BANGLADESH NEWSPAPERS

Jan 26, 2009

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ওবামা পઝশাসনও পািকએ੪ােন হামলা চালােব

ওবামা পઝশাসনও পািকએ੪ােন হামলা চালােব
পઝথম অােলা োডੌযઓਡઙরােઍটચর নতઓন ভাইস োপઝিসেড੯ট োজা বাইেডন বেলেছন, অাল-কােয়দার শীষગ োনতা বা তার ঘাঁিট সઃপেকગ িবশੴাসেযাগઘ তথઘপઝমাণ পাওয়া োগেল ওয়ািশংটন পািকએ੪ােনর িভতের হামলা চালােত িਦধা করেব না৷ গতকাল োরাববার িসিবএস িনউজেক োদওয়া এক সাਉাਅকাের িতিন বেলন, োপઝিসেড੯ট বারাক ওবামা অাল কােয়দার োনতা িকংবা ঘাঁিটর বઘাপাের বઘবએઐা িনেত িਦধা করেবন না৷িসিবএস িনউজেক এক সাਉাਅকাের োজা বাইেডন বেলন, িনবગাচনী পઝচােরর সময় ও িবিভনੱ সাਉাਅকাের সময় ওবামা অােগই এ কথা জািনেয় িদেয়িছেলন৷

Jankovic out in fourth round, Safina survives

Jankovic out in fourth round, Safina survives AP, MelbourneTop-ranked Jelena Jankovic was oustedin the fourth round Sunday and No. 3 Dinara Safina was twice just apoint away from following her out of the Australian Open.In back-to-back matches on Rod Laver Arena, Frenchwomen took itto the top seeds. Jankovic failed against No. 16 Marion Bartoli.Safina survived, fending off double match point against No. 15 Alize Cornet."I am so lucky that I'm in the quarterfinals, she was one point away," said Safina, who made eight double-faults and 52 unforced errors to only 29 by Cornet. "My heart is still pumping so hard." Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up, was the aggressor in a 6-1, 6-4 win over Jankovic that wasn't entirely unexpected. "Yeah, it's obviously disappointing. No-body likes to lose," Jankovic said. "Today was a tough day for me."I had a slow start. I let my opponent completely come on top of me and play her game. I gave her a lot of confidence." The 23-year-old Serb remains without a Grand Slam singles title and could also be without the No. 1 ranking in another week. Safina, who was down 5-3 and 40-15 with Cornet serving for the match, rallied to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. She could assume the top ranking if she wins her first major here. When the 22-year-old Russian converted breakpoint with an overhead in the pivotal 10th game in the third set, she pumped her right arm up high in triumph.Cornet, who had crumbled to her knees with her head in her hands after losing the previous point, didn't win another game. Safina, the Olympic silver medalist, had never been past the third round at Melbourne Park. After racing to a 5-0 lead in the first set, it appeared she was coasting. Then she fell apart and she started missing routine shots with the court wide open. "I don't always want to play like this," she said. "I want to play better for my team, I think they have a heart attack watching me." Jankovic said she couldn't repeat her coach's reaction to her loss, but that it might take months to get over the loss. She said the pressure she was under to win a breakthrough major to go with her ranking wasn't necessarily distractions. "It doesn't matter because it's just the beginning of the year, and there is many more tournaments to play," she said. "Maybe it will change, the No. 1 ranking, but it's not important what you do now, it's the whole year ahead of us."Bartoli had not been past the second round in seven previous trips to Melbourne Park, but was 3-3 in head-to-heads including a quarterfinal win at Wimbledon two years ago. She next plays No. 7 Vera Zvonareva, who beat No. 10 Nadia Petrova 7-5, 6-4 in an all-Russia match."I knew I could beat Jelena on a good day, it was just a matter of executing it, you know, play the right shot at the right time," Bartoli said. "But I was not overwhelmed by the situation, and I just went for my shot and everything went in."On the men's side, No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina moved into the quarterfinals with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 19 Marin Cilic of Croatia.Critics questioned whether Jankovic could convert her numeric ranking into a victory in the championship match at a major. She was a semifinalist at the Australian Open and French Opens last year before losing the U.S. Open final to Serena Williams. She was injured and missed an exhibition tourna-ment in Hong Kong where she'd planned to build up.When Bartoli turned up the pressure Sunday, Jankovic tightened up again. Bartoli was the aggressor, repeatedly sending Jankovic serves back faster than they came over and standing two steps inside the baseline for second serves.Bartoli hits two-fisted, flat and hard from both sides, and she peppered the lines and corners. Jankovic, repeatedly covering her face or looking to her mother for support and guidance, seemed shellshocked after falling behind 5-0 in the first set despite shouts of "Let's go JJ!" from the crowd.Jankovic fended off two set points while serving at 1-5, but Bartoli easily held in the next game, finishing off the set with a deft drop shot that caught Jankovic behind the baseline. Increasingly tentative and bewildered, Jankovic twice lost points early in the second set by stopping play on Bartoli shots that she thought were long but replays showed caught the line. She used up her last challenge of the set in the sixth game.Bartoli broke to pull ahead 5-4 in a game that went to deuce six times, with Jankovic netting a backhand on breakpoint. Jankovic wanted to challenge Bartoli's winner in the next game but couldn't. The Frenchwoman went on to hold despite a twitchy double fault at 40-15, whacking a forehand winner down the line and raising her arms in jubilation. That leaves No. 2 Serena Williams, seeking her 10th Grand Slam singles title, as the highest-ranked player in the women's draw.

Farashganj blanks Arambagh

Farashganj blanks Arambagh
2-0Sports CorrespondentFarashganj Sporting Club defeated Arambagh Krira Sangha 2-0 in the Citycell 2nd B. League football match at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka on Sunday. After a barren first half, Anamul Haque scored the first goal for Farashganj on 52 minutes to give the winners a 1-0 lead, while Emeka Lucky Uti doubled the advantage on 67 minutes to ensure the victory. Farashganj raised its tally to 23 points having played 16 matches. Arambagh remains with 11 points from 17 matches. Fifth-placed Chittagong Mohammedan Sporting Club defeated Chittagong Abahani 2-1 in the other match of the day. Nur Hossain Doulat brought an early lead for Chittagong Mohammedan in the first minute of the game at MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong. Dhiman Borua increased the winners' lead scoring the second goal on 28 minutes. Sakhawat Hossain Roni reduced one goal for Chittagong Abahani on 84 minutes.Chittagong Mohamemdan scored 27 points from 16 matches, while Chittagong Abahani earned 17 points from as many games. Today's match: Sheikh Russell Krira Chakra vs Brothers Union (Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka).
Dokic keeps remarkable story going AFP, MelbourneAustralian wildcard Jelena Dokic kept her remarkable story going when she upset Russia's Alisa Kleybanova 7-5, 5-7, 8-6 to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.Dokic will now play third seed Dinara Safina for a place in the semis after defeating her third seeded player in as many rounds.She ousted Anna Chak-vetadze (seeded 17) in the second round and Caroline Wozniacki (11th) in the third before accounting for Kley-banova (29).But she had a big fright on the way when she fell heavily after twisting her ankle when returning a serve while leading 6-5 in the third set.She got up and brushed aside the trainer's offer to strap her ankle at the next change of ends, came back on and held serve then broke Kleybanova to seal victory in three hours."I was really physically exhausted tonight but I kept on fighting and the crowd got right behind me in the third set," Dokic said.Kleybanova, playing her first match on a major centre court, could have been forgiven for being slightly overawed by the occasion, but she was the steadier of the two players in the beginning.Both players looked nervous throughout and holding serve was a continuous battle.There were five breaks of serve in each of the first two sets, although both players steadied in the third, which then developed into a battle of nerves.Kleybanova broke early in the third but Dokic struck back to level at 3-3, then games went with serve until Dokic made the vital breakthrough.
Afghanistan suffers opening defeat, Hong Kong celebrates BSS, Buenos AiresAfghanistan's hopes of reaching the 2011 World Cup suffered an early setback on Saturday with a 13-run defeat at the hands of Uganda in the World Cricket League Division Three. But Hong Kong got off to a flyer with a handsome seven-wicket win over hosts Argentina while Papua New Guinea defeated the Cayman Islands by six wickets. The top two teams in the six-nation event will reach the 2011 World Cup qualifier in South Africa in April from where four countries will go on to the game's showpiece one-day event. Uganda made 216-8 off their 50 overs before Afghanistan endured a nightmare start to their reply where they slumped to 23-5 and then 53-6 before a 121-run stand for the seventh wicket between Rais Ahmadzai (74) and Samiullah Shenwari (53) brought them in touching distance. "I would have been very disappointed if we had lost the game and been all out for less than 100 runs, but a great effort was put in by Rais and Samiullah," said Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan, a former Pakistan Test player. "It shows how much strength we have in our batting." Kabir is confident that his side can get back on track with victory over Hong Kong on Sunday, a repeat of the Division Four final last year which Afghanistan won by 57 runs. Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib praised his side after they dismissed Argentina for 107 and then reached their target with 22.4 overs to spare. "I was really pleased as the first match is always an important match," said former England player Habib. "We lost twice to Afghanistan in Tanzania (in Division Four). They are a good team, we know we are a good team, and it is all down to who performs the best on the day." Papua New Guinea skipper Rarua Dikana took 5-14 as his side enjoyed a comprehensive six-wicket victory against Cayman Islands. PNG reached their target of 122 with 29.1 overs to spare after the Caymans were bowled out for just 121. Man-of-the-match Vani Morea hit 64 off just 51 balls to guide his team to victory.
Six Premier Div T20 Cricket League matches decided UNB, DhakaThe Metropolis Premier Division Twenty20 Cricket League began at separate venues in the city and adjoining area with six matches decided on Sunday.In the day's opening Group A matches, Old DOHS (43/1) earned an emphatic 9-wicket win over Victoria SC (42/5) at the BKSP in Savar; Abahani Limited (104/2) recorded an 8-wicket victory over Partex SC (103/5) at the Sher-e-Bangla National Sta-dium (SBNS) in Mirpur; and Mohammedan SC (93/6) beat Young Pegasus (77/5) by 16 runs at the Narayanganj Osmani Stadium (NOS) in Fatullah. In the Group B matches, Surjo Tarun Club (105/2) posted 8-wicket win over Biman Bangladesh Airlines (101/10) at the SBNS, Gazi Tank (107/6) beat CCS (106/10) by four wickets at the NOS, and BKSP (123/8) overcame City Club (85/10) by 38 runs at the BKSP.’
Austrian Kathrin Zettel competes in the giant slalom race during the FIS women's ski World Cup in Cortina on Sunday. Zetell won ahead of compatriots Michaela Kirchgasser and Elisabeth Goergl. AFP
Federer into quarters after great escape AFP, MelbourneThree-time champion Roger Federer mounted one of the greatest comebacks of his career on Sunday when he recovered from a two-set deficit to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.Czech 20th seed Tomas Berdych was on course for an almighty upset when he froze in the third set, with Federer finally winning 4-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to stay on course for a record-equalling 14th Grand Slam title.Federer, 27, has not come back from two sets down since 2005, when he fought past Rafael Nadal in the Miami Masters final, and has not failed to reach a Grand Slam quarter-finals since the 2004 French Open. He also battled through a five-set tussle with Igor Andreev in the fourth round of last year's US Open before recovering to win the title."It's great satisfaction. I don't play five-setters every day so it's a very nice feeling," Federer said. "I was feeling still fresh in the fifth. I think you could see it. That's kind of the way I want to feel in a fifth set. That's why I worked hard. I worked hard for this victory today. This is great."Federer came into the match on the back of a sweeping victory over old adversary Marat Safin and one-sided wins over Andreas Seppi and Evgeny Korolev.But despite winning his last seven matches with Berdych he immediately looked out of sorts against the Czech, plodding around the court and making errors of every description.Berdych was set for an almighty upset but he suddenly collapsed at 3-3 in the third, missing three easy volleys to hand Federer the break, the set and the momentum."I wasn't thinking of losing, that's for sure. The finish line was still very far for Tomas. I knew that," he said."You can still concentrate on playing just the points instead of thinking, 'Oh my God, what's going to happen?' I didn't feel that way. "I felt after a terrible first set from my side that if I want to win this it's going to go to five sets. I just felt it. That's why I was prepared for five from the start. "I think that's what made me be so determined towards the end. It was nice being in a battle with him. It was fair play. It was tough, good tennis towards the end. I believed in it all the way, and I think that was key in the end." Federer is seeking to equal Pete Sampras's record 14 Grand Slam titles after starting his first season without the top ranking since 2004.He has reached the semi-finals at the previous five Australian Opens, winning in 2004, 2006 and 2007, and last failed to reach the quarter-finals in 2003. Federer came here last year suffering from mononucleosis and was beaten in the semis, kicking off his toughest season as he lost his Wimbledon title and number one ranking before recovering to win the US Open.Only four other men have won four or more Australian Open titles: Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Jack Crawford and Ken Rosewall. Federer has reached the last 18 Grand Slam semi-finals, an all-time record.Dons stifle Rangers title ambitions AFP, GlasgowRangers missed the chance to go top of the Scottish Premier League after they were held to a goalless draw by Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday.With Celtic not playing until later in the afternoon Rangers had the chance to put pressure on their rivals by picking up the win that would have seen them go top. But having not won at Pittodrie in their last four visits Rangers manager Walter Smith opted for the cautious approach and played a five-man midfield, with top-scorer Kris Boyd dropping to the bench.Chances were few and far between in the match and both sides had to settle for a point, which leaves Rangers a point behind Celtic before their match against Hibernian.The home side started brightly and came close to opening the scoring in the ninth minute from a Charlie Mulgrew free-kick.The left-back's effort from 20 yards out looked to be curling in but Allan McGregor did well to force it round the post for a corner. Darren Mackie was next to try his luck in the 14th minute but his shot on the bounce from outside the box was straight at McGregor. Rangers, who played Kenny Miller on his own up front, were struggling to create chances and their first effort came from John Fleck.The 17-year-old, making only his second start, collected a cross field pass from Kirk Broadfoot, cut inside and drove into the box but his shot sailed well over the bar.At the other end Gary McDonald couldn't keep his header on target when he connected with a Mackie cross in the box. The Glasgow side began to grow in confidence and Lee McCulloch had their first shot on target after 28 minutes. Jamie Langfield couldn't hold the midfielder's powerful drive from 25 yards but incredibly Miller completely missed the rebound, with only the flag for offside sparing his blushes.In the 34th minute Miller again missed a golden chance to put Rangers ahead when he headed over the bar from a Broadfoot cross under no pressure. Two minutes later Fleck fired in a free-kick from the right which Zander Diamond did well to block as Madjid Bougherra lunged in to try and connect with it. The Dons were forced into an early change in the second-half when Langfield was replaced by Bertrand Bossu after the keeper took a knock on the head from Miller as he dived at the Scottish striker's feet in the box.The home fans were screaming for a penalty in the 61st minute when Lee Miller and Stuart Duff both went down in the box after their shirts appeared to pulled, but referee Calum Murray waved their protests away. Two minutes later Bossu, in only his second appearance for Aberdeen, was called into action when he turned a Fleck flick from a Miller cross round the post.In the 72nd minute Boyd, on for the ineffectual Miller, just failed to connect with a Barry Ferguson pass in the six-yard box when even the slightest of touches would have resulted in a goal. With six minutes left substitute Nacho Novo came close. The Spaniard controlled a Pedro Mendes cross from the right on his chest before firing his volley into the side netting.Boyd then connected with a Sasa Papac inswinging cross in the box but his header took a deflection and went straight to Bossu.In the 89th minute Mackie was inches away from clinching the game for Aberdeen but his header went just by the post from a Mulgrew cross.French Cup glory run ends for Schirrhein AFP, ParisVillage team Schirrhein were thumped 8-0 by first division Toulouse on Saturday to end their French Cup glory which put the side near the German border firmly on the map.Schirrhein, the first seventh-tier team to reach the last 32 of the competition in its 91-year history fell to goals from Danish striker Soren Larsen (four), plus others by Daniel Congre, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Moussa Sissoko and Daniel Braaten.Coach Herve Sturm admitted the odds had always been firmly in the favour of visitors Toulouse, in fifth spot in the first division and who played in the Champions League last season. "In this type of match, a little club does not have a lot of chance of going through and runs the risk of a real thumping," Sturm said. The smallest club now left in the competition is sixth-flight Grande-Synthe who host Grenoble on Sunday.Lyon beat Concarneau at Guingamp 6-0 in a last 64 match, although they had injuries to Juninho, John Mensah, Kim Kallstrom and Ederson, with Anthony Mounier scoring twice. Lyon now host Marseille on Wednesday in the last 32. Rennes host Saint Etienne later on Saturday, and Sunday sees Le Havre hosting Le Mans and the south coast derby between Monaco and Nice.Qatar Masters heading for thrilling climax AFP, DohaHenrik Stenson, Alvaro Quiros and Louis Oosthuizen were locked in a fierce battle midway through the final round of the 2.5 million dollar Qatar Masters here on Sunday.All three were 16 under after 10 holes on Sunday as the 12th edition of the event headed for a thrilling climax at the sun-bathed Doha Golf Club.Stenson, the 2006 winner in Qatar, was the biggest mover of the day as he took advantage of overnight leader Quiros and the second placed Oosthuizen's misfortunes in the afternoon with a steady performance, picking up two birdies on the third and sixth holes before producing a magnificent eagle on the 10th to put himself in contention to become only the second winner of the event after Adam Scott of Australia.Stenson, who was four shots adrift after the third round, was helped by Spaniard Quiros and South African Oosthuizen who both dropped a shot over the opening holes. Dutchman Maarten Lafeber was also climbing up the leaderboard to be one shot behind on 15 under.

Jankovic out in fourth round, Safina survives AP

Jankovic out in fourth round, Safina survives AP,
MelbourneTop-ranked Jelena Jankovic was oustedin the fourth round Sunday and No. 3 Dinara Safina was twice just apoint away from following her out of the Australian Open.In back-to-back matches on Rod Laver Arena, Frenchwomen took itto the top seeds. Jankovic failed against No. 16 Marion Bartoli.Safina survived, fending off double match point against No. 15 Alize Cornet."I am so lucky that I'm in the quarterfinals, she was one point away," said Safina, who made eight double-faults and 52 unforced errors to only 29 by Cornet. "My heart is still pumping so hard." Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up, was the aggressor in a 6-1, 6-4 win over Jankovic that wasn't entirely unexpected. "Yeah, it's obviously disappointing. No-body likes to lose," Jankovic said. "Today was a tough day for me."I had a slow start. I let my opponent completely come on top of me and play her game. I gave her a lot of confidence." The 23-year-old Serb remains without a Grand Slam singles title and could also be without the No. 1 ranking in another week. Safina, who was down 5-3 and 40-15 with Cornet serving for the match, rallied to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. She could assume the top ranking if she wins her first major here. When the 22-year-old Russian converted breakpoint with an overhead in the pivotal 10th game in the third set, she pumped her right arm up high in triumph.Cornet, who had crumbled to her knees with her head in her hands after losing the previous point, didn't win another game. Safina, the Olympic silver medalist, had never been past the third round at Melbourne Park. After racing to a 5-0 lead in the first set, it appeared she was coasting. Then she fell apart and she started missing routine shots with the court wide open. "I don't always want to play like this," she said. "I want to play better for my team, I think they have a heart attack watching me." Jankovic said she couldn't repeat her coach's reaction to her loss, but that it might take months to get over the loss. She said the pressure she was under to win a breakthrough major to go with her ranking wasn't necessarily distractions. "It doesn't matter because it's just the beginning of the year, and there is many more tournaments to play," she said. "Maybe it will change, the No. 1 ranking, but it's not important what you do now, it's the whole year ahead of us."Bartoli had not been past the second round in seven previous trips to Melbourne Park, but was 3-3 in head-to-heads including a quarterfinal win at Wimbledon two years ago. She next plays No. 7 Vera Zvonareva, who beat No. 10 Nadia Petrova 7-5, 6-4 in an all-Russia match."I knew I could beat Jelena on a good day, it was just a matter of executing it, you know, play the right shot at the right time," Bartoli said. "But I was not overwhelmed by the situation, and I just went for my shot and everything went in."On the men's side, No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina moved into the quarterfinals with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 19 Marin Cilic of Croatia.Critics questioned whether Jankovic could convert her numeric ranking into a victory in the championship match at a major. She was a semifinalist at the Australian Open and French Opens last year before losing the U.S. Open final to Serena Williams. She was injured and missed an exhibition tourna-ment in Hong Kong where she'd planned to build up.When Bartoli turned up the pressure Sunday, Jankovic tightened up again. Bartoli was the aggressor, repeatedly sending Jankovic serves back faster than they came over and standing two steps inside the baseline for second serves.Bartoli hits two-fisted, flat and hard from both sides, and she peppered the lines and corners. Jankovic, repeatedly covering her face or looking to her mother for support and guidance, seemed shellshocked after falling behind 5-0 in the first set despite shouts of "Let's go JJ!" from the crowd.Jankovic fended off two set points while serving at 1-5, but Bartoli easily held in the next game, finishing off the set with a deft drop shot that caught Jankovic behind the baseline. Increasingly tentative and bewildered, Jankovic twice lost points early in the second set by stopping play on Bartoli shots that she thought were long but replays showed caught the line. She used up her last challenge of the set in the sixth game.Bartoli broke to pull ahead 5-4 in a game that went to deuce six times, with Jankovic netting a backhand on breakpoint. Jankovic wanted to challenge Bartoli's winner in the next game but couldn't. The Frenchwoman went on to hold despite a twitchy double fault at 40-15, whacking a forehand winner down the line and raising her arms in jubilation. That leaves No. 2 Serena Williams, seeking her 10th Grand Slam singles title, as the highest-ranked player in the women's draw.

US Ambassador Moriarty calls on Faruk Khan BSS

US Ambassador Moriarty calls on Faruk Khan BSS, DhakaCommerce Minister Faruk Khan on Sunday sought cooperation of US Ambassador to Bangladesh James F Moriarty in getting duty-free and quota-free market access of Bangladeshi products to the US market.He was talking to Moriarty who made a courtesy call-on him at his secretariat office here. During the meeting, they reviewed the existing trade relations between the two countries and the scope of further expanding the ties to benefit the two countries. Faruk Khan urged the US Ambassador to take to his government the request of Bangladesh to offer special trade access to Dhaka's exports similar to one now being offered to Pakistan and Sri Lanka.He also informed the ambassador of the significant progress that Bangladesh achieved in offering the social security to the country's work force, especially the garment workers.Moriarty said he would take the issue to his government.Commerce Secretary Feroze Ahmed and director general of WTO cell Amitab Chakravarty were present.
Commerce Minister asks cable operators to reduce costs, improve serviceBSS, DhakaCommerce Minister Lt Col (Retd) Faruq Khan on Sunday said all would have to work together, correcting past mistakes to face the challenges of the 21st century.He said this when a delegation of Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) called on him at the commerce ministry. COAB President SM Anowar Parvez led the 22-member delegation.The minister said the present government is pledge-bound to do whatever necessary to take the country forward.He suggested the cable operators to provide services to their clients through improved and modern wireless system instead of the traditional cable system. He advised them to reduce costs and raise efficiency in the sector.The COAB leaders demanded declaration of their sector as an industry and bank loan and insurance facilities. Additional Secretary of Commerce Ministry Selim Mostakim was present at the meeting, among others.
Local chapter of UN global impact opens todayBSS, DhakaThe local chapter of the United Nations' Global Compact, at the initiative of the United Nations' for socially responsible business, will be launched today (Monday).The Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), The CSR Center, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are jointly organizing the function. Commerce Minister Faruq Khan will address the function as the chief guest, said a press release of BEI. Renata Lok Dessallien, Resident Coordinator for the United Nations in Bangladesh, will inaugurate the programme. Soren Peterson, Head of Global Compact Networks at the UN Headquarters in New York, will deliver the keynote speech at the function. Farooq Sobhan, President of BEI and former ambassador, will deliver the opening remarks. Representatives from all the 40 members of the Global Compact in Bangladesh including the powerhouses of the private sector such as Rahimafrooz, ACL, Square and Abdul Monem Group will attend the function. Besides, representatives from the cross-section of Bangladeshi civil society as well as foreign experts and dignitaries will also attend.
Dhaka seeks continued WHO assistance for development of health sectorBSS, DhakaHealth and Family Welfare Minister Dr AFM Ruhul Haq has sought continued assistance of World Health Organization (WHO) and other development agencies for implementation of government's pledges in health sector.Addressing a press conference at the conference room of the health ministry, the minister said he sought the cooperation when he attended the current 124th session of the executive council of WHO at Geneva in Switzerland.The conference began on January 19 and will continue until January 29. The health minister, however, returned home from Geneva yesterday to attend the first session of the 9th parliament on Sunday.The minister said he told WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan that there will be no problem to continue development activities in health sector in Bangladesh, despite the global economic slowdown, if the development agencies continue their support.He expressed firm determination of the present government to implement pledges in the health sector and attain the UN Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), despite multifarious challenges in the economic sector.The health minister said the WHO director general assured all possible assistance to implement the pledges of the government. The WHO official also appreciated Bangladesh for sending an expert team to Zimbabwe to tackle cholera epidemic in that country recently. In the Geneva conference, the health minister stressed the need for enhancing international and regional cooperation for reduction of maternal mortality and development of reproductive health.He proposed formation of a task force under the WHO to collect and review information on the possible effects of the global economic recession. He also conveyed Bangladesh's concerns over the human disaster in Gaza of Palestine and called upon the WHO and other international agencies to offer necessary assistance for rehabilitation and rebuilding there.Besides, the minister took part in a review session on 'Health Impacts of the Current Financial and Economic Crisis' and held a separate meeting with the WHO director general.
JU admission tests from Feb 3BSS, SavarAdmission tests for the first year honours courses under the 2008-09 academic session of Jahangirnagar University (JU) will begin from February 3. The one-hour written tests of the departments of Physics, Statistics and Chemistry under 'Ka unit' will be held on February 3 and those of the departments of Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, and Geological Sciences of the same unit on February 4.The admission tests of the departments of Pharmacy and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology under 'Gha unit' will be held on February 5, Botanical Science and Microbiology Department on February 7 and Zoology Department on February 8.The admission test of the Department of Economics under 'Kha unit' will be held on February 8, departments of Urban and Regional Planning, Public Administration and Business Administration on February 9, and the departments of Anthropology, Geography and Environment, and Government and Politics of the same unit on February 10.The admission tests of Archaeology and English Department under 'Ga unit' will be held on February 11, History and International Relations on February 12 and departments of Bangla, Philosophy, and Drama and Dramatics on February 14.Details about the admission tests are available on the university's notice board and on website www.juniv.edu.
75 hurt in continued post-polls violencebdnews24.com, DhakaAt least 75 people were hurt in continued post-polls violence in Sunamganj, Barguna, Bogra, Netrakona, Feni and Kurigram on Saturday. Some 50 people were injured in Ashuganj of Brahmanbaria district alone on Friday afternoon. There were reports of lootings and arson attacks around the country besides incidents of attacks on the UNO office in Feni and a defeated female candidate in Satkhira. One person was killed in Brahmanbaria on Thursday and two others in Narail and Faridpur the following day. On Thursday, when Upazila elections were held, polls at Belkuchi in Sirajganj, Barura in Comilla, Brahmanbaria Sadar and Ramganj in Luxmipur districts were called off due to alleged snatching of ballot papers, occupation of polling centres, rigging and clashes. bdnews24.com correspondents report 17 people including women were hurt in Sunamganj, four in Barguna, 22 in Bogra, at least 14 in Netrakona, two in Feni, one in Satkhira, five in Kurigram, and at least 50 in Brahmanbaria.

The Planet is running short of waterThe world is in danger

The Planet is running short of waterThe world is in danger of running out of "sustainably managed water", according to Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute and a leading authority on global freshwater resources.Leo Lewis
A swelling global population, changing diets and mankind’s expanding “water footprint” could be bringing an end to the era of cheap water. The warnings, in an annual report by the Pacific Institute in California, come as ecologists have begun adopting the term “peak ecological water” - the point where, like the concept of “peak oil”, the world has to confront a natural limit on something once considered virtually infinite.The world is in danger of running out of “sustainably managed water”, according to Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute and a leading authority on global freshwater resources. Humans - via agriculture, industry and other demands - use about half of the world’s renewable and accessible fresh water. But even at those levels, billions of people live without the most basic water services, Dr Gleick said.A key element to tackling the crisis, say experts, is to increase the public understanding of the individual water content of everyday items. A glass of orange juice, for example, needs 850 litres of fresh water to produce, according to the Pacific Institute and the Water Footprint Network, while the manufacture of a kilogram of microchips - requiring constant cleaning to remove chemicals - needs about 16,000 litres. A hamburger comes in at 2,400 litres of fresh water, depending on the origin and type of meat used.Water footprint calculations are still only rough. They differ around the world and depend on climate, soil types, irrigation methods and crop genetics. The water footprint of different meats depends on what the animals are fed and the relative “thirst” of the crops used to feed themThe amount of water required to produce a single litre of soft drink may be only three or four litres, but vast quantities are used to produce the sugar and corn syrup feedstocks. For example, one kilogram of paper requires 125 litres of water to process, but that excludes the water needed to grow the tree.The water will be returned in various forms to the system, although not necessarily in a location or at a quality that can be effectively reused.There are concerns that water will increasingly be the cause of violence and even war. Dan Smith, the Secretary-General of the British-based peacebuilding organisation International Alert, said: “Water is a basic condition for life. Its availability and quality is fundamental for all societies, especially in relation to agriculture and health. There are places - West Africa today, the Ganges-Brahmaputra river system in Nepal, Bangladesh and India, and Peru within ten years - where major changes in the rivers generate a significant risk of violent conflict. Good water management is part of peacebuilding.”David Zhang, a geographer at the University of Hong Kong, produced a study published in the US National Academy of Sciences journal that analyzed 8,000 wars over 500 years and concluded that water shortage had played a far greater role as a catalyst than previously supposed.” We are on alert, because this gives us the indication that resource shortage is the main cause of war,” he told The Times. “Human beings will definitely have conflicts over this.”Although in theory renewable sources of water were returned to the ecosystem and their use could continue indefinitely, Dr Gleick said, changes in the way water was exploited and how its quality degraded meant that methods of processing it would become more expensive. “Once we begin appropriating more than ‘peak ecological water’ then ecological disruptions exceed the human benefit obtained,” Dr Gleick said. Defined this way, many regions of the world had passed that peak and were using more water than the system could sustain.The World’s Water report sounds a particularly strong note of alarm over the state of water usage and pollution in China, where rampant economic expansion has overtaxed freshwater resources and could even begin to threaten stability. “When water resources are limited or contaminated, or where economic activity is unconstrained and inadequately regulated, serious social problems can arise,” wrote Dr Gleick, “and in China, these factors have come together in a way that is leading to more severe and complex water challenges than in almost any other place on the planet.”A significant part of the problem is the huge, and often deeply inefficient, use of water by industry and agriculture. UN calculations suggest that more than one third of the world’s population is suffering from water shortages: by 2020 water use is expected to increase by 40 per cent from current levels, and by 2025, according to another UN estimate, two out of three people could be living under conditions of “water stress”.(Leo Lewis is the Asia Business Correspondent for The Times of London. Source: www.Countercurrents.org)
The cultural designation of feminism: Theory and PraxisIn fact, feminism is not concerned with a limited group of people to benefit their demands, rather it wants to eliminate social injustice, works in favor of the oppressed.Dr. Nandini Sahu Feminism is a vital area in contemporary intellectual literary discourse. This paper aims at an analysis of the impact of this theory that has given rise to issues like ‘men in feminism’, ‘feminism without women’, ‘the origin and the types of feminism’, keeping in view its fundamental significance and impact on literary studies during the second half of the twentieth century. Also, the paper discusses several major theories related to feminism as a whole, their origin and development across the years. Feminist theory can be compared with some major conceptual developments like Marxism and psychoanalysis. This theory helps one analyze and understand the major factors through which the two genders – male and female – have been constructed with specific languages and ideas in literature. Chronologically, 1960s and 1970s helped theorize a woman’s discourse; in 1980s, feminism concentrated on changing the intellectual fields for women; and in 1990s it began and reached its culmination in playing a major role in directing women’s feeling of themselves as the other sex. The word ‘feminism’ has so many meanings and directions in the current century that it is hardly possible to attribute it some precise definition. Janet Radcliff Richards observes: “women suffer from systematic social injustice because of their sex,” and a voice against this social injustice is the ideal of feminism. It is a common belief that feminism is a movement of women and men are not allowed into it which is rather a narrow definition. In fact, feminism is not concerned with a limited group of people to benefit their demands, rather it wants to eliminate social injustice, works in favor of the oppressed. Lisa Tuttle defines feminism thus: “the term feminism, taken from the Latin word ‘femina’ (woman), originally meant having the qualities of females. It originated in the perception that there is something wrong with the treatment of the females by the society.” The feminists attempt to analyze the reasons, dimensions of women’s oppression, and the remedies. Feminism incorporates both a principle of equal rights for woman (the organized movement to attain women’s rights) and philosophy of social renovation aiming to create a world for women beyond uncomplicated social equality. But feminism must distinguish for itself between women’s rights and women’s emancipation. Coming to the Feminist ,like feminism, there is not a single definition of feminist since feminists have many differing affinities – of sexual preference, class and race. In short a feminist is a woman who recognizes herself, and is recognized by others, as a feminist, as the one who has the awareness and knowledge of women’s oppression, and has a recognition of women’s differences and commonalities. Some feminists argue for a classification that is future oriented – that a feminist must have a notion of social change.During 1870s, Mrion Talbot and her mother Emily Talbot persuaded the Harvard University premises to open the doors for women. Dr. Edward Clarke, a former medical school professor and a Harvard overseer, opined that higher education would destroy women’s health, beauty and reproductive ability which the Talbot mother and daughter proved false with research and survey. This seems to be the first recorded attempts of the feminists to challenge male supremacy. In an essay entitled ‘Women and Fiction’ (1929), Virginia Woolf speculated on the new colors and shadows in women’s writing after the English woman was transformed from a weak, fluctuating, vague character to a voter, wage-earner, a responsible citizen. Woolf considered that the relations of the new woman with the society will not only be emotional, but also intellectual and political. She described the woman’s world of cooking, child bearing as intangible, vague, anonymous, as if that were a dark country, which could be compared to Mary Wollstonecraft’s view in a ‘Vindication of the Rights of Women’ (1722) that women were immured in their families, groping in the dark. The second wave feminists were just the followers defining women’s oppression as her imprisonment in the bourgeois household as a mother and unpaid servant. First-wave/second-wave feminism has been a long tradition of writers and thinkers who have criticized the position of women in western societies, but not until the nineteenth century did that critique inspire a mass movement. Between approximately 1880 and 1920, and beginning again in the 1960s, questions of women’s social, economic and political rights generated substantial popular support and public discussion, initially in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand and then, in the twentieth century on all continents . Although the term feminism did not come into popular use until the 1910s, commentators since have termed the two movements ‘first’ and ‘second-wave’ feminism, likening the ebb and flow of the movements’ mass appeal to that of a cresting wave. The origins of nineteenth-century feminism lie in the changes that altered western societies in the early part of the twentieth century. Foremost was industrialization which undermined household production and established a hierarchy between the male-dominated public sphere and the female-dominated private one. At the same time, liberal-democratic ideologies, socialism, evangelical Protestant Christianity, and social reform movements, especially abolitionism and temperance, propelled a wide spectrum of women to challenge their exclusion from the public realm. The relative importance of each factor depended on the specific national or even regional circumstances. The main goal of feminism is to redefine, and change this age old dogma by discovering the subtle causes of woman’s subjugation. It is a way to making the entire culture conscious of the natural rights of women relating to unequal labor, unequal pay for equal work, marriage and divorce laws that make man the supreme authority, economic independence, division of labor inside the family, to think a woman’s income as extra rather than a support, and then to introduce reforms in the traditional social structures. Feminism conceives of a utopian world free of male privilege, chauvinism, hierarchy, authority. It is a movement to bring about a sociopolitical change to condemn the subordination of any sex, to rebalance the social, economic, political power between man and woman. It raises a voice against man’s claim to define what is good for a woman and what is not keeping in view his own selfish motives. Feminists believe woman to be a mature decision maker. Protesting against the social institutions that denied women any other identity except that which they acquired through their men – that of a daughter, sister, wife, mother, feminists like Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Elizabeth Cady Stanton dreamt of a world which guaranteed individual identity to a woman. Feminists intend to deconstruct all the indefinite identities of women opposing the binary oppositions between the male and the female. The society has cut a straight line between good and bad, black and white, dark and light, man and woman – feminism is a movement against this distinction, this binary opposition.(Dr. Nandini Sahu is a poet and a creative writer of international repute and has been widely published in India, U.S.A, and Pakistan. Source: www.boloji.com)
From vision to policy - All eyes are set on Obama administration
In the coming weeks and months, the Obama administration will demonstrate to the people of South West Asia if its President's passionate words advocating peace will actually mean a wiser US policy.
Nasim Zehra
The Obama 'magic' resonates globally. His presidential victory exuded the 'can do' approach. Now from President Barack Obama the world's expectation is of a 'will do' man. Beyond his many troubles at home, Obama has multiple 'troubled zones' that have evolved both organically and as a consequence of the Bush's destructive and widely denounced so-called global war on terrorism (GOWT). These 'troubled zones' fall largely in the geographical belt that extends from South West to South Asia. On foreign policy priorities even going by the numerous visitors to the region who will occupy important positions in the Obama administration, the Pakistan, Afghanistan and India ?region will constitute a priority engagement area for the Obama administration.The visitors have included Obama's Vice-President Joseph Biden and Chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry. Senior military and State department officials too have been frequenting the region.It is within this belt that in the closing weeks two major crisis erupted; Israel's deadly genocidal military invasion of Gaza and the post-Mumbai heightened politico-military Pakistan-India tensions. The continuous problems include Washington's politically besieged and ineffective point man in Kabul and deteriorating security conditions with growing terrorism, foreign troop presence and spreading militancy. Meanwhile, in the absence of an independent and a viable Palestinian homeland and non-settlement of the nuclear question with Iran, socio-political and military security and stability will elude South West Asia.Against this backdrop and the diplomatic orientation of the Obama team there will be an approach-shift in how Washington will now tackle global issues. The Bush administration's unilateralism will be placed by multilateralism. Also the interventionist and destructive doctrine of pre-emptive strikes will be replaced by coercive diplomacy replacing blatantly illegal military invasions like in Iraq and Afghanistan ?with a combination of force and diplomacy. As a corollary of this approach-shift, the United Nations as an international body will receive more respect and acknowledgment from the Obama administration.Indeed 'approach-shift' is a necessary starting point to policy.However, to effect actual change in policy, the substance of policy must change. That change can only flow from changed policy objectives. Objectives too have a fountainhead from where they flow - the vision, the worldview and the mission statement. To what extent will Obama's soft compassionate and logical approach towards society politics and governance actually translate into concrete change in US foreign policy is an important question.For now, contours of numerous new initiatives are already there. Five are noteworthy. One, while at the April NATO Conference meeting, the Obama administration will define and detail its policy on Afghanistan, what has been announced is that the new administration will induct 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan in the hope that this will lead to an improved security environment. Two, on FATA the new administration will opt for closer coordination with the Pakistan army given that now Washington views Pakistan's tribal ?areas as a key and integral component to the success of its policy in Afghanistan.Three, the appointment of US former envoy to the UN, Richard Holbrooke, as Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Four, the appointment of former Senate majority Democratic Leader George Mitchell as a Special Envoy for the Middle East. Five, initiating diplomatic engagement with Iran to settle the issue of the nuclear power plus seek Iranian cooperation in dealing with regional security issues, including Afghanistan.These initiatives can indicate merely an approach-shift. For example, in the case of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan appointing a special envoy instead of ambassadors and State Department officials.Similarly, to achieve Washington's objective of defeating the Taleban using more troops instead of less. In Iran too, instead of continuing with the Bush policy of disengagement opt for engagement with Teheran while seeking to settle the nuclear issue on Washington's terms.Do these initiatives then indicate ?that any policy changes are on the ?cards? On the regional approach to tackling militancy there has been a clear indication that in its concluding months the Bush administration has been flagging in the three capitals, Islamabad, Kabul and Delhi the need for a collective regional approach to fight terrorism.This thinking has also been reflected in the numerous think-tank reports and in articles published in influential magazines like the Foreign Affairs. The unresolved issues of Durand Line and Kashmir are hurdles in the way of genuine cooperation. Similarly in the case of Pakistan-India, President Obama himself linked resolution of the Kashmir dispute to effectively tackling militancy.These think tanks have acknowledged two important Pakistan-specific facts. One that too much pressure on Pakistan from the eastern and western borders can cause internal instability. Two, while advocating his level engagement with the Pakistan army, Pakistan's democratic governments must be supported. The Biden-Lugar Bill, which calls for tripling non-military assistance to Pakistan illustrates Washington's policy of greater engagement with Pakistan. Washington's post-Mumbai approach of supporting Delhi's three key demands, extradition, and no bilateral engagement with Pakistan and government's involvement in the Mumbai attack, indicated Washington's relatively balanced policy.These indications are promising but there are hurdles, both contextual and self-created that the Obama administration will face. In Afghanistan, without a parallel political track the troop surge alone cannot enhance security. For now Washington's political strategy revolves around the Karzai factor, one that is widely and openly being criticised by its NATO allies.Criticism of US policy by NATO ?allies has found its way in the media. This troop surge alone is clearly ?insufficient and unlikely to alter ?the current security situation substantially. Recently the CENTCOM chief General David Patreus said, "the long term solution is only a political solution…war cannot be won through military means."Similarly, in case of both Middle East and Iran, the biggest hurdle may well be the Obama administration's undiluted commitment to provide unquestioning support to Israel to pursue its security agenda at the expense of the Palestinian nation, Lebanese peace, ?US-Iranian relations and regional security. The million-dollar question is how can the Obama administration initiate a genuinely new initiative if it not willing to 'guide' its largest recipient of military and economic aid towards a more enlightened path of 'self-interest.'Similarly, Washington's growing strategic relationship with Delhi could push the Obama administration on the back-foot on its diplomatic efforts to facilitate, not directly get involved in the resolution of Kashmir. Already Pakistan and India during 2006 have made progress on that issue. But Obama administration's involvement will be directly linked to how seriously Washington recognises that unresolved issues undermine regional security in a substantial manner.In the coming weeks and months, the Obama administration will demonstrate to the people of South West Asia if its President's passionate words advocating peace will actually mean a wiser US policy.

Illegal car parking on in capital

Illegal car parking on in capital

Illegal car parking in the commercial and residential areas are causing serious traffic congestions in city. Illegal parking of cars is going on unabated mainly in semi-residential, residential and commercial areas including Motijheel, Dhanmondi, Paltan, Green Road, Gulshan Avenue and Kamal Ataturk Avenue in the city.Cars are often found in front of high-rise buildings, near private universities, banks, schools, medical and diagnostic centers, restaurants, shopping malls and chain shops and other commercial establishments.Most of the commercial establishments in the capital have either no parking facilities or limited facilities. Besides, parking spaces of a good many of them are being used for commercial purposes.A section of owners have given rent for running fast-food, grocery, stationery, boutique or other shops in their commercial establishments.In the first few months of the immediate-past interim government, many illegal parking spaces were demolished, but most of them were rebuilt at the same place taking stay orders from the court. Besides soon after taking office by political government, some ruling party leaders are giving lease of spaces of roads realizing money from the car owners. Sources said, ruling party men and police are jointly realizing toll by allowing illegal parking.Marzia Ahsan, a local resident of Baily road, said, "Some times we face trouble in entering our apartment house as a good many cars remain parked in front of the gate. The road in front of the apartment very often lies blocked by cars from morning to evening as many medical centres and schools including Viqarununisa School are located here."Owners of many such establishments managed to get permission from the Dhaka City Corporation for parking vehicles in a single row on the road in front of the establishments, she added.When contacted, a Rajuk official said, though Rajuk demolished many illegal parking but many of those were rebuilt by taking stay order from the court.According to Metropolitan Police Ordinance, the punishment for parking any vehicle on street or at public place is Tk 100. In city's Motijheel area, a police traffic sergent said, the main cause of traffic congestion is illegal car parking by businessmen but the police cannot do anything as there is no car parking centers which can be used by car owners. He said, "If the Dhaka City Corporation sets up some car parking centers in some commercial areas across the city, it will definitely help ease traffic congestions."

EC takes hard-line against irregularities in UZ polls

EC takes hard-line against irregularities in UZ polls
The EC has taken a hard line against the irregularities that took place during third upazilla polls on January 22 and commission would take action against the candidates for allegedly violating the code of conduct during elections.The EC at an emergency meeting yesterday decided to examine the reports on irregularities published in different dailies, footage of TV channels and complaints lodged with the commission by different defeated candidates.On Sunday, a large numbers of defeated candidates came to the election commission secretariat and filed complaints against the ruling party backed candidates and leaders for their exercise of influence in the elections.Some losing candidates in their written complaints also demanded cancellation of the elections results and holding of re-elections in those areas.Talking to reporters while leaving the office yesterday afternoon, election commissioner Brig General (Retd) Shakhawat Hossain told reporters that EC is now examining the pros and cons of the outcome of the upazilla elections.He said the commission would take a decision about the complaints received by it within a day or two. "Let's see what sorts of punitive measures the commission can take against offenders who violated the electoral rules by influencing the elections officials during upazilla polls," he said, adding the commission would disclose its decision after examining all complaints lodged by losing candidates.Talking to this correspondent, most of defeated candidates, who came to the commission for filing complaints with the commission, said the ruling party ministers and MPs worked for their party backed candidates violating the electoral code of conduct.They said the ruling party backed candidates in association with the law enforcing members' intimidated voters from casting their votes."Supporters of the wining candidate Tozammael Haque Chowdhury, a AL backed candidate, have prevented voters from casting votes showing intimidation in many places, especially they (supporters of winning candidate) barred women voters to come to polling centers," alleged losing candidate Belal Hossain Bhuiyan while talking to this reporter at the EC secretariat.

Upazilla election and stonewalling

Upazilla election and stonewalling realityMahmud ur Rahman ChoudhuryIn continuation of my last week's commentary, I wanted to write about something else but the Upazilla election came up and I was so caught up in it that I jumped out of bed at 3 AM on 23 January to write this piece. I hope it grabs you as much as it did me.The Upazilla elections are over, to the dissatisfaction of almost everyone, most of all the electorate who didn't turn up in any considerable numbers to vote. Chaos, violence, rigging, forgery, intimidation and hijacking of ballot boxes were significant enough to make news headlines, elicit protests and condemnation from the BNP and suspend voting in 6 Upazillas. Law-enforcing agencies supported by the Army, deployed for the purpose of ensuring security did not seem to have done much to check the intimidation and violence or to ensure security of voters. As was expected the AL supported candidates won well over 65 percent of the chairmanship and other seats with the BNP and others trailing well behind. It therefore, comes as no surprise that the AL spokesperson and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam expressed satisfaction over the course the Upazilla polling has taken. Addressing a press conference, right after the voting closed in the evening of 22 January, he said, "Our government provided all out cooperation to the EC for smooth holding of the election. Normalcy prevailed throughout the country. Law and order situation was very satisfactory" - this inspite of images, of near-empty polling centres and people fighting, splashed all over TV screens and newspapers. That the AL government, after all the much publicized big talks about "change", would stonewall realities comes as a frustrating surprise, particularly when the so long well-regarded AL spokesperson Syed Ashraful Islam attempts to justify the irregularities and violence by claiming that "…clashes and many untoward incidents were reported in past elections across the country also." Taking issue with the EC's dissatisfaction with the election, Syed Ashraf further added, "The election commission tried to depoliticize Bangladesh earlier. Election to the local government without political identity won't bring any good results…So far I know the EC has suspended polls of some 6 upazillas but no major untoward incidents have been reported till now." By invoking the past to stonewall the present Syed Ashraful Islam disregards the fact that people have so massively voted for the AL in the parliamentary election because it is exactly the past which the "people" do not want a repetition of. The point which Syed Ashraf and the AL fail to grasp is that nothing can be made to justify a single incident of violence, rigging, forgery, intimidation and suspension of voting because it deprives people of their most basic and fundamentally important right of being citizens of Bangladesh - that is, it prevents people from exercising their right to franchise in a free and fair manner. Don't Syed Ashraful Islam and the AL understand that it is not just voting in 6 Upazillas which was suspended; what was suspended was the right, of thousands of people, to be citizens. Stonewalling reality can be as bad as that. "Take away my right to vote and you deprive me of the right to be a citizen of Bangladesh" - if the AL flouts this and expects us all to believe in their justifications for flouting it, the AL is on a tack which within 2 years will take us again to another 1/11. So, where really is the "change" the AL has promised us to get our votes or was it just a chicanery, a fraud perpetuated on the Nation.

Inaugural session of 9th Parliament

Inaugural session of 9th Parliament168 new MPs add festivityStaff CorrespondentFestive mood prevails in the Parliament Bhaban on the inaugural session of the ninth parliament on Sunday. This festivity further increased in the presence of some 168 new faces in the parliament out of some 300 electoral constituencies. Most of the new parliament members (MPs) are young. Of them, some 132 members are from Awami League, 14 belong to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), 14 MPs from Jatiya Party Ershad, two from Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami two others Independent. About 56 percent new MPs have been elected for the ninth parliament.According to AL sources, the new parliament members belonging to AL would be given training about the rules and procedures of the parliament so that the new members can play a positive role to make the ongoing parliament effective.Second meeting of AL Parliamentary Committee, held at the Parliament Bhaban, reiterated this issue. Hasina asked all new MPs to build up the capacity for serving the people and assured them to arrange a workshop for the new parliament members immediately Talking to this correspondent after the AL Parliamentary Meeting, Zunaid Ahmed Palak (28), one of the youngest MPs, elected from Natore-3 constituency in the December 29 General Election expressed his satisfaction for his being elected by the people of his locality.Expressing his desire to work for the people, he said, "We are taking advice from the senior parliamentarians and reading different books, which would be helpful to increase knowledge level .Our leader in the Parliament wants to see new members as time-befitting law makers, who will be able to contribute for the party and the country as well." Another new MP elected from Narayanganj Nazrul Islam Babu said, "It's a feeling what I cannot express in language but I' am very happy. At the same time, I am really in a fix what to do or not to do. I'm closely observing the overall situation in the JS session."Dignitaries from both home and abroad, and visitors - mostly relatives of the cabinet members and lawmakers - were present in the parliament building. Meanwhile, talking to The Bangladesh Today, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said, "The Government was earlier prepared to elect Deputy Speaker from the Opposition but no proposal or no name has come from the opposition side. If the BNP-led opposition had sent any name for Deputy Speaker even before one hour of the parliament session he would have been elected."
CommentaryUpazilla election and stonewalling realityMahmud ur Rahman ChoudhuryIn continuation of my last week's commentary, I wanted to write about something else but the Upazilla election came up and I was so caught up in it that I jumped out of bed at 3 AM on 23 January to write this piece. I hope it grabs you as much as it did me.The Upazilla elections are over, to the dissatisfaction of almost everyone, most of all the electorate who didn't turn up in any considerable numbers to vote. Chaos, violence, rigging, forgery, intimidation and hijacking of ballot boxes were significant enough to make news headlines, elicit protests and condemnation from the BNP and suspend voting in 6 Upazillas. Law-enforcing agencies supported by the Army, deployed for the purpose of ensuring security did not seem to have done much to check the intimidation and violence or to ensure security of voters. As was expected the AL supported candidates won well over 65 percent of the chairmanship and other seats with the BNP and others trailing well behind. It therefore, comes as no surprise that the AL spokesperson and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam expressed satisfaction over the course the Upazilla polling has taken. Addressing a press conference, right after the voting closed in the evening of 22 January, he said, "Our government provided all out cooperation to the EC for smooth holding of the election. Normalcy prevailed throughout the country. Law and order situation was very satisfactory" - this inspite of images, of near-empty polling centres and people fighting, splashed all over TV screens and newspapers. That the AL government, after all the much publicized big talks about "change", would stonewall realities comes as a frustrating surprise, particularly when the so long well-regarded AL spokesperson Syed Ashraful Islam attempts to justify the irregularities and violence by claiming that "…clashes and many untoward incidents were reported in past elections across the country also." Taking issue with the EC's dissatisfaction with the election, Syed Ashraf further added, "The election commission tried to depoliticize Bangladesh earlier. Election to the local government without political identity won't bring any good results…So far I know the EC has suspended polls of some 6 upazillas but no major untoward incidents have been reported till now." By invoking the past to stonewall the present Syed Ashraful Islam disregards the fact that people have so massively voted for the AL in the parliamentary election because it is exactly the past which the "people" do not want a repetition of. The point which Syed Ashraf and the AL fail to grasp is that nothing can be made to justify a single incident of violence, rigging, forgery, intimidation and suspension of voting because it deprives people of their most basic and fundamentally important right of being citizens of Bangladesh - that is, it prevents people from exercising their right to franchise in a free and fair manner. Don't Syed Ashraful Islam and the AL understand that it is not just voting in 6 Upazillas which was suspended; what was suspended was the right, of thousands of people, to be citizens. Stonewalling reality can be as bad as that. "Take away my right to vote and you deprive me of the right to be a citizen of Bangladesh" - if the AL flouts this and expects us all to believe in their justifications for flouting it, the AL is on a tack which within 2 years will take us again to another 1/11. So, where really is the "change" the AL has promised us to get our votes or was it just a chicanery, a fraud perpetuated on the Nation.

9th JS goes into inaugural sessionHamid made Speaker

9th JS goes into inaugural sessionHamid made Speaker,
Shawkat Deputy Speaker BNP walks out objecting to the President addressing the Parliament Staff Correspondent The 9th National Parliament went in its inaugural session on Sunday with the outgoing Speaker Barrister Jamiruddin Sircar in the chair.Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with her grand alliance MPs and BNP Chairperson and leader of the opposition in parliament Begum Khaleda Zia along with her party's lawmakers joined the inaugural session wearing black badges.In the inaugural session, Advocate Abdul Hamid MP was elected new Speaker and Colonel Shawkat Ali (retd) Deputy Speaker of the new parliament. Chief Whip Vice Principal Abdus Shahid moved the motion for the election of the Speaker while whip Shagufta Yasmin Emily seconded it with Speaker Barrister Mohammad Jamir Uddin Sircar in the chair. Whip ASM Firoz moved the motion for election of the deputy speaker and it was seconded by Whip Mujibul Haque. President Iajuddin Ahmed administered the oath of office of Speaker Advocate Mohammad Abdul Hamid and Deputy Speaker Shawkat Ali at the President's chamber at the Parliament Complex.Later the outgoing Speaker gave his farewell address and adjourned the House at 3.44 pm to allow oath-taking of the two new presiding officers by the President.In his speech, Jamiruddin Sircar hoped the 9th Parliament would be the centre of all activities but cautioned the ruling alliance to be careful about their absolute majority in exercising authority. "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are always bad men . . . there is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it," he said quoting British historian Lord Acton. Earlier, Awami League Parliamentary Party (ALPP) held a meeting with Sheikh Hasina and nominated the names of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The meeting also approved the decision of giving another Deputy Speaker post to the opposition. Meanwhile, a meeting of BNP Parliamentary Party was also held in the parliament complex.After taking over charge the new Speaker delivered his welcome speech, obituary reference was made for those politicians and intellectuals who died in last few years and MPs from both ruling and opposition parties gave their addresses felicitating the new Speaker.Later, Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed placed 122 ordinances promulgated during the regime of the caretaker government and the Speaker read out all the ordinances separately. Meanwhile, the opposition BNP MP Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury after being refused the floor, shouted and said that his party would not want to listen to President Iajuddin Ahmed's speech on the allegation that he violated the constitution. "The two top leaders BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina were arrested and sent to jail during his tenure. So we will not listen to his address," Salahuddin Quader said. Soon after his brief speech, BNP-Jamaat alliance MPs led by opposition leader and BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia walked out of the parliament session. President Iajuddin Ahmed gave his speech saying that people have elected the new government with a hope of bringing massive changes in political and economic arenas. "As per people's expectation, the new government will have to work for arresting price hike and keeping the prices of essentials within tolerable limit. The government will also have to establish rule of law to ensure the basic rights of the people," he said.

Upazilla election and stonewalling reality

Upazilla election and stonewalling realityMahmud ur Rahman ChoudhuryIn continuation of my last week's commentary, I wanted to write about something else but the Upazilla election came up and I was so caught up in it that I jumped out of bed at 3 AM on 23 January to write this piece. I hope it grabs you as much as it did me.The Upazilla elections are over, to the dissatisfaction of almost everyone, most of all the electorate who didn't turn up in any considerable numbers to vote. Chaos, violence, rigging, forgery, intimidation and hijacking of ballot boxes were significant enough to make news headlines, elicit protests and condemnation from the BNP and suspend voting in 6 Upazillas. Law-enforcing agencies supported by the Army, deployed for the purpose of ensuring security did not seem to have done much to check the intimidation and violence or to ensure security of voters. As was expected the AL supported candidates won well over 65 percent of the chairmanship and other seats with the BNP and others trailing well behind. It therefore, comes as no surprise that the AL spokesperson and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam expressed satisfaction over the course the Upazilla polling has taken. Addressing a press conference, right after the voting closed in the evening of 22 January, he said, "Our government provided all out cooperation to the EC for smooth holding of the election. Normalcy prevailed throughout the country. Law and order situation was very satisfactory" - this inspite of images, of near-empty polling centres and people fighting, splashed all over TV screens and newspapers. That the AL government, after all the much publicized big talks about "change", would stonewall realities comes as a frustrating surprise, particularly when the so long well-regarded AL spokesperson Syed Ashraful Islam attempts to justify the irregularities and violence by claiming that "…clashes and many untoward incidents were reported in past elections across the country also." Taking issue with the EC's dissatisfaction with the election, Syed Ashraf further added, "The election commission tried to depoliticize Bangladesh earlier. Election to the local government without political identity won't bring any good results…So far I know the EC has suspended polls of some 6 upazillas but no major untoward incidents have been reported till now." By invoking the past to stonewall the present Syed Ashraful Islam disregards the fact that people have so massively voted for the AL in the parliamentary election because it is exactly the past which the "people" do not want a repetition of. The point which Syed Ashraf and the AL fail to grasp is that nothing can be made to justify a single incident of violence, rigging, forgery, intimidation and suspension of voting because it deprives people of their most basic and fundamentally important right of being citizens of Bangladesh - that is, it prevents people from exercising their right to franchise in a free and fair manner. Don't Syed Ashraful Islam and the AL understand that it is not just voting in 6 Upazillas which was suspended; what was suspended was the right, of thousands of people, to be citizens. Stonewalling reality can be as bad as that. "Take away my right to vote and you deprive me of the right to be a citizen of Bangladesh" - if the AL flouts this and expects us all to believe in their justifications for flouting it, the AL is on a tack which within 2 years will take us again to another 1/11. So, where really is the "change" the AL has promised us to get our votes or was it just a chicanery, a fraud perpetuated on the Nation.