Boishakh 31, 1421 Rajab 14, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 2, No 44
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014 | www.dhakatribune.com | SECOND EDITION
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They receive mercy, they commit it again DU unit Chhatra League members face allegations of extortion repeatedly for lenient measures n Tribune Report On April 14, the activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League of Sir Salimullah Muslim Hall unit were extorting money from vehicles on Fuller Road on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh. When some university correspondents went to the spot and questioned them about their activities, they assaulted at least five journalists and left one critically injured. Following the incident, the university authorities identified 21 activists for their involvement in the attack and extortion, and handed six of them to the Shahbagh police station.
The DU authorities admit the rise in incidents of extortion and assure that they will deal with these matters ‘strictly, in the future’ They were released after two days and no case was filed. The university authorities also formed an investigation committee but it has not produced any report and therefore, the accused did not get any punishment. On February 13, Surya Sen Hall Chhatra League leader Arifur Rahman Leyon confined a first year student in room number 219 on the first floor for three days and tortured him, demanding money. The victim jumped out the window and asked some hall officials and students for help. Leyon also jumped out and dragged the student back into the room again. No one helped him. Regarding this, the hall authorities formed a three-member investigation
Huge deficit and borrowing may affect inflation n Asif Showkat Kallol The deficit figure in the upcoming budget may exceed Tk65,000crore, marking a rise of nearly 21%, Finance Ministry officials have said. Subsidy and loan interest payments and a massive Annual Development Programme (ADP) would not only widen the revenue and expenditure gap, but might also end up adding to the inflationary pressures, officials said. According to primary estimates of the Finance Ministry, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be deemed at Tk13,49,500crore, up Tk1,60,700 crore from the current fiscal year’s figure. International Monetary Fund (IMF) prescribes that budget should not be more than 4.3% of the GDP.But, in the coming fiscal, deficit may stand at 4.92% of the GDP. For availing the tranches of the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility, the ministry has made a commitment to PAGE 2 COLUMN 4
committee and also locked the room. The probe body has not yet submitted its report to the authorities. Last year the leaders and activists of the Dhaka University unit of the Chhatra League, the ruling party’s student wing, faced several accusations of theft of money and valuables, and even of forceful confinement of students in their dormitories for ransom. Even though the university authorities and the law enforcers assured stern action just after the occurrences, no measures were actually taken afterwards in most cases. Central leaders of the Chhatra League, however, claim the allegations are untrue and that such acts by Chhatra League men are “rare.” The DU authorities, however, admit the rise in incidents of extortion and assure that they will deal with these matters “strictly, in the future.” An officer at the Shahbagh police station, seeking anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that the law enforcers cannot take appropriate action against the Chhatra League leaders and activists since they have to face huge pressure in such cases. OC of the police station Sirajul Islam declined to comment on the issue. On August 18 last year, Chhatra League leader Sohel of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall and his associates abducted two outsiders and tortured them severely after confining them in room 319 of the dormitory. They also demanded ransom from their families. At one stage, one of the abducted men jumped out the window and was rescued by the hall staff and general students. Upon learning of their situation, the other victim was rescued from the room. PAGE 2 COLUMN 2
A sudden rainstorm in late afternoon yesterday in the capital’s different areas cooled down the agonising heat persistent for the last few days. The photo was taken from Panthapath area RAJIB DHAR
Contractors busy lobbying to sell costly equipment to public hospitals n Moniruzzaman Uzzal With about two months left before the end of this financial year, a section of contractors are busy trying to persuade the authorities of state-run hospitals to seek approval from the health ministry to purchase costly medical equipment using public money. They have been requesting, and in some cases pressuring, the hospital authorities to send proposals to the ministry with lists of equipment – whether needed or not. The contractors are also giving assurances that they will do all the hard work to get the funds sanctioned. Furthermore, some have been flaunting “recommendations” from
different influential people, including ministers, MPs and leaders of doctors’ associations, to secure work orders. Some have even been offering hefty commissions to peddle their costly equipment. This reporter recently witnessed a contractor trying to coax officials at the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital to buy an advanced endoscopy machine, worth Tk7 crore, for the gastroenterology department. “Sir, money will not be a problem. You just send the demand letter to the health ministry, we will manage the administrative approval and allocation of the money required,” said the contractor. The contractor produced a letter
from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) saying if the DMCH gets the “confocal laser endomicroscopy” machine, the money for it will be provided from a hospital service management plan. The letter, dated April 7 and apparently written by ABM Abdul Hannan, DGHS director (hospital and clinic), advised the hospital authorities to follow its directive. When asked about such a letter, Dr Musfiqur Rahman, deputy director of DMCH, claimed that the hospital will not buy any equipment that is of no use to general patients. This reporter saw another letter from the neuro-surgery department PAGE 2 COLUMN 2
Mohammad Al-masum Molla
Alleging that RAB has sent the main accused in the Narayanganj seven murder case abroad, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia once again demanded dissolving the elite security force, formed
when she was in power. “RAB now is synonymous with fear. The force is now involved in killings, abduction and forced disappearances. So, in order to bring back peace to people’s minds, RAB should be dissolved,” she told journalists after visiting the
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia flanked by party leaders meets the family of slain lawyer Chandan Kumar Sarker in Narayanganj yesterday. The lawyer was one of the seven people killed after abduction late last month RAJIB DHAR
4 Although data collection for the Census of Slum and Floating Population 2014 finished on May 2, many slum dwellers claimed that the enumerators had not visited them to collect their details.
n Agencies A day after exit polls that said Narendra Modi is likely to be India’s next prime minister, the BJP leader was busy yesterday in his home state of Gujarat, meeting with all state legislators and parliamentarians from his party. All forecasts showed the BJP and its allies trouncing the Congress, and most indicated the BJP-led coalition would seal a narrow majority. Results of the national election are due on Friday, and some experts warn against over-confidence in a BJP victory given notorious forecasting errors for the last two general elections. PAGE 2 COLUMN 4
Khaleda: RAB sent the killers abroad Three ex-RAB officers n yet to be arrested residences of slain ward councillor Nazrul Islam and lawyer Chandan Sarkar. The BNP chief alleged that the prime suspect of the gruesome murders was sent abroad with the assistance of the elite force and also criticised the government for not taking any step to arrest the killers even after the High Court ordered for it. “The inaction in arresting the accused proves that the gruesome murders took place as per the government’s instructions. We are giving a word that we will try the murderers if the current government does not do so,” she said. “Despite a court order, they [killers] are yet to be arrested. We want to know the source of power of the killers. The killers should be arrested by today. We learnt that RAB had sent Nur Hossain to India,” she said. The former premier said if the exRAB trio had been arrested, the mystery would have been unearthed. “Everyone is talking about seven murders. But they are not talking about four others because they were poor,” she said. PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
n Mohammad Jamil Khan Despite the High Court order, the three former officers of Rapid Action Battalion allegedly involved in the abduction and killing of seven people in Narayanganj have not been arrested yet. The High Court on Sunday gave the order to arrest the three officers who were sent to forced retirement. The copy of the order reached the police headquarters and the Narayanganj police authority the following day. Soon after passing the order, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told a press briefing that the process to arrest the three suspended officers was underway. However, they have not been arrested yet. The three officials are former RAB 11 Commanding Officer Tarek Sayeed Mohammad, Major Arif Hossain and Lt Commander SM Rana. Of them, Sayeed is the son-in-law of Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya who denied involvement of any of his family
INSIDE 3 The authorities’ strategy to check the alien giant mealybug with the use of pesticides has brought a little benefit as the plant-sucking insect continues spreading in different places, including the Jatiya Sangsad premises.
Modi, his party leaders readying for big moves
6 Two more days are left till the Bangla month of Joistha, commonly known as ‘Modhumash’ (honey month), and the juicy fruit litchi, one of the popular seasonal fruits in the country, has already started appearing in the Rajshahi markets.
8 Manned US aircraft were in the skies above Nigeria yesterday in the hunt for more than 200 missing schoolgirls, almost a month after they were kidnapped by Islamist militants. 9 India’s triumphant right-wing opposition said yesterday it was headed for a decisive majority in the world’s biggest election after exit polls showed its hardline leader Narendra Modi closing in on victory.
B1 Bangladesh’s cotton consumption is expected to almost double by 2022, strongly retaining its position of world’s second largest cotton importers, according to a new study.
11 Let’s start with the latest. Following the abduction and gruesome murders of seven individuals in Narayanganj and the alleged involvement of RAB officials in the killing, all hell broke loose in the country.
B1 The country’s leather products have explored 14 new destinations, registering a 70% growth to US$197 million in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year as compared to $116 million for the same period of the last fiscal.
members in the killing. CQK Mustak Ahmed, senior secretary of the Home Ministry, told the Dhaka Tribune that there is no need to seek permission for the arrest of these suspended officials. “We have already issued order to arrest the officials and the police will take action accordingly,” he added. Sources said police had sought cooperation from the Armed Forces Division for the arrest of the three officials. Narayanganj Police Superintendent Khandakar Mahid Uddin declined to give answer to a query about the arrest as well as the High Court directives. He told the Dhaka Tribune that they were trying to abide by the High Court directives. “We are also trying to find the truth.” In response to a query about progress in the probe, Mahid said they were hoping to divulge information from a close associate of Nur Hossain who was arrested recently. “We will seek remand for him.” PAGE 2 COLUMN 2
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Govt withdraws solar panel provision for new connections n Aminur Rahman Rasel The government has decided to withdraw the requirement for power consumers to install solar panels for acquiring new power connections. The move reportedly came following allegations against a section of unscrupulous businesspeople and government officials of bagging millions of taka exploiting a regulation. The authorities are also planning to impose a surcharge on new electricity consumers after the withdrawal of the condition for solar panels, State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid told the Dhaka Tribune after a meeting in the capital on Monday. “We are working on developing a mechanism on how to impose the surcharge. We are not sure who will approve it – the prime minister, the finance minister or the energy regulatory commission,” the state minister said. “We will issue a new order to implement the decision after getting the green signal from the proper authorities,” he added. Hamid said the proposed surcharge might be handed over to the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority in order to promote renewable energy sources in rural areas. The state minister, however, rejected the REHAB’s request for fixing the commercial price rate of electricity for developers during construction of buildings. The meeting at the Bidyut Bhaban, organised by Power Division, was attended by officials of the division’s Power Cell, the five electricity distribu-
Prothom Alo journalist assaulted by doctors in capital n Moniruzzaman Uzzal Shishir Morol, a special correspondent of the Bangla national daily Prothom Alo, was injured in an attack allegedly by some unruly doctors of Shikder Medical College and Hospital in the capital’s Dhanmondi yesterday. Shishir said: “A group of around four doctors beat up me severely around 8:30am and confined me to a room of the hospital for about three hours when I went there to collect information about its doctor named Saiful Azam.”
Despite not being a professor, Dr Saifiul Azam has been using the title Later, they let me leave the place on begging the life from them, Shishir added. “Despite not being a professor, Dr Saifiul Azam has been using the title.” Shishir claimed that some doctors, reportedly followers of Saiful, got angered when he enquired about the issue and then beat up him mercilessly before the confinement. Contacted, Asadul Haque Asad, secretary of Shikder Medical College and Hospital, said: “I know nothing about the incident. However, you can contact to Abu Sufian of our Dhanmondi branch.” The Dhaka Tribune tried to talk to Sufian several times. However, he could not be reached over phone for his comment. l
RAB sent the killers PAGE 1 COLUMN 4
Khaleda told Chandan’s wife: “I too lost my husband. I know the pain. You will get consolation only when the trial is completed. We wanted to raise our voice against the killings and abductions, but the government did not let us.” Khaleda asked the government to step down for failing to ensure security. “The prime minister is in charge of the home ministry. So, she cannot avoid the responsibility for the murders and the abductions.” Khaleda first went to Nazrul’s house and then to his aides, who were also killed. Then she went to lawyer Chandan Sarkar’s house and spent some time with the bereaved family. She also met the family of Chandan’s chauffer Ibrahim. l
tion companies and representatives of the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB). Confirming that the condition for solar panels will be withdrawn, REHAB President Mokarram Hossain Khan said: “The decision was taken in the meeting, and we are pleased about it as it will be withdrawn after four years.” In May 2011, after a gap of several months, the government resumed giving new electricity connections to residential, commercial and industrial buildings on the condition that they would install solar panels. However, while the installation of solar panels was not mandatory, power distributors were asked to request consumers to ensure that 3-10% of their electricity supply came from solar systems. But the directive turned into a pre-requisite for getting new electricity connections. On January 21, REHAB urged the state minister to cancel the requirement for solar panels for new power connections in residential buildings. According to the Power Division’s previous decision, domestic consumers who used up to two kilowatts of electricity did not need to install solar panels to get new connections. But if the demand exceeded 2kW, solar panels were required to supply 3% of the total consumption. Meanwhile, industries consuming up to 50kW power previously needed solar panels to operate lights and fans, ensuring 7% of total usage. If the demand exceeded 50kW, solar panels with 10% capacity would have to be installed. l
A farmer drives a buffalo-drawn cart with his paddy harvest across the dried up river bed of the Padma in Shyampur of Rajshahi yesterday
GP sues 8 IGWs over dues worth Tk84 crore n Muhammad Zahidul Islam
Grameenphone has filed cases against eight International Gateway (IGW) operators to collect the outstanding amount of around Tk84 crore. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has already blocked these IGWs for having dues worth Tk613 crore. The IGWs terminate international incoming voice calls through mobile or land phone operators. They are supposed to share revenues with the phone operators, the telecom regulator and the
Inter-connection exchange (ICXs). “We had no other way to collect the outstanding amount of money. The telecom regulator has also been informed about the step,” a senior official of Grameenphone, the largest mobile phone operator, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday, seeking anonymity. Grameenphone lodged the cases with the Money-Loan Court of Dhaka in two phases. Cases were filed against seven, last week, and another on Monday. Of them, the outstanding dues of Ratul Telecom Limited – owned by former LGRD state minister Jahangir Kabir
Nanak’s wife and daughter – is Tk12.39 crore, and of Mos5Tel Ltd – a company of former health minister AFM Ruhal Haque – is Tk1.30 crore. Kay Telecommunications Limited, formerly owned by Awami League lawmaker Shamim Osman, owes Grameenphone Tk15.48 crore. It was later registered after some of Osman’s employees. The top mobile company sued SM Communication Ltd for Tk3.50 crore, Vision Tel Ltd for Tk20.18 crore, Bestec Telecom Limited for Tk13.49 crore and Apple GlobalTel Com Ltd for Tk9.08 crore. On Monday, Grameenphone filed a
case against Telex Limited for Tk8.35 crore. These eight companies also owe five other mobile operators, land phone operators and some ICXs. The BTRC has so far filed cases against four out of the eight companies – Vision Tel, Kay Telecommunications, Telex and Bestec Telecom. Ratul Telecom has allegedly been given time benefits on several occasions to pay the outstanding amounts. The BTRC sent show cause notices to the three others and they submitted responses. However, the regulator has yet to make any decision on the explanations. l
and Tanvirul Islam. Later, Tanvirul was released and the others were handed over to the Ramna police station. Following the incident, the central unit of Chhatra League expelled four of its activists. While talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Acting Proctor Amzad Ali admitted the frequent occurrence of such activities on campus. He alleged that the university authorities have not taken such malpractices into consideration seriously in the
past. “We will take stern action against the accused in the future,” he claimed. Chhatra League central unit President Bodiuzzaman Shohag condemned such incidents. “Our organisation and our government are very strict in such cases. We have taken action against such guilty members before and it will continue to happen,” he said. Shohag claimed that the abduction incidents were not frequent on campus and the involvement of Chhatra League members in such incidents is very rare. l
They receive mercy, they commit it again PAGE 1 COLUMN 2
The university authorities as well as the Chhatra League central committee have yet to take any action against the accused. In September last year, Shahidullah Hall leaders Mostafizur Rahman, Shomit Shahariar and their fellows snatched at least Tk60,000 and a mobile phone from a trader named Arif when he was crossing the road in the Matsya Bhaban area on his motorcycle. Such extortion allegations are also common against the Chhatra League
leaders and activists at the Suhrawardy Udyan and other areas inside the university campus. During the last one year, punitive measures have been taken against only a few of the Chhatra League members accused of extortion and misdeeds. On November 1 last year, Surya Sen Hall unit activists led by Chhatra League leader Md Taki demanded money from two buses and beat up the drivers. The buses came from Rajshahi carry-
ing applicants who would sit for the admission test. The university authorities suspended the students, including Taki. On May 8, police arrested six Chhatra League leaders from the campus for their involvement in the abduction of a businessman. The arrested were Srijan Kumar Ghosh, central deputy sports secretary; Sheikh Abdul Al Mamun, student affairs secretary of Mohsin Hall; Anup Chandra, vice-president of Jagannath Hall; and Dhaka College unit leaders Bappi, Himel
Three ex-RAB officers
Huge deficit and borrowing may affect inflation
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It is learnt that if any criminal case is filed against any army officials, then the police would not be able to arrest them from the cantonments. Tarek Sayeed and Arif Hossain are now staying at the cantonment, sources said. The law enforcers are keeping watch on them. Narayanganj City Corporation Ward Councillor Nazrul Islam, lawyer Chandan Sarkar and five others were ab-
ducted on April 27 and their bodies were found floating in the Shitalakkhya River after three days. Nazrul’s father-in-law Shahidul Islam alleged that the three RAB officials abducted and killed the seven people in exchange for Tk6 crore. A high-powered committee, headed by Additional Secretary of the Public Administration Ministry Shahjahan Ali, was formed to investigate the incident. l
Contractors busy lobbying PAGE 1 COLUMN 5
requesting Tk1.5 crore to buy a hightech machine for stem cell therapy to treat spinal cord injuries. At least two more such demand letters for costly medical equipment were sent to the DMCH authorities. Seeking anonymity, several high officials of different government hospitals and medical institutes told the Dhaka Tribune that normally, it is difficult to get even small amounts of money sanctioned to buy essential equipment. But surprisingly, towards the end of the financial year, which ends on June 30, both the health ministry and the directorate are ready to allocate funds for expensive medical equipment. “It is nothing but a waste of public money,” one of them said. The Dhaka Tribune obtained some copies of letters from contractors where either the ministry or the DGHS has given the go-ahead to hospital authorities to procure costly machines under different operation plans under a health, population and nutrition development programme. It was learnt that last year, with just a few days to go before the end of the fiscal year, a group of politically connected people were pushing the DMCH to purchase a LASIK machine for treating myopia. The hospital, however, did not buy the equipment, which cost several crores of taka. Several high officials of the Nation-
al Heart Institute and Sir Salimullah Medical College and Mitford Hospital told the Dhaka Tribune that usually, the contractors start their lobbying at the end of June, but they began early this year. The influx of contractors trying to get orders for different types of equipment from upazila health complexes and specialised hospitals, has increased recently at the ministry and the directorate. Dr Rashid Mahbub, president of Health Rights Movement Bangladesh and ex-president of Bangladesh Medical Association, remarked that before buying any machine, one should consider its proper use, the infrastructure to set it up and the availability of trained technicians. “But unfortunately, authorities at public hospitals do not consider such things, and buy equipment without proper planning. In most cases, the machines are bought to make money, rather than to help patients. A huge commission business is done centering these purchases,” the doctor claimed. Recalling the example of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, popularly called PG Hospital, Dr Mahbub said they have a proper plan for buying equipment, thus, different machines are better utilised there than in any other public hospital. “The government should consider how they could make the best use of public money,” he added. l
the global lender about keeping bank borrowing within Tk24,000crore until June 30, 2014. However, ministry officials expressed fears that the government would not be able to keep the commitment because of higher allocation demands placed by ministries and divisions and the sluggish revenue and business growth during and after the political turmoil. An official said low receipts from the savings instruments might also prompt
the government to borrow more from banks. The level of inflation in March and April – 7.46% and 7.48% respectively – hovered above the government’s comfort zone of 7%. With only a couple of months left before the ongoing fiscal ends, there are chances that the government would keep its inflation forecast at 7%. Finance Minister AMA Muhith recently told the Dhaka Tribune that the deficit figure in the upcoming budget would not cross 4.9% of GDP.
“Our budget deficit has not crossed the 5% mark in the last six years. But international donors have always kept saying it was too high,” he said. Former adviser to caretaker government Dr AB MirzaAzizul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune that: “[Government] borrowing from the banking system usually affects inflation and commodity price level.” He also pointed out that currently, the country’s banking sector had about Tk1,00,000crore non-utilised fund. l
Modi, his party leaders readying for big moves PAGE 1 COLUMN 6
But Modi’s gathering in Gandhinagar is being interpreted as an exercise to find consensus on who will succeed him as chief minister of Gujarat if he moves to Delhi to run the country. “There is a process...the high command will take the decision that will be ratified by legislators but all that will happen post-May 16,” said Om Mathur, a party leader, striking a note of caution, according to NDTV. But privately, many party leaders admit that while the BJP does not want to be seen as jumping the gun in assuming Modi has got the job he sought, informally, the process of finding his successor in Gujarat is well underway. The front-runner is Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, who is a trusted aide of Modi and an experienced administrator. Finance Minister Nitin Patel and Industries Minister Saurabh Patel are also in the running, as is Bhikhu Dalsaniya, an organisational secretary of the BJP and liaison with the BJP’s ideological parent, the powerful Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS. Because this is being seen as one of the last meetings Modi will chair as chief minister, office bearers were invited to attend yesterday evening’s conclave as well – another signal that Modi’s move to Delhi is now being taken as a given. Meanwhile, Congress yesterday said
the exit pollsters “deserve the Nobel prize for miniaturisation” taking a dig at pollsters who have projected a poor show by the party in Lok Sabha polls, reports PTI. “Those who try and capture the essence of Indian polity in exit or opinion polls on sample sizes of varying sizes deserve the Nobel prize for miniaturisation for a country as diverse as India,” party Spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters. He said he was talking of such a prize because these pollsters “are capturing the hearts and minds of over a billion people or X billion voters on sample sizes of 10-20-or 50 or 90,000 or one lakh. Besides, this is being done on the “most diverse spots on earth that is India.” Coming down heavily on such polls, he said those who failed to learn lessons of history are condemned to repeat them and the same applied to these pollsters and exit pollsters. He said how exit polls have proved wrong in 2004 and 2009 general elections. The exit polls predict a rout for the Congress and its senior leaders have now rushed to cushion party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who led the election campaign, from the impact of a possible crushing defeat. Union minister Kamal Nath made clear that the “results will be based on government performance and Rahul Gandhi is not a part of the govern-
ment.” Another, Jairam Ramesh, seen as part of Rahul Gandhi’s core group of advisers, said: “Gandhi was an indefatigable campaigner. He held 125 rallies, went to every state. He brought the spirit to our campaign.” Ramesh said it was the Congress’ “gameplan, well thought out,” that it would not project a personality, alluding to rival BJP’s campaign being built around the persona of Modi. The BJP yesterday predicted that the Congress will find its scapegoat in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in its attempt to protect party President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul from criticism. Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress (TMC), projected to do well in Lok Sabha polls in the 42 constituencies in West Bengal, yesterday ruled out a post-poll alignment with the NDA. “The question of supporting such a formation does not arise,” national spokesperson of TMC Derek O’Brien told PTI in Kolkata when asked whether the party would support NDA, projected in the exit polls to form the government headed by Modi, if it falls short of majority mark and approached it. TMC, which secured 19 Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal last time when it had an alliance with Congress in 2009, would do “much better” this time when it fought alone, he said. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Spread of giant mealybug continues in Dhaka
Online voter registration Pesticides used against the bug killing other useful insects and organisms, polluting environment on cards n Mohammad Zakaria He admitted that the use of pestin Kamran Reza Chowdhury cides to kill giant mealybug had some The Election Commission is set to alThe authorities’ strategy to check the alien giant mealybug with the use of pesticides has brought a little benefit as the plant-sucking insect continues spreading in different places, including the Jatiya Sangsad premises. The parliament secretariat on April 26 sprayed pesticides to control the giant mealybug, strongly believed to have sneaked into Bangladesh with the equipment used by the Navy in Congo. But the use of chemicals practically yielded no result as the white bug stages a comeback in the trees surrounding parliament building areas, killing other useful insects and organisms, polluting soil, air and water and ultimately causing harm to human health. Experts said all mealybugs, including giant mealybug, cannot be exterminated completely through the use of pesticides. Nourishing and releasing parasites to counter the mealybug is an ultimate solution, they said. Detected in 2007, India collected counter-parasites from the USA and successfully eliminated all mealybugs that destroy 60 types of crops and trees. “The arboriculture (wing of the government) sprayed pesticides to kill the giant mealybug. Now, it comes again. We will call the arboriculture again to control it,” Ashraful Moqbul, senior secretary of the parliament secretariat, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. In March last year, the Navy authorities reported to the Dhaka City Corporation and the plant protection wing of
The Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban premises become the latest victim of giant mealybug infestation. The photo was taken yesterday DHAKA TRIBUNE
the government that a new alien insect attacked the Hazi Mohsin base in Dhaka’s Banani area. The officials concerned and entomologists said giant mealybug, not seen in Bangladesh earlier, came here with the equipment deployed in the peacekeeping mission in Congo. Insecticides were used to destroy the insects.
In April this year, the same giant mealybug spread in Home Economics College in Dhaka, creating panic among the people. The parliament authorities also detected the invasion of the same mealybug on its compound. The compound is not free from the bug, officials said. “We will first try to check the spread
of giant mealybug with some mild insecticides. Parasite is an ultimate solution,” Debashish Sarker, an entomologist and principal scientific officer of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, told the Dhaka Tribune. Debashish has been involved in working out the solution to check the spread of giant mealybug.
harms to the environment and the human health consequences. “We have to carry out research which parasites would work in our climatic conditions.” The available literature shows that India has successfully eliminated all mealybugs in six years since such insects were detected in Tamil Nadu in 2007. The authorities collected parasites such as Acerophagus papaya, Anagyrus loecki and Pseudoleptomastix mexicana from the USA, ultimately controlling the onslaught of insect in almost similar climatic conditions. “Why should we go for pesticides as it is an established fact that chemicals bring temporary solution? We have to use parasites to counter the spread of all mealybugs, including giant mealybug,” Ahsan Ullah, an entomologist at the government’s plant protection wing, told the Dhaka Tribune. “We have to take lessons from India in the extermination of mealybugs,” said Ahsan who attended a special training programme on quarantine in India’s Hyderabad. The pesticide wing of department of agriculture extension officials said a local company had applied for registration to market a pesticide styled Phytoclean to kill mealybugs. The company sought registration as the attacks of papaya mealybug, guava mealybug and other species infested plants across the country. The intrusion of giant mealybug has expedited the process of registration of the company to market the pesticide, officials said. l
low new voters an opportunity to enrol their names in the voter’s list and collect their Smart National Identity Cards by registering online. The commission plans to introduce the online voter registration service by mid-next year, said an EC official. In this regard, the commission has already prepared a draft of the National Identity Card Registration Procedure 2014, adding the provisions for online registration and the renewal of Smart National Identity (NID) cards. Earlier, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad said the commission will not provide smart cards to new voters in the present year. The voter list updating will begin from May 15 across the country this year. “The commission has sent it [the draft proposal] to the Law Ministry. The ministry has sent back some corrections,” a senior assistant secretary of the EC’s law wing told the Dhaka Tribune. According to the draft, any for voter will be able to apply through the commission’s website or directly through the concerned EC office. Besides, the commission will provide a “Smart Card” version of the existing NID with 10 years’ validity to voters, free of cost for the first time, while also setting renewal fees. If any voter loses their card, they will have to apply to the commission for a new card. At present, the country has 91,950, 641 voters. l
Kindergarten registration Dhaka Tribune celebrates first anniversary, yet to take effect Bangla Tribune launched n Mushfique Wadud
The government has yet to successfully enforce the registration rule for the country’s kindergarten schools it had promulgated in 2011. Sources in the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) claimed that the rule could not be enforced mainly due to the objection from the schools’ owners and a nexus between them and the officials. Without the implementation of the registration rule, kindergarten schools have been mushrooming all over the capital. Most of these schools lack adequate facilities, and employ unqualified teachers. The current system allows anyone to establish a kindergarten just by acquiring a trade licence from the city corporation office. In the wake of the fact these schools are failing to provide quality education, the Primary and Mass Education Ministry formulated the registration rule that states that such schools must be registered with the DPE in order to function as an academic institution. Making the rule mandatory, the ministry also set standards for schools to follow. According to the rule, a school should have a student-teacher ratio of 30:1 and must be built on 0.08 acres of
land with at least 3,000sq-ft of space within the campus. Furthermore, every school must have a managing committee comprising guardian and teacher representatives, with the headmaster as the member secretary. Headmaster of the nearest government primary school is also required to be a committee member. The rule also states that the managing committees will supervise teachers’ recruitment and fix tuition fees. Schools cannot charge extra fees from students for re-admission or the purchase of any modern technology and equipment for the school. Schools also cannot teach from textbooks that are not approved by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. After the promulgation, however, kindergarten owners demonstrated and threatened to stage bigger protests as most of the schools did not meet the standards set by the ministry. Following the protest, the government backtracked from its previous position. The DPE officials have been saying that they would soon enforce the rule, but they have yet to take any action. When contacted, Director (Policy and Operation) of the DPE Faruque Jalil told the Dhaka Tribune that they were discussing issues with kindergarten owners and would soon enforce the rules. l
n Tribune Report
A gala event celebrating the first anniversary of Dhaka Tribune was held at the capital’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel, yesterday. Noted media personalities, entrepreneurs and foreign dignitaries attended the event in the Winter Garden ball room of Ruposhi Bangla, among others. The website for Bangla Tribune was also launched at the event. Zulfiqer Russell, editor of Bangla Tribune, said the website is going to present news in simple Bangla for the readers. “This has taken a lot of preparation,” he said, “and we aim to keep working hard to serve our readers.” Zafar Sobhan, the editor, thanked readers for choosing Dhaka Tribune, adding that the newspaper strives to stay true to its readers. “We have never hesitated to call a spade a spade, and I believe that we have won the respect of our readers as a bold and unbiased voice,” he said, addressing the guests, adding, “We have tried to tell the stories that others may have overlooked.” Chairman of the board of directors Kazi Zahin Hasan said Dhaka Tribune is a pro-business newspaper which aims to present honest and unadulterated news to its readers.
Dhaka Tribune editor, publisher and directors cut the first anniversary celebration cake at the capital’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel yesterday evening NASHIRUL ISLAM Kazi Anis Ahmed, the publisher, said there are different forms of journalism that are not yet familiar to Bangladesh, and Dhaka Tribune seeks to introduce them here. Bangladesh is changing, and Dhaka
Hasina to seek Japanese aid for infrastructure projects
Young girl gang-raped at Suhrawardy Udyan n Mohammad Jamil Khan n Sheikh ShahariarZaman A young girl was allegedly gang-raped in the capital’s Suhrawardy Udyan by her “boyfriend” and his friends in the early hours of yesterday. The victim, aged around 19, filed a case with Shahbag police station, accusing seven people, in the morning. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Shahbag police station Officer-In-Charge Shirajul Islam said the victim, who hails from Shariatpur district and was a resident of the capital’s Nazirabazar, met a boy named Nayem, 27, a couple of weeks ago and started dating him. On Monday evening, the couple met near the glass tower of the Suhrawardy Udyan and was engaged in a very long conversation. During the conversation, the victim also noted that Nayem gave a proposal for marriage, he said. At around 11:30pm, seven friends of Nayem, namely Shahin, Imran, Habib, arrived and took the girl behind the Three Leaders Mausoleum on gunpoint and gang-raped her. The girl was later rescued from the area by a police rescue team, the OC added. “We have sent the girl to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for a medical checkup and drives are now being conducted to nab the suspects,” OC Shiraj said. l
Bangladesh is expected to seek Japanese assistance for implementing large infrastructure projects in the country during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Tokyo later this month. Hasina is scheduled to pay an official visit to Tokyo from May 25 to 28. During a bilateral meeting with her Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, Hasina might raise the issue of aid for planned projects, such as the nearly US$5 billion Ganges barrage and a tunnel under the Jamuna Bridge, saida foreign ministry official in Dhaka. Japan has already agreed to provide $2.1 billion for a metro-rail project, and it was supposed to give $615 million for the Padma bridge, but later withdrew its commitment due to certain complexities. Bangladesh Ambassador to Japan Masud-bin Momen told the Dhaka Tribune that both governments were working on finalising the topics to be discussed during the PM’s trip. “Bilateral relationship between the two countries is very good, and whenwe have a good relationship, many things can move forward,” the envoy said. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio
Kishida visited Bangladesh last March and announced a $1.18 billionloan package to finance five projects. “We hope to clinch a part of the package during the prime minister’svisit and the rest when JICA president Sadako OgatavisitsDhaka this year,” Masud said.
Under the 34th ODA signed last year, Japan would provide a $1.03 billion loan to finance four projects, including bridges at Kanchpur, Meghna and Gumati Bangladesh is also likely to flag the issue of getting GSP (generalised system of preferences) facilities to boost its exports to Japan, the world’s third largest economy, the ambassador said. “During the PM’s last visit(in 2010), we raised the issue and Japan lowered the duty-free access of knit products from three-tier to two-tier,” he said. Bangladesh was likely to achieve its export target of $930 million this fiscal, while two-way trade may top $2 billion,
Masud said. Readymade garments and leather products are the main export items to Japan. Japan, the single biggest development partner of Bangladesh, has provided around $12 billion in loans and grants since 1972. Japanese loans are the most generous, with an annual interest rate of only 0.01% and a 40-year repayment period. Under the 34th official development assistant (ODA) signed last year, Japan would provide a $1.03 billion loan to finance four projects, including bridges at Kanchpur, Meghna and Gumati,a Karnaphuli water supply scheme ,renewable energy development and a north Bangladesh integrated development project. The 33rd ODA loan package of $760 million, also signed last year, funded the Bheramara combined cycle power plant development project, the Dhaka mass rapid transit development project and the national power transmission network development project. Japanese private sector investment in Bangladeshis also growing sharply, with $1.3 billion in total invested until 2012. The number of Japanese companies operating in Bangladesh rose to 176 firms in 2013, from 61 in 2007. l
Tribune aims to be the voice for that change, summed up Shahriar Karim, the executive editor of Dhaka Tribune. The paper started publishing on April 20 last year. The event ended with the editor’s promise inscribed on every guest’s
minds: “We will never take you for granted. To allow us into your homes everyday is a privilege and an honour that we will strive to be worthy of. Continue to give us 15 minutes of your day and we promise you it will be time well spent.” l
21 Jamaat leaders sent to jail, four more held n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong A Chittagong court yesterday sent 21 Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, including its Chittagong city unit Ameer ANM Shamsul Islam, to jail in a case filed under Anti-Terrorism Act. Police sought a seven-day remand for the arrestees. The court, however, fixed May 18 for hearing on the remand prayer, police sources said. Metropolitan Magistrate Rahmat Ali passed the order yesterday. The Kotwali police arrested the 21 Jamaat leaders from their city office at Dewanbazar when they were allegedly
holding a secret meeting on Monday to plan fresh agitations ahead of the verdict of Delawar Hossain Sayedee. Mohammad Ahsanullah, nayeb-eameer of the city unit of Jamaat, said they would enforce a dawn-to-dusk hartal in greater Chittagong today, but the ongoing HSC examination would be out of its purview. Meanwhile, Kotwali police arrested three people from the dormitories of Government Hazi Mohammad Mohsin College and Chittagong Government College, while Bakalia police also arrested a Shibir leader, Nazmul Islam, from Surovi Residential area yesterday. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Many left out of slum census n Tazlina Zamila Khan Although data collection for the Census of Slum and Floating Population 2014 finished on May 2, many slum dwellers claimed that the enumerators had not visited them to collect their details. Most slums in the capital were excluded from the list, those that was created through the first and second zonal operations before conducting the census. AKM Ashraful Haque, deputy director of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), told the Dhaka Tribune: “The enumerators collected information from the slums in Mirpur 1 and 10, Shishumela, Asadgate, Gulshan 1 and 2, Kochukhet, Badda, Airport, Shahbagh, GPO, Motijheel, Banani, Agargaon and Gabtoli areas.” On the other hand, enumeration in the slums in Uttara sector 14, Uttarkhan, Dakkhinkhan, Mohakhali, Mohammadpur, Khilkhet, Kawran Ba-
zar, Moghbazar and Shantinagar has not been done yet. Khadiza Begum, 38, resident at Uttarkhan slum, said she was not aware of any slum census. “No one came to collect information in this slum,” she said. Jahir Uddin, another slum-dweller in the city’s Shantinagar area, said: “We did not notice anyone visiting any homes to collect information about us. We the poor are always excluded from everything.” The data collection had started on April 25 this year. Although it was required to mark the doors of the slums that had been surveyed with chalks, this reporter did not find said mark in many slum shacks. In an explanation, Ashraful said: “The marks could be removed for many reasons, like rain, but it is not important during a census at all.” On the other hand, some of the city’s homeless people also claimed that they had not been counted. Mujib and Ashraf, two homeless
men living in the Airport railway station, alleged that no one had come to collect information on them in the area. “We were present at the area at night during the time of the survey. No one came,” they said.
Information was collected from Mirpur 1 and 10, Shishumela, Asadgate, Gulshan 1 and 2, Kochukhet, Badda, Airport, Shahbagh, GPO, Motijheel, Banani, Agargaon and Gabtoli Jafor Ahmed Khan, project director and director (deputy secretary) of BBS’s Demography and Health Wing, said: “I do not think we missed any slums or homeless people. Our team worked
very hard in order to collect accurate information. “There will be allegations. We saw no problem in the data collection. If we could not find a person, then we collected his/her information from others,” he added. Wasimul Bari, lecturer at the statistics, biostatistics and informatics department in Dhaka University, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The census has to cover the entire target populace, otherwise it will not be accurate. But sometimes government officials skip duties, which is not right.” He said if the enumerators could not find a person, they should visit the place again. “Information given from neighbours or other people could be inaccurate,” he added. The government allotted around Tk9.32 crore for the census. Around 6,500 enumerators and 1,150 supervisors were assigned for data collection. The full report of the census is expected to be published in December this year. l
BCL men stop exam, vandalise exam hall at RU n RU Correspondent Members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League at Rajshahi University forced the postponement of a Masters examination of the Islamic History Department yesterday since one of its leaders was allegedly too sick to sit for the test. Witnesses said about 20-25 leaders and members of the ruling party’s student wing, led by the RU unit Vice President Rana Chowdhury, went to the department at 9am and locked the examination room just before the start of a course five exam. The teachers of the department broke the lock and tried to start the exam at 9:30am, but the BCL activists barred most of the examinees from entering the hall. Only a few students managed to enter the hall and prepared to take the exam. At that point, the BCL activists went on a rampage and vandalised the windows of the hall and the department’s office. When the teachers came for-
ward to settle matters, the BCL men became vocally abusive toward them. RU Proctor Tarikul Hasan rushed to the department and brought the situation under control. An hour later, the authorities postponed the exam because of the BCL agitation. “It was not possible to cancel an exam when a student applies to do so just before the start of the exam, claiming sickness,” department head Sayeda Nure Kaseda Khatun said. “A group of people, not known to me, came to the department, vandalized rooms and abused the teachers, including me, which was not expected,” she added. Mehedi Hasan, a BCL vice president, claimed that he was ill and could not sit for the exam. Proctor Tariqul Hasan later told reporters that he will investigate the matter and take steps against those responsible for the violent incident. However, RU unit BCL President Mizanur Rahman claimed that the BCL members were not involved in the violence. l
Clash on Duet campus n Our Correspondent, Gazipur
The activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and the Islami Chhatra Shibir engaged in a clash at the Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology (Duet) campus in Gazipur, yesterday. Police have arrested nine activists of the Chhatra Shibir so far: Saidur Rahman, a third year student of the mechanical department, Shahinur Rahman, Al Amin Hawladar, Mizanur Rahman, Iqbal Hossain, Raju Ahmed, a first year student of the civil department, Mahmudul Hasan, the director of a local coaching centre, and Abdullah-al-Mamun, a fourth year student of the mechanical department and the president of Chhatra Shibir DUET unit. Sakib Reza Chowdhury, vice-president of the BCL Duet unit told the Dhaka Tribune that the president of Chhtra Shibir was holding a meeting at one of the rooms of the Kazi Nazrul Islam Hall along with several former leaders of the student body at around 9:30pm on Monday. They were discussing their organisational activities and planning to hold a debate competition on the “atheism” of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The students informed the teachers about their plans and then activists of the BCL raided the room and apprehended them. Later, Chhatra Shibir activists were
handed over to the police. Hasan Al Banna, organising secretary of the QK Hall unit of the BCL, were injured by the Shibir activists after their fellow men had been taken outside the campus by the police. General Secretary of Chhatra Shibir Duet Civil faculty unit Mohsin Uddin refuted the claim of the BCL leaders and said the last exam of the current semester is scheduled to be held on May 18. “BCL Duet unit has been planning to organise a program to mark the occasion of the PM’s “homecoming” on May 17. In a bid to defer the date of the exam, BCL activists are trying to destabilise the congenial atmosphere of the campus,” Mohsin Uddin said. Provost of Kazi Nazrul Islam Hall Dr Kamruzzaman told the reporters that he was informed by the security guards of the hall that former Shibir leader Parag had come to room no 1009 of the hall and was holding a party meeting. Activists of the BCL raided the room before he could reach and they assaulted the Shibir activists. After rescuing the Shibir men, the authority handed over the injured into police custody and they were provided the necessary treatment, the provost said. Sub-Inspector of Joydevpur police station Monir Hossain confirmed the authenticity of the incident and said the detained persons were sent to jail by the court. l
Two farmers use bull carts to transport their harvests from a paddy field in Singra in Natore yesterday. The region experienced a bumper production in Boro paddy this year
Collaboration between universities and industries stressed n
Educationists and industrialists yesterday stressed the need for an effective collaboration between universities and industries to improve standard of higher education and industrial development. While universities are failing to conduct research for lack of fund industries are suffering from lack of new technology and collaboration between the two sectors can prove a win-win situation for the sector, they said while speaking at a workshop of University Grants Commission on university-industry collaboration held at a city hotel. Speaking at the programme, Dhaka University bio-medical physics department professor Khondkar Siddique E Rabbani said small and medium entrepre-
neurs can get the most benefit out of the collaboration between universities and industries for their technology transfer. He, however, said the technology transfer should be free of cost in the initial stage. Chairman of the Apex Group and a former adviser to the caretaker government Syed Manjur Elahi said some 10,000 foreigners work in garment sector and this can be a good source of employment for Bangladeshi youths. He said there is a mismatch between the requirement of industries and the qualification of our graduates and collaboration between the two sectors can solve the problems. He suggested that a fund should be created taking money from the private sectors and then the educationists and industry people should sit to find out what can be done to develop both the sectors.
Shahjalal University of Science and Technology professor Aminul Haque Bhuyan suggested that a UGC can establish a cell through which industry people can share their problems and seek support from teachers. UGC Chairman A K Azad Chowdhury said UGC was working to bridge the gap between industries and universities. He said that with the support of the World Bank a project is running and collaboration between universities and industries is one of the components of the project. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said the ministry was working to ensure quality higher education but the budget for the overall education sector is not enough. He urged the private sectors to come forward for the development of the research activities in the universities. l
Gazipur law and order situation deteriorates
1 dead, 30 ill after taking lunch n Our Correspondent, Savar
n Our Correspondent, Gazipur
A man died and 30 others became ill after taking food at a training centre in Ghoshbagh of Ashulia. Sohag, 22, from Sirajdikhan in Munshiganj, was a trainee at Unique Vocational Training Centre and died of food poisoning on Monday. Others who fell ill were admitted to a local hospital. Several hospitalised trainees said they fell ill after consuming rice, beef and chicken that was provided to them as lunch on Monday. Sohag died after being admitted to a hospital. Meanwhile, other trainees managed to stay normal until 9pm when they vomited and fell on the ground because of dizziness after having dinner. This happened to 30 of them and they were taken to the hospital. The trainees claimed that the fatality was caused as training centre authorities did not arrange timely medical attention after they had fallen sick. Ashulia police station OC Sheikh Badrul Alam confirmed the news and said Sohag died of food poisoning. The hospital’s Customer Care Officer Habibur Rahman said poison in the food was the reason why the trainees fell ill. He, however, could not confirm whether Sohag died precisely due to food poisoning. l
There has been a gross deterioration of law and order in Sreepur upazila of Gazipur as incidents like killing, mugging, robbery, abduction, post-abduction killing, release of abductees in exchange for ransom and clash between rival groups have risen alarmingly in the last four months. As soon as evening descends, money and other valuables are snatched from passers-by at different intersections and also at 30-40 spots in forest. Rival groups, out of a desire for vengeance, are kidnapping and even killing each other’s children. Besides, use of drugs and arms has become commonplace. Police are yet to arrest anyone in connection with such crimes, turning Sreepur into a city of panic for its residents. The role of law enforcement agencies has also drawn harsh criticism in the wake of a rise in unlawful acts. Locals and police sources say on January 28, 13-year-old schoolgirl Moni’s body was recovered from a pond adjacent to her house six days after she had gone missing. She was the only daughter of Motlob Hossain, a resident of Beraiderchala village in Sreepur municipal area, and an eighth grader at Abed Ali Girls High School. She was wearing her school uni-
form when police recovered her body. Moni’s mother Bilkis Akhter said 21-year-old Nayeem, son of Mojibur Rahman of Shirirchala village in Gazipur Sadar upazila, threatened her over phone on January 24 and told her that the family and also her daughter would face consequences if she went too far about the abduction. Three bodies were recovered from different areas in Sreepur on April 10. One of them was 11-year-old Sayem whose slaughtered body was found inside a makeshift house erected on an abandoned land near Bormi bus stop. Sayem, son of Rafiqul Islam of Bormi Bazar, was a student of class five at Al Madina Kindergarten. Just two weeks after police recovered Sayem’s body, his elder brother Rakib, a ninth grader at Bormi High School, was abducted on April 24. Abductors left him alive near his house on the night of May 1. His father received threats over phone but police could not arrest anyone in this connection. Meanwhile, the prevalence of drugs has become very high in Sreepur. Police recovered 140 bottles of phensidyl from a rice field in Gararan village in early April. OC Mohsinul Qadir, however, denied deterioration of law and order and said everything was normal. l
Local BNP leader murdered in Jhenaidah n Our Correspondent, Jhenaidah
Buddhist monks pray in front of a statue of Gautam Buddha, marking Buddha Purnima, in Khilgaon’s Bashabo area in the capital yesterday MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
A local BNP leader was hacked to death allegedly by a former party fellow in Kaliganj upazila of the district yesterday. Victim Ismail Hossain, 48, was the president of Kaliganj municipality’s ward 1 unit BNP, and son of former mayor Abdur Rahman. Police could not arrest anyone in this connection. No case was filed until the evening.
Locals said a gang of miscreants led by Shahjahan Ali, who joined the ruling Awami League on March 26, attacked Ismail in Nimtala bus stand area around 8:30am while he was returning home at Chapali village on a motorcycle. Shahjahan hacked Ismail indiscriminately with a machete, leaving him critically injured. Locals got him admitted to Kaliganj Health Complex. Later he was shifted to Jessore Medical College Hospital
where he died around 9:15am. Kaliganj upazila unit BNP General Secretary Ainal claimed that local Awami League activists had killed Ismail. OC Anwar Hossain of Kaliganj police station confirmed the incident. He said conflict over establishing dominion in the area might be the reason behind the killing. Local people say Shahjahan’s joining the Awami League created much dissatisfaction within the BNP and in the locality. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Tk37.5 crore extorted from footpath vendors Traders say not just ruling party leaders, lawmen are also involved with the rackets Jamil Khan and n Mohammad Abu Hayat Mahmud Around 11am on a busy working day in Dhaka, a man in his middle ages came up to a vegetable stall near Tejgaon College in the Farmgate area. The vendor, without saying a word, gave the man Tk1,000. Taking the money, the man moved to the next stall. The vendor said the name of the middle-aged man was Shah Alam. He was the secretary of ward no 99 unit of Jubo League, ruling Awami League’s youth front. Shah Alam is also the secretary of the Farmgate Hawkers Welfare Association. He comes to the stalls once every month and extorts Tk1,000-Tk1,500 out of each of them. The Dhaka Tribune reporters followed him; but somehow, he sensed their presence. To cut them off his tail, he slipped into a local residential hotel and disappeared. When the reporters asked the people inside the hotel about Shah Alam’s whereabouts, his followers forced them to leave the place. The vendor said the 900 stalls in the area paid more than Tk11.25 lakh in total to Shah Alam and police every month. Nearly all the stalls set up on the footpaths of the capital pay the monthly “toll.” When BNP was in power, the local leaders of the party collected the toll; just like the way the local leaders of Awami League are doing now. MA Kashem, president of the Bangladesh Hawkers Federation, told the Dhaka Tribune that all of the 2.5 lakh hawkers in the capital “must” pay the toll. While the Farmgate hawkers pay a monthly toll, there are many footpath traders who pay daily tolls of around Tk50.
Three cops closed on extortion charge in Khulna n Tribune Desk Three policemen, including a sub-inspector of Terokhada Police Station, were closed to the District Police Lines on Tuesday on charge of realising extortion from the family of a Rana Plaza victim. Locals said Abdul Kuddus Mollah of Bhabanipur village received Tk72,000 as compensation for the death of his sister Asma in the Rana Plaza collapse, reports UNB. SI Milton of the Terokhada police along with two constables went to the house of Kuddus on May 10 and took him to a place one kilometre off the house. Later, they beat Kuddus and demanded Tk5 lakh as extortion, saying he received Tk72 lakh as compensation. They also threatened to put him in crossfire. The policemen freed Kuddus after his brother paid them Tk19,200. The action was taken against the three policemen after Milton lodged a complaint against them in this regard. l
On that count, the footpath vendors pay a staggering total of Tk37.5 crore as toll per month to these politically-backed extortionists. Kashem said: “Not just the political leaders, even law enforcers of local police stations are also involved with the rackets.” However, MA Aziz, acting president of Dhaka city unit Awami League, snubbed out the allegations saying organisational actions would be taken against anyone found guilty of extorting. “These members will not be given any post in the party ranks in future,” he assured. There are about 350 footpath stalls in the Motijheel area. According to some of the owners, they pay around Tk15 lakh every month. In the capital’s Gulistan area, local ruling party activists Babul Chowdhury and Nurul Amin allegedly collect the tolls. From stalls on the footpath from the Shahbagh intersection to the TSC on the Dhaka University campus, two linemen named Islmail and Riazuddin collect the money. Even if for opening a stall on the footpath in this area, one has to pay a huge sum first up. The chatpati vendor at Shahbagh said every night a sub-inspector from the nearby police station come to his stall, chat with his friends for hours occupying his seats and goes away with at least Tk100. One Ramzan Miah allegedly collects the toll from the stalls on the footpath in front of the Birdem hospital. When the reporters contacted him and said they wanted to open a stall on the footpath, Ramzan said they would have to give him Tk20,000 first up and Tk200 every day as “rent.” Sirajul Islam, OC of Shahbagh police
Vegetable sellers occupy the walkway leaving people compelled to walk on the road in front of Tejgaon College at Farmgate station, told the Dhaka Tribune that his officers were not involved with the extortion. “In fact, they conduct regular drives to remove the hawkers and free the footpaths,” he claimed. The Dhaka Tribune has learnt that Koton and Saju collect the tolls in the Baitul Mukarram area; Siraj Talukdar, Selim and Moududi Nur Islam in Jurain; Torab Ali in Jatrabari; Hossain, Sattar
and Rafiq in New Market; and Kana Dulal and Shah Alam in the Farmgate area. The various associations of the hawkers have told the authorities from time to time that they are even ready to pay taxes if actions were taken against these extortionists. “The government is losing crores of takas because of an absence of rules and regulations [for governing foot-
Intercity train catches fire in capital n Mohammad Jamil Khan
A fire broke out on a Dhaka-bound intercity train from Sylhet called Kalni Express at the capital’s cantonment railway station yesterday. No casualties were reported from the incident. “The fire originated from a gas cylinder leakage from the kitchen of the dining coach around 1:30pm and soon spread to two other passengers compartment,” Atiqur Rahman, officer-in-charge of airport police station, told the Dhaka Tribune. “Seven fire fighting units rushed to the spot and doused the fire after a
45-minute effort. No casualties were reported as the train had arrived at the station and the passengers rushed out of the train following the fire,” he added. “Primarily, the fire started in the kitchen of the train and soon spread to two other compartments because of the wind,” said Shajadi Sultana, duty officer of the Fire Service and Civil Defence. Asked about the losses incurred from the fire, Bangladesh Railway Divisional Commission Officer Mahbubur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune that the fire has totally damaged two com-
partments of the intercity train. “We have formed two probe bodies – one headed by the divisional traffic officer of Dhaka and the other by the chief engineer of the East Zone of the railway,” he said. “The committee would hold a meeting after the investigation to find reasons behind the fire and estimate the loss incurred from the fire and then we would able to tell the exact amount,” he added. The fire has damaged almost two compartments of the intercity train and in this way the loss estimated would be around Tk10 crore. l
DHAKA TODAY TOMORROW SUN SETS 6:33PM SUN RISES 5:16AM FORECAST FOR TODAY 38
YESTERDAY’S HIGH AND LOW
PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha
3:56am 5:18am 11:55am 3:19pm 6:32pm 7:55pm Source: IslamicFinder.org
Wife: Ex-RAB 11 CO Tarek Sayeed shot my husband dead n Our Correspondent, Lakhshmipur Wife of slain Lakshmipur Jubo Dal leader Iqbal Mahbub yesterday alleged that former RAB 11 commanding officer Lt Col Tarek Sayeed Mahmud shot her husband dead on December 12. Tarek Sayeed was forced into retirement on May 7 days after allegation surfaced about his link to the abduction and killing of seven persons, including a ward councilor and a senior lawyer, in Narayanganj. “He shot my husband in the head in front of Chalk Masjid, leaving him dead on the spot. He took the body away in a van,” said Iqbal’s wife Monowara Begum at a press conference at her residence in the district town. “That very day, locals held a RAB vehicle, demanding return of Iqbal’s dead body when five people had died in the RAB’s random firing,” she said. “Now it has been six months but we
n Our Correspondent, Jamalpur
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14
Monirul Islam, a joint commissioner of police, said: “Police is not the name of an individual. It is an organisation. There might be complaints against one or two of its members but that does not mean the entire organisation is involved.” He promised to take actions through proper investigation if any police member was found involved with the crime. l
have not yet got his body back,” she said. RAB 11’s present Commanding Officer Lt Col Anwar Latif Khan said: “I have joined here just a few days ago. So, I do not have any idea about it.” Monowara said at the press conference: “We repeatedly tried to file a case or a general diary with the police, but they refused, saying no GD or case could be filed unless a death certificate was shown.” When this correspondent asked about the allegations over phone, Lakshmipur Sadar police station Officer-in-Charge Iqbal Hossain switched off his phone without saying anything. The wife of the slain Jubo Dal joint general secretary urged the prime minister to intervene into the matter. Iqbal’s father Nurul Islam, brother Sohel and daughter Afia Mahmud Nahadi were present at the press conference. l
Woman crushed under train
path business],” said Arif Chowdhury, president of the National Hawkers Federation. Mohammad Ansar Ali Khan, CEO of Dhaka South City Corporation, said: “We often clear the footpaths by conducting raids. But they [footpath vendors] come back every time.” He said: “Only police can take action against this.”
ABU HAYAT MAHMUD
Onlookers are next to the burnt bogies of Kalni Express at the Cantonment railway station yesterday
MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
A woman was crushed to death under the wheels of a train in Rail Gate area of Jamalpur yesterday morning. The identity of the woman could not be known till filing this report. Railway sources said Mymensingh Express, an intercity train coming from Chittagong, left Jamalpur railway station at 10:45 to catch next
station at the Bangabandhu Bridge East Side. The woman was trying to cross the track at the town’s Rail Gate area at 11am when she was crushed by the running train. The woman was approximately 40 years old and was wearing a red saree. Jahirul Haque, sub-inspector of Jamalpur railway station confirmed the authenticity of the incident. l
Security beefed up in Ctg Roadblock in Cox’s Bazar following ahead of Jamaat hartal death of schoolboy n Tribune Desk Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) and district police have taken special security measures in the city and elsewhere of the district to thwart any kind of sabotage during Wednesday’s daylong hartal of Jamaat-e-Islami. Jamaat is set to enforce the dawn-todusk shutdown in greater Chittagong protesting the arrest of its 21 leaders and activists. Police sources said members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) will be deployed in Lohagarah and Satkania upazilas of the district during the hartal hours, reports UNB. Masud Ul Hasan, deputy commissioner of CMP, said about 2,000 policemen will be deployed in the city
on Wednesday to maintain the lawand-order situation while Rapid Action Battalion personnel will keep vigil at important points of the city. Iltutmish, additional superintendent of Chittagong police, they have also taken a special security measure in the district. On Monday, local Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami called the daylong hartal protesting the arrest of its leaders and activists, including city unit ameer and former MP ANM Shamsul Islam. Meanwhile, police filed a case against the arrested Jamaat men with Kotwali Police Station. Imam Hossain, sub-inspector of the police station, filed the case under the Anti-Terrorism Act on Monday night. l
n Tribune report Hundreds of local people blocked the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway yesterday after a schoolboy was killed in a road accident in Medha Kochhopia under Chokoria upazila in Cox’s Bazar. Local sources said Tajul Islam, son of Asiur Rahman, died on the spot after a bus ran him over. As soon as the news of his death spread, hundreds of local people took to the street and put up a barricade on the road with logs. Officer-in-Charge of Chokoria police station Probhas Chandra Dhar on receiving information rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.
Meanwhile, a minor girl was killed in a road accident on the Tangail-Mymensingh road at Kalihati upazila under Tangail yesterday morning. The deceased was identified as Hanufa Khatun, 7, daughter of Hurmuz Ali in Chamra village of the upazila. Monir Hossain, officer-in-charge of Kalihati police station, said Nanifa crushed under a Madhupu-bound truck in Donail area on the road while she was crossing the road at about 11am. She died on the spot. Apart from this, a schoolteacher was killed in Kola Bazar area of Kaliganj upazila on Monday night. The deceased was identified as Mehedi Hasan Milton, 30, an assistant teacher of Kola United High School and
son of Abdul Khaleque, former chairman of Kol union of the upazila. Police said the accident had took place when a shallow engine-run human hauler overturned in the area around 6:00pm on Monday, leaving its passenger Milton severely injured. He was admitted to Kaliganj Upazila Health Complex. Later in the night, he was shifted to Jessore Medical College Hospital, where doctors declared him dead around 10am In Mymensingh, two people were killed in a road accident on the Mymensingh-Haluaghat Road at Madhupur village in Tarakanda upazila. The deceased were identified as Shafiqul Islam, 27, and Al-Amin, 19. l
Litchi still beyond the reach of commoners n Our Correspondent, Rajshahi Two more days are left till the Bangla month of Joistha, commonly known as ‘Modhumash’ (honey month), and the juicy fruit litchi, one of the popular seasonal fruits in the country, has already started appearing in the Rajshahi markets. The price, however, is still too high for commoners. One hundred litchis are sold at Tk220 to Tk350, but traders said this quantity of litchi was sold at Tk120 to Tk150, last year. Many seasonal traders have set up makeshift shops at different points in Rajshahi city, including at Shaheb Bazar, Shalbagan, Lakshmipur, Sheroil bus terminal, Bindurmore and the Court area, displaying the delicious fruit. Madraji, Bombai, Kadmi, Mojjafarpuri, Bedana, Kalibari, Mongalbari, Chaina-3, Bari-1, Bari-2 and Bari-3 are the most favorite varieties of litchi among customers, traders said. Noticing the arrival of the fruit, many people come over to purchase it, but return back in empty hand when they see the exorbitant prices.
“I had gone to purchase some litchi for my family, but was astonished by the high prices of the fruit,” said Nurunahar, a resident of the Shalbagan area. She hopes that she will be able to purchase the fruit in the coming days. According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, 378.8 hectares land has been used for litchi cultivation in the district this year with a production target of 2,078 tonnes. There is a great demand for the Rajshahi litchi across the country, but growers fear that the production target might not be achieved this year because of the fluctuation in temperatures. But agriculturists claim litchi production will be as per the growers’ expectations. Raipara, Choto Bonogram, Lichu Bagan, Banessor and Bagha are the main locations where most of the Rajshahi litchi are produced and marketed. Rahamatullah, who sells seasonal fruits in the Sahebbazar area, said inclement weather, associated with the high temperatures, caused huge dam-
age to litchi production this year, thereby hiking up the price. Mohammad Alimuddin, senior scientific officer at Rajshahi Fruit Research Station, told the Dhaka Tribune that despite inclement weather the district had witnessed a bumper yield of the fruit. Mainuddin, a litchi grower from Choto Bongram under the Shah Makhdum thana, said because of the extreme heat and drought, the litchi had ripened earlier last year but this year it has ripened at the right time. Akbar Hossen, a litchi grower from the Poba upazila, said he had hundreds of litchi trees on his three bighas of land. “I have sold the litchi from my trees to different traders across the country at Tk1.10 lakh and my I am hoping that I will be able to make a profit of Tk80,000 this year,” he said. Deputy Director of the Rajshahi Agricultural Extension Department said litchi will be available in the markets within the next two months. He expressed hope that the prices of the fruit will fall soon. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Dhaka Export Processing Zone Ganakbari, Ashulia, Dhaka
Tender Notice No-17/2013-2014
Sealed tenders are hereby invited from the eligible contractor for the following works as per terms & conditions stated below: 1
Prime Minister’s Ofﬁce.
Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA)
Procuring Entity Name
Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ).
Procuring Entity District
Tender for works.
Invitation ref no.
17/2013-2014 date- 07/05/2014.
KEY INFORMATION 7
Open Tendering Method (OTM).
KEY INFORMATION 8
Budget and source of Funds
Self ﬁnance of BEPZA.
Development partners (if applicable)
PARTICULAR INFORMATION 10
Project/ Programme Code (if applicable)
Project/ Programme name (if applicable)
Tender Package No.
Tender package name
Tender publication date
On or before May 15, 2014
Tender last selling date
June 01, 2014 During Ofﬁce hour.
Tender submission date & time
June 02, 2014 upto 12:00 Noon.
Tender opening date & time
June 02, 2014 at 3:00 P.M.
Name & Address of the ofﬁce(s) Selling of Tender Document (Principal)
Accounts Deptt. Dhaka EPZ, Ganakbari, Ashulia, Dhaka.
Selling of Tender Document (others)
1. Accounts Deptt, BEPZA, BEPZA, Complex, House 19/D, Road no. 6, Dhanmondi, Dhaka. 2. Divisional Commissioner’s ofﬁce, Segunbagicha, Dhaka.
Receiving of Tender Document
1. Chief Engineer, BEPZA, BEPZA Complex, House 19/D, Road no. 6, Dhanmondi, Dhaka. 2. Superintending Engineer, Dhaka EPZ, Ganakbari, Ashulia, Dhaka. 3. Divisional Commissioner’s ofﬁce Segunbagicha, Dhaka.
Place/Date/Time of Pre-Tender Meeting
INFORMATION FOR TENDERER
The photo taken from Horogram area in Rajshahi shows that a grower collects Litchi from an orchard yesterday
Eligibility of tenderer
The invitation for tender is open to all eligible tenderers who satisfy the following: (a) The tenderer must have successful completion experience of at least 01 related civil work successfully completed within the last 05 (ﬁve) years, each with a value of at least for sl no 23 (i)-(iv) is 50% of quoted amount in Govt./Semi Govt./Autonomous bodies. The work completion certiﬁcates shall have to be issued by the ofﬁcer not below the rank of Executive Engineer or equivalent ofﬁcer of concern Department/Organization. (b) The required minimum average annual construction turnover shall be greater than for sl no 23 (i) Tk. 60.00 Lac, for sl no 23 (ii) Tk. 30.00 lac, for sl no 23 (iii) Tk. 10.00 lac & for sl no. 23 (iv) Tk. 8.00 Lac over the best three years in the last ﬁve years which will be based on work completion certiﬁcates. All work completion certiﬁcates must be enclosed along with the tender. (c) The required minimum liquid asset for sl no 23 (i)-(iv) is Tk. 50% of quoted amount. (d) Black listed/debarred bidders from any Govt./Semi-Govt/Autonomous organization will be treated as ineligible to participate in the tender. (e) Up-to-date trade license, income tax clearance certiﬁcate, VAT registration certiﬁcate. (f) Other required conditions and documents of the tenderer are shown in tender data sheet (TDS) of tender documents must be fulﬁlled. (g) All other criterian will be taken according to the public procurement Act2006 and its amendment.
Brief Description of related works
For sl no 23 (i) Plaster, PVC pipe, Weather coat etc. (ii) Picking up existing lime terracing and making new lime terracing. (iii) Plaster, Enamel paint, Weather Coat, Sanitary work etc. (iv) Plastic paint, Weather coat, Floor tiles, Enamel painting etc.
Price of Tender document
For sl no 23 (i) Tk. 1,000.00 For sl no 23 (ii) Tk. 750.00 For sl no 23 (iii) & (iv) Tk. 500.00
Manpura Island disconnected from the mainland n Our Correspondent, Barisal Residents of the Manpura upazila, an island in the Meghna estuary under the Bhola district, have been endangering their own lives by using unsafe water transportation after a suspension of the sea-truck service in March. The suspension was imposed by the Sea Transport Directorate under the Shipping Ministry from March 15 to October 15, banning passenger-carrying water transports, including launches and trawlers, from operating on the risky water routes around the estuary and the coastal areas in the southern region. The suspension has been enforced every year since June 18, 2000. The restriction is in place because of storms like cyclones and Nor’westers during the monsoon season, said Abul Bashar Majumder, deputy director of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTC) Barisal office. “Water transport is the main mode of transport in that region, and using them during the monsoon can put the travellers’ lives at risk during a storm,” he said. Abdul Jalil, captain of sea truck ST Shaheed Sheikh Jamal, said his vessel had been approved by the BIWTC to
operate on the Manpura-Tajumuddin route and started carrying passengers on March 19. But it broke down on April 5 for the first time. “After it was repaired, it resumed service on April 22, only to break down again two weeks later,” he said. Md Sifat, engine driver of the ST Shaheed Sheikh Jamal, said the vessel needed complete servicing and both the engines needed to be repaired. Mohiuddin Ahmed, secretary of the Manpura Traders’ Association, alleged that owners of the unauthorised water transports were earning Tk20,00030,000 every day by commuting on the route using their malfunctioning vessels. “They are paying Tk4,000-5,000 every day to the lessee and staff of the ST Shaheed Sheikh Jamal as a bribe to remain out of business,” he claimed. Nuruddin, the lessee of the sea truck, denied the allegations and said he was incurring a loss as BIWTC has placed a dilapidated vessel in his authority. Abdullah Al Baqi, upazila nirbahi officer of Manpura, said the lessee often blamed the run-down engines of the sea truck for the disruption of service and BIWTC authority has been asked
to provide a replacement immediately. Amir Hossain, vice president of the local Hazirhut Traders’ Association, said Manpura residents are virtually isolated, detached from other parts of the country due to the shortage of safe water transportation. Acknowledging the acute shortage of BIWTC-approved vessels for the perilous route, Gopal Chandra Majumdar, assistant manager at the BIWTC’s Barisal office, said they are trying to replace the out-of-order sea truck on the Manpura route, soon. Nazrul Islam, assistant engineer at the BIWTC, stressed on immediate sanctioning of fund and tender invitations to start the vessel’s repair work. Shahinur Bhuiyan, director (finance) of the BIWTC, said the BIWTC has been earning only Tk4.56 lakh every year by leasing out the sea truck on the Manpura route, but repair work and management costs of the vessel will take around Tk8-9 lakh, so an investigation is needed before funds are sanctioned. However, Nurul Alam Akhand, deputy general manager (commercial), assured that they will resume the sea truck’s operations connecting Manpura to the mainland soon. l
3 dope gang members mass beaten n Our Correspondent, Munshiganj
A crowd beat up three members of an aggyan party (dope gang) on the Dhaka-Mawa highway in Srinagar upazila on Monday and handed them over to
the police. The arrestees were identified as Jamal Sheikh alias Sujan, 50, son of Bujjuk Ali Sheikh and Ujjal Sheikh, son of Jalal Miah, of Nayabari village in Lohajang upazila while the other, Saiful Islam, 42, son of Redewan Ahmed, of Dharmaganj Pakapole area in Fatullah police station of Narayanganj. SI Khandaker Khalid Hasan, incharge of Mawa Naval police outpost, said the trio, who were in guise of passenger in a
Bikrampur-bound bus, drugged another passenger with some food and looted all valuables from him.
Identiﬁcation of Lot
Dhaka EPZ Ganakbari, Ashulia, Dhaka.
Tender security amount (in Tk) in favour of BEPZA
Re-arrangement of plumbing system for FS-SFB# 1,2,3 & 4 at old zone of Dhaka EPZ
120 (One hundred twenty) days.
Repair of lime terracing for 3-storied factory building # 3 & 7 at old zone of Dhaka EPZ.
90 (Ninety) days
Repair and painting of Ansar Barrack building at old zone of Dhaka EPZ
90 (Ninety) days
Repair & maintenance of Mosque at extension area of Dhaka EPZ.
60 (Sixty) days
PROCURING ENTITY DETAILS 24
Name of Ofﬁcial Inviting Tender
G.M Nazrul Islam.
Designation of ofﬁcial inviting Tender
Superintending Engineer (In-Charge)
Address of Ofﬁcial Inviting Tender
Dhaka EPZ, Ganakbari, Ashulia, Dhaka.
Contact Details of Ofﬁcial Inviting Tender
Phone: 7789206, Fax: 880-2-7789003
Special Instruction (a) Eligible ﬁrms/authorized representative may purchase tender documents form the ofﬁces mentioned in SN-18 on submitting written request in their letter head pad.
The trio in guise of passenger drugged another passenger with some food At one stage, other passengers caught them and gave them a good beating them before handing them over to the police. The injured were admitted to Srinagar Health Complex. Lohajang police station OC said the detainees were grilled and a case was filed in this regard. l
(b) Any false, forged and miss leading documents furnished by Tenderer shall result in rejection of the Tender. (c) In case of any confusion arises due to printing mistake or other reason, the Public Procurement Rules-2008 will govern. (d) Tender should be submitted original along with one duplicate copy and it should be mentioned on the cover sheet. (e) The tender shall be valid for a period of 90 (Ninety) days from the date of opening the Tender(s). the tender notice is also available at web site: www.epzbangladesh.org.bd of BEPZA. 29
The procuring entity reserves the right to accept any or reject all the Tenders or annual the Tender Proceedings.
G.M Nazrul Islam Superintending Engineer (In-Charge) Phone: 7789206 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
A real fashion revolution
Can consumer activism have an impact on the global apparel industry?
n Farzana Nawaz here are few industrial disasters in recent memory that has shaken up the public conscience the way that the Rana Plaza tragedy has. The death of 1,133 workers on April 23, 2013 focused attention on the high human cost of cheap fashion. Outrage has poured in from every corner of the globe on the appalling conditions that workers have to endure and the outrage has been accompanied by a call to action from all quarters. There was a consensus that all parties involved – international brands, governments, factory owners, trade unions and even consumers – need to take action to change the status quo. This year April 24 was declared “Fashion Revolution” day, an international day of public action with simultaneous events taking place in 51 countries around the world. The main purpose of #fashionrevolution was to commemorate the Rana Plaza tragedy and to raise awareness of the conditions in the global garment supply chain. The slogan for the event was “meet your maker,” a rather unfortunate choice of words, but the intent is clear enough – get to know the people who are making your clothes. Public education and awareness raising events included screening of documentaries, speaker events with experts, raising funds for the victims and in some places demonstrations and human chains. However, the rhetoric of the Fashion Revolution day was far more ambitious than just raising awareness. To quote from the website: “Together we can use the power of fashion to catalyse change and reconnect the broken links in the supply chain. Wear your clothes inside-out to help start the beginning of an industry-wide transformation towards a more sustainable future.” This call to action to wear your clothes inside out resulted in an avalanche of #insideout hipster selfies on the website, Facebook and Twitter. While this demonstrates a certain level of interest among consumers and perhaps even solidarity with garment workers, it is doubtful that the campaign will generate any kind of real impact on the lives of garment workers in developing countries or the global garment supply chain.
One of the “action points” on the Fashion Revolution site is to “demand transparency.” That seems like a worthy goal and a reasonable place to start. However, it’s not clear how consumers are supposed to demand transparency and from whom. The global garment supply chain is complex and involves a multitude of players and issues that include production of the fibre, textile, manufacturing of the apparel and then the marketing and retailing of it. All along the supply chain there
The main purpose of #fashionrevolution was to commemorate the Rana Plaza tragedy and to raise awareness of the conditions in the global garment supply chain Squandering the consumer good will If the revolution fails then certainly the blame can’t be attributed to the consumers. Boycotting is the single most powerful tool consumers have to let companies know that the way they run their business is unacceptable. However, ever since the Rana Plaza strategy, consumers have been consistently told to not boycott clothing from Bangladesh for fear of putting poor people out of their jobs. But what other options are available then?
are considerations of environmental and labour rights. A brief survey of the Fashion Revolution events around the world shows that while most consumer focus right now is on working conditions in the manufacturing part, they are also concerned with other issues along the supply chain. Environmental concerns, in particular, loom large. In the face of this level of complexity, what does the demand for transparency even mean and who will respond to this? The measures that are being taken so far are meagre at best and by themselves won’t generate meaningful
information for action by consumers or civil society watchdogs. For example, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, or “the Accord” in short, stipulates that a list of suppliers from Bangladesh and their inspection reports will be made public. However, the information will be aggregated for all buyers and it won’t be possible to trace which brand is manufacturing at which factories. International brands themselves have done very little so far to make their operations more transparent. Sustainability sections of major retail brands such as H&M and Inditex (owner of Zara, among other labels) is full of inspirational rhetoric about what they’re doing to improve the conditions of workers and the environment. While glossy marketing copy describes their “generous” programmes in detail, they are completely mum on the actual results of how these programmes are working. Some brands on the other hand are trying to capitalise on rising consumer interest in sustainability, to market new product lines. However, consumers need to take a leap of faith, and “trust” that this is not just a marketing ploy as opposed to a real change in manufacturing practices. If the brands are not required to produce hard evidence that what they are doing is actually improving working conditions or reducing environmental impact, then it becomes all too easy to white-wash the problems that cost money or are difficult to deal with.
Firefighters try and contain a fire at a RMG plant – one of the many accidents that have plagued the industry
MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
Customers have a right to know It’s almost banal to say that we live in a data-driven age. There is more and more information available for every aspect of our lives and the goods we consume are no exception. There was a time when labelling of ingredients or nutritional information on food products was not the norm. However, over time the food industry has evolved (often driven by governmental regulation) to provide more detailed information on ingredients and nutrition so that consumers can make more informed choices. In a similar vein, various forms of certification and labelling schemes (for example, Energy Star) are being used to signal to consumers whether appliances or other household items are environmentally and ecologically friendly. In addition to certification schemes for quality, in recent years increasing attention has been placed on how products are made. Fair Trade works towards equity in global supply chains, by ensuring that producers in developing countries are paid fair prices. Various types of eco-labelling schemes are taking into account issues such as sourcing of raw materials, amount of hazardous effluents in the production process and even packaging. Moreover, ever-broader categories of products are using sustainability labelling. For example, in Nordic countries the Nordic Swan eco-label now covers 63 different product groups, from appliances, computers, hand soaps to furniture and hotels. All of this is to say that perhaps it’s time to think about a labelling scheme for the apparel industry that will allow customers to make a more informed choice about which brands and manufacturing practices they are willing to support. This will also enable customers to distinguish between “good” and “bad” brands and reward companies that are willing to go the extra mile to ensure sustainability in their supply chains. As I mentioned before, the garment supply chain is long and complex, therefore it will take some effort to develop meaningful certification schemes that can distinguish between the good and the bad performers along metrics such as environmental impact, fair trade and working conditions in manufacturing plants. Brands are of course likely to complain that transparency comes at a cost. However, because of advances in technology it is easier and cheaper now than ever before to generate the data necessary to be able to do these kinds of assessments. Moreover, given that the global ready-made apparel industry is estimated to generate up to
$2tn of revenue a year, with a steadily increasing profit margin, the cost argument can only go so far. To present this data usefully to consumers one can imagine something like the use of QR codes on products, which when scanned will take customers to a website, where they can find detailed information about the sustainability of the production process of the item of clothing they are about to purchase. For forward-thinking brands that are actually making concrete positive changes along their supply chain, this will give them a competitive advantage, as they will be able to distinguish themselves from less caring competitors. On the other hand, this will also allow consumers and civil society to aim their advocacy efforts towards brands that refuse to provide these details.
meaningful information that will help them choose. Consumers need better options than boycotting all clothing made in countries such as Bangladesh or continuing business as usual. Rana plaza has started a global conversation on what consumers can do to ensure that the clothes on their back is not killing people on the other side of the planet. But we now need to take this interest and desire for change and translate it into results by enabling consumers to act. Otherwise, #fashionrevolution will mean little more than a feel good exercise for western consumers while workers in developing countries continue to suffer. l Farzana Nawaz is governance expert currently working in media. You can write to her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @farzana_n
Fair Trade works towards equity in global supply chains, by ensuring that producers in developing countries are paid fair prices
Making the supply chain more transparent to consumers will also discourage opportunistic business practices, such as moving production from countries with rising levels of environmental and labour rights standards to less compliant producer countries in order to cut costs. This will complement the efforts that are underway at the moment, such as the Accord and the Alliance, to improve conditions in countries like Bangladesh.
Transparency can be the catalyst for a real fashion revolution The feel-good rhetoric of creating jobs and improving lives in third world countries has served fast fashion brands well. The Rana plaza tragedy along with a string of similar incidents in recent years, has seriously called into question the truth of this claim. There is the beginning of an understanding that the complexity of the global garment supply chain can no longer be used as an excuse to hide abuse of workers and the environment, and that there needs to be a higher level of accountability for brands that are making billions by exploiting this complexity. Consumer action can significantly impact industry practices and they can hold brands accountable by voting with their wallets. However, this will not be possible if they are not given
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Torture is alive and flourishing US in aerial search Amnesty: n for Nigeria girls
of influence... has got so much more normalised as part of national security expectations,” he said.
Manned US aircraft were in the skies above Nigeria yesterday in the hunt for more than 200 missing schoolgirls, almost a month after they were kidnapped by Islamist militants. The United States said manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) aircraft were being flown and it had also shared commercial satellite imagery as part of the rescue effort. Boko Haram militants abducted 276 girls from the remote northeastern town of Chibok in Borno state on April 14. Some 223 are still missing and on Monday the militants released a new video purporting to show some of them.
Boko Haram has been waging an increasingly deadly insurgency in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north since 2009 With electricity supply intermittent in Chibok, efforts were underway for the missing girls’ parents to identify their daughters in the video, in which Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed they had converted to Islam. The co-ordinator of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, which has helped drive international pressure for action through social media and global street protests, said three parents had seen their daughters on screen. “Three parents have identified their daughters in the video,” Hadiza Bala Usman told AFP from the Nigerian capital Abuja. “(Borno) Governor (Kashim) Shettima has now organised a screening in (the state capital) Maiduguri with audio and is bringing parents from Chibok to try to identify more girls.”
Combing for clues
The latest video, obtained by AFP, showed about 130 teenagers, all in Muslim dress and reciting the first chapter of the Koran and praying in an undisclosed rural location. It was not clear where or when the footage was shot, although Shekau does refer to suggestions made in the last week by the United Nations that Boko Haram may have committed a crime
against humanity by abducting the girls. Nigeria’s government said on Monday evening that it was studying the video in which the militant leader appears to indicate that he is prepared to free the girls in exchange for the release of Boko Haram fighters held in prison. Interior Minister Abba Moro told AFP that Boko Haram was not in a position to dictate terms, although a later statement from the military and the head of the National Orientation Agency appeared to contradict that. “The government will continue to explore all options for the release and safe return of our girls to the their homes,” they said in a statement. British, French and Israeli specialists are also providing specialist help to Nigeria, whose initial response to the kidnapping was criticised as slow. China has also offered help. US intelligence experts were “combing through every detail of the video for clues that might help ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls”, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Washington.
‘Nothing to do with Islam’
President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he believed the students were still in Nigeria and would be freed soon. Nigeria’s military is combing the Sambisa forest former nature reserve in Borno state, where Boko Haram camps and arms dumps have previously been found. Concern has been expressed, though, that the girls may have been spilt into smaller groups and may have been taken into neighbouring Chad or Cameroon from where Boko Haram has previously launched attacks. Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou meanwhile described the kidnapping as “hideous” and said people in the Muslim-majority country were moved by the girls’ plight. “What has happened in neighbouring Nigeria is a lesson in the devastating effects of ignorance and obscurantism, especially when (Boko Haram) are convinced they know everything about religion,” he said. The kidnapping had “nothing to do with Islam”, he added, saying that Niger would step up military patrols to ensure security after Boko Haram’s previous incursions across the porous border. l
The use of torture is widespread 30 years after the United Nations adopted a convention outlawing the practice, Amnesty International has said. At least 44 percent of more than 21,000 people from 21 countries surveyed by the London-based rights group for its new report released on Monday, said that they would not feel safe from torture if arrested in their home country. The report titled Torture in 2014 - 30 Years of Broken Promises read: “Although governments have prohibited this dehumanising practice in law and have recognised global disgust at its existence, many of them are carrying out torture or facilitating it in practice.” “Three decades from the convention and more than 65 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights torture is not just alive and well. It is flourishing,” according to the report. Amnesty said 155 countries have ratified the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture but many governments were still “betraying their responsibility” with at least 79 countries continuing to engage in the outlawed practice in 2014. “It’s almost become normalised, it’s become routine,” Amnesty Secretary General Salil Shetty told reporters at the launch of the “Stop Torture” cam-
‘Fact of life’
paign in London. The campaign focuses on Mexico, the Philippines, Morocco and Western Sahara, Nigeria and Uzbekistan. Shetty also spoke of “the cruelty of inmates in the United States being held in solitary confinement with no light”,
Europe in fresh push for talks on Ukraine crisis n AFP, KIEV
People attend celebrations of what pro-Russian activists claimed victory in an independence referendum in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk, on May 12, 2014. The activists claimed an overwhelming victory in their referendum on self-rule in two Ukraine regions AFP
Olmert sentenced to six years for corruption n Reuters, Tel Aviv
Israel’s ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in jail yesterday for taking bribes in a real estate deal, a crime the judge said was akin to treason. The first criminal conviction of a former Israeli head of government all but ended speculation that Olmert - a centrist credited internationally with working towards a peace settlement with the Palestinians - might return to political life. He had denied any wrongdoing in the property deal, approved when he served as Jerusalem’s mayor, that led to the construction of the hilltop Holyland apartment towers, a hulking stone complex widely seen as one of the city’s worst eyesores. “A public servant who takes bribes is akin to a traitor,” said Judge David Rozen in the Tel Aviv District Court, as he handed down a six-year prison
Multiple car bomb blasts across Baghdad n Agencies A wave of car bombings in mainly Shia areas of Baghdad has killed at least 28 people, officials have said, the latest in a surge in violence that has been the most serious challenge to the government’s efforts to achieve stability across Iraq. Yesterday’s attacks came as people were celebrating the birthday of Imam Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. Police officials said a car bomb went off in the Baghdad neighbourhood of Sadr City, killing four people and wounding six in the morning hours. Another car bomb elsewhere in Sadr City went off near a cluster of homes, killing two people and wounding seven. A short while later, a car bomb exploded in a commercial street in Baghdad’s eastern district of Jamila, killing three people and wounding 10. l
term sought by prosecutors and fined Olmert 1 million shekels ($289,500). Rozen found Olmert guilty on March 31 of two bribery charges, saying the former prime minister had accepted 500,000 shekels from developers of the Holyland project and 60,000 shekels in a separate real estate deal. Olmert, the judge said, devoted most of his time to “praise-worthy” public service - but “also lined his own pockets”. “The accused served as the prime minister of Israel. From this high and honorable post, he reached the position of having been convicted of the most despicable and grave crimes,” Rozen said. Rozen ordered Olmert, 68, to report to prison on September 1, effectively giving his lawyers time to take the case to a higher court and request that he remain free until it rules. Known as one of the country’s most
gregarious politicians, Olmert sat largely stony-faced during the court session, and made no comment afterwards. “He did not take a bribe. He did not receive a bribe. He sees himself as innocent, and it is with those feelings that he will be going to the Supreme Court to appeal,” Olmert lawyer Eli Zohar told reporters. Two years ago, Olmert was acquitted of most of the major charges brought against him in separate cases involving his links to a U.S. businessman. Those corruption allegations forced Olmert’s resignation as prime minister in 2008, and his acquittal had appeared to position him for a possible political comeback.
Olmert has made several criticisms of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies toward the Palestinians, fuelling talk about his future political ambitions.
But the judge said Olmert’s crimes entailed “moral turpitude”, which under Israeli law would preclude him from running for public office for seven years after finishing his jail term. A lawyer by profession, Olmert began his political career in the 1970s as a lawmaker who targeted organized crime in Israel. He was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003 and prime minister from 2006 to 2009, staying in office in a caretaker capacity until after an election that brought right-winger Netanyahu to power. As Israel’s leader, Olmert waged war against militants in Lebanon in 2006 and the Gaza Strip in 2008. He claimed significant progress in talks with the Palestinians aimed at securing a final peace deal, offering an Israeli withdrawal from much of the occupied West Bank. But no agreement was reached. l
Who, What, Why: Could Boris Johnson be UK PM and then US president? n Agencies
Incumbent Mayor of London Boris Johnson renewed his US passport in November 2012, his aides have confirmed. The news came as a surprise to some, BBC reported. In a column for the Spectator in 2006, he said he was renouncing his US citizenship after being barred from using his British passport to change planes in Texas. But it appears he didn’t follow through. There has been speculation Johnson might eventually succeed David Cameron as Tory leader. Having dual citizenship is no bar to becoming prime minister. The only requirements are to be able to command the confidence of the House of Commons and be invited by the Crown to form a government, says John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University. You don’t even need to have British citizenship to be an MP. The rules say only that you have to be a citizen of the UK, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth, and over 18. The US passport revelation leaves an
of stoning and flogging in the Middle East and of the “stubborn failure” of European nations to investigate allegations of complicity in torture. “Since the so-called war against terrorism, the use of torture, particularly in the United States and their sphere
The survey showed that the concern about torture is highest in Brazil and Mexico and lowest in Australia and Britain. Support for torture ranged widely across nations, from 74 percent in China and India, to just 12 percent in Greece and 15 percent in Argentina, the Amnesty survey conducted by GlobeScan found. The report described police brutality in Asia, where torture is a “fact of life”, and pointed out that more than 30 countries in Africa have yet to make such abuse punishable by law. Amnesty said it had received reports of torture being used in more 140 countries and the report gave examples from countries ranging from Nigeria to Mexico and Ukraine. The NGO called on governments to prevent torture by providing medical and legal access for prisoners and better inspection of detention centres. It also wants an end to the impunity that exists in many places, urging independent investigations of allegations of torture. The group warns that many governments are endorsing or at least failing to tackle the issue head-on. l
intriguing question floating in the air. Could Johnson be prime minister and then US president? He was born in New York and is thus a “natural-born citizen”, a constitutional requirement for any presidential candidate. He told David Letterman in 2012 that he could “technically speaking” be US president. In Johnson’s 2006 Spectator piece he wrote: “When the going has got tough in England it has sometimes crossed my mind that I could yet activate the Schwarzeneg-
ger option and flee to the land of opportunity, perhaps beginning as a short-order chef in Miami before winding up as Colorado senator and, inevitably, president.” Tongue was firmly in cheek. Or was it? Arnold Schwarzenegger - at one point a popular governor of California - cannot become president because he was born in Austria. Rumour has it he has in the past lobbied to get the rule changed. But Johnson has no such impediment. Article II, section 1 of the US Constitution has just three eligibility criteria for being president - being “a natural born American”, aged over 35 and living in the US for 14 years. Johnson falls down on the last - but in theory he could leave Downing Street and move to the US and 14 years later enter the race for the White House. There is nothing in the constitution to stop a foreign leader becoming US head of state, says Dr Joshua Simon, lecturer in American politics at King’s College London. But that’s the legal situation. The political one would be rather different. l
Europe stepped up diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine yesterday, with the German foreign minister in Kiev pushing authorities and pro-Moscow rebels to come together at the negotiating table. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s efforts came amid guarded optimism after the OSCE East-West security body said Moscow supported its roadmap to resolving the crisis through talks, disarmament and elections. Calling for “a national dialogue under Ukrainian leadership,” Steinmeier said: “I hope this will create the conditions to take a step to bring back occupied territory, disarm armed groups step-by-step and reinstall the authority of the state.” l
‘Google must respect right to be forgotten’ n Reuters, Brussels Internet companies can be made to remove irrelevant or excessive personal information from search engine results, Europe’s top court ruled yesterday in a case pitting privacy campaigners against Google. The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) upheld the complaint of a Spanish man who objected to the fact that Google searches on his name threw up links to a 1998 newspaper article about the repossession of his home. The case highlighted the struggle in cyberspace between free speech advocates and supporters of privacy rights who say people should have the “right to be forgotten” - meaning that they should be able to remove their digital traces from the Internet. It creates both technical challenges and potential extra costs for companies like Google, the world’s no.1 search engine, and Facebook. Google can be required to remove data that are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed,” said judges at the Luxembourg-based court. The ECJ said the rights of people whose privacy has been infringed outweighed the general public interest. Google said it was disappointed with the ruling, which contradicted a non-binding opinion from the ECJ’s court adviser last year that said deleting sensitive information from search results would interfere with freedom of expression. “We are very surprised that it differs so dramatically from the Advocate General’s opinion and the warnings and consequences that he spelled out. We now need to take time to analyse the implications,” said Google spokesman Al Verney. The European Commission proposed in 2012 that people should have the “right to be forgotten” on the Internet. This was watered down by the European Parliament last year in favour of a “right to erasure” of specific information. The proposal needs the blessing of
the 28 European Union governments before it can become law. Google, Facebook and other Internet companies have lobbied against such plans, worried about the extra costs. The issues of privacy and data protection in Europe have become all the more sensitive since a former U.S. intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, leaked details last year of U.S. surveillance programmes for monitoring vast quantities of emails and phone records worldwide.
Tuesday’s court ruling will likely benefit ordinary people but not public figures, said Larry Cohen, a partner at law firm Latham & Watkins. “The ruling will help certain people hide their past, making it difficult to access certain information, but not when it concerns public figures, or people in whom there is a genuine public interest,” he said. “This will result in added costs for Internet search providers who will have to add to their takedown policies the means for removing links to an individual’s data, and develop criteria for distinguishing public figures from private individuals,” he said. The Spanish data protection agency said the case was one of 220 similar ones in Spain whose complainants want Google to delete their personal information from the Web. “We are very satisfied that there is an end now to the ferocious resistance shown by the search engine to comply with the resolutions of the Spanish data protection agency in this matter,” a spokeswoman for the agency said. European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said that the court ruling vindicated EU efforts to toughen up privacy rules. “Companies can no longer hide behind their servers being based in California or anywhere else in the world,” she said on her Facebook page, calling the judgment a “strong tailwind” for data protection reform. Google suffered a previous privacy setback earlier this year when a German court ordered it to block search results in Germany linked to photos of a sex party involving former Formula One motor racing boss Max Mosley. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
VESAK DAY : BUDDHISTS CELEBRATE BUDDHA’S BIRTH, ENLIGHTENMENT AND DEATH
Clockwise from top left: Buddhists holding candles encircle a large Buddha statue during Vesak Day, an annual celebration of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death, at a temple in Nakhon Pathom province on the outskirts of Bangkok May 13. Buddhist monks take out a candle-light procession at the Mahabodhi Temple. A nun holds a candle as she prays during Vesak Day. Another group of Buddhists holding candles encircle a large Buddha statue in Nakhon Pathom AFP/REUTERS
Modi eyes decisive majority
‘US presence in Afghanistan to remain significant’ n AFP, New Delhi n AFP, Tokyo
The US-led military presence in Afghanistan will remain “significant” despite this year's drawdown, Washington's special envoy for the country said yesterday, as he predicted that outgoing president Hamid Karzai would continue to wield influence. James Dobbins, the US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, told reporters in Tokyo that Washington was “still considering” the details of the withdrawal plan. “I hope we will decide sometime in the next month or two on the exact size of (the remaining) contingent,” Dobbins told journalists in the Japanese capital, where he is attending talks on supporting Afghanistan. “We and our allies, I think, will be prepared for a continuing advisory mission, much smaller numbers than we have there today but still significant in terms of its ability to continue to improve the quality of the Afghan security forces,” he said. About 51,000 US-led Nato troops still deployed in Afghanistan are set to withdraw by December, ending a long and costly battle against the Taliban, who launched a fierce insurgency after being ousted from power in 2001. The US is thought to be looking at a small number of US troops staying on in a training and counter-terrorism role, but is waiting on a long-delayed deal being struck with Kabul after Karzai raised a series of objections. Dobbins refrained from predicting the results of the ongoing elections to pick a successor to Karzai, saying only: “It could be a close race.”Afghanistan is due to announce the results of its first-round presidential elections on Wednesday, with former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani set to go through to a run-off vote. l
India’s triumphant right-wing opposition said yesterday it was headed for a decisive majority in the world’s biggest election after exit polls showed its hardline leader Narendra Modi closing in on victory. Stock markets surged to record highs on hopes of a business-friendly government under Modi after a decade of rule by a left-leaning coalition, while US President Barack Obama said he looked forward to working with the new administration in New Delhi. “Modi at Delhi Gate” said a headline in the Mail Today, while the Hindustan Times read simply “Exit Polls: Enter Modi” after a flurry of surveys released after voting ended Monday pointed to a big win. All forecasts showed Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies
trouncing the Congress party which has been in power for a decade, and most indicated they would seal a narrow majority. Results are due on Friday, with some still cautioning against over-confidence in a BJP victory given notorious forecasting errors at the last two general elections. Modi was keeping a low profile, but senior BJP figures struck a bullish note by predicting the opposition would win more than 300 of the 543 seats in parliament although it was willing to work with additional partners. “These elections have been fought on a hope that the country will get a good, stable government,” V. K. Singh, a former army chief of staff who is now a senior BJP leader, told reporters at party headquarters. Asked about the exit polls predicting a majority for the BJP-led alliance, Singh replied: “We may perform even
US, China spar again on South China Seas dispute n Reuters, Washington/Beijing
China hit back at the United States over the disputed South China Sea yesterday, after US Secretary of State John Kerry said recent Chinese moves in the resource-rich waters were “provocative”. Tensions rose last week after China moved a giant oil rig into an area also claimed by Vietnam. Each country accused the other of ramming its ships near the disputed Paracel Islands. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. “He (Kerry) said China’s introduction of an oil rig and numerous government vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam was provocative,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, referring to a telephone call be-
tween Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in which North Korea was also discussed. “He urged both sides to de-escalate tensions, and resolve the dispute through peaceful means in accordance with international law.” China’s foreign ministry said there certainly had been provocative moves in the South China Sea, but that China was not the guilty party and repeated that it was the United States’ fault for encouraging such behavior. “We hope that the U.S. side can carefully reflect - if they really hope for the Pacific Ocean to be peaceful, what kind of role do they actually want to play?” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing. Hua said that Wang urged Kerry to “objectively and fairly” look at the South China Sea issue, and “act and speak cautiously”. l
better than this.” Party spokesman Prakash Javadekar predicted that the BJP-led alliance would get more than 300, echoing Modi’s chief lieutenant Amit Shah. “We will still be open to support and collaboration from any party that wants to work with a government that is committed to work for the nation,” he told the Headlines Today network. Reacting to the end of five weeks of voting that saw a record turnout of 551 million people, Obama said India had “set an example for the world”. “We look forward to working closely with India’s next administration to make the coming years equally transformative.” Modi’s election would present a headache for the US, which refused to deal with him for years in the aftermath of religious riots in the state of Gujarat in 2002 shortly after he became its chief minister. l
N Korea vows ‘merciless’ revenge against S Korea n AFP, Seoul North Korea vowed “merciless” reprisals yesterday after a South Korean military official suggested the isolated Stalinist nation should simply disappear. Speaking to reporters in Seoul on Monday, Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok had argued that North Korea barely deserved to be regarded as a proper country and that it would be best if it “vanished as soon as possible.” South Korean officials tend to be guarded in their criticism of the North, and Kim’s remarks were seen as unusually blunt and forthright. “Our army and people will wipe them out entirely with the most merciless and thorough striking force,” the North’s powerful National Defence Commission said in a statement. l
RIP Congress? Why you shouldn’t write off India’s grand old party yet n Agencies Everything that seemed unimaginable a few months ago now looks imminent. A humiliating defeat, the lowest-ever tally, a sharp decline in vote share and the inability to reach double figures in any Indian state indicate Narendra Modi’s dream of a Congress-mukt Bharat has been achieved. Is this, then, the end of the Congress? Have voters performed its last rites? Let us first look at why it is difficult to predict the Congress will rise from the ashes of 2014. One, it is notorious for its inability to rise after a serious beating. Its record after the electoral reversals in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Bihar and even Uttar Pradesh conclusively proves that once the Congress is pinned to the mat, it stays there. Two, its high-command is in decline. This election, barring a miracle, is the end of the Sonia Gandhi era of politics. Considering her own frail health and that of the Congress, it is unlikely that Sonia will have the strength and the will to guide the Congress after five years. Rahul Gandhi, without mincing words, has been rejected for perhaps the nth time by the electorate. In his decade-long career, it is difficult to recall even a single instance where Rahul has delivered for the Congress. This election has once again established what has been known for years: Rahul is a failure. Three, the Congress leadership in the states has been wiped out. Forget Delhi, look at the states. The BJP has Shivraj Chouhan, Raman Singh, Manohar Parrikar, Vasundhara Raje and many other powerful satraps. There isn’t a single Congress leader around who is acceptable to the masses in the major states. In a country where politics is getting
increasingly centred on personalities, the lack of charismatic leaders on the ground is a fatal handicap. Four, its current rival is not a genteel statesman like Atal Behari Vajpayee but a street-fighter like Modi. If the bitter, personalised 2014 campaign is an indicator, the BJP leader will ensure that the Congress and the dynasty don’t get a single opportunity to make a comeback. He will try everything to turn it into a replica of the Congress in Gujarat - a meek, marginalized, leaderless rubble. So, is it time to say ta-ta to the Hand? Those gloating over the Congress’ humiliation should not forget that the party has been here before on several occasions. In 1977, 1989 and 1999 too the Congress was on the precipice after serious electoral losses. Let us revisit 1999. That year, the Congress was reduced to its lowest-ever tally. There was a question mark over Sonia’s leadership after her inability to lead the party to a win in the second consecutive election. Its leadership in the states was in disarray and the BJP seemed to be on the rampage. Everybody was eager to write the obituaries of the party and the dynasty. What followed was not demise but ten years in power. Why? The answer is simple. In a democracy, dominance of a single party doesn’t last for long. Promises are broken, hopes are betrayed, heroes turn into villains – Manmohan Singh, for instance, was a middle class icon in 2009-and leaders lose their charm and sheen. History shows that India can start whining the moment it realises that it is not shining. And when voters change their mind, every past sin of a political party is forgotten and forgiven. They find hidden virtues even in its failed leaders. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Law enforcers must be accountable to the public
he recent abduction and killings of ward councilor Nazrul Islam along with six others in Narayanganj are a painful reminder of the precarious state of law and order in the country. At least two months before his murder, Nazrul had been seeking protection from active death threats. He is reported to have spoken to the state minister of home affairs and the RAB director general was asked to act on the matter. However, in spite of the history of warnings no effective protective action was provided. Indeed, families of the victims have accused RAB personnel of being involved in the murder, at the urging of rival local leaders of the Awami League. If these accusations prove true, then it is an extremely worrying instance of a breakdown in rule of law. If law enforcers can be manipulated for nefarious purposes by politicians then no one in this country is truly safe. There is only one acceptable and legal answer to the question of who controls the country’s law enforcers and that is the public. Citizens expect and deserve assurance that this standard will be upheld and all necessary action will be taken against individuals who breach the law. We call on all politicians and law enforcement agencies to help the probe committee on this matter hold those responsible for these murders to account, and to take measures to prevent such incidents. No person or organisation should be above the law. The public deserves full accountability.
No person or organisation should be above public accountability
Diversify exports to reduce dependence on RMG
eports suggest Bangladesh is on course to reach the export target of $30.5bn for the current financial year. However, it remains the case that these exports are hugely over-dependent on RMG, which accounts for 81% of exports. Not only this, but the vast bulk of RMG exports are concentrated in the European Union and North American markets. It is important for the country to diversify its export basket, both in terms of broadening the number of countries reached by our goods and in increasing the value of non-RMG items exported. By creating more export jobs in more sectors and growing new markets, there can be both direct gains for businesses and workers, and a reduction in risks to the economy. The risks inherent in being reliant on limited export items and destinations, need to be spread around and reduced. It is encouraging then that the government is looking to set up new trade missions and plans to create special incentives to expand exports for various non-RMG manufactured items. Overseas trade envoys speaking at a Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry roundtable this week, have concurred that there is much untapped potential for the country to broaden its export base and to grow non-traditional markets. News of plans to assemble mobile handsets for smartphones in the country, point to the possibilities that can be opened up by encouraging higher value export sectors to develop. Business leaders and government need to work together on a bolder vision for growing the country’s export base.
Bolder vision needed to grow new sectors and markets
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Who hired RAB: Shamim or Nur?
May 8 ernment or at least the home minister (in this case the PM herself) and also the minister of state for home affairs would have resigned forthwith, but not in Bangladesh. They continue merrily and shamelessly – welcome to Plunderers’ and Murderers’ Republic of khanadil Bangladesh! I agree with Ruhel that a massive earthquake is needed so that Bangladesh gets to rid itself of these vermins that are eating up the very soul of the naBappi Tsangma tion, and rebuilds itself out of the ashes. However, Here is the main point – RAB, Nur Hossain, and as I do not see any possibility of an earthquake in his associates committed crimes or have been the near future, one hope is that the way the councommitting crimes, and Allah has seen it. They try is going, it will eventually self-destruct itself and dumped dead bodies into the river with bricks or then there will be opportunity for change. some heavy objects, but the dead bodies came Now coming back to the subject of the report, I out to the surface of water. All Bangladeshi corrupt would just like to say that it really does not matter people must know the consequences of doing bad whether it is Shamim, Nur, RAB, or all of them that things from this bright example. are involved in the multiple murders. The fact is that a heinous crime of the worst kind has happened nds under the very watch of this government and as Who hired Rab is not the question. The question far as I am concerned, it is them and no one else is why the elite force will allow themselves to that are responsible and must be accountable. But get hired by the criminals. Should we assume regrettably, except for a few empty and misleading that in this country, elitism is the most lucrative statements, nothing tangible has so far been done commodity to sell? by them and not a single suspected/alleged criminal has been arrested and/or interrogated. RD In these circumstances, in most civilised coun- I agree with nds. Why do RAB officials allow themtries (I am aware that in our current state we can selves to be hired as thugs? Everybody drools when hardly call ourselves civilised) either the whole gov- they see money. Everybody.
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. You them in the appropriate squares in the main grid, then use your knowledge of words to work out which letters go in the missing squares. Some letters of the alphabet may not be used. As you get the letters, fill in other squares with the same number in the main grid, and the control grid. Check off the list of alphabetical letters as you identify them.
Ruhel BD needs a massive earthquake, with a handful of survivors, so it can start afresh. Corruption has reached a terminal stage.
Feeling like a fake Bangladeshi
Behnaz Ahmed This article paints a very one dimensional Bangladeshi expatriate experience. I’ve lived in the US since I was three years old and I still crave maach bhaat when I’m away from home. My knowledge of the Bill of Rights is coupled with my knowledge of Bongo Bondhu and Bangladesh’s freedom fighters of 1971. While I learned about Shakespeare in grade school, I came home to my mother patiently teaching and translating Tagore and Nazrul for my understanding. It doesn’t have to be about about picking one side, and alienating the other – it can very well be about finding a balance and embracing both. It’s not a matter of helpless environmental circumstances, but rather a matter of choice and interest in whether or not you want to go the extra step and educate yourself, and the next generation, about your Bangladeshi roots.
arif siddiqi Behnaz Ahmed: I left Bangladesh 22 years ago for my studies and have now settled here. I have three kids. I have never been to any cultural event not only here but even back home in my youth. My wife happened to be into cultural events in Bangladesh and for the first time this year took all of us to a cultural program for the Bengali new year as she has put the kids in Bengali singing classes. The kids complain, but at the end mom takes over. It is a mixed emotional experience to motivate the kids to take an interest in our culture.
Scientists create first living organism
CROSSWORD ACROSS 1 Conductor’s wand (5) 4 Agreement (4) 7 Top card (3) 8 Armed conflict (3) 9 Governs (5) 12 Body of Zulu warriors (4) 13 More intelligent (7) 15 Male sheep (3) 16 Success (3) 18 United (3) 19 Tear (3) 21 Body of retainers (7) 24 Sport (4) 26 Heavenly bodies (5) 27 Tree (3) 28 Vigour (3) 29 Tide attaining least height (4) 30 Poor (5)
DOWN 1 Blocks a way (4) 2 Keen insight (6) 3 Delicate bodily membrane (4) 4 Couple (4) 5 Limb (3) 6 Intertwine (5) 10 Do wrong (3) 11 Fixed gaze (5) 14 Sends out (5) 17 Accustomed (6) 18 Keyboard instrument (5) 20 Mine (3) 21 Harvest (4) 22 Back of the neck (4) 23 Catch sight of (4) 25 Extinct bird (3)
Ulises Obviously, biotechnology will produce a new nature – radically different and hardly imaginable nowadays. Even so, will life always be life? Indeed, is the life that is in a cell the same life that is in a monkey or a human being, dully or wisely engineered? And beyond the marvelous specific benefits, what place will human beings and their traditions have in this new biotech nature? What place will those aged societies that do not integrate fully within these biological products have? Will biotechnology inevitably produce a new species, will humanity diverge again as the branch of a tree? Is the current production-economic system demanding these changes? Or rather, is the goal to maintain excellent health of the population? Is the latter credible in a world that is full of competition and enmity? Is it credible when there is hunger in a planet full of protein, where some human beings are hungry while some live without problems?
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.
EC won’t make public voter information May 9
rutland waters Good decision as the cards contain home addresses
CALVIN AND HOBBES
YESTERDAY’S SOLUTIONS CODE-CRACKER
Brazil announces World Cup squad, Kaka left out May 8
Blank Head Perfect squad to get knocked off from round 1 Anon To me, Brazil equals Kaka. Period. Tazkmaster I’m sure Kaka’s omission just cost the event a few million viewers.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Raising the entrance age n M Abdul Latif Mondal
We have no choice but to fix a broken system
The cry for reform
n Mohammad Ali Sattar
et’s start with the latest. Following the abduction and gruesome murders of seven individuals in Narayanganj and the alleged involvement of RAB officials in the killing, all hell broke loose in the country. On the one hand, people are demanding exemplary punishment for the killers and their accomplices. On the other, there is a strong plea from influential quarters that RAB be disbanded, while others call for reform in RAB infrastructure and regulations. It is true that RAB has been mired in controversial actions from the beginning. The crossfire exercise (extra-judicial killing), nabbing people and keeping them under cover for days, and bypassing the law of the land have been regular affairs. RAB members are also involved in controversial acts of maiming and looting people around the country. According to reports, a large number of RAB officials have been either punished or dismissed for their acts since its inception as elite crime busters. Now we call for reforms in RAB. Why has this force been allowed to run without proper rules, carrying out extra-judicial acts at will is a question that the authorities concerned will have to answer. When a government force becomes a political tool, it ceases to be unfailing. RAB has to come under strict scrutiny with thorough overhauling.
Reforms in the police have also been a much talked about issue over the last decade or so. There have been some measures taken to upgrade the standards and services, but nothing much has happened. Police are still in need of revamping, especially in terms of the ethics of the members. Corruption in police is something we have taken as only “natural.”
Constitutional reforms should bring about an immense change in the social, economic, and political scenario
After the tragic incident in BDR in 2009, the authorities felt the need of total refurbishment of the force. The name and uniform was altered and other required changes were brought about to bring back the force on its feet. Thus, BGB was born. Police and RAB should serve as easier things to deal with. We have witnessed reforms in the education sector. At least there has been some attempt to bring about changes for finer delivery. Schools and teachers are being treated with some kind of favour, if not total. Although much is needed to be accomplished. Especially the issue of the leakage of
question papers is worrying. An upright and flawless education system is the best thing a nation can have. Agriculture and land also call for immediate reforms. Although we have been experiencing sufficient crops all season, related industries in the sector are falling behind in meeting the requirement of the grower and price control of the market. The black marketers are so active that they spoil the broth. People, in the end, are the worst sufferers. Land seems to be a free gift for some. The government lands are being taken over by the powerful sectors, even private sector lands are being grabbed by influential goons. Land disputes continue with no end, and there is no fixed rate for land purchase, sale, or registration. Rajuk still happens to be the den of corruption. A strong nexus still grips the system. Sweeping reform in the system and regulations must be introduced to deal with this corruption. Biman, the national carrier, could not come out of hibernation. The organisation has been in the clutch of some, which makes it impossible for anyone to dare talk about changes in the organisation. Like the aircraft itself, dishonesty has reached the sky. Corruption stories of Biman are endless, and nothing seems to work there. Or, has there been any actual attempt to bring about a radical turn? No. The latest managing director, who just left, tried to put things in place, but soon found it impossible to turn things amidst the corrupt souls.
Reform is long overdue here. The transportation sector is yet another important area where we need to have things completely changed. BRTA kept the sector in doldrums. Reforms in the EC are a topic long buried under rags. People are tired of deliberating on this. The reforms in EC have been long overdue. The weakling is a threat to the country’s democracy. Typically, the EC has been under the influence of the government. The EC boss is usually handpicked, and serves the master. Recall the latest comments of the EC commissioner on the latest upazila polls. The topmost priority should be the overhaul of political parties in the country. The constitutions of the parties speak volumes of people’s welfare, economic emancipation, development, and democracy. It is the political parties that should metamorphose first. The absence of democratic practice within parties has been the main obstacle in establishing democracy in the state level. Not only do the parties hamper development, they actually create such hindrances due to their own ill practices. The constitutional reforms in the EC and the political parties should bring about an immense change in the social, economic, and political scenario of the country. More importantly, it will serve as a boon for the people. The cry for reform is the cry of the hour. l Mohammad Ali Sattar is a journalist and DT columnist.
Our confidence in nuclear reactors n Abdul Matin
ollowing the three major nuclear accidents in the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant in USA in 1979, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, now in Ukraine, in 1986, and lately the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011, interest has shifted from generation-II nuclear power reactors to much safer generation-III reactors. Generation-I reactors were built as prototypes during the early development of nuclear reactors and are no longer in operation. Most of the nuclear power reactors now in operation are generation-II reactors. They are likely to be retired in phases. The generation-III power reactors are being developed by major reactor manufacturers in the USA, Europe, Russia, Japan, China, South Korea, and Canada. The common features of the reactors include simple, standardised, and compact designs to reduce capital costs and construction period, higher fuel burn-up and thermal efficiency, higher availability and longer core life, and more importantly, passive and active safety systems. Advanced light water reactors include, among others, advanced boiling water reactors (ABWR) and advanced pressurised water reactors (APWR). Many countries have showed renewed interest in nuclear power because of global warming and climate changes resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels and high costs of renewable energy. Germany, which announced to phase out nuclear power after the Fukushima accident, is rethinking to introduce nuclear power again. Many scientists and engineers believe that it may not be possible to cope with global warming without
nuclear power. Nuclear power reactors emit no greenhouse gases and the generation-III reactors are much safer than the generation-II reactors as they incorporate passive safety systems to make them inherently safe. ABWRs were originally developed by General Electric of USA in collaboration with Toshiba and Hitachi. Some versions are equipped with core catchers and filtered vents for release of hydrogen gas from the reactor. Four ABWRs were in operation in Japan in 2011 and several more are under construction in Taiwan and the USA. Japan suspended the operation and construction of ABWRs and other reactors under public pressure after the Fukushima accident. AP-1000 is an APWR developed by Westinghouse of USA. It is a two-loop PWR evolved from a smaller version, AP-600, and certified by US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Its simple and compact design resulted in cost savings with improved safety features. It has a core cooling system with passive residual heat removal by natural convection and in-vessel retention of core damage with water cooling around it. No safety-related pumps or ventilation systems are used. AP-1000 reactors are also being built in China. European pressurised water reactor (EPR) has been developed by Areva (former Framatome) in France. It is a standard model producing 1750 MWe gross and 1630 MWe net power. It is designed to use mixed-oxide fuel. The plant availability is expected to be 92% with a service life of 60 years. The reactor has double containment with a core catcher under the reactor pressure vessel. The reactor building is designed to withstand the crash of an aircraft. EPRs are under construction
in Finland, France, and China. Russia is now marketing mainly two APWRs: VVER-1000 and VVER-1200. VVER-1000 reactors are available in different versions. Russia and Ukraine have several VVER-1000 reactors in operation. The VVER-1200 reactor is developed from VVER-1000 reactor and has a standardised model with four coolant loops and 3200 MWt power. It has enhanced safety with some passive safety features.
Countries have showed renewed interest in nuclear power because of high costs of renewable energy While generation-III nuclear reactors are under construction in several countries, generation-IV reactors are already on the drawing board. An international task force known as Generation-IV International Forum (GIF), formed in 2001, has selected six nuclear reactor technologies which may be deployed around 2030. The selected reactor systems include gascooled fast reactors, lead-cooled fast reactors, molten salt reactors, sodium cooled fast reactors, super-critical water-cooled reactors, and very high-temperature gas reactors. Two of these are thermal reactors while others are based on fast or epithermal neutrons. Four rectors are designated for hydrogen production. Hydrogen is a clean fuel that produc-
es water as waste after combustion. All the reactors are credited to have better safety, economy, reliability, and sustainability compared to their predecessors. Other advantages include better nuclear waste management through production of wastes with shorter half-lives, possibility of conversion of long-lived actinides from nuclear wastes of current reactors into short-lived fission products, and more energy yield from the same amount of nuclear fuel. Most of the reactors employ a closed fuel cycle to minimise the volume of high level wastes. Only one reactor is cooled by water, two by helium, and the others by lead-bismuth, sodium, or fluoride salts. The latter three are operated at low pressure with significant advantage in terms of reactor safety. The temperatures range from 510°C to 1000°C while present day light water reactors operate at around 330°C. The high temperatures permit operation at higher efficiencies and production of hydrogen through thermo-chemical reactions. There are few other types of generation-IV reactors being developed by other countries. Until prototypes of such reactors are operated successfully, safely, and reliably, the generation-III reactors will continue to dominate the nuclear market. It is believed that the advanced nuclear reactors will earn the confidence of the people around the world as clean, safe, and reliable sources of power, and many countries who decided to phase out nuclear power plants will reconsider their decisions. l Abdul Matin is a former chief engineer of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission and author of “Rooppur and the Power Crisis.”
rime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that the government has no plan to increase the age-limit for the government service freshers. She said this while responding to a supplementary question from a treasury bench member in the parliament during the prime minister’s question-answer session in the House on April 2. The PM’s statement is, in fact, a response to those who have been demanding an increase in the age-limit for entry into government service. The following arguments were put forward by a section of students and others for extension of age-limit to 35 years or so from the current age-limit of 30 years for entering government jobs. Firstly, students now take longer to finish their academic career. The government has extended one year of Honour’s and pass course period, but did not extend the age-limit for entry into government jobs. Due to this and other factors like “session jam,” and political unrest, graduation in many cases is not completed till a student reaches 27 or 28 years. Secondly, the age-limit for entering government jobs for the sons and daughters of freedom fighters is 32 years. Extending the age-limit to 35 years will benefit all categories of candidates seeking government jobs. Thirdly, the government has increased the retirement age of public servants to 59 years from 57 years, so that it can be benefited from their experience. Extension of age-limit will similarly result in the recruitment of better candidates. Fourthly, the age limit of job seekers is 35 years in many countries such as the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia. In West Bengal, the age-limit for entry into government jobs is 40 years. And finally, there is a serious unemployment problem for the educated youths in the country. Extension of upper age-limit for entering government job will be helpful for these unemployed youths. What is important to note is that the deputy commissioners, who act as the “eyes and ears” of the government in the field administration, favour extension of the age-limit for entering government jobs. According to a report published in Dhaka Tribune on April 17, the DCs from across the country have recommended raising the age-limit for entering government service to 33 years. The recommendation, sent to the cabinet division, came ahead of this year’s DC conference, scheduled to be held in July. The recommendation seems to have put the government in an embarrassing position. As stated above, the PM has ruled out the possibility of raising the age-limit for entering government jobs. She has said that classes and examinations are being held in all educational institutions timely despite some untoward incidents. As a result, session jam has been reduced and students are graduating on time. So there is no need to increase the age-limit. She has also added that enhancement of age-limit would not be beneficial for the job seekers. It may be mentioned that during the Pakistani rule, upper age-limit for entering government jobs was 25 years. After liberation, the Bangladesh government raised the upper age-limit to 27 years for appointment to services/posts under the government, autonomous corporations/organisations, and nationalised enterprises. The upper age-limit for the freedom fighters was fixed at 30 years. Subsequently, the upper age-limit for entry into jobs in government, corporations, and nationalised bodies was raised to 30 years. The age-limit for the freedom fighters was raised to 32 years, which has now been made applicable to the sons and daughters of the freedom fighters. The arguments for not raising the
upper age-limit for entry into government jobs are summarised below. Firstly, the present upper age-limit is actually the age-limit for submission of the application forms for jobs in the government and other bodies controlled by the government. Normally it takes one to two years for processing the applications and selecting appropriate candidates for the advertised post. By this time a candidate may reach 31 or 32 years. And a freedom fighter’s son or daughter may reach 33 or 34 years. But this does not disqualify him or her from joining the job, if selected.
Due to political unrest, graduation in many cases is not completed till a student reaches 27
Additionally, those who demand or suggest raising the age-limit for entering government jobs argue that due to factors like session jam, political unrest, and others, graduation in many cases is not completed till a student reaches 27 or 28 years. If this is the situation, then the candidate is still left with two to three years to compete for jobs in the governmental and autonomous bodies. As stated above, if a candidate applies for a job when he or she is about to reach 30 years, he or she is getting more time to try his or her luck for jobs. If the upper age-limit for entering government job is raised to 35 years, then a candidate who completes his or her education at 26-27 years will have to compete with another who might be 35-years-old and in that case “the playing field will not be level.” A new recruit, particularly a BCS cadre post holder has to undergo extensive training after recruitment. Experience has shown that as learners, comparatively young recruits are the most receptive to new teaching. Available information suggests that age-limit of groups “C” and “D” of the West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS) comprising posts like joint block development officer, deputy assistant director of consumer affairs and fair business practices, assistant canal revenue officer (irrigation), inspector of co-operative societies, panchayat development officer under the panchayat and rural development department has been raised to 40 years. For executives and police belonging to group “A” and “B” respectively, the upper age-limit remains at 32 years. In Pakistan, the upper age-limit for appearing at the CSS examination is 28 years. This is relaxable by two years for scheduled caste, Buddhist community, and certain other disadvantaged groups. And finally, it is learnt that as per a provision under National Service Policy, a person who has rendered national service shall, for the purpose of appearing at any competitive examination held for appointment to any service or post, be entitled to deduct from his age the period actually spent by him in national service. In view of what has been stated above, the issue regarding raising the upper age-limit for entering government job has to be examined very carefully. There should not be any hurry or enthusiasm for another extension of upper age-limit for the government service freshers. As in the past, the government may go for onetime relaxation of the upper age-limit to meet any urgent situation. l M Abdul Latif Mondal is a former government secretary.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Are Indian films entering the country’s movie theatres? n Hasan Mansoor Chatak Recently, an Indian film titled “Children of War,” based on the Liberation War of 1971 premiered at the Star Cineplex. The film will be released in Bangladesh officially on May 16 on special arrangement and has given rise to the dilemma of whether Indian films are entering the Bangladeshi market, overcoming the almost fourdecade-old ban. Ever since Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971, local cinema halls have been banned from showing Indian films. It was an attempt to protect the local film-making industry. On January 26, 2010, when the Ministry of Commerce issued a gazette notification, amending the import policy and withdrawing the ban, it sparkled the continuing debate into an all out war of protest from the local film industry. The ban was re-imposed six months later in June through another gazette notification. However, the withdrawal that existed for six months only, later resulted to the screening of three Indian Bangla movies and nine Bollywood films in the local theatres. The reaction to the question of lifting the ban on the import of Indian films in the country varies among the film-makers, actors, producers, exhibitors and critiques. According to a segment, the Bangladeshi film industry will suffer immensely if Indian films enter the market as very audience goes to theatre to watch Bangla films. On the other hand, Indian films are vastly popular among the viewers of the country and it is feared that given the choice between an Indian movie and a Bangladeshi movie, the preference will lean towards the film of the neghbouring country. Considering the situation, there are many individuals who still want the ban to be lifted. But the recent attempt of screening of “Children of War” rekindled the controversial debate. Fahmidul Haque, an associate professor of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University
Mostofa Sarwar Farooki said: I think, joint productions of Bangladesh-India will be beneficial for our industry. I also believe that if Indian films are to be released in Bangladesh, then it is only fair for Bangladeshi films to be released in India. Tax structures of screening foreign films in Bangladesh should be revised as well. In Kolkata, a Hindi film is taxed at 25% whereas a Bangla film can run with only 2% tax of Dhaka, said: “I am all in for importing Indian films in Bangladesh. I believe that films of all languages should be screened for cultural di-
versity. But, the countries should come to a mutual agreement and India could agree to release Bangladeshi films in its theatres. I also
think that some regulations and control should be imposed on the cinema halls of the country where it will state that a theatre cannot go on showcasing foreign films repeatedly.” Recently Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, renowned film director, expressed his concern over this phenomenon on the social media: “I think, joint productions of Bangladesh-India will be beneficial for our industry. I also believe that if Indian films are to be released in Bangladesh, then it is only fair for Bangladeshi films to be released in India. Tax structures of screening foreign films in Bangladesh should be revised as well. In Kolkata, a Hindi film is taxed at 25% whereas a Bangla film can run with only 2% tax. As an independent government, our policy should be revised with our own profit in mind, not someone else’s profit.” Shahidul Islam Khokon, the president of Film Directors’ Association, quoted founding president of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: “Films from the other countries of the sub-continent will not be released in Bangladesh.” Khokon further illustrates that a Bangladeshi film has the overall budget of Tk1 crore whereas an Indian film is made with budget exceeding Tk100 crore. He said there is no way films of such varying budgets can compete in the same field. Previously, cinema-hall owners expressed concern about the meager number of films being released in Bangladesh every year. For more than a decade, the number of movie theatres being shut down increased in number due to the lack of new films and the dwindling interest of the audience. Meanwhile, an India-Bangladesh joint production, “Ami Shudhu Cheyechhi Tomay,” starring Ankush and Shubhasree of India in the lead roles, is also set to hit the local theatres this month. The inclusion of Bangladeshi production house Action Cut as a producer of the film has raised question as it is rumoured that it is an all-out Indian film directed by Ashok Pati. l
Two European films will be showcased today n Entertainment Desk Czech film “You Kiss Like a God” and Danish film “A Hijacking” will be showcased today as part of the seven-day long “European Film Festival” which began yesterday at the Star Cineplex of Basundhara City shopping mall. “You Kiss Like a God,” a 2009 Czech comedy film directed by Marie Polednakova, is centered on Helena Altmanova, a likable high school French and literature teacher, whose healthy and light-hearted attitude has gained her popularity among teachers and students alike. However, her personal life has big surprises in store for her. The film will be screened at 12pm, 3:50pm and
Na Manushi Jomin to be staged tomorrow n Entertainment Desk
Humaira Himu joins DB n Entertainment Desk Popular small screen actor Humaira Himu joined the team of popular drama series DB. She will be seen as an officer of the Detective Branch of Police in the series. Directed by Shahiduzzaman Selim and Jahangir Alam Sumon, DB airs every Sunday and Monday at 9:15pm on ATN Bangla. Talking about the action role, Himu said: “This is the first time I am acting
in such a role. I found it really challenging. After wearing the costume of a DB officer, I felt different and in control. I am enjoying the shooting. In a nutshell, it’s amazing.” Other series of Humaira on air at present includes “Sanghat”and “Chairman Bari” on Boishakhi TV, “Batighor” on Banglavision and “Shonena She Shonena” on ATN Bangla. The talented TV artiste has also acted in the film “Amar Bondhu Rashed.” l
Theatre Art Unit will premiere its latest production “Na Manushi Jomin” tomorrow at 7pm, at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. The troupe will also stage its third technical show of the play today at the same venue. Saif Sumon, the director of the play adapted the story from Anisul Haque’s acclaimed novel with the same title. The play depicts a number of underprivileged people whose lives are disrupted when they face eviction from their homeland. In order to start afresh, they try to enter another country and faces rejection from there as well. With no where else to go, the unfortunate group gets stranded in “No Man’s Land,” a neutral piece of land that belongs to no-one in particular and separates the borders of countries. Among the group, a pregnant woman dies after giving birth to a baby. The individuals are then faced with the inevitable question, which country will the baby belong to? The drama features Prasanta Halder, Sujon Rezaul, Hasnat Pradip, Syed Alik, Tania Chowdhury Shilpi, Shahnaz Shanu, Nuruzzaman Babu,
7:45pm. Another film, “A Hijacking,” is a 2012 Danish thriller, written and directed by Tobias Lindholm. It is about the hijacking of a ship. The plot alternates between the events on board the hijacked ship, and those occurring in the shipping company’s office back in Denmark. It focuses largely on the experiences of the ship’s cook and the shipping company’s CEO, acting as the negotiator. The film will be shown at 2pm and 5:55pm. This is the second time the festival is taking place in Bangladesh and the European Union along with Star Cineplex have organised the event that features a total of 12 movies from 12 countries of the EU. l
Kajol turns fair with surgery? n Entertainment Desk It is rumoured that Kajol has undergone a surgery to look fair. At a recent event, the bubbly actor made people wonder about her radiant and lighter skin tone. Kajol looked visibly lovely and far more fair than usual. The “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” actor who is usually known for being a dusky beauty alleged to have gone for skin melanin surgery to get a fairer complexion. Kajol recently launched the trailer of “Mighty Raju Rio Calling” and
Adib Mahmud, and Asif Mamun. Theatre Art Unit was formed by late noted theatre activist SM Solaiman in 1992. From then on, the troupe
has already brought 16 productions on-stage including acclaimed plays “Amina Sundari” and “Court Martial.” l
2 States enters ‘100 crore club’ n Entertainment Desk
Bollywood’s new duo Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor’s film “2 States” has entered the prestigious Rs “100 crore club” and has collected a whopping Rs 102 crore within four weeks of its release. The film made a great start and had earned Rs 12.42 crore on its opening day and later went on to earn Rs 38 crore in its opening weekend. “2 States” has been declared the third biggest opening of 2014 after Salman Khan’s “Jai Ho” and Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor’s “Gunday.” Celebrated film critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh declared this rom-com a superhit as it hit a ton.
He tweeted: “2 States had received positive reviews from critics, Indian Express critic Shubhra Gupta said Alia Bhatt was a surprise and in fact better than Arjun Kapoor.” The film, directed by debutant Abhishek Verman, is based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel of the same name. The crackling chemistry between its lead actors and rumoured lovers has also worked in the favour of the film. Its supporting cast includes very talented actors like Revathy, Amrita Singh and Ronit Roy. “2 States” is the love story of Tamilian Brahmin Ananya (Alia Bhatt) and Punjabi Krish (Arjun Kapoor) against all odds and cultural differences. l
was also honoured with the “Mighty Mom Award.” The change in her complexion was more than evident as she looked gorgeous in a yellow top, which she teamed with a black floral printed skirt. l
Did you know? 59% - Tim Sherwood had the highest winning percentage of any Tottenham Hotspur manager in Premier League history
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
14 New faces
among 30-man Spanish squad
‘not satisfied’ with Milan
15 Dhaka Tribune
clinch Sony Expo 2014 title
South Zone crowned champion Prime Bank South Zone clinched the title of the second edition of Bangladesh Cricket League by (BCL) beating BCB North Zone on the fifth and final day by 213 runs at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium yesterday. South Zone’s left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak wrecked havoc by picking up six second innings wickets to inflict such a crushing defeat on North Zone who lasted only two hours in the final morning of the match.
BRIEF SCORE Prime Bank South Zone 271 (Taijul Islam- 8/86) and 536 (Imrul Kayes 204, Mithun Ali 126) BCB North Zone 235 (Al Amin 4/34) and 359 (Forhad Hossain 129, Nasir Hossain 67 (Abdur Razzak - 6/102)
Prime Bank South Zone won by 213 runs
Chasing 573 runs to win, BCB North Zone suffered an early blow on the fifth day when overnight batsman Nasir Hossain was clean bowled by fast bowler Al Amin who thus denied Nasir any chance to add to his overnight score of 67. Nasir’s wicket brought Tanvir Haider to the crease who too followed his skipper back in the pavilion in the next over with North Zone’s score on 2595. However, Nasir’s overnight partner Forhad was unfazed by this sudden flurry of wickets and went on to complete a well-deserved century. Forhad’s flawless innings saw the ball reaching the boundary 17 times for his brilliant
129. Although Forhad had looked quite at ease against spin in his innings, ironically it was Abdur Razzak who proved to be his nemesis as he was the 8th wicket to fall for North Zone while trying to cut Razzak. Forhad’s departure all but ended North Zone’s hope of any survival as Razzak wasted no time in wrapping up the tail when he bowled Subashis Roy to end North Zone’s final day misery with 359 runs on the scoreboard. National team bowler Abdur Razzak’s six wickets and opener Imrul Kayes’ double hundred in the second innings turned out to be the two pivotal performances which brought glory for South Zone for the first time after Walton Central Zone won the inaugural tournament last year. Earlier in the match, BCB North Zone skipper Nasir Hossain won the toss and elected to field first. Man of the series Taijul Islam picked up 8 wickets for the bowling side to restrict Prime Bank South Zone to 271. However, BCB North Zone couldn’t capitalize on that as they were bundled out for 235 runs to award South Zone an all important lead of 36 runs with three days still remaining in the match. The South Zone top order clicked when it mattered the most as man of the final Imrul Kayes’s heroic 204, duly complemented by Mithun Ali’s 126, helped their side to pile up a total of 536 to set North Zone a target of 573 runs to win the final. BCB North Zone, although ended the fourth day promisingly on 254/3, their hopes of getting anything out of the match were eventually dashed on the fifth and final day as Razzak’s mesmerizing spin sent them capitulating for 359 to suffer a crushing defeat of 213 runs. l
Prime Bank South Zone go wild with the BCL trophy at the SBNS yesterday
Mahmud praises BCL intensity Title-winning Prime Bank South Zone coach Khaled Mahmud praised the competitiveness of the second edition of the first-class franchise-based Bangladesh Cricket League, expressing his delight with the fact that the five-day grand finale entered the fifth and final day at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. “I must give credit to the boys who played well for their side and the way
the players fought till the fifth day is something great. It’s a very good sign for cricket and I think every cricketer has played their part,” said Mahmud. Mahmud added that deciding to bat first in the final proved to be a suicidal decision as the wicket was assisting the bowlers. However, he complimented his batsmen for the comeback in the second innings, especially double centurion Imrul Kayes and Mithun Ali, who chipped in with a hundred of his own.
Prime Bank have been involved with cricket for some time as they also own a team in the Dhaka Premier Cricket League and Mahmud, who is acting as the mentor of Prime Bank Cricket Academy, informed that there are plans of more involvement in the near future. Meanwhile, South Zone skipper Abdur Razzak notified that their main target was to remove the two overnight batsmen early in the fifth and final day. “Our main target was to break the
partnership between Nasir [Hossain] and Forhad [Hossain] and after dismissing these two, I never placed any timeframe for finishing the game,” he said. Razzak played an instrumental part behind the victory claiming six wickets in the second innings and added that the standard of the BCL is much better than before and the players are more committed to perform for their respective sides. l
Teamwork bears fruit for Russel
Sheikh Russel team was accorded a warm reception at the airport yesterday
Muktijoddha demolish Ctg Abahani Both Sunday Chizoba and Nkwocha Kingsley, the Nigerian attacking duo slammed hat-tricks as Muktijoddha routed Chittagong Abahani Limited 6-0 in the 2nd phase of Nitol Tata Bangladesh Premier Football League at the Sheikh Moni Stadium in Gopalgonj yesterday. The Nigerian forward Sunday scored in the 16th, 49th and 80th minute while his compatriot Nkwocha Kingsley netted in the 39th, 42nd and 76th minute. Yesterday’s win saw Muktijoddha increase their tally to 21 points from 14 matches while Ctg Abahani remain still on their previous aggregate of 8 points from 15 matches. The fifth hat-trick of BPL was recorded on Monday while these two raised the total of hat-tricks to seven. Sunday and Nkwocha joined Mithun, Emeka Darlington, Wedson and Kester in the treble scorers list. l
Sheikh Russel skipper Biplob Bhattacharjee termed the AFC President’s Cup group ‘A’ success as a fruit of overall teamwork both on and off the field. Russel returned to the capital city yesterday from Colombo and was accorded a flowery reception at the airport. Following five failures in the group stages earlier by Dhaka Abahani, Russel finally toppled the hurdle to earn a final-round slot slated for September. After a goalless draw against KRL Club of Pakistan in the opening encounter, Russel gradually flexed its muscles to defeat Sri Lanka Air Force 5-0 and Ugyen Academy of Bhutan 4-0 to win the group with seven points and having kept clean sheets in all of the three matches. Biplob though wiped away talks of any easy environment. “Things were not easy as assumed. The teams were tough as you could see that Sri Lanka
Air Force beat KRL 3-0 while we drew with [KRL]. However, the goalless draw with KRL in the opener was the turning point as it charged the players up and inserted the belief that we could do it. Moreover, Sheikh Jamal’s success in the IFA Shield also motivated us as we thought that we could also achieve something special” said Biplob. The team management of Russel was particularly happy with the performance of Haitian midfielder Pascal Millien. “He lived up to the expectations. For some unknown reason he was not producing his best in the Bangladesh Premier League but he lifted the spirit in Colombo and I hope he continues the form in Bangladesh also,” illustrated Biplob. Biplob was quick to single out the toughness of the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League. “At the moment I think BPL is the best in South Asia. Our success largely owes to the tough and competitive level of the ongoing league
and this should be continued” said the veteran custodian. “We want to continue the run of success in the BPL and of course in the final round that would be held from 22nd-28th September and the target is to go to the final,” said Biplob. The Russel skipper also added that former coach Maruful Haque was passively involved with the team. “We met him before departing and asked his opinion before every match over phone. He prepared us mentally while he was in charge,” said Biplob. Russel’s Montenegrin coach Dragan Dukanovic credited all his players for the virtuoso performance. “The defence, midfield and offence were all knit in the same cord. We did not concede any goals and the team management was also efficient. I want to continue the success in the local league also,” said Dragan. Russel resume their BPL commitments against Team BJMC on Friday. l
Bulbul refutes rumours 1st Archery Club C’ship begins tomorrow Asian Cricket Council development officer Aminul Islam Bulbul is interested in taking charge of the Bangladesh national team, the former captain informed the media at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday. Bulbul’s arrival at Mirpur yesterday created quite a buzz as the Bangladesh Cricket Board is discussing the options of assigning him with the role of head coach. However, the former top-order batsman ruled out the rumours. “I am here to do some ACC work with the BCB. Bangladesh hosted the Asia Cup so my visit is about settling the accounts of the event, nothing more than that. I did not receive any offer (for being the head coach) from the BCB. I will think over it if the board gives me the offer,” said Bulbul. However according to a BCB source, Bulbul was offered the job for the batting coach which he declined due to his commitments with the ACC. There is a great possibility that the BCB will hire a foreign coach to replace the outgoing Shane Jurgensen
but Bulbul thinks that Bangladesh have enough quality coaches at home currently and one of them can easily take over the helm of the national side. “Level-three currently is the highest in coaching and training. We have around eight-ten who have done the level-three training in Bangladesh. I think the local coaches should also be given the chance to work with the national team. This will help in determining if they (the local coaches) are capable,” said Bulbul. Bulbul asserted that the BCB should recruit a coach who can understand the players. “I think the established coaches work with small things in a team. I expect a coach for Bangladesh who will train the top players of the team and at the same time develop the junior cricketers,” said the first Bangladesh Test centurion. “A coach does not only make the players learn the game but also has the job of selecting the team and work on development issues. One cannot work if there is intervention not only in Bangladesh but around the globe,” concluded Bulbul. l
The Cute 1st Archery Club Championship comprising 34 clubs from across the country starts at the Army Stadium tomorrow. The competition, first of its kind, is expected to generate fierce rivalry among the archers ahead of the two big international competition - the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. There will be two divisions as usual - the Recurve Bow and the Bamboo Bow. The Recurve Bow consists of a
length of 70 meters while the Bamboo Bow is measured 25 meters. 84 male and 57 female archers constitute a total of 141 archers. All the leading archers of the country - Emdadul Haque Milon, Roman Sana, Sajjad Hossain will be participating in the meet for different clubs. The three categories of the competition include individual, team and the mixed team. Kazi Razivuddin Ahmed Chapal, the general secretary of Bangladesh Archery Federation hoped the competi-
tion will inject new motivation among the archers. “There are a number of good archery clubs which are situated outside the capital. These clubs will try to make their marks. I hope there will be some exciting new talents,” said Chapal. As the sponsor, Cute is providing a purse of Tk. 300000.00 and the competition will be inaugurated by Zahid Ahsan Russell, the chairman of the standing committee of youth and sports ministry of Bangladesh. l
Bangladesh Archery Federation general secretary K.R.U.A. Chapal makes a point in the presser of the archery club championship yesterday
Chiellini World Cup place at risk Italy and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini was banned for three matches for elbowing on Monday, leaving him in danger of being left out of his country’s World Cup squad for indiscipline. Serie A’s disciplinary tribunal said Chiellini had been guilty of elbowing AS Roma’s Miralem Pjanic in an off-the-ball incident during Juve’s 1-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday. The tribunal used video evidence to make the decision as the incident was not seen by the referee. Chiellini will now have to wait to see if the incident will affect his World Cup chances. –Reuters
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Portland top Spurs to stay alive Damian Lillard scored 25 points as the Portland Trail Blazers stayed alive in the NBA playoffs with a 103-92 victory over San Antonio on Monday. LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points for the Trail Blazers, whose victory in game four of the Western Conference second-round playoff series prevented a Spurs sweep. They’ll head back to San Antonio for game five on Wednesday, with the Spurs still up 3-1 and looking to wrap up the series and reach the conference finals for a third straight season. No NBA team has ever won a best-of-seven playoff series after losing the first three games. –AFP
Stiverne wins WBC heavyweight title Bermane Stiverne claimed the vacant World Boxing Council heavyweight title, stopping Chris Arreola Saturday to become the first fighter in years not named Klitschko to grab a share of the heavyweight crown. The 35-year-old Canadian Stiverne knocked Arreola down twice in the sixth round before referee Jack Reiss stopped the bout at 2:02 of the round, giving Stiverne the victory in the first heavyweight championship bout on American soil since 2009. “I had a dream to be the world champion,” Stiverne said. “For me it was an impossible dream but I just kept going. I didn’t stop.” –AFP
New faces among 30-man Spanish squad PROVISIONAL SQUAD Spain manager Vicente del Bosque on Tuesday named the uncapped David de Gea, Dani Carvajal and Ander Iturraspe in his provisional list of 30 players for the World Cup in Brazil next month. Del Bosque will announce his final squad of 23 players to defend the trophy they won for the first time four years ago on May 25, a day after Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have disputed the Champions League final in Lisbon. Nationalised Brazilian striker Diego Costa is included among the forwards after scoring 36 goals this season which have propelled Atletico to the brink of a Champions League and La Liga double. Chelsea’s Fernando Torres is also included despite another difficult season at club level as are Juventus’ Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo of Manchester City with only one likely to make the final cut. l
Goalkeepers Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli/ITA), David de Gea (Manchester United/ENG) Defenders Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos (both Real Madrid), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Cesar Azplicueta (Chelsea/ ENG), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich/GER), Raul Albiol (Napoli/ITA), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla) Midfielders Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Bilbao), David Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal/ENG), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Tiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich/GER), Juan Mata (Manchester United/ENG) Forwards Diego Costa, David Villa (both Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas (both Manchester City), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Juventus/ ITA), Fernando Torres (Chelsea/ENG)
Manchester City players lift the Premiership and League Cup trophies in celebration as they prepare to take part in a victory parade on an open-topped bus through the streets of Manchester, northwest England, on Monday, after becoming the English Premier League champions AFP
Wilmots includes Januzaj, Origi in Belgian World Cup squad Belgium coach Marc Wilmots on Tuesday unveiled a 24-strong World Cup squad that included young talents Adnan Januzaj and
Divock Origi. Wilmots called up 20 outfield players and four goalkeepers given the injury to Hoffenheim stop-shotter Koen Casteels. Casteels sustained a fractured tibia but could be fit for the June 12-July 13 tournament in Brazil, with Ander-
lecht’s Silvio Proto lined up as the number three goalkeeper should the former not make it.
Goalkeepers (4): Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool/ENG), Koen Casteels (Hoffenheim/GER), Silvio Proto (Anderlecht) Defenders (8): Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich/GER), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City/ENG), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham/ENG), Thomas
Vermaelen (Arsenal/ENG), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St-Petersburg/RUS), Laurent Ciman (Standard) Midfielders (6): Axel Witsel (Zenit St-Petersburg/RUS), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United/ENG), Steven Defour (Porto/POR), Moussa Dembele (Tottenham/ENG), Nacer Chadli (Tottenham/ENG), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg/GER) Frowards (6): Romelu Lukaku (Everton/ENG), Divock Origi (Lille/FRA), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/ENG), Kevin Mirallas (Everton/ENG), Dries Mertens (Napoli/ITA), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United/ENG) l
Uruguay’s Coates, Eguren given World Cup lifeline Defender Sebastian Coates was handed a World Cup lifeline when Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez named the Liverpool player in his provisional 25-man World Cup squad on Monday.
Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama), Rodrigo Munoz (Libertad) Defenders: Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica), Diego Lugano (West Brom-
Italian coach of football team Galatasaray, Roberto Mancini (L) and Italian football star Francesco Totti perform paddle-tennis during Rome’s ATP tennis Masters in Rome on Monday AFP
Berlusconi ‘not satisfied’ with Milan, mulls Seedorf future AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi is not satisfied with the team’s recent performances and coach Clarence Seedorf’s fate will be decided at the end of the season, he said on Monday. “I’m not satisfied with Milan, just like all the supporters,” the former Italian prime minister told the Sport Mediaset television channel with his once all-conquering side lying eighth in Serie A. “The difference is that I’m the one who pays the wages, so I suffer a bit more than them. “I’m not satisfied with the way Milan are playing. No, not at all. Therefore
Tim Sherwood became the latest Tottenham Hotspur manager to fall foul of the north London Premier League club’s sky-high expectations when he was sacked on Tuesday after six months in charge. The 45-year-old replaced Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas in December. Sherwood signed an 18-month contract when he took over as manager but was widely expected to leave at the end of the season. Sherwood, who played nearly 100 league matches in midfield for Spurs, rejoined the club as assistant first-team coach in 2008. l
Leicester eye top five Premier League place
Rodgers, Pulis honoured with managerial awards Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers was named the League Managers Association’s (LMA) ‘Manager of the Year’ on Monday after he helped lift the Merseyside club out of the doldrums and took them to the brink of the Premier League championship. The LMA also honoured Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis with the Premier League Manager of the Year award for an impressive six months in which he replaced Ian Holloway mid-season and pulled the club out of relegation danger. Under Pulis’s watch, Palace went from strength to strength, finishing 11th after a five-match winning streak and only one loss in their last eight games.l
wich Albion), Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez (both Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Coates (Liverpool), Martin Caceres (Juventus), Jorge Fucile (Porto) Midfielders: Alejandro Silva (Lanus), Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio), Alvaro Pereira (Sao Paulo), Walter Gargano (Parma), Egidio Arevalo Rios (Morelia), Diego Perez (Bologna), Sebastian Eguren (Palmeiras), Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Gaston Ramirez (Southampton), Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo) Forwards: Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Edinson Cavani (Paris St Germain), Abel Hernandez (Palermo), Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka), Christian Stuani (Espanyol) l
Tottenham sack manager Sherwood
we have to reflect on this fact. “We will decide at the end of the season after the final match,” he said, referring to Dutchman Seedorf. “I will meet with the board and a decision will be taken.” Former Milan midfielder Seedorf was given a contract until the end of the 2015/16 season when he took over in January and has overseen a considerable improvement in results since then. Milan won only five out of 19 league games this season under predecessor Massimiliano Allegri while Seedorf has led them to 10 wins in 18 matches. From being 10 points off the Europa League places in January, Milan are now one point adrift with one match to play at home to Sassuolo on Sunday.
Italian media speculation over Seedorf’s future has been growing, fuelled by the failure of the club’s directors to give him any public backing as they did freqeuntly with Allegri. “I certainly didn’t expect us to lose,” said Berlusconi, who has been slammed by fans for the lack of recent investment. “Things went badly. “But I remember all the years in which we’ve had extraordinary success, that we are the club which has won the most titles in the world and above all we are working for the Milan of the future. “When we put this season behind us, we will look ahead and go back to being the extraordinary protagonists that we have been for many years in the past.” l
The Thai owners of newly promoted Leicester City are willing to spend $300 million to achieve their goal of finishing in the top five of the English Premier League within the next three seasons. Leicester sealed a place in the lucrative top flight of English football by winning the Championship title last month, ending a decade-long absence from the Premier League. Like all promoted clubs, survival is the initial goal for Leicester but billionaire chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has grander notions in the years ahead. “We want to stay in the EPL as long as possible,” Vichai told reporters in
Drogba, Toure brothers head up Ivory Coast squad Veteran striker Dider Drogba headed up Ivory Coast’s provisional 28-man squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil, named by manager Sabri Lamouchi on Tuesday.
Goalkeepers (4): Boubacar Barry (Lokeren/BEL), Sayouba Mande (Stabaek/ NOR), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe San Pedro/ CIV), Ali Badra (ASEC Mimosas/CIV) Defenders (10): Kolo Toure (Liverpool/ENG), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart/GER), Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (Toulouse/ FRA), Serge Aurier (Toulouse/FRA),
Ousmane Viera (Caykur Rizespor/TUR), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor/TUR), Constant Djakpa (Frankfurt/GER), Brice Dja (Marseille/FRA), Benjamin Angoua (Valenciennes/FRA), Bamba Souleymane (Trabzonspor/TUR) Midfielders (6): Ismael Diomande (St Etienne/FRA), Max Gradel (St Etienne/ FRA), Yaya Toure (Manchester City/ ENG), Ismael Cheick Tiote (Newcastle/ ENG), Geoffroy Serey (Basel/SUI), Ya Konan (Hanover/GER) Forwards (8): Didier Drogba (Galatasaray/TUR), Gervinho (Roma/ITA), Kalou (Lille/FRA), Bony (Swansea/ENG), Giovanni Sio (Basel/SUI), Mathis Bolly (Duesseldorf/GER), Doumbia (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Traore (Everton/ENG) l
Bangkok on Monday after the team enjoyed a three-day stay in the Thai holiday destination of Phuket. “But we won’t take the huge leap to challenge the league’s top five clubs immediately. “Do we have a chance to beat them? Yes, we have, but I think we need to establish our foothold in the league first and then we think about our next step. “It will take a huge amount of money, possibly 10 billion Thai Baht ($306.56 million), to get there. But that doesn’t put us off. I am asking for three years, and we’ll be there.” Leicester, three-times League Cup winners, were relegated from the Premier League in 2004 and then fell to the third tier in 2008. l
Palestine seeking Fifa sanctions against Israel Palestine will urge delegates at next month’s FIFA Congress to take sanctions against Israel while it continues to act “like the neighbourhood bully”, FA president Jibril Rajoub told Reuters on Tuesday. Rajoub, speaking at the Soccerex Asian Forum being held on the banks of the Dead Sea, said the relationship between the two Middle East neighbours had seriously deteriorated following the recent arrest of a Palestine footballer and the shooting of two other players. There was no immediate comment from any Israeli source. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Another super win for Super Kings
BJMC win Dhaka zone final Team BJMC emerged as the champion of the KFC National Women’s Football of Dhaka zone with a 12-0 thrashing of Narshingdi in the zonal final held at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. National team forward Sabina Khatun scored nine goals in the 13th, 17th, 24th, 31st, 41st, 62nd, 66th, 69th and 78th minute while Suraiya, Rikta and Bithi netted the other three goals for the victors. –RM
Chennai Super Kings continued with their winning ways in Pepsi IPL 2014 by beating the Rajasthan Royals by five wickets in a last-over finish at Ranchi. Initially, led by Dwayne Smith’s initial boost and Faf du Plessis’ innings-stabilising knock, CSK were taken across the line by the ever-dependable MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja while chasing the 149-run target. Earlier, RR elected to bat first upon winning the toss. Skipper Shane Watson and Ankit Sharma opened the innings for the hosts. This combination worked out for RR as they gave the team a steady start. They took the score to the 50-run mark in the seventh over. However, R Ashwin finally got rid of Ankit Sharma (30) in the eighth over with the RR score on 60. And while Watson brought up his half-century, Ajinkya Rahane (4) – the new man in – could not make a substantial contribution to the total; he was run-out in the 11th over.
Efimova gets a 16-month doping ban Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova was banned for 16 months on Tuesday for failing a drugs test, Russian media reported. The international swimming federation (FINA) doping panel had provisonally suspended Efimova in January after samples she provided in an out-of-competition control last October showed the presence of a prohibited anabolic steroid. The FINA ban runs until February 28, 2015, and all of Efimova’s results from October 31, 2013 onwards, including the 200m breaststroke world record she set at the European short course championships at Herning, Denmark, in December, have been cancelled. Efimova was reported to have accepted she was in breach of the doping code violation but presented a detailed defence and insisted she had not intended to enhance her performance. Anatoly Zhuravlev, head coach of Russia’s national swimming team, said he was satisfied with the verdict and had expected a harsher penalty. –AFP
Court told Pistorius has ‘anxiety disorder’ Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial resumed Monday with a psychiatrist telling the court the sprinter had an “anxiety disorder,” as the defence began to wrap up its case. Opening the eighth and perhaps final week of evidence, defence lawyer Barry Roux called a forensic psychiatrist to testify on Pistorius’s feelings of vulnerability, a factor that may have caused him to believe his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead on Valentine’s Day last year. “It is my opinion, my lady, that Mr Pistorius has an anxiety disorder,” said Meryll Vorster, recounting stressful factors in the Paralympic gold medallist’s life. Vorster, who also interviewed Pistorius’s close family and friends to compile her report, said the athlete’s disorder began when his parents encouraged the double-amputee to be normal. “Over time this could result in anxiety,” she said. The Pistorius children were not “soothed” by their mother, Sheila, who slept with a firearm under her pillow and “abused alcohol intermittently,” continued the psychiatrist. –AFP
Hodgson gives Cole glimmer of WC hope England manager Roy Hodgson suggested on Monday that Ashley Cole could be asked to make an international comeback in case of a pre-World Cup injury to rival left-back Leighton Baines. Cole, 33, retired from international football on Sunday after being informed by Hodgson that he did not feature in his 23-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil, which was unveiled in Luton on Monday. Chelsea defender Cole, England’s most-capped full-back with 107 caps, has lost his place in the starting XI to Everton’s Baines this season. But rather than include Cole as back-up, Hodgson decided to hand an opportunity to 18-year-old Southampton defender Luke Shaw, who is reportedly the subject of a £27 million ($45.5 million, 33.1 million euros) bid from Manchester United. As Cole was not named on Hodgson’s seven-man standby list, he could only be brought into the squad if one of England’s players suffered an injury after Hodgson presents his final squad list to FIFA on June 2. –AFP
BRIEF SCORE Rajasthan Royals 148/8 in 20 overs (Watson 51, M Sharma 3-31) Chennai Super Kings 149/5 in 19.4 overs (Smith 44, Ankit 2-20) Chennai Super Kings won by 5 wickets Dhaka Tribune celebrate their Sony Expo 2014 football title at the handball stadium yesterday
Dhaka Tribune win Sony Expo 2014 Dhaka Tribune, coincidentally handed the tag of Spain, replicated the FIFA World Cup 2010 by emerging as the undefeated champions of the Sony Expo 2014 five-a-side football tournament defeating Bangla Trac 2-1 in a thrilling final at the National Handball Stadium yesterday. Exhibiting exactitude passing, a solid midfield unit and neat defensive displays, Dhaka Tribune not only claimed the tournament but also won hearts of the neutral spectators who had thronged to the stadium. The title win was reminiscent of the
8th Ascent Corporate five-a-side Soccer Cup final last year when the Tribe, playing in the tournament for the first time, overcame five-time champions Beximco Pharma by the same margin. Skipper Reazur Rahman Rohan had grabbed both the goals against Beximco but this time Fazley Rabbi Moon netted a brace, scoring in either side of each half to seal victory. The day-long competition made it a tough day for both the finalists who had been on the field since morning and had to play group matches, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals on the same day. A total of 12 teams were handed the tag of 12 countries who
will all take part in the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil and Dhaka Tribune was under pressure from the outset when they were given the Spain card in the lottery. Wearing the jerseys of defending World Cup champions Spain’s traditional red and gold outline, Dhaka Tribune kicked off the campaign with a comfortable 4-2 victory over Bangladesh Sports Press Association (BSPA) and then outplayed Pharmacia Ltd 2-0 in their next group match. The Tribe produced the tournament’s biggest margin of victory in the quarterfinals crushing Singapore Airlines 8-1 with Monu blasting a superb hattrick.
The semifinal was a hotly-contested one as the Tribe came from behind to pip Eastern Bank Limited 2-1 thanks to Rohan’s sensational brace, one of them arriving at the dying stages of the game. In the other semifinal, Bangla Trac edged past White Products Limited (WPL) 1-0. Bangla Trac, representing Mexico, hadn’t conceded a single goal throughout the tournament before the final and it took Moon just three minutes to break the deadlock before adding another in the second half. Monu was the tournament’s highest scorer with seven goals while Ferdous of EBL was adjudged player of the tournament. l
Watson (51) perished in the 13th over, when Mohit Sharma bowled him out. A short while later, Karun Nair (8) was also bowled out; Samuel Badree claimed his scalp to leave RR on 114 for four. Steve Smith (9) and James Faulkner (1), whose heroics saw their team through a couple of nights ago against RCB, failed to make a big impact with the bat today. While the former was cleaned up by Mohit Sharma, the latter suffered the same fate against Ravindra Jadeja a few balls later. In response, CSK’s trusted opening pair of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum started in an aggressive manner. They added 20 runs in quick time, before Ankit Sharma got rid of McCullum (6) in the third over. Suresh Raina (2) came to bat at one-down, but even he was dismissed by Ankit Sharma, leaving CSK on 41 for two in 4.2 overs. l
Carberry gets England recall Djokovic makes winning return ENGLAND ODI SQUAD Michael Carberry was recalled to limited overs duty by England on Tuesday after being named in both the Twenty20 and one-day international squads to play Sri Lanka. England’s 13-man Twenty20 squad, captained by Middlesex batsman Eoin Morgan in the absence of the injured Stuart Broad for a lone match against World Twenty20 champions Sri Lanka at The Oval next week, also sees experienced stroke-player Ian Bell return to the format while the big-hitting Michael Lumb has been dropped. Meanwhile left-arm seamer Harry Gurney, who made his ODI debut in a rainmarred win against Scotland in Aberdeen last week that was reduced to 20 overs per
Alastair Cook (Essex, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire/wkt), Michael Carberry (Hampshire), Harry Gurney (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Joe Root (Yorkshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire) side, and fit-again Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan are in both squads. Ashes opener Carberry made no secret of his anger at being dropped from the ODI series in Australia -- which England lost 4-1 after their 5-0 Test drubbing -- having performed creditably in the same format against the team’s oldest international rivals on home soil. l
Novak Djokovic made a winning return nearly a month after suffering a wrist injury, starting the Rome Masters on a rainy Tuesday with a 6-3, 7-5 defeat of Radek Stepanek. The second-round victory after a bye was the first match for the world number two Serb since losing a Monte Carlo semi-final on April 19 to Roger Federer while suffering with his right wrist problem. Djokovic, a two-time champion at the Foro Italico, was to have played last week in Madrid but held off. He won in Rome with new coach Boris Becker looking on. The Serb, who is competing in Rome for an eighth straight year, won his 25th
match here against five defeats. Three of his losses have come against Nadal, the top seed bidding for an eighth trophy in the capital. The end against Stepanek was a struggle, comprising four consecutive breaks of serve before Djokovic took victory with a service return winner out wide after 97 minutes. Roger Federer will be back on court eight days after the birth of his twin boys Leo and Lenny as he competes due to some fortunate timing in the birth of his second set of twins. “Since they were born last Tuesday, that gave me a better chance of playing Rome,” said the Monte Carlo finalist, who plays on Wednesday against France’s Jeremy Chardy. “I didn’t want too much of a break.
“It doesn’t matter if I play five matches or one match here. As long as I feel the pulse of things on the tour. “Of course I hope to win my firstround match, but at the moment I have totally different priorities.” Federer has lost three Rome finals, all three to Spanirds and the last two two (2006, 2013) to Nadal. The top-seeded Spaniard is preparing to face one of the biggest annual changes on the clay when he starts three days after winning another Madrid title. “Yes it’s a big change (from Madrid altitude to sea-level Rome), but when you are winning it is a lot easier,” said the holder. “You always need time to adjust. l
ENJOYING THE DT ANNIVERSARY PARTY
DAY’S WATCH Start Sports 2 4:00 PM ATP Rome Masters Sony Six 5:00AM Nba Play Off 2013-14, Conf Sf Indiana v Washington 7:00AM Oklahoma v LA Clippers Indian Premier League 4:30 PM Hyderabad v Punjab 8:30 PM Kolkata v Mumbai
(Anti-clockwise from right) BCB directors Jalal Yunus and Ahmed Sajjadul Alam share a light moment with Kazi Inam Ahmed, BFF vice president Tabith Awal is all smiles with Kazi Nabil Ahmed and Kazi Anis Ahmed, Sheikh Jamal coach Josef Afusi and trainer Ariel Coleman enjoy the procedure, renowned football coaches Maruful Haque and Saiful Bari Titu enjoy the time at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel yesterday NASHIRUL ISLAM AND MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Salinity may ruin vast tract of arable coastal land
Climate change-triggered sea level rise boosting salinity well above what scientists can ever reach He also said: “BRRI 28 and BRRI 29 n Abu Bakar Siddique have been the most popular [non saEnvironmentalists have warned that vast stretches of coastal arable land in Bangladesh may become barren because of an alarming rise in salinitydue toa climate change-triggered rise in sea level. Researchers say none of the existing varieties of salinity-tolerant rice can stand the level of salinity that has affected some of the coastal districts. In fact, the best salinity-tolerant variety that could be developed was nowhere near the level already reached, scientists said. Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) have invented seven varieties of rice that can stand salinity of up to 8 deci Siemens per metre (dS/M). However, studies have shown that salinity in more than half of the arable lands in five coastal districts have gone well past that level. According to a study conducted by the Soil Resource Development Institute, the level of salinity in 79,000 hectares of affected land in the Khulna district was identified as S3 – meaning the salinity ranged from 8.1dS/M to 16dS/M. Similarly, 62,000 hectares in Patuakhali, 99,000 in Satkhira, 62,000 in
Bagerhat and 38,000 hectares of salinity-affected lands in Barguna were also tagged S3. The study also showed that in 1973, some 8.33 lakh hectares of land in 19 coastal districts were salinity-affected. Now, the figure stands at 10.2 lakh hectares.
Jiban Krishna Biswas, director general of BRRI, said paddy can be made tolerant to 12dS/M of salinity, at best. Moreover, the salinity-tolerant breeds developed by the BRRI and BINA have failed to gain popularity among the farmers because of their low productivity and high irrigation
dependency. Agricultural Economist Prof Shamsul Alam, a member of the Planning Commission, said: “Farmers opted for those varieties that were comfortable to produce and rejected those that were substandard in quality and lacked financial viability.”
linity-tolerant hybrid] varieties for the last 20 years because they were farmer-friendly and ensured more production for less irrigation.” Jiban Krishna suggested that coastal growers should change their paddy farming habits and opt for crops such as soybean, maize, barley and sugarcane. The traditional varieties of most crops can withstand salinity of up to 0.7dS/M. Dr Atiq Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, said current trends indicate that salinity is going to affect bigger stretches of coastal lands with higher degreesof intensity. He said: “Because of global warming, sea levels have been rising. Since Bangladesh is a delta, the salinity of sea water is pushing up the rivers, making the adjacent lands highly saline.” The situation is nothing short of a disaster, said Atiq, who worked as a climate scientist with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Specialists also said the situation in Bangladesh is unique. Other major rice-producers such as the Philippines are mostly affected by harsh weather conditions – another effect of the global climate change. l
Nine Bangladeshis killed Relatives of deceased migrant in Saudi fire workers wait long for compensation n Rabiul Islam
Nine Bangladeshi and two Indian citizens were killed in a furniture factory fire at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on Monday night. The bodies were badly charred in the fire, Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Md Shahidul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune over phone yesterday. He said the bodies were kept at Shamochi Hospital in Riyadh. “We are trying to send the bodies soon,” he added. Second Secretary of Bangladesh Embassy in Saudi Arabia Mohammad Mizanur Rahman said: “The fire broke out at the factory of Titas Furniture around 10pm.” Seven of the victims came from Comilla, one each from Madaripur and Feni while two from India, said an official of the foreign ministry. Four of the deceased were Matiur Rahman, son of Abdul Karim, of village Kalagachhia and Md Selim of vil-
lage Chaderchar in Homna upazila, Md Jalal, son of Rostom Ali, of village Dularampur and Shah Alam, son of Habi Mia, of village Kalipur in Titas upazila. Md Ziauddin, director in charge of Expatriates’ Welfare Board, provided a list of the deceased migrants. The detailed information about Nazir Hossain and Bhahauddin of Comilla, Zakir Hossain of Feni and Md Akkas of Madaripur could not be known immediately. Two Bangladeshis named Raju and Mainul were running the Titas Furniture, owned by a Saudi citizen, he said, adding that Raju went into hiding soon after the fire incident while Mainul is believed to be in Bangladesh. Ziauddin said if the workers die in the workplace, they usually get compensation. “We hope the family members of the deceased migrants would get compensation,” he said, adding that the cause of the fire could not be known yet. l
Around 800 compensation cases pending in Saudi courts of migrants who died while working reparation for those killed in road accin Rabiul Islam abroad gather at the Expatriates’ Wel- dents, the officials said. Omar Faruk, a Bangladeshi construction worker, was killed in a road accident on the way to work in Saudi Arabia in 2001. Thirteen years later, his relatives back home are still waiting for compensation from the company where he worked. “In the last 13 years, we didnot get any compensation. In 2009, as per requirement, I sent all necessary documents to the relevant authorities, but we are yet to get anything,” Omar’s son-in-law, Kamaluddin Sumon, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Omar’s family in Lakshmipur’sCharvoga village still do not know when, or whether, they would get any compensation at all. Like Omar Faruk, many relatives
fare Board at the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry, but find little relief. “Many relatives of the victims come to us, but we cannot give any satisfactory answer to them,” MdMohsin Chowdhury,director the board,said yesterday. According to the board, around 800 cases of compensation are pending in Saudi courts alone. Some of the cases have been going on for 18 to 20 years. Officials at the Bangladesh embassy in Riyadh said compensation for the families depends on the worker’s employment conditions and whether he or she changed jobs. Receiving compensation also depends on reports from the police and hospitals, and there is no guarantee of
Hilsa in storage, market awash with Chokori
n Mohosinul Karim
The recent photo shows Chokori fish being sold as hilsa at Hatirpul Bazar in the capital consumers are also unaware about the fish that if they are really hilsa. When contacted, Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, however, declined to make any detailed comment and said the ministry was looking into the allegations and demands made by the traders. A senior commerce ministry official said the allegations should be checked seriously. “We may hold an inter-ministerial meeting today to discuss the issues,” the official said. Earlier on July 31, 2012, the government imposed a ban on export of hisla fish to keep its prices at the affordable
level in the local market. Bangladesh’s fishermen catch 6-7 lakh tonnes of hilsa annually. India’s West Bengal state has a great demand of Bangladeshi hilsa and if the export is open again, the number of total consumers in the both countries will become 32 crore. Besides, a recent study conducted by the Bangladesh Fish Research Institution showed that the local market of hilsa has shrunk due to water pollution. The local traders said the import of hilsa-like fishes has contributed to the shrinking of real hilsa demand. But a stockholder, however, said if
Allegations have been raised against a director of the health directorate, Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, accusing him of trying to misappropriate over Tk9 lakh from the funds of the country’s influenza programme. Shahid Md Sadiqul Islam, a deputy programme manager (DPM) of the influenza programme, claimed that Dr Be-Nazir, who is also the line director of the programme, received Tk930,850 that was withdrawn using a cheque that named Sadiqul as the bearer. Sadiqul also alleged that when he challenged the line director about the withdrawn money, Dr Be-Nazir directed him to accept a money receipt without raising any questions. The DPM later officially submitted an application to the DG of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and the health secretary, accusing Dr Be-Nazir of trying to embezzle the money. In his application, Sadiqul mentioned that as the legal drawing disbursement officer for the influenza programme, Dr Be-Nazir had the authority to withdraw any amount of money from the bank account concerned. However, the line director chose to issue a cheque using the DPM’s name, allegedly to pocket the withdrawn money. When contacted, Sadiqul confirmed that he had submitted the application, but refused to comment in detail without the permission of the DGHS director general. Sources said Sadiqul had filed a general diary with the police as well as collecting written statements from two office assistants who had withdrawn the money on behalf of Dr Be-Nazir. Dr Md Shah Newaz, director (administration) of the DGHS, told the Dhaka Tribune that they are now looking into the allegation, adding that an inquiry committee is usually formed to enquire into such claims. Meanwhile, Dr Be-Nazir termed the allegations false and counter-accused Sadiqul of preparing false bills and failing to run the influenza programme properly. Claiming that he did not use the withdrawn funds, the line director said the money was kept under the custody of his personal assistant. As the DPM of the programme was not present, two deputy directors of Communicable Disease Control (CDC) later spent around Tk8 lakh from the withdrawn amount to organise training sessions under the influenza programme; while the rest of the money will be used for the next session, Dr Be-Nazir added. l
Plan for four satellite cities given up
n Asif Showkat Kallol
While hilsa is known as much-coveted fish among Bangalees, it is surprising that it remains unsold and is being stockpiled in cold storages. But the markets have been flooded with imported Chokori and Chandria fishes which almost look like Bangladeshi hilsa. However, the tastes are not as rich as that of the hilsa and consumers are mistaking them with Bangladesh’s most delicious fish. In the kitchen markets, vendors are also deceiving the consumers who prefer the fish for cheaper rates being oblivious of its purity. The hilsa traders said they were losing local market to the low quality and cheap Chokori and Chandria fishes. The traders said they can neither sell hilsa in local market due to price differences nor can export because of an official ban, leading them to suffer huge losses every day. According to them, a stock of 2,000 tonnes of hilsa have remained piled up for months, damaging the quality and taste of the catches. Bangladesh Marine Fisheries Association sent a letter recently to the commerce ministry making the allegations and urging to resolve the matter. According to an official source, the commerce ministry will hold an inter-ministerial meeting today to discuss the matters. Visits to the city’s kitchen market found that the market was flooded with imported Chokori and Chandria fishes. A total of 12,000 tonnes of Chokori and Chandria were imported from Myanmar, Vietnam and Oman in last seven months. As they are cheap in prices, the consumers buy them and do not think of tastes, said hilsa traders, adding the
The welfare board, however, could not say how many Bangladeshis were killed in accidents over the past decade. “The cases go to court and theyhave to be proven in the court for realising compensation,” Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Md Shahidul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune over phone yesterday. “It requires time to complete the various processes, but we still try to get compensation,” Shahiduladded. The envoy also said the number of pending cases was huge, and the consular offices work under pressure. According to Saudi government figures, around 12lakh Bangladeshislive in Saudi Arabia.However, other sources claim that the number of migrant workers could be double that number. l
DGHS director accused of trying to embezzle Tk9 lakh n Moniruzzaman Uzzal
government goes to put high restrictions on import for resolving the current issue, the price of even local katla fish will shoot up to Tk400 per piece from the present Tk150 per piece. He, however, said the export of hilsa should be lifted as the government is now losing revenues. “If the hilsa worth Tk2,000 crore in cold storages can be exported, the government will earn Tk500 crore revenue,” he said. Vice President of Bangladesh Fish Exporters and Importers Association, SA Wahab also said “the government is losing huge amount of revenue” due to export ban. l
The government has given up its plan to build four satellite towns surrounding the capital city Dhaka after Sahara India Pariwar, an interested company to invest in the housing sector of Bangladesh, was found duping investors in India. Postponing the plan the government has taken initiatives to build a wellplanned residential area only in Kamrangir Char, one of the proposed places chosen to build four satellite cities. Despite strong opposition from the realtors, the government is planning to allow Malaysia to construct the Kamrangir Char residential area under public private partnership programme, Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain said last week. He said the steps to build the four towns – three under the National Housing Authority and another under the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha – had been taken to reduce the population pressure in Dhaka. The proposed project areas were Kamrangir Char, Bongshi-Dhamrai, Ichhamati-Sirajdikhan and Dhaleshwari-Singair.
“But we had to give up the plan to build four cities as the interested Indian company was found fraud. Now, we are planning to build 10,000 apartments in Kamrangir Char, demolishing the unplanned buildings there,” he said. A Malaysian company interested to implement the project with new technology already visited the proposed area in Kamrangir Char. The work of preparing an inception report, midterm report and draft final report has already been done. The minister also said the government might revive the plan to set up the satellite towns if any acceptable proposal from any renowned company comes in future. Earlier, Sahara India Pariwar on May 23, 2012 signed a memorandum of understanding with the Housing and Public Works Ministry for investment in the housing industry of Bangladesh to set up the four satellite townships and other housing projects in the country. Sahara India intended investing around $120m to $125m in Bangladesh’s real estate sector for which they asked for 100,000 acres of land on the outskirts of Dhaka from the government. l
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B3 World sheds reserve over growing role of China's yuan
B4 Tough to co-exist in a small market
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014 www.dhakatribune.com/business
Cotton demand likely to double by 2022 Bangladesh to contribute 15% of the global cotton import n Kayes Sohel Bangladesh’s cotton consumption is expected to almost double by 2022, strongly retaining its position of world’s second largest cotton importers, according to a new study. The local consumption is expected to increase from 9% in 2010-11 to 16% by 2022, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Agricultural Outlook 2013-2022 released recently. “Use of cotton in the domestic spinning mills increases every year riding on growing apparel industry,” said Mohmmad Ayub, president of Bangladesh Cotton Association. Bangladesh’s apparel industry relies heavily on cotton-based yarns, as knitwear and denim production account for nearly three-fourths of the country’s export earnings. According to Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), a platform of the spinners, the number of fabrics manufacturing units in 2013 stood at 782 from 777 in 2012. The number of dyeing, printing and finishing units also increased to 240 from 234 and 392 spinning mills were set up in 2013, which was 394 in 2012 and 385 in 2011. Spinning mills are the main strength of the export-oriented garment sector as they play an important role as a backward linkage industry for exports. “If the present growth trend continues, it might be possible to reach closer to the forecast,” said ex-BTMA President Jahangir Alamin. “But, we need more investment to double the use of spindles for dou-
The nine new commercial banks have no default loans during the October-December quarter of 2013 as their disbursed loans were little as compared to other commercial banks, Bangladesh Bank officials said. Most of the new banks have brought fund at higher cost while they provided loan at 7% to 8% rate of interest, said a senior executive of a new commercial bank. “Our chairman directed collecting enough fund and give more loan to the potential clients to increase the loan amount of the banks.” Bangladesh Bank released the classified loan data for the second quarter of 2013-14 fiscal year on Thursday last. Default loans in banks rose by 1.52 percentage point or Tk7,589 crore in the first quarter this year, compared
The Accord and Alliance, two platforms of American and European Union retailers, are going to hold a meeting with the engineers of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) tomorrow to resolve the disputes created over inspection of the RMG factory buildings.
bling the use of cotton consumption by 2022,” he said. “The fact is that stable political situation and infrastructure are pre-requisite to attract investment. Executive Director and Company Secretary of Metro Spinning Mills Limited Mohammad Mohsin Adnan said that his company will expand spinning capacity from 45,000 spindles to 97,800 by this year. “Many units of the spinning mills in the country still remain unutilised due to gas crisis,” he said. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts that Bangladesh raw cotton consumption will stand at 3.9 million bales of raw cotton in 2013-14, which was 3.7 million in 12-13 and 3.2 million in 2011-12.
Yarn consumption in 2013-14 is forecast to increase to one million tons from 980,000 tons in 2012-13 while fabric consumption is forecast to reach 6.6 billion meters from 6.4 billion meters during the period, the report said. The OECD-FAO outlook said China is expected to retain the role as the world’s largest importer that it had held shortly after the end of MFA (multi-fiber agreement), drive its consumption up sharply but at a reduced level. “As China’s share of world imports falls from 41% in the base period to 23% in 2022, Bangladesh and Vietnam are expected to nearly reach double their share, surpassing China in total,” it said. China’s imports are expected to
to the quarter that ended in December last year. The amount went up as the classified loans of the banks that misused due to a relaxed policy Bangladesh Bank introduced for borrowers, who were affected by political turmoil last year. On March 31, the total amount of default loans in banks was Tk48,172 crore or 10.45% of the total outstanding loans, according to Bangladesh Bank statistics. On December 31 last year, the amount was Tk40,583 crore or 8.93% of the total outstanding loans. The total outstanding loan of Union Bank is Tk1,085 crore and there was no default loan at end of December 2013 . South Bangla Agricultural and Commerce Bank’s outstanding loan is Limited Tk459.57 crore, NBR Commercial Bank Limited Tk688 crore , Meghna Bank Limited Tk248 crore , Midland Bank Limited Tk282 crore , The Farmers Bank Limited Tk105 crore , NRB
Bank Limited Tk94 crore , Modhumoti Bank Tk53 crore and NRB Global Bank Limited Tk370 crore. Managing director of a new bank said new banks have failed to collect enough fund from the market because of sluggish economic situation. He said they have taken caution while lending to the potential clients. The central bank approved nine new banks in two phases in 2013 to take the country’s total number of scheduled banks to 56, of which, 39 are private, nine foreign and eight are state-owned. The new banks were established with Tk400 crore of paid-up capital each. Following the nationalisation of banks after the country’s independence in 1971, the government awarded licences to private banks at first in 1983. The second set of such banks were allowed in 1995 and the third set in 2001. l
Call for raising VAT ceiling for SMEs n Tribune Report SME Foundation has urged the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to raise annual turnover limit of small and medium enterprises to Tk60 lakh for VAT exemption facility. Under the current rule, one SME firm making over Tk40 lakh turnover annually needs to pay value added tax. The foundation said if the limit is raised, it will save many crippling firms from closures. According to SMEF, many of the enterprises are also facing difficulties to avail of the tax benefits given particularly under the Value Added Tax (VAT) rule. It said the SME firms failed to compete with the imported products because of the existing tax and VAT rate. SMEF placed 41-point budget proposals to NBR, giving special focus on plastic, electronics, leather, agricultural goods manufacturing and light engineering items.
Accord & Alliance to meet Buet engineers tomorrow to solve disputes n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi
New private banks out of default loan danger n Asif Showkat Kallol
RMG FACTORY INSPECTION
The foundation said manufacturing volumes of the SMEs have been lower due to high operating costs. Quoting from the law, the foundation said small and cottage industry gets VAT exemption if it has annual turnover below Tk60lakh with an annual investment below Tk40lakh. SME Foundation demanded the annual turnover ceiling should be increased to Tk1crore and annual investments at plants to Tk60lakh to protect small businesses. SMEF also urged the NBR to make a number of changes in the VAT and tax structure as many of the enterprises had to shut their businesses. “The situation has become very tough for cottage industries to sustain at the market under the existing VAT rate,” said SMEF. It demanded fixing 3% VAT on the sale of manufactured products for the enterprises who do not get VAT rebate. It sought temporary withdrawal of 15% VAT to help the industry continue.
SMEF said the VAT rebate on electricity, telephone and insurance services used by the small manufacturing enterprises should be increased to 100% from 80% and 15% VAT on Internet should be withdrawn. It also demanded exemption of 15% VAT on the import of gas generator and generator parts. The SME Foundation demanded increase of supplementary duties on import of plug socket, holder, and raw materials for manufacturing plastic and melamine products including Urea Moulding Compound, Urea Resins, and Thiourea. It demanded to raise it from 20-25% to 100%. For the import of machineries needed for general small and medium enterprises, SME Foundation demanded to set zero percent duty from 2% duty on machinery import. It urged the NBR to reduce import duty from 25% to 5% on components of toy including spring, friction, electronic device, light and music item. l
drop 50% during the upcoming season as it winds down a strategic stockpiling programme, according to the National Cotton Council, a US industry group, leaving room for Bangladesh to expand its role in the international market. The OECD-FAO report said total demand for cotton in the world is expected to reach 27.7Mt in 2022, surpassing its previous records-high by 1Mt. It said in recent years, cotton consumption has been disrupted by global economic volatility, an unexpected price shock, and policy changes in China. From a peak of 26.7Mt in 2006 and 2007, world consumption is estimated to have fallen 13% to 23.3Mt in 2012, it said. l
The Accord should consider the Buet’s recommendation on the required concrete strength of RMG factory buildings, otherwise, 50% RMG factories will face closures As there is a dispute over the outcome of the ongoing factory inspection between the local engineers and the engineers of Accord and Alliance, a tripartite meeting will be held to settle the dispute, said a member of the review committee on condition of anonymity. The review panel suspended inspection of the apparel factories recommended either by Accord or Alliance as soon as the rift surfaced. Both the Accord and the Alliance used to recommend the review panel to further visit and scan the factories if they find any risky building. Being a neutral body, International Labour Organisation
(ILO) will mediate the meeting to reach a consensus over the required concrete strength of a RMG factory building. According to the Buet engineers, the concrete strength of a building is to be 2,400 pound per square inch (PSI) for stone-made structure and 2,100 for brick-made structure, while Accord considered the concrete strength should to be 1,750 PSI for brick-made structure. “Evaluation of the existing RMG buildings is the toughest job although the inspection is going on in a hasty manner, Sheikh Sekender Ali, Professor of Civil Engineering Department of BUET,” told the Dhaka Tribune. He also said there were some disagreements with the Accord’s method in calculating the concrete strength and others standards. “The Accord should consider the Buet’s recommendation on the required concrete strength of RMG factory buildings, otherwise, 50% RMG factories will face closures,’’ said an official. From my personal experience, I can assure that the engineers from Buet are better than the engineers employed by Accord as they have more practical experiences than the graduate engineers hired by the Accord, he added. “All the stakeholders Accord, Alliance and Buet should reach a consensus on the concrete strength as it is a must for smooth and successful execution of the factory inspection for the sake of RMG sector,” Inspector General of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments Syed Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune. l
New markets help boost leather goods export by 70% n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi The country’s leather products have explored 14 new destinations, registering a 70% growth to US$197 million in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year as compared to $116 million for the same period of the last fiscal. The new destinations are Vietnam, New Zealand, Austria, Bulgaria, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Ireland, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Lithonia, Morocco, Mauritius and Turkey. Meanwhile, leather goods including finished leather and footwear earned $1.07 billion, posting about 38% rise in July-April period of 2013-14 fiscal compared to the same period of last fiscal, shows Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data. Exports earnings from leather jumped by 34% to $424 million while footwear fetched $443.5 million with over 30% rise in July-April period of the current financial year. In 2012-13 fiscal, Bangladesh had earned $400 million by exporting leather while it fetched $162 million from leather products and $419 million from footwear. “High quality and timely shipment attracted the buyers for Bangladeshi leather and leather products, which have pushed the exports earnings up,” Shaheen Ahmed, president of Bangla-
desh Tanners Association (BTA), told the Dhaka Tribune. As a good number of factories in China have been remained closed due to the recent wage hike, the buyers shifted their attention to Bangladesh, said Ahmed. Urging the government to provide soft loan for relocation of the factories, Ahmed also requested the government not to halt production during the relocation as it might drive away the buyers from the country.
“The main reason behind the steady growth of export earnings is competitive prices of Bangladeshi leather products and high quality of leather,” said Abdul Hai, secretary general of BTA. He said Bangladesh produces high quality shoes with innovative and attractive designs. In July-April 2013-14, the country’s total export earnings rose to $24.65 billion, registering 13% growth while Bangladesh has set an export target of $30.5 billion for the current fiscal year. l
3-day laptop fair begins tomorrow n Tribune Report
A three-day laptop fair begins tomorrow at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in the capital with a slogan of “Laptop for all.” Being chief guest, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu will formally inaugurate the fair, which will remain open for the visitors till 17 May. Expo maker, the organiser of the 14th laptop fair, came up with the disclosure while addressing a press conference at a city hotel yesterday. Addressing the press conference, the organiser also declared the In Tech and telcom site www. techshohor.com as the title sponsor while other four co-sponsors will be acer,
Dell, HP and Samsung. A total of 28 stalls and 19 pavilions will be available in the fair where buyers can choice their preferable brands and the models available in the country. “The fair will also provide a chance for the visitors to buy a laptop at the cheapest possible price,” Nahid
Hasnaien, head of operation from Expo maker, told the press conference. Fair will remain open from 10am to 8pm each day with an entry fees of Tk20 per person. The press conference was also attended, among others, by the representatives from sponsors companies and the industry as well. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
As big ad deal falls apart, firms start thinking small n Reuters, New York The collapse of the $35bn merger of New York-based Omnicom with France’s Publicis is likely to lead the world’s biggest ad agencies to think small as they try to counter the challenge from internet giants like Google. Since announcing their merger last July, executives from the two firms touted the creation of the world’s biggest ad agency as the best way to gain scale and capital to compete on price and invest in technology as clients squeeze the agencies on cost. One of the prime motivations for the deal was the competition coming from a host of rivals ranging from Google and Facebook, software companies Oracle and Salesforce and consulting firms Accenture and IBM, which are siphoning off business that traditionally belonged to ad firms. After this week’s break-up, which was due in large part to a clash of cultures and egos, the two firms need to rethink their approach. Bankers and industry executives say buying smaller ad technology companies may be their best bet to capture the billions of dollars flowing toward digital advertising. “You have two massive organizations that singularly focused their future on a combination of scale to deliver better costs and that is not going to happen now,” said Dave Morgan, the chief executive of Simulmedia, a firm that sells TV advertising. He pointed to recent deals by Google and AOL focused on small ad technology companies that provide analytics. Greater scale was supposed to give the new Omnicom-Publicis group better bargaining power in buying space for ads on TV, the internet, and print at a time when many global brands are looking to cut costs on advertising. That rationale was never complete-
ly clear, one major Omnicom client told Reuters. And with the promised increase in scale no longer an option, the two firms have to explain to their clients what they can offer instead.
Need for insight
One thing they need to provide is greater insight on what works and how cost effective ads are, especially in digital advertising, ad executives and analysts say. Consumers now interact with media in a host of different ways, from the traditional sources of TV, radio, billboards and newspapers, to the different offerings online and on mobile including basic portals and social networks. That has forced ad agencies and clients to change how they value the influence of an ad. A consumer seeing a traditional TV commercial may then go online to search for a deal before eventually buying the product in a store some time later, having been reminded of it by a nearby billboard. With so many moving parts, the ad agencies have turned to data analytics to better understand and predict the behaviour of consumers. It is the need for such insight that has put them on a collision course with the big internet and software companies. But Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal, believes there is room for both to operate within the industry. “Marketing services and technology are becoming increasingly interchangeable,” he said adding there is still room for growth since more services are needed given the fragmented media landscape. Jeff Lanctot, president and CEO of Mixpo, a company that helps companies create video ads, said the need for scale had actually decreased in recent years as digital advertising - which ac-
Maurice Levy (left), French advertising group Publicis Chief executive, and John Wren, head of Omnicom Group, gesture during a joint signature ceremony in Paris counts for nearly a quarter of global marketing spend - used real-time auctions to buy media space. “Buying power has been the real pitch from the holding companies,” he said. “I think what is the better approach is to get much more aggressive in technology acquisitions.”
Two relatively small deals announced in the last week could be a sign of things
to come. AOL, which has been investing in automated exchanges where machines buy and sell digital advertising, said this week it would pay $101m to buy Convertro Inc, a platform that helps advertisers manage spending budgets across different media. On the same day Google announced it was acquiring Adometry, which offers the ability to understand the influence that different marketing tools have on consumer decisions.
One sector banker pointed to providers of retargeting - which shows ads of a certain brand to consumers who have already visited that brand’s site - and data analytics for advertisers as Publicis’ best bet to rebound. He named Next Performance in France, Struq in the UK and myThings in Israel as the most promising sector players under the 100m euro revenue threshold. “These companies are getting a lot
of attention. The industry will now prioritize smaller deals that bring real strategic value to investors,” a sector adviser said. Publicly traded marketing analytics providers such as France’s Criteo, which uses tracking technology to target ads at consumers surfing the web, and Rocket Fuel, which applies big data analysis to digital advertising, are seen as other promising takeover candidates for the big groups. One of the most prolific acquirer of digital groups is Martin Sorrell’s WPP, which will now retain its position as the world’s largest ad group. Uncharacteristically left on the sidelines last year, Sorrell wasted little time when the deal was announced in telling both his and his rivals’ clients why it was doomed to fail. Having handled 46bn pounds of billings in 2013, WPP, he said, offered scale and insight at the same time. Omnicom’s CEO, John Wren, told investors on Friday that Omnicom was still in the market for acquisitions but stressed those would be small bites. His counterpart at Publicis, Maurice Levy, demurred on other big acquisitions on Friday during a call with investors. Shares in both IPG, the world’s fourth largest ad group behind WPP, Omnicom and Publicis, and France’s Havas, the fifth largest player, rose on Friday on hopes they too could be involved in some form of consolidation. Japan’s Dentsu Inc is also seen as playing a role. Several agency CEOs and analysts said while they expected consolidation to happen, because the industry would forever be under pressure from clients to cut costs, following the Publicis-Omnicom debacle, small may be the order of the day. l
Weak Japan exports, not tax hike, could shake BOJ IMF chief: Ukraine crisis n could have ‘severe’ economic impact Reuters, Tokyo
The Bank of Japan is increasingly confident that the economy is weathering a recent tax increase and on its way out of deflation, but another threat to that optimistic scenario is lurking - weak exports. If shipments abroad continue to fall short of the central bank’s forecasts, the recovery in the world’s third-biggest economy could stall and the BOJ might be forced to ease policy again in the coming months. Growth has returned to Japan, helped greatly by massive monetary stimulus unleashed 13 months ago when Haruhiko Kuroda took the helm at the BOJ. Early signs support the bank’s view that last month’s increase in the national sales tax will not derail the recovery or drag Japan back into deflation. But the BOJ has been notably wrong about exports. Weak yen was supposed to boost overseas shipments in time to take up the slack when consumption took a hit from the April 1 tax increase to 8% from 5%. “The BOJ’s main scenario is for exports to gradually pick up. But it’s true that exports remain the biggest risk to the outlook,” said an official familiar with the BOJ’s thinking. The central bank still forecasts ex-
port growth will accelerate and Kuroda’s assurances that prices are on track to hit his 2% inflation target have prompted investors to scale back expectations of further easing later this year. But Kuroda is always careful to say the BOJ will not hesitate to ease again if its price goal is threatened. Some analysts say that if exports remain feeble, the BOJ may be forced as soon as July to expand its stimulus by ramping up its purchases of government bonds and other assets. And there are growing signs that policymakers are becoming less confident about an export upturn. The central bank’s half-yearly outlook cited exports as a key threat to economic recovery, saying they may not increase strongly even as overseas demand picks up. Kuroda for all his optimism also keeps bringing up exports as a significant risk factor. Big manufacturers, too, are cautious. Toyota Motor Corp warned on Thursday its profits may fall this business year as the export tailwind that it and other Japanese carmakers have received from the yen’s 18-month slide fades.
Clinging to hope
That creates a communication headache for the BOJ.
Preserving confidence in a sustained economic recovery is an essential part of Kuroda’s strategy. Voicing doubts about a key element of that scenario too openly could hurt that confidence. “That’s why the BOJ needs to cling to its projection that exports will recover,” said a former BOJ official with knowledge of the central bank’s thinking. “The export recovery hasn’t happened as quickly as the BOJ wanted. I’m not sure whether everyone at the bank is confident this will happen.” BOJ policymakers stress that export weakness alone will not trigger further easing. But they acknowledge that more stimulus may be forthcoming if the economy is hit by a double-whammy of persistent export softness and failure of household consumption to rebound from the post-tax hike slump. Some of them say July is key because they will have a better sense by then if exports are picking up as the BOJ expects, and whether consumer spending has weathered the sales tax hike. “The BOJ will probably use weak exports as an excuse to revise down its rosy economic projections later this year,” said Masaaki Kanno, a former BOJ official who is now chief Japan economist at JPMorgan Securities. “It’s easy to blame exports because
they are swayed by external factors beyond the BOJ’s control,” said Kanno, who expects the central bank to ease again in July. Annual export growth peaked at 18.6% in October and skidded to 1.8% in March, the latest data available and the weakest in a year. Shipments to the rest of Asia, half of the total, were up just 1.4% for the month. Moreover, export volume fell 2.5% in March, showing that the yen’s slide driven by the BOJ’s easy-money policy - is not giving Japanese goods the competitive edge it once would have. After having pushed back the expected timing of an export pickup by several months in its assessments, the central bank now expects a rebound by the middle of this year. The BOJ is also starting to cite “structural factors” for the disappointing performance -- Japanese manufacturers continuing to shift production overseas and some, such as electronics exporters, possibly losing their competitive edge to rivals in South Korea, Taiwan and elsewhere. “Japan won’t return to the days when the weak yen had a more direct impact on exports,” said one official. But as these trends are not exactly new, bringing them up only underscores the BOJ’s lack of conviction that exports will recover, some analysts say. l
n AFP, Berlin International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned in a German newspaper interview Monday that the Ukraine crisis could have “severe” economic consequences for other countries.
Ukraine needs much more than 17bn dollars. For example, bilateral help from abroad and financial help from other international financial institutions Lagarde also told the Handelsblatt business daily that a 17bn dollar aid package granted to Ukraine by the IMF would not be enough. “The crisis in Ukraine is a danger which is very difficult to gauge (and) whose contagion risk for other countries can barely be predicted,” she said. “All the same, it can have severe economic consequences.”
UK business lobby sees brighter economic outlook, boosted by investment n Reuters, London
A worker rides a bicycle in a container area at a port in Tokyo April. Japan suffered its worst annual trade deficit in March as exports growth slowed to its weakest in a year, suggesting a rapid loss of economic momentum that may prompt policy makers into early action as a national sales tax hike puts more strain on growth REUTERS
Lagarde will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday for annual talks, alongside the heads of the OECD, World Bank, World Trade Organisation and International Labour Organisation, on the global economic situation. Asked where the biggest dangers lay, the IMF chief pointed to the turmoil in Ukraine having an impact on international trade, foreign direct investment, international capital flows and Europe’s energy supply. “Ukraine needs much more than 17bn dollars. For example, bilateral help from abroad and financial help from other international financial institutions,” Lagarde said, adding that the international community had no choice. “We can’t simply say the situation is too precarious, therefore we’re not giving money at the moment.” Pro-Russian rebels have claimed voters in two eastern Ukrainian regions massively backed independence in a disputed poll Sunday, as Ukraine gears up for presidential elections on May 25 after protests in February forced out pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych. l
Britain’s top business lobby upgraded its economic growth forecasts for this year and next on Monday and said it expects to see marked improvements in British business investment and productivity. The Confederation of British Industry predicted Britain’s economy will grow 3% this year, raising its forecast from 2.6% previously. It also upped its outlook for next year to show growth of 2.7%, compared with 2.5% earlier. The CBI pointed to rising business investment as companies become more confident about strength of the upturn, helping to end years of poor productivity that has perplexed policymakers. “The recovery is advancing after a strong performance in the first quarter of 2014,” said John Cridland, the CBI’s director general, referring to the 0.8% economic growth seen in the first three months of the year. “I think we will see the sort of in-
vestment that will achieve organic productivity growth by boosting the productive capacity of workers through new kit, new technology, and new work organization.” The CBI said it expects business investment growth of 8.3% this year and 9.1% next year. But the it warned there were risks to its outlook - chief among them political uncertainty surrounding next year’s general election and the Scottish independence referendum this September. It called on politicians to avoid making “damaging market interventions”. “Politicians must be wary of the risk of headline-grabbing policies that weaken investment, opportunity and jobs,” said Cridland. The opposition Labour party has said it will stand up for voters by checking the interests of big business, and announced it would freeze electricity prices for 20 months if it wins power - a strategy dismissed as “anti-business” by the government. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
World sheds reserve over growing role of China’s yuan n AFP, Shanghai China’s yuan will one day compete for a place alongside the mighty dollar as a reserve currency hoarded by central banks, analysts said, as US Treasury chief Jacob Lew urged faster reform on a visit to Beijing. Communist authorities tightly control the rate of the yuan - also known as the renminbi (RMB) or “people’s money” - and limit capital flows into and out of the country. But China - already the world’s second largest economy - is gradually moving to implement financial reforms, make its exchange rate more flexible, and open its capital account for investment and financial transactions, rather than trade-related ones. The slow pace of change, though, has frustrated Washington, and Lew told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang it was “critical” Beijing continue to reform its currency controls to foster more balanced global trade. “It is important that China demonstrate a renewed commitment to move to a more market-determined exchange rate and a more transparent exchange rate policy,” he said. China’s efforts so far have focused on transforming its special administrative region of Hong Kong into the world’s centre of “offshore” yuan trading, where banks take deposits and financial institutions issue bonds denominated in the currency. An agreement announced last month will let Chinese investors buy and sell on the Hong Kong stock market using yuan, while a free-trade zone launched in the commercial hub Shanghai last year aims to pilot reforms for full convertibility of the currency. “Clearly the renminbi has traction. If you look at any measure of the renminbi’s internationalisation... the tra-
jectory looks very sharp,” said Eswar Prasad, economics professor at Cornell University and author of “The Dollar Trap”, which argues that the ubiquitous greenback is an inescapable necessity for now. “If China moves forward with its financial market and economic reforms, the renminbi will become a viable, possibly significant, reserve currency,” said Prasad, previously head of the International Monetary Fund’s China
division. Despite the fact that the yuan cannot be freely bought and sold, some central banks already hold it in their reserves, including Chile, Nigeria, and South Korea, he said - countries with significant economic relations with China, one of the world’s biggest traders. Even Japan, with which political relations are deeply strained, holds some. Beijing’s controls on the yuan’s value
mean it is one of the world’s less volatile currencies, with a fixed rate against the US dollar rate until mid-2005, steady appreciation for the next three years, a two-year pause for the global financial crisis, and then gradual strengthening until the beginning of 2014. So far this year, though, it has lost nearly three percent, closing Tuesday at 6.2285 to $1, with analysts attributing the fall to deliberate central bank action in a bid to chase speculative
funds betting on continued appreciation out of the market. Exchange rate control is one of the ruling Communist Party’s key tools to maintain its economic grip, and analysts say the central bank guides the currency in the direction it wants while imposing restrictions on its daily movement, limiting the effect of market forces. Prasad said the yuan is unlikely to become a true “safe haven” currency
Dollar edges up in Asia n AFP, Tokyo
A parcel travels along a belt at the new Marks & Spencer e-commerce distribution centre in Castle Donington, central England REUTERS
E-commerce edge helps British retailers expand abroad n Reuters, Berlin Marks & Spencer Plc is making a new push to expand abroad, hoping e-commerce will give Britain’s biggest clothing retailer a better chance to succeed than earlier attempts to enter new markets. It is one of several retailers that are using expertise developed in the UK’s fast-growing e-commerce market to expand overseas. Store chains like M&S are starting to emulate the success of online-only fashion players like ASOS. Britain is the world’s most developed online retail market, according to a ranking by commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, followed by the United States, Germany and France. M&S withdrew from mainland Europe in 2001 after a failed expansion. The retreat was temporary. In March the firm said it would use “bricks and clicks” - opening new stores in a few markets while offering online sales in several more - to accelerate growth abroad. “Because we sit in the UK we sometimes forget how advanced the UK is,” said Laura Wade-Gery, M&S e-commerce executive director. Although the United States is the biggest e-commerce market by absolute turnover, internet orders make up a bigger portion of total retail sales in Britain - about 11% in 2013 to 7.3% in the United States, Euromonitor data shows. Britain’s leadership position in ecommerce has been driven by its compact size - which make delivery more cost-effective - along with its relatively
high internet penetration. Retailers are seeking to ship more goods to shoppers abroad, a drive the British government is supporting to diversify exports from a heavy reliance on finance. It launched a plan last year to help 1,000 retailers break into international markets by 2015.
M&S grew international sales by a third in three years to account for 10% of the 10bn pounds ($16.82bn) 2013 total and more than 15% of operating profit Consultants OC&C say UK retailers are beating domestic competition overseas due to wider choice, better prices and fast and reliable delivery. They predict overseas online sales by British retailers will jump to 28 billion pounds ($4bn) by 2020 from just 4 billion in 2012. “You can go quite a long way with one warehouse serving the world,” said OC&C partner Anita Balchandani. “We should feel pretty confident about the prospects for a nation of shopkeepers with an advantage in the digital world.” M&S is investing 1bn pounds on logistics, IT and systems. It launched a new web platform in February and is ramping
up a new distribution centre in central England to fulfill all online orders. It hopes that will help reverse nearly a decade of market share decline at home and pay dividends abroad as it targets a 25% increase in international sales in the next three years and a jump of 40% in overseas profits. After its retreat in 2001, M&S started a tentative return to the international stage in 2011 when it opened a store on the Champs Elysee in Paris and launched a French-language website. The move is part of Dutch Chief Executive Marc Bolland’s strategy to turn the British group into an international “multi-channel” retailer, reaching customers through stores, the web and mobile devices. Credited with turning around grocer Morrisons, Bolland took over at M&S from Stuart Rose in 2010. M&S grew international sales by a third in three years to account for 10% of the 10bn pounds ($16.82bn) 2013 total and more than 15% of operating profit. Bolland’s “bricks and clicks” mantra involves opening stores in prime locations to publicize the brand, complemented by online sales from local-language websites. The attempt to meld stores and online presence is best illustrated in Bolland’s birthplace, the Netherlands, where M&S launched a Dutch website and “e-boutique” store in Amsterdam last year that allows shoppers to browse the full range of clothes on life-size digital screens and then order online. l
The dollar edged up against the yen in Asia yesterday following a record close on Wall Street, while investors await the release of key economic data from around the globe. The greenback was at 102.27 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from 102.09 yen in New York Monday afternoon, while the euro bought $1.3759 and 140.73 yen, compared with $1.3758 and 140.50 yen in US trade. Dealers were in an upbeat mood after the Dow and S&P 500 in New York finished at record highs, while the Nasdaq also surged, thanks to a pick-up in technology shares. The single currency has been under pressure since last week when European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said he was ready to ease monetary policy soon as the currency bloc suffers from continuing weak inflation. Market-watchers suggested the ECB would now likely be forced to act at
next month’s policy meeting or risk losing its credibility with the markets. Eyes are now on the release of a string of crucial indicators to be unveiled later in the day, starting with Chinese industrial production, retail sales and industrial output. That will be followed by the ZEW monthly indicator of German economic sentiment and US retail sales for April. The dollar was largely higher against other Asia-Pacific currencies yesterday afternoon. The greenback firmed to Tw$30.18 from Tw$30.15, to Sg$1.2522 from Sg$1.2495 and to 43.79 Philippine pesos from 43.76 pesos. It also rose to 11,530 Indonesian rupiah from 11,523 rupiah, but was flat at 32.61 Thai baht. The US unit slipped to 1,022.93 South Korean won from 1,024.70 won. The Australian dollar inched down to 93.55 US cents from 93.60 cents while the Chinese yuan firmed to 16.36 yen from 16.33 yen. l
Facebook says it may open sales office in China n Reuters Facebook Inc said it may consider opening a sales office in China to provide more support to local advertisers who use the website to reach customers overseas. While Vaughan Smith, Facebook’s vice president of corporate development, told Reuters it was exploring ways to provide even more support locally, he did not comment on how soon it plans to be in China. Facebook currently has a Hong Kong
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg
sales office with a staff of 30 to 40 people who deal with advertisers locally and in mainland China, where its services are blocked. The sales office would, for the first time, put Facebook employees inside mainland China. Bloomberg on Monday reported that Facebook could open an office in China within a year, citing a person familiar with the matter. The world’s largest social networking company is in talks to lease space in the Fortune Financial Centre in Beijing’s central business district, Bloomberg said. l
as highly regarded as the US dollar, because China lacks the trusted public institutions and independent judiciary of the United States. “There will be more money coming in for yield, for diversification but with money coming in for safety? I think not,” he said. The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, in March widened the yuan’s trading band, allowing it to move up or down two percent daily – double the previous one percent – on either side of a mid-point set under the bank’s supervision. “The mid-point reflects the guidance and intentions of the government,” said Jiang Shu, a foreign exchange analyst with Industrial Bank. ‘Serious concerns’ The yuan’s fall this year has upset major trading partners who believe the currency is vastly undervalued, with the US Treasury saying last month the decline raised “particularly serious concerns”. Chinese officials defended the currency’s movements as normal. “In the history of international finance, no matter what currency exchange rate regime is adopted, there has never been a currency only rising and never declining,” Guan Tao of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which advises on policy, said in the Shanghai Securities News. Analysts still expect the yuan to recover to end flat on the year, while pressures for future appreciation will continue. “The renminbi is an alluring story,” said Prasad of Cornell, “because of course the Chinese economy on its present growth trajectory could match the size of the US economy some time in the next 10 to 15 years. “Expect the long term money to keep coming here.” l
BoE's Cunliffe tells banks to prepare for post – 'too big to fail' world n Reuters, London Britain's banks need to start preparing for a financial environment in which they are no longer "too big to fail", Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said yesterday. Taxpayers in Britain poured 65bn pounds into banks during the 2007-09 financial crisis and the BoE wants to ensure that no bank is so big that letting it fail would risk the market mayhem seen when Lehman Brothers went bust in September 2008. Speaking at an event held by Barclays bank, Cunliffe cautioned lenders that once new rules are in place to ensure that no bank is too big to fail, market liquidity won't return to levels seen in the run-up to the financial crisis. "Liquidity premia were likely too low and liquidity risk very probably underpriced before the crisis," Cunliffe said. "Market participants will need to recognize this change in market structure and adjust their balance sheets accordingly," Cunliffe added. One of the rules being finalized is a requirement to hold a buffer of bonds that can be used to shore up a failing bank once it has burned through all its regulatory capital. But Cunliffe said the aim won't be to resurrect every failed business such as by arranging "hasty shotgun weddings" or forced takeovers. The amount of "bail-in" bonds that banks will be required to hold will only be enough to keep critical operations such as payment systems going to avoid harming financial stability, while the group can be safely wound down over time. "We are not seeking an amount of 'Gone Concern Loss-Absorbing Capacity' capable of resurrecting any failing banks including the global giants," Cunliffe said. Cunliffe's boss, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who is also chairman of the G20 economies' Financial Stability Board, said in March that the board wants to crack "too big to fail" bank barriers by Christmas. Another global rule being finalized is the leverage ratio, which acts as a cap on a bank's balance sheet. A preliminary ratio of 3% was set and global regulators will decide in 2017 what the final minimum level should be, though countries like the United States are already moving to a much higher requirement. Some bankers expect Britain's lenders will be required to have a leverage ratio of 4% or above regardless of what's decided at the global level. The government has asked the BoE's Financial Policy Committee to review if the global leverage rule should be introduced earlier in Britain. l
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Tough to co-exist in a small market Citycell CEO Mehboob Chowdhury talks about the future prospect of mobile phone industry in Bangladesh n Muhammad Zahidul Islam The telecom industry of the country witnessed lots of uncertainties which might affect long term investment in the sector, said Mehboob Chowdhury, chief executive officer (CEO) of Citycell. He said the industry needs a farsighted telecom roadmap that should have a forecast for at least 10 to 15 years - from business perspective it is a must. In an interview with the Dhaka Tribune, Chowdhury said: “The telecom sector found no roadmap yet, even the national telecom policy that introduced 16 years ago, may not suit with the present perspective. It deserves immediate revision.” Citycell is the oldest mobile phone operator not only in the country but also in South-East Asia, and Mehboob Chowdhury is the first native CEO of the operator as he joined on March 1, 2010. He said: “Lots of works have done in the mean time in a scattered way. Now we need to collect all of it and need a collective planning what we want to achieve in next couple of years and where we want to go in-terms of service level.” And for it, the government and the regulator also need to chalk out a combined roadmap with the assistance of the industry, especially with the telecom operators, said Mehboob Chowdhury, also a former chairman of South Asia Mobile Forum (SAMF). He, also acted as the first chairman of Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB), said voice call will die within few years from mobile phone services. So, policy and roadmap should address the issues. “Ten years ago, we predicted that data will dominate the market and now we can forecast that within five to ten years, voice will die from mobile network in our country
MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
also.” And, it has happening in some other countries around the globe already where data is the main source of revenue for the operators. Somewhere voice is being offered free with data pack, he added. “That day is not so far when people can avail every service free with data service, even in Bangladesh.”
But third generation (3G) mobile service, that was launched in the country within the private operators six months ago, could not satisfy Mehboob Chowdhury. “As a data focused mobile operator like Citycell, which can’t offer 3G service; we are not comfortable from business perspective, but it is also true that 3G service not running as expected.”
OECD: Growth weakening in major emerging economies n AFP, Paris Growth is weakening in major emerging economies, the OECD said yesterday, while the recovery in the eurozone remains on track despite some signs of a slowdown in Germany. The OECD index of composite leading indicators (CLI) showed that growth conditions were below trend in Brazil, China and India and even losing momentum in Russia, struck by the crisis in Ukraine. Inside the eurozone, the CLIs show
growth strengthening in Italy and the single currency bloc as a whole, with the two biggest economies France and Germany showing stable growth momentum. But other data this week has suggested that the German economy, a longtime bright spot in the often troubled eurozone, may be stalling. On Tuesday, a survey from the ZEW economic institute showed that investment sentiment in Germany fell to the lowest level for nearly 1.5 years. Analysts are however still expecting solid growth for this year.
The French central bank meanwhile forecast that France, while avoiding recession, will only see anaemic growth of 0.2% in the second quarter this year. The head of the French MEDEF employers' union Pierre Gattaz said his data showed no "reversal in the outlook" for France save perhaps "a halt in the decline of certain sectors". For the OECD as a whole - and the United States, Canada and Japan in particular - growth remained at a stable momentum with Britain showing initial signs of acceleration. l
After launching 3G service, Citycell went back-gear but currently it geared up again in terms of revenue and subscribers, the Citycell boss informed. Sharing his operator’s plan, Mehboob Chowdhury said they have a plan for 3G, but it needs huge investment. So, they had to rethink about it. “As we have EV-DO service, which is also
Top EU court gives people right to ask for Google data deletion
China April data underscores economy still losing steam n Reuters, Beijing
n AFP, Luxembourg
Chinese investment, retail sales and factory output growth all disappointed in April by hitting multiyear lows, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is still losing steam despite government efforts to shore up activity. Factory output rose 8.7% in April from a year earlier, marking the slowest growth in five years, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The result missed economists' expectations of an 8.9% rise. The lacklustre performance led some analysts to question whether the government may step up efforts to bolster economic growth lest it fall short of the official target of around 7.5%. "Whether the government will take enough measures to lessen the downturn, this is the biggest question for now," said Wei Yao, an economist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong. "The most concerning number is the fixed-asset investment number," she said. "The number basically tells us the housing downturn has more than offset the investment push from the government so far." Fixed-asset investment, a key driver of growth, grew 17.3% in the first four months of the year compared with the same period last year. That was weaker than expected and the worst showing since December 2001. Retail sales also missed forecasts by rising 11.9% in April from a year earlier, the weakest growth in more than five years. To shore up economic growth, Beijing has been loosening policy at the margins by lowering taxes, quickening infrastructure investment, and reducing the amount of cash that the smallest banks have to keep at the central bank to encourage freer lending. But a slowing property market, where revenues for developers are falling even as home prices continue to rise, has heightened the pain of the cooling economy. l
In a surprise ruling yesterday, the EU's top court said individuals have the right to ask US Internet giant Google to delete personal data produced by its ubiquitous search engine. Individuals have a right "to be forgotten," under certain circumstances when their personal data becomes outdated or inaccurate, the European Court of Justice said. Specifically, this applies when such data "appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purpose for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed." The exception would be if the data concerns a figure in the public eye and an issue of predominant public interest, it added. The ECJ said that based on current data protection norms in the European Union, it holds "an Internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out of personal data." Google said the ruling was a disappointment and "dramatically" at odds with an opinion last year delivered by one of the ECJ's top lawyers. "This is a disappointing ruling for search engines and online publishers in general," Google said in a statement. "We are very surprised that it differs so dramatically from the advocate general's opinion and the warnings and consequences that he spelled out," it said. "We now need to take time to analyse the implications," it added. Google, which dominates the Internet search industry, has previously argued that it is responsible only for finding the Information. As long as this is correct and legal, and therefore properly part of the public record, it believes it should not be obliged to delete such data, which it argues amounts to "censorship." Ruling threatens 'private censorship' James Waterworth of industry
Models display Japanese electronics giant Panasonic's wearable camera 'HX-A500' which can record 4K MPEG-4 movies on a micro SD card at a press preview in Osaka in May AFP
equivalent to 3G, since last couple of years and we think we will go for 4G. This is how Citycell can save extra investment.” EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimised or Evolution-Data only), which is a telecommunications standard for the wireless transmission of data through radio signals. “We will apply for 4G (fourth generation) service next couple of months after buying
additional spectrum from 1800 bands for voice, in the mean time 4G device price will come down. The price is now very high for our customers.” Citycell, the only CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) mobile operator in the country also has a plan to convert their technology to GSM, which would allow them to offer their customers more handsets. Except Citycell, five other mobile operators in the country using GSM (Global System for Mobile) technology that allows their subscribers the freedom to change handsets frequently. Currently, Citycell has some revenue and spectrum dispute with the regulator and it would be solved within next six months, Mehboob Chowdhury expected. “After that more investment will come in to Citycell and we can buy 5 megahertz spectrum from 1800 band for flourish our voice business.” Currently, global brand SingTel (Singapore Telecommunications Limited) has 45% share in Citycell and there is a perception in the industry that SingTel would acquire majority stakes of Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited (PBTL) and increase their shares up to 60%. Mehboob Chowdhury said: “It will not happen as SingTel has another partner in this market. So we are not thinking about it, but we are searching more investments.” Asked about merger and acquisitions, he replied: “There is huge chance from Citycell point of view, if we found lucrative offers from the market we’ll never obsolete this probability.” At the same time, Mehboob Chowdhury said, the industry might witness mergers, acquisitions and liquidation in the near future, it is a very big challenge for six mobile operators to co-exist in this small market under the current situation. l
group, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, attacked the ruling as opening "the door to large scale private censorship in Europe." "It may open the floodgates for tens of thousands of requests to have legal, publicly available information about Europeans taken out of a search index or links removed from websites," Waterworth said. Last year, ECJ Advocate General Niilo Jaaskinen had argued that Google was not responsible for the data carried by websites appearing on its search engine and that EU citizens did not have a "right to be forgotten" under current law.
'We now need to take time to analyse the implications' That opinion suggested the ECJ would rule accordingly in due course and was warmly welcomed by Google at the time. European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding proposed in 2012 that a "right to be forgotten" be included in EU legislation on data protection to meet concerns it was not adequate given the pace of techology change. Reding's spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said yesterday the Commission welcomed the ruling as "good news" because it vindicated the EU's position. At the same time, it left the burden of proof that data should be deleted on the individual while Reding wanted that reversed so that it will "be up to companies to prove that the data is needed," Andreeva said. The case centres on Spanish national Mario Costeja Gonzalez who went to court because the personal details of his involvement in a debt recovery operation continued to appear on the online version of a Spanish newspaper long after the legal dispute had been resolved. l