Joishthya 9, 1421 Rajab 23, 1435 Regd. No. DA 6238 Vol 2, No 53
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Police find ex-RAB duo’s involvement
Now Thai army says it’s a coup n Reuters, Bangkok
Police said the two men were shown arrested as a private car and a motorbike were found abandoned in front of their house. “We would ask for a remand to interrogate the two men to get further information,” said Mahbub Morshed, officer-in-charge of Feni model police station. The role of law enforcers was questioned by Delowar Hossain, a friend of Ekram who was with the upazila
Thailand’s army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha seized control of the government in a coup yesterday, two days after he declared martial law, saying the military had to restore order and push through reforms after six months of turmoil. The military declared a 10pm until 5am curfew, suspended the constitution and told outgoing cabinet ministers to report to an army base in the north of the capital by the end of the day. Rival protest camps were ordered to disperse. Thailand is locked in a protracted power struggle between supporters of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and opponents backed by the royalist establishment that has polarised the country and battered its economy. “In order for the situation to return to normal quickly and for society to love and be at peace again ... and to reform the political, economic and social structure, the military needs to take control of power,” Prayuth said in the televised address. The general made his broadcast after a meeting to which he had summoned the rival factions in Thailand’s drawn-out political conflict, with the aim of finding a compromise to end six months of anti-government protests. But no progress was made and Prayuth wound up the gathering by announcing he was seizing power, according to a participant. The Thai armed forces have a long history of intervening in politics - there
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Narayanganj seven murder suspect Tarek tells court that he may not get justice n Ahmed Zayeef Police have told a Narayanganj court that ex-RAB officials Tarek and Arif were directly involved with the abduction and killing of seven in the port city. Yesterday, the two former army officers were produced before the court at the end of 5-day remand. The Narayanganj District Court granted fresh 8-day remand for each of them. A high-ranked source in police told the Dhaka Tribune that SM Rana – the other ex-RAB official arrested in connection with the murders – would be produced on Sunday. Police also told the court yesterday that prime accused Nur Hossain had good relations with the two ex-RAB men. They needed to be taken in fresh remand in order to find out where the abductees had been kept and later killed at, police told the court while seeking 10-day remand for each of them in one of the two case filed by the families of
slain Nazrul Islam and Chandan Sarker. While defending himself at the court yesterday, Lt Col (retd) Tarek Sayed Mohammad expressed fears that he might not be served justice. Meanwhile, Narayanganj police have sought Interpol’s assistance in arresting prime accused Nur Hossain, said district police super Khandakar Mahid Uddin. However, he said he still did not have any definitive information that Nur had fled the country. At the court yesterday, Lt Col (retd) Tarek looked emotionless. But Maj (retd) Arif was looking around nervously. Although Tarek defended himself, Arif did not say anything. Manunur Rashid, investigation officer of one of the murder cases, was supposed to explain to the local court by yesterday why the two suspects had not been shown arrested in the murder cases. However, since he had brought them to the court, he did not need to give the explanation anymore. PAGE 2 COLUMN 1
Pickets block a highway by felling trees in Fulgazi upazila in Feni during yesterday’s dawn-to-dusk hartal protesting the murder of upazila chairman Ekramul Haque BANGLAR CHOKH
FULGAZI CHAIRMAN MURDER
Role of police mysterious n Mohammad Jamil Khan, from Feni The role of police in connection with the killing of Fulgazi upazila Chairman Ekramul Haque has been brought into question, with records showing that a police team was near the crime scene at the time of the incident, while there has not been any significant headway into solving the crime so far. Following the death of Ekramul, who was killed by a group of unmasked and
masked people in front of witnesses on Tuesday, police have so far detained 30 people but shown only two people arrested – Iqbal Hossain, 22, and Shakha-
P2 AL MEN PLAY BLAME GAME wat, 26. The arrestees reportedly had no political affiliation, while Shakhawat was the brother of Sohel, an alleged mugger who witnesses said was present when the crime was committed.
Friday, May 23, 2014
FULGAZI CHAIRMAN EKRAMUL KILLING
Local AL men play blame game Jamil Khan n Mohammad from Feni Local Awami League leaders and activists are divided over the killing of Fulgazi upazila Chairman Ekramul Haque Ekram as they have blamed each other for the incident. Awami League lawmaker of Feni 2 constituency Nizam Hazari said Joynal Hazari should be detained and put on remand to find out the details of the killing. He said Joynal knew everything and also published a report in his newspaper a day before the killing. However, Joynal Hazari, former lawmaker and suspended Awami League leader, said Nizam and his men killed Ekramul as he had assisted in publishing some reports on the anomalies and irregularities of Nizam. Joynal told the Dhaka Tribune that the BNP would not dare to attack any Awami League activist in the district. “This is entirely a baseless claim to hide the real incident. Nizam is responsible for the murder,” he said. Earlier on Tuesday, a group of 30-35
criminals shot Ekramul, also the president of Fulgazi upazila Awami League, in the chest and then set fire to his car in broad daylight in the presence of hundreds of people in Feni. Police have so far made no arrest in this connection as most of them are close associates of the ruling party lawmaker, several grassroots Awami League leaders of the upazila said requesting anonymity. They said Ekramul had disputes with Nizam over establishing supremacy in local tenders and control of several socio-political institutions, which might have led to the killing. Abid, a cousin of Nizam, Jahid, a joint secretary of Fulgazi Awami League unit, Sahabuddin and Shipon, two bodyguards of Nizam, were seen on the spot before Ekramul was killed, they added. A witness told the Dhaka Tribune when the aforementioned people were asked about their presence in the area, they said they were waiting there to join a rally of Awami League. Ekramul was once a close aide to
Joynal Hazari and had maintained good relation with Nizam for a year. Their [Nizam and Ekramul] relationship, however, turned sour when Ekramul wished to run for the January 5 national elections from Feni 1 constituency. This is next to Feni 2 where Nizam got elected from.
This is entirely a baseless claim to hide the real incident. Nizam is responsible for the murder, Joynal said Since then, the two had been bitter rivals as Nizam allegedly extended his support to BNP-backed candidate Minar. Ekramul later won upazila polls with support from top Awami League leaders. Conflict between the two reached extreme heights after a report on Nizam’s jail term was published in a daily and when Ekramul was made the secretary of Feni Diabetic Hospital. Nizam Hazari, however, denied his
involvement in the killing, saying none of his associates was present at the scene and the main reason would be revealed following probe. Addressing a press conference in Feni town, he said an organised gang was conspiring against him. He, however, did not disclose details of the gang. Meanwhile, Joynal said Nizam had long-standing disputes with Ekramul over establishing supremacy in tenders of the Water Development Board and also the Local Government and Engineering Department. He said there were contention between them over the control of Feni Diabetic Hospital committees and other socio-political institutions. “Nizam is using his influence to file a case in connection with the murder in order to distract attention from the real event. The family members were unaware of the case and it was filed according to the direction of Nizam,” Joynal said. Nizam, however, denied having any influence in the registration of the case. Meanwhile, the daylong general strike yesterday almost paralysed Fulgazi upazi-
Confusion over who filed the case Jamil Khan n Mohammad from Feni
A case was filed on Wednesday against local BNP leader Mahtab Uddin Chowdhury Minar accusing him of killing Fulgazi Upazila Chairman Ekramul Haque. Minar who lost Fulgazi upazila election to Ekram as a chairman candidate thrice attempted to kill Ekram before and during the polls, reads the case statement. Minar was named as the price suspect in the case along with 35 other unidentified people. However, Ekram’s brother Ziaul Haque Selim told the Dhaka Tribune that he did not even know what was written in the case. He further said his younger brother filed the case and it was just a formality. “We do not know whose names were mentioned in it,” he explained. When asked who wrote the case, he said some other people had done it for them and his brother Rezaul Haque Jashim simply signed his name. “We do not know who killed my
brother. Ekram had been involved in politics for more than 15 years and he might have had enemies both inside and outside of his party,” he further explained. Supporters of the BNP set fire to the vehicles of Ekram’s friends on the day of election and attacked Ekram a couple of times. It could have been done by them or by some other people, said a confused Selim. He also said: “Nizam used to come to our house often and attended several family programmes. I do not know anything about any kind of political enmity between Nizam Hazari and Ekram.” The Dhaka Tribune contacted Rezaul Haq, another brother of Ekram and the plaintiff of the case. Rezaul said Minar was named as the prime suspect as per the decision of the district Awami League, as Nizam's men attacked Ekram’s motorcade a couple of times. ASM Aanaul Karim Faruk, legal advisory secretary of local AL, drafted the case statement. Jashim alleged that neither police of-
ficials nor the investigation officer had contacted them for the last three days. Ekramul was once a close aide to Nizam Hazari but they developed an intense rivalry centring upazila polls. Ekram had to quit the polls race in the face of pressure from Nizam, locals and district Awami League leaders said. Taking control of tenders and extortion have recently brought Ekram into conflict with Nizam Hazari. Earlier this month, Nizam got furious with Ekram, who allegedly supplied documents to journalists showing how Nizam had come out of jail through producing fake papers before the High Court. After Ekram's janaza, people loyal to him chanted slogans against Nizam. Local lawmaker Nizam Hazari, also secretary of Feni Awami League, refuted the allegation and said Ekram was like a younger brother to him. “This is a baseless allegation against me to ruin my career." Asked about how Minar’s name came up in the case statement, he said it had nothing to do with the Awami League.
The decision came from family members. About the demand for his punishment, he said: “They do not belong to Awami League; they are BNP loyalists." On the presence of his followers and supporters at the murder scene, he said everything would be clear once the investigation is done. “If anyone from my party is involved in the killing he too has to face punishment.” A source in police of Feni said Nizam visited the Feni Model police station on the night of the murder and stayed there until midnight. The officer-incharge of the police station confirmed the filing of the case only after Nizam came out of the police station. About his stay at the police station Nizam said he visited the police station to ensure a fair probe into the incident of murder. Mahbub Morshed, the OC of the Feni Model police station, said the investigation was underway and they would soon contact the relatives of the victim, if needed. l
Two more AL leaders killed in Lakshmipur n Our Correspondent, Lakshmipur Just two days after the murders of a Chhatra League and a Jubo Dal leader, police recovered the bodies of two local leaders of the ruling Awami League from Sadar and Raipur upazilas yesterday. They are Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, president of Charshahi Union unit AL, and Abdul Majid, general secretary of
ward two unit AL of Raipur municipality. The bodies were sent to Sadar Hospital morgue for a post mortem examination. In Sadar upazila, locals spotted the throat-slit body of Mannan in a field at Rampur village around 12:30am. Daserhat police outpost SI M Kamal Hossain said they were trying to arrest the murderers. Mannan’s wife Anjuman Ara said her husband went out around 10pm on
Police find ex-RAB duo’s involvement PAGE 1 COLUMN 2
Sakhawat Hossain, president of a local association of lawyers, said at the court: “From the deposition of the witnesses and the other available clues, it is clear that they [the two ex-RAB officials] have committed the murders. They staged the abduction in broad daylight under the cover of law. Taking money from Nur Hossain, they got oblivious of their duties and acted like professional killers.” The post mortem reports of the seven victims have made it clear that a trained force had committed the murders, he said. Meanwhile, two lawyers named Abdul Majid Khandakar and Mozammel Haque, came to the court yesterday and claimed themselves as defence attorneys; but they did not give any statement during the session. Soon after the court was adjourned, a group of local lawyers severely beat up Mozammel. Sakhawat later rescued him and safely took him out of the court. One of the lawyers, who beat Mozammel, said they had reached a decision to not stand in favour of the suspects. Majid and Mozammel were not members of the Narayanganj Bar Association; rather they belonged to the Dhaka bar.
What tarek said
Since he did not have any counsel, Tarek spoke for himself at the court. He said: “I sympathise with the families and colleagues of those who were killed. The demand for proper investigation and justice is not exclusive to Narayanganj, it is now a national demand. We also identify with it. We expect compassion and patience from the probe team, government, judge and the lawyers.”
He alleged that some individuals and organisations had been trying to politicise the national demand. Tarek also said: “In this country, the professions of doctors, journalists and lawyers are said to be noble. If a doctor is harassed at workplace, other doctors take it seriously and abstain from work. But this practice is not acceptable. The court is also going to consider this a crime. Similarly, if lawyers decide to stop giving service because one of their fellows have been harmed, then suspects like us will be deprived. As a suspect, I would also expect sympathy from all. “I know truth will come out one day. Many of those present here today will sympathise with us then. I know their sympathy will not mean much and we will not need it either. I seek assistance from everyone present here. “Remands will not matter – be them of one day or 100 days. Truth will not become false and false will not become true. Truth is one and it never changes. I hope that nobody will do anything that may influence the investigation. We fear that we may not get justice,” the former army officer said. Many of the local lawyers present at the court swore against Tarek when he was speaking.
The government probe committee has written to former Narayanganj deputy commissioner Manoj Kanti Baral and former police chief Syed Nurul Islam asking them to take part in a mass hearing at the secretariat on Sunday. Manoj and Nurul were withdrawn from the port city following the seven abductions and murders. l
Tuesday after getting a call of someone on his mobile phone. She also said: “To the best of my knowledge, my husband had no enemies and maintained a good relation with all political parties.” The leader’s daughter Tahmina Akter demanded exemplary punishment to the killers of her father. “Law-enforcers can track down the killers easily after checking the call list of my father’s cell phone.”
Locals alleged that Mannan might have been killed because he was against illegal activities in the area. In Raipur upazila, police recovered the body of Abdul Majid from in front of a house at Charpata village in the morning. Raipur police station OC Manjurul Hoque said the miscreants dumped Majid’s body in the village after killing him elsewhere. l
la as businesses and offices remained shut. The strike was enforced by the Awami League in protest of the murder. Chhatra Dal and Jubo Dal activists picketed in the upazila while the Awami League activists blocked roads by placing logs in several places. They also held a protest rally in front of Fulgazi police station. Participants of the rally demanded exemplary punishment for the killers. They also chanted slogans, accusing Nizam Hazari of the killing. Awami League Fulgazi upazila unit leader Abdul Alim sought Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s intervention in arresting the killers. Local BNP leader Minar was accused in the murder case filed by Ekramul’s brother. However, some local Awami League activists accused Nizam Hazari of the killing. Paritosh Ghosh, superintendent of police in Feni, told the Dhaka Tribune they were yet to have any clues to the murder. “We hopefully would be able to crack the mystery behind the killing,” he added. l
chairman when the attack took place. Delowar told reporters that he had seen several police personnel standing near the scene of the crime who did not respond to their repeated shouts for help. Delowar’s claim was also reflected in statements of local witnesses, who said a police team that was waiting at the hospital intersection area moved to a different direction after hearing the sound of the violence, only to return to the scene of the crime after a while. According to the register book of the Feni model police station, on the day of incident, newly joined Assistant Sub-Inspector Aminul Islam was leading the “Kilo 1” patrol team, which was responsible for patrolling the Academy Road and its adjacent areas. The team assigned on the Academy Road usually remains standby at the nearby hospital intersection, from where it can move easily in every direction. However, on Tuesday, police personnel took over half an hour to reach
the spot, rushing in only after the fire service had rushed in and doused Ekram’s vehicle which was set ablaze by the culprits. When asked about the delay in reaching the scene, Aminul claimed that he was not near the spot at the time of incident and managed to reach the scene only after the district police superintendent had reached there. Feni model police station OC Morshed also claimed that there was no police personnel nearby during the crime, while all of them rushed to the spot together after being notified. On the other hand, local sources also claimed that police were trying to eyewash the people and detaining people to make some quick money. While visiting the police station at 11:30am yesterday, this reporter found a local Awami League leader, Abul Hashem, requesting the OC to release some of the men they had picked up. However, they both became silent after learning the identity of the reporter.
Thai army takes power in coup PAGE 1 COLUMN 6
have been 18 previous successful or attempted coups since the country became a constitutional monarchy in 1932, most recently when Thaksin was deposed in 2006. Hundreds of soldiers surrounded the meeting at Bangkok’s Army Club shortly before the coup announcement and troops took away Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the protests against the pro-Thaksin government. Some of the other meeting participants were being held back in the venue afterwards, said a Reuters reporter waiting outside.
Shots Fired Into Air
The army ordered rival protest camps to break up and soldiers fired into the air to disperse thousands of pro-government “red shirt” activists gathered in Bangkok’s western outskirts, a spokesman for the group said. The military detained at least one leader of the activists, said the spokesman, Thanawut Wichaidit. Twenty-eight people have been killed and 700 injured since the anti-government protests erupted late last year. “Martial law may have been to test the waters, the army gave the opposing camps a chance to negotiate a way out
The ruling Awami League will not nominate anyone for the Narayanganj 5 by-election as it will extend support to the opposition Jatiya Party’s candidate. “We have decided to leave the seat for the Jatiya Party,” Suranjit Sengupta told the Dhaka Tribune after a meeting of the Awami League parliamentary party yesterday with party chief Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Apart from Suranjit, members of the body Amir Hossain Amu, Alauddin Ahmed and Syed Ashraful Islam were present at the meeting held at Hasina’s official residence Ganabhaban. The by-election to Narayanganj 5 constituency will be held on June 26. The seat fell vacant following the death of JaPa lawmaker Nasim Osman on April 29. The last date for filing nominations for the by-election is May 29. The Awami League did not field any candidate in the constituency in the January 5 national election to share the seat with JaPa. Nasim Osman’s wife Parvin Osman is rumoured to get JaPa’s nomination in the by-poll. l
'Moudud’s statement not needed' n Nazmus Sakib
BNP Standing Committee member Moudud Ahmed yesterday claimed that before approving charge sheet against him in a case filed for allegedly grabbing government land, the ACC should have recorded his statement as per the rules. However, the Anti-Corruption Commission Rules, 2007 states that it is up to the commission whether it would hear the statement of an accused or not during investigation on a matter. On Wednesday, the ACC at a regular meeting approved a charge sheet which was based on a five-month-long investigation. It found Moudud and his brother Manzur Ahmed, now living in London, responsible for grabbing a government property valued Tk300 crore since 1978 by producing different fake documents and abusing power. An ACC official said there was no obligation to hear an accused before finalising charge sheet. “However, Moudud was asked to give statement by an ACC team at the jail gate during investigation in the case,” the official said. At a press briefing on the Supreme Court premises, Moudud said his brother got the ownership of the house in the capital’s Gulshan area through a High Court verdict. In addition, the High Court in another case said the house was not an abandoned property and the government had no ownership on the house, he said. “The appeals of the government and
Role of police mysterious in Feni murder PAGE 1 COLUMN 5
AL won’t field candidate in N’ganj 5 by-poll n Tribune Report
the Rajuk against the High Court judgements are pending with the Appellate Division. So, filing of this type of criminal case against me is motivated.” Before the government and the Rajuk obtained permission to file appeals, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam had told the apex court that ownership of Moudud’s brother on the house was based on fake documents. ACC counsel Khurshid Alam Khan told the Dhaka Tribune that the Supreme Court in many judgements clearly said criminal case and civil suit could be continued simultaneously. The criminal case against Moudud and his brother was lodged on December 17 last year for fraud and misconduct while the appeals pending with the Appellate Division were on ownership of the house. “So, charging Moudud and his brother in the criminal case is right,” Khurshid said. According to the case, the house on 1.13bigha (0.374 acre) land belonged to Mohammad Ehsan and his wife Inze Maria Flatz – two Pakistani nationals who left the country before the 1971 Liberation War. It was included in the list of government’s abandoned property on January 21, 1972. On August 2, 1973, Moudud prepared a counterfeit power of attorney of Maria Flatz to capture the land and used it to gain his own interest. Since then, he had been living in the house showing himself as a tenant of Maria Flatz, the case document says. l
The victim’s elder brother, Rezaul Haque Jasim, also claimed it was nothing but eyewash by the police, as the case could have been easily solved because there were many witnesses to the incident. Several local residents and witnesses told the Dhaka Tribune that around 30-35 people had gathered in front of Bilashi Cinema Hall on the Academy Road – the scene of the crime – at around 9:30am on the day of the incident. The group was busy talking among each other, while locals reportedly heard one of them as saying loudly: “Why is he still not coming?” Locals also claimed they had seen local Chhatra League leader Sohel Chowdhury, joint general secretary of the local Awami League unit, Jahidul Islam, and Sohel, the leader of an alleged mugging gang, waiting at the spot prior to the murder. AL-backed Ward Councillor Shiplu, who reportedly had dominance in the area, was also present there, they added. Seeking anonymity, a witness who
was also a local resident, told the Dhaka Tribune that he had asked Jubo League leader Ziaul Haque Mister, who was present at the scene, why so many people were waiting there, to which Ziaul answered that a a procession would be brought out. However, the witness said he had never before seen the other people who accompanied Ziaul. The claim was also echoed by former Feni MP Joynal Hazari, who said he had also heard that Sohel and Ziaul were present on the spot when the murder was committed. However, all of the men whose names were mentioned by witnesses have reportedly gone into hiding following the killing of Ekramul. Asked why the police had not arrested any of the men named by the witnesses, the OC said the investigation had just began, adding that the real mystery will be solved in time. Asked about the role of police, Feni 2 lawmaker Nizam Uddin Hazari refused to make any comment. l
but I think the endgame was always the military taking over,” said Kan Yuanyong of the Siam Intelligence Unit think-tank. “The possibility of conflict is now much higher,” he said. “Thaksin will fight back.” Former telecommunications tycoon Thaksin has lived in self-exile since 2008 to avoid a jail term for graft, but still commands the loyalty of legions of rural and urban poor.
of an interim prime minister, political reforms and the timing of an election. But neither side backed down from their entrenched positions on Wednesday and again yesterday, participants said. “As we cannot find a way to bring the country to peace and everyone won’t back down I would like to announce that I will take power. Everyone must sit still,” Prayuth told the meeting, according to one participant who declined to be identified. The army has also clamped down on the media, including partisan television channels, and warned people not to spread inflammatory material on social media. l
“Everyone won’t back down”
In a first round of talks on Wednesday, Prayuth had called on the two sides to agree on a compromise that would have hinged around the appointment
Friday, May 23, 2014
Khaleda calls for end to plainclothes drives Police bar BNP from BNP chief demands independent probe body for all extrajudicial killings n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday demanded that plainclothes drives by law enforcement agencies be stopped. “No drive should be conducted by any plainclothes agents, or at night. If anyone needs to be arrested, they should be arrested in front of a witness and if necessary, in the presence of a magistrate,” she said. She placed a set of proposals for ending killings and abductions and demanded forming a credible independent probe committee, headed by a former chief justice and comprising lawyers, rights activists and journalists, to investigate all such incidents. Khaleda was addressing a press conference at her Gulshan office after police barred a BNP rally she was supposed to attend from being held in the capital. “An end to the prevailing situation is a must. We do not want to see any single killing anymore. Law enforcers should not do any illegal activities. Extrajudicial killings should be stopped. All serious incidents should be investigated and tried,” Khaled said, reading from a written statement. “Repression in the name of remand should be stopped. If anyone is injured or dies in detention, those responsible should be brought to book,” she added. The former prime minister said all her proposals already existed in law but were not implemented. She said these were not political demands, but the proposals should be accepted for saving people’s lives and ensuring their security. Khaleda called upon the citizens of the country to raise their voices to implement all her proposals to end the “chaotic situation” created by the government and law enforcement agencies. “Our beloved country has turned into a death valley. It seems there is no government, there is no rule of law, there is no administration – there is only fear and insecurity,” she said.
Law enforcers obstruct BNP supporters from entering the Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh to attend a programme yesterday called for protesting against killings and abductions across the country RAJIB DHAR Family members of some missing people also narrated their sufferings at the press conference, turning the event sombre with their crying. Khaleda continued: “Evil attempts to harass rights organisations should be stopped. Illegally shut down media houses should be reopened immediately and detained editors and journalists should be freed.” She reiterated her demand of holding fresh elections under a non-partisan administration after resignation of the incumbent government. “When any support-less government adopts a strategy to stay in office by using force, the country and the society head towards a dangerous situation. This sort of government is truly
dangerous. The sooner they quit, the better for the people and the county,” Khaleda said, referring to the Awami League-led alliance. Harshly criticising the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Khaleda demanded disbanding of the elite anti-crime force, which she said, had turned into a killer force. “We formed RAB, and it earned accolades controlling militancy and criminal activities. It got huge public support. We never formed the elite force for political purposes, but this force is being misused illegally to repress and eradicate opposition forces. Loyalty to the (ruling) party _ not merit or competency – is now considered as a measure for appointments to important posts of RAB,” she said.
“Although we formed RAB, we demand its dissolution as the force has turned into a frightened and dangerous organisation for the people. Goodwill, discipline and qualitative standards have broken down. It is not possible for any law enforcement agency to work without love and respect of the citizens. RAB has lost it. So, it has become the demand of time to dissolve the force, like the way Rakkhi Bahini was dissolved in 1975,” she said. Khaleda said as most officers of RAB came from the armed forces, there was a chance of tarnishing the military’s image. “The incumbent illegal government is responsible for all these misdeeds, and shouldering all the responsibilities, it has to dissolve RAB,” she added. l
holding rally in capital n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla Despite having permission from authorities concerned, BNP yesterday was barred by law enforcement from holding their gathering at the capital’s Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh, reasoning that the venue authority had cancelled their booking. Party leaders and activists were seen gathering at the venue to join the rally, organised by Dhaka city unit BNP at 4pm, where party Chairperson Khaleda Zia was expected to deliver a speech regarding the recent killings and abductions in the country before civil society members. Since the morning, decorators were seen preparing the venue for the gathering which was expected to be attended by diplomats, senior journalists, businessmen, members from different professions and the civil society. At 11:30am, law enforcement reportedly came to the venue and asked decorators to stop working as the hall allocation had been cancelled. However, no one was found available to comment on the police action. “We have the permission and the hall authority did not tell us anything about the cancellation of hall booking. Police came to the venue and shouted at the decorators to stop working. They also told us that we cannot hold our programme as the hall authority had cancelled our booking,” Dhaka city unit BNP leader Abdus Salam, who was present at that time, told the media. Contacted, Ramna police station Assistant Commissioner Shibli Noman said: “The hall authority had cancelled their booking. So, they cannot hold the gathering.” Meanwhile, a large number of policemen, including female police personnel, were seen taking position in front of the venue gate. All entry gates of the venue were locked down. However, leaders and activists of BNP were seen gathering at the ven-
Fakhrul among 29 BNP Police beat tea stall owner to death leaders charge sheeted n Ashif Islam Shaon
n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu Detective Branch (DB) of police yesterday pressed charges against 29 BNP leaders, including its acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam, in a case filed for violence in Dhaka city on March 2, 2013. Investigation Officer Md Fazlur Rahman, a DB inspector, submitted the charges to Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Muhammad Anowar Sadat. Taking the charges into cognisance, he ordered transferring the case document to Dhaka’s Sessions Judges Court for starting the trial. Investigator Fazlur says he has dropped eight names from the case as no evidence could be found against them. He says he has filed with the same court for issuing an arrest warrant against eight charge-sheeted accused who have been on the run while 21 others, including Fakhrul, have been on bail. Thirty five people have been enlisted as witnesses. Eight bamboo stick, 15 pieces of bricks, 15 pieces of SUV broken glasses and five exploded cocktails shown as material evidence in the charge sheet, the investigation officer adds.
Order on contempt against Kaler Kantho May 28 n Udisa Islam The International Crimes Tribunal 1 will deliver order on a contempt of court matter brought against the daily Kaler Kantho for publishing comments of a prosecutor in a report partly. Prosecutor Mohammad Ali during a hearing yesterday urged the tribunal 1 to issue a rule against the editor, the publisher and a reporter of the Bangla newspaper. In a report published on May 11, the newspaper termed the prosecution inefficient and blamed the team for delay in trial. After hearing for one and a half hours, the three-member tribunal led by Justice M Enayetur Rahim asked the prosecutor whether it was possible to solve the matter out of the court. The prosecutor did not answer directly. It said the prosecution could submit further argument on the day of order. The prosecutor said the newspaper had published his comment partly which might have given wrong message to the readers. He did not send any rejoinder, Ali said. l
Apart from Fakhrul the charged are BNP Standing Committee members Moudud Ahmed, Mirza Abbas and Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Joint Secretaries General Amanullah Aman and Barakatullah Bulu and Vice-Chairman Abdullah Al Noman. BNP Students Affairs Secretary Shaheed Uddin Chowdhury Anne, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) President Abdul Quader Bhuiyan Jewel, former JCD Presidents Sultan Salahuddin Tuku and Azizul Bari Hela have also been charged. Swechchhasebak Dal President Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel and its General Secretary Mir Sharafat Ali Sapu and Jubo Dal President Moazzam Hossain Alal have been accused in the charge sheet. Earlier on March 2, 2013, Ramna police station Sub-Inspector Ashfak Rajib Hasan filed the case and naming 29 BNP leaders and activists and not naming 1200 others in it. The accused, according to the case, had prevented police from discharging their duties, attempted to kill police, vandalised and torched vehicles and exploded cocktail bombs creating panic at Shantinagar and Malibagh during a rally in the city that day. l
Police on Wednesday allegedly beat a poor roadside tea stall owner to death after he refused to pay Tk1,000 demanded by them at Nabinagar in Savar. Sathi Akhter, the wife of victim Ripon Miah, 26, said around 9pm on Wednesday police picked up Ripon near his tea stall in front of the National Monument. Later they informed Ripon’s family members that Ripon had sustained injuries in a road accident and died. The street vendor who comes from Moheshpur village under Bakherganj upazila of Barisal lived with his wife at Niribili area adjacent to the National Monument. “They killed my husband for only Tk1,000,” Sathi, who was present on the spot during the incident, told reporters at the DMCH morgue. She just got off a bus after a visit to his village home and Ripon went there to receive her when police picked him up. “Sub-Inspector of Ashulia Police Station Anwar Hossain and two plain-clothed police appeared there and grabbed my husband’s collar saying that my husband was a criminal and there were cases
Martyr’s wife testifies against Subhan n Udisa Islam The seventh prosecution witness in the case against Jamaat Nayeb-e-Ameer Maulana Abdus Subhan yesterday said the Pakistani occupation forces had killed many people including her husband at Shahpur of Ishwardi, Pabna during the 1971 Liberation War upon order of the accused. Jahanara Begum, wife of martyr Razab Ali Bishwas, told the International Crimes Tribunal 2 that the accused had killed her husband as he had been a pro-liberation activist and leader of Swadhinata Sangram Parishad. He was a contractor by profession. Jahanara, 65, said she used to help the freedom fighters of the area by hiding their arms and feeding them during the war. During the deposition, she said: “On May 2, 1971, Subhan along with the Pakistani Army personnel attacked our village and opened fire indiscriminately. I along with my husband, his friend
Shamsul Haque and members of my inlaws family hid in a bamboo brush. But Subhan and his cohorts took us into their custody. “When the army men wanted to shoot my husband following the order of Subhan, I begged to him to save my husband’s life. But Subhan threw me away and then the army shot my husband and Shamsul in front of my eyes.” On that day, the witness said she heard that Subhan and his accomplices had killed her neighbours Rahim Sarder, Mahmud Sarder, Chand Ali Pramanik, Akter Pramanik, Anar Pramanik and Hamez Uddin Pramanik. Jahanara also said the collaborators had looted 15 houses. She later moved to Manik Nagar with her brother and buried the body of her husband there. Shamsul was buried at Shahpur. After the deposition, the defence counsel cross examined her and the tribunal adjourned the hearing until May 25. l
against him with the police station. “They then demanded Tk1,000 in return for his release. As my husband said he had no money they started to beat him and I ran to the other side of the road in fear. They whisked him off in a police van,” she said. “Constable Imdadul Haque and Ruhul Amin were also with the SI,” she said adding that local street vendors confirmed their identities. “I tried to release him from the police station but failed. Our relatives talked to Ripon over phone when Ripon was at the police station,” she said. In the early hours, a policeman called Ripon’s friend over the phone and told him that Ripon was crushed under the wheels of a vehicle and taken to the Ganasasthay Hospital in Savar. “We rushed to the hospital and found a police constable sitting behind my husband’s body. The policeman said, Ripon had died,” Sathi said. Sathi also claimed that the policemen forced her to put a signature on a white paper at the hospital. On-duty doctor at the hospital Koushik Ahmed said, police took Ripon to the hospital when he was already dead. His body bore injury marks. The morgue sources at DMCH where Ripon’s post-mortem was conducted
in the afternoon also said his body had marks of injuries. Rasel Sheikh, assistant police superintendent of Dhaka District said he heard Ripon sustained injuries in a road accident when he was trying to escape. Locals rushed him to the hospital. “His inquest report was prepared in presence of a magistrate and the body was sent to the DMCH morgue for an autopsy. As Ripon’s wife raised allegations of torture we will take departmental action against the policemen if the post-mortem report terms it a murder,” he said. A three-member probe committee headed by Additional SP of Dhaka District Shayamol Kumar Mitra has also been formed to investigate the incident. The committee visited the spot yesterday and talked to witnesses. Meanwhile, after the autopsy Ripon’s family members took the body to his village home at Bakherganj upazila. In the evening Sathi told the Dhaka Tribune over phone that they received Ripon’s body. “We are poor people. We don’t want the police put us in more trouble. Please, forget that my husband was murdered,” she sobbed. l
ue, later sat down in front of the venue waiting for party’s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir arrival. At 2:30pm, police created a human chain in front of the main entry gate to bar BNP leaders and activists from entering the venue. A prison van was brought to the scene.
‘We have the permission and the hall authority did not tell us anything about the cancellation of hall booking. Police came to the venue and shouted at the decorators to stop working’ The law enforcers repeatedly asked BNP senior leaders and activists to leave the venue premises immediately, but the leaders insisted that they would leave by 4pm. Before leaving the venue, Fakhrul harshly criticised the government for not allowing them to hold the gathering and further claimed that such incidents prove that the government wants to rule the country using its law enforcement. While Fakhrul was talking to the media, a German delegation arrived at the venue. Later, Fakhrul had a talk with the delegation members. Barrister Rafiqul Haque, who arrived at the venue at 4pm, told reporters: “I think it is everyone’s duty to rescue the country from the existing situation. We should not see which party is doing what, rather the civil society should view the situation as a whole.” Earlier, BNP was denied holding rallies in Jatrabari and Narayanganj to protest against the abduction and killing of seven people in Narayanganj. l
Jubo League activist killed in Bogra n Our Correspondent, Bogra A Juba League activist was shot dead in Ghagurduar area of Shibganj upazila in Bogra in the afternoon yesterday. Deceased, Shiplu, 25, is from Rainagar union under Shibganj upazila in Bogra. He was a local Juba League activist. The Officer-in-Charge of Bogra Sadar police station Faizur Rahman said police arrested the two suspects after recovering Shiplu’s body from the emergency ward of the Shaeed Zia-ur-Rahman Medical College Hospital (SZMCH). The arrested are Firoz Ahmed Rizu, the chairman of Rainagar Union Council who is connected to the Awami League and another person named Shanta, the OC said. Police also recovered two foreign pistols, two magazines, and five rounds of bullet from Firoz’s house. An arms case has been filed against him in this connection. Meanwhile, supporters of late Juba League activist besieged the DhakaDinajpur highway in Mahasthangarh area for one and a half hours protesting his murder. The Superintendent of Bogra Police Mojammel Haque said they are interrogatingthe suspects. l
‘Acting chief not valid as Tipoo returned’ n Udisa Islam A senior official of the Law Ministry yesterday said it did not require any formal procedure to notify that the post of acting chief prosecutor is not valid when the chief prosecutor joins office. Syed Aminul Islam, acting secretary of the Law Ministry, said usually when the chief prosecutor returns from leave, the responsibility of the acting chief dissolves by itself. He said as the gazette notification was valid for one month, “Syed Haider Ali is not going to occupy the position as the acting chief prosecutor after May 13.” When contacted, Haider said the ministry did not tell him anything officially. Haider was made the acting chief of the prosecution team in the absence of Tipoo, says a gazette notification issued by the ministry on April 13. Tipoo went to Singapore for treatment. He joined his office on April 30 but has been absent since. Some members of the prosecution were confused whether his joining office was official since the Law Ministry did not withdraw the previous notification nor did
it issue a new gazette. Aminul said: “It is not in our notice that the chief prosecutor cannot work in his office and even we do not know that the acting chief is working.” The unstable situation within the prosecution mounted after its meeting on May 11. As per the meeting resolution, the seven-member team preparing charges to try Jamaat-e-Islami as a political party for war crimes was asked to hand over all documents to the acting chief prosecutor.
However, Tureen Afroz, coordinator of the team formed by Tipoo, wrote to the chief prosecutor, seeking his directives. She also mentioned that the documents were kept at Tipoo’s office. The team stopped working on the case on Sunday. None of the team attended the prosecution meeting on May 18 and yesterday. When contacted, Tipoo said he was on leave and taking rest. “I was not informed of the meetings held recently,” he said. l
Friday, May 23, 2014
‘DNA test not enough to identify dead workers’ n Udisa Islam Only DNA samplings are not enough to identify the dead workers of industrial tragedies like Rana Plaza or Tazreen Factory fire since most of the bodies are handed over to relatives without collecting DNA samples, speakers said at a discussion yesterday. The roundtable titled “No Grave to Grieve: The Search for Missing Garment Workers and the Challenges of DNA Technology in Bangladesh” was organised by Activist Anthropologist, a group working with the lists of missing garments workers since the 2005 Spectrum Garments tragedy. Prof Sharif Akhtaruzzaman of the National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory of Dhaka Medical College said there were many chances that the bodies had been handed over to wrong families since the process was done based on visual identification marks. “The DNA lab can identify all the bodies only if it can collect samples from all the victims,” he said adding that the DNA profiles of 105 bodies from the Rana Plaza collapse incident still remained unidentified. To solve these types of problems, he suggested setting up of a makeshift morgues at the disaster sites to collect DNA samples. Earlier, Saydia Gulrukh, one of the organisers, read out the keynote paper. Based on field investigation she
Committee yet to find those responsible for question leakage n Mushfique Wadud The probe committee, formed to investigate question paper leakage, has failed to indentify who were responsible for the leakage of English second paper question of this year’s Higher Secondary Certificate examinations. The committee, however, will give some recommendations to reform examination system to avoid question paper leakage. Committee members told the Dhaka Tribune that the report would suggest taking help from law enforcement agencies to identify those who were responsible. Committee head and education minister’s Additional Secretary Sohrab Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday that he was hopeful to submit the report to Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid next week. When asked, he said they were yet to find who were responsible and they were still working on it. Education Ministry formed the seven member committee on April 10, one day after the English second paper examination of Dhaka Education Board was postponed for allegations of question paper leakage. Initially, the committee was given 15 days time but the time was extended. Earlier, a committee of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka also failed to identify those who are responsible for question paper leakage. Dhaka Board Secretary Prof Abdus Salam Hawlader told the Dhaka Tribune earlier that the board’s probe committee also suggested taking help from law enforcement agencies to identify those who are responsible. l
5 Jamaat leaders sent to jail in May 5 mayhem case n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu A Dhaka court yesterday denied bail and remand prayers of five Jamaat-e Islami leaders in a case filed over the mayhem during a Hefazat-e-Islam programme in the capital on May 5 last year. Metropolitan Magistrate Asaduzzaman Nur passed the order when DB Inspector Sarwar Hossain produced the accused before the court seeking a 10-day remand. Meanwhile, defence counsel Abdur Razzak filed a petition before the court seeking bail for his clients. After a hearing, the court denied both the petitions and sent them to jail. The accused are Helal Uddin, Faruk Hossain, Abdullah Al Sani, Belal Hossain and Iqbal Hossain. They were arrested at Purana Paltan on Wednesday and shown arrested in a case filed over May 5 violence. l
claimed that in some cases, remains of two workers or more were put in one bag which also led to misidentification by the DNA lab. Teachers, activists and labour organisers were present at the discussion that took place at the Daily Star Centre. Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, assistant executive director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS); Roy Ramesh Chandra, general secretary of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council; and Prof Tanzimuddin Khan from Dhaka University also spoke among others. Jahangirnagar University teacher Prof Anu Mohammad said it should be made mandatory for every factory and the BGMEA to preserve the list of workers.“If it is available, then there will be no need to examine all the DNA profiles and every family will at least able to get the body.” He also expressed frustration as the government was yet to formulate a compensation policy. “This is unexpected after continuous disasters in the garments sector.” Human rights activist Hameeda Hossain said while conducting DNA tests, local administration and representatives could investigate to identify the deceased workers’ families. Moshrefa Mishu, president of Garment Sramik Oikya Parishad, said: “If there are active trade unions, then they can provide the list of total workers.” l
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu and several other lawmakers visit a site chosen for relocating the capital’s tannaries, in Savar’s Hemayatpur yesterday
AL among 3 parties submits Ershad sees political interference poll expenditure returns behind rising crimes n Mohammad Zakaria
Three political parties, including the ruling Awami League, submitted their expenditure return on the 10th parliamentary elections to the Election Commission yesterday. The other two parties are Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF) and Jatiya Party (Manju). According to the return, AL spent Tk25,392,712 in the January 5 national polls while BNF Tk5,7 98,000 and JP (Manju) Tk12,36,000. The Awami Leauge Office Secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap submitted the return to the commission, saying that “We have submitted a Tk25,392,712 polls expenditure return to the EC, which was spent by the party for campaigns, meetings, advertisement etc.” According to the EC laws, any party participating in polls has to submit their poll expenditure return to the commission within 90 days after gazette on election results has been published.
Sirajul Islam, Acting Secretary to EC, confirmed the submission, saying “If any party does not submit the return, the commission can cancel the party registration as per law.” Earlier, the EC sent notices to the contested political parties warning them to submit the return within 30 days, because they missed the last submission date on April 23, the secretary continued, adding that “So far 534 out of 543 candidates have submitted their individual polls expenditure reports.” He stated that the EC ordered the returning officers concerned to file cases against those who yet to submit their reports yet. In the general elections, Jatiya Party (Ershad), Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Tariqat Fedaration, Gonotantri Party, National Awami Party (NAP), Gonofront, Khelafat Majlish and Bangladesh Islami Front also took part. Of them, Bangladesh Islami Front informed the EC that they had withdrawn their candidatures from the polls. l
n Manik Miazee Jatiya Party chairman HM Ershad yesterday claimed that violent incidents like the seven murders in Narayanganj were taking place because of political interference. Ershad also said criminals were carrying out such crimes without any fear, believing that politically influential people would save them from punishment. “If the government wants to bring an end to any type of crime, then it will have to stop politically motivated interference in such activities,” Ershad said while addressing a joining ceremony at his office in the capital’s Banani area. The programme was held a day after Rawshan Ershad, leader of the opposition and JaPa presidium member, talked to the media, apparently without the party chief’s knowledge. Ershad, who is also a special envoy to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said
Dalit community in acute water, sanitation crisis n Rabiul Islam Speakers at a seminar yesterday said the Dalit communities in the capital as well as across the country had been suffering from acute crisis of safe water. They also observed that this underprivileged section of the society had very little access to sanitation. Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM) and Nagorik Uddyog jointly organised the seminar titled “Water and Sanitation: Access and Reality of Dalit Community” at the Cirdap Auditorium in the capital yesterday. Nagorik Uddyog Executive Director Zakir Hossain moderated the event while Project Coordinator Afsana Binte Amin presented the keynote paper.
Afsana pointed out that there was no adequate information as to what extent the Dalit community was deprived of water and sanitation facilities. “It requires a study at the national level to depict the real picture.” As per the government strategy for the poor people, a person must have access to at least 20 litres of water every day and one latrine for each family; if not possible, two families would use one latrine. But getting 20 litres of water a day is a dream for a person of a Dalit community, Afsana said. Speaking as the chief guest, Md Israfil Alam MP admitted that the Dalit community was suffering from severe water crisis. “Being a lawmaker, I will raise the issue in parliament,” he told
the seminar. Md Khairul Islam, local representative of WaterAid Bangladesh, said: “We have to raise our voice strongly to demand water as fundamental right for every citizen.” Sunil Kumar Mridha, president of BDERM, said the women workers in tea gardens of Sylhet region had been deprived of sanitation facilities. “The labourers drink unsafe water from ditches, and suffer from various diseases including jaundice and liver cirrhosis,” he added. Speaking as a special guest, Dhaka Wasa MD engineer Taksim A Khan said: “We are covering only the Dhaka City. We have a plan to supply water to all people of the city including in all the slums legally by 2015.” l
the country’s law and order situation would not improve until a true democratic government comes to power through fair elections. “But I do not know when that time will come,” he added.
If the government wants to bring an end to any type of crime, then it will have to stop politically motivated interference in such activities Commenting on the past tenure of the BNP-led alliance, the former dictator said: “The regime was not better as bombs exploded all over the country during that time, whereas, people did not face any such problems during my tenure.” Meanwhile, party insiders said Raw-
shan did not inform Ershad before organising a meeting to exchange views with journalists at the parliament premises on Wednesday. They also claimed that Ershad arranged yesterday’s event, which was announced through a press release on Wednesday, to counter Rawshan’s programme. However, party secretary general Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu said yesterday’s function was pre-scheduled to welcome about 200 new members. Ziauddin also denied rumours of an ongoing conflict between Ershad and his wife, Rawshan, saying: “A big political party has many problems, but there are no problems between them.” Ershad was reportedly furious at comments made by Rawshan at a presidium meeting earlier this month and threatened to resign as chairman. He also sent a resignation letter to the party’s secretary general after the meeting, but withdrew it shortly. l
Mozena: RAB’s accountability important n Tribune Report US Ambassador Dan Mozena has said the accountability of RAB is now more important than ever, especially in the context of the recent allegations about their abuse of power. “As every Bangladeshi knows, recent events have cast a dark shadow over the Rapid Action Battalion. All are aware of the allegations against some of the RAB members for abuses and misconduct,” he said at a certificate awarding programme at the RAB headquarters in the capital yesterday. “But government support for this intensive, eight week-long training course to strengthen the effectiveness of the RAB Internal Enquiries Cell makes clear that the
senior leadership of the government is endeavouring to hold accountable members of the Rapid Action Battalion,” he said. A total of 23 individuals from the Rapid Action Battalion participated in the training assisted by the US, said a US embassy press release. “Nobody has a greater interest in holding those accountable who commit abuse their power in the name of RAB than those members of RAB itself who work with integrity and honesty,” Mozena said. The RAB officials should carry out these investigations fearlessly and share the conclusions in a transparent manner that which will help build greater public confidence and trust in the organisation, the ambassador suggested. l
Sundarbans fire razes 4-acre forest area n Our Correspondent, Bagerhat
Nagorik Uddyog Executive Director Zakir Hossain addresses a seminar on Dalit community’s access to water and sanitation, held at the city’s Cirdap auditorium yesterday NASHIRUL ISLAM
A fire that broke out in the Sundarbans East Zone under Mongla upazila on Wednesday has gutted some four-acre area of the mangroves forest until yesterday afternoon. The fire broke out around 10:30pm on Wednesday. Divisional Forest Officer of the zone M Amir Hossain Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune: “Trees on three to four acre land have already been burned down. But the fire is now under control.
“A team of 60 forest guards are struggling to douse the blaze,” he added. The extent of the damage could not be estimated immediately, said Forest Department officials. Fire Service and Civil Defence Officer of Sharankhola range Ariful Haque said: “The officials of Forest Department, tiger team and fire fighters along with locals are trying to douse the fire.” He also said the fire was under control and that they would put it out “within a short span of time.” l
Friday, May 23, 2014
Study: 80% slum girls victims of child marriage n Tazlina Zamila Khan Nearly 80% of the slum girls in the capital are the victims of child marriage while 46% of slum boys get married before they turn 18, according to a survey by Save the Children. The figures were published at a national event “Children Living in Dhaka Slums: Context and Analysis” in Gulshan 1 yesterday. It was organised by Save the Children and two reports, namely “Urbanization Trends and Implications for Children” and “Situation Analysis of Selected Slums in Dhaka City”, were presented there. The reports said around 52% of underage marriages took place because of the availability of a suitable partner. The other factors include, poverty and fear of sexual harassment which accounted for 20% and 19% of the marriages respectively. Reasons for the rest were said to be miscellaneous at 9%. Around 40% of the households surveyed said they had children working
Speakers address the ‘Children Living in Dhaka Slums: Context and Analysis‘ event at Spectra Convention Centre in the capital yesterday MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU 11-12 hours a day, 32% had children working 9-10 hours and children from the rest of the families work less compared to others.
Speaking at the programme, Manager of The Nielsen Company Bangladesh Ltd AKM Fazlur Rahman said: “At least one family member in around 84% of
the households fell ill in the last thirty days. 36% of children and 57% of the adults fail to attend schools and offices due to sickness once in a month.” 37% of the boys and 47% of the girls in slums attend schools, according to the reports. Most of the slum dwellers were found to be unaware of birth registration. 41% of the parents do not comprehend the importance of birth registration, 32% did not know where to get it from and 27% could not afford the registration process. Among 17% of the households with working children, 44% work in the garment industry, 24% in small stores, 9% beg, and the rest 23% in other sectors including domestic help. In addition, nearly 9% of the domestic workers become victims of assault by employers. “Bangladesh has taken so many steps to reduce child mortality rate and creating the scope for primary education but there are a lot more things needed to be done,” said Save
the Children Country Director Michael McGrath. Dr Shahana Nazneen, programme director of Shishuder Jonno Programme under Save the Children, said: “The key reason for migration of the slum people is the state of being landless, river erosion, the search for employment and better jobs. The parents leave their children alone at home for 8-10 hours a day which is why the children take part in criminal acts, drug peddling and also become victims of abduction.” Recommendations made to improve the situation include prevention of child marriage, addressing the needs of adolescent girls, construction of separate latrines, spaces for children to play, rehabilitation, vocational training, raising awareness of importance of birth registration and after-school support in education. Around 422 households of 10 slums in Dhaka were surveyed from December 2013 to January 2014 to prepare the reports. l
Chhatra League attack FIAB against ‘immoral’ Hazaribagh foils left students’ demo poultry feed traders n DU Correspondent A group of Dhaka University Bangladesh Chhatra League activists, allegedly led by Mohsin hall and Jashim Uddin hall unit leaders, carried out an attack on the activists of left student bodies yesterday. The attack left at least 5-7 students injured, including Samajtantrik Chhatra Front President Rashed Shahriar and Chhatra Front General Secretary Snehardi Chakrabarty Rintu. The left students were demonstrating in front of the Arts building, demanding cancellation of a night course at the political science department of the university. They termed the step as “commercialisation of education.” The student bodies under the banner of “Students against Commercialisation
of Education” on May 18 declared the strike through a press conference. The injured students alleged that Chhatra League central unit Deputy Secretary Didar Hossain Roni and Jashim Uddin hall Chhatra League Organising Secretary Jahangir Alam led the attack on the demonstrators. Earlier, the demonstrators locked the Arts and Social Science buildings around 6:30am, later brought out a procession around 10:30am, following the attack. Later, at a press conference they alleged that the administration used Chhatra League activists to suppress the general students’ demand. However, BCL Secretary Omar Sharif denied the allegations and said students, who had exams, were barred by the demonstrators to sit for their exams. l
n Tribune Report Despite several drives by law enforcement and reports by media, many factories in Dhaka’s Hazaribagh continue manufacturing poultry feed using toxic tannery waste, said members of Feed Industries Association Bangladesh (FIAB) at a meeting in the capital yesterday. The association also urged the concerned government authorities to conduct an immediate drive in Hazaribagh to identify and shut down these factories. In the meeting held at FIAB’s Gulshan office, FIAB President Moshiur Rahman said the association had been asking the government to take necessary steps to shut down the toxic feed
manufacturing factories for the past few years. “In March this year, one such factory was sealed off and fined by a mobile court for food adulteration. Another drive was conducted in the same area a few years back,” he said. The High Court also issued a ruling to shut down these factories, but they are still running. “Therefore, a combined operation is a must in order to close down this deadly business,” he said. “These companies are not members of FIAB. Many have established such illegal business by acquiring trade licence from the city corporation,” he said. Moshiur said he was grateful for the drive by the Department of Environment on Wednesday that ousted four
such factories in Hazaribagh. FIAB Secretary Khondker Monsur Hossain said ousting or sealing off one or two factories would not uproot the problem. “According to our information, there are at least 20-25 factories from Hazaribagh to Gabtoli areas that are producing poultry feed by using toxic tannery waste. The small farmers are being cheated by purchasing such lowcost adulterated feed, risking health hazards,” he said. Monsur claimed that, though the market of such substandard feed is very small, the health risks are very high. “Therefore, to ensure consumer rights and secure their health, we must uproot these factories without wasting any more time,” he said. l
Thalassaemia Foundation gets VAT relief n Tribune Report
Bangladesh Thalassaemia Foundation, a non-profit organisation to help and support thalassaemia patients in the country, has been temporarily exempted from paying the value-added tax (VAT) on the rent of its premises. National Board of Revenue this week made the decision as the foundation supports thalassaemia patients through providing treatment and medication at low costs and completely depends on donations from individuals and organisations to run its operation, an NBR official said. He said the NBR issued a Statutory Regulatory Order yesterday exempting the foundation of Tk2,26,350 of VAT on the house rent that was paid between July 2009 and June 2013. l
FRIDAY, MAY 23 DHAKA TODAY TOMORROW SUN SETS 6:37PM SUN RISES 5:13AM FORECAST FOR TODAY Dhaka
YESTERDAY’S HIGH AND LOW
PRAYER TIMES Fajar Sunrise Jumma Asr Magrib Esha
3:47am 5:12am 11:55am 4:35pm 6:38pm 8:03pm Source: IslamicFinder.org
Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon inaugurates the Digital Tax Block in front of the National Eidgah yesterday
Water woes trouble Rajshahi city n Our Correspondent, Rajshahi Drinking water crisis has soared in Rajshahi city. The water being supplied is now dirty and has a foul smell. Added to the crisis there is a longstanding shortage of water as Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) says it supplies a bit more than a half of the total water demand here. Wasa says there is a demand for 11, 80, 77,000 litres of water while it is currently supplying only 6, 26, 37,000 littres of water through 76 deep tubewells every day, meeting only 67% of the water demand. The mercury has been hovering above 40 degrees for the last week. A housewife, Momena Begum, who lives in Talaimari Shaheed Minar area, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday: “I have been fetching water from a faraway place for a week because the water being supplied here is muddy and it reeks.
“I went to get water from the usual place this morning here, but returned frustrated and had to get water from almost half a kilometre away.”
Wasa says there is a demand for 11, 80, 77,000 litres of water while it is currently supplying only 6, 26, 37,000 littres Like her, many others have been fetching drinking water from a faraway places in the city. The pictures is not different in the city’s suburbs – Bhadra, Darikharbona and court area – yesterday as people there also complain about the water supplied there. A Wasa official, seeking anonymity, tells the Dhaka Tribune: “Water crisis
is longstanding here. It has worsened as water cannot be pumped as before, because the water table has dropped dramatically with the beginning of Summer in the city.” Shaheed Kamruzzaman Water Treatment Plant has stopped because of the extremely shallow water levels in the rivers. Moreover, four more plants are not coming to any use as they have not been repaired since they broke down 10 years ago.” Rajshahi city Wasa Secretary Shafiqul Islam says, “Water can be muddy due to excessive iron or due to a breakdown of any pipe in the ground. So, I cannot say anything about it without seeing the water for myself.” City Wasa Caretaker Engineer Parvej Mahmud says, “The Wasa has decided to set up 20 more deep tube-wells to meet the demand of water here. Of them, 10 tube-wells have already been installed. Efforts are on in full swing to meet the total water demand here.” l
SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN
13 trafficking victims return from Iran n Rabiul Islam Thirteen Bangladeshi migrant workers, who were rescued by Iranian police after being held hostage for a month and a half, were repatriated home yesterday. Besides, a suspected trafficker named Saddam was also sent back along with the workers. Sources said the repatriation was done with the help of Bangladesh embassy in Iran, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and “Right Jessore”, an NGO working with human trafficking victims. A scheduled flight carrying the ill-fated workers arrived at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 9:30, Executive Director of Rights Jessore Binoy Krishna told the Dhaka Tribune. The migrants were working in Dubai. Human traffickers allured them with lucrative jobs in European countries but they were taken to Iran and kept confined to a house in Bandar Abbas of Iran, Krishna continued. l
SBMCH authorities lodge counter case for assault on doctors n Our Correspondent, Barisal Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College authorities yesterday lodged a counter case against the families of patients for assaulting doctors, accusing 15 people including five family members of a dead patient. Abdul Jalil, administrative officer of SBMCH upon the order of the hospital’s director, lodged the case with Barisal Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court under sections 332, 333, 353, 307, 427 and 109 of the Penal Code. The accused were charged for obstruction in performing public duties, attacking, injuring, endangering life and defaming doctors. After accepting the petition, Barisal Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Md Wahiduzzaman Shikdar ordered the officer-in-charge of Kotwali police station to submit a report on the issue after investigation. Julia Begum, wife of the dead patient Rezaul Karim, Selim Khan, Sohel Khan, Shahin Khan, Jahirul Islam Babu, brothers and cousins of the dead patient, were named and 10 others unnamed as accused in the case. Nine doctors, including the director of the hospital, departmental head, register, consultant of orthopaedics department, were named as witnesses in this case. The complainant alleged that the accused at 10:30am on May 18 attacked Dr Shahidul Islam, assistant register, and Dr Maniruzzaman, assistant professor, of the orthopaedics department, beating them with lethal weapons following the death of Rezaul Karim at 9:20am. It was also alleged that the attackers had ransacked the office of the assistant register, causing damages worth Tk80,000. Earlier, Rezaul’s wife Julia lodged a case on May 20 with the same court against 50 doctors and interns SBMCH, accusing them of negligence in treating Rezaul. It was also alleged that the doctors had attacked the protesting attendants of the patient, beating them with cricket stamps after they asked the doctors about the cause of death. Rezaul Karim, 31, a rental motorcycle driver, was admitted at the orthopaedics department of SBMCH in the early hours of May 15 after he was injured in a road accident the previous night. He died on May 18. l
Battery-run rickshaws, van workers demand permission n Mohosinul Karim Bangladesh Rickshaw and Van Workers United Council yesterday claimed that the decision of the police administration to impose ban on battery-run auto-rickshaws was not logical. At a press conference yesterday, the organisation’s General Secretary Ruhul Amin read out the keynote. He said the air-coolers and air conditioners of the rich people were consuming more power than the battery-run auto-rickshaws. So, the decision of imposing the ban was not logical at all, he added. Demanding government permission to ply the auto-rickshaws and amending the transport and traffic laws, Ruhul Amin said: “The importers are importing the machineries and traders are selling the auto-rickshaws after as-
sembling in the country with legal permission from the government. “They are paying taxes for making the auto-rickshaws and the owners are buying the legally imported and assembled auto-rickshaws spending their deposited or borrowed money. They should have permission from the government as they are facing losses for the ban.” He also demanded that the rickshaw pullers should not be harassed illogically. Mushfiqur Rahman Mintu, president of Shahid Mostafa Kamal Stadium Market Traders Association, claimed that there were around 60,000 battery-run auto-rickshaws in the capital, which is around 9 lakh in the country. The ban on the auto-rickshaws had made around one crore people workless, he added. l
Tk70cr sugar remains unsold in Rajshahi n Our Correspondent, Rajshahi Rajshahi Sugar Mills Ltd has been struggling to sell about Tk69.88 crore worth of sugar (about 7,470 metric tonnes) for a long time. Consequently, the mill authorities are not being able to pay the Tk12 crore that they owe the local sugarcane cultivators, causing immense suffering for the latter. Sources at the Rajshahi Sugar Mills said last year’s sugar production was about 26,810 metric tonnes. Of that, 9,340 tonnes were sold. The authorities bought Tk30 crore worth of sugarcane from local producers in order to meet their production target, but were able to pay only about Tk18 crore. The cultivators are gradually becoming discontent and this may worsen at any time, the sources continued. Tofazzal Hossain Mridha, president of the Rajshahi sugar mill Akhchasi Kayllan Samity, alleged that the mill
authorities have intentionally refused to pay the cultivators their money, causing them to incur losses. However, the Samity often arranges protest rallies on the mill’s premises demanding the dues. Abul Kalam Shamsuddin, manager (finance) of Rajshahi Sugar Mills, said: “The cultivators will soon be paid their dues after we sell the hoarded sugar. The authorities are trying their best to get out of this crisis.” The manager blamed vested interests for the sugar remaining unsold, saying that when sugar prices were fixed by the government at Tk50 per kg, then these people manipulated the prices by selling sugar at Tk48. Afterwards, the government was forced to lower the price to Tk40 and they then started selling at Tk38. “Because we sell sugar at seemingly high prices, the dealers do not buy sugar from us. And now the cultivators are also urging them to hike the sugarcane prices,” said Abul Kalam. l
Pension fund seminar at Manikganj n Our Correspondent, Manikganj A seminar titled ‘Universally Accessible Pension Fund for Bangladesh’ was held yesterday at the Manikganj Lawyer’s Association Building in Manikganj. The seminar was organised with a view to implement the ‘Private Pension Fund Scheme’ promised by the government. The Project Manager, Barrister Dr Shamim Alam, presented the keynote paper at the seminar while it was jointly addressed by prominent Australian jurist and the Project Investigator Dr Jeffrey Nicole and Dr Abu Taher Mollik. The seminar was told that this initiative is quite unique for Bangladesh where a population over 18 years of age, engaged in different professions but do not enjoy pension facilities, will be incorporated into this scheme. The members under the scheme will be saving Tk50 each month up to 58 years of age and the government will pay the pensioners double the amount accumulated in their respective accounts. The professionals who are financially capable and whose annual income is less than Tk5,000, will be included in this scheme, the speakers said. Necessary policies have already been formed in this connection, the speakers added. l
Friday, May 23, 2014
Adamjee Export Processing Zone Adamjee Nagar, Siddhirgonj, Narayangonj
Ref. No. 03.353.014.00.00.600.2013-588
Date: 19 May 2014
Invitation for Tenders No. 5/2013-2014
Seal tenders are hereby invited from the eligible Tenderer(s) for the following works as per terms & conditions stated below: 1
Prime Minister’s Ofﬁce (BEPZA) Governor’s Board Secretariat).
Procuring Entity Name
Adamjee Export Processing Zone.
Procuring Entity District
Tender for works for Single lot.
Invitation Ref. No. & Date
05/2013-2014, date: 19 May 2014
KEY INFORMATION 7
Open Tendering Method (OTM)
FUNDING 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 25 May 2014
Tender last selling date
09 June 2014 During Ofﬁce hour.
Tender Closing Date & Time
10 June 2014 at 12:00 Noon
Tender Opening Date & Time
10 June 2014 at 3:00 PM
Name & Address of the ofﬁce(s) Selling of Tender (Principal)
Accounts Section, Adamjee EPZ, Siddhirgonj, Narayangonj.
Selling of Tender (Others)
Receiving of Tender
1. 2. 3.
Accounts Section, BEPZA, BEPZA Complex, Houuse # 19/D, Road# 6, Dhanmondi, Dhaka-1205. Ofﬁce of the Deputy Commissioner, Narayangonj. Executive Engineer (Civil), Adamjee EPZ, Siddhirgonj, Narayangonj. Chief Engineer, BEPZA, BEPZA Complex, House # 19/D, Road # 6, Dhanmondi, Dhaka-1205. Ofﬁce of the Deputy Commissioner, Narayangonj.
Opening of tender
Executive Engineer (Civil), Adamjee EPZ, Siddhirgonj. Narayangonj.
Place/Date/Time of Pre-Tender meeting
Not to be held.
INFORMATION FOR TENDERER 20
Eligibility of Tenderer
The Invitation for Tender is open to all eligible Tenderers who satisfy the following. h) The Tenderer must have successful completion experience on similar nature of work in a single work order amounting not less than Tk. 5.00 lac within the last 05 (ﬁve) years 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 of equivalent ofﬁcer of concern Department/Organization. i) Average Annual Construction Turnover shall be greater than Tk. 9.00 lac over the last 05 years. (best of three). Construction Turnover will be calculated on the basis of work completion certiﬁcates enclosed with the Tender. j) Minimum Liquid Assets/credit facilities shall be Tk. 5.00 lac. k) Black listed/debarred Tenderer(s) from any govt./Semi Govt/ Autonomous bodies will be treated as ineligible to participate in the Tender. l) Up-to-date Trade license, Income Tax clearance certiﬁcate, VAT registration certiﬁcate, from the concern Department/ Organization. m) Others required conditions and documents of the Tenderer are shown in Tender Data Sheet (TDS) of Tender documents must be fulﬁlled. n) All other criteria will be taken according to the Public Procurement Act-2006 and its amendments.
Brief Description of related service
Brick work, Plaster work, RCC work etc.
Tender document Price
Wooden bridge in Bandarban district built over the Naikkhyangchhari Lake by local timber dealers and residents a long time ago lies in a dilapidated condition DHAKA TRIBUNE
Bridge needs repairing in Bandarban n Our Correspondent, Bandarban
The suffering of the residents of the Mrach Aung area of the Naikkhyangchhari upazila in Bandarban, knows no bounds because a local bridge has yet to be repaired. Locals said the wooden bridge that was built over the Naikkhyangchhari Lake by local timber dealers and residents a long time ago, is now in a dilapidated condition. As a result, locals have to risk their lives when crossing the bridge every day.
Kau Hla Marma, one of the residents of the locality, told the Dhaka Tribune that they are attempting to repair the bridge by raising funds from local sources but when they do not have funds and the work is stalled, which happens every few days, it goes back to its worn out condition, making them suffer again. Dr Abdur Rahim, a local physician said due to the broken-down condition of the bridge, the luxury bus service has been suspended for a long time. Locals have been demanding that
the 8km road stretching from Naikhongchari to the bordering Chakdhala be widened to a width of 24ft. They have also repeatedly demanded that the local administration should repair the bridge immediately in order to ensure safe and secure transportation for commuters. Member of the Bandarban District Council Kazi Mojibur Rahman said they are discussing the issue with the engineers of LGED and the district council and will repair the bridge as soon as possible. l
Four killed, 37 injured in road accidents across districts n Tribune Desk At least four people were killed and 37 injured in road accidents in Gazipur, Sylhet, Sunamganj and Chuadanga districts yesterday. In Gazipur, a police constable was killed as a truck ran over him on the Dha-
ka-Tangail Highway in Kaliakoir upazila. The deceased, identified as Salamat Hossain, 50, hailed from Pathuli village in Basail upazila of Tangail district. In Sylhet, two passersby were run over by a speeding bus in Nazirpur Bazar area on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway. The deceased were identified as Sufian Ahmed, 8, Farhan Ahmed, 9, were student of a Madrasa in Nazirpur area. Following the accident, locals blocked Dhaka-
Sylhet highway that created a huge traffic jam in the area. In Sunamganj, a minor girl was killed and three other people were injured in a road accident in Monar Bhangti area of Jagannathpur upazila. The deceased was identified as Liza Begum, 5, daughter of Delwar Miah of Biswanath upazila. Police said the accident took place when a motorcycle ran over Liza in the area on the Jagannathpur-BiswanathRashidpur Road in the evening, leaving her injured critically. She was rushed to the upazila heath complex where doctors declared her dead. In Chuadanga, at least 25 people were injured in a road accident at Bhalaipur area of Sadar upazila. Witnesses said the accident took place when a Chuadanga-bound speeding bus from Meherpur ploughed through a fish market in the area around 3pm, leaving 25 people injured. On information, two units of firefighters went to the spot and rushed the injured to the Sadar hospital, among which five were in serious condition. l
Identiﬁcation of lot
Tender security Amount (Tk) (In favour of BEPZA)
Construction of boundary wall near to main gate (back side of pothokali school) at Adamjee EPZ.
Adamjee EPZ, Narayangonj.
PROCURING ENTITY DETAILS 24
Name of ofﬁcial Inviting Tender
Md. Abdul Matin Miea
Designation of Ofﬁcial Inviting Tender
Executive Engineer (Civil).
Address of ofﬁcial Inviting Tender
Adamjee EPZ, Adamjee Nagar, Siddhirgonj, Narayangonj.
Contract Details of ofﬁcial inviting tender
Phone: 02-7692937, Fax: 02-7692939, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eligible ﬁrms/authorised representative may purchase Tender Documents from the ofﬁces mentioned in Sl No. 18 on submitting written requested in their letter head Pad.
Any false, forged and miss leading documents furnished by tenderer shall result in rejection of the Tender.
In case of any confusion arises due to printing mistake or other reason, The Public Procurement Rule-2008 will govern.
Tender shall be submitted along with one duplicate copy and it should be mentioned on the cover sheet.
The Tender shall be valid for a period of 120 days from the date of opening the Tender(s). Tender Notice is also available at website: www.epzbangladesh.org.bd of BEPZA.
The Procuring Entity reserves the right to accept or reject all the Tenders of annual the tender proceedings.
GC-100/14 (20 x 4)
Md. Abdul Matin Miea Executive Engineer (Civil) E-mail: email@example.com
Friday, May 23, 2014
China and India: Leadership in contrast
n Shafiqur Rahman he Indian Election results are astounding, and that is a euphemism. All the wishful thinking and self-justifying commentaries from secular intellectuals proved to be just that, self-deluding. Even as the exit polls carried on the tradition of failing to capture the complexity of electoral preference of Indian voters, they failed not in predicting the BJP victory, but failing to gauge the magnitude of the victory. In terms of representative democracy, this is truly an epochal election in India. There is virtually no main opposition party in the Parliament. Sansad Bhaban, the house of Parliament of India, is really the house of Narendra Modi now. Two things stand out to me in the post-quake landscape of Indian politics. First, with barely 38% of the votes the BJP led coalition now commands 62% of the total seats. With support from one or two smaller regional parties, the NDA coalition can comfortably cross over the hallowed 67% or two third Special Majority mark. And with Special Majority, Emergency Proclamation, Amendment of the Constitution via article 368, Removal of Supreme Court Judges, Removal of President etc are all within the grasp of an NDA government led by Modi. This election has been all about Modi and India is now his oyster. Rarely in recent Indian history have hopes and fears of billions of people in and around India been centred on a single personality like now. For his detractors, coronation of Modi raises the spectre of the most notorious human cliché from 1930’s Germany. To his devotees, Modi carries the ambition for an Indian Lee Kwan Yew; who will firmly take charge of India Incorporated and unleash the dynamism to make the country a world economic and political superpower, not just in theory and potentially but in reality. What Modi will think and do is “known unknowns;” to quote from the famous saying of Rumsfeld. In short, dramatic change for better or worse is in the cards and with it entails huge uncertainty. Those who dismiss the potential for disruptive change in an established democracy like India, do not pay sufficient heed to the confluence of charismatic and ambitious leadership, large and enthusiastic support from people and resourceful interests and power of mass media in shaping mass psychology; a conjunction that has shown its potency in recent history time and time again.
Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters in large numbers attend a rally by Chief Minister of western Gujarat state and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad on May 16. Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi pledged May 16 to make the 21st century “India’s century” after leading his right-wing party to a landslide election victory AFP tic economy. India on the other hand was regularly complimented because of the stability and robustness of its plural political system and diverse society. As we can see now that even established and healthy democracies can throw up great uncertainty in the form of unknowns focalised in a singular leadership, it is a good time as any to evaluate the Chinese political leadership during the transformational recent decades.
China: A closer look Chinese economic growth in the last three decades is an unprecedented macro event in recorded human history. In 1980, real per-capita income of China was one fortieth of a US citizen and now it is almost one-fourth. Analysts say that China will overtake USA as the largest economy within the next few years. The social change is no less outstanding; in 1980 only a fifth of Chinese people lived in cities, now more than a half does. These dizzying statistics of change often mask another remarkable thing, despite high and regular turnover of people at the apex, Chinese political leadership remained uniquely stable, continuous and focused during these years of tumultuous change. This stability is mainly
Democratic systems throw up autocratic leaders quite often and sometimes autocratic systems have remarkable democratic decision-making process
And that brings us to the main thesis of this article, a high level glimpse on the stability and uncertainty of political leadership in democracy and other systems.
due to the hierarchical and grouped structure of Chinese leadership and decision-making.
Growth: India vs China
China’s political system is divided into three major institutions: the government, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the military. The Party sits at the apex, subordinating all others. The Communist Party has 80 million members (5% of Chinese Population) and people only become member after a selective process that can take several years. The Party is organised into three major bodies: the Central Committee, the Politburo, and the Politburo Standing Committee. The Central Committee is comprised of 200 members who are elected in the Party National Congress which is held every five years. Committee members include senior party and government officials, different agency heads,
Rightly, in this purported Asian Century, all developments in India is compared and contrasted with China, currently the third and the second biggest economies by PPP. Throughout the last two decades, when China has been growing at unprecedented breakneck speed and India was developing at solid, respectable rate but was increasingly falling behind, both Indian and western political commentators comforted the worldwide adherents of plural politics by rationalising that, while China’s growth is spectacular, it’s economy and society is increasingly in precarious position because of a forced marriage of an autocratic political system with a free-capitalis-
The Chinese political structure
military generals, provincial governors, head of State-owned companies etc. The Central Committee appoints the 25-man Politburo, which is then narrowed even further into a five to nine-man Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) that really runs the Party and the country. Each PSC member is generally in charge of a portfolio covering a major area such as the economy, legislation, internal security, or propaganda. Although most of the important policy decisions are often dictated from top down in this hierarchy, Central Committee does wield real power through the five years; it sets the direction of policy and leadership changes and ratifies them. There is intense politics and lobbying in the committee between different groups. The seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) are ranked in order of primacy, from one to seven. The rankings do not exactly refer to the official post of the members; sometimes members do not hold any official post but is still ranked high and wields huge influence. Usually though, the President and the Prime Minister holds the first and second rank. The most important point of the PSC is that the person at the top is not the leader of the group but the first among equals. It is a consultative and collective decision making body, no one can impose a view upon others; a decision must garner substantial support from the members. The second important feature of the PSC is its regular turnover. There is an enforced retirement age of 68 which effectively limit the term of members, including the top ranked leader. Also leaders who fail to perform are often dropped after the first term or even within term. The age limit not only curbs unchecked ambition of charismatic leaders but also initiates a long grooming process. The small number of promising people who can rise to the top must be given ministerial or provincial leadership positions in their early and mid-50s so that they can be ready for PSC when they are 60. Many Politburo members in China have been involved in business, corruption or other profit-seeking activities and became fabulously wealthy. But no matter how influential they become, no one can stay beyond the term limit. Also China is notoriously nepotistic; children and family of political leaders enjoy huge perks in all aspects of society. But no one can place their children in top political positions, everyone has to go through the long process of membership, committee, appointments and prove themselves consistently as leader and manager. Interestingly, Engineers and Technical people heavily dominated the previous Chinese top leadership; all members of the 16th PSC (2002-07) were engineers. But six out of the seven members of the current PSC (2012-17) are trained in social sciences. This reflects a greater awareness of politics and society than just economic growth.
The gradual evolution to collective leadership has engendered several broad trends in Chinese statecraft. The most visible is the stability and continuity; Chinese policy direction does not make radical changes on whims of new leader but reflects deliberative and broad-based decision-making. This stability is highly prized by international and domestic businesses who regard uncertainty as a principal impediment to long-term business and economic planning.
Party Congress gradually the new rules were introduced and by the Congress in 2002 most of the current implicit and explicit rules have become established. A similar reaction also took place in the Soviet leadership during the Communist Party rule. Stalin’s rule (1922-53) was the archetype of godlike, dictatorial regime. After Stalin there was strong demand for collective leadership at the top. Nikita Khrushchev was largely ousted from leadership
Entrusting fate of hundreds of millions or even billions upon hit or miss charismatic leaders seem to be risky proposition indeed
The balancing act Secondly, although China is a one-party state where the party seeks to maintain a tight control over the population, current Chinese leadership also recognises that control can only be achieved by a careful balancing of freedoms and restrictions. The Chinese government pays very close attention to public opinion while trying to control it; the government prioritises wealth accumulating economic growth but at the same time try to ensure wide distribution of the spoils from growth. There is no magic formula for these kind balances and it is continuously changing. A single-apex leadership system would have been very inadequate for such careful fine tuning; collective decision-making enable a robust leadership mode with sufficient flexibility and rigidity to chart the huge country through tumultuous changes. Chinese leaders clearly see that even among their senior leaders there is divide between those who are more inclined to reforms and liberalisation and those who are more conservative. The Chinese leadership institutionalised robustness in leadership by ensuring that both camps are adequately represented in the highest bodies but no camp gains an overwhelming advantage. This collective leadership arose a lot due to the three-decade long all-powerful and capricious rule of Mao Zedong. During Mao’s rule the PSC was a totally ineffectual body and there were no mechanism or institution to check Mao’s disastrous policy decisions like the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s or the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. After Mao’s death Deng Xiaoping started to develop rules to govern decision-making at the top level and manage power succession. From 12th
because of his failure to institute collective leadership. After him, the regimes of Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko all had strong collective leadership. Perestroika; the policy that opened up the Soviet Union and initiate its eventual demise, did not spring out of the head of Mikhail Gorbachev alone; there were a lot of institutional support for far-reaching change from various quarters of the Soviet Central Committee. Even then, Gorbachev had to do continuous to-and-from with politburo members to get majority approval for his policy changes.
The theoretical approach Political scientists construct the spectrum of leadership by democratic and autocratic leadership at two extremes. Democratic leadership style supposedly emphasise group participation, discussion, and group decisions, while an autocratic leader keeps tight control over group decisions and determines all policies only through own consent. Curiously there are often mismatch between leadership and politics. Democratic system throws up autocratic leaders quite often and sometimes autocratic systems have remarkable democratic decision-making process. We in Bangladesh need no lesson in how democratic elections can produce most autocratic leaders. Interestingly, most established and mature democracies have a democratic system of electing leaders but give remarkably autocratic and arbitrwary decision making power to the top. Most often, democratically elected leaders are moderate and reasonable men who depend on broad consultation rather than personal whim as principle of policy-making. But occasionally, we also see leaders like man-on-a-mission George W Bush, who religiously believe the divine mandate.
Democracy is not just a system of selecting leaders democratically but also checking bad decisions of elected leaders and getting rid of them easily when they fail dismally. The Chinese collective leadership with its institutionalised development of leaders, group decision making and regular turnover at the top seem to have integrated many of the best features of democratic leadership. This is not an advocacy for Chinese Political system; China is after all a one-party state where people have very little say about the course of their destiny. Leadership function arose in the biological world to solve coordination and collective action problem of large groups of social animals. Anthropologists say that pre-civilisation human societies had more group decision making than hierarchical leadership. The vast increase of social complexity due to founding of cities and states produced need for powerful, centralised and formal leadership structures. But as the communication and knowledge revolution vastly changed the coordination problem of big societies, the formal-singular leadership system is increasingly questionable. The paradox of leadership is that versatility, the ability to do multiple, even competing roles is greatly correlated with leadership effectiveness but individuals who can do that are very rare indeed.
Getting the right mix Democracy is the best method of selecting leaders but even it often fails to find those rare individuals, particularly in countries where the choice is very limited. But we should not overlook the attractive features of the Chinese leadership. Democracy is not a formula but a participatory argument. Democracy should evolve with the need and circumstances of the time and place. Whether one believes in the End of History thesis of Francis Fukuyama or not, one cannot deny that most of the world citizenry do not hunger for revolutionary change but for improvement and problem-solving. In this day and age, where there is huge pool of expert and informed leaders in every society, entrusting fate of hundreds of millions or even billions upon hit or miss charismatic leaders seem to be risky proposition indeed. Collective leadership as a mechanism of power-sharing through checks and balances among competing political camps, but also incorporating more dynamic and pluralistic decision-making process seem to be more suited for the age we live in. I believe that single leaders as messiah or saviour is out of place in today’s world. We need real time participatory democracy. We need checks against uncertainty of democratically elected dictators and we need mechanisms for diversity and robustness at the top of decision making. How to develop such mechanisms is an argument we must join vigorously. l Shafiqur Rahman is a freelance contributor.
Rebels kill nine Ukraine soldiers ahead of crunch vote n AFP, Volnovakha Separatist rebels killed at least nine Ukrainian soldiers in the restive east yesterday, dealing a heavy blow to the beleaguered government just three days before a crunch presidential poll. The attacks were the deadliest for the military since it launched an offensive six weeks ago against a pro-Moscow insurgency that is threatening to tear the country apart. Western pressure is mounting on Russia not to interfere in Sunday’s vote, and Nato suggested Thursday that it had seen the first firm evidence of Moscow following through on a promise to pull back its forces from the Ukraine border. But rebels in Ukraine’s heavily-Russified eastern industrial regions of Donetsk and Lugansk are showing no signs of scaling back resistance to what they regard as an illegitimate government in Kiev. The Ukrainian defence ministry said the worst of the two overnight attacks saw the insurgents blow up a military vehicle after volleying mortar shells and grenades at a roadblock set up by government troops near the Donetsk region town of Volnovakha. It said eight men were killed and another 17 wounded in Volnovakha, while another soldier was killed and two injured in a strike near Rubizhne in Lugansk. Kiev’s interim government launched its so-called “anti-terrorist” operation in mid-April aimed at crushing the rebels who have seized more than a dozen eastern cities and towns. An AFP toll compiled through UN
and Ukrainian government sources puts the number of deaths suffered in fighting across the east since mid-April at around 140. President Vladimir Putin – his government wary of devastating sanctions threatened by Washington and its European allies – has so far refrained from recognising the legitimacy of the separatists’ self-declared republics in Lugansk and Donetsk. He has also ordered the withdrawal of some 40,000 forces that Russia began massing along its ex-Soviet neighbour’s eastern border after seizing Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March. Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday he has seen some evidence of “limited Russian troop activity in the vicinity of the border with Ukraine that may suggest that some of these forces are preparing to withdraw.” Putin rejects the legitimacy of the pro-Western team that toppled a Moscow-backed president in February on the back of a massive wave of street protests. But he has given only the most grudging backing for an election that is all but certain to bring a pro-Western president to power who will seek to fold the nation of 46 million more fully into Europe and break for good its historic dependence on Russia. “What is important is not the election itself,” Putin said Thursday during a visit to China. US Vice President Joe Biden warned Putin that Russia’s economy – already approaching recession – would suffer immediate consequences should Russia be judged to have interfered in the vote. l
Moscow demands ‘official explanation’ for Charles remarks n AFP, Moscow Russia’s foreign ministry yesterday demanded an official explanation after Britain’s Prince Charles reportedly compared President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine to those of Hitler. “If these words were really said, then undoubtedly they are not worthy of a future British monarch,” foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in Moscow. “We have requested an official explanation from British authorities over the statements.” Lukashevich slammed Western media for using Charles’s reported words in what he said was a propaganda campaign against Russia. “We consider it is unacceptable, disgusting and low that Western media are using members of the British royal family to unroll a propaganda campaign against Russia on a contentious international issue like the situation in Ukraine,” he said. Russia and Britain’s positions “differ widely and that is obvious, we see that from the statements of British politicians,” Lukashevich said. “To discuss these topics, we have absolutely legal two-way channels and that does not call for pronouncing judgements in a broad public forum.” A senior Russian diplomat was expected to hold talks at Britain’s foreign ministry Thursday after the Daily Mail reported the comments, which Charles apparently made in a private conversation with a Polish-born woman who fled the Nazis as a child. l
Iran’s president: Nuclear deal by July ‘likely’ n AP, Shanghai
EU election kicks off with British and Dutch voters
Iran’s president said yesterday an agreement by July on curbing its nuclear program is “very likely” despite a snag in talks last week, but that the deadline might also be extended. Talks in Vienna stalled last Friday, denting hopes that negotiators could meet a July 20 target. The failure to advance diminished optimism that had been growing since negotiations began Feb. 18 on a comprehensive deal. The talks involve Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. “It is very likely that we can come to an agreement by the end of July,” President Hassan Rouhani told a news conference. He was in Shanghai for an Asian security conference. Reaching agreement depends on unspecified countries not being given a chance to “create problems,” Rouhani said. Western nations say Iran’s nuclear program could allow it to build atomic weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes. l
Europe’s mammoth parliamentary elections kicked off yesterday, with Britain and the Netherlands going to the polls in a vote that is expected to see a swing towards populist rightwing parties. The elections, which are spread over four days in the EU’s 28 member states, are expected to see major gains for parties bent on dismantling the European Union from the inside. The vote comes as the EU struggles for relevance in the aftermath of the euro financial crisis and as it grips with the chaos in on its borders in Ukraine. “I believe in Europe, but I think there are far too many rules coming from Brussels,” Margreet de Jonge, 63, told AFP as she cast her ballot in The Hague, echoing the view of many that the EU has become a bloated bureaucracy. Polls opened at 0530 GMT in the Netherlands and 0600 GMT in Britain. When the results are announced
Missing girls: Protest at Nigeria’s presidency, US military in Chad n AFP, Abuja Protesters yesterday were taking their call for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram to Nigeria’s president, as US military personnel headed to Chad as part of the rescue effort. Demonstrators said they were intending to march on Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential villa in the capital, Abuja, to maintain pressure on the embattled head of state to secure the girls’ safe release. “It is the wish of this movement that this engagement will catalyse positive action towards (the) quick rescue of our abducted girls,” the #BringBackOurGirls campaign coordinator, Hadiza Bala Usman, said in a statement. Previous street protests in Abuja have led to meetings with lawmakers at the national parliament, Nigeria’s national security adviser and military top brass. Thursday’s planned march comes after US President Barack Obama announced that 80 military personnel had been deployed to Chad to help find the 223 girls still missing since their abduction on April 14. Obama said in a letter to Congress that the military contingent would stay in Chad until their support in ending the crisis that has triggered worldwide outrage “is no longer required.” l
n AFP, London
Friday, May 23, 2014
from 2100 GMT on Sunday, eurosceptic parties may top the polls in Britain, France, Italy and the Netherlands. The anti-immigration and anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) of Nigel Farage, and Geert Wilders’ virulently anti-Islam Party of Freedom (PVV), are both forecast to make big gains. UKIP’s rise has rocked the British political establishment as a party without a single representative in its national parliament heads into the European election ahead of the main opposition Labour Party, according to polls published by the Times and the Daily Mail newspapers on the morning of the vote. Farage, a former financial trader who likes to hold court with journalists in the pub, has ruled out joining a far-right bloc of Wilders’ party and France’s National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, saying the National Front is anti-Semitic. The latest polls show eurosceptics and others could secure almost 100 seats in the new parliament, trebling their number in the 751-seat assembly. l
In this May 19 file photo, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists gesture from the defendants cage as they receive sentences ranging from death by hanging for one, life in prison for 13 and 8-15 years for the others after they were convicted of murder, rioting, and violence in a mass trial in Alexandria, Egypt AP
In Egypt, Brotherhood’s hope is in boycott of election n AP, Cairo There is a gaping hole in the center of next week’s presidential election in Egypt: The space once filled by the Muslim Brotherhood. The former political powerhouse that won election after election the past three years has been decimated by a crackdown since the military last summer ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a veteran Brotherhood figure. The Islamist group has been declared a terrorist organization, hundreds of its supporters have been killed and thousands arrested. And the man who removed Morsi — the now retired army chief, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — is a near certainty to win the election, taking place Monday and Tuesday. The election could seal the group’s expulsion from political life: If turnout is strong among Egypt’s 53 million voters, authorities could present that as a solid evidence that the public rejects the Brotherhood and supports Morsi’s ouster, which Islamists brand a coup against the popular will. The Brotherhood’s only tool now has been to declare a boycott of the election, branding it a farce, and try to escalate the street protests it has been holding since Morsi’s July 3 ouster. The goal is to dent the legitimacy of the election and keep Islamists’ voice alive, hoping to draw supporters if el-Sissi’s popularity collapses. “The street movement may have thinned, but everyone is still charged up and that will be manifested in the future,” Ashraf Abdel-Wahab, a doctoral student from the Brotherhood, told The Associated Press. Diaa el-Sawy, a spokesman for the Islamist-led Youths Against the Coup, said he expects the crackdown after the
election will “become bloodier because el-Sissi will want to establish his regime.” But, he said, people will turn against the retired field marshal when he fails to resolve the country’s many problems. “We are betting that we will be joined by others,” he said. “They will abandon their support for el-Sissi. They will not necessarily be with us, but they will be against el-Sissi.”
Their goal is to dent the legitimacy of the election and keep Islamists’ voice alive, hoping to draw supporters if el-Sissi’s popularity collapses So far, 10 months of protests have failed to rally non-Islamists to the cause amid public resentment over Morsi’s year in office and a media-fueled perception that the group is behind a wave of terror attacks. The group denies the claim, but some members warn that young Islamists are turning to militancy — a trend that would deepen public opposition to it. In 2012, Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president after the toppling of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. But by last summer, he faced massive protests by millions demanding he step down, prompting the military’s move. A Brotherhood-led alliance of Islamists last week called for the “third revolutionary wave” of protests against the presidential election. “Step up your efforts to win over new sectors of so-
Lavish weddings the norm for celebrity Romeos n AP, Paris As Romeo said: “My bounty is as boundless as the sea ... the more I give to thee, the more I have.” His modern-day counterparts — the kind with deep pockets — are going all out to offer extravagant, star-studded weddings to their own Juliets. Hip-hop star Kanye West may uphold glam-set tradition this week with a wedding to TV reality star Kim Kardashian. The office of the mayor of Florence and the Chateau of Versailles say the couple will celebrate in palatial, centuries-old venues in Italy and France. The potential bride and groom, however, are staying mum. It would be the first marriage for him, the third for her. Despite the hype preceding celebrity wedding vows, the special moment and the after-parties are often locked in secrecy, with photographs going exclusively to the highest bidder. And love itself is often less immortal than Shakespeare had in mind. Kardashian’s second marriage to basketball star Kris Humphries lasted 72 days. A look at some of the more glamorous celebrity weddings of late: THE FANTASY: Eva Longoria-Tony Parke Longoria, who found fame on the TV soap “Desperate Housewives,” and NBA star Tony Parker married in 2007 at a Paris church that was once frequented by royalty. It was stage two of a weekend extravaganza — all hidden from view, even by black umbrellas at the church. Stage one was a civil ceremony conducted by then-Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe.
In this Nov. 18, 2006 file photo, a dark van followed by a limousine arrives at the Orsini Odescalchi castle in the lakeside town of Bracciano, some 43 kilometers (27 miles) from Rome where US actor Tom Cruise will wed actress Katie Holmes AP THE FAIRYTALE: Liz Hurley-Arun Nayar The wedding of actress-model Liz Hurley and businessman Arun Nayar began in Britain and moved through several cities in India over six days. The blessing and party in 2007 at Sudeley Castle west of London drew the likes of Elton John, arriving by helicopter, Kate Moss and actor Hugh Grant, Hurley’s ex. From there the wedding moved to Mumbai for celebrations that ended at the Maharaja of Jodphur’s palace for a traditional Hindu ceremony, some 60 guests in tow. Secrecy was so tight that guests’ cellphones were banned.
THE NEVER-ENDING KISS: Katie Holmes-Tom Cruise Tom Cruise arrived for his 2006 wedding at a 15th-century Italian castle accompanied by flag bearers in medieval costumes as he walked down a stone ramp, drums rolling. Bride Katie Holmes wore Armani and the designer was among the guests in Bracciano outside Rome, along with Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Jim Carrey. Italian singer Andrea Bocelli serenaded the couple, and fireworks lit the sky. Despite the lavish accoutrements, the couple exchanged vows in a former stable decorated with white flowers in a Scientology ceremony.
THE $60 MILLION BASH: Vanisha Mittal-Amit Bhatia Bollywood stars were flown in from India along with chefs for the most opulent, secretive wedding blowout that France has seen in a long time. The Indian steel mogul Lakshmi Mittal paid 55 million euros ($60 million at the time) — then about the price of an Airbus A320 — to fete the 2004 marriage of his daughter Vanisha to investment banker Amit Bhatia. The six-day event began at the Tuileries Gardens. Some 1,500 guests from around the world received silver-encased, 20-page invitations, Indian newspapers reported. l
ciety for the boycott of the sham elections, so we may regain our freedom,” the alliance said Wednesday. This week saw a marked escalation in protests by university students loyal to Morsi in Cairo, the southern city of Assiut and a string of other localities north of the capital. The crackdown is the worst trauma the 85-year-old Brotherhood has suffered. Still, its members pride themselves on enduring suppression. For most of its existence, it was a banned underground organization. Still, it built up a grassroots network of charities, businesses and mosques that generated public support, and it ran candidates in parliamentary elections. After Mubarak’s fall, it formed a political party and burst openly onto the scene. It and its ultraconservative allies won every election that followed — parliamentary elections in the winter of 2011-2012, the June 2012 presidential election, and a December 2012 referendum that passed a constitution drafted largely by Islamists. Brotherhood supporters said the votes proved Egypt wants Islamists in power. But its detractors insist the wins spoke more of the weakness of its opponents and the allure of its charity networks for poor voters. In the end, both sides will count turnout and raw numbers of voters as a gauge of popularity. In the 2011-2012 parliamentary elections, around 18.4 million Egyptians voted for candidates from the Brotherhood party and its Islamist allies, largely competing against newly formed and little known liberal parties. Morsi garnered 13.2 million votes in the 2012 presidential election — including many who backed him to prevent victory by his rival, Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq. l
Syria army breaks rebel siege of Aleppo prison n AFP, Beirut Syria’s army has ended a year-long rebel siege of Aleppo central prison after a fiercely fought battle for the strategic prize, a monitoring group said yesterday. “After a siege of nearly 13 months by Al-Nusra Front and Islamist rebels, regular armed forces backed by pro-regime fighters were able to break the siege of Aleppo central prison,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Tanks and armoured vehicles entered the prison grounds and intense celebratory gunfire was heard inside the sprawling complex, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. The army’s advance in the area around the prison in northern Aleppo had “cut a path for essential supplies to rebel fighters between areas they control and the Turkish border,” Abdel Rahman said. The breakthrough means that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are now within reach of Castelo road, which links rebel-held parts of Aleppo to the northern countryside. Fighting in the area has killed at least 50 rebels and an unspecified number of pro-regime fighters, since Tuesday, according to the Observatory, a Britain-based group that relies on sources on the ground for its reports. Rebel fighters have repeatedly attacked the prison since April 2013, hoping to free the approximately 3,500 detainees inside. l
Biggest attack in years kills 31 What’s behind rising violence in China’s west? in China’s troubled Xinjiang n n Reuters, Beijing
Explosives hurled from two vehicles which ploughed into an open market in China’s troubled Xinjiang region killed 31 people yesterday, state media reported, the deadliest act of violence in the region in years. China called the attack in the regional capital of Urumqi a “serious violent terrorist incident” and domestic security chief Meng Jianzhu vowed to strengthen a crackdown on the “arrogance of terrorists.” Ninety-four people were wounded. China has blamed a series of knife and bomb attacks in recent months on separatist militants from Xinjiang, the traditional home of the ethnic Muslim Uighurs. The cross-country vehicles rammed into shoppers in an open market, Xinhua news agency reported, citing witness reports. Explosives were flung out of the windows, and one of the vehicles exploded. One witness told Reuters he saw the aftermath of the blasts on his way to work. “The air was full of the smell of gunpowder and the sound of sobbing,” he said. “There were simply too many (casualties), old folks who were at the morning market.” A business owner told Xinhua he had heard a dozen loud explosions at the market near Renmin Park in downtown Urumqi. Xinjiang has been plagued by violence for years, but rights activists and exile groups say the government’s own heavy handed policies in the region have sowed the seeds of unrest. Photos posted on social media purportedly of the blast, but not verified by Reuters, showed a column of smoke and chaos at the market, with bloodied people lying on the tree-lined road near small stands selling fruit, vegetables and eggs. “There were two vehicles that drove like crazy towards the morning mar-
Attacks in China Killed Victim Alleged attacker
BEIJING Oct 28
Urumqi XINJIANG May 22
What is behind the violence?
31* Apr 30
Kunming Mar 1
Corruption-fighting agencies in South Asian countries lack the power and independence to properly investigate politicians and officials for fraud entrenched in the region, a watchdog said. A report released by Berlin-based Transparency International yesterday said that many agencies needed their government’s consent to investigate suspected corruption cases, while others faced massive political interference during their investigations. “The region is characterised by a vicious cycle in which a highly elitist and unaccountable political culture remains largely unchallenged because the very actors who can bring those in power to task are being systematically silenced,” said Srirak Plipat, Transparency International Asia-Pacific director. The report comes days after India’s Congress party, embroiled in a string of corruption scandals during its 10 years
Tensions have been simmering in Xinjiang for years, but Uighur discontent seems to be growing over restrictive Chinese practices such as refusing to allow women to wear traditional head scarfs or young men to grow beards. China has also been gradually phasing out the use of the Uighur language in education, throwing Uighur teachers out of work and adding to concerns that Uighur culture is under siege. Uighurs feel marginalized as the benefits of growth and resources exploitation accrue to Han Chinese migrants who have flooded the region in recent decades. Add to that the influence of global militant Islam and the sense that Muslims elsewhere are standing up for their religion, and it creates a highly combustible mix.
*At least Xinjiang facts Population: 22.1 million** Uighur 47%
Area: 1.7 million sq km Economy: grew 10.8% Jan-Sept 2013 Holds roughly: 30% of China’s onshore oil and gas deposits
Hui Kazakh 4.5 7.0
Are outsiders involved?
40% of China’s coal
**2011 data Source: Chinese authorities/media/Xinjiang regional gov’t ket,” another witness who declined to give his name told Reuters by telephone. “The market was total chaos. Hawkers and shoppers started running everywhere... it was definitely a terror-
South Asian anti-corruption bodies lack teeth n AFP, Berlin
A pair of trucks smashed through metal barriers and plowed through crowds of early morning shoppers yesterday in the far western city of Urumqi, capital of the volatile Xinjiang region, killing 31 and wounding more than 90. It was the latest and bloodiest in a rising number of increasingly bold attacks by extremists among the Turkic Muslim Uighur ethnic group that is native to the area. Here is some background on the region:
Recent fatal attacks that have been linked to Xinjiang
in power, was defeated in national elections. The study, released in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, examines efforts to fight corruption in six South Asian countries - Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. “As long as nobody brings the corrupt to justice, South Asia’s leaders run the risk that future growth only benefits the powerful, doing nothing to help the half-billion South Asians who still live in poverty,” said Plipat. In many cases, South Asian watchdogs are deliberately weakened by their governments, while officials also use agencies to settle scores with political opponents or to protect powerful backers, Transparency International said. In Nepal, the head of the national anti-corruption watchdog has faced allegations of fraud himself for several years and is currently the subject of several investigations. l
ist act. I’m so angry.” Other photos showed riot police on the scene and bodies lying amid flames. Produce and debris were scattered across the street. l
China says the violence is not attributable to religion or ethnicity, but is orchestrated by separatists and malcontents supported by instigators overseas. Specifically, it blames a Uighur military group known either as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement or the Turkistan Islamic Party. While Uighurs are known to be among Islamic militants hiding across the border in Pakistan’s lawless northwestern region, it isn’t clear whether such a group exists and is capable of organizing and carrying out
violence in Xinjiang. Uighur militants occasionally turn up in propaganda videos to either praise or take credit for attacks within China. There is also a large network of activists in the Uighur diaspora who call for a peaceful struggle against the authorities. They are led by US-based Rebiya Kadeer, whom China imprisoned, then exiled and now accuses of having been behind 2009 ethnic riots in Xinjiang that left almost 200 people dead. She denies the allegation.
How has china responded?
Beijing rules Xinjiang with an iron fist and has ignored Uighur demands and even calls from within the Chinese political system to reconsider some of its most restrictive policies. This position was reinforced by President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to region when he visited a paramilitary unit, observed a military exercise and vowed that the government would “make terrorists become like rats scurrying across a street, with everybody shouting ‘Beat them!’” The other aspect of Beijing’s policy has been to pour resources into the area to promote rapid economic growth that it hopes will tie the region ever closer to the rest of China.
What is the region’s history?
The arid Central Asian region has for centuries occupied a position along the Chinese geographic and cultural periphery and was not under Chinese control for much of that time. The ancient “Silk Road” ran through the region, making it a key route for trade and the transmission of foreign concepts such as Buddhism. It was ruled by a pair of independent Uighur republics in the first half of the last century, but was brought firmly under Chinese control after the communist seizure of power in 1949. Large numbers of Han Chinese began moving to Xinjiang, including those in military production units that act almost as mini-states unto themselves. l
South Korea’s president yesterday nominated a new prime minister and accepted the resignations of two senior officials, the beginning of a shakeup that follows widespread criticism of the government’s handling of last month’s ferry disaster. President Park Geun-hye nominated Ahn Dai-hee, a former Supreme Court justice, to replace the current prime minister, who has offered to quit over the ferry sinking, presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said in a statement. Park’s nomination requires approval by the legislature. Park’s government has faced rising public anger over the April 16 sinking, which left more than 300 people dead or missing. Most of the victims were students from a high school near Seoul. About five weeks after the disaster, 288 bodies have been retrieved and 16 others are missing. l
Vietnam’s prime minister said yesterday for the first time that his country is considering legal action against China over its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, a move that Beijing would likely fiercely oppose. China claims nearly all of the South China Sea as its own, bringing it into conflict with the far smaller nations of Vietnam, the Philippines and three others that have rival claims. Beijing also has a territorial dispute with Japan over a cluster of islands in the East China Sea. Last year, the Philippines filed a complaint against China before an international tribunal in The Hague to challenge the legality of China’s claims, antagonizing Beijing. China wants any disputes with countries to be resolved bilaterally even as it continues to engage in what many in the region regard as provocative assertions of its sovereignty in the waters. China raised the stakes in the region earlier this month when it deployed an oil rig to an area claimed by Vietnam, triggering fury in Hanoi, which sent ships to try to disrupt the drilling operation. Street protests morphed into bloody anti-Chinese riots that damaged hundreds of factories. Vietnam had been trying a more low-key approach in its dealings with China, but the oil rig deployment may have changed that thinking. In a written reply to questions sent by The Associated Press, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said, “like all countries, Vietnam is considering various defense options, including legal actions in accordance with the international law.” He did not specify what legal actions it was considering. Two Vietnamese diplomats have previously told the AP that Vietnam might now file its own appeal or join Manila’s legal challenge against China. l
Yellow ribbons fly from a pier at the Jindo harbour relief centre for relatives of victims of the Sewol ferry. South Korea’s president yesterday nominated a new prime minister following widespread criticism of the government’s handling of the ferry disaster AFP
Modi’s crushing win leaves rivals broken cut ties with the party over its decision to field Modi, a popular but divisive figure, as a prime ministerial candidate.
BJP wins first majority in 30 years
many of the most high-profile politicians clinging on for dear life after staggering electoral losses. Modi’s campaigners hailed the tidal wave of support for the Hindu nationalist who demolished rivals ranging from India’s top low-caste politician to its most famous anti-corruption activist and a widely admired chief minister. Nitish Kumar, former chief minister of Bihar, whose government was feted for engineering a turnaround in the once crime-wracked state, resigned after his party was decimated. Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) party won just two seats while Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the state, one of the country’s most populous and poorest, taking 22. Political analyst Paranjoy Guha Thakurta described the result as an “all-India tsunami in favour of the BJP,” signifying that most people voted “for a change at the centre, ignoring the otherwise strong track record of regional leaders like Nitish Kumar.” With the exception of a handful of states in southern and eastern India, which have long lacked a significant Congress or BJP presence, the anti-incumbent vote went to Modi, Thakurta said. Kumar’s loss at the hands of former BJP allies came less than a year after he
Vietnam threatens legal action against China over sea n AP, Manila
S Korea president nominates new prime minister n AP, Seoul
N Korea fires shells near South Korea n AFP, New Delhi Indian election result warship Narendra Modi’s landslide victory in India’s polls has swept aside the Electorate n AFP, Seoul long-dominant Congress party and left North Korea yesterday fired shells into waters near a South Korean warship on patrol south of the disputed Yellow Sea border, prompting an evacuation of residents on a nearby island, officials said. Two shells fell near the South Korean ship, which was sailing near the frontline island of Yeonpyeong, the South’s defence ministry said. “North Korea fired shells which fell near our ship, but it did not cause any damage to our ship,” a ministry spokesman told AFP. The North’s move began at 6:00 pm (0900 GMT), prompting a response from the South Korean vessel which fired several rounds into North Korean territorial waters, he said. The North’s military threatened Wednesday to attack South Korean warships “without any warning” if there was even a “trifle” violation of the maritime border. The threat came a day after a South Korean naval ship fired warning shots to stop an incursion by three North Korean patrol boats across the sea. The South’s navy urged the North to stop “absurd threats” and warned: “We will mercilessly punish any provocative actions by North Korea.” The North does not recognise the Yellow Sea border, the scene of brief but bloody naval clashes in 1999, 2002 and 2009. l
Friday, May 23, 2014
814.5 million (713 million in last election, in 2009)
23 million voters in the 18-19 age group
Results by constituency Approximate locations National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
(about 3 percent of total compared to 0.75 percent in 2009) Jammu & Kashmir
United Progressive Alliance led by Indian National Congress (INC)
Punjab Haryana Delhi
Arunachal Pradesh Assam
Meghalaya Tripura Gujarat
West Bengal Jharkhand Odisha
Daman & Diu
Dadra & Nagar Haveli
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Maharashtra Andhra Pradesh
44 Source: India Election Commission/India Press Information Bureau
Caste-focused parties lose out
The Modi landslide also buried other rivals, including “Dalit Queen” Mayawati, a former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state and champion of India’s low-caste Dalit community previously known as “untouchables.” Her Bahujan Samaj Party won no seats in the electorally pivotal state. Moreover, Modi’s success at painting himself as an unifying leader left scant room for opponents, who traditionally relied on votes from specific castes, communities and religions. B.G. Verghese, of the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, said “Modi first played the orthodox Hindu card but later changed gears, appealing to moderates as well as lower-caste Hindus, many of whom switched loyalties and voted for him.” The gamble paid off spectacularly in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP increased its 2009 tally sevenfold, winning 71 of 80 seats and isolating usually dominant caste-focused regional parties. Besides Mayawati, ex-wrestler Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, which has relied on rural, low-caste votes, also saw its strength plummet. Sunil Khilnani, director of King’s College London’s India Institute, likened the impact to “a democratic asteroid that wiped out many old habits.” l
Pakistan hits Taliban targets for second day n AFP, Miranshah Pakistani troops, artillery and helicopter gunships hit targets in the country’s tribal areas yesterday, officials said, in a second day of military action against Taliban insurgents. The attacks in North Waziristan, a militant stronghold on the Afghan border, destroyed hundreds of shops and houses, officials said. They came a day after air strikes and ground fighting killed at least 71 suspected militants and four security officials in the same area. It was not clear how many people were killed or wounded in Thursday’s raids, but local residents and officials said thousands had started fleeing towards the garrison town of Bannu in neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to the unrest. The violence comes as another blow to peace talks between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which have made little progress since they began in February. Troops backed by tanks, helicopter gunships and reconnaissance drones swung into action on Thursday, destroying shops and houses, local residents and officials said. “Shelling is continuing since overnight as military has launched a search operation in Machis Camp,” a local government official told AFP on the second day of clashes. l
Friday, May 23, 2014
Boost startups to help entrepreneurs
t is good to see a growing range of initiatives to encourage new entrepreneurs. The recently launched Bangladesh Startup Cup and the upcoming GIST Startup Boot camp are hopeful signals that the entrepreneurship scene in Bangladesh is finally taking off. This opens up exciting avenues for economic and social development across the country. Such initiatives provide a huge lift to new businesses by providing mentoring and training to develop the capacity of entrepreneurs and to increase awareness of available resources and new sources of finance. Although the technology sector is most strongly associated with startups, the advice and resources being developed through these programs are helpful to entrepreneurs in all sectors. Most successful efforts to develop the startup community come from the private sector. This is not to say that the government cannot also play a role in helping the growth of entrepreneurship. In particular, it can help by removing archaic and arbitrary regulatory barriers to accessing finance, especially from international sources. Bureaucracy and outdated rules are obstacles faced by all types of business. It is especially important for future economic growth not to allow such impediments to inhibit much needed new entrepreneurs. A flourishing startup scene in Bangladesh can bring many benefits, both economic, technical and social, by unleashing the creativity of entrepreneurs and young people. However, concerted efforts are needed from policy makers, investors and the established business community to ensure that Bangladeshi entrepreneurs are able to fulfill their potential. We must encourage more startups as they will be vital to secure economic growth.
More startups must be encouraged as they will be vital to secure economic growth
Buildings must be earthquake-ready
istorically, building codes in the country have downplayed the importance of earthquake-proofing buildings. With more and more people living in urban areas and Dhaka being named among the 20 cities in the world most susceptible to earthquakes, it is high time for the government to require improvements in our building practices. Seismic activity can be expected to remain the same as in the past. But as our urban areas become more and more densely populated, the consequences of any major earthquake become potentially far more serious. Unless more is done to improve construction standards and raise safety awareness, earthquakes pose a huge threat to human life in the country. The disasters that our country has been faced with over the last few years have painted a grim picture of the government’s rescue preparedness. We cannot afford to take the risk to life and our economy in not coming more earthquake-ready. Awareness needs to be raised among the public, and rescue services need to become better prepared. The safety standards of buildings and major constructions need to be re-evaluated to appropriate standards. Builders, property developers and government should work together to continually improve the country’s ability to withstand and recover from any natural catastrophes. Improving our emergency response capability and making the country more resilient to earthquakes should be a higher priority. There is plenty of expertise and knowledge available on this issue from other countries such as Japan. We need to incorporate this into our own strategy and building practices.
More must be done to improve construction standards and raise safety awareness
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Open letter to Narendra Modi
How to solve: Each number in our CODE-CRACKER grid represents a different letter of the alphabet. For example, today 6 represents I so fill in I every time the figure 6 appears. You have two letters in the control grid to start you off. Enter 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.
Wahid Choudhury Good writing! One thing I will add to this open letter. Too much interference in our politics, and teaching us lessons through BSF might push us too close to China. Not a very good thing for you as your neighbour. WaliulHaqueKhondker Disclaimer: The following is an imaginary letter and may be read accordingly. From: Narendrabhai Modi Dear Ms Nadine Murshed, I have read your letter with rapt attention, despite my extreme preoccupation with new cabinet formation and other political activities that normally follow a landslide victory, which I call a triple century in a house of over 500 members of parliament! I’m very much alive to your concerns. But I can see you are a researcher and not a politician like me. I started my life as a “chayewala,” selling tea to the customers, and now I will be heading the government of the largest democracy in the world. You will appreciate that my stake is much higher than what you perceive. I can no longer tarnish my image by taking some lives of Muslims, here and there. I don’t deny that they have been my eyesore for all my adult life, but now I have to take it as fait accompli. After all, I’m the leader of over a billion people now. But I’m sorry to say, I may not be able to help you with water. You have a saying in Bangla, “Chacha, apon pran bacha.” Yes, I have to save my people first with water; after that, if there is any left over, which is unlikely, it may be spared for you. By the way, you have a lot of rainfall during monsoon, and most of it goes to waste and flows to the Bay of Bengal. Why don’t you harvest and store those waters for your dry season? There is a simple technology to do that. Just dig deep tube wells up to the depth of dry sand-bed un-
91% pass SSC exams, but what have they learned? May 17
vihan The other day I tried to have a talk with a “successful SSC” pass student. I asked him in English: “What is the name of your country?” But the boy did not understand my question at all. When an SSC student sits for his/her SSC exams in Bangladesh, (s)he participates in at least 30 exams in English (primary school + secondary school). In all exams, the student has to pass “successfully”; otherwise, (s)he cannot be promoted to a higher class or participate in the SSC examination. However, at the end, (s)he has no idea about the basics of the subject (s)he passed successfully. In this case, has (s)he really learned anything? Once, a headmaster of a high school told me that SSC and HSC exams cannot be checked “too seriously”; otherwise, the results would be of a catastrophic scale of under-performance. That’s the sad reality about our education system.
CALVIN AND HOBBES
derground. Keep the well-heads at the flood level of water-logged areas. As the well-heads get submerged in stagnant rainwater, the suction by dry sand-bed underneath and gravity will pull down and store all the water in the sand bed. No extra energy needed! Yes, I’m most willing to sell you the deep tube wells, as many as you want! During dry seasons the same tube wells can pump water, do the irrigation in the villages, and supply drinking water in the urban areas. You should be innovative rather than be dependent on your neighbour’s mercy. About your travel restriction, I don’t think it is a good idea to remove them, because bad people take undue advantage of it and create troubles. I want no troubles. In fact, I will construct more fences around India-Bangladesh borders, so that most people have to travel to India through legal routes only. About Indians working in Bangladesh, the only solution is to develop your own manpower with technical and managerial skills. You can then gradually repatriate the Indians back to India. To assure you further on the safety and security of your fellow Muslims, let me confess something. I have ridden the crest of “Vikaas” (Proliferation of Progress) to capture the heart and soul of the Indians. Now I have to deliver. And to do that I have to carry all Indians with me, and I can ill afford to discriminate race, religion and creed. I won’t be stupid to do that. Last but not the least, I have a bad news for you. If I fail to deliver as promised, I shall have no option but to get after the Muslims as a diversionary tactic, before the Indians get after me. So, it is in your own interest to please pray for my success. Regards, N Modi
CROSSWORD ACROSS 1 In a frenzy (4) 6 Margin (3) 7 Utter wildly (4) 9 Slight parody (4) 10 Melody (5) 11 Icy cold (5) 12 Snow runner (3) 14 Frighten from (5) 17 Holding and lifting implement (5) 20 Surface measure (3) 21 Nostrils (5) 23 Cold dish (5) 25 Continent (4) 26 Single entity (4) 27 Anger (3) 28 Blackthorn (4)
DOWN 1 Help (6) 2 Beginning (6) 3 Flying toy (4) 4 Fuel (3) 5 Dry, of champagne (3) 7 Ill-mannered (4) 8 Snake (5) 10 Central (3) 13 Mohammedan Scriptures (5) 15 Pendent ornament (6) 16 Discount (6) 18 Insect (4) 19 Unhappy (3) 22 Facial features (4) 23 Heavenly body (3) 24 Cover (3)
Guest Haha. The open letter is quite amusing, but I have to admit I’m quite impressed with their Bharatnatyam.
PM: Zia considered AL as his main enemy May 18
Joyfal Look forward. It’s time you move on and work for a prosperous Bangladesh, not look back like a silly old woman. Ronnie Surely the PM has greater, nobler duties than randomly dishing out these ridiculous lies and drivel about Ziaur Rahman. For starters, she should, at least privately, graciously acknowledge and be grateful for the fact that it was ex-President Zia who had permitted and facilitated her return home to Bangladesh (incidentally, just two weeks before he was tragically slain). It’s preposterous of anybody to accuse Zia of seeking to obliterate the Awami League, let alone the “signs and spirit of the Liberation War” from Bangladesh. These lies don’t stand. Anybody with a memory of that era’s history and a modicum of honesty ought to testify to that. I have to say that the AL and the PM are, frankly, better off not even straying into that territory.
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.
Cut the Gordian knot May 18
Sammy Great article, except for the “surprise” the author expresses that a government committee of law enforcers gave the RAB a clean bill of health. Why exactly is it surprising that government investigated itself and came to the conclusion that it did no wrong? I mean, was something else expected from a one-party government that has left no independent institutions standing? Bozo Absolutely agree. It’s time for RAB to be disbanded.
YESTERDAY’S SOLUTIONS CODE-CRACKER
Dreams to reality May 18
nds I don’t believe that those who go abroad for higher education have the least desire to give something back to their motherland. Their prime and only motivation to go abroad is earning money and so-called social status and making themselves rightly branded in the marital market. Nothing more or less. Sammy nds: I think you are largely correct. I have seen it aplenty here in North America. The one other thing I’ll add is the desire to have more social freedom and personal space that are both largely unavailable in their countries of origin.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Are you going to eat that?
Life isn’t getting better
n Mubashar Hasan
n Azra Salim
e are what we eat” is what we have been told by our parents as they tried to get us into the habit of eating healthy and nutritious food when we were children. Then why does my hand shake today as I peel that mango for my children? Why does my voice quiver as I tell my children to drink their milk? And why do I hesitate to teach them that eating small fish is the best way to have good eyesight? The answer is as unfortunate as it is deadly. We are living in times when the basic food on our table is slowly poisoning us. We have read the newspaper articles and watched the TV reports about how adulterated food has penetrated our markets. Children have died and fallen sick from eating poisonous mangoes, watermelons, lychees, and blackberries. Countless people have suffered from the ingestion of harmful chemicals in fruits, vegetables, and other food items. The incidence of cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease in our country is on a sharp rise, and eating healthy does not guarantee us a healthy life anymore. Enough lives have been lost, and enough money has been made at their expense. It is time for us consumers to say: “STOP Poisoning Us!” We will not just sit around dinner tables complaining amongst friends and family about how unsafe our food is. We will not just look for small and sparse organic sources of food. We have a basic right to safe food as citizens of Bangladesh, and we choose to claim that right now. As tax-paying citizens of Bangladesh, we refuse to be fed toxic food in silence. Just last summer, a test showed that 94% of the mangoes and 100% of the lychees collected from the markets were tainted with formalin to make them last longer. Regular formalin ingestion can cause kidney disease, cancer, and even death. Mangoes are routinely ripened before their time using calcium carbide, another deadly chemical. Toxic pesticides such as DDT are commonly used in dried fish to preserve them. Chromium enters our food chain when tannery waste is used in poultry feed just to keep costs down. There is chalk powder mixed with flour, brick powder mixed with chili powder, dye injected into watermelons and other fruits … where does the profit-mongering end? The“STOP Poisoning Us” community initiative resulted from extreme frustration over the rampant practice of food adulteration in our country. Newspaper reports stating that 40% of the food in our markets is adulterated,
Food that looks good just might be toxic starting from fruits and vegetables, to fish, poultry, milk, and spices, have showed us how bleak the situation really is, essentially leaving us with nothing safe to feed our children. And so it gave rise to an initiative to raise awareness among consumers and traders and demand some steps from our government to ensure food safety.
SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN
into the public sphere and ask for a solution from the government, because this affects all of us – lawmakers and common citizens, young and old, rich and poor, alike. As concerned citizens, we are in the process of circulating a petition for all citizens to sign to urge the government to include some of our sugges-
As tax-paying citizens of Bangladesh, we refuse to be fed toxic food in silence
Who we are is a group of concerned citizens and parents. What we want is the government to ensure basic food safety for our loved ones. Harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, calcium carbide, DDT, chromium, among others, have no place in the food chain. Our cause is to ensure a better future for our children by voicing our demands for food safety. Instead of just talking about it at home, we would like to move the discussion
tions into its food-safety laws, rules, regulations, and guidelines. Mainly, we want to see stricter implementation of food safety laws and heavy punishment meted out to all those who violate these laws and endanger our health. We ask for awareness campaigns by the government that will show traders, farmers, and consumers the implications of food adulteration, and we want education and training for farmers on safe pesticide use and
cost-effective ways of farming. We also urge the government to ensure transparency of tests and reports of the produce being sold in major markets. Basically, we want food safety assured on all levels – farming, processing, and the market. In order to show unity for the cause, we have organised a peaceful human chain in front of the National Press Club today at 3pm. Our goal is to voice the concerns and fears of consumers, and ask for more attention on the issue. We realise new laws and rules are in the works, but till the day comes when a mother can again safely feed her child seasonal fruits or their favourite fish, it is our duty as citizens to resist the unethical business practices that have become all too common in our country. If you know anyone who has suffered from inexplicable cancer or kidney disease in spite of leading a healthy life, died suddenly due to food-poisoning, or if you simply feel it is not fair to have to think ten times before picking up that apple for your children, it is time for you to act … for your loved ones, for your country, and for our future. l Azra Salim is a freelance contributor.
oliticians in our country quite often use the phrase “people are the source of all power.” Our constitution too, in Article 7(1), states that “all powers in the Republic belong to the people.” However the reality is somewhat different. Since the inception of the country we – the masses – are caught between politics and conflicts of interest between elites who develop, shape, and use mass sentiment for their own purposes. The carefully crafted, vague conflict among elites in Bangladesh revolved around religion, secularism, and national identity. But my question is: What do these mean for me or you – the masses who are caught between supposed ideological distinction and regularised events such as forced disappearances, crossfires, load shedding, roadway mishaps, extortion, hartals, arson, water shortage, rising food prices, traffic jam, etc, every day? Our politicians ride the high-tech cars of the latest model, they have unabated access to power and wealth while we suffer year after year. A study conducted by a professor of political science in Pennsylvania University finds that a key aim of politics in Bangladesh is to receive and use unjustifiable state patronage, influence permits, license, and foreign policy to some extent. In short, the study indicates that “people” are the capital for politicians to make money here, in the sense that they vote for them, and in return, they have access to power and resources. Therefore, we see most of our politicians are millionaires in a country where millions live under $2 per day. This is immoral and vulgar. One could argue that these parties have a large following as they demonstrate in front of droves of people in every rally, therefore I lose validity in my point which says politics is not about the people. However, I argue that most of these people participate in the rally not out of ideology but because they also get a share of the power in smaller contexts such as in trade unions, teachers’ unions, doctors’ unions, journalists’ unions, student wings, administration, and so forth, through the party patronage system. The important point to note about these associations or unions is that most of the members come from not-so-economically solvent families. Party patronage in the name of foreign trips, media license, jobs, work orders, political postings, keeps these associations alive. In other words, these people, with otherwise limited access to resources, are simply being exploited by the powerful elites, and as a result, we see corruption everywhere. Morale seems to have been all but lost here. The ideological distinction between two
Moving forward with ASEAN
n Javeed Ahsan
n Nasim Uddin
hat have we done so far to address water safety despite the tragedies being repeated every year? The answer is: Absolutely nothing, because we are not bothered. I can’t think of a near-civilised country where any water transportation is allowed to operate without ensuring that every passenger has put on a lifejacket. Before thinking of any other step, the authorities must immediately make it mandatory for every passenger to wear a lifejacket while on any form of water transport. The transport management should be responsible for making sure that no one, whether passenger or crew, is onboard without the lifejacket on, and a heavy fine must be paid in case of any violation. Don’t give me the lame excuse that lifejackets are expensive. They don’t have to be the inflatable lifejackets with built-in signals and whistles that you see on airplanes. These can be bought from the scrapped ships from the ship-breaking yards for a throwaway price. Affordable lifejackets can also be produced with the locally available raw materials. If we can make branded t-shirts for a few cents, we can surely make these simple lifejackets for a few dollars or less. Then what is stopping us? The only solution I can think of is the authority’s commitment to saving lives by making lifejacket use mandatory. Who is making sure that the vessels do not carry more passengers than allowed? Most of the water accidents here have happened because the boats were carrying many more passen-
gers than was allowed. This is due to sheer negligence of the authorities concerned and the greed of the vessel owners. After such accidents, while some of the owners are often quizzed or chased after, the authorities concerned always walk away as if it is none of their business. For every accident, the authorities responsible for ensuring a boat’s compliance with safety and fitness issues must be brought to justice for negligence of duty that resulted in the casualties.
The only solution is commitment to saving lives by making lifejacket use mandatory
I don’t understand why we are still allowing these unfit, outdated, and risky boats to carry passengers when our own ship-building companies are supplying quality and safe ships around the world. I would rather prefer some of our tax money to be spent on creating a fully-equipped and well-trained water rescue team among the coastguards or police than on expensive tours of officials. l Javeed Ahsan is a development communication professional.
he 24th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit recently concluded in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The theme of this year’s summit was “moving forward in unity to a peaceful and prosperous community.” Indeed, the ASEAN states have been moving forward steadily over the last few decades. Our neighbouring country, Myanmar, as a member of the association, is getting numerous benefits from the trade bloc while India is very much eager to get the membership of the association considering its potential economic benefits. Then why would Bangladesh lag behind and not try to join the trade bloc? To reduce dependency on the West and narrow its trade gaps with other countries, the best viable option for Bangladesh is to look for newer export destinations. It has always been better to join a trade block for international trade as economic alliance guarantees more benefits than bilateral trade. We already have a good trade relationship with the West, especially with the USA and European counties. Now the time has come to follow the “Look East” policy, which will bring huge benefits to Bangladesh if the country can prove its immense potentials. Due to her geographic and strategic proximity, Bangladesh has been enjoying very close commercial links with most of the ASEAN countries. The importance of Bangladesh joining ASEAN has been intensified by the frustration over the tardy progress in Saarc activities compared to the success of other regional bodies.
Saarc was established with the aim to promote economic and socio-cultural development in the region. Since its inception, the association focused mainly on economic cooperation among the member states, and did not keep any scope for addressing political disputes, thinking that political issues would hamper economic cooperation in the region. But they failed to comprehend the fact that without resolving political disputes among the Saarc nations, it is not only difficult, but also quite impossible to facilitate regional cooperation. Besides, mutual consensus on regional peace is one of the important prerequisites to regional cooperation. But the Saarc member states, especially India and Pakistan, consider each other as threats. Long-running disputes and tensions between India and Pakistan have marred the progress of Saarc. The regional association has so far failed to achieve anything substantial except SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Agreement) and SAPTA (Saarc Preferential Trading Agreement). SAPTA was signed to remove trading barriers like tariff and para-tariff and giving special trading facilities to LDCs like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. This agreement has enabled Bangladesh to enjoy some specific trading privileges while exporting goods to India. But India does not get the same facilities from Bangladesh. So Bangladesh had to develop a bilateral trade relationship with India. Bangladesh is heavily dependent on India for imports of various items and our trade deficit with India has now crossed $4bn. So Dhaka is more con-
cerned about how to reduce Bangladesh’s trade deficit with India. Bangladesh’s trade deficit with India remained high at $4.17bn in the FY2012-13 as different non-tariff and para-tariff barriers have limited the country’s exports to India. It was hoped that Bangladesh’s trade deficit with India would come down as India gave duty-free access to Bangladesh’s main export products – readymade garments – in late 2011.
To make the export basket heavier, it is high time for Bangladesh to boost relations with ASEAN nations
But a number of states in India were not following its central government’s direction of duty-free access facilities for Bangladeshi RMG products. So earnings from export of RMG products were not satisfactory and could not play the role in reducing the trade gap with India at the desired level. Thus para-tariff and non-tariff barriers have continued to limit Bangladesh’s exports to India, preventing the existing trade gap between the countries from narrowing down. Thus, there is little hope for reducing the trade deficit with India to a great extent. So there is a pressing need for increasing its
parties seems a facade. In support of my argument, I raise a point arguing that, since 1990, there has been no fundamental distinction between the two parties in terms of service delivery for human development, which includes human rights, political and civil liberty, corruption, political violence, and, above all, increasing quality of life. Finally, I feel that time has come to change the very theory of politics in our country. The point of politics should no more be about using people as a means to acquire power, rather, the interest of the people should be the end. In Aristotelian terms, people are the wealth of a nation. By that I mean increasing the quality of life for the masses should be the top priority for politics here in Bangladesh. This idea was first put forward by Amartya Sen who criticised the traditional utilitarian approach of measuring lives of people by economic value. The main concept of his idea is that a person’s well-being does not only depend on economic value. There are other factors related here apart from money; for example, a person’s happiness, sorrow, friendship, security, mobility, etc. In his view, a person’s being and functioning is important when considering his/her capabilities. Similarly, Sen is a critic of the traditional GDP measurement that fails to reflect people’s actual capabilities, and also fails to depict the deficiencies in the people’s quality of life. To put it simply, whether one has the money to buy basics is not the real indicator of development, rather whether one has money to buy basics and whether they enjoy a decent and secured life should be the major point of politics. If one doesn’t have electricity and water in their home, if one has to remain stuck in traffic for hours, if one can just be picked up and shot dead for no reason, what is the point of life? The spirit of our liberation war was about improving the quality of life in times of Pakistani oppression and discrimination. If one argues that oppression and discrimination are now being institutionalised, few will retaliate; because after our independence, we, the masses, are now caught between politics for power and their subservient middle class goons who dominate public discourse. As a result, quality of life is in jeopardy as our country is becoming an increasingly dangerous place to live in each day. The use of unevenly balanced GDP indicators as an indicator for growth sheds little truth about the quality of life here. l Mubashar Hasan is the Founder and CEO of alochonaa.com, a non-religious, nonpartisan online platform to foster dialogue among civilisations. He is a PhD candidate at the School of Government and IR, Griffith University, Australia.
export earnings in order to reduce its overall trade gap with other countries. In order to make the export basket heavier, it is high time for Bangladesh to boost relations with ASEAN nations. We have to work towards integrating Bangladesh into the ASEAN economy whose trade volumes are running at more than $1.5tn per year. If we consider ASEAN as a single entity, it would rank as the ninth largest economy in the world. Bangladesh has been enjoying good trade relations with ASEAN countries. However, we have great potential of increasing export volume with the ASEAN members. The area of relationship with ASEAN countries will be in the field of export of goods, including non-traditional goods, export of manpower, export of services including tourism, culture, and education. Moreover, Bangladesh has the potential to become an investment destination as it still has a cheaper labour market, which will attract the 10 Southeast Asian countries to invest in Bangladesh. Bangladesh formally joined the ASEAN Regional Forum in 2006-2007 and the country now stands directly at ASEAN’s western door. There is a need for Bangladesh to widen its economic relations with the South Asian states, especially ASEAN member countries, which in turn will bring greater benefits to Bangladesh. What is now needed most is to justify Bangladesh’s claim to become a future member of ASEAN, which will improve the existing trade relations with ASEAN member countries. l Nasim Uddin is a freelance journalist.
'There is no mystery behind my black dress'
Chhayanaut to observe Nazrul’s 115th birthday n Afrose Jahan Chaity
n Shadma Malik
Chhayanaut is all set to observe National Poet Kazi Nazrul’s 115th birth anniversary with a two-day commemorative programme titled “Nazrul Utsob-1421”at the auditorium of Chhayanaut on May 24 and May 25 at 6:30. Marking the occasion, the country’s cultural arena is now buzzing with varied programmes which give a brief sketch of the vibrant life and works of the rebel poet. The two-day festival will be opened with a chorus rendition “Hey Partho Sharothi Bajao Bajao Ponchojonyo Shonkho” by student and teachers of the organisation. Professor Seraj Salekin will deliver a speech on the poet’s inspirational works and his secularist and revolutionary spirit on the same day. A total of 60 artistes will take part in the festival that includes discussion, musical performances, dance recitals and recitations. Prominent singers like Shahin Samad, Ferdous Ara, Yeakub Ali Khan, Khairul Anam Shakil, Yeasmin Mushtarin and many others
Shayan, famed for her flaming lyrics, unique style of composition and careless style of singing, found her niche in music from an early age. It took her several years to release her first album “Shayan-er Gaan” which enabled her to make a lasting impression among the audience of the country. In a conversation with the Dhaka Tribune, Shayan talked about her musical journey.
What are your inspirations behind protest songs?
I am a social being. I cannot isolate myself from the society. I do not play songs related to protest all the time, however, if I realise that something is not right, I find it my duty to raise my voice against it. I observe the dark side of the society, accumulate my thoughts and feelings and express them through my songs. That is how I find solace.
Any interest in politics?
Not at all. I keep myself away from this field. As a musician, I have a social responsibility towards my people. If I could bring a positive change in the society, I would feel content. A few of my numbers relate to political issues that are an unavoidable part of a society. I am not up for politics, but my songs have political flavour.
Why you are not affiliated with bands?
I have been trying to connect with people through my songs. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the right partners. I am still looking for people with whom I can share my ideas rather than impose my style on someone's creativity or dominate someone's thought. On the
other hand, I enjoy playing solo. It gives me a sense of freedom. I enjoy jamming with other musicians; it is a learning experience.
At present, what are you working on?
Well, I have been working on two albums simultaneously. One is of love songs and the second one is of my usual style. It consist songs related to women issues, human rights, freedom fighters, war criminals and many others based on different stories. I have yet to decide the names for the albums.
Who is your favourite musician?
Shahnaz Rahmatullah is my favourite musician. I grew up listening to her songs. There is always a mark of my childhood in my
songs, and Shahnaz has a bigger role to play. Lata Mangeshkar is also one of my favourites. Others in my list include Tagore, Nazrul, Kishore Kumar, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Tracy Chapman and Bhupen Hazarika. On the other hand, Joler Gaan has thrilled me with their music. There is no mystery behind my attire. Black is my favourite colour and I already have ten to twelve black suits in my wardrobe. I am quite lazy and dressing up like this is easier as I don’t have to think about what to wear in different occasions. However, during Eid, I wear colourful dresses which match with the ones my nieces wear. l
n Entertainment Desk
n Entertainment Desk
The stunning Bollywood diva Aishwarya Rai Bachchan made a breathtaking appearance at the Cannes Film Festival and stunned her critics in a figure-hugging Roberto Cavalli fishtail gown. Not only did she make news because of her rocking comeback but she also openly praised Narendra Modi. Speaking to media at the Cannes, Aishwarya said she is very happy on Modi's victory and is thrilled to see
him as the next Prime Minister of our country. She feels that India will develop and prosper under his leadership. She also added that she is looking forward to India shining. Aishwarya's open praise of Modi at a public platform has been hailed by his supporters. Aishwarya's father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan has also previously worked with Modi to promote Gujarat tourism. Hence, it does not come as a surprise that his daughter-in-law is a Modi fan. l
Short film Jononi, a story of a brave woman who was brutally raped and tortured by the Pakistani Army in the 1971 Liberation War, will premiere today at the National Art Gallery in Bangladesh Shipakala Academy at 6:30pm. Written and directed by Rowshan Ara Nipa, the 42 minute film features Joyeeta in the lead role. Director Rawshan Ara Nipa, who earlier made a few documentaries and a travel show for a satellite channel is experimenting with fiction in the plot of Jononi. The film is about Monira, a teacher of Dhaka University, and her friend Shahed. Monira’s father is a retired teacher and a follower of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s ideology. On the historic night of March 25, 1971, when the Pakistani army launched a crackdown, her parents get killed. Led by army officer Khurshid, a troupe turns Monira’s house into their camp and constantly tortures her. She becomes a source of the troupe’s unholy pleasure. At one point, Khurshid gets Monira pregnant. But, she decides that her baby would not see the light of the world and stops eating in the hope that she would miscarry. On the other hand, Khurshid wants the baby to be born since it holds the inheritance of Pakistan. Nipa, who is also the writer of the film claims the character to be a reflection of the sacrifice of the Biranganas. l
Batman v Superman title revealed n Entertainment Desk Warner Bros has announced its forthcoming superhero film will be titled “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” The title seemingly references the Justice League - a superhero team also featuring Batman and Superman - which director Zack Snyder is due, bring to the big screen at a later date. A website for the film has also been created featuring a new logo - a combination of both heroes’ insignia. It will be released on May 6, 2016.
will grace the occasion. Besides, dancers of Chhayanaut will perform dance recitals on the occasion. Also, Rupa Chakraborty, Belayat Hossain, Mahidul Islam and Fahima Samad will recite Nazrul’s famous poems. The programme will be wrapped up with the chorus rendition of the National Anthem. The festival is supported by Grameenphone. l
Why do you dress in black all the time?
Aishwarya praises Narendra Modi at Cannes
Jononi premieres today
Friday, May 23, 2014
The movie - seen as a follow up to Snyder’s 2013 “Man of Steel” - features British actor Henry Cavill reprising his role as Superman, with Oscar winner Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader. Fast and Furious actress Gal Gadot also stars as Wonder Woman, alongside Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane, all of whom return from “Man of Steel.” Newcomers to the franchise include Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred and Holly Hunter in roles newly created for the film. l
A scene from Jonakir Alo to be screened at the Rainbow Film Fest 2014
3 Bangladeshi films in the Rainbow Film Fest, London n Entertainment Desk Three Bangladeshi films, all of them produced by Impress Telefilm Ltd, are going to be showcased at the Rainbow Film Festival-2014 in London which will run from May 25 to June 1. “Akash Koto Durey” directed by Samia Zaman will be screened at the Brady Arts Center on May 26 at 6pm local time while the director will be present at the time of screening and will take part in a lively discussion session with the audience.
The other two films are “Mrittika Maya” directed by Gazi Rakayet and “Jonakir Alo” by Khalid Mahmood Mithu. The films will be screened at the same place and time on May 27 and May 29 respectively. Apart from the Bangladeshi films, another 13 films from Asian countries including India, Iran, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philipines, Iraq and Azerbaijan will be showcased at the eight-day long event. Rainbow Film Society has been organising the festival since 2000. l
TODAY IN DHAKA Exhibition
Exhibition on Rabindranath Tagore Time: 11am-7pm National Art Gallery Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Mukh O Mukhosh 5 Time: 11am – 8pm Galleri Kaya, Sector- 4, Uttara
Ondhokare Methane Time: 7pm – 9pm Experimental Theatre Hall Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Shegun Bagicha
Dog, Woman, Man
‘I’ll certainly get married’ n Entertainment Desk Former beauty queen and actress Sushmita Sen, who adopted two daughters, says she will certainly get married and that too in a beautiful ceremony. The 38-year-old, who has been linked to the likes of Randeep Hooda and Vikram Bhatt among others, doesn`t conform to the social norms. When asked about this, she said: “I think you save the best for last.” “I don`t think I should walk with the system. Our society has made this system that one should graduate at 18, by 22 starts panicking to get married and by 27 have your first child. I don`t believe in that ...,” she added. Sushmita also said: “Every person`s DNA is different. I will certainly get married and for sure it`s going to be a beautiful wedding.” Actress and former Miss Universe also celebrated 20 years of winning the Miss Universe title on Wednesday on May 21. The stunning actress, who started her acting career in Bollywood with Dastak, is celebrating her special day in Maldives now. l
Time: 7pm – 9pm Goethe Institut Bangladesh Road 9(new) House 10 Dhanmondi
Children of War The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (3D) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D) STAR Cineplex Level 8, Bashundhara City 13/3 Ka, Panthopath
The City Fest Time: 10am – 10pm The Westin South Park Gulshan 2
Did you know? Luis Suarez had more shots on target at 2010 World Cup (15) than any other player. He was also the top goalscorer (11) in the South American qualifers for the 2014 WC
Friday, May 23, 2014
14 Suarez hopeful after surgery
14 Romario, Bebeto fight over WC
15 Can Europeans make breakthrough
DPL players eye strict measures n
Cricketers who are yet to be paid for their services in the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) 2013-14 season are considering the possibility of going hardline. The players are likely to call a press conference to attract the attention of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to this issue. The players’ payment issue in the premier 50-over competition of the country resurfaced a month ago after a few players had complained about not getting paid. The inability of the clubs to remunerate the cricketers in time questioned the significance of the ‘assurance’ provided by the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) and also brought to doubt the role played by the BCB after the ‘players by choice system’ was introduced. Despite the fact that the schedule of the DPL 2014-15 season has already been given, it was learned that majority of the sides in the competition, with the exception of reigning champions Gazi Tank Cricketers, Prime Bank Cricket Club and Prime Doleshwar, are yet to clear the payment of the cricketers. Cricket Welfare Association of Ban-
gladesh (CWAB) member secretary Debabrata Paul informed that they have written to the BCB twice as the board is also the guarantor of the players’ remuneration. “But we are yet to get any reply from them (BCB),” Debabrata told Dhaka Tribune. “I believe BCB president (Nazmul Hasan) is very keen on this issue. We will wait for another week and see if there is any reply from the board,” he added. Even though Debabrata did not make any comments, it was understood that if the board continues to maintain the stance of non-cooperation, CWAB, along with the cricketers, will hold the media conference in order to force the clubs to clear the payments. Meanwhile, former CCDM president Jalal Younus, who is liable for the payments, has informed of making conscious efforts to sort out the unfortunate situation. “I personally made phone calls to the officials of those clubs who are yet to pay their cricketers in full,” Jalal told Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Jalal, who is also a BCB director, notified that the issue of non-payments is likely to be an agenda in the next board meeting. The meeting is most likely to take place before or on June 10. l
Lenin Gani’s 1st death anniversary n
Squad for India series to be named today
Shakib helps KKR to playoff spot
Today is the first death anniversary of eminent sports journalist Lenin Gani. Lenin passed away having lost the battle against pulmonary hypertension on this day in England last year at the age of 46. Starting his career in The Daily Star, Lenin later worked as the sports editor of the New Age, the Daily Sun and bdnews24.com. A prayer program will be arranged at Lenin’s Sylhet residence after the Jumaa prayer today. Bangladesh Sports Journalists Association in a press release prayed for the salvation of the departed soul. l
Kolkata Knight Riders continued to sizzle with ace Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, Robin Uthappa and mystery spinner Sunil Narine playing leading roles as they booked the IPL playoff berth after shutting doors on Royal Challengers Bangalore with a 30-run victory at the Eden Gardens on Thursday. Continuing his dream run Uthappa played the sheet anchor role in his unbeaten 83 from 51 balls (10x4, 1x6) in a 121-run partnership from 70 balls with Shakib (60 from 38 balls; 5x3, 3x6) to help KKR post a towering 195/4. Uthappa and Shakib exposed RCB’s bowling frailty. Local man Ashok Dinda was wayward, while the spin attack in Muttiah Muralitharan, Yuzvendra Cha-
Following a long hiatus, the Bangladesh cricket team will start their practice camp at the end of this month after the selectors submitted a 22-member squad yesterday for the upcoming ODI series against India. The squad is expected to be announced today. The Tigers’ new coach Chandika Hathurusingha will be arriving in Bangladesh on June 10 and is expected to take over the national team’s charge from June 13. However, the fitness, skill and conditioning camp will be starting before the head coach’s arrival. In Hathurusingha’s absence, a local coach will oversee the camp. However, the identity of the coach was yet to be determined. Bangladesh Cricket
Kolkata Knight Riders allrounder Shakib al Hasan raises his bat after scoring his maiden IPL fifty during their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens yesterday
Board cricket operations committee chairman Akram Khan though informed that former national coach Sarwar Imran will be given the responsibility. Apart from Imran, the other local coaches are passing a busy time as Mizanur Rahman Babul is now working with the Bangladesh A team in the West Indies while Sohel Islam is engaged with the Bangladesh Under-19 side for the home series against the Maddhya Pradesh Under-19 side. While the selectors have already submitted the preliminary squad, it was learned that there was no big surprises although the BCB boss had announced after the poor performance by the Tigers earlier this year that there will be huge changes in the side. l
MSC end Brothers’ merry run n
In-form Mohammedan forward Wahed Ahmed’s brace steered his team to a 2-1 win over Brothers Union, who tasted their first defeat in 6 matches, in the second phase of the Nitol-Tata Bangladesh Premier Football League at the Bangbandhu National Stadium yesterday. Mohammedan’s intentions were clear from the very beginning as they stormed into the opposition defense twice in the first two minutes and almost took the lead. Defender Topu Barman’s dash down the right flank enabled him to take control of a loose ball which the Brothers defenders thought would go out. Topu then cut a low cross to forward Wahed Ahmed whose clever backheel hit the foot of a Brothers’ defender before the rebound fell to skipper Emily. But his grounder was lost in the jungle of feet in front of the Brothers’ goal. However, the Black and Whites saw their constant endeavor bear fruit in the 16th minute when the in-form Wahed Ahmed broke the deadlock. Nigerian midfielder Damien Chigozie’s crisp freekick found Wahed unmarked on the left edge of the box and Wahed used the free angle to slot the ball home at the far post. Brothers’ counter attacking strategy received hiccups amid the five men midfield deployed by Mohammedan’s interim coach Jewel Rana and Augustine Walson and Rubel Miah, the attacking live-wires continued to lack the finishing touch. In the 43rd minute, Wahed was staring at the sky about what went wrong.
After picking up an angular through pass of Vincent Hementa Biswas, Wahed decided to lob the ball over the onrushing Brothers’ goalie Sobuj Das Roghu. But the high elevation on the ball saw it fly agonizingly over the bar. Thanks to an electric strike from their dashing winger Rubel Miah, Brothers Union restored parity in the contest in the 52nd minute. Snatching the ball from Vincent in the midfield, the dark and dapper winger displayed his oozing confidence to unleash a blistering run while shrugging off chal-
lenges from three defenders before slotting past a hapless Mohammedan goalie Titumir Chowdhury at the near post to make it 1-1. With Brothers dominating, Mohammedan took a counter attacking strategy and it paid off in the 72nd minute. Topu Barman floated a long ball forward and Wahed ran past his marker and the goalie to score the winner. Mohammedan now have 29 points from 16 matches while Brothers remain on their previous aggregate of 26 points from 17 matches. l
Mohammedan forward Wahed Ahmed scores past Brothers Union goalkeeper Sobuj Das Roghu during their Primer League match at BNS yesterday MUMIT M
hal and Yuvraj Singh could not make any inroads. Defending the massive total, off-spinner Sunil Narine joined the party and executed the role of wrecker-in-chief to perfection grabbing 4/20 to hand KKR a sixth successive win, a milestone they had only posted in their triumphant 2012 season.
BRIEF SCORE Kolkata Knight 195/4 (20ov) Uthappa 83*, Shakib 60
Bangalore 165/ 5 (20ov) Takawale 45, Narine 4/20 Kolkata won by 30 runs KKR were reduced to 56/3 in the seventh over at the sun bathed Eden Gardens after Virat Kohli put the home team up front but Uthappa defied the heat to
Abahani, Russel draw blank n Shishir Hoque Abahani Limited’s title hopes received another jolt as the Sky Blues were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Sheikh Russel in their Nitol Tata Bangladesh Premier Football League secondphase encounter at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. Four-time professional league champions Abahani failed to close the gap on table-toppers Sheikh Jamal to three points and instead, the Sky Blues now find themselves five points behind Jamal. Abahani have 33 points from 17 matches and if Jamal win their game in hand against Uttar Baridhara today, the difference will be eight points which would further complicate the Sky Blues’ task. The defining moment of the game was the controversial red card of Russel’s Haitian striker Pascal Millien in the 18th minute. Following the incident, the game was halted for eight minutes and the aftermath saw Russel fully concentrated on bolstering their defence. Abahani’s attacking line also failed to post any threat and was unable to penetrate the opponents’ defence. Thus the game turned out to be a dull one. Russel coach Dragan Djukanovic burst into anger during the post-match press conference due to Pascal’s red card. “Something in Bangladesh is very wrong with Sheikh Russel. I’m very disappointed to see such refereeing here. They denied us two penalties in our previous match and today (yesterday) they showed Pascal a red card which was totally unfair,” said the Montene-
grin coach adding, “He (Pascal) didn’t hit him (Saikat) and everybody saw it but the referee. What’s happening here, what’s the problem and why it is always against Russel?” Abahani’s Iranian coach on the other hand also blamed the referee for the draw and slammed Russel’s defensive tactics. The Sky Blues initiated the first attack in the ninth minute when Pranotosh Kumar Das sent the ball over the bar following a corner from Atiqur Rahman Meshu. Mithun Chowdhury and Shakil Ahmed orchestrated a lovely attack in the 16th minute. Shakil fed Pascal with a through pass inside the penalty area which the Haitian striker failed to connect properly. A controversial decision by referee Tayeb Hassan saw Russel reduced to 10 men two minutes later. After Saikat grabbed Pascal’s ponytail, the Haitian striker had a contact with the Abahani defender. Saikat immediately fell to the ground and the referee subsequently consulted with the linesman before giving Pascal his marching orders. Russell though still had the best chance to open the scoring in the first half when Abahani keeper Shahidul Alam Sohel produced a stunning save in the 35th minute to deny Serbian midfielder Miroslav Savanovic’s freekick from 25 yards out. Russell keeper Biplob also produced a stunning save in the 76th minute to deny Pranotosh’s header on a corner from Meshu. Abahani wasted their last chance in stoppage time when Osei Morrison received a cross from Soares using his chest and attempted a volley but it went straight to the Russel keeper. l
take the attack to the opposition. Shakib played a perfect ally and was more brute at the other end as the Bangladeshi all-rounder spanked 38-ball 60 and the duo put together 121 runs from 70 balls for the fourth wicket to stage a remarkable recovery against a frail RCB bowling attack. Uthappa went on to complete his second half-century in a row in 34 balls. In-form Uthappa played the full 20 overs and slammed 10 fours and a six during his undefeated knock while Shakib struck five boundaries and three sixes. Shakib smashed rookie leg-spinner Chahal for three sixes and a boundary as KKR stole 24 runs in an over. Interestingly, Uthappa has not scored less than 40 runs after he was promoted at the top of the order when KKR’s India leg began at Ranchi. His tally in the eight matches read: 475. l
NCL starts May 25 n Tribune Desk The 34th National Cricket Championship is set to begin on May 25, the Bangladesh Cricket Board announced yesterday. The first-round matches of the tournament will be played across 14 venues of the country. The first-round matches of the 50over competition will be played on matting wickets. 64 district teams have been divided into 14 groups with the sides scheduled to play against each other in the first round through a league system.
Save the Sports seminar held
n Raihan Mahmood
Sports organizers and former players urged all belonging to the country’s sports arena to unite in order to eradicate corruption and nepotism out of sports in a seminar hosted by Save the Sports at the National Press club yesterday. National sports award winner Manzur Hasan Mintu lamented that nepotism and politicization had gripped the cricket board and the football federation. Former national cricket captain Shafiqul Huq Heera said that patronization of foreign culture ahead of local culture in this year’s World T20 concert was a shameful incident. Zakaria Pintu, the convener of Save the Sports vowed that they would continue to protest, including hunger strike, to uproot politics from sports. Veteran sports journalist Md. Qamruzzaman complained that domination of people from non-sporting background in the sports arena was prevalent in the country and it’s not a good sign. Former national athlete Razia Sultana and shooter Kazi Shahana Parvin also spoke on the occasion. l
Mexico ban beef to avoid doping risk Mexico’s World Cup squad will not eat beef during their preparations for the Brazil tournament for fear of testing positive to banned drugs in contaminated meat, coach Miguel Herrera said on Wednesday. Five players were withdrawn from Mexico’s CONCACAF Gold Cup squad in the United States in 2011 after testing positive for clenbuterol, a banned stimulant sometimes illicitly mixed into livestock feed to make meat leaner. Mexico, who face hosts Brazil, Cameroon and Croatia in Group A at the tournament starting on June 12, will play warm-up games against Israel, Ecuador, Bosnia and Portugal. –Reuters
Friday, May 23, 2014
Cell phone question mark at venues
At least two of Brazil’s 12 World Cup host stadiums will not be able to provide fans the cell-phone and Internet coverage that organizers had promised, telecoms companies revealed. The executive director of the industry’s umbrella group, and Curitiba’s Baixada Arena, which will host four matches. The chief of telecoms firm Vivo, Antonio Carlos Valente, told senators the stadiums in Manaus and Porto Alegre could also face communications problems because of delays finishing temporary structures to house transmission equipment. –AFP
Croatia donate cash to flood victims
Croatia’s football squad have donated a quarter of their money earned for reaching the World Cup finals to victims of deadly floods that have devastated the Balkans. Members of Bosnia-Hercegovina’s World Cup squad, led by star striker Edin Dzeko, have also appealed for help for their stricken compatriots as they participate in a training camp near the disaster zone. Croatia will take centre stage when they face hosts Brazil in the opening game of this year’s World Cup in Sao Paulo on June 12.But almost 50 people have died and about 150,000 have been forced from their homes because of floods in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. –AFP
Suarez hopeful after surgery n Liverpool star Luis Suarez is remaining upbeat after the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) said that his participation at the World Cup “is not ruled out” following knee surgery on Thursday. In an email sent to Uruguayan journalist Federico Buysan, and which the latter posted on Twitter, Suarez wrote: “I’m doing great and am ready to run. Thanks to everyone and stay calm, I’ll make it”. Earlier, in the first official statement to come out of the Uruguayan camp after news leaked that Suarez would require an operation, the AUF indicated that the player had “suffered an intense pain in his left knee” in training on Wednesday morning. It was therefore decided that he should undergo “arthroscopic surgery to repair meniscus damage”. The statement added that “no other damage to the knee was spotted” but the AUF pointed out that the 27-yearold took a knock to the same knee playing for Liverpool against Newcastle United on the final day of the Premier League season on May 11.
Sabella cuts four from squad n Argentina national team coach Alejandro Sabella on Wednesday dropped four players from his provisional 30man World Cup squad, the country’s football federation announced. With the squad set to meet up at their training camp in Ezeiza next Monday, Sabella opted to dispense with defenders Lisandro Lopez (Getafe) and Gabriel Mercado (River Plate), Catania midfielder Fabian Rinaudo and Werder Bremen striker Franco di Santo, according to a press release on the AFA’s website. Sabella has until June 2 to decide on his final 23 players that he will take to the finals in Brazil, which start on June 12. l
Suarez’s mother Sandra Diaz told local media that he would be released from hospital around lunchtime on Thursday. He now faces a race against time to be ready for Uruguay’s World Cup campaign, which begins in a little over three weeks against Costa Rica in the northern Brazilian city of Fortaleza. The AUF’s statement confirmed an earlier report by leading television journalist Martin Charquero, who wrote on Twitter that Suarez had “felt pain in training” before an MRI scan detected a meniscus problem. Suarez was the top scorer in the Premier League in the season just finished with 31 goals and won both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the English Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year prizes. His club Liverpool will therefore be keeping a close eye on developments. Experts said it could take anything from two to six weeks to recover from the keyhole surgery, but the AUF are remaining optimistic. News of the injury generated widespread reaction on Twitter, with the former president of the AUF, Sebastian Bauza, writing: “STRENGTH LUIS!! Everyone in Uruguay is confident that you will recover!!!” l
Schweinsteiger will be fit for World Cup n
A boy leans on a mural with the portrait of Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez at Tavares Bastos shatytown in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday AFP
Madrid a divided city for clash of archrivals n
Madrid bars will be packed Saturday with red-striped Atletico Madrid football fans and Real Madrid rivals, all in white, drinking and yelling the night away for the first one-city Champions League final. The two sides will not mix for the historic occasion though. The match will be a new test of a century-old rivalry between the two sides in the Spanish capital. Some 1,250 police will be on duty to prevent clashes. “It is going to be a tense atmosphere. People will be very nervous,” said Marcos Vinagre, a 32-year-old Atletico fan who works as a porter in Madrid. He thanks his father for making him an Atletico fan even though most of his friends support Real.
“The fans are going to spend the night each on their own turf with their own people,” said Alejandro Lora, 64, president of an association of Real Madrid fan clubs. “There’s a lot of excitement. They have been rivals since the very beginning.” Shop windows dummies are dressed in the rival team shirts and on public squares hang giant posters of each team’s colours -- red and white for the Atletico “Colchoneros” and meringue-white for the Real “Merengue”. Real and Atletico will dispute the final in Lisbon. If Real win it will be their 10th European title. For Atletico it would be a first. Local authorities had planned to screen the match on Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square. They changed their minds after security warnings.
Instead, separate giant screens will go up at Real’s Bernabeu stadium in the posh north and Atletico’s Vicente Calderon in the poorer southwest. Rivalry between Real, founded in 1902, and Atletico, born a year later, has long been seen as a clash of rich and poor. Relano reckons this image is out of date, even though Real Madrid’s fans still have a more genteel image and Atletico’s a rowdy one. Real players and even their opponents can expect to hear respectful applause in the Bernabeu. The Calderon bubbles with abuse and chants of “Atleti, oh-eh, oh-eh.” Kiosks near the Calderon sell women’s pink scarves with the slogan: “Mummy made me pretty, smart and anti-Real Madrid”. It rhymes in Spanish: “Guapa, lista, antimadridista.”
“There are insults, but relations are not violent,” said Relano. Both sets of fans are scattered around the city and rub shoulders at work. After a big win, the Colchoneros rush to party around a statue of the Roman god Neptune in the centre of town. The Merengue celebrate just up the road around a statue of the Greek goddess Cybele. Still, for Spanish football’s image, Relano agreed it was better to avoid screening the match on Sol, “just in case”. Media quoted government officials worrying about the “atmosphere of high rivalry.” “In the end most people will join in the party,” said Vinagre, however. “One lot to celebrate the victory and the others to drown their sorrows -and to celebrate even having played in a Champions League final.” l
Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will be fully fit for next month’s World Cup in Brazil, Germany’s assistant coach Hansi Flick said on Thursday. The holding midfielder, nicknamed the ‘brain’ by Germany coach Joachim Loew for his ability to orchestrate the team’s quick passing game, did not train with the squad on the first full day of a training camp in the Italian Alps. He is only gradually returning to full fitness following a knee inflammation which caused him to miss Bayern Munich’s German Cup final win over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, the latest in a succession of injuries this season. “He has his programme and we have to see how he handles it,” Flick told a news conference in northern Italy. Schweinsteiger, key for Germany’s flowing attacking game, is not the only injury concern with top striker Miroslav Klose also undergoing individual training to catch up after missing much of the season. First-choice keeper Manuel Neuer and captain Philipp Lahm are expected to join their team mates on Friday after undergoing intensive treatment in Munich for injuries picked up in the Cup final. Neuer, who is wearing a sling following a shoulder injury, is expected to be fit for the tournament starting in June, although officials have put new Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen on standby. l
English FA imposes worldwide betting ban on players n All professional players in English soccer will be banned from betting on matches anywhere in the world, the Football Association said on Wednesday. The ruling, which will come into force from Aug. 1, was ratified at the governing body’s Annual General Meeting and covers players from the Premier League down to the nonleague Football Conference and its lower regional divisions. The ban also includes betting on any other football-related matters. FA rules currently forbid players from betting on matches in which they are involved or that they can influence. l
Romario, Bebeto fight over World Cup
As team-mates they brought home the 1994 World Cup for Brazil, but as politicians Romario and Bebeto have become bitter rivals over the hosting of this year’s tournament. Romario de Souza Faria – better known as simply Romario – was the wild child of the pair, known for all-night parties and a hot temper. As a congressman for Rio de Janeiro, the 48-year-old Romario has turned that explosive personality against the World Cup, backing the protesters who say the $11 billion-plus budget would have been better spent on education, health and transport. FIFA, football’s world governing body, have been the target of some of his fiercest criticism. In March he called their secretary general Jerome Valcke a “blackmailer” and their president Sepp Blatter a “corrupt thief
and son of a whore.” Last year, when violent protests overshadowed the Confederations Cup, a rehearsal for the World Cup, Romario voiced sympathy for the movement and accused FIFA of “setting up a circus, not spending a cent and then pocketing everything.” He has also criticised Brazil’s chronically delayed preparations, saying the country will not be “100-percent ready” for the World Cup when it starts on June 12. Bebeto – real name Jose Roberto Gama de Oliveira – is now a Rio state legislator, fighting in the opposite corner. The sweet-smiled evangelical Christian is known for his visits to schools and social programmes – but also for his love of luxury cars and designer clothes. An ambassador for the World Cup in Brazil, he has shrugged off criticism of the event.
“We have struggled hard to get where we are. And where we are is the result of the struggle and efforts of all Brazilians,” the 50-year-old said in December. Their shared story began in the late 1980s, two young forwards in a team that became national heroes as they went unbeaten for 27 matches. Their first taste of defeat came at the 1990 World Cup, when arch-rivals Argentina sent them packing in the round of 16. They made up for it four years later when, at their peak as players, they won Brazil’s fourth World Cup. Romario scored five times in the tournament, including the goal against Sweden which put Brazil into the final. He was awarded the World Cup Golden Ball and named FIFA World Player of the Year. Bebeto scored three World Cup goals, including in Brazil’s 1-0 win over the United States in the round of 16. “I love you!” he
shouted to Romario, who provided the assist. Their public rift began in April last year, at a Brazilian legends match to inaugurate Rio’s revamped Maracana stadium. Bebeto announced Romario would participate. Romario confirmed, but then failed to show up. Soon after, he lashed out at the Maracana renovations, saying planners had “totally disfigured” the legendary stadium. By the time the Confederations Cup arrived that June, he was lashing out at FIFA and encouraging the protests that disrupted the tournament. “He’s as opportunistic in politics as he was on the pitch,” commented well-known journalist Juca Kfouri. Bebeto joined Rio’s World Cup organising committee and has been a reliable cheerleader for the event, alongside fellow Brazilian legend Ronaldo. l
Stegen completes Barca move n
Indonesian goalkeeper sorry over striker death
Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was officially presented as a Barcelona player on Thursday after signing a five-year contract at the Camp Nou. The 22-year-old arrives from Bundesliga club Borussia Moenchengladbach on a deal worth a reported 12 million euros (£9.7m, $16.4m) and he said he is relishing the chance to play for the Spanish giants. “I believe I have taken the right step,” Ter Stegen, who has won four caps for Germany, said at a press conference. “This club has always given the impression that they wanted me. “It’s a fantastic club and there is no better option for me.” l
Barcelona’s new goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen poses during his presentation at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona yesterday AFP
An Indonesian goalkeeper said Thursday he was “truly sorry” after a striker he kicked in the stomach during a match in one of the country’s top leagues died. Agus Rohman said he had received death threats after Akli Fairuz, 27, died, but insisted he was not solely to blame and suggested the player’s medical treatment was inadequate. Rohman told AFP that when he heard the news, he “couldn’t stop crying. “I have never in my life intended to hurt or kill my opponents.” “I regretted what happened, why did he have to die from my kick? I am
truly sorry to Akli, to his family, to everyone,” added the 34-year-old. The incident happened during a match between Rohman’s side, PSAP Sigli, and Fairuz’s Persiraja Banda Aceh, in the city of Banda Aceh on western Sumatra island. The clubs play in the Liga Indonesia Premier Division, the country’s second-tier league. Video footage showed Fairuz run into the box of the opposing team to take a shot after the ball rebounded off Rohman. But the goalkeeper ran out and kicked him in the stomach as he took the shot, knocking him to the ground. Fairuz died on May 16 in hospital, with officials saying he suffered a ruptured intestine. l
Osasuna, Valladolid coaches leave after relegation n Osasuna coach Javi Gracia and Real Valladolid’s Juan Ignacio Martinez have parted company with their clubs after they were relegated from La Liga on the final day of the season on Sunday. “After meeting with the president, I have decided not to continue,” Gracia told a news conference on Wednesday. “I would like to stay here my whole life but circumstances dictate that it would not be positive for the club, or for me, if I stayed.” Valladolid said on their website (www.realvalladolid.es) that Martinez’s contract had contained a clause that meant he would automatically leave if the club were relegated. l
‘Hodgson may need to be brave and drop Rooney’
Indian High Commission - BSJA friendly T20 today
Bangladesh Sports Journalists Association and Indian High Commission, Bangladesh will play a friendly T20 cricket match at the Bangladesh Cricket Board Academy ground at 9:30am today. BSJA and Indian High Commission officials will feature for their respective sides. Bangladesh Cricket Board directors are expected to be present to witness the match.
Bayern refuse to improve deal for United target Kroos Bayern Munich have said they will not raise their offer of a new contract for Toni Kroos amidst reports in Britain that the Germany midfielder is poised to join Manchester United. The 24-year-old Kroos rejected Bayern’s latest offer in January and has opted to put any decision on hold until after next month’s World Cup while there have been reports he is demanding to become one of the Bavarian giants’ highest-paid stars. Bayern have now said they will not improve their undisclosed offer and are refusing to meet Kroos’ wage demands with Manchester United reported to be on the verge of securing his signature. – AFP
Lennon leaves Celtic Celtic manager Neil Lennon has left the club after four years in charge during which he won three Scottish titles, he said on Thursday. Former player Henrik Larsson, currently manager of Swedish club Falkenburgs, is favourite to replace him. “I have parted company with Celtic,” the 42-year-old Lennon said in a brief statement on the BBC website. “The club are in a very strong position and I wish the fans and the club all the very best for the future.” Lennon, the former Celtic captain and northern Ireland international, took charge in 2010 and won a hat-trick of league titles and 2 Scottish Cups. The club have not made an official comment. –Reuters
Makelele to manage Bastia Paris Saint-Germain assistant boss Claude Makelele is to become the new manager of Bastia, a source at the Corsican side revealed on Thursday. This will be the 41-year-old former Chelsea, Real Madrid and PSG midfielder’s first full managerial role. He is set to sign a two-year deal with Bastia where he succeeds Frederic Hantz, who in a four-year spell gained Bastia promotion to Ligue 1 with a 10th place finish last term. Makelele has acted as PSG’s assistant manager since 2011 after his retiremnent from the pitch where he won the Champions League with Real in 2002, and the Premier League title with Chelsea in 2005 and 2006. He has also won league titles in France with Nantes in 1995 and twice in Spain with Real in 2001 and 2003. – AFP
No Liverpool offer for Can: Voeller Liverpool have yet to table an official offer for Emre Can, the Germany Under-21 midfielder’s club Bayer Leverkusen said on Thursday. Reports in the British media suggest the Premier League runners-up are on the verge of a £10 million (12m euros, US$16.4m) deal to bring him to Anfield for next season. But Bayer’s director of sport Rudi Voeller said the club had heard nothing about the versatile 20-year-old who enjoyed an impressive first season at Leverkusen after signing from Bayern Munich. “We know they are interested, but we have not been presented with anything officially,” Voeller told German daily Bild. – AFP
Maracana stadium is seen from Mangueira slum before the last Brazilian league football match in the stadium between Fluminense and Sao Paulo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Wednesday. Brazil will host the World Cup starting on 12 June and Maracana stadium will host the World Cup Final match on 13 July AP
Wayne Rooney might not be an automatic choice in Roy Hodgson’s England starting line-up at the World Cup, according to former club and country team mate Paul Scholes. Attention inevitably focuses on Rooney every time England appear at a major tournament and next month in Brazil will be no different as the Manchester United forward looks to finally make an impact at a World Cup having yet to score in two finals. Rooney is expected to start England’s opening Group D game against Italy in tandem with Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge but with exciting attacking talents such as Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana all providing options, Scholes believes Rooney will have to be on his toes. “I’m not saying Wayne needs to be dropped but if his form doesn’t get up to scratch in the warm-ups, or in the first game of the World Cup, it’ll be interesting to see if the England management team has the balls to make that decision,” Scholes said in his column. l
Can Europeans make a breakthrough? n In seven attempts, no European country has ever won a World Cup in the Americas, but that statistic will come under serious threat at this year’s tournament in Brazil. While teams have traditionally struggled in tournaments on foreign continents, the sport’s increasing globalisation and advances in technology mean that playing at home is no longer the advantage it once was. From a purely sporting perspective, the 13 teams from the UEFA confederation who head to Brazil will do so at a time of clear European dominance. Three of the four semi-finalists at the 2010 World Cup were European and six of the last seven Club World Cups were won by European teams, with Brazilian side Corinthians’ 2012 triumph over Chelsea the sole exception.
Meanwhile, although Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has dominated the FIFA Ballon d’Or in recent years, the last time another South American player finished on the podium was when Kaka received the award in 2007. Messi is also an illustrative example of a South American player who has spent more time playing in Europe than on the continent where he was born. The 26-year-old may be an extreme case, having left his homeland for Barcelona at the age of just 13, but his experience reflects a wider trend. Whereas 21 of the 22 players in the Argentina squad that triumphed on home soil at the 1978 World Cup played their football in their home country, only five of the 30 names in Alejandro Sabella’s provisional squad for the 2014 tournament could say the same. As England manager Roy Hodgson observed earlier this year, the mass exportation of South American players to
WORLD CUPS IN AMERICA Year
Europe means that they may not feel much more at home playing in Brazil than their European counterparts. “South American teams are exporting all their players to Europe, so there’s a certain European-ness about even the South American teams these days,” Hodgson told the FIFA website. “The Brazil team will probably have
very few players in it that are actually playing in Brazil. The Uruguayans and the Argentinians probably don’t have many that are playing there.” - Woodwork denied Holland Transportation is also a much less thorny factor than it was for the Europeans who travelled to the first World Cups to be held in South America -- in Uruguay in 1930, Brazil in 1950, and Chile in 1962. Whereas the four European teams who contested the first World Cup in Uruguay had to cross the Atlantic by boat, many of the players competing in Brazil this year will arrive in executive comfort aboard luxurious jets. Warm-weather training will help the non-South American teams to adapt to Brazil’s climactic conditions and while humidity will be an issue in several host cities, temperatures will largely be akin to a warm European summer. Furthermore, European teams have already come close to enjoying success
in previous World Cups in the Americas. Czechoslovakia took the lead against hosts Brazil in the 1962 final, only to lose 3-1, and Argentina required an 84th-minute Jorge Burruchaga goal to see off West Germany in the 1986 final in Mexico. Dutch midfielder Rob Rensenbrink, meanwhile, would have given the Netherlands the trophy in 1978 had his shot not hit the post in injury time of the final against hosts Argentina in Buenos Aires. Instead the Argentines took the game to extra time before winning 3-1, leaving Rensenbrink to reflect: “If the trajectory of my shot had been five centimetres different, we would have been world champions.” The presence of figures from Argentina’s military junta inside the Estadio Monumental helped to create an atmosphere that felt thick with intimidation for the Dutch players, but there again, Brazil will be different. l
Serena back on song for French Open n
Defending champion and top seed Serena Williams goes into the French Open having blasted her way to the Italian title last week, confounding those who said that at 32 she was beginning to show distinct signs of wear and tear. The American lost just the one set in Rome and her 6-3, 6-0 demolition of former French Open finalist Sara Errani in the final served notice that she is back to her steamroller best. Williams enjoyed an outstanding 2013 when she posted career highs in match wins (78) and titles (11), including her 16th and 17th major champion-
ships at Roland Garros and the US Open. But this year has been much more of a struggle with a fourth-round exit to Ana Ivanovic in the Australian Open followed by a stunning opening-round defeat to 78th-ranked Jana Cepelova in Charleston. That upset left Williams saying she felt “really dead” and in need of a long layoff, which she duly took up until her return at the Madrid Masters two weeks ago. She was forced to retire from that tournament at the quarter-final stage with an injured left leg, casting renewed doubts on her hopes of winning a third French Open title. But her romp in Rome just a week
later restored her as an overwhelming favourite to win in Paris at the annual consecration of the claycourt season. “I am like fine wine. I am getting better with age,” Williams said then although she still had doubts about her fitness going into the year’s second Grand Slam event. “I feel better but I am not 100%. I am going on adrenaline at the moment, so I’ll take a couple of days off. “I hope to win one more Grand Slam before I retire, but I don’t want to look too far ahead. There are hundreds of players who want to do the same.” Evert for one believes she can add to her Grand Slam haul if she puts her mind to it. l
REASONS WHY SERENA CAN BE BEATEN
Getting old At 32, Serena will be among the veterans at Roland Garros and, as has been seen with Roger Federer, age catches up with all tennis players eventually. She says that like good wine she improves with age, but a fortnight of bruising claycourt play at Roland Garros could turn that wine to vinegar.
Injury woes Serena has been beset with injuries over the last few years although she was healthy
for most of last year when she won in Paris and New York. A back injury hit her at the Australian open and she was forced out in Madrid two weeks ago with an injury to her left leg. Admits she is not 100% fit.
Clay constraints - Clay always has been and will remain Serena’s least favourite surface. Only two of her 17 Grand Slam titles came on clay in 2002 and last year and her movement on the red dirt has hardly improved over the years as she uses her power to compensate. The surface also takes some of the sting out of her big service game.
Crowd pressure Serena loves Paris, but Paris has not always loved Serena. The centre-court faithful at Roland Garros have booed and jeered her before, notably against their favourites Justine Henin and Amelie Mauresmo, at times reducing her to tears. She won some converts last year by conducting her courtside interviews in French.
State of Mind Known to be the most unforgiving opponent in women’s tennis when she is in the mood, Serena can, at times, allow herself to become distracted and unfocused.
Players of American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB) players celebrate winning the Walton Refrigerator Uni Cricket 2014 at BKSP yesterday COURTESY
AIUB win University Challenge Cup n American International University (AIUB) clinched the Walton Refrigerator University Challenge Cup as they comprehensively beat University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) by 80 runs in the final played at the BKSP-3 ground yesterday. Batting first, AIUB posted 165 runs from 20 overs as national cricketer Anamul Haque top scored with 44 while another first class cricketer Tanveer Haider scored 41 runs for the batting side. ULAB left no stone unturned to restrict AIUB to a lower total as they used as many as eight bowlers. Chasing 166 runs fro vic-
tory, ULAB never looked like challenging their opposition and could manage to score only 85 runs for nine wickets from their 20 overs. Altaf Kamal’s 19 was the highest score for them. AIUB’s all-rounder Kamrul Islam was adjudged man of the final for his two wickets and a quick-fire 22 of 14 balls. Anamul Haque’s aggregate of 165 runs from three matches saw him become the highest scorer of the tournament while his AIUB teammate Tanveer Haider was the highest wicket-taker in the tournament claiming 15 wickets. Bangladesh Cricket Board arranged this T20 tournament where ten public and private universities of the country participated. l
BCB announces U-19, U-17 squads
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The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) yesterday announced the U-19 and U-17 squads for the matches against different Indian oppositions in May-June 2014. Bangladesh U-19 team will face the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) U-19 side at home. The series will begin with the only three-day game at BKSP on May 25. The two four-day matches will be held on May 29 and June 4 at Fatullah and BKSP respectively. This will be then followed by the three-match one day series with matches scheduled to be played on June 9, 12 and 13. On the other hand, the U-17 team will embark for a tour of India later this
month to play against MPCA U-17 and Coca Cola India XI. Bangladesh U-17, in its first part of the tour, will play four three-day matches against an MPCS U-17
side. All the matches will be played in Indore. In the second part of the tour the young Tigers will face a Coca Cola India XI in three one-day games in Delhi. l
Bangladesh U-19 squad Munim Shahriar. Joyraj Sheik, Md Zakir Hasan, Md Mehidy Hassan Miraz (Captain), Md Najmul Hossain (Vice-Captain), Md Saifuddin, Mosabbek Hossain , Prosenjit Das, Md Sifat Islam , Rifat Pradhan, Md Mehede Hasan, Sanjib Saha, Saleh Ahmed Shawon, Nahid Hasan Stand By: Abdul Qayium, Kamrul Hasan, Md Touhidul Islam, Abu Naser Limon, Shakir Hossain
Bangladesh U-17 squad Afif Hossain, Mohammad Shakib, Rayan Rafsan Rahman, Mohammed Saif Hassan (Captain), Shafiul Hayet (Vice-Captain), Md Rakib, Jaker Ali, Mohammad Abdul Halim, Shahibul Motin, Siddikur Rahman, Md Kamil Ahmed, Md Habib Ullah Habib, Rabbi Hassan, Nayeem Hasan, Pinak Ghosh Stand By: Asanullah Himel, Mohammed Ashikul Islam , Arafat Yeasin, Fardeen Hasan
Friday, May 23, 2014
Muhith hints more rise in Padma bridge cost Chinese firm gets the construction job as the lone bidder and its longevity would be 100 years, n Tribune Report Muhith said. The cabinet committee on public purchase has approved the Communication Ministry proposal for selecting the China Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited for constructing the Padma bridge while Finance Minister AMA Muhith has hinted further rise in the project cost. Muhith endorsed the proposal yesterday at a meeting of the purchase committee at a cost of Tk12,133.29 crore, but he said the cost might rise after revision of the construction. At a brief press conference after the meeting, the finance minister said the China Major Bridge would sign the contract in June and start the construction work in October or November. After the first pre-qualification tender in the Padma bridge project in 2012, the World Bank, the ADB and the IDB had previously recommended giving the construction job to China Major Bridge. The construction of the Padma bridge would complete in four years
He said the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bankhad estimated the project cost at Tk9,000 crore although the consultant firm AECOM had put the cost at Tk13,885 crore. The Chinese company got the job for a cost of Tk12,133.29 crore. The finance minister said the cost could increase further when the government floats tender for river training in July. Regarding the legal complications over two South Korean companies’ not participating in the tender, Muhith said those firms had asked for extending time for their financial offer but the technical and evaluation committee rejected their requests. “We cannot say there was no competition among the bidders in the Padma bridge tender process,” he said. In reply to a question, Muhith said the Anti-Corruption Commission would look into any possible future corruption. l
With less than a month to go before the Fifa World Cup, one of the biggest global sporting extravaganzas, the roads of Dhaka take a colourful look with vendors ferrying flags of various participating countries. The photo was taken yesterday from the capital’s Bangabandhu Avenue area SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN
Top private hospitals selling unregistered drugs n Moniruzzaman Uzzal
Some of the capital’s leading private hospitals are breaking the law by using and prescribing “smuggled” drugs that are not registered with the country’s drug administrations. On April 24, two teams of the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) made unannounced inspections at seven city hospitals – Square, Apollo, United, Labaid, Central, Samorita, and Health and Hope – to find that doctors there had been prescribing different unregistered drugs to treat patients who were in critical condition. The teams also seized a large quantity of over 30 different kinds of generic drugs as well as illegal food supplements from the hospitals’ pharmacies. Hospital authorities failed to produce any legal document for the drugs, which were mostly used to treat patients suffering cancer and other complex diseases of the kidney, heart, brain etc. The Dhaka Tribune has obtained a document listing the names of the generic drugs that were seized.
According to the Drugs (control) Ordinance 1982, no medicine can be stocked, exhibited or sold without being registered with the DGDA. Although it was unethical to use unregistered drugs, some such foreign medicines were saving the lives of patients in critical conditions, said Dr Rashid-e-Mahbub, president of Health Rights Movement Bangladesh.
Most of the seized drugs were smuggled into the Bangladesh from countries including India, the US, the UK The companies that manufactured the drugs were not interested in registering the particular medicines in Bangladesh as the market size was small, said Mahbub, also the ex-president of Bangladesh Medical Association, adding that the drugs were coming from illegal
sources as a result. Dr Jamaluddin Chowdhury, secretary general of Bangladesh Private Medical Practitioners Association told the Dhaka Tribune that any use or sale of unregistered drugs would be a clear violation of the drug control ordinance. Saifur Rahman Lenin, senior manager (brand and communication) at Labaid Hospital, admitted that food supplements were found on its pharmacy shelf during the surprise visit by the DGDA team, but did not elaborate on allegations of prescribing unauthorised drugs, saying he was unaware about the issue. The drug administration also directed the hospital to follow some guidelines in the future, he added. Maj Gen Jahangir Hossain Chowdhury, director general of the DGDA, claimed that the most of the seized drugs were smuggled into the Bangladesh from countries including India, the US, the UK, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Turkey, Poland, Hong Kong, Russia, Thailand, Pakistan, and South Korea. Some of these drugs were also re-
portedly being brought into the country by airlines passengers known as “luggage party,” who buy the drugs from abroad but later sell the medicines to the local hospitals. The efficacy and potency of this high price drugs were not tested in the drugs laboratory, sources said. The quality of the drugs was also questionable as none of the seven private hospitals reportedly maintained a cold chain, which is the temperature-controlled supply chain essential for using the sensitive drugs. Asked about what action had been taken against the seven hospitals, DGDA chief Jahangir said show-cause notices have been served asking them to produce documents for the drugs. However, several top officials of the DGDA told the Dhaka Tribune that the hospitals have already provided “unsatisfactory” replies to the notices. Most of them reportedly claimed of being ignorant about the necessity of the legal permission, and said they had kept the medicines to save patients’ lives. l
Fish traders attack a mobile court n Tribune Report Fish traders attacked a mobile court which went to the city’s Mohammadpur Town Hall Kitchen market to check for formalin in fish yesterday. As the court seized a huge amount of fish from the market, its vendors went berserk and hurled brick chips towards the mobile court team. Policemen with the court charged with baton, fired rubber bullets to bring the situation under control. “We nabbed some traders during the incident around 12:30pm but they were freed later. Additional police were deployed in the area following the situation,” said Azizul Haque, officer-incharge of Mohammadpur police station over phone. The mobile court was conducted by Senior Assistant Secretary Abul Kalam Azam of Public Administration Ministry, the OC said. He said the mobile court found presence of formalin in almost all the fish at every shop of the kitchen market. As the court attempted to seize the fish, the traders barred the court and at a one stage they hurled brick chips at the court. The traders also switched off the lights in the market so that the court could not examine the fish. “Two or three policemen sustained injuries when they resisted the traders,” the OC claimed. However, some detainees told the police that they just protested the court as the court was fining the traders Tk30,000 to Tk40,000 which was very high for them. They also alleged that the court was also fining those who were selling live fish for the presence of formalin. l
Life support for unfit CNG-run autos n Abu Hayat Mahmud The government is set to add four more years to the lifespan of CNG-run auto-rickshaws, which had already passed 11 years in operation, upon few specific conditions. The decision was jointly taken by the Ministry of Communication and Bangladesh Roads Transport Authority (BRTA) as per a demand from the Dhaka Metropolitan CNG Auto-rickshaw Owners’ Association. Apart from extending the lifespan, the ministry is also planning to set a higher rate for daily driver’s deposit and an increased fare rate. In 2002, the government banned all two-stroke auto-rickshaws in urban areas and paved the way for four-stroke CNG-run three-wheelers, for which the lifespan was set at nine years. Currently, there are around 13,000 commercially-run “green” auto-rickshaws and 3,000 private ones, usually painted grey, operating in the capital. As the lifespan of all such three-wheelers ended in 2011, the government then extended two more years as per the demand of vehicle owners. Sources said when the extended lifespan expired in January this year, the government again agreed to extend four more years amid pressure from the owners’ association. However, BRTA officials claimed that they simply implemented a ministry detective following a recommendation from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).
Referring to the Buet recommendation, the officials said existing CNGrun auto-rickshaws in Dhaka and Chittagong must ensure overhauling of its engines and mechanical fitness from certified workshops. Buet engineers pointed out that four years can be added to the lifespan of existing auto-rickshaws upon few conditions, such as replacing old gas cylinders. Md Rafiqul Haque Talukder, a director of BRTA, said: “As per a ministry directive, the lifespan of existing auto-rickshaws will be set at 15 years.” Rafiqul also claimed that the notification will only be applicable to CNG-run auto rickshaws in Dhaka and Chittagong. Although the three-wheelers are considered a cause of traffic congestions in Dhaka, Communications Minister Obaidul Quader earlier announced introducing 5,000 more such vehicles in Dhaka and 4,000 in the port city. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Passengers’ Welfare Association has denounced the government’s decision. Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, secretary general of the association, said: “Almost all auto-rickshaws have exceeded their lifespan. But, the government have repeatedly extended permits for these faulty vehicles. He also reasoned that such unfit vehicles have been causing most accidents in the city and termed the new fare rate irrational. They proposed that fare should be Tk40 for the first two kilometres, up from Tk25, while the charge for each subsequent kilometre should be at Tk12. l
Dhaka likely to be PM Modi’s first destination n Emran Hossain Shaikh
(Top) A leader of the shop owners’ association of the Town Hall Kitchen Market in the capital’s Mohammadpur tries to pursue a mobile court to not run formalin test; (bottom left) police beat up the leader after being attacked by the shop owners; (bottom right) police seize some adulterated fishes from the market MAHMUD HOSSAIN APU
Indian prime minister-elect Narendra Modi's first official destination as head of government is likely to be Dhaka where he might ink the much-awaited Teesta water-sharing treaty. The possibilities came up following a telephone conversation over the issues between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Modi, who takes oath as the Indian premier on May 26, the Business Standard reported on Wednesday citing anonymous diplomatic sources. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested Modi to make his first official visit to Dhaka considering Bangladesh as his second home, it reported. The Teesta treaty accounted for a substantial part of the conversation with Hasina, reported the English daily. The Indian English daily understood that Modi had told Hasina he would
take “concrete and meaningful steps" for a robust bilateral relationship. Contacted, Prime Minister’s Sheikh Hasina’s Information Adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury confirmed it to the Dhaka Tribune yesterday and said the prime minister invited Modi to visit Bangladesh during the conversation. “They talked about several bilateral issues and about taking the ties between Dhaka and Delhi to new heights,” he said, without going into details. When asked whether Teesta treaty and land boundary deal had come up for discussion, he said, “These issues are natural to be discussed. “Modi's recent comments also indicate that he will first visit Bangladesh and Pakistan,” he said. The Teesta treaty was expected to be inked during Manmohan Singh’s maiden visit to Dhaka in September 2011. But West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee got in the way. l
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Softex files $100m compensation suit over factory closure without notice n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi
n Kayes Sohel Proposal to continue tax holiday facility for demutualised companies at stock markets for next five years will produce no benefit for the investors, according to market analysts. Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) have put forward a number of budget proposals, including tax holiday, for inclusion in fiscal year 2014-15. They presented the proposals to the National Board of Revenue last month as the budget is set to be placed on June 5. “Tax holiday will neither benefit investors nor infuse confidence among the investors,” said Mirza Azizul Islam, former finance adviser to last caretaker government. However, he backed the stock exchanges’ proposal to reduce corporate tax of the listed companies. “It (cutting corporate tax) will increase profit of the listed companies, and thus investors will get higher dividends. But from 2% to 2.5% can be reduced.” The DSE and CSE proposed reducing tax rate for banks, insurance companies and financial institutions to 32.5% for listed entities and 37.5% for non-listed entities from the current 42.5%. About the proposed formation of market stabilisation fund of Tk5,000 crore, former adviser said some South Asian countries have formed such market stabilisation fund in 1996-98 when world stock market was in the downturn, but in most cases such kind of fund eventually made losses. Referring to Bangladesh Fund of
Tk5,000 crore that was formed after market debacle in late 2010, he said, “This fund is yet to be utilised. So, I don’t think any market stabilised fund is needed right at this moment.” Islam, also a market and financial sector analyst, strongly supported the enactment of the Financial Reporting Act. Although the Act will have no impact on market, it is important to maintain standard accounts. “Since some companies in the country have a tendency to fabricate their accounts, the enactment of the Act will help rectify the accounts.” “Everything should be considered on the basis of the interest of the investors and markets rather than indi-
vidual interest,” Mirza Aziz emphasised. Besides, the stock exchanges demanded reduction of tax at source on members’ share transaction to 0.015% from the present 0.05%, tax exemption facility for the unrealised capital gain of shares which have been issued to the initial shareholders of the demutualised exchanges. The proposals included exemption of 1.5% stamp duty on transfer of dematerialised shares, which is currently applicable only on listed entities’ securities, reduction of tax at source on commissions of the stock exchange members and extending the exemption limit of dividend income from Tk10,000 to Tk50,000. l
The ministry of fisheries and livestock has urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to enhance the status of the fisheries and livestock sector as agriculture sub-sector, so it can get more facilities and incentives from the budgetary allocation. In response, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, yesterday assured the minister, state minister and high officials of the ministry of providing adequate supply of power for the poultry and hatchery farmers as like as other farmers. The premier came up with the assurances as she visited to the ministry under her routine job to visit various ministries to oversee the overall activities of various ministries. She also assured the high officials of the ministry of giving sufficient budgetary allocations for the ministry to produce and supply more milk, meat and eggs across the country. Expressing her satisfaction over the implementation of the development projects and achievements of the ministry, the prime minister has agreed to allocate sufficient budget for the ministry, Fisheries and Livestock Minister Mohammad Sayedul Haque told the Dhaka Tribune immediately after the meeting. “Though the planning ministry has agreed to give us Tk603 crore from the development budget, we have sought more allocation for us. Our estimated demand to the government is Tk955 crore for the implementation of the development programme,” he added. During the meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the ministry officials to work attentively and thus can contribute to the progress of the country. The fisheries and livestock sector is contributing around 8% to the national income while 90% of the animal protein comes from the livestock sub-sector, said the prime minister. l
Lending by two Sonali and BASIC branches be stopped soon finance ministry yesterday. Meanwhile Later in the dividend given ceremony of the Sonali Bank UK at finance minister said. “I’ll immediately stop loan programme of the Sonali Bank’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch and BASIC Bank’s Ghulsan branch,” he told the reporters. The two branches of the two staterun banks were involved in a huge
credit scam by Hall-Mark Group that took place during a period between 2012 and 2013. Muhith said the scams happened one after another causing the banks to suffer huge provision deficit while the amount of bad loans going up. The Hallmark Group and five other companies swindled worth Tk3,547 crore from Sonali Bank’s Sheraton hotel branch (now Ru-
but after the budget was revised and reached 5%. “Larger budget deficit may prompt the government to borrow more from banks,” said Dr Zaid Bakht, research fellow of Bangladesh Institute for Development Studies (BIDS). Finance Ministry officials also feared the same thing saying the budget deficit will force the government to increase domestic borrowing, creating a crowding out impact of the private sector.
'Larger budget deficit may prompt the government to borrow more from banks' According to finance division sources, the expected bank borrowing will be Tk27,000 crore in the next fiscal year, which might be increased further as a result. Initially, the target was to keep the budget gap within 5% of GDP and the finance ministry proposed Tk79,032 crore ADP for the upcoming fiscal year. Official data showed as of March 2013 the net domestic borrowing stood at Tk18,419 crore, which is almost double the figure the government borrowed till December last year. As of December, the government borrowed Tk9,881 crore from domestic sources. The borrowing till March is 54% of the total budgetary estimation of borrowing for the current fiscal year. The current budget had set domestic borrowing target at Tk33,964 crore and foreign loan of Tk23,729 crore to meet budgetary expenditure. l
Fisheries, livestock seek agriculture sub-sector status n Mohosinul Karim
Tax holiday for demutualised bourses unlikely to benefit investors
The government would soon ask Sonali Bank and BASIC Bank to stop lending from two of their ailing branches. Finance Minister AMA Muhith spoke of the imminent measure to force the braches run independently, following a dividend handover ceremony of Sonali Bank, UK at the
n Asif Showkat Kallol
The budget deficit in the next fiscal year would cross 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) as the development expenditure has been set high at Tk80,314 crore, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday. He, however, made it clear the total budget outlay for the fiscal 2014-15 would not go beyond Tk250,000 crore. The minister was talking to reporters after a meeting of the cabinet committee on public purchase at Bangladesh Secretariat as he shared about the extent of fiscal deficit in the next fiscal. The government as well as the business and industries always remain skeptical about the deficit financing as they think increased deficit would mean increased borrowing from the banking system and thus crowding out the private sector. The approved ADP for the next fiscal is 22% higher than the Tk65,872 crore Debates continue between factory owners and Western inspection authorities over the suspension or closure orders after safety faults original outlay and 34% more than the revised allocation of Tk60,000 crore are revealed RAJIB DHAR for the outgoing fiscal. payment of compensation and sought commitment to provide financial and The company lodged the suit with Usually, the deficit remains below technical support to improve fire and the 5% level, but this time it would apology within 7 days. the Joint District Judge Court of Dhabuilding safety standard of RMG facto- cross the mark, said finance ministry The decisions made by the review ka as the review panel did not provide panel were not in accordance with the ries, from where they source products. officials. satisfactory explanation responding As per their commitment, the Acto the legal notice and their “justifi- laws or under the provision of BanRecords show that there was only cation” was not come in proper time, gladesh Labour Act 2006, the plaintiff cord will inspect over 1700 factories one case in last two decades when the till September 2014 for fire, electrical, budget gap exceeded 5% of GDP. said in its suit. Md Matiur Rahman, a lawyer of Softex Under the Bangladesh Labour Act and building safety, while Alliance will Cotton Limited, told the Dhaka TriThe wider budget gap is expected to inspect over 600 factories. 2006, there is no provision of a “Rebune yesterday. increase the government’s borrowing On February 20, the Accord, a from the country’s banking system. view Panel or its power and function The next date for the return of service platform of 150 European retailers, Total budget deficit is expected to be or authority to inspect the factory of of summons is fixed on May 26, 2014 the plaintiff or instruct it to shut it launched the first phase of inspection Tk68,083 crore, which is 5.08% of GDP. On April 29, Softex served the legal and inspected over 550 factories for fire down, it said. notice to Accord claiming compenNext fiscal year’s total GDP is estiand electrical safety structural safety. Following the deadliest incident at sation worth $100m for the damage mated to be Tk13,39,500 crore. On the other hand, the Alliance for Rana Plaza building collapse that killed the factory would have incurred since The country’s budget deficit usually over 1,100 workers, the retailers’ plat- Workers Safety in Bangladesh had in- remains at around 4.5%. In the current shutting down the factory on March 6. forms Accord and Alliance had made spected 508 factories. l The legal notice had demanded budget, the deficit target was 4.6%,
The Softex Cotton Limited has filed a suit against the members of review panel for the factory closure without prior notice, seeking a compensation package worth US$100m. The plaintiff of the suit also sought 20% interest per year till realisation of the compensation and cost of the suit, in accordance with the case filed on Wednesday. It would be the first such case in Bangladesh after the Accord and Alliance began inspection of the readymade garments factories in Bangladesh in an effort to ensure factory safety standards. A review panel following recommendation by the buyers’ platforms has so far closed 19 factories allegedly for their poor conditions as compared to the standard specifications of the factories. Production of 10 more factories has also been suspended. Industry insiders said other factory owners, who faced closure or production suspension, were also observing the developments of Softex’s legal notice. The defendants of the case are Brad Loewen, chief security inspector of Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, Kazi Wahidul Haque, representative of Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, Shahidullah Azim, representative of BGMEA, Syed Fakhrul Ameen and professor Ahsanul Kabi, representative of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Syed Ahmed, and Sanjoy Kumar Das, representative of Factories and Establishment Inspection Directorate.
n Tribune Report
Muhith: FY15 budget deficit to cross 5% of GDP
poshi Bangla) by using forged documents, between January 2010 and May 2012. A Bangladesh Bank inspection found irregularities in four branches of state-owned Basic Bank — Motijheel, Shantinagar, Dilkusha and Gulshan branches — that involved loans of nearly Tk4,425 crore between December 2009 and November 2012. l
Telcos asked to pay Tk514cr as Vat dues n Muhammad Zahidul Islam
National Board of Revenue (NBR) has asked six mobile phone operators to pay Tk513.55 crore dues as value added tax. Of the amount, Tk244.38 crore is on spectrum charges and Tk269.17 crore on revenue sharing, according to the letters sent by Large Taxpayers’ Unit (LTU) of NBR to the operators. The companies - Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi, Airtel, Citycell and Teletalk – have, however, decided to challenge the Vat claims in the court. They said the NBR in a directive on 12 August 2013 exempted the operators from paying Vat on 5.5% revenue sharing as it will be a dual taxation. The dues were calculated for the period from April 2012 to August 12 of 2013. The Vat dues on spectrum charges include 2% interest, said the NBR letters. Vat on 2G licence renewal spectrum charges is applicable to four operators - Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Citycell. NBR requested Bangladesh
Telecommunication Regulatory Communication (BTRC) to collect the Vat amounts from the four companies. Letters regarding Vat on revenue sharing were sent to the six operators last week and letters regarding spectrum Vat were dispatched to four mobile companies yesterday. “We have sent letters today (Thursday) for Vat on spectrum charges. Letters on revenue sharing Vat were sent earlier,” Md Abdus Samad, commissioner (legal and licence) of NBR, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. According to the NBR, Grameenphone’s outstanding Vat on spectrum charges is Tk106.95 crore and Vat on revenue sharing is Tk120.53 crore. Banglalink’s outstanding Vat is Tk65.06 crore and Tk52.90 crore on two sources respectively. According to the LTU, Robi has dues of Tk62.73 crore on spectrum charges and Tk50.14 crore on revenue sharing. Citycell will have to pay Tk34.43 crore as Vat on spectrum charges and Tk2.52 crore on revenue sharing. l
Stocks dropped with volatility yesterday, failing to sustain the previous session’s rally seen after eightday of losses. The market moved in the range of 65 points through intraday, creating volatility, as investors remained confused over the market’s direction and the economy as well, according to analysts. The benchmark index DSEX lost 26 points or 0.7% to settle at 4,384, hitting the highest 4,449 in the morning. Shariah Index DSES was down almost 10 points or 1% to 973. The blue-chip comprising DS30 fell 15 points or almost 1% to 1,589. Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, closed at 8,432, shedding over 40 points. “Activities were sluggish in the initial hours, as majority participants remained cautious observer. Eventually, the resistance crumbled and market observed shed off amid increasing activities,” said IDLC Securities in its daily market report. Investors were not convinced over the GDP growth rate for the current fiscal year, forcing the index to undergo an intra-day technical correction, said an analyst at a top brokerage firm. On Wednesday, the government projected 6.12% GDP growth for fiscal year 2013-14 to be ended next
DSE Shariah Index : DSE - 30 Index : CSE All Share Index: CSE - 30 Index : CSE Selected Index : DSE LOSERS
Number of Contract
Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)
Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)
Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)
Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)
CSE key features May 22, 2014 Turnover (Million Taka)
Number of Contract
Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)
Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis)
Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis)
5 2,148.90 26.05
Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.)
Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)
Sinobangla Indu.-A AFC AgroBiotech-N PragatiLife Insu. -A ICB -A MeghnaCement -A Legacy Footwear -A Dhaka Ins. Ltd.-A Bata Shoe Ltd. -A
-6.10 -5.82 -5.15 -5.08 -3.70 -3.24 -3.24 -3.00
Average (% change) -8.20 -4.06 -5.18 -5.08 -2.41 -3.05 -3.11 -3.00
Hwa Well Textiles-N MJL BD Ltd.-A
DSE Million Taka 377.27 60.18 69.81 231.74 128.99 203.68 0.54 314.53 518.84 0.30 58.99 21.13 11.68 301.96 17.15 35.23 51.26 100.61 17.87 66.11 0.15
Turnover in million
18.44 122.00 7.27 15.26 57.76 905.09 48.11 81.19
18.40 122.00 7.00 14.90 56.80 891.50 47.00 80.60
18.70 122.00 7.50 15.70 59.30 925.00 49.50 86.10
18.30 122.00 7.00 14.80 56.50 886.00 44.00 75.50
3.678 0.024 0.008 0.306 21.774 2.489 12.332 9.606
0.92 -11.08 -61.36 0.68 2.32 36.20 2.42 4.72
20.0 -ve -ve 22.4 24.9 25.0 19.9 17.2
Turnover in million
Imam Button -Z Ambee Pharma -A Modern Dyeing -Z Standard Insurance-A BEXIMCO Ltd. -A Barakatullah E. D.-A DBH 1st MF-A Beximco Pharma -A AB Bank - A SummitAlliancePort.-A
23.10 56.60 160.30 1,730.00 125.00 26.90 29.90 970.00
23.80 58.50 161.00 1,730.00 128.00 27.50 30.00 970.00
22.60 56.20 159.50 1,730.00 124.50 26.80 29.90 970.00
0.184 1.635 0.160 0.087 0.626 0.568 0.060 0.097
0.80 2.32 2.38 53.53 7.00 0.20 1.84 48.12
28.8 24.7 67.3 32.3 17.9 135.2 16.3 20.2
Investors avoided aggressive buying, thus keeping the benchmark to oscillate within a narrow range
% change 14.58 2.33 2.70 8.95 4.98 7.87 0.02 12.15 20.05 0.01 2.28 0.82 0.45 11.67 0.66 1.36 1.98 3.89 0.69 2.55 0.01
Million Taka 24.03 7.90 3.02 17.92 9.20 20.57 29.71 31.15 10.94 2.66 11.63 1.15 23.99 1.58 1.77 3.96 12.48 4.05 11.71 0.09
% change 10.47 3.44 1.32 7.81 4.01 8.96 0.00 12.94 13.57 4.77 1.16 5.07 0.50 10.45 0.69 0.77 1.72 5.44 1.77 5.10 0.04
Million Taka 401.30 68.08 72.83 249.66 138.19 224.25 0.54 344.24 549.98 11.24 61.65 32.76 12.83 325.95 18.73 37.00 55.22 113.09 21.92 77.82 0.24
9.09 6.36 6.28 4.41 3.95 3.79 3.23 3.22 2.76 2.59
CSE GAINERS Company Standard Insurance-A ISN Ltd. -Z Ambee Pharma -A AIBL 1st Is. M. F.-A Nitol Insurance -A The Ibn SinaA ACI Formulations-A Eastland Insur -A Central Insur -A Barakatullah E. D.-A
Closing (% change) 8.05 7.84 6.26 5.41 4.73 4.00 3.90 3.86 3.85 3.77
Average (% change) 5.00 4.99 6.81 4.82 3.54 5.16 0.64 3.34 3.33 4.43 Average (% change) 7.99 6.66 4.67 4.23 4.73 4.00 3.94 3.86 3.84 5.11
Closing average 8.40 355.55 80.00 35.64 23.72 30.58 6.32 41.75 26.35 24.02
Closing average 34.88 10.89 350.36 7.64 31.00 104.00 85.23 40.40 27.01 30.64
Closing 8.40 361.40 79.60 35.50 23.70 30.10 6.40 41.70 26.10 23.80
Closing 34.90 11.00 361.30 7.80 31.00 104.00 85.20 40.40 27.00 30.30
Daily high 8.40 368.00 80.00 36.50 24.40 31.80 6.50 42.50 27.00 24.60
Daily high 35.00 11.00 367.90 7.80 31.00 104.00 85.90 40.70 27.90 31.90
Daily low 8.40 336.50 78.00 32.00 20.60 26.10 6.20 36.40 22.90 20.90
Daily low 34.50 10.60 337.50 7.60 31.00 104.00 85.00 40.00 26.90 30.20
Turnover in million 0.071 22.844 0.020 2.114 39.525 24.493 1.637 37.636 53.900 15.103
Turnover in million 0.087 0.109 3.625 0.195 0.016 0.010 0.102 0.081 0.837 2.173
Latest EPS -1.85 3.20 1.61 2.88 0.59 1.69 0.81 3.60 3.12 1.08
Latest EPS 2.88 0.20 3.20 1.49 3.24 3.12 6.28 4.24 3.64 1.69
Latest PE -ve 111.1 49.7 12.4 40.2 18.1 7.8 11.6 8.4 22.2
Latest PE 12.1 54.5 109.5 5.1 9.6 33.3 13.6 9.5 7.4 18.1
News, analysis and recent disclosers UCBL: Emerging Credit Rating Limited (ECRL) has assigned the rating of the Company as "AA" in the long term and "ECRL-2" in the short term along with a stable outlook to the Company based on financials of the Company up to December 31, 2013 and other relevant qualitative information up to the date of rating. BEDL: The Company has informed that the 50 MW HFO fired IPP power plant at Patenga, Chittagong, owned by 51% subsidiary Company of Barakatullah Electro Dynamics Limited (BEDL) named Baraka Patenga Power Limited (BPPL) has started its commercial operation from May 04, 2014. Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) vide their letter dated May 21, 2014 has declared Commercial Operation Date (COD) of the plant with capacity of 50.815 MW. ICBIBANK: (Audit Opinion): The auditor of the company has given the following Audit Opinion in the audit report of the company for the year ended on 31 December 2013: "Audit Opinion" In the note 220.127.116.11 Gratuity As per service rules of the bank, every permanent employee is entitled to 50% of
DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Square Pharma -A LafargeS Cement-Z Prime Bank-A HeidelbergCement -A Grameenphone-A Orion Pharma-N Hwa Well Textiles-N
Closing (% change)
basic salary for 5 to 10 years, 75% of basic salary for 10 to 15 years and 100% of basic salary for more than 15 years for every completed year of services with the bank. There was no provision for gratuity created in the financial statements since the inception of the bank. As on 22 September 2008, at Board of Directors meeting (77th board meeting) it resolved that gratuity accounting will be made on cash basis, i.e.if any employee separates from the bank, their entitlement will be charged to profit and loss account. Estimated liability as at 31 December 2013 on accrual basis was not computed and provided for. FLEASEINT: The Company has informed that it has credited the Bonus shares for the year ended on December 31, 2013 to the respective shareholders' BO Accounts on May 21, 2014. RIGHT SHARE: DELTASPINN: Subscription 05.08.2014 to 31.08.2014. RD for entitlement of rights share: 28.04.2014. IPO Subscription: Tung Hai Knitting & Dyeing Limited subscription date 18-22 May 2014, NRB upto 31 May 2014. @ taka 10, face value taka 10 and market lot 500. Far
East Knitting & Dyeing Industries Limited subscription date 15-19 June 2014, NRB upto 28 June 2014. @ taka 22, face value taka 10 and market lot 200. Shurwid Industries Limited subscription date 08-12 June 2014, NRB upto 21 June 2014. @ taka 10, face value taka 10 and market lot 500. Saif Powertec Limited subscription date 06-10 July 2014, NRB upto 19 July 2014. @ taka 10, face value taka 30 and market lot 200.
AMBEEPHA: 15% cash and 20% stock, AGM: 16.06.2014, Record Date: 28.05.2014. MBL1STMF: 3% cash, Record date: 02.06.2014. AIBL1STIMF: 5.5% cash, Record date: 02.06.2014. ORIONPHARM: 15% cash, AGM: 22.06.2014, Record Date: 21.05.2014. PURABIGEN: 15% stock, AGM: 29.06.2014, Record date: 21.05.2014. SALVOCHEM: 10% stock, AGM: 27.08.2014, Record date: 25.06.2014. ISNLTD: No dividend, AGM: 17.06.2014, RD May 20, 2014.
23.06 57.37 160.25 1,730.00 125.20 27.03 29.93 970.00
SECTORAL TURNOVER SUMMARY Bank NBFI Investment Engineering Food & Allied Fuel & Power Jute Textile Pharma & Chemical Paper & Packaging Service Leather Ceramic Cement Information Technology General Insurance Life Insurance Telecom Travel & Leisure Miscellaneous Debenture
Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis)
Closing (% change)
ICB AMCL 1st NRB -A Rahima Food -Z
-11.96 -9.63 -7.89 -5.70 -3.89 -3.87 -3.69 -3.59
Purabi G Insu.A Northern Jute -Z Shampur Sugar -Z Aziz PipesZ AFC AgroBiotech-N Linde (BD) Ltd. -A GPH Ispat Ltd-A MJL BD Ltd.-A
Closing (% change)
Average (% change) -12.36 -9.63 -4.47 -3.36 -3.07 -2.07 0.52 -2.56
Daily capital market highlights DSE Broad Index :
Turnover (Million Taka)
month, beating economists and donor agencies estimate of below 6%. “Investors avoided aggressive buying, thus keeping the benchmark to oscillate within a narrow range,” said the analyst. A stock dealer said investors were seen to be adopting a cautious approach, wondering over the future course of action. Trading activities also remained dull as DSE turnover stood at Tk258 crore, slightly down from previous session’s Tk271 crore. Losers outpaced gainers strongly as out of 291 issues traded, 87 advanced, 159 declined and 45 remained unchanged. Selling pressure witnessed in the engineering, textile, food and allied, insurers, power, cement and financial institutions. The market bellwether sector banks ended flat. The performance of the banking sector, throughout most of the trading day was laudable however due to lack of support from other sectors, banks too had to face down. Shares of Wata Chemical still remained hot, as it witnessed no sellers since it was brought back to the main market from the OTC market on May 14. Square Pharmaceuticals was the most traded stock for second consecutive session, followed by Lafarge Surma Cement, Prime Bank, Heidelberg Cement, Grameenphone, Orion Pharmaceuticals and Hwa Well Textile. l
Friday, May 23, 2014
DSE key features May 22, 2014
Stocks fail to sustain rally, creating volatility n Tribune Report
% change 14.24 2.42 2.59 8.86 4.90 7.96 0.02 12.22 19.52 0.40 2.19 1.16 0.46 11.57 0.66 1.31 1.96 4.01 0.78 2.76 0.01
Prepared exclusively for Dhaka Tribune by Business Information Automation Service Line (BIASL), on the basis of information collected from daily stock quotations and audited reports of the listed companies. High level of caution has been taken to collect and present the above information and data. The publisher will not take any responsibility if any body uses this information and data for his/her investment decision. For any query please email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01552153562 or go to www.biasl.net
AB Bank - A Matin Spinning-N Active Fine Chem.-A
BSRM Steels-A Eastern Housing -A Southeast Bank-A BEXIMCO Ltd. -A Mercantile Bank -A CSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company LafargeS Cement-Z
BEXIMCO Ltd. -A Square Pharma -A Hwa Well Textiles-N BD Submarine Cable-A Grameenphone-A Appollo Ispat CL -N Active Fine Chem.-A UCBL - A HeidelbergCement -A LankaBangla Fin. -A Orion Pharma-N Meghna Petroleum -A Ambee Pharma -A UNITED AIR-A
Volume shares 782,689 2,655,030 4,090,861 140,550 273,078 1,228,780 1,373,500 2,045,554 1,073,600 673,987
625,830 712,673 1,946,508 1,666,591 2,211,900
209,000 405,347 36,405 185,000 35,600 23,400 218,200 79,000 192,514 9,400 92,195 79,900 13,400 10,347 307,244
Value in million 201.95 185.96 95.13 73.04 70.39 63.11 58.86 53.90 49.08 46.89
44.72 42.79 40.13 39.53 37.87
Value in million
14.64 9.64 9.45 7.88 6.46 6.02 6.01 5.58 5.12 4.87 4.21 4.10 3.78 3.63 3.56
% of total turnover 7.80 7.19 3.68 2.82 2.72 2.44 2.27 2.08 1.90 1.81
1.73 1.65 1.55 1.53 1.46
% of total turnover
7.64 5.03 4.93 4.12 3.37 3.14 3.14 2.91 2.67 2.54 2.20 2.14 1.97 1.89 1.86
Daily closing 255.00 69.30 23.50 513.40 255.30 51.50 42.30 26.10 45.20 68.80
70.50 59.10 20.60 23.70 17.00
69.00 23.70 256.50 42.20 180.10 255.70 27.10 68.90 26.40 512.40 45.60 51.40 282.20 361.30 11.50
Price change -2.60 0.14 1.29 -1.00 -1.96 0.59 -2.98 2.76 -2.80 -2.13
Daily opening 261.80 69.20 23.20 518.60 260.40 51.20 43.60 25.40 46.50 70.30
Daily high 263.80 70.90 23.80 528.00 263.50 51.90 43.90 27.00 46.70 71.70
Daily low 239.00 69.00 21.20 510.00 245.00 46.20 42.10 22.90 45.10 65.00
Daily average 258.02 70.04 23.25 519.64 257.77 51.36 42.85 26.35 45.71 69.57
-2.89 -1.83 1.48 3.95 -0.58
-0.86 3.49 -2.58 -2.99 -2.12 -1.80 -2.52 -1.71 0.00 -1.56 -0.87 0.39 -0.63 6.26 -0.86
72.60 60.20 20.30 22.80 17.10
69.60 22.90 263.30 43.50 184.00 260.40 27.80 70.10 26.40 520.50 46.00 51.20 284.00 340.00 11.60
73.50 63.00 21.50 24.40 17.20
70.90 24.50 265.00 43.70 185.40 262.50 28.30 71.00 27.00 525.00 46.00 51.80 285.00 367.90 11.70
67.00 55.00 18.30 20.60 16.00
68.50 23.00 255.40 42.00 179.90 255.00 27.00 68.60 26.20 511.00 45.40 50.60 281.60 337.50 11.50
71.46 60.03 20.61 23.72 17.12
70.06 23.79 259.47 42.62 181.44 257.27 27.53 70.58 26.61 518.31 45.65 51.26 282.22 350.36 11.58
Friday, May 23, 2014
Russia-China gas deal creates benchmark for global market Agreed gas price is cheaper than Asian LNG
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and China's President Xi Jinping, right, smile during signing ceremony in Shanghai, China on Wednesday, May AP
n Reuters, London The keenly priced gas deal signed this week between Russia and China will create a new price benchmark for global markets that puts cost pressure on other producers because consumers have a growing number of supply sources to choose from. China and Russia signed a longawaited $400 billion gas supply deal this week, providing energy-hungry
China with a major source of fuel and opening up a new market for Moscow as it risks losing European customers over the Ukraine crisis. Russia's state-controlled Gazprom has so far declined to say at what price the deal was struck, but industry sources say it is between $350-$380 per thousand cubic metres. That would be similar to what most European utilities pay under discounted long-term contracts signed in the
last two years, and several sources said it is as low as Gazprom could have gone before making a loss. Fitch Ratings said the deal "sets a new benchmark for what China is willing to pay for natural gas over longer term contracts". The deal also opens up a huge new market for Gazprom, which so far generates around 80% of its revenues from Europe, where demand is stagnating and profits are falling. "With European gas demand growth
RBI allows private agencies to import gold n Reuters, Mumbai
Airtel launches on experience portal
The RBI eased tough gold import rules on Wednesday by allowing seven more private agencies to ship the precious metal, a move that industry officials say could augment supplies and reduce premiums in the peak wedding season. Gold imports by India, the world's No. 2 bullion consumer after China, could quickly rise from current levels, according to the officials. This would help global prices, which slumped 28% last year, partly due to India's import curbs. Struggling with a ballooning trade deficit, India in 2013 imposed a record high duty of 10% on overseas purchases of gold, the second-biggest item in its import bill, and introduced a rule tying import quantities to export levels. l
Mobile phone operator Airtel has launched an online portal to cater for customers’ needs with services which can be accessed anytime and anywhere. The virtual platform called the “Airtel Online Experience Centre” was inaugurated yesterday. It is the first of its kind in Bangladesh’s telecommunication industry. The site provides the customers with a unique opportunity to access self-care services over digital space and Internet, Airtel claimed in a press release. At the same time it also facilitates Airtel in creating awareness and increase knowledge level of customers through visual aid, the release added. Online Airtel Experience Centre is a
n Tribune Report
3D animated online portal that can be accessed through the website of Airtel Bangladesh Limited (www.bd.airtel. com). It is a one stop solution for Airtel customers in the virtual platform where they can avail any service that they could have received from a physical experience centre. Anybody can have access to the portal from anywhere and anytime from their computer connected with Internet. The use of experience centre is seamless and intuitive and requires the first time customers to create a profile to access the portal. The customers can navigate by using keyboard keys and mouse. Chief Operating Officer Rajnish Kaul and Chief Service Officer Rubaba Dowla were present at the launching function. l
uncertain and the Ukraine crisis leading to calls for Europe to reduce its reliance on Russian gas, Gazprom now needs a 'new Europe'- enter China," said Stephen O'Rourke of energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie. A Russian government decision last year to end Gazprom's sole right to export gas has also spurred it to lock in the deal with China, dropping its price closer to levels favoured by Beijing. For China, the price of the Russian deal is crucially below the cost of importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Asia, a fuel on which it increasingly depends. Increased gas imports will also help Beijing in its declared "war on pollution", aimed at reducing its reliance on coal which contributes to the harmful smog shrouding its big cities. The deal between the world's biggest energy exporter and the top importer will have implications far beyond Russia and China, as it effectively creates a new price benchmark. "With a pipeline deal of this scale, Russia has thrown down the gauntlet to LNG producers courting Chinese buyers," said David Stokes of Timera Energy. "Russian pipeline exports, which look to be competitively priced versus LNG, are set to have a material impact in eroding Chinese LNG demand. There is likely to be an important knock-on impact on the global LNG supply and demand balance, given the central role China plays in growth projections," he added. China plans to build 15 new import terminals which, once completed, will catapult it from a relatively small LNG importer into the world's biggest consumer after Japan. l
DSE introduces Bangla website n Tribune Report Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) has introduced Bangla version of its web site by upgrading all the relevant information. DSE Chief Executive Dr Swapan Kumar Bala inaugurated the upgraded version of the Bangla web site by including information, according to a press statement issued yesterday. The premier burses had earlier launched a Bangla version of its web
site on February 18 to provide the investors with information in their mother tongue for better understanding. From now on, investors will get information about all the listed companies in Bangla version as well as English version of its web site, according to the statement. Investors could visit the Bangla web site directly by clicking ‘Bangla version’ on English web site or by clicking ‘bangle.dsebd.org’. l
'Music streaming is 'game changer' for record cos' n AFP, Singapore Stiff competition among technology giants for a share of the burgeoning online music streaming market has given traditional record companies a muchneeded boost, a top Universal executive said yesterday. Industry behemoths such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft are increasingly seeking to provide for techsavvy consumers willing to pay to stream their favourite tunes. With legal music downloads declining, this is a shot in the arm for the record companies representing major artists, Max Hole of Universal
told a conference in Singapore. "In the past a lot of the tech companies were not very respectful of music," Hole, who heads Universal Music Group's international business, told the Music Matters conference. "Now the competition for eyeballs for their services and attention is really game-changing. "You've got real competition between all the tech giants, and they are very interested in us as owners of music." The music industry has been grappling for years with how to make money from music distributed on the Internet, and streaming services such as Spotify are seen as a possible model to generate revenues. l
Thai economy shrinks more than expected in first quarter n Reuters, Bangkok Thailand's economy shrank more than expected in the first quarter as exports remained weak and domestic activity was battered by months of political unrest, adding to fears the country is sliding into recession. Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 2.1% in January-March from the previous three months and was 0.6% smaller than a year earlier, the state planning agency NESDB said on Monday. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast GDP in January-March to shrink by 1.6% on the quarter and to grow 0.1% on the year. The planning agency chopped its 2014 GDP growth forecast to between 1.5 and 2.5% from 3-4%.
Thailand has been without a proper government since last December and anti-government protesters have promised a final push to oust the caretaker government by May 27. Their leader says he will surrender to the authorities if they fail. "It's likely there'll be recession in the second quarter because all the figures came in bad. But we also have to wait and see the political situation on May 26-27," said Pragrom Pathomboorn, an economist with KGI Securities. "If it ends well, the second half will get better. But if it drags on without a functioning government in the third quarter, we think the economy will grow just 0.8 percent this year." The political crisis flared up in November. The NESDB revised its figure
for fourth-quarter 2013 growth to just 0.1% from 0.6%, compared with the previous quarter. Expansion in the rest of Southeast Asia highlights the political drag in Thailand: Malaysia reported annual growth of 6.1% in the first quarter while Indonesia, the largest economy in front of Thailand, grew 5.2%. "Chances are we are going to see another technical recession in the economy, given that the second-quarter GDP number is likely to be rather poor as well," said Cahyadi, who now expects 2014 full-year growth of less than 2%. Public sector investment fell 19.3% in the first quarter from a year before and private investment fell 7.3%, the NESDB said, with overall spending down 9.8%. l
Grameenphone Limited recently signed a corporate agreement with IPDC on providing the employees of Grameenphone exclusive discounts on IPDC’s financial services. Kazi Samiur Rahman, head of retail business at IPDC of Bangladesh Limited and Quazi Mohammad Shahed, chief human resources officer of Grameenphone signed the agreement ACI Electronics as the marketing partner of Panasonic has recently launched a new camera, Camcorder HC-MDH2 in Bangladesh with a vision to develop the professional camera market in the country. Syed Alamgir, executive director of ACI Consumer Brands along with the Panasonic officials from Singapore and Bangladesh were present at the event that was held in Gulshan Spectra Convention centre Pubali Bank Limited has recently introduced SMS based banking services for its customers. The bank’s MD and CEO Helal Ahmed Chowdhury inaugurated the services as chief guest in a ceremony held at the bank’s head office
Walton introduces Fair & Lovely 3 new models of awards scholarship to students smart phones BRAC Bank recently organised a story telling programme named ‘Asthar Prothom Shobdo Ma’ on Radio Foorti to celebrate the occasion of Mother’s Day. The bank’s head of communication & service quality, Zeeshan Kingshuk Huq handed over gift to one of the winners, Musharrat Tarannum Baishakhi and her mother in a ceremony held at the radio station recently
Italian brand Lotto has recently opened a new outlet at New Market in Rajshahi. Rajshahi Metropolitan Additional Police Commissioner Tamijuddin Ahmed and chief executive officer of Lotto Bangladesh, Abdullah Al Mosaddaq inaugurated the outlet
Walton, manufacturer of electronic products have introduced three new models of smartphone handsets. The new Android smartphones are Primo GH+, V1 and R3, said a press release. It added, the newer models are featured with the ultra modern technologies and affordable prices. l
Fair & Lovely Foundation, a social initiative of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd has carried out a countrywide scholarship programme for the family members of its distributor’s sales force. The 99 winners of the scholarship were selected from Primary School Certificate (PSC) and Junior School Certificate (JSC) candidates based solely on their merit, said a press release. l
Friday, May 23, 2014
Boeing wants to be more like Apple n Reuters, Seattle Boeing Co Chief Executive Jim McNerney said the company wanted to be more like Apple Inc in the way it innovates, rather than doing a "moon shot" development every 25 years. Speaking in Seattle at an annual conference with analysts on Wednesday, McNerney also said Boeing's job was to improve execution and productivity to cut costs and boost margins. Building up technology and doing "a big a moon shot" every 25 years is the "the wrong way to pursue this business," McNerney said. "We want to be more like Apple" by bringing out products more quickly. Chief Operating Officer Dennis Muilenburg expanded the Apple comparison, saying Boeing's 777X jet was an example of using evolutionary technology to create a revolutionary product. "We're still going to deliver revolutionary capability," he told analysts at the conference. "The way we deliver is to build on technology we have. We get to the same end point if you take 10 low-risk, well-managed steps rather than one big step." Apple has delivered a string of popular consumer electronic devices in the last decade, ranging from the MacBook notebook to the iPod Touch media player, the iPhone and the iPad tablet. Boeing chose to adapt technology to its 777X and 737 MAX aircraft rather than developing all-new jetliners such as the 787, with more than $20bn in deferred production costs. Boeing's defense, space and security unit plans to cut $2bn in the next five years and capture a "disproportionate share" of growing international markets, McNerney added. The Apple remarks underscored Boeing's intense focus on wringing all the profit from its planes, rockets and other products by cutting costs in its factories and those of its suppliers. Cost-cutting and smooth-running assembly lines will ensure it has the cash to develop products and make good on promises to shareholders with dividends and share buy-backs. Boeing made no change to its 2014
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney waits to be introduced to speak, in front of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner under construction at the Boeing facility in Everett, Washington in this February REUTERS financial forecast, saying it still expects adjusted "core" profit of $7.15 to $7.35 a share on sales of $87.5bn to $90.5bn. But the two-day analysts' visit to Boeing's jetliner centre also highlighted several challenges the company faces. Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said Boeing is buying and storing parts
for its 787-9 jetliner to ensure production runs smoothly after the first delivery in the summer. That may mean the overall cost of the 787 will not fall as quickly as forecast, but there will be a long-term payoff, he added. Analysts said that forecast might worry investors, but the move would benefit
Boeing by reducing the risk of schedule disruptions or cost overruns.The deferred costs of the 787 stand at about $23bn and are expected to peak at $25bn in 2017 before subsiding as the cost of production falls below the sales price for the jet. "We think additional de-risking here should ultimately help down the line,"
RBC analyst Rob Stallard said in a note. Muilenburg said Boeing's products still cost far too much to develop when compared with the automotive and computer chip industries, and Boeing needed to break that pattern. "We think there's huge opportunity here," he added. l
Obama aims to lure more foreign travellers n AFP, Washington President Barack Obama will move yesterday to reduce airport waiting times for foreign travellers arriving in the United States in order to boost tourism, the White House said. Obama will visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York to discuss tourism, two years after establishing the goal of making the United States the world's top tourist destination. The US is currently the world's second tourist destination after France, according to the World Tourism Organization, and Obama says that gaining the top spot would create jobs. Obama is going to ask his secretaries of commerce and homeland security, Penny Pritzker and Jeh Johnson, to "develop a national goal to improve the entry process and reduce wait times for international travellers to the United States, and action plans at the 15 largest airports for international arrivals," a White House statement said. It is common for international travellers arriving in the US to spend more than an hour at passport control and customs processing checkpoints at American airports, where controls there have been tightened dramatically since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Congress recently gave the green light for an additional 2,000 border guards to be deployed.. On January 19, 2012 Obama set the goal of making the United States the world's top tourism destination by, among other things, granting more visas to people from China and Brazil. Two years later, the White House says it has made significant progress by reducing the average time people from those countries must wait to get a visa. The White House says the total number of visas granted by the United States has gone up by 42% since 2010, reaching 9.2 million in 2013. Obama wants the United States to lure 100 million visitors a year by 2021. In 2013, the figure was 70 million, compared to 55 million in 2009, according to figures released by the administration. l
Adidas sees boost to sales Google sees spending $30bn buying foreign firms n from World Cup AFP, San Francisco
n Reuters German sportswear company Adidas has given a more precise sales growth target for 2014, amounting to a rise of up to 8%, as it gets a lift from the soccer World Cup that starts in Brazil next month. As a World Cup sponsor, Adidas provides the official match ball and is kitting out nine teams of the 32 finalists, including former world champions Spain, Germany and Argentina. "This year we will add 1-1.2bn euros ($1.4-1.6bn) to operational revenue, with the World Cup playing an important role," Chief Executive Herbert Hainer told journalists at a briefing in Munich in remarks released for publication on Thursday.
That increase represents a rise of 7-8% from the 14.492bn euros of sales Adidas recorded in 2013. Previously, Adidas had guided for a "high single-digit" increase in currency-neutral sales in 2014. The world's second-biggest sportswear firm has been losing market share in western Europe, its home territory, to Nike (NKE.N), which is also challenging the German company's dominance in the soccer market. Nike is supplying teams from 10 countries, including the Brazilian hosts, at the World Cup. Hainer confirmed that Adidas expected to make a record 2bn euros of sales in football this year, exceeding Nike's estimated $2bn of soccer turnover. l
Google told US regulators that it could spend as much as $30bn of its offshore cash reserves on buying foreign companies or technology rights, it emerged Wednesday. In responses to questions from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internet titan said that the bulk of the money it is amassing outside the country is likely to be spent on acquisitions. Google told regulators in a letter that "it is reasonable to forecast" that it needs from $20bn to $30bn of its foreign earnings to pay to companies or technology in the years ahead. "We continue to expect substantial use of our offshore earnings for acquisitions as our global business has expanded into other product offerings
like mobile devices where our competitors and business partners are no longer primarily US based multinationals," Google said in the letter, which was dated December of 2013.
A year earlier Google spent $12.4bn to buy Motorola Mobility, which it is now selling to Lenovo at a fraction of that price Google said acquisitions would be a part of its overall growth strategy, and that the trend was for the sizes of deals to get bigger. Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group did not expect Google to go on an international buying binge any
that price. Google told the SEC that about half of its revenue came from outside the US as of the end of last year. Google also told regulators that it envisions that one day that digital ads along the lines of those seen on smartphones or tablets will begin popping up on once 'dumb' devices such as thermostats, eyewear, watches, and appliances being made smart with computer chips and Internet connections. "We expect the definition of 'mobile' to continue to evolve as more and more 'smart' devices gain traction in the market," Google said. "Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future, and thus our advertising systems are becoming increasingly device-agnostic." l
Facebook giving smartphone app an ear for music
Sony CEO: Not thinking of selling or shutting TV business n Reuters, Tokyo Sony Corp could take on an equity partner in its TV unit, which has racked up losses every year for a decade, but the Japanese consumer giant was not thinking about selling or exiting the business, its chief executive said on Thursday. Sony plans to turn its struggling TV business into a separate entity - Sony Visual Products Inc - within a few months to boost transparency. The splitting off of its TV unit had fired up speculation about a sale, which CEO Kazuo Hirai sought to dispel. "We are not thinking about selling our TV operations or shutting them down or anything like that," he said. "We're doing business in the competitive environment of a market. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of an equity tie-up, but right now we are not doing business under the assumption that would happen." Hirai, speaking on Thursday at a briefing outlining Sony's annual strategy, acknowledged TV sales could fall below the company's forecast for an industry-beating 20% rise this fiscal year. He said, however, that Sony had restructured the business so it could withstand external shocks. l
time soon, reasoning that the company may actually be keeping cash abroad to avoid getting slammed by taxes in the United States. "The real reason companies retain capital overseas is not to buy startups, it is to avoid taxes," Enderle said, noting that other tech giants including Apple and Microsoft are in similar positions. "Every company that has a multinational position really has a problem bringing capital back here." Last year, Google spent about $1.4bn on more than 20 strategic deals, including the $1bn acquisition of Israel-based Waze. Google wrote that it tried to buy another foreign firm, which it did not name, in a deal that could have been valued between $4bn and $5bn. A year earlier Google spent $12.4bn to buy Motorola Mobility, which it is now selling to Lenovo at a fraction of
n AFP, San Francisco Facebook yesterday said its mobile application will be getting an ear for music, as well as for film or television show sound tracks. A feature being added in coming weeks to Facebook in the US on smartphones or tablets powered by Apple or Android software is intended to recognize songs, shows or movies based on listening, according to product manager Aryeh Selekman. "When writing a status update - if you choose to turn the feature on - you'll have the option to use your phone's microphone to identify what song is playing or what show or movie is on TV," Selekman said in a blog post Once activated, the audio feature searches for titles of songs, shows or films matching verses, lines or sound tracks and then lets people add the in-
A Leica II Model D Luxus, part of an auction taking place on May 23 is pictured on the occasion of the company's 100 year anniversary during an exhibition on May AFP
formation to Facebook posts, according to Selekman. Music shared in a post using the technique will include the option of Facebook friends getting 30-second previews of songs. Information added to posts about recognized TV shows will include which episode was being watched "so you can avoid spoilers," Selekman said Facebook also said it had sealed a partnership with French advertising and public relations giant Publicis Group emphasizing image and video marketing at the leading social network and its smartphone imagery-sharing service Instagram. "Our work with Publicis will center on bringing clients closer to our products, and creating new planning and measurement tools to make buying easier, more efficient, and ultimately prove out ROI," Facebook global agency director Patrick Harris said in an email response to an AFP inquiry. l