 2014 sharing information amounted to wishful thinking. Others questioned whether the law enforcement agencies taking part in the drill should be involved in safeguarding online security, in the wake of American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations of online spying by western governments. “The main concern is national governments’ reluctance to cooperate,” said Professor Bart Preneel, an information security expert from the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium. “You can carry out all of the exercises you want, but cybersecurity really comes down to your ability to monitor, and for that, national agencies need to speak to
Assad to face two candidates in Syria presidential vote
Nasa: Bacteria from earth can colonise Mars
n AFP, Damascus
President Bashar al-Assad is to face two challengers in Syria’s June 3 presidential election, which he is assured of winning, the constitutional court said yesterday. “The supreme constitutional court announces... the acceptance of candidacy bids registered by... Maher Abdel Hafiz Hajjar, Hassan Abdallah al-Nuri and Bashar Hafez al-Assad,” a
court official said. Twenty-three candidates had initially registered to run against Assad, but most did not meet election criteria to run for office in a vote that has been mocked by the opposition and the West as a “farce.” Both Hajjar and Nuri are largely unknown to the Syrian public. Candidates whose bids were rejected have until May 7 to appeal the court’s decision, said Majed al-Khadra
of the constitutional court, whose statement was carried by state television. While the election is the country’s first multi-candidate vote, the rules effectively rule out any opponents to Assad’s regime from running. Among them is the stipulation that anyone who has lived outside Syria in the past decade is excluded, effectively barring most prominent opposition figures, who live in exile. l
Syria rebel infighting forces over 60,000 to flee homes n Reuters, Beirut Fighting between al Qaeda’s Syria branch and a splinter group in eastern Syria has forced more than 60,000 people to flee their homes, emptied villages and killed scores of fighters, a monitoring group said. Infighting among rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad has undermined the three-year-old uprising
against his rule and killed thousands of people since the start of the year. The conflict has pitted hardline Islamists against more moderate insurgents, but disputes over turf and resources have also turned radical factions against one another, most recently in the oil-producing eastern province of Deir al-Zor. The British-based Syrian Observa-
tory for Human Rights said late on Saturday that al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, had taken over control of the town of Abreeha from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a former al Qaeda affiliate formally disowned by the group this year. At least 62 fighters had been killed in around four days of clashes in the area l.
In the race to colonise Mars, microbes may end up beating humans! Hardy little micro-organisms from earth could hitch a ride on a spacecraft and colonise the surface of Mars and trick scientists into thinking they are aliens, a new study by Nasa scientists has found. These bacteria could contaminate celestial bodies such as Mars, making it difficult for researchers to determine if a life form actually originated on the site, researchers said. “In the movies, humans often fear invaders from Mars. These days, scientists are more concerned about invaders to Mars, in the form of micro-organisms from earth,” they said. Three recent scientific papers examined the risks of interplanetary exchange of organisms using research from the International Space Station (ISS). Currently, spacecraft landing on Mars or other planets where life might exist must meet requirements for a maximum allowable level of microbial life, or bioburden. These acceptable levels were based on studies of how various life forms survive
exposure to the rigours associated with space travel, researchers said. “If you are able to reduce the numbers to acceptable levels, a proxy for cleanliness, the assumption is that the life forms will not survive under harsh space conditions,” said Kasthuri J Venkateswaran, a researcher with the Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a co-author on all three papers. That assumption may not hold up, though, as recent research has shown that some microbes are hardier than expected, and others may use various protective mechanisms to survive interplanetary flights. Spore-forming bacteria are of particular concern because spores can withstand certain sterilisation procedures and may best be able to survive the harsh environments of outer space or planetary surfaces. Spores of Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032 have shown especially high resistance to techniques used to clean spacecraft, such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation and peroxide treatment. When researchers exposed this hardy organism to a simulated Mars environment that kills standard spores in 30 seconds, it survived 30 minutes. l
each other all the time,” Preneel said. The Crete-based office coordinating the EU’s cybersecurity, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), calls itself a “body of expertise” and cannot force national agencies to share information. As with most aspects of policing and national security, the EU’s 28 members have traditionally been reluctant to hand over powers to a central organisation, even when – as in the case of online attacks – national borders are almost irrelevant. Cyberattacks occur when the computer information systems of individuals, organisations or infrastructure are targeted, whether by criminals, terrorists or even states with an interest in disrupting computer networks. The EU estimates that over recent years there has been an increase in the frequency and magnitude of cybercrime and that the attacks go beyond national borders, while the smaller-scale spreading of software viruses is also an increasingly complex problem. The EU’s vulnerability has been highlighted over recent years by a number of high-profile cyberattacks, including one against Finland’s foreign ministry in 2013 and a network disruption of the European Parliament and the European Commission in 2011. l
Iraq violence kills over 30 people in 24 hours n AFP, Baghdad Violence in Iraq, including shelling in a militant-held city and an attack targeting Shiite pilgrims, has killed more than 30 people in 24 hours, officials said yesterday. The bloodshed comes as officials count ballots from the April 30 general election, the first since US troops withdrew in late 2011, and amid a protracted surge in nationwide unrest that has sparked fears of a return to the sectarian killing sprees of 2006-2007. In Fallujah, just a short drive west of Baghdad, shelling in southern areas of the city killed 11 people and wounded four, Doctor Ahmed Shami said. It was not immediately clear who was behind the bombardment, which began on Saturday evening and continued into Sunday. In a sign of both the reach of anti-government militants and the weakness of security forces, all of Fallujah and shifting parts of Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, farther west, have been out of government control since early January. The crisis in the desert province of Anbar erupted in late December when security forces dismantled Iraq’s main Sunni Arab anti-government protest camp just outside Ramadi. l
Israeli settlers launch enclave in Palestinian business hub n Reuters, Jerusalem
Israeli police officers walk past a post office building in East Jerusalem April 29
The smell of fresh paint wafts through the domed lobby of the latest Israeli arrival in East Jerusalem - a Jewish seminary in a bustling commercial area in the same building as a post office serving thousands of Palestinians every day. Otzmat Yerushalayim, which includes sleeping quarters and could house as many as 300 young Israelis, is the first Jewish housing venture on Saladin Street, a main shopping thoroughfare across from the walled Old City. Palestinians and Israeli critics worry the placement of the academy in such a central location is asking for trouble in East Jerusalem, which has stayed largely trouble-free in recent years compared to the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank, and which Palestinians hope will be the capital of a future state. “Tensions are sure to spike here. It isn’t going to be easy,” a Palestinian pharmacist, who gave her name only as Maral, said in a drugstore across the street. “They will just close us up the sec-
ond a confrontation arises and all work will grind to a halt,” she said. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem after its capture in a 1967 war has never been recognized, meaning most of the world views Israeli enclaves there as illegal settlements. Settlement expansion has been a key sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which collapsed in April. But even when Israel froze construction temporarily in 2010, it always insisted the moratorium exclude East Jerusalem, which it views as an integral part of the country. Unlike in the occupied territories, most Palestinians in East Jerusalem enjoy Israeli social benefits and looser travel restrictions, making them less motivated to engage in political protests. Religious fervor runs deep in the holy city, however, and violence flared during the Jewish Passover holiday when Palestinians, gathered at a holy site revered by Muslims and Jews, threw rocks and firecrackers to try to prevent any attempt by ultranational-
ist Jews to pray there. Israeli riot police used stun grenades to quell the protests at a plaza that overlooks Judaism’s Western Wall and is home to al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site. Jews refer to the area as the Temple Mount, the site of the two biblical Jewish temples.
Ateret Cohanim, the private organization behind the seminary project, has been moving hundreds of Jewish families into predominantly Palestinian-inhabited East Jerusalem for years, either by acquiring property or laying claim to land Jews bought before Israel’s founding in 1948. It expects a formal opening ceremony to take place at the seminary later this month as part of Israeli celebrations of the 47th anniversary of its capture of East Jerusalem. A teacher at the school, where a rabbi’s portrait hung on freshly-painted walls amid benches and bunk beds, said it quietly opened its door a few weeks ago. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
Afghan landslide: Aid rushed to survivors Amethi: Gandhis face first
real fight from opposition Initial reports suggest that as many as 2,500 people may have died in the disaster placated him by making him a Rajya Many villagers were at Friday n AFP, Aab Bareek n Agencies Sabha MP from Assam, as his exit could prayers in two mosques when they Aid groups yesterday rushed to help survivors of a landslide in northern Afghanistan that entombed a village, killing hundreds of people and leaving 700 families homeless in the mountains. Much of Aab Bareek village in Badakhshan province was swallowed on Friday by a fast-moving tide of mud and rock that swept down the hillside and left almost no trace of 300 homes. Government officials said the current death toll was at least 300 and warned it could rise by hundreds more, after initial reports suggested that as many as 2,500 people may have died. Large crowds gathered at the remote disaster site, where rescue efforts were abandoned due to the volume of deep mud covering houses. Only a few bodies have been pulled from the debris. “Around 1,000 families are thought to have been affected with some 300 houses totally destroyed,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement. “Assessments to determine priorities on immediate child protection and water, sanitation, and hygiene needs for (displaced) families are continuing.” It added that 700 families were displaced, with many fleeing their homes in fear the unstable hillside could unleash more deadly landslides. Tents, emergency food supplies, health services and support for chil-
A landslide-affected child receives polio vaccination drops during aid distribution at the scene of the disaster in Argo district of Badakhshan on May 4 AFP dren who lost parents were being organised after many survivors spent another night in the open. Wailing near her father’s destroyed house, Begum Nisa, a 40-year-old mother of three, described the moment when the wall of mud smashed through the village. “I was eating lunch by the window of my house, then suddenly I heard a huge roar,” she said. “I shouted to my family to save themselves, but it was too late. I have lost my dear father and mother. I also lost my uncle and five members of his family.”
Local people and emergency workers had used shovels to try in vain to dig out anyone trapped alive. Relief work has now turned to caring for survivors.
‘Our life is destroyed’
“We have erected 150 tents, handed out food and set up a mobile health clinic,” Abdullah Faiz, provincial director of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, told AFP. “It is a difficult operation because of rough terrain and lack of roads, and there is still a possibility of another landslide.”
South Korean divers struggle to open blocked ferry cabins South Korean ferry disaster: sinking of the Sewol Timeline of the sinking April 16 Based on the transcript of communications between Sewol, Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), and nearby ships
Recovery operation Strong currents, poor visibility, waterlogged debris making the search difficult Guide ropes attached to ship’s hull
8:52 am (local time) A student makes emergency call to coastguard
Recovery workers put a ring of netting around the site to prevent bodies being pulled into open sea by powerful currents
Assigned passenger berths 87
Main dining hall
Official distress call made
Confirmation that the ship is sinking
Ship listing. Sewol: “It has tilted so much and we can hardly move.”
Another ship confirms sighting and reports: “It has tilted to the left completely and it’s dangerous to approach.” Sewol: “It’s impossible to escape”
Tilting about 50 degrees. “People can’t move left to right or vice versa.”
Nearby ship: “We’re right in front of Sewol. We will immediately rescue people if they evacuate.” Sewol reports the tannoy system is not working
7 476 people were on board
Arrested Lee Joon-Seok, captain 14 crew members
Operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.
225 confirmed dead as of May 2
Purchased the then-18 year old ship from Japan in 2012 Built extra passenger cabins on the 3rd, 4th and 5th decks
The ships regular captain -- who was off duty on the day of the accident -told prosecutors that the ferry operator “brushed aside” repeated warnings that the ship had stability issues
Capsize of the Sewol Official distress call made at 8:55
Ferry had tilted about 50 degrees by 9:17
First helicopter rescues started by 9:45
Coastguard photo showed ongoing helicopter rescues at 10:00
Rescues continued after the ship turned over on its side
Coastguard picture showed the upturned ship by 10:23
Sewol is told patrol boats would be there in 10 mins
Helicopters confirmed overhead
VTS puts out a call for all vessels nearby saying that the Sewol “is sinking right now”
Sewol reports that people are evacuating from the left side. Ship is tilting about 60 degrees Source: S.Korea coast guard/S.Korea maritime ministry/S.Korea media
n AFP, Seoul South Korean dive teams struggled yesterday to gain access to blocked cabins of a submerged ferry that sank nearly three weeks ago, as the confirmed death toll from the disaster rose to 242. Six more bodies were recovered early Sunday, 18 days after the 6,825-tonne Sewol capsized and sank with 476 people on board – most of them schoolchildren – while 60 remain unaccounted for.
“Rescuers using some equipment are trying to open blocked cabins,” spokesman Ko Myeong-Suk told a morning briefing. The search has been hampered by fast currents and high waves, while dive teams have been working in challenging and sometimes hazardous conditions. They have to grope their way down guiding ropes to the sunken ship, struggling through narrow passageways and rooms littered with floating debris in silty water.
As days go by, personal belongings and other items from the ship have been spotted further and further away, fuelling concerns that some victims of the ferry disaster may never be found. One body was retrieved Friday by a fishing vessel four kilometres (two miles) away from the recovery site, and another was found two kilometres away on Wednesday. As a precaution, recovery workers have put rings of netting around the site. Bedding materials from the ship were found as far as 30 kilometres from the disaster site on Friday. It is one of South Korea’s worst peacetime disasters, made all the more shocking by the loss of so many young lives. Of those on board, 325 were students from the same high school in Ansan city, just south of Seoul. Public anger has focused on the captain and crew members who abandoned the ship while hundreds were trapped inside, and on the authorities as more evidence emerges of lax safety standards and possible corruption among state regulators. The captain and 14 of his crew have been arrested. The Sewol’s regular captain, who was off duty on the day of the accident, has told prosecutors that the ferry operator – Chonghaejin Marine Co – “brushed aside” repeated warnings that the 20-year-old ship had stability issues following a renovation in 2012. Two Chonghaejin officials were arrested on Friday on charges of having the ferry overloaded well beyond its legal limit. l
were engulfed by the torrent of mud, and a second landslide hit people who came to help those in need. “Our house were totally destroyed, we are destroyed and our life is destroyed,” said Bibi Khanum, 55, sitting in a tent provided by the Red Crescent. “My husband was killed under the rubble and four of my young children. I am going crazy without them, repeating their names time and time again.” Afghanistan held a national day of mourning on Sunday after President Hamid Karzai expressed his condolences to those who had lost loved ones. “We have a list of around 300 people confirmed dead,” Badakhshan governor Shah Waliullah Adeeb told reporters at the scene on Saturday. “We cannot continue the search and rescue operation anymore, as the houses are under metres of mud.” There was no official update on the death toll Sunday, and the exact number of fatalities may never be known. Badakhshan is a mountainous northeastern province bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistan. It has been relatively peaceful since the US-led military intervention began in 2001, but has seen increasing Taliban activity in recent years. The landslides follow recent severe flooding in other parts of northern Afghanistan, with 159 people dead and 71,000 people affected by floods in Jowzjan, Faryab and Sar-e-Pul provinces. l
The high-profile Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, created in 1967, is headed for a few firsts this election. It is for the first time that the opposition is seriously fighting for the Gandhi citadel – in the words of BJP’sUttar Pradesh in-charge Amit Shah, to win it – by fielding a candidate of some political stature. This has made the Congress feel the heat there for the first time. And Amethi is perhaps the first constituency to have multiple local manifestos, as Loksangrah Abhiyan convener Vinod Yadav, who spent months to prepare a citizen charter, says. Relishing the poll feast are the goggle-eyed people of Amethi whose tryst with politicians has by and large been confined to the Gandhi family during the constituency’s 47-year-old history. The Gandhis have accounted for 26 of the 44 years that the Congress has represented the seat. The Gandhis’ hold on the seat since Sanjay Gandhi won it in 1980 has provided enough fodder for a resurgent opposition to attack the Congress on Amethi’s backwardness. The opposition’s stint in Amethi was from 197780 (Janata Party) and from 1998-1999 (BJP), the second time because Amethi royal Sanjay Singh had switched over from Congress. Local Congress leaders say Singh and his wife Amita were exploring other political options. The Congress
have placed hurdles in Rahul Gandhi’s path to the parliament. But the BJP, by fielding Smriti Irani opposite Rahul, is said to have made his fight that much tougher while Aam Aadmi Party’s Kumar Vishwas has the surprise factor. “The Congress is struggling to maintain the victory margin for Rahul, if not the seat, and this is apparent from the intensity with which Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been campaigning for her brother,” a Congress leader said on condition of anonymity. Priyanka has not forgotten the humiliation the family suffered in the 2012 assembly elections when Congress lost three of the five assembly segments under Amethi. “The defeat sends a wrong message to the nation,” she had said then. She is aware that Mandate 2014 is not like the friendly battles of the past against dummy candidates. The day BJP announced Irani’s candidature, people wondered if Narendra Modi would come to campaign for her. They had their doubts, as satraps Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati have never addressed election rallies in Amethi for SP and BSP. Even former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani adhered to the unwritten code of avoiding meetings in the constituency. The BJP seems to have broken that code in a bid to wrest Amethi. l
India urges calm after at least 32 Muslims killed in Assam n AFP, Guwahati The Indian government appealed for calm yesterday after at least 32 Muslims were shot dead in the northeastern state of Assam in attacks targeting women and children and blamed on tribal separatists. As more than 5,000 soldiers and police patrolled the restive tea-growing region, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the killings appeared aimed at provoking a “full fledged” communal conflict. Police blame indigenous Bodo tribesmen for the violence on Thursday and Friday nights in the region, where Muslims have long been ac-
cused of grabbing land after migrating from across the Bangladesh border. “The objective of this (separatist) group seems to be aimed at starting a full fledged communal conflagration,” Shinde said in a statement, adding the violence was targeted at women and children. “The public leaders of both Bodo and (the) minority community must see to it that things do not deteriorate,” the minister said, urging the region to maintain “peace and calm.” The violence comes during the final stretch of the country’s mammoth general election, which has seen religious and ethnic tensions flare and deadly attacks staged elsewhere in the country
including by Maoist rebels. Hindu nationalist hardliner Narendra Modi and his opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are expected to defeat the ruling Congress party after a decade in power. Thousands of families have fled their homes since masked gunmen went on the rampage in Baksa and neighbouring Kokrajhar district, shooting Muslims dead including children as young as 18 months as they slept. Shinde put the death toll at 32. But a senior police official said two more bodies were discovered on Sunday while a teenager died of her injuries overnight Saturday, taking the number killed to 35. l
Sri Lanka temple tackles reconciliation
Japan delegation leaves for Beijing to mend ties with China
n AFP, Matara
A delegation of senior Japanese lawmakers left for China yesterday to try to mend ties amid a territorial dispute which has prevented a leaders’ summit. The bipartisan delegation is led by Masahiko Komura, former foreign minister and vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. It departed from Tokyo’s Haneda airport Sunday morning on a three-day visit to China, officials said. During the trip, the Japanese lawmakers are expected to meet with Zhang Dejiang, ranked third in the Communist Party, Kyodo news agency reported. l
At a temple in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese south, an unusual attempt at reconciliation is underway after decades of ethnic bloodshed, even as the government warns of fresh fighting. Inside the white-washed temple, Hindu priests watch over metres-high statues of an estranged couple brought together to lift an age-old curse many blame for Sri Lanka’s conflict that claimed tens of thousands of lives. “The country will never go back to war,” priest Mani Srinivasa told AFP of the new spiritual effort at the temple in
Matara, mainly used by the minority Tamil community, who are predominantly Hindus. The temple was destroyed during violence 30 years ago between ethnic majority Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists, and Tamils – but later rebuilt with the help of both communities. “We know all this talk of unrest will fade away by the end of this year. It is written in the stars,” Srinivasa said. Five years after the separatist conflict ended, Sri Lanka is struggling with reconciliation amid international calls for an investigation into alleged wartime atrocities. l
n AFP, Tokyo
The irresistible lure of Pakistan’s ‘killer mountain’ n AFP, Islamabad Gunmen shot dead 10 foreign tourists at its base camp last year, but for serious mountaineers, the allure of Pakistan’s “killer mountain” remains irresistible. Militants stormed Nanga Parbat base camp on the night of June 22, 2013, dragging the climbers out of their tents and shooting them point blank along with their local guide. The massacre badly hit tourism in Pakistan’s wild, mountainous north, which is home to some of the world’s highest peaks and most challenging climbs. But three winter summit attempts have brought fresh hopes for the industry, crucial to the local economy, as it gears up for the summer climbing season. Nanga Parbat, Pakistan’s second-highest peak at 8,125 metres (26,660 feet), has never been climbed successfully in winter because of the treacherous weather conditions.
Its fearsome Rupal Face, rising more than 4,000 metres from base to top, presents one of the most difficult — and tantalizing — challenges in climbing. Simone Moro, one of the world’s leading Alpinists, was among those to return unsuccessful from Nanga Parbat this winter. The Italian has now made two attempts to climb the peak in winter and the mountain is drawing him to make a third. “I have felt strange feelings there, feelings that I have never felt before at the foot of a mountain,” he said. “Nanga is not just a mountain, it is a whole world on its own to be discovered and explored — a planet apart from the Himalayas.” Nanga Parbat earned its grisly nickname after more than 30 climbers died trying to conquer it before the first successful summit in 1953. The events of last June gave the name a new, more sinister overtone but Moro says the incident was a blip
and he wants to encourage others to come to Pakistan. “I consider Nanga Parbat as the most safest place in Pakistan,” he said. “What happened last year was just a tragic episode, accidents can happen anywhere in the world but that never means it will always repeat itself.” David Goettler, a German member of the expedition led by Moro who has twice attempted K2 — Pakistan’s highest peak and the world’s second-highest — said he was astonished by the attack. “I could not believe it, I was like ‘how on earth did the terrorists come there?’” he said. The regional government in Gilgit-Baltistan has slashed the fee for climbing in winter by 95 percent to $270. But Moro said it was very difficult for mountaineers to get visas for Pakistan — a common gripe from tourists who face seemingly endless bureaucratic hurdles to visit even for a short time. l
Nanga Parbat, Pakistan’s second-highest peak at 8,125 metres (26,660 feet), has never been climbed successfully in winter because of the treacherous weather conditions WIKI
Monday, May 5, 2014
Tackle the causes of rent seeking
n response to concerns about the eyesore and nuisance caused by hundreds of shops being established illegally around the National Mausoleum at Savar, the upazila nirbahi officer has announced an eviction drive. Local sources allege that most of the shops pay fixed monthly bribes to officials, including members of the police and mausoleum staff, for the right to run these stalls. We recognise that there is a balance between preserving the sanctity of the monument and allowing businesses to provide amenities. The cause for concern here is that so many shops have become well-established in an illegal manner, with the support and apparently at the behest of local officials. Sources say that key shops are being run by the Bangladesh Hawkers’ League, the ruling party’s hawker wing, and that members of this organisation allocate sites and pay bribes to secure possession. It is shameful that such practices are seen as not unusual and commonplace across the country. As a society, it is up to everyone to end the culture of rent-seeking. There is a case for some civil servants to be paid better so there is less incentive for corrupt activities to take root in the first place. More importantly, the police and political parties must completely disassociate themselves from rent-seeking practices to that citizens can conduct lawful business activities in a lawful manner, without facing any pressure to pay off officials.
It is up to everyone to end the culture of rent-seeking
New private investment model for RMG
New York-based investment fund formally launched operations in Bangladesh on Sunday with a mandate to invest in apparel and textile factories. The firm, Tau Investment Management, has specially set up a fund for investors to invest directly into partnerships with factories, with the goal of improving supply chains. The fund invests in producers in emerging markets, with the aim of delivering better returns, by improving the financial, social and environmental performance of the factories in which they invest. This is a potentially valuable approach to funding RMG improvements. If successfully implemented, it can start a virtuous cycle and open the door to larger sources of funding from international institutional investors. Bangladesh’s RMG industry needs substantial long-term investment to modernise and build new factories. New sources of capital to fund improvements and help raise standards are to be encouraged. The firm has been attracting significant private equity interest, by pointing out the value that can be added by improving productivity and making safety, social and environmental improvements. In its launch release, the firm announced a number of specific improvement goals for safety standards and targets for reducing greenhouse emissions and costs by improving energy efficiency. Reports indicate the firm plans to raise $1bn worldwide and make a significant portion of its investments in Bangladesh over the next three years. This type of interest by international investors is an encouraging indicator of long-term value in the RMG industry. We hope it can inspire others to do likewise.
New sources of capital to fund improvements are to be encouraged
How to solve: Each number in our CODE-CRACKER grid represents a different letter of the alphabet. For example, today 10 represents A so fill in A every time the figure 10 appears.
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And then a hero comes along April 27
nds An excellent article, the explanation given for our excessive fondness for hero worship which has almost reached to a level of insanity appears to be very convincing. I think this trait of her worship is directly proportional to the immature mental development. Having agreed to what has been stated in this article I would like to mention that though the hero ship is mostly thrust upon still for getting the title of a hero, a sort of minimum qualification is needed which to my mind General Zia lacked. In his case it is 100% thrust upon ex post facto. He is no match for Mujib. Any futile attempt to match him with Mujib might have the chance of getting identified by the people not as a hero but an anti hero. However, I do agree that we are really fed up with this foolish hero worship of two departed leaders and feel a crying need to set their departed soul free and let them have an eternal peace in the after world where they still find themselves highly encumbered with the foolish people they left behind long ago. Let peace be upon them as well as upon us. Ronnie “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. This preoccupation with Zia and Mujib at these eventful current times exasperates many of us.” Going by the article’s introductory lines, the writer ostensibly bemoans the recent resurrection of the idolisation of Ziaur Rahman and Sheikh Mujib. But it soon becomes obvious that his express aim is to solely dissect and fault BNP’s motives in recently extolling Zia’s importance and stature in
Modi casts vote in Indian polls April 30
PB Impunity made him a big shot, shame. Shishir Chandra I also cast my vote in favour of Modi in the Vadodara constituency on April 30, and I am sure he will win by a record-breaking margin.
HC rules on use of Bangla everywhere April 29
Arch Bishop Quite pathetic. Apart from the impracticality of it, the court simply doesn’t understand that the world doesn’t do business in Bengali and this kind of chauvinism is going insulate us further from the world.
Surviving school in this heat April 29
CROSSWORD ACROSS 1 Exhibit (4) 4 Circle of light (4) 8 Animal’s foot (3) 9 Poet’s Ireland (4) 10 Affirm with confidence (4) 11 Sweeping blow (5) 12 Nidus (4) 14 Term of respect (3) 15 Weep convulsively (3) 17 Mineral spring (3) 19 Male sheep (3) 21 Fencing sword (4) 23 Fruit of the oak (5) 26 Fissure (4) 27 Certain (4) 28 Melody (3) 29 Pay attention (4)
30 Lacerate (4) DOWN 1 Philatelic items (6) 2 Frank (4) 3 Goods for sale (5) 4 Cut with blows (3) 5 Zodiac sign (5) 6 Pouring edge (3) 7 Numeral (3) 11 Thong (5) 13 Sea nymph (5) 16 Acrimonious (6) 18 Worship (5) 20 Worth (5) 22 Irish republic (4) 23 Tree (3) 24 Billiard rod (3) 25 Colour (3)
Modi: Bangladeshi immigrants must pack up April 28
someone Modi is only doing what his fanbase expects him to say and do. Steely rhetoric on illegal Bangladeshi migrants is sure to give a bounce to Modi/BJP polling stats in the Indian national election. Nasrul Hamid Singh Mr Modi is a good man. The only charity he is obliged to offer is to the Indians. India is an energy and water-starved country committed to combat corruption.
Abduction: An unsolved mystery April 27
SUDOKU How to solve: 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.
aksha There is nothing mysterious about it. It’s called vengeful retaliation by the perpetrators for exposure of heinous and illegal activities.
Settler goes from ‘rags to riches’ April 27
Akhtar Shah Might is right!
CALVIN AND HOBBES
Thè Kíñg Øf Hèàrt’s Our exams continue, even in this unbearable heat. Is it really that difficult to work out what our results will be like?
Bangladesh’s history. There’s not even a careless, but necessary, reference to the longstanding, most prominent exemplar of the cult of deification of a personality in Bangladesh, ie Sheikh Mujib. This is a staggering omission, and he knows it, too. I have to assume this oddity is actually wholly intentional. This greatly detracts from the writer’s honesty and sense of balance to his arguments. Since Tarique Rahman made his twin provocative statements surrounding his father’s legacy and Sheikh Mujib’s, opinion writers have been obsessing about this topic and endlessly hypothesising about BNP; this demands a brief response. Ziaur Rahman is an accomplished war hero, among many others, of course. He stands out for the historically momentous honour of being the person to first declare the independence of Bangladesh. He later founded a democratic, nationalist, progressive political party. He was a modern, liberal, ambitious, optimistic, distinguished leader and president of the republic. For all that, he merits ample admiration in his own right. He had his share of faults and mistakes; few people deny that. However, it’s a dishonest stretch for anybody to suggest Zia has ever really been deified, or a cult of personality built around him by his ardent admirers or latter-day party activists. If anything, for far too long he’s been vilified and scandalously slandered in certain circles in this country. Instead of vainly begrudging BNP’s efforts to resurrect the man’s name and legacy today, I’d argue this writer and others like him would do better to acknowledge the entirely justifiable attempt by BNP to restore Ziaur Rahman to his rightful place in history. It’s about time. This is clearly not a case of “ ... And then a hero comes along.” For at least half the people of Bangladesh, he’s been a hero all along.
YESTERDAY’S SOLUTIONS CODE-CRACKER
Monday, May 5, 2014
A third option? n Uday Sankar Das
The song remains the same
n Towheed Feroze ith abductions and brutal murders of several people in recent times, the latest one in Narayanganj, the crime scene of the country takes a sinister turn. Of course, if one goes through the files of past criminal episodes, the method of nabbing people in order to demand a ransom or to settle some score will be unearthed. The only difference is that in the earlier incidents, killing was never the main motive. Here is the account of an abduction victim who was taken by student leaders in 1984: Mr Hossain was the owner of one of the main shopping markets in the city back in the 80s, when there were very few malls. Obviously, he had always been a target. When Mr Hossain came out of the Katabon mosque after Isha prayers, a group of young men quickly surrounded and overpowered him. Blindfolded, he was taken to one of the nearby residential halls. The demand was simple: Pay Tk50 lakh or … well, death was not uttered though that was the oblique threat. While the police began searching for the missing market owner, the student leaders, with support from their political bosses, were ensconced in their nests. In this regard, one is compelled to ask: Have things changed that much? If one has the right connections, the law leaves out certain areas from the purview of its search operations. Later, Mr Hossain would recount that he had heard police whistles and sirens plus calls for an extensive search from inside his room, though
the law enforcers never found their way into that “specific” room. Early morning, while the abductors went to rest, leaving one person on guard, Mr Hossain got into action luring the lone guard with separate monetary benefits in exchange for freedom. At one point, greed got the better of the man, who, along with Mr Hossain, quickly conjured up a plan for the bird to fly away while one of the abductors dozed off.
are low. I once asked a relevant official working at the DC office about this, and after giving me a blank look, he replied: “If you are an ordinary person with no connections, then the process is long and convoluted. However, all hindrances disappear once there are some strings being pulled in the right places.” With the grisly images of Narayanganj fresh in our minds, there is talk of forming an anti-abduction force. One
Unless the leadership is strict, uncompromising, and outside the vicious circle of political influence, the scourge of abduction can’t be tackled Eventually, the market owner was freed. As the night gave way to the first rays of morning, he hid in one of the large subterranean drains left on the road for placement, got hold of a rickshaw, and finally ended up in the police station. Interestingly, the culprits were never caught, though they were well known. Nature, in due course, took revenge as two of the three masterminds of this operation were later killed as a result of an internal row over the distribution of extortion money, while the third one, possibly stabbed by guilt, came and asked for Mr Hossain’s forgiveness. Following this harrowing experience, the market owner applied for and got a licensed weapon. Back then, the process was relatively easier. The paradox is, in the current situation, the chances of someone with security concerns to obtain a legitimate firearm
question remains: Why should it be formed now when kidnapping had always been a criminal activity? Perhaps it was not on top of the list, but people had always been taken away, at irregular intervals, for ransom. Maybe the focus is not in the right place – before forming such units, CCTV placements are more important. Last Ramadan, a high profile killing was captured at a shopping mall in Gulshan, which later aided the law in identifying the killers. Yes, it’s absurd to expect criminals to carry out their work in the presence of closed-circuit cameras, but once strategic cameras are placed, crime spots will automatically decrease. On top of that, these cameras can also be used to keep a vigil on law enforcers with a tendency to bend the rules for bribery. This is not to say special units are
not required. However, before all else, options for crime on the road need to be restricted. Hypothetically speaking, if such a force is formed, then to whom will it report to? These units, formed to contain crime committed clandestinely, require absolute secrecy. From our experience, we should know that whenever the law planned a sudden crackdown on crime, news of it filtered out by some method. This means the warning to law breakers came via the media. Gangsters read the news leisurely, make a thorough plan to stay out of sight for some days, and when the time comes, only the fools and the scapegoats are caught. Even if the government plans to form a special cell, its modus operandi and other operations need to be kept under wraps. Declaring that an anti-abduction unit is in the offing is like sending a prior signal. Coming back to the issue of the ultimate authority of such a body, with limited knowledge, I believe that if there is genuine desire for dealing with abductions efficiently then it has to be taken away from the general chain of command and placed directly under a top-ranking government functionary who has never had allegations of corruption raised against him/her. Let’s be forthright: No matter what we try to do, unless the leadership is strict, uncompromising, and outside the vicious circle of political influence, the scourge of abduction can’t be tackled. This freedom from political interference is essential since it’s safe to assume that in recent abductions and murders, political machinations were in play. l Towheed Feroze is a journalist currently working in the development sector.
nly two more phases of polling remain in the 16th Lok Sabha elections of India where the fate of candidates in 105 seats would be decided, but the ruling Congress Party is now concentrating more on stitching up an alliance with smaller and regional parties in an effort to prevent a BJPled alliance from coming to power at the Centre rather than thinking about doing well in these last two phases. The Congress Party now believes that, despite the “Modi wave” sweeping the country, if the BJP-led alliance fails to bag 272 seats or more, and their share of seats is confined to around 230 at the most, then there is a glimmer of hope. A section of the Congress Party has already started courting the smaller and regional parties in an effort to stitch up a third option, by even leaving the prime minister’s post to one of these parties. It has already been reported that the Samajwadi Party and the Left Front have “indicated they’re open to such alliance.” Before delving into the possibilities of such a third option seeing the light of day, one must be reminded that Congress giving outside support has an unpalatable history, first in 1979 (Charan Singh) and later in 1990 (Chandrasekhar). After splitting from Congress, Morarji Desai became prime minister as leader of the Janata Party in 1977, but within two years, this government fell. The Jat leader Charan Singh, despite being short of the majority, staked claim and approached Mrs Indira Gandhi for support. In 1990, the VP Singh government fell on Mandal Commission and Chandrasekhar became the prime minister with less than 70 seats but was supported by Congress. After 6 months the Congress Party alleged that the government was spying on Rajiv Gandhi and they very quickly withdrew support. Be that as it may, the scenario is different now. Some leaders of Congress have even said that if they can get between 120 and 140 seats, they would make a concerted effort to form a coalition government as they did in 2004, but may leave the post of prime minister for a leader in the coalition.
If the left parties and the AAP can muster 40 seats together, it may be possible to keep the BJP out of power
Let us take a close look at how the parties in this likely coalition are expected to fare in the election, although Indian elections are too difficult to predict. According to election analysts, they will score well in Assam, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, and also bag
a few seats in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and West Bengal. Among the regional parties, Jayalalitha’s AIADMK in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where she is the chief minister now and riding on a popularity high, is expected to sweep the state and capture at least 30 seats.
Some leaders of Congress have said they would make an effort to form a coalition government
The situation in Uttar Pradesh is totally different. Of the 80 seats in this state, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party together could come out with between 35 and 40 seats. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD is expected to fare better this time in Bihar and could come up with 7 to 10 seats. Let us not forget Biju Patnaik in Odisha and Nitish Kumar in Bihar who, between them, could have, even on a conservative estimate, between 30 and 40 members in the Lok Sabha. If the left parties and the new entrant in India’s political arena, Aam Aadmi Party, can muster 40 seats together, it may be possible to keep the BJP-led NDA alliance out of power. Another important factor in the Indian Lok Sabha election which could go in favour of such a third option is the vote of the Muslims. They account for about 20% of the votes and would not vote for the BJP. Moreover, 35 seats in the Lok Sabha have more than 30% Muslim votes and that is quite significant. But, the problem that would arise in stitching such a third option, even if Congress does not want to stake a claim to the prime minister’s post, is that there are too many aspirants for this post. That could be the biggest stumbling block as no leader would like to be left out for the top position in the government. Even if the numbers add up, they may not be successful in keeping away the BJP-led NDA alliance to form the next government. Congress has to work tooth and nail to bring these diverse parties together under the same umbrella. But the Congress Party, being in such dire straits, could, even at this late stage, take an initiative, and the third option is still viable, say election experts in India. They say the big calculation now for the Congress Party is to keep the BJPled alliance out of calculation, but the nation would have to wait till May 16, and if BJP and its allies cannot make the cut, the horse-trading and, with it, the fun begins. l Uday Sankar Das is a senior journalist who worked for BBC World Service Radio in London and is presently based in Chittagong.
Is education still a public good in Bangladesh? n Donald B Holsinger
ike most of my colleagues in the development field, I have defended public schooling on the grounds that education indirectly helps people who wouldn’t pay voluntarily for the benefits they receive from it, and thus education would be undersupplied if left exclusively to private funding. I made that argument in Brazil, in Ukraine, in China, and again in Vietnam where I had the privilege of working with my friend and talented colleague, Dr Alam Chowdury. In making the public good argument for education, I acted in confidence because I had no doubt that expanding access to schooling and increasing (the somewhat vague notion of) school quality would lead to human capital formation. I did not question that formulation. Excellence in schooling meant several things, but most important among them was that the population served would have more knowledge and more skills – in other words more human capital. Education makes labour more productive, I taught, and a more productive labour force leads to economic growth. We made a related argument that if countries were to rely on private education only, poor people would not obtain enough of it. Although they would have an incentive to obtain education (for themselves or their
children), the private incentive alone would not ensure that there would be sufficient education to satisfy society’s needs. These arguments lead inevitably to the claim that the government must help to provide education, and indeed, the government of Bangladesh is heavily engaged in supplying this “public good.” When (as in past centuries) ideal amounts of education couldn’t be provided privately, many people and many multilateral development institutions argued that tax-financed provision should be forthcoming from the government. But now this fundamental principle, the case for education as a public good, is under credible attack from economists, public policy experts, and educators. The reason isn’t simply that education is to a considerable extent also a private good. Purchasers of education benefit directly from what they pay for. Rather, the challenge is based on something quite fundamental and new. A former World Bank colleague of mine succinctly puts the challenge in the title of his new book, The Rebirth of Education: Schooling Ain’t Learning. When I first met him, Dr Lant Pritchett was a young research assistant. But he is now a celebrated Harvard professor. More than anyone else in the world today, Professor Pritchett has boldly and correctly helped us see what has
gone wrong with schooling, how the problem came to plague education systems right around the globe, and what we need to do to fix it. What is the challenge? A public good is not simply something that is “good for the public.” It is something that benefits many people, including those who do not pay for it. Learning to read and write helps the individual, and in that sense it is a private good. But it is also a public good because it makes people better citizens, acquaintances, and workers, thus contributing to the lives of others, even though these others do not pay for those benefits. But if education does not produce those benefits, if students do not learn how to read and write and do maths, then there are few benefits from schooling, and the public good argument disappears. Pritchett contends that schooling does not lead to learning, and therefore it is a bad public good. I am aware that the number of schools in relation to the number school-aged children in Bangladesh has dramatically increased. Government and civil society are to be applauded for the remarkable accomplishment. Schooling in Bangladesh has expanded so rapidly that the average Bangladeshi had more years of schooling in 2010 than the average Frenchman or Italian had in 1960. Sadly, increases in the average
level of knowledge and skills in the student-age population have not kept pace with expansion of access. One of the important and frustrating points is that it’s taken a long time for the problem of very low levels of learning to surface.
Bangladesh, Asadullah and Chaudhury discovered a sobering fact about mathematics assessment. Basically they discovered that children don’t continue to progress very much in their learning competence as they grow older. Here is how they did the study; they asked
A public good is not simply something that is ‘good for the public.’ It is something that benefits many people, including those who do not pay for it
There are all kinds of statistics we keep track of – how many kids enter school, of what gender, what age, of what grade progression, how many finish or complete the cycle, etc. But when it comes to the numbers of what we want to get out of schooling – such as increases in knowledge and skills – that is very hard to come by. There are no internationally reliable and comparable statistics on what kids know. Let me begin the necessary conversation about learning in Bangladesh by referring to some evidence on the matter from Bangladeshi sources. Drawing on a large sample of children aged between 10 to 18 years in rural
two questions to the children: Suppose you save Tk20 each month. How much will you have saved after six months? And suppose you have Tk250 in total and a chicken costs Tk60. How many chickens can you buy? How much money will be left after the purchase? What this figure shows is the probability of achieving competence meaning that all children in the age group will eventually answer both questions correctly. The results are striking. A child who has completed grade five is only 11.6 % more likely to give the correct answers than a child with no schooling at all. Put another way, the average gain in “competence” between grade one and grade eight is
just 4% per year. As distressing as this learning profile is, it mostly likely overstates the actual learning from year to year as, especially after grade five, more and more children drop out. If children with greater competency are less likely to drop out, as seems plausible, the increase in competence of those who complete grade eight could be due to the fact that those with lower competence dropped out somewhere along the school path. These results from Bangladesh add to a growing body of evidence about flat learning profiles. Results from India, Pakistan, and East Africa show slow progress by grade on a simple literacy and mathematics test. Unfortunately, Bangladesh must now be added to the list of countries with evidence from learning profiles indicating a serious learning crisis. And a learning crisis weakens the case for education as a public good. l Donald B Holsinger is Professor Emeritus of International Development Studies at Brigham Young University and a former Senior Staff of The World Bank. This article is taken from his keynote paper “Innovations and Excellence in basic Education: Evidence from International Experience” to be presented at the Annual Conference of SHARE Education Program Bangladesh on May 6, 2014 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, Dhaka.
Is Mahiya Mahi the next 'Big Brother' of the industry? n
Afrose Jahan Chaity
After her colossal success as an action girl in Agnee, Dhallywood’s new sensation Mahiya Mahi is once again up for another action flick with a brand new look. Mahi has signed for the title role of Big Brother directed by Shafi Uddin Shafi and the shoot of the production has begun recently in Dhaka. While the male actors’ regular action stunts have been loosing appeal to the audience, Mahiya Mahi with her versatile potentials as a female actor is paving the path for female stars to experiment with their images and surprise the viewers. Mahi will be seen as a underworld don in the film. About her new venture, she said: “As the name indicates a masculine role, the look
will also reflect the same essence. I have done a lot of physical work to don the character and I believe my effort will receive positive response as always.” Director Shafi Uddin Shafi said: “I chose Mahi for the character due to her agile ability to adapt in different roles. Here, she grows up like a boy, talks like a man and is careful about her female instincts.” Mahi further described her role: “The character fights against crime, injustice and risks her life to help the poor. “The action movie will feature challenging stunts in fantastic locations. I hope the audience will really love the action-packed flick which has much surprises in store for them,” she said. Mahi has created much hype amongst film lovers as a newcomer. According to Mahi and her fans, Dhallywood got a new action heroine in terms of box office hit after the release of Agnee. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
Anwesha lends voice to Chirkutt’s composition n Entertainment Desk Bollywood playback singer Anwesha Datta Gupta has lent her melodious voice in a playback composed by Bangladeshi fusion band Chirkutt. The song has been recorded for a film named Padmo Patar Jol directed by Tonmoy Tansen. It is a classical mujra which will be showcased in a dance number of a baiji, a female artiste specially appointed to dance and sing for the amusements of the royalty. Pinto Ghosh, violinist and vocalist of Chirkutt said that Anwesha recorded her voice in a studio in Kolkata and the band is working on the composition here in Dhaka. The song is titled Teer Chhuro Na. Anwesha made her entry in India’s music industry at the age of 13 through the reality show Amul Star Voice of India and Chhote Ustaad. The Kolkata born Indian singer made her niche in Bollywood through her brilliant performance as a playback singer in the films Golmaal Returns, Raanjhanaa, Kaanchi: The Unbreakable and Revolver Rani. l
Anima’s new album hits the market n Entertainment Desk
Tagore singer Anima Roy’s solo album titled Robir Alo was launched yesterday under the banner of Impress Audio Vision. The album is her fifth solo effort in her short but acclaimed career. A total of ten songs from the Nature, Devotion and Love sections of Tagore’s Geetabitan are placed in the album. Prattush Bandyopadhyay of Kolkata has done the musical arrangement and the recording was done at the Vibration Studio in Kolkata. The album contains some timeless tracks including Tumi Je Amare Chao, Kadale Tumi Morey, Bhenge Mor Ghorer Chabi, Amar Mukti Aloy Aloy, Emon Dine Jare Bola Jai and Mor Beena Uthe Kon Shure Baji. Anima said: “I came up with the album keeping in mind the younger generation’s taste. This is why the music arrangement is a blend of eastern and western instruments.” l
TODAY IN DHAKA Exhibition
Germany – A Sporting Nation Time: 11am – 6pm Goethe Institut Bangladesh Road 9(new), House 10 Dhanmondi ‘Water Rhymes-2’ Time: 11am – 8pm Galleri Kaya, House 20 Road 16, Sector 04, Uttara
Bonded Stitches & Struggle Time: 3pm – 8pm Drik Gallery House 58, Road 15A (New) Dhanmondi ‘Nature ‘n Craft’ Time: 12pm – 8pm Zainul Gallery-1, Charukala Dhaka University Shahbag
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D & 2D) Jonakir Alo The Legend of Hercules 3D Avatar in 3D Frozen in 3D Ender’s Game Time: 10am – 10pm Star Cineplex, Level 8 Bashundhara City
Kareena Kapoor all set for Singham sequal n
Google celebrates Audrey Hepburn's birthday
Shooting for Rohit Shetty’s Singham 2, the sequel to the hit 2011 action film of the same name, is all set to begin from May 15 in North Goa. However, most of the shoot will be indoors and beaches do not figure on the list of locations. Singham 2, starring Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor in lead roles, will see actor-filmmaker Amol Gupte as the main antagonist. The sequel narrates the story of a honest police officer played by Devgn, who is currently working on his physique. “Directed by Rohit Shetty, the upcoming movie has 15 days shooting schedule in Goa, with most of the shoot scheduled to take place indoors. It will be shot in North Goa,” a source close to the production said. The “100 crore club” director has already booked a few streets in places like Siolim village for the shoot. l
n Entertainment desk
Drama series Bhalobashar Chotushkon will be aired on NTV every Monday and Tuesday at 9:45pm. Directed by Shihab Shaheen, the drama series features popular soap actor Apurbo, Zakia Bari Momo, Shahriar, Moutushi, Saju Khadem, Tania Hossain and many others. The drama portrays three separate stories that meet at one point
Royals slam Nicole Kidman’s Grace of Monaco n Entertainment Desk Monaco’s royals have accused those behind the film Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as their mother Grace, of hijacking their family history just days before the film premieres at the Cannes Film Festival. In a statement, Prince Albert II and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie said the film did not accurately portray events involving their mother, the Hollywood actress who married Monaco’s Prince Rainier III in 1956. Grace of Monaco, directed by France’s Olivier Dahan, will officially open the 67th Cannes Festival on May 14, when it will be simultaneously released in France and several cities around the world. But even before its release, the film has been mired in controversy, with Dahan locked in a standoff with the film’s US producer Harvey Weinstein and the Monaco royals slamming it as pure fantasy. “The Prince’s palace would like to reiterate that this feature film cannot under any circumstances be
classified as a biopic,” the Monaco royals said on Friday.
“The trailer appears to be a farce and confirms the totally fiction-
al nature of this film. It reinforces the certainty, left after reading the
script, that this production, a page of the Principality’s history, is based on erroneous and dubious historical references. “The Princely family does not in any way wish to be associated with this film which reflects no reality and regrets that Its history has been misappropriated for purely commercial purposes.” The Monaco royals occasionally attend the opening of the Cannes Film Festival, but it is unlikely that they will do so this year. The film also stars British actor Tim Roth as Prince Rainier, and focuses on a six-month period in 1962 when Alfred Hitchcock offered Grace of Monaco a chance to return to acting — an opportunity she eventually turned down. The Cannes Festival defended the film on Friday, saying it would add positively to the “Monaco legend.” “The film is not a biopic in the strictest sense, from life to death,” Thierry Fremaux, the festival’s artistic director, said. “It’s the expression of the right of every artist to poetic license.” l
The latest Google Doodle commemorative logo has paid tribute to screen icon Audrey Hepburn on her 85th birthday, yesterday. A picture of the noted British actress with a pink background features in the middle of the Google logo. The Breakfast at Tiffany's star, and fashion icon became a big screen legend during Hollywood's so-called “Golden Age.” She was born on May 4, 1929 in Brussels to a British father and Dutch aristocrat mother, before moving to London in 1948 to continue training as a ballet dancer. Widely considered to be the world's most beautiful women ever, Hepburn rose to film stardom after appearing in several British movies. She won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for her lead role in Roman Holiday and starred in other classics, including Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady. Audrey also won a record three BAFTA awards for best British actress in a leading role. She appeared in fewer acting roles in later life, devoting much of her time to working with UNICEF on helpful causes in the developing world. She died in Switzerland aged 63 in 1993 after battling with cancer. l
Did you know? Edin Dzeko’s second goal of the game against Everton on Saturday was Manchester City’s 150th in all competitions this season
Monday, May 5, 2014
14 Napoli win Italian
Cup on violent Rome night
15 Juve secure
Serie A title as Roma draw
15 Qualifier Klizan
wins shock Munich title
Wahed powered MSC narrow gap with Abahani Wahed Ahmed maintained his goal scoring rhythm in the Bangladesh Premier League as his only strike enabled Mohammedan SC return to winnings ways with a 1-0 win over archrivals Abahani at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. A brilliant chip saw Wahed score the important goal in the Dhaka derby just at the stroke of half-time. The youngster was handed a place in the playing XI two macth back after a series of eye catching performances, especially the late winning goal against Uttar Baridhara. He now scored in three consecutive games.
HIGHLIGHTS Mohammedan Wahed 42
Suares misses a sitter 10”Leonildo heading in a low cross of Osei
Morrison over the bar from six-yard box. Jamal Hossain’s powerful strike from 25 yards is saved by Mohammedan keeper Titumir Titu. GOAL! Wahed Ahmed puts Mohammedan ahead chipping the ball over Sohel following a lobbed pass from Pinto. Titu made a diving save to deny Suares’ free-kick from 25 yards out.
Wahed’s goal also gave the Black and Whites their second successive victory over Abahani – the last coming in the Independence Cup semifinal. The defeat put Abahani, the four-
time professional league champions, six points behind table toppers Sheikh Jamal and effectively dented their hopes of retaining the title after two years. Mohammedan cashed in from the win as they now trail the Sky Blues by just two points (23 points from 13 matches). It was, however, Abahani who dominated for most of the game but their failure to penetrate the opponent defence eventually cost them. The Sky Blues squandered a glorious opportunity to go ahead inside 10 minutes after Ghanaian striker Osei Morrsion skipped past a defender before feeding unmarked Leonildo Suares with a low cross only to see the Portugese forward head over the crosspiece from inside six-yard box on an empty net. Five minutes later, Jamal Hossain tried his luck from 25 yards out with a powerful strike, but Titu made a decent save to deny the midfielder’s effort. Wahed broke the deadlock against the run of play in the 42nd minute. Portuguese forward Hardy Pinto was the architect behind the goal as he picked Wahed with a lovely lob at the edge of the box before the national striker chipped his shot over onrushing goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel to find the back of the net. The Mohammedan back line, led by their Cameroonian defender Baybeck Fombagne and Nigerian Ubom Henry Felix, remained rock solid to hold the upper hand for the remainder of the game. Abahani’s only notable chance in the second-half came in the 65th minute with Suares launching a goal bound free-kick from 25 yards out which was saved brilliantly by Titu with a dive to his right. l
Mohammedan forward Md Wahed (no 9)fights for the ball in the Abahani defence at BNS yesterday
Babu rejoices while Pourmoslemi laments Mohammedan forward Md Wahed hailed the team spirit behind the success against their arch-rival Abahani after the end of the match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. On the other hand, Abahani coach Ali Akbar Pourmoslemi pointed out his team’s lack of a clinical finisher who can be lethal inside the opposition’s D-box. Wahed, whose Facebook account is named Super Star Wahed and has more than fifty thousand likes, can now expect it to become more popular as he has scored in three consecutive matches against Uttar Baridhara, Team BJMC and Dhaka Abahani. However, he rated yesterday’s strike among the top in
his career. “I remember two years ago I scored for Mohammedan in the 2-0 win against Abahani. But this time my strike has turned out to be the winner. So I am happy and I rate it among the top,” said Wahed. Wahed said Mohammedan was determined to win the match. “We started with 3-2-4-1 and in an attacking mode but we changed it after scoring the goal. Personally I did not forget that the team conceded a defeat against BJMC because of me as I wasted an easy chance. All the players were cautious about not making any mistake and it paid off,” said the young forward. Mohammedan manager Amirul Islam Babu said all the team members were frustrated with the shock defeat against BJMC. “We now feel free. The
loss against BJMC was not justified. We conceded two goals in five minutes after leading 2-0. I told my players that we have to show our character against Abahani and we took the field to win. I am very happy to see that the team return to winning ways wiping the frustrations out. We will face Sheikh Jamal in our next match and today’s win is an ideal morale booster before that,” said Babu. His counterpart Pourmoslemi said he did not have the ideal resources to field the appropriate eleven for the crunch tie. “Waly Faisal and Samad Youssef were injured. I had to reform my defense but I have to say that my defense was not bothered that much as Mohammedan played defensive. Then I found I lack an ideal finisher who can
score the goals and stamp authority in front of the opposition goal. I don’t know how to deal with the problem,” bemoaned the Iranian. “We wasted three chances in the first 15 minutes and conceded the goal due to a mistake of the defense. We could not get out of the failure zone in the rest of the match. Now we are six points behind Jamal and I think it is very hard to reduce the deficit,” said Pourmoslemi. Abahani defender Mishu said Osie Morrison’s off form has disturbed the team. “Morrsion has lost the rhythm although he was supposed to be our mainstay and we don’t have many other options in the striking zone. We have scored very few goals in the league and its our main problem,” opined Mishu. l
BCB to look for local coach?
Bangladesh National Press Club and Tripura Sports Journalists Association players along with chief guests pose for a photograph after their friendly match at the Mirpur Sahara-BCB National Academy ground yesterday COURTESY
Bangladesh Press Club beat Tripura SJC Reazur Rahman Rohan’s brilliant 90run knock inspired Bangladesh National Press Club cricket team to a convincing 132-run win over the visiting Tripura Sports Journalist Club in a friendly match between the two sides at the Mirpur Sahara-BCB National Academy ground yesterday. After winning the toss, Tripura invited Bangladesh Press Club to take first strike but the decision back fired for the visitors as the home side posted a huge 220/6 in 20 overs. After losing two quick wickets in the opening over, Press Club returned to the game with opening batsman Rohan and Ariful Islam Roney (17) repairing the innings with a fifty-plus partnership. Man of the match Rohan was unlucky to miss out a century as the right-hander was cleaned up after blasting 90 off just 53 deliveries. His enterprising innings featured
11 boundaries and four sixes while Khairuzzaman Rana also scored an quick-fire 42 to help the home side post the mammoth total. Chasing 221 for a win, the visiting side never looked comfortable and kept losing wickets at regular intervals and Tripura were eventually bundled out for just 88 runs in 18 overs. Mazhar Uddin scalped three wickets for Bangladesh Press Club while Ariful and left-arm spinner Mohammad Isam provided valuable support bagging two wickets each for the home side. The Bangladesh Press Club cricket team earlier toured Agartala, India in 2012 for a friendly match. Tripura Sports Journalist Club made their return visit to Bangladesh through yesterday’s exhibition match. Bangladesh Cricket Board officials and former national cricket players were present at the ground while senior dignitaries of Bangladesh Press Club were also present. Walton sponsored the exhibition match. l
Following a week of drama surrounding the resignation of national cricket team head coach Shane Jurgensen, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is likely to reach a conclusion today regarding the burning issue. BCB president Nazmul Hasan will first sit with the Australian coach in person before heading to the board meeting during the afternoon when a discussion on the television rights is also expected to take place. Jurgensen’s decision to quit after the conclusion of the three-match ODI series against India next month – provided the board allows him to stay– has forced the BCB, especially the cricket operations committee, to mull options over the replacement of the outgoing
coach. The BCB has reiterated its desire to recruit ‘a renowned foreign coach’ as their first option but for now, it was learned from sources and also from a director that the board is likely to assign an interim ‘local’ coach. Bangladesh cricket was rocked after Jurgensen submitted his resignation to the BCB cricket operations committee last week. Though the decision was termed an ‘emotional’ one by a few directors of the BCB, Jurgensen ruled out possibilities of changing his mind upon his arrival in Dhaka on Thursday. Jurgensen’s resignation has put the BCB in a tricky situation with less than a year remaining to the 2015 ICC World Cup down under. With very little time left, it will be a challenge for cricket’s governing body to hire a foreign coach
permanently so the BCB is likely to go for a local coach in all likelihood. Influential director and former national assistant coach Khaled Mahmud has already expressed his interest in taking charge while the country’s first Test coach Sarwar Imran and former national cricketer Aminul Islam are also possible options. As far as the television rights are concerned, a five-member committee tasked with the responsibility of dealing with the tender process of the worldwide media broadcasting rights, will apprise the board regarding the tender documents, contracts and procedures. The BCB floated the international tender for new worldwide media broadcasting rights on April 24 for the next six years, till May 2020. l
Spinners rule day two in BCL Islami Bank East Zone’s left arm spinner Enamul Haque Jr bagged five wickets against Prime Bank South Zone as South Zone posted 376/10 in their first innings after East Zone were bundled out for just 135 in their first innings. However, East Zone replied strongly in their second innings scoring 138/1 at stumps on day two in the third and final round of the Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) yesterday. In the other game, BCB North Zone piled up a huge 457/10 in their first innings and Walton Central Zone were 116/3 in reply at the end of day two.
Islami Bank East Zone v Prime Bank South Zone
At BKSP’s ground no. 4, Prime Bank South Zone started the second day on 108/1 with their two overnight batsmen Anamul Haque (59) and Soumya Sarkar (6). But Anamul was dismissed without adding a run to his overnight score
when the right-hander was caught behind off left arm spinner Enamul Haque Jr. However, his partner Soumya along with wicket-keeper batsman Mithun Ali scored important half centuries before Soumya was eventually dismissed after scoring 71 while Mithun departed after smashing eight fours and three sixes for his 77 runs. South Zone lost a couple of quick wickets after that before Sohag Gazi chipped in with a rapid 64 off 55 balls with five fours and four sixes. Gazi was finally dismissed by Enamul Haque Jr who thus claimed his fifth wicket for East Zone conceding 126 runs from 26.3 overs. Mosaddek Hossain was the other successful bowler who took three wickets as South Zone posted 376/10 in their first innings. East Zone could shake off their poor batting display in the first innings as they replied strongly in their second innings. They were 138/1 at the end of day’s play with opener Shadman Islam unbeaten on 56, who received due
support from Liton Das, unbeaten on 47 after the other opener Nazimuddin was out for 27 runs.
BRIEF SCORES, DAY 2 At BKSP – 3, Savar BCB North v Walton Central North 457 all out in 149.2 overs (Forhad Hossain 109, Tanveer Haider 66, Junaid Siddique 65, Hamidul Islam 60, Elias Sunny 4/111, Mahmudullah 3/127) Central 116/3 in 30.5 overs (Shamsur Rahman 35 not out, Taijul Islam 2/25) At BKSP – 4, Savar Islami Bank East v Prime Bank South East 135 all out in 69.4 overs (Alok Kapali 56, Abdur Razzak 4/34, Sohag Gazi 3/41) & 138/1 in 40 overs (Shadman Islam 56 not out, Liton Das 47 not out) South 376 all out in 90.3 overs (Mithun Ali 77, Soumya Sarker 71, Sohag Gazi 64, Anamul Haque 59, Enamul Haque Jr 5/126, Mosaddek Hossain 3/65)
Walton Central Zone v BCB North Zone
BCB North Zone started the second day on their overnight score of 287/4 and managed to add another 170 runs to that as overnight batsman Tanvir Haider smashed six boundaries for his valuable 66. Tanvir found support from all-rounder Farhad Reza who fell one short of a deserving halfcentury before North Zone’s first innings finally came to an end at 457/10 at the BKSP-3 ground. Left arm spinner Elias Sunny picked up four wickets while off spinner Mahmudullah claimed three wickets for Central Zone. In reply, Central Zone finished the second day on 116/3 as North Zone’s left arm spinner Taijul Islam removed two Central Zone top order batsmen. Shamsur Rahman remained could offer some resistance as he remained unbeaten on 35 at the end of second day’s play as North Zone still trail by 341 runs. l
Champions Celtic 30 points clear
Monday, May 5, 2014
Thunder, Clippers book 2nd round tie
Celtic look on course for the biggest ever winning margin in the top flight of Scottish football following a thrilling 5-2 win over Aberdeen that moves them a massive 30 points clear of the Dons in second place. Scott Brown and Kris Commons both scored a double as the Hoops gained revenge on Aberdeen, who inflicted their only league defeat of the season back in March. Despite the defeat Aberdeen have booked their place in the Europa League qualifiers although Motherwell moved to within a point of the Dons with a 2-1 win over St Johnstone. –AFP
The Oklahoma City Thunder overpowered the Memphis Grizzlies 120-109 on Saturday to line up a clash with the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the NBA playoffs. Russell Westbrook notched his second triple-double of the series with 27 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds, and Kevin Durant scored a game-high 33 points for the Thunder – who won the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series four games to three. Durant, expected to be named the NBA Most Valuable Player next week, was a perfect five-for-five from three point range and pulled down eight rebounds in the victory. –AFP
Rossi happy to return to fray Italy and Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi boosted his World Cup selection hopes after returning to action in the Italian Cup final on Saturday. Rossi, who previously missed two years of his career due to injury, ended a four-month injury lay-off when he came on for the final 20 minutes of Fiorentina’s 3-1 Cup defeat to Napoli at Rome’s Olympic Stadium. He will now battle to regain full fitness in the final Serie A games of the season in the hope of making Cesare Prandelli’s 23-man squad for the World Cup in June. “I feel good, very happy to have returned but obviously disappointed with the result,” Rossi told AFP. –AFP
Napoli win Italian Cup on violent Rome night Napoli beat Fiorentina 3-1 to win their fifth Italian Cup on Saturday in a match that kicked off 45 minutes late after three fans were shot, one critically, in an incident near Rome’s Olympic Stadium. A first half brace from Italy international Lorenzo Insigne and a late strike from Dries Mertens helped the southern side, who finished with 10 men, to their second Cup victory in three years. Insigne’s goals in the 11th and 17th minutes put Fiorentina on the back foot but Juan Vargas brought his side back into the game just before the half hour with a fantastic volley. Mertens then added Napoli’s third in injury time. Fiorentina took the game to their rivals in the second half, with Giuseppe Rossi making a first appearance since Jan. 5 as a 69th-minute substitute, but Napoli held on despite Gokhan Inler’s 79th minute sending off. The match had looked in danger of being cancelled as news of the shooting filtered through. Despite the ugly atmosphere, it was a beautiful goal that opened the scoring with Hamsik bursting away on the break before slipping the ball to Insig-
ne, who curled in his sixth goal of the season off the post. Fiore looked shell-shocked but regrouped and got back into the game in the 28th minute thanks to a superb backheeled flick on from Josip Ilicic which Vargas met with a thumping volley that flew past a motionless Pepe Reina. The Tuscan side were unlucky not to go in level at the break after Alberto Aquilani volleyed home Ilicic’s perfectly delivered free-kick a minute before halftime, only to see his effort ruled out for the tightest of offside decisions. Rossi came on to a rousing reception from the Fiorentina fans and then, with Inler off, Ilicic squandered a perfect chance to take the final to extra time when he sliced wide after a superb pass from Alessandro Matri. “It was right at the end in the 90th minute, it couldn’t have been any more decisive,” said Montella. “Reina did really well to close the angle down, but that is how football works.” Mertens made no mistake for Napoli, though, the Belgian international drilling home a smart left-foot finish to send the Naples fans wild with joy. Some also spilled on to the pitch to celebrate and taunt the Fiorentina supporters. l
Napoli players and team members pose with the Italian Cup after winning the final against Fiorentina at the Olympic stadium in Rome on Saturday
Fan trouble could see players leave Italy: Montella Deposed Liverpool out to keep pace at Palace The problems caused by Italian football fans could drive players out of the country, Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said on Saturday after three fans were shot near Rome’s Olympic Stadium, forcing the Italian Cup final to kick off 45 minutes late. Napoli beat Fiorentina 3-1 to win their fifth Italian Cup thanks to a first-half brace from Lorenzo Insigne and a late strike from Dries Mertens but the match looked in danger of being cancelled as news of the shooting filtered through. “It’s not the first time this has happened to me, I experienced it a Roma,” said Montella, who was playing for Roma in 2004 when a derby match with Lazio was called off after both sets of
fans demanded it be suspended following rumours that a boy had been killed by a police car just outside the stadium. The rumour turned out to be false. “Unfortunately Italian football is like this, and I think we’ll lose a lot of players because of it. They’ll choose to play elsewhere,” added Montella. “It’s true even for the Italians. It’s a shame because there was everything in place here tonight to offer people watching something better.” As match organisers and Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik moved towards the fans to talk with hardcore ‘ultra’ leaders about whether the game should go ahead on Saturday, they were pelted with flares and smoke bombs. A representative from Napoli’s ultras was seen wearing a “Free Speziale”
t-shirt, referring to Antonino Speziale, who was jailed for eight years following the death of police officer Filippo Raciti in February 2007. Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis, however, praised the ultras groups for their cooperation and understanding in allowing the match to go ahead. “I was focused only on verifying with the authorities how we could ensure the game would go ahead, as otherwise it would’ve been a defeat for all of Italian football,” he said after the match. “We resolved the problem also with the help of the two ultras groups, who were very understanding and co-operative.” De Laurentiis then praised the fans’ display of “civility” in the face of bad organisation on the part of the authorities.
“Why is it that the Ministry of the Interior still hasn’t worked out how to organise a football match, which should be child’s play, in a proper manner?” he said in the media conference following the match. “Fortunately the fans of Napoli and Fiorentina showed an outstanding civility. “The fans give their hearts and passion to the shirt right to the end. So to talk with those groups without the police present seems to me a sign of responsibility both on the part of the organisers and the fans. “Yes there were some smoke bombs thrown, but in this stadium an extremely civil event took place, because with the news that was flying around it could have been a riot waiting to happen.” l
Having seen Manchester City seize the initiative in the Premier League title race, Liverpool have no option but to win when they visit Crystal Palace on Monday. Liverpool’s title challenge was compromised by their 2-0 loss at home to Chelsea last weekend and they were knocked off the summit on Saturday when City won 3-2 at Everton. City’s success at Goodison Park means that they will be practically assured of claiming the title if they win their last two games, both of which are
at home, against Aston Villa and West Ham United. They currently lead Liverpool on goal difference alone, however, and although they have a nine-goal advantage in that regard, it is a slender enough margin of superiority to give Brendan Rodgers’s side hope. Liverpool will once again be without their England midfielder Jordan Henderson, who completes a three-game ban for his dismissal in last month’s 3-2 win over Manchester City. The visitors are otherwise expected to be at full strength, while Palace’s only injury doubt concerns South African central midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi.l
Martino’s Barca future in doubt
Guingamp’s players celebrate with the trophy after winning the French Cup final against Rennes (SRFC) on at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris on Saturday AFP
Guingamp lift French Cup Guingamp lifted the French Cup for the second time on Saturday when they beat French football’s great under-achievers Rennes 2-0 in an all-Brittany final at the Stade de France. Nicknamed ‘The Farmers’, Guingamp dominated from the outset to the delight of their fans, hundreds of whom had travelled the 480km to Paris in a convoy of tractors. “We had the perfect match,” said Guingamp coach Jocelyn Gourvennec, whose side also qualified for the Europa League as a result. Jonathan Martins Pereira got the opener after 37 minutes when he
latched onto a Christophe Mandanne header to catapult into the net. And Mali international striker Mustapha Yatabare claimed the second just after the break when he slipped through the Rennes defence to shock goalkeeper Benoit Costil with a close range header for his eighth goal in the competition. Costil held firm however after 53 minutes with a nice save which deprived Yatabare of a second goal of the night. It was the third victory this season for Guingamp over their fellow Bretons whom they beat twice in the league, and another woeful end for Rennes who also lost the 2009 French Cup final against the same side, who were then
in the second tier. Rennes were also beaten by Saint-Etienne in last season’s League Cup final, leaving them still without a major title since beating Lyon to lift the Cup back in 1971. It is a dire record for Rennes which hails from the capital of Brittany with a population of 207,000 and owned by billionaire Francois Pinault. It is a dire record for Rennes which hails from the capital of Brittany with a population of 207,000 and owned by billionaire Francois Pinault. Guingamp – the club where Didier Drogba shot to prominence – have a population of little more than 7,000. It was their third Cup final after losing the 1997 title match to Nice. l
Gerardo Martino said he will reflect on whether he will continue as Barcelona coach for next season after seeing his side’s title hopes all but ended by a 2-2 draw at home to relegation threatened Getafe. The Catalans now look set to end the campaign without a major trophy for the first time in six years as they lie three points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid with just two games remaining and having played one match more than Los Rojiblancos. As well as the onfield disappointment, Barca have had a difficult year off the field as former coach Tito Vilanova passed away after a battle with cancer and Sandro Rosell was forced to resign as president due to his role in the controversial signing of Neymar last year.
Lewandowski signs off at Dortmund Robert Lewandowski played his last home match for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday -- then said he wants to sign off by beating future employers Bayern Munich in the German Cup final. Lewandowski failed to hit the net in Borussia’s 3-2 win over Hoffenheim on Saturday with Dortmund set to finish their league campaign second to champions Bayern in the Bundesliga. the Polish hot-shot now has two games left in the Dortmund shirt -- at Hertha Berlin next Saturday in the league, then the Berlin cup final against Bayern on May 17. l
“Overall the season has not been a good one on a personal level, nor for Barcelona as a whole. It has been a very difficult season with a lot of external questions that we couldn’t overcome,” said Martino. “There are times when you ask for a second chance and other times when you don’t think you deserve it, so I will see what I think. “I still believe there is time to think about it. We have just finished a game and now is not the time to say anything.” Martino added that he was particularly unhappy to have dropped points at home to a team fighting relegation having come from behind in difficult circumstances to beat high-flying Athletic Bilbao and Villareal in recent weeks. “In reality it was not what we ex-
pected,” said the Argentine. “There was a chance that we wouldn’t achieve our objective in winning the league, but not because we didn’t win our games. Today we committed some errors and it has cost us. “If you don’t beat a team fighting against relegation at home then you don’t deserve to remain in the fight for the title till the end. Of the three teams in the title race, we have been the least consistent.” Midfielder Sergio Busquets admitted immediately after the game that Barca had committed errors “unbecoming of professionals” and captain Xavi Hernandez insisted the players have a lot to work on for next season. “We are hurting. It has not been a good season. We didn’t have luck and we haven’t been competitive in many aspects. Apart from the Supercup, we haven’t achieved our objectives,” he said. l
Magath wants chance to lead Fulham back to EPL Felix Magath wants to be given the responsibility of leading Fulham back to the Premier League despite suffering one of the worst days of his managerial career. Magath suffered his first relegation as a manager as second bottom Fulham’s drop into the Championship was confirmed after a 4-1 thrashing at Stoke on Saturday. The German was at a loss to explain why his side lacked the fighting spirit that has been a characteristic of his
lengthy managerial career. But Magath wants to be trusted with reviving Fulham in the second tier after having little time to make his mark since replacing Rene Meulensteen in February. “We have to talk about our situation, when I signed it was clear we had to change something,” Magath said. “The club was at the bottom of the table and things developed in the last weeks, but it was not enough. I will speak to the owner and we can start to come back. I want that chance. “You can imagine this is one of the worst days I have ever had. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
Chelsea held, Man City go top
QUICK BYTES Condolence
Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Majid, the father of Sheikh Mohammad Maruf Hasan, the executive committee member of Bangladesh Football Federation and the chairman of the Dhaka Metropolis Football League Committee passed away due to cardiac arrest at CMH yesterday. He was 85. He is survived by eight sons and two daughters. He was buired at the family graveyard at Terkhada, Khulna. BFF president Kazi Salahuddin, the senior vice president, the vice presidents, all the members of the executive committee and the officials expressed deep shock over the death of Majid and prayed for the salvation of the departed soul. –Tribune Desk
Chelsea and Norwich City were left hanging on to their respective targets by their fingertips after their Premier League match ended goalless at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Chelsea’s slim hopes of winning title are all but over as they now need to win their last match at relegated Cardiff City next Sunday and hope that both the top two, Manchester City and Liverpool pick up no more than one point from their last two matches. Manchester City lead the standings with a superior goal difference from Liverpool with both on 80 points from 36 matches. Chelsea have 79 points from 37. Norwich can only avoid joining already relegated Cardiff City and Fulham in the Championship next season if they beat Arsenal next week and Sunderland lose both of their remaining fixtures.
NBL Premier V’Ball League starts Power Development Board made a winning start in the National Bank Premier Division Volleyball League beating Dhaka Green Club 25-5, 25-4 and 25-11 at the volleyball stadium yesterday. The other clubs playing in the league are Titas Club, BGB, Bangladesh Police, Water Development Board, Wari Club, Fire Service, Azad Sporting and East End. Md Bodiul Alam, the additional managing director of National Bank Ltd inaugurated the event as the chief guest. Volleyball Federation general secretary Ashikur Rahman Miku, tournament secretary Sirajul Islam were also present among others. –RM
RESULTS Arsenal Giroud 14
Giles ‘bitter’ at England snub Ashley Giles has said he was “bitterly disappointed” to miss out on being appointed as the new head coach of England. Peter Moores was recalled for a second spell in charge after Andy Flower stood down following England’s 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia. Former England spinner Giles appeared to be in pole position to replace Flower, having been the national limited overs coach since November 2012 and a member of the selection panel. However, his cause was not helped by a poor run of results in one-day games in Australia and England’s humiliating loss to the Netherlands at last month’s World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. –AFP
IOC welcomes Gay doping ban US sprint star Tyson Gay’s one-year doping ban has been welcomed by the International Olympic Committee. Gay received the ban from the US Anti-Doping Association (USADA) on Friday and returned his 2012 London Olympics silver medal to the US Olympic Committee. USADA announced that the 31-year-old American had tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid in two random out-of-competition tests and one event doping test in urine samples taken last year by both USADA and the world governing body IAAF An IOC statement on Saturday said: “The IOC welcomes the decision taken by USADA following the confession of Tyson Gay. We note the athlete accepted responsibility for his actions and returned the medal from the London Olympic Games. –AFP
DAY’S WATCH Sony Six 4:30PM Rajasthan v Kolkata 8:30PM Delhi v Chennai Star Sports 2 Italian Serie A 11:00PM Lazio v Hellas Verona 1:00AM Juventus v Atlanta Star Sports 4 1:00AM English Premier League Crystal Palace v Liverpool Star Sports 1 2:00AM La Liga Real Sociedad v Granada
on Saturday Everton Barkley 11, Lukaku 65
Niaz shares 3rd place Bangladesh Grandmaster Niaz Murshed beat Ugandan International Master Emojong Elijah in the 8th round of the Capablanca Chess Festival at Pretoria,South Africa yesterday. Niaz bagged 4.5 points after the end of the 8th round and was sharing the 3rd position with two other players. A total of 10 Grandmasters are playing in the GM section and Niaz was ranked fourth among them. Former world champion Gary Kasparov will distribute the prizes as the chief guest in the concluding ceremony. –RM
Chelsea’s Frank Lampard (L) is fouled by Norwich City’s Bradley Johnson during their English Premier League match at the Stamford Bridge yesterday
Juve secure scudetto Juventus secured the 2014 Serie A title with three games to spare on Sunday after closest challengers Roma were stunned 4-1 away to relegation-haunted Catania. It is the Turin giants’ 30th official title in Italy’s top flight and third in succession under coach Antonio Conte. Juventus remain on course to become the first team in Serie A to finish with at least 100 points. After hosting Atalanta on Monday, Juve travel to Roma next week and close out the season at home to Cagliari. Juventus had congregated at a hotel in Turin on Sunday afternoon to watch Roma’s upset on television and immediately after the final whistle the cele-
brations began. Several players, among whom striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, posted brief messages on Twitter: “Campioni !!!!” “We are the champions, we are the champions,” read another from the club’s official Twitter feed alongside pictures of the players dressed in identical black t-shirts making reference to the club’s belief they have won 32 titles. Juventus were stripped of two Serie A titles, which they won in 2005 and 2006, following their demotion to Serie B for their role in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal. Defender Leonardo Bonucci made reference when he posted a message on Twitter which read: “Champions 32.” Roma had emerged as Juve’s only real challengers this season after setting a new Serie A record of 10 opening wins under French coach Rudi Garcia. But despite the capital club clinging
Qualifier Klizan wins shock Munich title Qualifier Martin Klizan pulled off a shock victory over top-seed Fabio Fognini in Sunday’s final of the Munich ATP tournament to claim only the second title of his career. The Slovakian, ranked 111th in the world, recovered from losing the first set to claim a 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 win which denied Fognini, ranked 13th in the world, his third straight title in Germany having won last season’s Hamburg and Stuttgart tournaments. The 24-year-old Klizan, whose only previous ATP tournament win was in St Petersburg in 2012, deserved his claycourt title having beaten Russian thirdseed Mikhail Youzhny in the second round, then seen off defending champion and second-seed Tommy Haas in Saturday’s semi-final. l
nian Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(7/4). The former Wimbledon champion looked well on course for the second round after racing through the opening set, but was then broken four times in the second as the world number 27 levelled the match. Both women were more stable on serve in the decider as it went to a tie-break after just one break apiece and Kvitova eventually had too much to set up a meeting with American Varvara Lepchenko. Elsewhere, 11th seed Ana Ivanovic overcame Madison Keys in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), while another American, Sloane Stephens, beat Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to also reach the last 32. l
POINTS TABLE 1 2 3 4 5 16 17 18 19 20
Team Juventus Roma Napoli Fiorentina Inter Milan Chievo Bologna Sassuolo Catania Livorno
GP 35 36 35 35 35 36 36 35 36 36
W 30 26 20 18 14 8 5 7 6 6
Izco 26, 34, Bergessio 55, Barrientos 79
Chievo Genoa Parma
0 1 0 0 2 0
D 3 7 9 7 15 6 14 7 8 7
L 2 3 6 10 6 22 17 21 22 23
GD PTS 52 93 49 85 28 69 21 61 22 57 -22 30 -28 29 -31 28 -34 26 -35 25
Roma Totti 37
Torino Sardo 54
Cassano 8, Schelotto 90
Udinese Di Natale 19, 45, Badu 21, Pereyra 33, Silva 44
Livorno Paulinho 13, 29, Mesbah 88
Arsenal celebrated their Champions League qualification as Olivier Giroud secured a 1-0 win against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. Arsene Wenger’s side booked their place in Europe’s elite club competition without kicking a ball when fifthplaced Everton were beaten 3-2 by Manchester City on Saturday. And 24 hours later, Giroud’s firsthalf header maintained the feelgood factor at the Emirates Stadium and capped a stroll in the sunshine for the Gunners, who were rarely troubled en route to a fourth successive victory. After looking in severe danger of missing out on the Champions League for the first time in 17 years following their defeat at Everton last month, there was a palpable sense of relief in north London that Arsenal had wrapped up fourth place with two games to spare. Manchester City claimed top spot in the Premier League and took a significant step towards the title by coming from behind to edge Everton 3-2 on Saturday. Ross Barkley’s stunner put hosts Everton ahead in the 11th minute, but Sergio Aguero quickly equalised and a brace from Edin Dzeko secured victory for Manuel Pellegrini’s side despite Romelu Lukaku reducing the arrears.l
Atletico title hopes rocked by Levante defeat Atletico Madrid squandered a chance to all-but wrap up their first La Liga title since 1996 when they crashed to a surprise 2-0 defeat at Levante on Sunday. Victory for Atletico in Valencia would have meant they needed only a win at home to Malaga next weekend to secure top spot and render their final match at Barcelona the following week irrelevant. However, an own goal from Filipe Luis in the seventh minute and a neat finish from David Barral 21 minutes from time meant Atletico failed to take advantage of Barca’s 2-2 draw at home to Getafe on Saturday.
Sharapova cruises, Kvitova battles through Four-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova made light work of the Czech Republic’s Klara Koukalova to ease into the second round of the Madrid Open 6-1, 6-2 on Sunday. Sharapova claimed her first title of the year in Stuttgart two weeks ago and continued her return to form after a difficult start to the year to seal victory in little over an hour. Last year’s finalist in Madrid will next face unseeded American Christina McHale in the second round. It was a more difficult afternoon for fifth seed Petra Kvitova as she need a final set tie-break to overcome Roma-
to Juve’s heels in recent weeks and Garcia remaining defiant, the Roma boss on Saturday finally conceded defeat to Juventus. “The championship is over. Tomorrow’s (Sunday’s) result at Catania won’t change a thing, but we’ll still be going there looking to win,” said Garcia. After a testing season trying to keep pace with the Juve juggernaut, which went on a 22-match unbeaten run following a shock 4-2 away defeat to Fiorentina in their eighth match of the season, Garcia’s words appeared to have a soporific effect. Roma, expected to claim another 10th successive win to match their positive start to the campaign, were 2-0 down inside 34 minutes thanks to a brace from Mariano Izco and despite Francesco Totti reducing the arrears three minutes later the visitors were humiliated in a one-sided second half. l
Aguero 22, Dzeko 43, 48
With two games left, Atletico lead on 88 points, three ahead of second-placed Barca. Real Madrid, on 82 points in third, have two games in hand, a match at home to Valencia later on Sunday and a trip to Real Valladolid on Wednesday. If in-form Real win their remaining four matches they will finish on 94 points and Atletico would have to beat Malaga and Barca to match their city rivals. Under Diego Simeone, Atletico are mounting their first genuine title challenge since they won a La Liga and King’s Cup double in 1996 with a team featuring the inspirational former Argentina captain. In one of the best seasons in their history, they are also through to the Champions League final to play Real
thanks to Wednesday’s superb 3-1 win at Chelsea. Simeone’s players did not seem to be feeling the effects of their exertions in London and started the Levante match with their usual intensity but fell behind when the ball ricocheted off Filipe’s chest at a corner and squirmed over the line. A dominant Atletico had plenty of chances for an equaliser, including a Filipe shot cleared off the line by Levante defender Loukas Vyntra in the 63rd minute, before Barral controlled a cross from the left and fired past Thibaut Courtois. Substitute Adrian curled a shot on to a post 13 minutes from time but Levante comfortably held out to climb above Rayo Vallecano to 10th on 45 points. l
Berdych to face Berlocq in final Czech Tomas Berdych will put his top seeding on the line Sunday when he plays Carlos Berlocq the final of the Portugal Open. World number six Berdych lived up to his billing with a 6-2, 6-2 hammering of Romanian Victor Hanescu while Argentine Berlocq beat Spanish qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-6 (8/6), 6-2. Berdych, playing on a wild card, will compete in his third final of the season after Rotterdam and Dubai while the 61st-ranked Berlocq is entering only the third final of his career (1-1). “The first step is there, I’m in the final,” said Berdych. “Now it would be really great to win this title. l
An action between the girls match of Dhaka Commerce College and Dhaka Young Girls in the Walton National Floorball Championship at the wooden floor gymnasium yesterday. Dhaka Commerce College won the title COURTESY
ACC implicates 51 Destiny officials in two cases n Tribune Report
The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday pressed charge sheets in two cases against a total of 51 top executives of Destiny Group including its President M Harun-ur-Rashid and Managing Director Mohammad Rafiqul Amin on charge of embezzling and siphoning off Tk4,119 crore from the clients’ deposits. Deputy Director Mozahar Ali Sarder submitted the charge sheets before General Recording Officer Abdur Rashid of the Dhaka’s Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court yesterday afternoon, ACC lawyer Kabir Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune. The ACC has named around 150 people as witnesses in the cases where 46 people have been charged for the irregularities in Destiny Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (DMCSL) and 19 regarding the Destiny Tree Plantation Limited (DTPL).
The group has laundered a major portion of the swindled money to the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, France and Canada If found guilty, the accused persons could be sentenced to a maximum of 12 years’ jail besides refunding double the amount to the victims of the alleged fraud through the government. Harun, also a former army chief, and Rafiqul have been made main accused in the cases, ACC officials say. Most of these accused are from the group’s board of directors. The other accused include Farah Deeba, wife of Rafiqul, Mohammad Hossain, Md Gofranul Haque, Mohammad Saidur Rahman, Mohammad Mezbah Uddin, Syed Sajjad Hossain, Irfan Ahmed Sani, Jamshed Ara Chowdhury, Sheikh Tayebur Rahman, and Nepal Chandra Biswas. The ACC inquiry has found that 23 top bosses of the group collected around Tk818.82 crore from its 26 companies violating the law of the country and laundered the money abroad from their personal accounts. The Destiny officials collected the
money from investors under its projects DMCSL and DTPL luring them of providing high interest. But the accused swindled the money – either transferred to their personal accounts or embezzled in the name of allowance, salary, remuneration, profit, special allowance or commission. According to the ACC findings, the group has laundered a major portion of the swindled money to the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, France and Canada. The Destiny Group officials had transferred the money to their 722 accounts with 35 banks. The 26 companies are: Destiny 2000, Air Destiny Ltd, Destiny Multipurpose Co-operative Society Ltd, Destiny Tree Plantation Ltd, Diamond Builders Ltd, Destiny Printing and Packaging Ltd, Destiny Medical College and Hospital Ltd, Destiny Developers Ltd, Configure Engineers and Construction Co Ltd, Configure Housing Ltd, Destiny Express Ltd, Destiny Tea Limited, Destiny Security Force Ltd, Destiny Agro Industries Ltd, Best Air Ltd, Destiny Air systems Ltd, Destiny Nihaj Jute Spinners Ltd, Destiny Builders Ltd, Destiny Consumers Products Ltd, Destiny Environment Savings Energy Ltd, Destiny Media & Publications Ltd, Destiny Puki Printers Ltd, Destiny SAASCO Properties Ltd, Destiny Transit System Ltd, and Alpana Chayachitra Ltd. The ACC probe team has found that 19 Destiny top executives collected Tk2,433 crore during March 21, 2006 to February 17, 2009 by selling over six crore trees to 17.5 lakh investors under its tree plantation project and embezzled Tk2,257crore from it. However, a spot visit made by the ACC found the existence of only 32.5 lakh trees, officials added. The ACC on July 31, 2012 filed the cases under the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2004 and 2012 with Kalabagan police against 22 executives of Destiny 2000 Ltd accusing them of embezzling around Tk3,285 crore. After filing of the cases, the commission arrested eight of the accused including Harun and Rafiqul. The former army chief later secured bail from the High Court. Rafiqul and the group’s directors Mohammad Hossain, Didarul Alam and Ziaul Haque Mollah are now in jail. Three other directors Akbar Hossain Sumon, Safiul Islam and Shirin Akter have been absconding after getting bail from a lower court. The High Court later cancelled the bail orders. l
Monday, May 5, 2014
RIVER OF POISON
Workers clean bags of industrial chemicals for their reuse contaminating river water and posing serious threat to human health. This picture was taken yesterday from Ashulia point of the Turag River SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN
Al-Badr leader Mir Kashem’s verdict any day n Udisa Islam
After hearing closing arguments by both prosecution and defence, the International Crimes Tribunal yesterday kept the Mir Kashem Ali case waiting for verdict. The Jamaat-e-Islami Executive Council member faces 14 charges of crimes against humanity he had allegedly committed in Chittagong in 1971. Kashem, 61, also treasurer and key financier of Jamaat, is charged for involvement in murder, torture, abduction and confinement of people during the Liberation War. According to the prosecution, the accused was general secretary of Chittagong City unit Islami Chhatra Sangha – then Jamaat’s student wing, and a commander of notorious armed force al-Badr – formed with the members of Chhatra Sangha to collaborate with the Pakistani occupation forces. He allegedly led the torture and killings of pro-liberation people at Daleem Hotel at Andorkilla of the port city. During the arguments, the prosecution demanded capital punishment for the accused, known as “Bangalee Khan,” as the evidence and witness statements had established the crimes.
On the other hand, the defence of Kashem claimed that the prosecution had failed to prove their “false charges.” They also refuted the allegation that the accused had been the commander of the auxiliary force. After the end of trial, defence counsel Tajul Islam claimed that his client had not been present at the places of occurrence, Daleem Hotel and Chittagong, since November 1971. During the rebuttal yesterday, prosecutor Tureen Afroz told the tribunal that joint criminal enterprise and criminal responsibility were not charges, as the defence has tried to claim, but liabilities. “The defence tried to find some loophole in the prosecution’s case. But that cannot spare the accused from the charges as we know cases are run by available witnesses and evidence.” After the hearing, the tribunal 2 led by Chairman Justice Obaidul Hassan ordered that the verdict in this case would be pronounced any day. The tribunal 1 took the charges against Kashem into cognisance on May 26 last year and indicted him on September 5 last year. Later the case was shifted to the other tribunal for quick disposal. Though senior defence
Khaleda calls for street demo to stop abduction, murder n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla Alleging that the country has turned into a death valley, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday urged the political parties, civil society members, professional bodies and business men to take to the streets to stop killings, abductions and forced disappearances. “Not only Narayanganj, the entire country today has become a death valley. There is no scope of seeing someone as big or small. We all are equal. We have to take to the streets to bring back democracy to the country,” she said. BNP Dhaka city unit organised a fasting programme at the National Press Club in the capital yesterday protesting the killing, abduction and forced disappearances and filing of false cases against Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman. Khaleda joined the programme around 4:30pm and expressed “solidarity”. Only a few senior leaders and some supporters of the party gathered at the venue when the programme began at 9am. Around 12:45pm, only standing committee members RA Gani, Jamiruddin Sircar and Abdul Moyeen Khan and the party’s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir were present on the stage; the other leaders by then had left the place. However, after 2pm, leaders and activists again thronged the venue. By the time Khaleda Zia arrived, the place was full of BNP leaders and activists. Although it was a hunger strike, vendors could be seen ferrying snacks, cucumbers, water bottles, groundnuts, cigarettes and other food items. Activists could be seen eating outside the venue. Khaleda said the government had been involved in all sorts of illegal activities and that it had no control on anything. “No one is listening to anyone.
No one is obeying anyone.” Talking on the abduction of seven people in Narayanganj, the former premier asked the government to inform people about those involved with the crime and why action had not been taken against the criminals. “The government did not take any action against the killers because they belong to the ruling party,” she alleged. Regarding law enforcers’ raid to the residence of accused Noor Hossain, Khaleda said: “Noor Hossain is a criminal. Why did then police raid his house seven days after the incident? This illegitimate Awami League government must answer where he is. People want
to see him behind bars.” Referring to a national daily, Khaleda said a special force was involved with the killings and abductions. Narrating a “gloomy picture” of the law and order situation, the BNP chief said the country had been weeping and the government’s hands were stained in blood. “The longer the illegitimate killer government remains in office, the more blood will be shed.” Khaleda said if meetings and processions did not work, then a tough movement would be waged to compel the government to meet the demand for an election under non-partisan interim government.
“So, do not compel us to wage any tough movement. Take initiative and hold elections under a non-partisan government,” she warned. The former prime minister alleged that RAB had been exploited for partisan interests and its image had been tarnished. The elite crime busting force was formed in 2004 when the BNP was in power. Asking the government to abandon HM Ershad, Khaleda said: “Ershad killed Monjur and Ziaur Rahman. He has to face trial.” After her speech, Khaleda broke the fasting of Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir by giving him water to drink. l
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia offers a glass of juice to party acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir to end the party’s hunger strike programme called protesting the recent abduction and killing in Narayanganj MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
counsel Abdur Razzaq was involved in this case earlier, he was not present in the last part as he is out of the country. Kashem was arrested from the daily Naya Diganta office in the capital on June 17 last year. Two other cases are awaiting verdict at the tribunal 1 – one against Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami and the other of Zahidul Islam Khokon alias Khokon Razakar. According to the defence documents, Kashem is the chairman of Keari Ltd, a real estate and tourism company, chairman of the managing committee of Diganta Media Corporations that runs Diganta TV and the daily Naya Diganta. He is also a founding member of Ibn Sina Trust, member secretary of Islami Bank Foundation and a founding member of Islami Bank. According to the government, it has evidence that Kashem paid a US lobbyist firm $25m to negate the war crimes trials. In their legal argument, the defence claimed that the prosecution had failed to prove any charges against the accused of commanding authority. They argued that only military personnel could command in a war situation. The tribunal then told the defence
counsel that precedence of a civilian having the responsibility of a commander had been established in the verdicts against war criminals Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed. The defence also argued that someone without an administrative post can not be responsible for the allegations of superior command responsibility. Kashem is charged with the abduction, confinement and torture of many pro-liberation people including Omarul-Islam Chowdhury, Lutfar Rahman Faruk, Jahangir Alam Chowdhury, Saifuddin Khan, Abdul Jabbar Member, Sanaullah Chowdhury, Nurul Kuddus, Zakaria, Sunil Kanti Bardhan and Nasiruddin Chowdhury. According to the prosecution, Kashem also set up makeshift camps at different places of the port city where people had been tortured for assisting the freedom fighters. Other allegations against him include involvement in mass killings in Asadnagar and Panchlaish areas. The same tribunal yesterday recorded the testimony of the 10th prosecution witness in the case against war crimes accused Syed Mohammad Qaisar. The witness gave deposition on camera. l
Tofail lashes out at US n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday came down heavily on the US for not restoring GSP facility to Bangladesh. “The US has scrapped Bangladesh’s GSP facility for nothing and it was done solely for political reason. There is no other reason,” the minister said while addressing a conference in the capital. “GSP facility was given to Sub-Saharan countries in Africa but was suspended for Bangladesh. In fact, they are not giving us GSP, so forget it,” he said. Bangladesh exports products worth $5.3 billion to the US but GSP covered only $30 million of that amount, Tofail said, adding that there was hue and cry over the issue in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is enjoying GSP facility in many countries and regions including the European Union, Japan, Canada and Australia, he said. Tofail said he attended a programme on Rana Plaza collapse at Canadian High Commission on April 24 where a film on the disaster was supposed to be screened. “I asked the organisers whether they show movies on accidents occurring in their countries. When I raised the question, they refrained from screening the film,” he said. “The Rana Plaza disaster was widely reported in the media all over the world but there was no picture of the accident at a Texas fertiliser factory in which hundreds of people were killed. Has anybody seen any picture of the dis-
aster?” the minister asked. Tofail said according to the International Labour Organisation, thousands of people died in industrial accidents in China. “But nobody talks about that,” he observed. Citing The Economist, Tofail said 200 people die in China in industrial accidents every day. The minister said the government received letter from US Senator Robert Menendez in which he alleged that workers were abused. “At present, however, we have an absolutely peaceful atmosphere in the country’s industrial sector,” he said. Speaking of Bangladesh-India trade ties, Tofail said there should be no barrier in the name of tariff, non-tariff and para-tariff. “India should come forward with a big heart to help its neighbours because it is the biggest member of Saarc,” he said. Infrastructural bottleneck, inadequate Customs facility, non-tariff barriers and cumbersome procedures and documentations are the major trade barriers between the two countries, said Tofail. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Website: www.dhakatribune.com
B3 Britain installs first gridscale battery
B4 To risk or not to risk – that is the question
MONDAY, MAY 5, 2014 www.dhakatribune.com/business
Tau to invest $200m in textile sector
USTR may warrant another progress n Tahmidur Rahman report on Action Tau Investment Management, a New York-based growth-equity venture inPlan by mid-July vestment firm, has launched a venture worth $200m in Bangladesh. n Asif Showkat Kallol The venture named as Tau BanglaThe US authorities would ask for another review on the implementation of the Action Plan by mid-July, official sources said. They might want the progress report on the 16-point plan imposed as a condition to regain the GSP they suspended for Bangladeshi exportable items due to poor working conditions in the factories of Bangladesh. It would be the second such review after the government submitted the first one to the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) on April 15, said a senior official of the commerce ministry. He said the USTR is not satisfied with the progress of the minimum wage and allowing trade unionism in the country’s Export Processing Zones. At the meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed last month, officials said, the USTR delegation raised their reservation about the minimum wage of $69 per month, which they argued much lower than $114 in most of the countries. They also alleged that the trade unionism has not been allowed yet in the EPZs. Workers in the EPZs have partial trade union privileges as the government has not extended Industrial Relations Act 2010, which restricted demonstration rights. With the law having expired on December 31 last year, the government has since allowed EPZ workers to go on strike as part of its steps to meet the conditions outlined by the US authorities for reinstating GSP facilities to Bangladesh. “If necessary, we’ll send another progress report to the USTR,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune. The USTR delegation, headed by Michael J Delaney, after the first Ticfa meeting highlighted two areas where the country needs to act fast – implementation of the amended labour laws and completion of factory inspections. The legal authorisation for the GSP programme expired on July 31 last year and the US Congress is considering a legislation to extend the authorisation beyond that date, according to the USTR. As long as the GSP programme remains with no authorisation, there will be no public hearing and no request for public comments for the ongoing GSP country and product reviews and no final disposition of these reviews. On June 27 last year, US President Barack Obama announced his decision to suspend Bangladesh’s trade benefits under the GSP due to insufficient progress by the Bangladesh in affording workers’ internationally recognised rights. l
desh will buy minority ownership of the large textile companies in the country. A launching ceremony was organised at a hotel in the capital yesterday. The fund to be injected is aimed at improving the value-chain of the companies through upgrading and de-risking supply chain. Further, the venture intends to make the companies international standards in terms of being socially responsible and compliant. “We are investing to help build few companies to become stronger strategic suppliers due to which incremental revenue are expected to be generated,” said Oliver Niedermaier, CEO of Tau Investment. He, however, expressed his concern that in the near future the number of companies within the industry may fall. To a question of president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Md Atiqul Islam on what can be done to help out the medium and small factory owners, the CEO replied the fund is flexible and they may review their strategy for making some investments in the medium size companies as well. The fund $200m is a portion of a billion dollar fund seeking to change the global supply chain. The fund named Tau Transformation Fund will target textile and appar-
The Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) placed 117 proposals for the government’s consideration in the next fiscal year’s budget. The proposals include, among others, cancellation of 5% tax at source during opening of letter of credit and withdrawal of additional tax on public transports. CCCI president Mahabubul Alam presented the proposals at a meeting with Chairman of National Board of Revenue Ghulam Hossain Sunday in the port city. Mahabubul Alam also urged the government to take steps towards protecting local industries. He said guidelines are necessary to develop infrastructures like setting up special zones at Anwara and Mirsharai in Chittagong. Works of building deep sea port should also be expedited and gas crisis needs to be resolved in Chittagong region. In his speech, NBR chief said: “The next budget will be business, industry and consumers friendly. The roadmap of the government for next five years will be reflected in the budget.” He said the size of the budget
el manufacturers in emerging markets. “We are ready to invest $20m to $50m in a few garment makers that will generate over $100m annual sales and make the companies avail world-class expertise along with access to low-cost financing sources in order to create increased profitability,” said Oliver to the Dhaka Tribune on the sidelines. Tofail bashes US for continuing GSP suspension
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed urged the United States to cut tariff on Bangladeshi RMG exports at the event referring to high tariff of over 16% that the country has been paying to US. He said the high tariff is preventing Bangladesh apparel from being competitive in the US market while being as one of the least developed countries, Bangladesh was supposed to enjoy zero-tariff benefit from the US.
“We will welcome a free market in the US just as we welcome this wonderful initiative of Tau Investment in Bangladesh.” On a similar note, Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman welcomed the initiative that has a similar agenda of the central bank as well. Jon Danilowicz, deputy chief of mission, US embassy in Bangladesh also spoke at the function. l
Accord to respond after consultation with lawyer n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh would consult with their lawyer before giving any response as they received the legal notice served by Softex Cotton Limited (Unit-2) challenging their instruction to shut down its factory. “I’ve just received the notice this afternoon. I need to consult with a lawyer to understand,” Rob Wayss, executive director of Accord (Bangladesh Operation),” told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. He said the answer to the notice would be given after having detail consultations with an attorney. Softex served a legal notice to Accord on Wednesday demanding compensation worth US$100 million against the damage the factory would have incurred since shutting down the factory on March 6. The legal notice claimed the factory inspection has not been done through following due process. According to BGMEA, 19 factories have so far faced production suspension as recommended by the Accord and Alliance. The factory closure left jobs of 14,325 workers at stake. The Accord has been asked for seeking an unconditional apology personally and publicly in all media that has reported the shutdown of the factory and demanded $100 million for causing losses of business reputation and damages to the business. B3 COLUMN 4
Fresh foreign funds hit new high at DSE
CPD: Stimulating investment biggest challenge to budget
n Kayes Sohel
n Tribune Report
Foreign investment on equities in the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) recorded new high in April this year as compared to the last couple of years. Net investment by foreign investors in the last month stood at Tk572 crore, a jump of almost 500% over the previous month, according to the DSE. Lower valuation level of equities, future corporate earnings growth projections and stable currency rate are among the reasons for attracting foreign portfolio investment, analysts said yesterday. Foreign investors bought shares worth Tk876 crore and sold stocks worth Tk304 crore last month, DSE data showed. However, foreign investment in the stock market makes up only 1% of the total DSE investment, which is lowest
CCCI wants no source tax on LC opening n Tushar Hayat, Chittagong
CEO of Tau Investment Management, Oliver Niedermaier seen speaking at the launching ceremony of Tau Bangladesh at a city hotel in the capital yesterday TAHMIDUR RAHMAN
SOFTEX LEGAL NOTICE
would be of Tk250,000 crore, almost double the current fiscal’s budget. NBR chief said the expected growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be targeted at 7.3% in the next fiscal budget. The revenue income will have to be increased to Tk1,49,000 crore to meet the target, said Ghulam Hossain. NBR chief said collection of tax revenue would also have to be doubled. Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, a former first vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, and CCCI directors Mahfuzul Hoque Shah and Mahbubul Hoque Chowdhury also addressed the meeting. among others. Nasir Uddin Chowdhury said: “We hear about business and industry friendly budgets every year, but see no reflection of that announcement in the budget.” “A total of 111 recommendations were placed from the chamber last year. But only six of them were included in the budget,” Nasir Chowdhury said. He said those six recommendations were also placed by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). l
in the South Asia region. “The market is now under declining trend, making prices of many scrips undervalued. Foreign fund managers took position afresh,” said an analyst at a leading brokerage firm. The figures for net portfolio investment may rise further in coming days as the market is best for the foreign investors because of its lower prices, he said. “Stable local currency against the greenback and substantial reserve in the central bank has given impetus in their confidence.” Financials were the foreign investors’ preferred sector, but power and energy, pharmaceuticals, multinationals, telecoms and IT also received their attention. Managing Director of Union Capital Akter H Sannamat said currently the market is more or less at the bottom B3 COLUMN 5
Measures to boost stagnant investment will be the biggest challenge amid growing concerns over prevailing insecurity of individuals and property in the country, Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said yesterday. It said investment that remained sluggish over the years is yet to pick up after the election due to unfavorable business environment, as the economy moved from the phase of political unrest to the phase of political uncertainty. The local research think tank made the observations at a press briefing on budget recommendations for fiscal 2014-15 in Dhaka. “Individual security is now under threat, further affecting already stagnant investment,” said CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya,
Centre for Policy Dialogue holds a press conference on budget recomendations in Dhaka yesterday NASHIRUL ISLAM pointing fingers at the recently surging abduction incidents in the country. “Under such situation, there are possible chances for capital flights, creating difficulties in the budget
Ruposhi Bangla renovation proposal to be sent back to PM n Muhammad Zahidul Islam The proposal for the renovation work of the state-owned five-star hotel Ruposhi Bangla is going to be resent to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for getting her final nod as Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon has so far failed to reach any decision. Meanwhile, management of Ruposhi Bangla has rescheduled its decision to keep the hotel closed from September’14 to December’15 as per its plan for massive renovation work before rebranding it under the InterContinental Hotels chain. But, the hotel employees, who are dead against the total closure of the hotel, have requested the hotel management to renovate the hotel partially, the way it was renovated twice previously. We need to consider employees demand and at the same time we should also think about an agreement signed two years back with InterContinental, which is a world renowned chain. Under such a circumstance, we have decided to place the matter to the Prime Minister, seeking her decision, Rashed Khan Menon told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday over phone. James McDonald, general manager of Ruposhi Bangla hotel yesterday said, “The management has announced that there will be no more reservation from the first day of September, 2014 and is scheduled to be reopened after total rebranding in January 2016.
“Currently Dhaka is the hot spot and we are very confident about our business,” James McDonald told the Dhaka Tribune. He, however, said there had been no chance to shift the renovation date once again as the management would go for inviting tender this month and immediately after the final evaluation, the contactor would start renovation work from September. Earlier, Bangladesh Services Limited, management of the Ruposhi Bangla hotel, signed a deal with the InterContinental on February 2012 for 30 years with a scope to extend it for another five years. According to the deal, BSL needs to renovate the hotel rooms and the work should start form July 2013. But later on, the renovation work was shifted to May 2014 and it is now rescheduled for September 2014. On the other hand, Ruposhi Bangla Hotel Sramik O Karmachari Union claims that it is nothing but a conspiracy to shift the working date and also a strategy to grab this vested property. “We are not against the renovation work but we don’t want such a work, which is harmful for us. The renovation work could be done partly, which were done twice in this hotel earlier,” Md Shafiuddin, president of the workers’ union,
told the Dhaka Tribune. He also said, “BSL also decided to renovate Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka Hotel partially, so, why Ruposhi Bangla needs to be shut down for renovation work.” Md Shafiuddin wants the prime minister’s interference into this matter. But McDonald, a representative of the world’s largest hotel chain InterContinental Hotels Group, said partial renovation was “simply impossible.” “We need to change every pipe, every cable, every toilet [fitting] and every bathtub to turn this hotel into a world-class one. It is impossible to offer the service and carry out the renovation work at the same time,” he said. He added: “The employees will be paid their basic salaries and other benefits during the renovation period. So, there is no fear of job cuts.” An official informed that the hotel had earned Tk125 crore in revenues in B3 COLUMN 1
financing,” he said. The wheels of existing industries restarted after post-poll period because of seemingly easiness in the political field, B3 COLUMN 2
Two RMG units asked to evacuate floors n Tribune Report The review panel on fire and building safety has asked evacuation of two readymade garment units due to over load on floors. The Accord inspections found excessive load during in the buildings located at Mirpur, Dhaka. The units belong to MAM Garments and Civics Fashion – they are housed in the same building having six floors. The review panel asked the factory owners to evacuate two units for reducing loads, a member of the panel, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. The review panel is comprised of representatives from the government, the Accord, the Alliance, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association. l
Stock DSE GAINERS
Stocks begin week with damping mood
DSE key features May 4, 2014
n Tribune Report
Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)
Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)
Number of Contract
mark index collapsed further after last week’s heavy fall with drying up turnover value as investors’ sentiment is trembling over mixed corporate declaration of stocks. Moreover, Bangladesh Bank’s imposition of limit on banks’ exposure in capital market kept weighing on market sentiment on fear of heavy selling pressure in market, it said. IDLC Investments said poor earnings shook investors’ sentiment severely during the session. It also said the condensed panic of further fall followed the negative tone. Zenith Investments said intensifying selling pressure tipped the market from its brink, as participation from traders especially the foreign investors remained downbeat. “Large cap scrips like the multi-national companies and other large stocks have slowed their pace, as the declared earnings are yet to take effect and the upcoming earnings are still integrated in the minds of investors.” News of corporate declarations and quarterly earnings came out with mixed performance with Agni System, MI Cement and Central Pharmaceuticals posting 43%, 5.6%and 190% growth in quarterly earnings respectively. l
Stocks fell sharply yesterday, continuing losing streak for the third straight session with the benchmark index DSEX sinking five-week low. Continuous decline in indices and poor earnings results have also put damper on investors’ mood, analysts say. The benchmark index DSEX lost 62 points or 1.4% to close at 4504 –its highest fall since March 30 this year. Shariah Index DSES was down 12 points or 1.2% to 1006.The bluechip comprising DS30 dropped 26 points to 1646. Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, closed at 8669, shedding 102 points. Trading activities declined significantly with DSE turnover slipping half a month low to Tk329 crore, going down by over 24% than that of the previous session. All the major sectors closed in red with telecommunication declining highest 2.3%, followed by food and allied 1.7%, pharmaceuticals 1.6% and power 0.84% respectively. The banking sector, market bellweather, also took a jolt with a drop of 1.7%. Lanka Bangla Securities, in its daily market analysis, said bench-
Turnover (Million Taka) Turnover (Volume)
Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)
Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)
Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)
CSE key features May 4, 2014 Turnover (Million Taka)
Daily capital market highlights
Number of Contract
DSE Broad Index :
DSE Shariah Index :
Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)
DSE - 30 Index :
Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)
CSE All Share Index:
Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)
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Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)
Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)
CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS
The Ibn SinaA Tallu Spinning -A Golden Harvest Agro-N MeghnaCement -A Singer BD -A Libra Infusions-A Monno Stafllers -A PragatiLife Insu. -A
-13.27 -9.73 -9.55 -8.85 -8.72 -8.53 -7.88 -7.85
Average (% change) -13.80 -9.49 -8.78 -10.40 -7.91 -7.18 -6.28 -5.68
City G Insu.-A Jute SpinnersA
Closing (% change)
CSE LOSERS Company MeghnaCement -A The Ibn SinaA Golden Harvest Agro-N Midas Financing-Z Safko Spinning-A Anlima Yarn -A Tallu Spinning -A City G Insu.-A
Singer BD -A Power Grid Co. -A
-14.46 -12.90 -9.86 -9.80 -9.50 -8.94 -8.45 -8.10
Average (% change) -13.84 -13.42 -6.22 -9.80 -7.71 -9.15 -7.80 -8.74
Closing (% change)
Bank NBFI Investment Engineering Food & Allied Fuel & Power Jute Textile Pharma & Chemical Paper & Packaging Service Leather Ceramic Cement Information Technology General Insurance Life Insurance Telecom Travel & Leisure Miscellaneous Debenture
DSE Million Taka 364.53 131.13 84.63 369.58 208.17 463.37 1.19 266.01 518.34 0.72 88.17 45.40 20.86 290.14 39.38 25.50 52.07 191.75 51.58 86.45 0.52
Turnover in million
102.56 27.09 30.74 109.79 197.44 398.42 317.24 174.47
102.00 26.90 30.30 110.20 196.70 392.40 318.00 172.60
106.90 29.00 33.00 116.30 200.00 415.00 322.20 194.90
100.80 26.90 30.20 100.00 196.70 391.60 315.00 171.20
7.169 19.326 8.198 10.907 87.328 4.542 0.460 8.113
4.48 3.60 1.62 6.29 6.23 4.20 5.25 2.38
22.9 7.5 19.0 17.5 31.7 94.9 60.4 73.3
Turnover in million
Legacy Footwear -A In Tech Online -A Hakkani P& Paper -B Miracle Industries -B Golden Son -A Kohinoor Chem -A Orion Infusions -A Matin Spinning-N B I F C -A Monno Ceramic -B
110.00 100.60 31.10 22.10 20.00 21.40 27.10 19.30
110.00 101.90 33.00 22.10 22.10 21.50 28.70 20.30
110.00 100.00 31.10 22.10 20.00 21.20 27.00 19.00
0.022 0.433 1.797 0.022 0.041 0.064 0.726 0.128
6.29 4.48 1.62 -5.96 1.04 0.80 3.60 1.73
17.5 22.5 19.3 -ve 19.6 26.7 7.6 11.2
Large cap scrips like the multi-national companies and other large stocks have slowed their pace, as the declared earnings are yet to take effect and the upcoming earnings are still integrated in the minds of investors
% change 11.05 3.97 2.57 11.20 6.31 14.04 0.04 8.06 15.71 0.02 2.67 1.38 0.63 8.79 1.19 0.77 1.58 5.81 1.56 2.62 0.02
Million Taka 28.21 8.29 2.88 32.24 11.92 23.24 31.90 25.48 8.22 5.97 10.34 1.89 17.28 3.29 2.07 2.21 19.80 10.72 11.59 0.01
% change 10.95 3.22 1.12 12.52 4.63 9.02 0.00 12.39 9.89 3.19 2.32 4.02 0.73 6.71 1.28 0.80 0.86 7.69 4.16 4.50 0.00
Million Taka 392.74 139.41 87.52 401.82 220.09 486.61 1.19 297.91 543.82 8.94 94.14 55.74 22.75 307.42 42.67 27.57 54.28 211.55 62.30 98.04 0.53
15.97 8.66 7.69 7.32 6.99 5.83 5.53 5.23 5.22 4.90
CSE GAINERS Company Legacy Footwear -A In Tech Online -A Hakkani P& Paper -B Golden Son -A Orion Infusions -A Anwar Galvanizing-B Eastland Insur -A Samata LeatheR -Z Standard Insurance-A GQ Ball PenA
Closing (% change) 15.97 11.02 8.95 8.63 8.52 7.44 7.42 7.02 6.38 5.66
Average (% change) 16.33 8.43 5.24 7.88 7.61 5.28 8.51 4.95 3.27 4.07 Average (% change) 15.31 10.51 8.73 9.52 8.36 7.70 7.31 11.77 6.32 5.71
Closing average 27.42 14.02 27.54 17.66 55.18 384.04 48.82 43.48 13.90 29.93
Closing average 27.27 14.20 28.02 55.45 48.36 26.01 41.96 32.00 36.65 143.73
Closing 27.60 13.80 28.00 17.60 55.10 384.90 47.70 44.30 14.10 30.00
Closing 27.60 14.10 28.00 55.40 48.40 26.00 42.00 32.00 36.70 143.70
Daily high 31.00 14.50 28.60 18.00 57.00 385.00 49.70 44.90 14.20 30.60
Daily high 28.90 14.50 28.20 56.80 49.00 26.20 42.00 32.00 36.80 147.00
Daily low 25.00 11.00 26.50 17.00 50.00 340.00 47.00 41.80 13.00 29.30
Daily low 23.00 14.00 27.90 45.00 47.00 25.90 41.90 32.00 36.50 132.10
Turnover in million 3.756 3.537 0.716 2.798 118.362 24.512 88.244 96.650 0.894 0.609
Turnover in million 1.241 0.199 0.084 8.389 2.988 0.208 0.890 0.064 0.037 0.129
Latest EPS 0.36 0.04 0.28 0.22 3.35 9.37 4.81 4.55 0.68 0.28
Latest EPS 0.36 0.04 0.28 3.35 4.81 0.02 3.71 -0.04 3.05 3.23
Latest PE 76.2 350.5 98.4 80.3 16.5 41.0 10.1 9.6 20.4 106.9
Latest PE 75.8 355.0 100.1 16.6 10.1 1300.5 11.3 -ve 12.0 44.5
News from trade server GOLDENSON: 25% stock, EGM and AGM: 21.06.2014, Record Date: 15.05.2014. EPS of Tk. 3.13, NAV per share of Tk. 31.36. MERCINS: 10% cash, dividend for the Public Shareholders (B-Group) only, AGM: 16.06.2014, Record Date: 15.05.2014. EPS of Tk. 1.29, NAV per share of Tk. 15.79. CMCKAMAL: 12.50% stock, AGM: 30.06.2014. Record Date: 29.05.2014. EPS of Tk. 1.30, NAV per share of Tk. 20.56. RUPALIBANK: 15% stock, AGM: 31.05.2014, Record date: 14.05.2014. EPS of Tk. 2.49, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 65.44. LEGACYFOOT: 5% stock, AGM: 21.06.2014, Record Date: 12.05.2014. EPS of Tk. 0.65, NAV per share of Tk. 18.32. BDTHAI: 5% stock, AGM: 21.06.2014, Record Date: 25.05.2014. EPS of Tk. (0.13), NAV per share of Tk. 37.76. MEGHNACEM: 15% cash, AGM: 29.05.2014, Record Date: 14.05.2014. EPS of Tk. 5.23, NAV per share of Tk. 36.54. MONNOSTAF: 10% cash, AGM: 26.06.2014, Record Date: 19.05.2014. EPS of Tk. 4.15, NAV per share of Tk. 47.93.
DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Meghna Petroleum -A Grameenphone-A HeidelbergCement -A Olympic Ind. -A Golden Son -A Square Pharma -A LafargeS Cement-Z
Closing (% change)
INTECH: 10% stock, AGM: 23.06.2014, Record Date: 15.05.2014. NAV of Tk. 213.89 million, EPS of Tk. 1.02. Unaudited Financials: DAFODILCOM: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 25.28 million with EPS of Tk. 0.51 against Tk. 29.41 million and Tk. 0.59 respectively. PRIMETEX: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 32.38 million with EPS of Tk. 0.85 against Tk. 28.17 million and Tk. 0.74 respectively. FUWANGCER: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 30.89 million with EPS of Tk. 0.37 against Tk. 44.29 million and Tk. 0.52 respectively. TALLUSPIN: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 158.09 million with EPS of Tk. 1.95 against Tk. 77.44 million and Tk. 0.95 respectively. BDAUTOCA: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 0.23 million with EPS of Tk. 0.06 against Tk. (1.96) million and Tk. (0.54) respectively. SHYAMPSUG: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. (230.09) million with EPS of Tk. (46.02) against Tk. (148.74) million and Tk. (29.75) respectively. Accumulated profit/(loss) of the Company was Tk. (2,250.49) million as on 31.03.2014 resulting total shareholders' equity stands at Tk. (2,200.49) million. POWERGRID: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 735.92
million with EPS of Tk. 1.60 against Tk. 837.68 million and Tk. 1.82 respectively. GHAIL: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 94.95 million with consolidated EPS of Tk. 1.16 against Tk. 143.69 million and Tk. 1.75 (restated) respectively. ANWARGALV: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 2.62 million with EPS of Tk. 0.20 against Tk. 3.22 million and Tk. 0.24 respectively. UNITEDAIR: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 328.39 million with EPS of Tk. 0.58 against Tk. 892.31 million and Tk. 1.57 (restated) respectively. EXIM1STMF: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 53.04 million with earnings per unit of Tk. 0.53. FBFIF: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 232.08 million with earnings per unit of Tk. 0.42 against Tk. 305.90 million and Tk. 0.55 respectively. ABB1STMF: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 65.94 million with earnings per unit of Tk. 0.41 against Tk. 76.32 million and Tk. 0.47 respectively. EBLNRBMF: (Q3): NPAT= Tk. 57.39 million with earnings per unit of Tk. 0.35 against Tk. 58.17 million and Tk. 0.36 respectively.
110.00 100.60 31.20 22.10 20.35 21.35 27.30 19.43
SECTORAL TURNOVER SUMMARY Sector
Monday, May 5, 2014
% change 11.04 3.92 2.46 11.30 6.19 13.68 0.03 8.38 15.29 0.25 2.65 1.57 0.64 8.64 1.20 0.78 1.53 5.95 1.75 2.76 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01552153562 or go to www.biasl.net
Matin Spinning-N Orion Infusions -A Padma Oil Co. -A
Singer BD -A Eastern Housing -A Renata Ltd. -A Central Pharm-A Southeast Bank-A CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Matin Spinning-N
BD Submarine Cable-A UNITED AIR-A LafargeS Cement-Z Singer BD -A Golden Son -A Grameenphone-A BSC-A Square Pharma -A Meghna Petroleum -A National Bank - B Eastern Housing -A Padma Oil Co. -A HeidelbergCement -A Southeast Bank-A
Volume shares 590,252 563,764 236,530 562,337 2,145,052 349,878 1,391,500 2,222,800 1,807,400 254,240
442,300 1,419,578 53,169 1,547,880 2,642,030
400,800 65,775 925,584 146,000 46,400 151,269 30,200 12,640 26,350 24,000 469,877 92,475 15,830 9,100 189,478
Value in million 175.91 149.56 136.98 134.55 118.36 98.24 96.81 96.65 88.24 88.19
87.33 85.97 64.27 62.06 57.02
Value in million
17.39 11.80 10.43 10.11 9.16 8.39 7.99 7.49 7.40 7.15 6.21 5.58 5.47 5.25 4.07
% of total turnover 5.33 4.53 4.15 4.08 3.59 2.98 2.93 2.93 2.67 2.67
2.65 2.61 1.95 1.88 1.73
% of total turnover
7.59 5.15 4.55 4.42 4.00 3.66 3.49 3.27 3.23 3.12 2.71 2.44 2.39 2.29 1.78
Daily closing 296.40 262.90 573.00 239.50 55.10 281.90 69.10 44.30 47.70 345.20
196.70 60.70 1198.20 40.10 21.50
44.10 178.00 11.30 69.10 197.80 55.40 263.60 583.75 281.70 296.00 13.20 60.20 345.00 573.30 21.50
Price change -1.36 -2.23 -2.90 -0.33 6.99 0.07 2.07 5.23 5.53 -0.35
Daily opening 300.50 268.90 590.10 240.30 51.50 281.70 67.70 42.10 45.20 346.40
-8.72 3.58 -3.37 3.35 -0.92
4.75 -1.49 -5.83 2.67 -7.83 8.63 -1.97 2.27 0.11 -1.20 0.00 3.08 -0.29 -2.73 -1.38
215.50 58.60 1240.00 38.80 21.70
42.10 180.70 12.00 67.30 214.60 51.00 268.90 570.80 281.40 299.60 13.20 58.40 346.00 589.40 21.80
Daily high 302.20 271.00 599.90 246.00 57.00 285.10 71.40 44.90 49.70 360.00
200.00 62.50 1250.00 41.00 22.00
Daily low 280.00 255.00 550.00 220.00 50.00 257.50 68.50 41.80 47.00 340.00
196.70 53.00 1165.00 36.10 19.60
Daily average 298.02 265.29 579.14 239.27 55.18 280.80 69.57 43.48 48.82 346.86
44.60 183.90 12.00 71.00 201.50 56.80 268.50 610.00 283.00 304.00 13.40 62.00 349.50 599.00 21.60
41.60 170.00 10.80 68.60 195.90 45.00 262.00 577.00 272.00 295.20 11.90 56.70 325.00 570.00 20.00
197.44 60.56 1208.86 40.09 21.58
43.39 179.48 11.27 69.28 197.36 55.45 264.71 592.62 280.70 298.00 13.21 60.39 345.84 577.28 21.50
Monday, May 5, 2014
Britain installs first grid-scale battery n Reuters, London Britain’s most ambitious smart grid project is being built on a housing estate in Leighton Buzzard, a rapidly growing commuter town north of London. UK Power Networks (UKPN), which owns and operates electricity cables and lines across southeast England, is installing a giant battery farm that will supply electricity to local users at peak times. Around 240 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries are being installed in a specially designed building raised 2 metres above the ground to protect it from flooding by the nearby river. And the battery room will be airconditioned to keep the batteries comfortable at a steady 23 degrees Celsius to extend their working life. The demonstration project, which is scheduled to begin operating in September, is jointly funded by UKPN and the Low Carbon Networks Fund, administered by the government’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. Once it is fully operational, Leighton Buzzard will have the capacity to discharge up to 10 megawatt-hours
Ruposhi Bangla renovation proposal to be resent to PM B1 COLUMN 5
2012 and made Tk46.5 crore profit out of it. James McDonald, however, is confident that they can get back the business when the hotel reopens after renovation and rebranding. The Bangladesh Services Limited will bear the renovation cost US$47m (around Tk366 core) partially from its own fund and the rest from bank loans. As per the new design, the hotel will decrease the number of guest rooms from 272 to 231 as the size of the rooms will be increased from 26 square metres to 40sq-m. InterContinental ran the iconic Dhaka hotel from 1966 to 1983. Sheraton took over its operation and management in 1983 for the next 25 years that ended in December 2008. The government had requested Sheraton to continue the operation until April 30, 2011 for the World Cup Cricket tournament. Starwood, the mother company of Sheraton, had given the BSL a conditional extension offer in 2009, but there was a disagreement between Starwood and the BSL authorities over the renovation cost and the fate of the employees. Eventually, the BSL took over the hotel’s operations, renaming it Ruposhi Bangla Hotel. Ruposhi Bangla had earned Tk94.50 crore revenue and made Tk19.15 crore net profits last year. l
(MWh) of power into the local distribution network at a rate of up to 6 megawatts (MW), enough for 6,000 homes. The aim is to test the technical and financial feasibility of using storage to reinforce the power grid and help meet peak loads as an alternative to the conventional approach of installing more substations and overhead power lines. Many analysts have written off electricity storage as expensive and impractical. But interest in storage is growing rapidly. California has instructed utilities to install or procure 1,300 MW of storage capacity by 2020 as part of the state’s plans to increase renewable generation and reduce emissions. Germany, Italy and China all have ambitious electricity storage plans. Remote island communities, where the alternative is running expensive diesel generators, are also prime candidates for schemes which integrate solar and wind with battery farms. Britain’s Scottish and Southern Energy has developed a scheme in the Shetland Islands off the north coast of Scotland to discharge 3 MW every day to help offset the evening peak. Other island communities in the
Azores, the Caribbean and the Pacific have also been identified as promising locations for integrated battery-andrenewables projects to cut blackouts and reduce reliance on diesel.
Unlike physical commodities such as oil, gas and coal, electricity cannot readily be stored, according to the traditional textbook account. The amount of power produced by generators must exactly match the amount demanded by customers on a second by second basis. For a century, the electric industry has met variable and unpredictable demand from users by aggregating them together in large networks (customers’ behaviour in aggregate is steadier and more predictable than individual users’) and keeping lots of spare generation and transmission capacity on hand to meet surges in demand. Generation followed demand. But the traditional model is being blown apart by the government’s ambitious targets to combat climate change by electrification and decarbonisation. Over the next 30 years, Britain will need vastly more genera-
tion and transmission capacity and the power supply will become much more variable and unpredictable. The government plans to replace gasoline and diesel-powered cars with electric vehicles and gas-fired home boilers with electric heaters which implies a six-fold increase in peak demand from the current 60,000 MW to as much as 370,000 MW by 2050. At the same time, government plans to decarbonise the system by increasing the amount generated from renewables like wind and solar imply much more variability in supply because they cannot be scheduled in the same way as coal and gas-fired power stations. Britain’s generation and transmission system is already stretched to meet the combined heating and lighting demand on winter evenings. Enormous amounts of spare generating and transmission capacity are held in reserve to meet peak demand on just 100 hours per year.
Load shift or store?
In future, as consumption grows and supply becomes more unpredictable, it will be even harder and more expensive to meet peak demand. Policymak-
CPD: Stimulating investment biggest challenge to budget B1 COLUMN 6
but uncertainty and uneasiness still hunted mid-term big investment, he said. “Fundamentally, the prevailing condition are unlikely to be removed until a participatory political process is not brought back for holding a credible election,” said CPD distinguished fellow. Terming the government’s sixth five-year plan for the development, he said the plan has become impractical to implement considering the existing economic reality. “Now, it is time to reevaluate the plan.” CPD Executive Director Prof Mustafizur Rahman said only incentives cannot accelerate investment growth, increase of qualitative and quantitative investment should be taken into account. “Building up institutional capacity and good governance is also pre-requisite to achieve the desired growth.” CPD Research Director Fahmid Khatun presented a paper on the budget proposals and said, along with economic factors, non-economic ones also play an equally critical role in contributing to socio-economic development of Bangladesh. “Traditional non-economic factors – weak implementation, oversight and reforms capacities – underpin social and political environment, indirectly affecting the macroeconomic performance,” she said. Besides traditional non-economic factors, new issues have emerged, she said, adding that new dimensions have been added by the continuation of democratic disquiet in the backdrop of
the recent non-participatory national elections. “This protracted political uncertainty is definitely undercutting investor confidence in the short if not medium term.” Highlighting present macroeconomic scenario, she said it is ‘disquieting’ and the looming uncertainties afflicting business and investment outlook has continued to persist with adverse implications for performance indicators. The key note paper noted that the next budget should go for supportive fiscal measures to create an enabling business environment towards enhanced production and higher investment. The CPD recommended giving special incentives for non-RMG exportoriented industries to improve their competitiveness in export market, allowing nationalised commercial banks to mobilise the required capital from the capital market by off-loading shares and increase of export development fund from the existing of Tk120 crore to support export-oriented industries. It said the government needs to come out with an effective exit plan for the quick rental plans. A total of 16 power plants with a total capacity of more than 1,400 megawatt were set to expire by 2015. It said annual development programme (ADP) allocation for the development of railway sector needs to be increased and the government may consider an upwards revision of the exemption limit for personal income tax to Tk300,000. About the corporate tax it said the
demand for business community for lowering the corporate tax rates on the grounds that it is high compared to other competing countries of Asia is not true. “The average corporate tax rate of Bangladesh is one of the lowest in South Asia.” The government should go for a number of reform measures targeting public sector enterprises and organisations to improve their operational efficiency and competitive practices, it said. “For example, the board of investment should be reorganised appropriately with a view to transform it into an effective investment promotion agency,” said Fahmida. CPD also proposed enhancing the profile and capacity of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) so that it can deploy modern processes and techniques while monitoring the implementation of development projects. l
Accord to respond after consultation with lawyer B1 COLUMN 6
The legal notice demanded payment of compensation and apology within a period of 7 days. “We have clear instruction to take appropriate legal action against you including filling civil and criminal proceedings in case of failing to meet the demands as per the legal notice.” l
ers and the industry are therefore considering how to adapt the traditional generation and distribution model. One option is to smooth out the peak in consumption and make demand more flexible by introducing smart meters and time of use tariffs. Every household in Britain will have a smart meter installed by 2020. Smart meters will measure the amount of electricity consumed in every halfhour period. In theory, once smart meters have been installed, suppliers could introduce higher tariffs for peak periods (generally 4 pm to 8 pm on winter evenings) to encourage customers to shift consumption to other times of day when demand is lower, which would make more efficient use of generation and transmission assets. The other main option is to introduce more storage on the network. Storage units would absorb excess power overnight and when wind and solar production is especially high, then discharge it at peak times, smoothing the demand profile. Britain already has some limited electricity storage in the form of pump-hydro. Dinorwig power station
in north Wales, which became fully operational in 1984, uses off-peak electricity to pump water to an upper storage reservoir. Electricity can then be supplied back to the grid by opening the sluices and allowing the water to drain back into the lower reservoir through six giant turbines. Dinorwig can produce up to 288 MW and reach maximum generation within 16 seconds, according to its operator First Hydro. First Hydro also owns and operates a smaller and older facility nearby at Ffestiniog which can deliver 90 MW to the grid in about 60 seconds. The problem with pump-storage is that it is enormously expensive and suitable sites are rare. Batteries are cheaper and can be scaled to any required size. Storage batteries can be installed at any scale - from an individual home to a street, or even directly onto the distribution and transmission networks at the substation level. But batteries are still more expensive than conventional network reinforcement. In general, distribution companies find it cheaper to install extra lines and substations to meet peak demand. l
Dollar higher in Asia before US jobs data n AFP, Tokyo The dollar strengthened in Asia on Friday as upbeat comments from the Federal Reserve and positive data supported the unit ahead of key US jobs figures later in the day. In midday Tokyo trading, the greenback fetched 102.36 yen against 102.30 yen in New York Thursday.
The euro slipped to $1.3858 and 141.84 yen compared with $1.3867 and 141.89 yen in US trade. Investors are hoping that Friday’s US employment data will confirm that the world’s biggest economy is rebounding after a near-stall in the first quarter. “The US monthly jobs report will be the key focus today and a healthy reading is expected,” Credit Agricole said. l
Fresh foreign funds hit new high at DSE B1 COLUMN 5
level and it would get a momentum, which encouraged foreign investors to inject funds in the stock market. A DSE
director said demutualisation of the stock exchanges might also have inspired the investors to bet on stocks as it ensures more transparency and accountability. l
FOREIGN INVESTORS AT DHAKA STOCK EXCHANGE Bought
Fresh fund injected
Dhaka Mercantile Co-operative Bank Ltd has opened its 101st branch on May 3. Member of parliament, Sheikh Afil Uddin and the company’s vice chairperson, captain (retd) Abu Zafar Chowdhury were present at the ceremony
MoneyGram Money Transfer, Official Money Transfer Partners of the “ICC T20 World Cup 2014 Bangladesh” recently conducted a promotional campaign for customers who received MoneyGram money transfer between January 15 and February 28. The City Bank’s deputy managing director and head of wholesale banking, Sheikh Mohammed Maroof handed over the prizes to the winners on April 30
Green Delta Insurance Company Limited won the second prize at the ICMAB Best Corporate Award 2013 in the non-life and general insurance category for their outstanding performance. The company’s managing director and CEO Farzana Chowdhury received the award from the Finance Minister AMA Muhith
NCC Bank Training Institute recently organised an orientation course for its newly recruited officers. The bank’s acting managing director, Golam attended the opening ceremony as chief guest
The prize giving ceremony of the photo contest named Symphony-Prothom Alo Catch The Moment was held recently. The phone maker’s head of marketing, Md Rafiq Uddin was present at the ceremony as chief guest
Agricultural Technology Fair and Online Fertilizer Recommendation System held its final workshop recently. Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury was present on the occasion as chief guest while William Hanna, ambassador of EU and head of delegation to Bangladesh and Md Kamal Uddin, executive chair of BARC was present as special guests
Monday, May 5, 2014
To risk or not to risk – that is the question n Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish Recently one of my entrepreneurial-minded friends received a lucrative job offer from an esteemed development organisation. I was delighted to learn about him considering it. What makes the news double thrilling is that the position in which he’s been accepted into is typically meant for people
with a greater experience – a background of seven to 10 years in a relevant field. Considering the context, it’s got to be a killer offer; not to mention, the perks associated with it. I leave the imagination up to you. Now, picture another setting. Few days back, I opened my inbox to find a short message from a former colleague. The message read: “Dear Ivdad, I re-
signed yesterday. The new journey begins!” My immediate reaction was beyond comprehension – unfettered happiness! And it’s incomprehensible because this reaction was not just of mere delight. For some reason, it meant so much more. It felt like someone just burst a series of balloons, and a whole lot of glitters started falling from the canopy to the rising
applause of a cheering audience. It just felt that much special. So, circling back, why is it that I found more joy in one news over the other? Why would someone’s foray into apparent misery ignite more flames of elation versus another’s step into a world more lavish? In a quiet moment of reflection, I believe to have stumbled upon the answer.
My personal journey of thriving in startup environments perhaps renders an inherent desire to see others embracing a similar lifestyle. A lifestyle where risk becomes your shadow, uncertainty turns into a friend, and a litany of sacrifices gets as familiar as the back of your hand. And yet, the smile on your face, the upbeat in your heart, and the zeal in your perseverance never fades. I suppose that’s what draws the line of demarcation between an entrepreneur and a nonentrepreneur. We all have our own loves, insecurities, strengths, drawbacks, and other unique abilities. However, often times we forget to take these critical factors into consideration when we decide on what route we want to take. Figuring out where our distinctive desires and talents intersect will lead to the right outcome, inexorably tilting our respective level of happiness. The power of this force is not fully appreciated, or applied, in the inner walls of our conscience, but there’s no denying that its value and radiance in the world around is proven. Life is all about choices. And just like that, start-up life is also a choice. You have to decide based on your interests, which life suits you better, and importantly, which life makes you happier. I have all the respect in the world for the people who chose a life outside entrepreneurship. As long as you are happy, nothing else matters. Life, as an entrepreneur to me, is absolutely rewarding. The very essence of trying to experiment with something of my own gives me a kick that is unparalleled. Ultimately, everyone needs to ask what ticks their wheels into motion. To me, the choice isn’t between success or failure. It’s between choosing risk and striving for immensity, or risking nothing and settling into mediocrity. Here’s wishing the very best to both of my comrades on their respective voyages! l Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish is the Managing Director at LightCastle Partners, an emerging market specialised business planning and intelligence firm. The article was originally published in the LightCastle blog (lightcastlebd.com/blog/).
France’s Hollande says recovery will lead to lower taxes n Reuters, Paris
French President Francois Hollande expects an economic recovery that will allow the government to lower taxes, a newspaper reported him as saying yesterday. “The reform effort is not over yet, but the economic recovery is arriving. This phase will lead to stronger growth, better competitiveness and a redistribution of purchasing power via lower taxes,” Journal du Dimanche quoted Hollande as saying. Hollande, elected for a five-year term in May 2012, said “we have entered the second phase of my term”. During the election campaign, Hollande pledged to focus in the early years of his mandate on restoring France’s finances before working to improve households’ purchasing power once a lower budget deficit was on track. On Tuesday, parliament approved a 50 billion euro deficit reduction plan that aims to cut France’s public deficit to the European Union’s ceiling of 3% of GDP by 2015. “What I have learned is that France matters when its accounts are in good shape,” the paper quoted Hollande saying. l
China’s April services growth quickens slightly, shows survey n Reuters, Beijing
Sales people wait for customers at booths selling mobile phones in Beijing
Growth in China’s services sector accelerated slightly in April as new orders held steady, an official survey showed, an encouraging sign of strength in an economy that otherwise faces a cloudy outlook. The purchasing manufacturing index (PMI) for the services industry edged up to 54.8 last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday, up marginally from 54.5 in March. A reading above 50 in PMI surveys indicates growth on a monthly basis, while a number below that threshold points to a contraction in activity. The mild improvement in the services sector, which mirrors a marginal gain in the official PMI survey of Chinese factories in April, should be welcomed by investors fretting about
the health of the world’s second-largest economy. But the pick-ups in the official PMI surveys for factories and services firms would not be enough to dispel concerns that China’s slowing growth engine might cool at a sharper pace faster in coming months.
A reading above 50 in PMI surveys indicates growth on a monthly basis For one thing, the manufacturing PMI - released yesterday - showed a sizable and worrying drop in export orders in April, suggesting that foreign demand for Chinese goods remains tepid. Saturday’s survey showed services firms in China fared better than facto-
ries in April, but not by much. Although new orders rose on a monthly basis, the pace of growth did not change from last month, leaving the sub-index flat at 50.8. Business confidence in the services industry also stayed unchanged at 61.5.
Steady growth since 2007
An expanding industry that is likely to continue accounting for over half of all jobs in China, the services sector has weathered the country’s economic cooldown better than manufacturing, even though growth has slackened. The official PMI survey has hovered above 50 every month since records started in January 2007, though growth still slumped to a five-year low in January, when the PMI dropped to 53.4. The Chinese growth engine has lost steam in the past year. It has been
squeezed by lacklustre foreign demand for Chinese exports and the government’s effort to cut its own investment in a bid to reshape the country’s maturing economy. Economic growth slipped to an 18-month low of 7.4% in the first three months of the year, and is forecast to also be 7.4% for 2014, compared with the government’s growth target of about 7.5%. To prove that China has the mettle to enact painful reforms, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has repeatedly said that his government would not loosen policy drastically to counter any shortterm dips in activity. And in a break from the past, the government has also turned its economic growth target into one that is flexible, saying it would be comfortable if actual expansion falls slightly short of what is envisioned. l
Iraq oil exports rebound but sales hit by attacks n AFP, Baghdad Iraq’s oil exports rebounded last month, government figures released yesterday showed, despite militant attacks that forced the authorities to stop pumping crude through northern pipelines bound for Turkey. The country exported more than 75 million barrels of oil in April, an average of over 2.5 million barrels per day, bringing in overall revenue of more than $7.5bn, a statement issued by the oil ministry said. All of those sales were made via export terminals in southern Iraq leading to the Gulf, the ministry said, because militant attacks forced the suspension of exports via northern pipelines to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Despite the northern unrest, however, average daily exports rebounded from March, when Iraq’s exports aver-
aged 2.4 million bpd. Iraq is heavily dependent on oil sales, which account for more than 90% of government revenue and more than two-thirds of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund. Efforts to diversify the country’s economy in recent years have stalled, and Baghdad has sought to dramatically ramp up oil exports in a bid to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, which has been badly damaged by decades of conflict and sanctions. Exports hit 2.8 million barrels per day in February, the highest figure in decades, with production above 3.5 million bpd. Despite the steady expansion of oil exports, however, many Iraqis complain that much of the windfall is lost to state corruption and that the proceeds have not markedly improved daily life.l
The aerial view shows discarded phone boxes of German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom in Michendorf near Berlin, eastern Germany. Around 3,000 boxes - the classical ones in yellow, the more recent ones in magenta - are stocked at the depot and are sold for a price between 300 and 400 euros each AFP