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Chaitra 5, 1420 Jamadiul Awal 17, 1435 Regd. No.

DA 6238 Vol 1 No 355



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Tigers a step away from Super Ten
Minnows Nepal left reeling in a flurry of boundaries
Rahman Rohan, from n Reazur Chittagong
It was a stroll in the park for Bangladesh who breezed past Nepal by eight wickets and 27 balls to spare in their second Group A game in the ICC World Twenty20 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday. The game was expected to be one-sided, but the determination and dedication from the Nepalese in their maiden match against a Test playing nation was admirable. tience in the middle before blasting in the last five overs to land a respectable 126 for five.   The Tigers however showed no mercy in chasing the small total as they pounced on to every opportunity of sending the ball over the rope. Anamul Haque started from where he left off in the first match as he slammed a six over fine leg and a four from point in the first over. Tamim Iqbal, who made 30, joined the party soon and showed no hesitation in using his feet to clear the boundary, but one slog too many cost the local boy his wicket as he was caught at short third man which ended the 63run opening stand. Anamul was looking in sublime touch before a silly miscommunication saw him run out making 42 off just 33 balls. Sabbir Rahman, promoted to No 3, and Shakib al Hasan began an onslaught that saw the pair add 53 runs in 5.1 overs as Bangladesh raced to 132 for two to secure their second consecutive victory. Sabbir (21) struck a four and six each while Shakib at the other end smashed whatever came his way. Shakib struck four big sixes along with a boundary to remain unbeaten on 37 from just 18 balls.   Earlier, Nepal were off to a shaky start losing opener Subash Khakurel in

Bangladesh cricketer Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Rahman walk off the field after their team’s victory during the ICC Twenty20 World Cup qualifying cricket match against Nepal at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chittagong yesterday AFP

It was known that dew will play a big role in the night affair and Tigers skipper Mushfiqur Rahim wasted no time in opting to field first after winning the toss. With dew already coming in to play the ball was difficult to grip which took some bite off the Bangladesh attack, but nothing could be taken away from the 85run partnership between the No 4 and 5 Paras Khadka and Sharad Vesawkar. The duo concentrated on playing the full 20 overs and showed great pa-

Putin signs Crimea treaty, Russia suspended from G8
n Agencies
Russian President Vladimir Putin, defying Ukrainian protests and Western sanctions, yesterday signed a treaty making Crimea part of Russia but said he did not plan to seize any other regions of Ukraine. In a fiercely patriotic address to a joint session of the Russian parliament in the Kremlin, punctuated by standing ovations, cheering and tears, Putin lambasted the West for what he called hypocrisy. Western nations had endorsed Kosovo’s independence from Serbia but now denied Crimeans the same right, he said. “You cannot call the same thing black today and white tomorrow,” he declared to stormy applause, saying Western partners had “crossed the line” over Ukraine and behaved “irresponsibly.” He said Ukraine’s new leaders, in power since the overthrow of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovich last month, included “neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites.” Putin said Crimea’s referendum vote on Sunday had shown the overwhelming will of the people to be reunited with Russia after 60 years as part of the Ukrainian republic. France’s foreign minister, meanwhile, said leaders of the Group of Eight world powers have suspended Russia’s participation in the club. The other seven members of the group had already suspended preparations for a G8 summit that Russia is scheduled to host in June in Sochi. To the Russian national anthem in Moscow, Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty on making Crimea part

TIB: Parliament has no opposition
Islam Shaon and n Ashif Rabiul Islam
Corruption watchdog Transparency International, Bangladesh has observed that there is no opposition in the current 10th parliament. “There is no opposition in this parliament. There is a ruling party. If Jatiya Party is the opposition, why are they part of the government?” TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said while placing its “Watch Report on the Ninth Parliament” yesterday at a press conference in the city. The Jatiya Party, led by Prime Minister’s Special Envoy HM Ershad, has not been able to play the role of an opposition as they are yet to clarify what their roles exactly are, the TIB says. The organisation believes that the current parliament will not run its full five-year-term, and if not, the country can get an active opposition. Iftekhar hoped that the present situation would be temporary. He said: “Literally they [Jatiya Party] are the opposition party. But we do not see them playing that role in the House.” Iftekhar said: “Before the election, they [ruling party] said there will be talks in this parliament in a real sense,” the TIB executive director said. The JaPa formed the opposition with its 34 MPs, led by Presidium member Rawshan Ershad, also the leader of the opposition. There are also two ministers from the party. The study also found that quorum crisis in ninth parliament caused the country over Tk104 crore. Of the amount, Tk4 crore was incurred because of the opposition’s absence. Former opposition leader Khaleda Zia made a record of having the lowest attendance – 2.39% of the total sessions. According to an estimated account, around Tk78,000 is spent every minute the parliament is in session. The TIB has recommended that the government enact a law to resist the absence of lawmakers or parties with a provision to scrap membership as penalty. It suggests that the maximum absence of a lawmaker could be

Report says Tk104 crore was wasted for quorum crisis in ninth parliament; law minister terms the study ‘biased’
after the 10th parliament election and the 11th election will be held in a convenient time. But the time was not fixed.” The January 5 election was held as part of a “constitutional obligation” – to hold the election by January 24. “But we cannot say there is any opposition

Inu, Noor make contradictory statements
n Tribune Report


12 reserved seat candidates millionaires
n Mohammad Zakaria
About 24% of the total 48 candidates who are going to contest the elections to women reserved seats of the 10th parliament are millionaires, said a report released by Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (SHUJAN) yesterday. The report said 27.43% out of 38 Awami League candidates are millionaires and they have movable and immovable wealth worth over Tk 1 crore each. However, the income of nine candidates from AL and Jatiya Party who were MPs in the ninth parliament has increased by 151%. The net assets of nine women MPs of the last parliament have increased by nearly six times on average in last five years. SHUJAN, an organisation of civil society members working for establishing good governance, released the report at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity. The report was prepared on the basis of information given in the affidavits of 48 aspirants. Of them, AL-nominated candidate Pinu Khan topped the list whose net assets increased by around 25 times while JP-nominated candidates Mahjabin Murshed and Noor-e-Hasna Lily

Two ministers yesterday made contradictory statements on accepting donations from the Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited for the fund raised for the attempt to set a new Guinness world record of the national anthem sung by most people on March 26. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said the government should give back Isalmi Bank’s money while Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor claimed that the government had

5 Two major canals in the capital – Shahzadpur and Shutibhola canals – have become victims of rampant encroachment and indiscriminate waste dumping, as authorities concerned reportedly remained soft against the canal-grabbers. Enaetpur road, stretching 11 kilometres, lies in a sorry state with big potholes in the centre, causing immense sufferings for both commuters and pedestrians.



6 A portion of the Shahjadpur-Khukni-

8 Its borders are patrolled by Russian troops and it adopted the ruble on its first day of independence – welcome to the world’s latest pariah statelet, ‘Republic of Crimea.’




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

EC silent on allegations of irregularities
n Mohammad Zakaria
The Election Commission is still silent in taking action against the allegations submitted by many candidates since the first phase of upazila parishad polls. The commission was not taking the allegation in cognizance as huge specific allegations, EC sources said, adding that the EC was not taking any action though the district election officers sent investigation reports regarding the allegations. When asked, Election Commissioner Md Shah Newaz yesterday told reporters that miscreants knew better if the election would see the rise in violence in the next phase of upazila parishad polls. “Ask them [miscreants] about it as they are responsible. The commission is just trying to hold free and fair elections,” he said. Regarding the allegations, the commissioner said the commission had taken actions against the valid allegations. On Sunday, the commission received an allegation from Gazaria upazila in Munshiganj that Awami League rebel candidate vandalised the Gazaria union parishad on March 8 and torched election mikes of Awami League backed candidate Refayet Ullah Khan on March 7. Though the district election officer had informed the commission about the matter, the EC was yet to take any action. In Feni’s Fulgazi upazila, chairman candidate Mahtab Uddin Chowdhury submitted written allegations to the commission against the ruling party backed candidate Ekramul Haque that Ekramul was violating the electoral code of conducts. The commission’s enquiry committee sent a report on the allegation, but the commission did not take any action against it. However, Mahtab allegedly sent a letter to the commission to transfer the incumbent officer concerned from the area. On the other hand, ruling party cadres attacked BNP leaders and activists and torched 14 residences of them on March 15 in Bhola sadar upazila. But police did not take any action in this regard. Meanwhile, the election campaigning is getting momentum ahead of the fourth phase upazila parishad polls scheduled to be held on March 23. l

Dhaka observes Crimea crisis carefully
n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque yesterday said the government has been closely observing the crisis evolving Crimea of Ukraine. “We are closely monitoring the development in Ukraine,” the Foreign Secretary told the Dhaka Tribune. Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday signed a treaty to absorb Crimea as part of the country amid Western sanctions and sporadic protests in and out the country. Quoting a senior official of the ministry, sources said Bangladesh position would be aligned with that of Group of 77. “G-77 is yet to take any position in this regard,” he added. When asked about a letter from Washington seeking Bangladesh’s support on Crimea, the official said generally all countries expresses their positions based on national interest and Bangladesh is not also out of the concept. Few days ago, China, a member of the organisation, had abstained itself from a UN resolution on Crimea, in which Moscow cast its veto power. l

Sajeeb Wazed Joy, ICT affairs adviser to the PM, speaking at a view-exchange meeting at Hotel Ruposhi Bangla yesterday


Joy: ICT to be given first priority n Ahmed Zayeef
The government will give first priority to the Development of information technology sector, prime minister’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy said yesterday. Joy said this in a view-exchange meeting with IT specialists, representatives from IT industries and young entrepreneurs at Ruposhi Bangla hotel in the city. “During this time we will try to achieve one billion dollar export limit from the sector.” The Centre for Research and Information organised the meeting. Around hundred IT specialists, representatives of IT industries and young entrepreneurs attended the programme. Joy said: “We have a lot of achievements in the IT education, IT skill development and establishment of related infrastructures.” Shamim Ahsan, president of the Institute of Technology and Management said manpower in IT sector was 2.5 lakh but it was only 25,000 just five years back. Junayed Ahmed Polok, sate minister for telecommunication, said: “We want to build digital Bangladesh by 2021. That is why the ICT policy is going to be changed.” l

Khaleda to appear in court today
n Md Sanaul Islam Tipu
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is likely to appear before a Dhaka court today in the charge frame hearing in Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases. The chairperson’s counsel Md Sanaullah Miah told the Dhaka Tribune that, “Khaleda Zia will appear in the Special Judge Court no-3 around 12:00pm.” Md Ariful Islam, bench officer of the court, said the newly appointed Judge Basudev Roy would hear the cases today, which was fixed on February 16. Earlier on January 15 last year, Khaleda secured permanent bail in the cases and the court on February 16 this year granted a time petition to Khaleda until today for the last time to frame the charge. With this deferral, the court had adjourned the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case 41 times and the Zia Charitable Trust graft case 11 times for charge frame hearing. Zia Charitable Trust graft case On August 8, 2011, the ACC filed the case with Tejgaon police station against four people -- Khaleda, her former political secretary Harris Chowdhury, his assistant personal secretary Ziaul Islam Munna and Manirul Islam Khan, former personal secretary of BNP leader Sadeque Hossain Khoka -- on charge of abusing power for collecting funds from unknown sources. The IO of the case, pressed charges against the accused on January 16, 2012. Of them, Harris has been staying abroad since 2007 while Ziaul and Monirul are now on bail. Zia Orphanage Trust graft case The ACC filed the case with Ramna police station on July 3, 2008, accusing Khaleda, her son Tarique Rahman and four others, for misappropriating over Tk2.10 crore from the trust, the amount came as “grants” from a foreign bank. The four accused are Mominur Rahman, nephew of late president Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda’s former Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Uddin Siddique, and BNP’s former lawmakers Kazi Salimul Haque and Sharfuddin Ahmed. On August 5, 2010, the IO of the case submitted charge sheet. l

EC asks to close Bakerganj OC n Mohammad Zakaria
The EC asked the authorities concerned to close the Bakerganj police station OC of Barisal yesterday on charge of physically harassing an on-duty assistant returning officer in Hizla upazila here during the third phase of upazila parishad elections held on March 15. In this regard, the commission sent a letter signed by assistant secretary Ashfakur Rahman to Barisal returning officer Dulal Talukder to close the OC, whose name, however, was not stated in the letter. Earlier, Dulal alleged to the EC that the OC assaulted assistant returning officer Zahidul Islam and his assistant Hiron Bepari publicly without any reason while they were visiting Hizla Government primary school polling centre on the polls day and dragged them out the centre by collars. The copies of the letter was also sent to senior secretary of the home ministry and the IGP to take action. l

Two policemen withdrawn for misappropriating gold bars
n Ashif Islam Shaon
Two police officers of Rampura police station were withdrawn yesterday for misappropriating gold bars. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Anwar Hossain said Kripa Sindhu Bala, officer-in-charge, and Nasim Ahmed, inspector (investigation), of the station had been withdrawn to speed up activities at the station. The police officials claimed that they had been withdrawn as part of a routine transfer. However, DMP’s Deputy Commissioner (media) Md Masudur Rahman said they had been closed and shifted to DMP’s logistics and procurement department for misappropriating 165 of 235 gold bars seized in a drive in the Bank Colony Balur Math area. On March 13, a sub-inspector seized a private car but the driver and two passengers fled the spot, said a few police officials of the station. On March 16, two youths came to the police station and asked for the gold bars. Police arrested them. Another member of the smugglers' group informed a high official of the station over phone about the real number of gold bars. Interrogating the detainees and the alleged policemen, the two police officials were found guilty. l

Tigers a step away from Super Ten TIB: Parliament has no opposition

12 reserved
has recommended that lawmakers cannot remain absent in the House for over seven days without leave. It also asks the government to finalise the bill on code of conduct for lawmakers, publish information of sessions and standing committee decisions on websites, discuss international accords in parliament and fix the minimum session at 130 days. Law Minister Anisul Haq terms the report “biased.” About TIB’s prescription to hold fresh elections and make the parliament effective, the minister yesterday asked: “Where has the TIB brought the prescription from? What is its validity? “I am sorry to say that the report is biased and it is not expected from TIB,” he said while talking to reporters at the Secretariat after a meeting with Norwegian Ambassador Merete Lundemo. l

the fourth over to Farhad Reza before Sagar Pun and Gyanendra Malla tried to use the powerplay to utmost effect. First Sagar took nine of Mashrafe bin Mortaza’s third over, fifth of the innings, followed by Malla who struck two fours in the next over bowled by Shakib. However, Al Amin, who conceded eight off his first over, returned with a double blow for the Nepalese. Al Amin caught Sagar off the first ball and three deliveries later got the ball to nip back which struck Malla plumb in front. At 39 for three it was looking like the start of a collapse for the Associate nation, but their skipper and Sharad had different ideas. They picked up the odd boundary while the wet outfield allowed them to maneuver for singles. It was a mystery why Mahmudullah, who conceded just eight runs off his four overs in the previous match, was not used as Mushfiq

opted for “medium pacer” Nasir Hossain instead.     Nasir, who usually bowls off spin, was impressive in the first over giving away just a single, but his inconsistency cost 21 runs in the next 12 balls he bowled. After settling in both Paras and Sharad played some innovative shots – scoops and drives over the extra cover – which were a treat to the eye and in the process they also ticked the scorecard past 100. However it was one of his innovative attempts where he moved across his stumps trying to chip over the fielder at short fine leg that saw his stumps rattled by Mashrafe in the penultimate over. The Nepalese captain made 41 off 35 balls before Sharad (40), frustrated on his new partner Bhandari who failed to connect three balls in a row in the last over by Al Amin, was found short of crease on the last ball trying to sneak a single from Mushfiq. l


30 days instead of 90 days at present. TIB Trustee M Hafizuddin Khan was present at the occasion. Researchers Morsheda Aktar, Fatema Afroz and Juliet Rozeti presented the report. Hafiz, adviser of a caretaker government, said there was controversy surrounding the 10th parliament election and the country’s democracy was at some risk. He said there was no alternative to a strong opposition. Quorum crisis, boycott culture a waste A total of 222 hours and 36 minutes were wasted during the 19 sessions of the ninth parliament. According to the study, only 8.2% or 109 hours and 44 minutes was spent enacting laws during the ninth parliament. Many important laws were enacted following discussions of only three to four minutes.

In the Indian Lok Sabha, 53% of the total time is spent enacting laws. Iftekhar said this culture of absence was unique in the democratic world. “It is embarrassing and also a sign of indifference to the people’s votes.” According to the report, the opposition party’s absence was 34% of the sessions during the fifth parliament, 60% of the eighth and down to a record breaking 82% of the ninth. However, there were some positive sides to the last parliament including an increase in the presence of lawmakers, especially from the ruling party, to 63%. The TIB also finds that the number of businessmen turning into lawmakers increased in the ninth parliament – to 57% from 17.5% in the first parliament. On the other hand, the number of lawyers decreased to 14%. The Berlin-based graft watchdog

Putin signs Crimea treaty, Russia suspended from G8 Inu, Noor's contradictory

of Russia. During his address, Putin was interrupted by applause at least 30 times. “In the hearts and minds of people, Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia,” Putin said. He thanked China for what he called its support, even though Beijing abstained on a UN resolution on Crimea that Moscow had to veto on its own, and said he was sure Germans would support the Russian people’s quest for reunification, just as Russia had supported German reunification in 1990. And he sought to reassure Ukrainians that Russia did not seek any further division of their country. “Don’t believe those who try to frighten you with Russia and who scream that other regions will follow after Crimea,” Putin said. “We do not want a partition of Ukraine. We do not need this.” Making clear Russia’s concern at the possibility of the US-led NATO military alliance expanding into Ukraine, he declared: “I do not want to be welcomed in Sevastopol (Crimean home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet) by NATO sailors.” Moscow’s seizure of Crimeahas caused

the most serious East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War. Before Putin’s speech, Ukraine’s interim prime minister, ArseniyYatseniuk, sought to reassure Moscow on two key areas of concern, saying in a televised address delivered in Russian that Kiev was not seeking to join NATO, the US-led military alliance, and would act to disarm Ukrainian nationalist militias.

Moscow time

measures could follow in the coming days if Russia formally annexes Crimea. Highlighting rifts in the EU, member state Austria offered yesterday to mediate between Moscow and the West.


Mild sanctions

Despite strongly worded condemnations of the Crimean referendum, Western nations were cautious in their first practical steps against Moscow, seeking to leave the door open for a diplomatic solution. US President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on 11 Russians and Ukrainians blamed for the military seizure of Crimea, including Yanukovich, and two aides to Putin. Putin himself, suspected in the West of trying to resurrect as much as possible of the former Soviet Union under Russian leadership, was not on the blacklist. EU foreign ministers agreed to subject 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials to visa restrictions and asset freezes. Washington and Brussels said more

Putin has declared that Russia has the right to defend, by military force if necessary, Russian citizens and Russian speakers living in former Soviet republics. In a symbolic gesture, Askyonov announced on Twitter that Crimea would switch to Moscow time from March 30, putting it two hours ahead of the rest of Ukraine. In the Crimean capital Simferopol, the local government and businesses set about preparing for the switch to Russian rule. Banks scrambled to introduce the rouble as an official currency alongside the Ukrainian hryvnia, although the switch could take place at the end of the month after March pensions and salaries are cleared, banking sources said. The pan-European Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe cancelled a meeting to discuss sending a monitoring mission to Ukraine because the 57 members are deadlocked. l

not taken any kind of aid from the bank “as people’s emotion is involved with the anthem.” “Our national anthem will not be sung with the financial aid of any organisation that works as an ally of the Jamaat-e-Islami, war criminals and militant forces,” Inu said at a programme at the Bangla Academy. “It could not be possible to set the record with the aid of evil forces. The money will be given back as early as possible,” he said. Noor, however, told reporters at the Secretariat: “The government did not take any kind of aid from the bank although it is a legal bank.” The statements from the ministers came at a time when criticism has been widespread, especially on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, regarding collection of money from the Islami Bank. When contacted, the bank’s Executive Vice President Ataur Rahman, however, told the Dhaka Tribune that the bank had donated Tk3 crore to the government fund following a letter from the Bangladesh Association of Banks. “We have handed over the money… and now it is the government’s decision how to spend it,” he said.

Asked for his reaction to Noor’s statement, Ataur said the bank would not make any comment on the issue. A recent photograph of the Islami Bank published in newspapers showed its Vice-Chairperson Mustafa Anwar handing over a cheque to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. A press release of the bank said the donation was for celebrating the government’s “Sonar Bangla in Million Voices” programme. The photo showed Finance Minister AMA Muhith, State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid, PM’s Energy Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury present at the ceremony. At least 300,000 people will gather at the National Parade Ground in the capital on March 26, the Independence Day, to sing the national anthem in a bid to set a new Guinness World Record. Muhith last week sought Tk100 crore from private companies, including Tk15 crore from mobile operators, for the beautification work on the occasion of the T20 World Cup and holding the national anthem record attempt programme. The companies, which donated to the PM’s fund, issued press releases, saying they had made the donations for the two events; only Islami Bank said it had donated Tk3 crore for the Guinness record attempt. l

Chowdhury ranked second and third. Their net assets increased by around 15 and seven times respectively. If the values of wealth were mentioned in the affidavits, the number of millionaire candidates would increase, the report said. SHUJAN has analysed the assets of 48 candidates as the election commission has cancelled the nominations of two candidates, one each from AL and Jatiya Party, for default in telephone bills. Of the 38 AL candidates, 10 are millionaires. Nilufar Zafar Ullah, wife of AL presidium member Kazi Zafar Ullah, has wealth worth over Tk 5 crore. The annual income of the nine aspirants and their family members has increased by over 1.5 times on average in last five years. Of them, the income of Sanjida Khanom has increased by over 15 times. Although the annual income of Tarana Halim and Mahjabin and their family members reduced by around 22% and 85% respectively, their net assets have increased by around 2.2 and 15 times. Of the total candidates, 12 have assets worth over Tk 1 crore while only three have assets worth less than Tk 3 lakhs. According to the report, 34 out of 48 candidates have completed graduation while six could not complete school education. Twelve candidates are businesspersons while only three are housewives. Besides, none of the aspirants is accused in any case. Referring to a news report, SHUJAN officials claimed that nepotism dominated throughout the procedure of nominating the candidates. As a result, at least nine aspirants of the 48 are not actively involved in politics. Meanwhile, Farhad Hossain, senior assistant secretary of the EC, told the Dhaka Tribune that none of the 48 candidates for reserved seat polls withdrew their candidacy on Tuesday, the last date for withdrawal of candidature. So, they are going to be elected unopposed, he added. He said the commission will publish the gazette of 48 women MPs today and announce the reschedule for the polls in two seats, 21 days after publishing the gazette. l



Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Freedom fighter tortured in presence of Mir Kashem
n Udisa Islam
A new prosecution witness yesterday told the war crimes tribunal that he had been tortured repeatedly at an al-Badr camp situated in Daleem Hotel in Chittagong City during the 1971 Liberation War and accused Mir Kashem Ali was present at that time. Jahangir Alam Chowdhury, 66, a commando freedom fighter, submitted his deposition as the 16th prosecution witness. He was captured by the Pakistani troops and their accomplices in al-Badr force two days after the Eidul-Fitr and taken to the camp. Jamaat-e-Islami Treasurer and key financier Mir Kashem is facing 14 charges for committing crimes against humanity. He was allegedly the commander of al-Badr forces in Chittagong. The witness said: “After some beatings, they locked me in a room of the camp where I met some known people including my younger brother Dastagir Chowdhury. At night, al-Badr members Nurul Afsar and Mir Kashem brought Shafiul Alam to our room. He was bleeding. As they left the room, some of the al-Badr members advised everybody to take lessons from his torture.” “We learnt from one Swapan, who used to serve us food, that my captors have already killed many people in the camp and threw their bodies in Karnaphuli River.” Jahangir also said juvenile Jasim, aged around 14-15 years, was brought to the room the next day.

Jamaat-e-Islami Treasurer and key financier Mir Kashem is facing 14 charges for committing crimes against humanity. He was allegedly the commander of al-Badr forces in Chittagong
Before being captured, Jahangir had gone to India in April and took training Chakulia, the witness said. “Al-Badr man Afsar offered me to announce through radio that everything was under control and the freedom fighters could come back. But I disagreed.” Then they tortured him and showed his injured body to the other detainees to scare them. Accused Mir Kashem was then present, Jahangir said. During the cross-examination by defence counsel Mizanul Islam, witness Jahangir said he had no idea

that the Mahamaya Building, which had later been known as Daleem Hotel, was under control of non-Bengali Biharis led by one Motya Gunda. The International Crimes Tribunal 2 then adjourned the hearing until today for placing new witness. Mir Kashem was arrested on June 17, 2012 at the daily Naya Diganta office in the city’s Motijheel area and has been kept at Kashimpur High Security Jail. He is the chairman of Diganta Media Corporation that also owns Diganta TV. According to the government, Mir Kashem had given a US lobbyist firm $25m to spread propaganda against the war crimes trials. Bergman’s hearing March 27 The same tribunal yesterday fixed March 27 for hearing of Bangladeshbased British journalist David Bergman’s explanation over the alleged derogatory comments he made about the tribunal in his blog posts. The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Obaidul Hassan passed the order after receiving the explanation. Bergman was present in the court room along with his family members. Earlier the tribunal asked him to explain his critiques in person or by engaging a lawyer following a petition by Supreme Court lawyer Abul Kalam Azad. The petitioner alleged that Bergman had “termed the tribunal’s claim of 30 lakh martyrs wrong.” l

TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman speaks at a seminar marking the International Women’s Day, at Cirdap auditorium in the capital yesterday MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

‘Azhar involved in Jharuar Beel massacre‘
n Udisa Islam
The defence of Jamaat-e-Islami leader ATM Azharul Islam yesterday took the whole day to end cross-examination of the prosecution’s fourth witness who in his deposition said the accused had actively taken part in Jharuar Beel massacre in Rangpur when around 1,200 people had been killed. Meser Uddin, 66, a freedom fighter from Ramakrishnapur under Badarganj police station testified at the war crimes tribunal 1 on Sunday. During the whole day cross-examination, the defence questioned the witness about the geographical position of Jharuar Beel. In the morning session, defence counsel Abdus Sobhan Tarafder grilled him about the railway station and the rail tracks of Badarganj and Parbatipur after more than one and a half hours. After the tribunal intervened, he took three more hours to close the cross-examination. The witness disagreed with the defence suggestion that the massacre of April 15 and 16 in 1971 had been committed by a group of the Pakistani occupation forces. Conducting prosecutor AKM Saiful Islam and his assistant Tapos Kanti Baul were present. Meanwhile, the tribunal had to defer proceedings in the case against Mobarak Hossain until today since the cross-examination of Meser Ali in Azhar case took the whole day. The defence was set to produce the second witness yesterday to defend Mobarak, an alleged razakar from Brahmanbaria’s Akhaura. On December 15 last year, the accused appeared in the witness box from the dock to defend his case as the first defence witness. In the case against fugitive BNP leader Zahid Hossain Khokon alias Khokon Razakar, the prosecution pleaded for time to place the 23rd witness. The tribunal then deferred the trial until March 24. l

BNP to lay siege to DC offices tomorrow
n Mohammad Al-Masum Molla
The BNP will lay siege to the deputy commissioners’ offices across the country tomorrow (Thursday) in protest at “vote rigging and attacks” on the 19-party alliance leaders and activists by “the ruling party men” during the third phase of Upazila Parishad elections on March 15. The party will also submit memorandums to the DCs on the day, citing “vote rigging and illegal stamping on ballots.” “We will lay siege to the deputy commissioners’ offices across the country on March 20 protesting the violence, killing, vote rigging, attacks on BNP-backed candidates and snatching of ballot boxes that took place in last three phases,” Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, joint secretary general of the party, said. Addressing a press briefing at the party’s Nayapaltan headquarters, he alleged that the ‘illegal’ government has increased the level of violence to ensure the victory for the ruling party-backed candidates. “News reports showed that these incidents took place with direct support of the administration. The only target of the violence in the upazila elections was to divert people’s attention.” Rizvi said that they repeatedly brought allegations to the election commission, but the commission played a silent role. “The EC turned into a rubber stamp institution.” The BNP leader claimed that every day party leaders and activists were going missing mysteriously. “According to today’s news report, at least 13 bodies were found in last 24 hours. These bodies are sometimes identified and sometimes unidentified. People of all strata, including politicians, journalists, businessmen, public representatives and students, became the victims of government-sponsored terrorism since it came to power.” l

Shah Newaz: Miscreants know if polls to see violence
n Mohammad Zakaria
Election Commissioner Md Shah Newaz yesterday said miscreants knew better if the election would see any rise in violence in the next phase of upazila parishad polls. “Ask them [miscreants] about it as it was they who are responsible for violence. The commission is trying to hold free and fair elections,” he told reporters at the EC secretariat in the capital. Replying to a query about curbing violence, the commissioner said: “The EC alone can’t stop it. The EC is taking necessary steps to curb it.” “There’s no way that EC can know beforehand if any violence would erupt in the elections. So it is difficult to take pre-emptive measures. The main thing is that how effectively the commission is tackling the violence when it flares,” he said. Asked about the field level cooperation, he said: “Miscreants in the field level are desperate and causing troubles. The commission has directed law enforcers to take action. We are taking all possible measures to hold free and fair polls.” He also said as candidates were resorting to illegal means to win the elections violence comes as its inevitable outcome. Asked if the polling officers are feeling helpless, he said: “We are not getting such reports. But if anyone feels helpless, we will provide them with all kinds of supports. The number of law enforcers has been increased.

SHUJAN Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder speaks at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity auditorium yesterday


Four BNP leaders sent to jail
Tribune Report
Courts in Dhaka and Rajshahi sent four central leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party to jail yesterday. A Dhaka court fixed March 23 for the bail hearing on three detained leaders — party’s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members Mirza Abbas and Abdus Salam. Earlier on March 16, they were sent to jail after the court had rejected their bail petitions in connection with three separate cases filed with Ramna police station. Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Shahriar Mahmud Adnan gave the order when they surrendered before the court seeking bail. Earlier on March 9, a five-member bench of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Muzammel Hossain scrapped the HC order that granted bail for eight weeks to five top BNP leaders, including the three. Defence counsel Md Sanaullah Miah filed the criminal miscellaneous case against the bail order rejected by the metropolitan magistrate court. The three cases were filed in connection with the killing of a policeman and three others in petrol bomb attacks during the anti-government protests from December last year to January this year. On January 3, three passengers suffered serious burns in a petrol bomb attack on a public bus at Paribagh in the capital. Later, two passengers, including a woman, died from their injuries at burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Rajshahi Metropolitan Magistrate Court-1 sent former mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation Mizanur Rahman Minu, also joint secretary of BNP, to jail yesterday in connection with attempt-to-police murder case, our district correspondent reports. Judge Sidhartho Mondol cancelled Minu’s bail prayer and sent him to jail. On June 4 in 2011, BNP brought out a procession led by Minu, but police stopped them at Shaheb Bazar zero point that led a clash between cops and BNP men. During the clash, Boalia police station officer-in-charge Khan Mohammad Shahriar was injured by bullet. Sub-inspector Jahangir Alam lodged a case against BNP and Jamaat men. On February 3 this year, police pressed charges against 130 BNP men, including Minu and city BNP secretary Shafiqul Haque Milon. Minu surrendered before the court at noon yesterday and sought bail, but the court sent him to jail. l

‘There’s no way that EC can know beforehand if any violence would erupt in the elections. So it is difficult to take pre-emptive measures’
About the third phase of polls, he said: “We have taken measures in the areas prone to violence. Votes in 26 centres were suspended. We could have taken more steps, if we had come to know about it earlier. But suspension of election is not the solution.” The commissioner added that the intensity of violence in the third phase was tolerable. The incidents of death during election took place far from the centres. l

Ctg polls officials complain of MPs’ interference in polls
n Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong
The election officials of Chittagong yesterday alleged that lawmaker were unnecessarily interfering in upazila elections in the district. They put forward the allegation to Election Commissioner (EC) Md Javed Ali in a view-exchange meeting in the conference room of divisional commissioner’s office in the port city around 11am ahead of fourth phase of upazila election. Mohammad Abdullah, divisional commissioner of Chittagong, presided over the view-exchange meeting where the EC addressed as a chief guest. Md Nowsher Ali, deputy inspector general of Chittagong range, Md Shafiqul Islam, commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police, and AKM Hafiz Akhter, superintendent of police in Chittagong, were in the view-exchange meeting among other officials and representatives of the EC and law enforcement agencies. Sanaul Haque, additional deputy commissioner (general) and returning officer of Chittagong district, alleged that the lawmakers were participating in the election campaign and interfering in the polls activities for which EC officials find it difficult to play a neutral role. In reply, the EC warned if anyone did not go by the election code of conduct lawful action would be taken against them, no matter who they were. He also instructed law enforcement agencies to tighten security for voters, election officials and media persons to ensure a fair and free election. In Chittagong, election will be held in seven upazilas on March 23 in the fourth phase of the upazila poll. l

RMG worker raped in Narayanganj
n Our Correspondent, Narayanganj
A readymade garment worker was allegedly raped by an adult several times who lured her of marriage in Fatullah area under Sadar upazila of Narayanganj. The victim filed a case in this connection with Fatullah Model police station as a plaintiff yesterday morning. According to case statement, she met Shamim while working in a garment factory and developed intimate relationship. In the meantime Shamim established illicit physical relationship with her for last few months by luring her of marriage. The victim said Shamim recently started to avoid her when she used to raise the topic of their marriage and now she thought that he had deceived her. Shamim again raped her on last Saturday. Akter Hossain, officer-in-charge of the police station confirmed the matter and said: “A case was filed in this regard. We are trying our best to arrest the culprit.” l

Two JMB snatchers on 10-day remand
n Our Correspondent, Mymensingh
A Mymensingh court yesterday placed two members of Jama’at-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh on a 10-day remand in connection with the snatching of three convicted JMB militants from a prison van in Trishal upazila. The two convicts are microbus drivers Zakaria and Russel, arrested from Shakhipur upazila of the district. On February 23, in a dramatic operation, members of banned Islamist outfit JMB killed a policeman and snatched three of their top detained operatives from a prison van in Trishal of Mymensingh on the Dhaka-Tangail highway. l

Judges’ pay hike likely this month
n Tribune Report
The government yesterday tabled in parliament a bill proposing 50% additional allowances for the Chief Justice and judges of the High Court and Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court. Law Minister Anisul Huq tabled the Supreme Court Judges (remuneration and privileges) Bill-2014 in parliament. The bill, if passed, will amend the existing Supreme Court Judges (remuneration and privileges) Ordinance-1978. The proposed law says the judges will get 50% of their basic salary as special allowance every month. Not only the Chief Justice and judges, the commissioners of the Anti-Corruption Commission and other autonomous bodies will get similar allowance, the law ministry officials say. Since its opening sitting on January 29, the government has not tabled any bill in the last 20 sittings of the 10th Jatiya Sangsad, practically devoid of a true opposition. Parliament resumed its sitting on March 18 after a five-day recess since March 12. After its initiation in the House, the bill went to the parliamentary standing committee on the 10-member parliamentary standing committee on law ministry headed by the former railway minister Suranjit Sengupta. The watchdog has been given three days to examine the bill and bring out changes to it, if it thinks necessary. The standing committee will then place its report to the House by March 23. The bill is likely to be passed after the speaker includes the bill in the day’s business, parliament secretariat officials say. l




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Protection gear for treating nipah patients
14 fatalities out of 27 cases this year so far n Moniruzzaman Uzzal NIPAH SITUATION
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has decided to provide doctors, nurses and health officials working in the 28 nipah virus-prone districts with personal protection equipment, which includes special dress, shoes, mask, cap etc. Considering the high infection rate of the nipah virus, healthcare officials at the medical colleges and civil surgeon’s office in the nipah-prone districts would receive the protection equipment, donated to the IEDCR by the USAID. Apart from treating patients suffering from nipah infection, the protection equipment would also be used for treating patients of other infectious diseases like influenza H5N1, H7N9 and MERS coronavirus. Professor Dr Mahmudur Rahman, director of the IEDCR, told the Dhaka Tribune that nipah virus infection was a major public health concern for Bangladesh, as the mortality rate of the disease was very high. During December 31 last year to February 28, at least 27 reported cases of nipah virus infection have been found in 13 districts, including 14 fatalities – 11 male and three female. Specialists at the IEDCR have re-

ACC seeks information on 6 managing directors of Petrobangla companies
n Syed Samiul Basher Anik
The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday sought information on six managing directors of the companies under the state-run Petrobangla in connection with its inquiry against Petrobangla Chairman Md Hossain Monsur on charge of acquiring illegal wealth. ACC Deputy Director Ahsan Ali served a letter to the Petrobangla chairman asking him to submit certified photocopies of the documents on whether there were any inquiry conducted against six managing directors of Bangladesh Gas Fields Company Limited MD Nurul Absar, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited MD engineer M Nowshad Islam, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited Meer Mohammad Abdul Matin, Sundarban Gas Company Limited MD M Nurul Islam, Sylhet Gas Fields Limited MD engineer M Tofazzal Hossain, and Barapukuria Coal Mine Company MD M Aminuzzaman. The ACC also asked the Petrobangla chairman to submit investigation reports, if any, on those six managing directors by March 25 to the ACC headquarters. ACC earlier on March 10 asked the Petrobangla chairman to submit documents including lists of appointments, all tender documents and lists of contractual works made in the last four years. The companies, however, are yet to provide any information to the ACC even after the deadline was over on March 16. After specific allegations, the ACC on March 9 assigned its deputy director to inquire into alleged involvement of Petrobangla chairman in accumulating illegal wealth through appointments in 13 of its companies violating rules. The allegation said the chairman in connivance with some of his associates appointed a good number of employees violating the rules of the company. Meanwhile, Petrobangla Chairman MD Hussain Monsur served a legal notice on the Daily Jugantor asking it to compensate him Tk100 crore and publish an erratum on his newspaper seeking apology for running false news on him. Barrister Ashraf Uddin Bhuiyan served the legal notice on behalf of the Petrobangla chairman. The legal notice made the daily’s acting editor Saiful Islam, Publisher Salma Islam, the reporter concerned and chairman/ managing director of the Jamuna Printing and Publishing Limited respondents. The notice said the newspaper published seven false and defamatory articles terming Md Hussain Monsur a corrupt person. The newspaper published the news item in a bid to malign the image of Monsur, the notice reads. l

PM: Vested quarters active against developement n Emran Hossain Shaikh
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said a vested interests quarter was now shedding crocodile tears for BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami as they do not want the country to develop and prosper. She said: “When the country is moving forward, this quarter is now making conspiracies by taking sides with the BNP Jamaat. "The leader of the opposition did not attend the parliament session in the last five years, then why shed crocodile tears for them? I think that they do not want the country to move forward,” she said while addressing a party programme marking the birth anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital. Sheikh Hasina, who is also the president of the ruling Awami League, said despite such conspiracies, the Awami League knows it very well how to ensure welfare to the people. “It is our duty to fulfill the dream of the father of the nation. We have to build a hunger and poverty-free Bangladesh and this is our commitment,” she added. The premier also said though the anti-liberation forces were defeated in 1971, they continued to hatch conspiracies against the country. “Killing, militancy and violence erupt across the country whenever BNP comes to power,” she said adding that the ALled government had been more focused on the country’s development after the success of its previous tenure. Senior leaders of the party, including Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed and Matia Chowdhury, among others, also addressed the programme which was chaired by Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury. l

DECEMBER 31, 2013 TO FEBRUARY 28, 2014

Name of the districts

Nu Number umbe mber of f Cases Cases s

Number N umb ber of death of dea eath

Manikganj Magura Faridpur Rangpur Shariatpur Kushtia Rajshahi Natore Dinajpur Chapainawabganj Naogaon Madaripur Dhaka TOTAL

2 5 5 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 1 27

2 2 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 14

portedly found a new dimension of nipah cases compared to previous years. Although patients were earlier found usually in a specific locality or in a family, this year individual patients were reported from scattered locations. Human Nipah virus (NiV) infection,

an emerging zoonotic disease, was first recognised in a large outbreak of 276 reported cases in Malaysia and Singapore from September 1998 through May 1999. NiV is a highly pathogenic paramyxovirus belonging to genus Henipavirus. It is an enveloped RNA virus. Preferred to stay unnamed, several epidemiologists told the Dhaka Tribune that although the nipah virus usually spread through raw date sap, researchers were trying to find out whether the virus also spread through ripe fruits eaten by birds. IEDCR Director Mahmudur said it was very unfortunate that people ignored repeated cautions against consuming raw date sap, and continued to drink it even after hearing the news of deaths. The IEDCR has rapid response teams in the infected districts, while all medical officers concerned had also been trained on treating nipah and other infectious diseases, he added. Asked about the effectiveness of the awareness campaigns, Dr Mahmudur said it was partially true that the campaign was not enough, but added that people should comply with expert advice and refrain from drinking raw date sap. l

ACC seeks wealth statements of Mannan and his wife
n Tribune Report
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) served notices to former state minister for housing and public works Abdul Mannan Khan and his wife Hasina Sultana yesterday. The anti-graft watchdog asked them to submit their wealth statements within next seven days. The commission served the notices in connection with an inquiry into the allegations of their ammassing illegal wealth. During primary inquiry, the ACC officials found inconsistencies between their wealth statements and their sources of income. In January the ACC launched preliminary probes against three former ministers, three members of the parliament, and three former lawmakers of the BNP, the Awami League and the Jatiya Party. The probes were launched over alleged discrepancies in their wealth statements submitted to the Election Commission last year. l

Grameen Bank office robbed n Our Correspondent, Jhenaidah
Robbers looted Tk8,000 and valuables from Bishoykhali Bazar branch of Grameen Bank in sadar upazila of Jhenaidah yesterday. Qamrul Islam, manager of the branch, said eight masked robbers had come on three motorcycles and stormed into the branch around 4:15pm. They had taken all employees and clients present hostage at gunpoint and looted the cash, seven mobile phone sets and a gold chain from a client. The amount of looted money could have been much more if the branch authorities had not deposited their collection to a local branch of Janata Bank just before the robbery, the manager said. Jhenaidah Sadar police station OC Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury said no case had been filed as of yesterday evening. l

The Fisheries Department takes out a colourful rally in the capital yesterday, marking the Jatka Conservation Week 2014


JU admission seekers held for cheating
n JU Correspondent
Jahangirnagar University authorities yesterday held at least eight students for allegedly cheating in admission tests by getting answers through mobile text messages. One of the suspects, Indrajit Datta, was detained after he was caught red-handed as he received answers from outside on his mobile phone during an oral test of the biotechnology and genetic engineering department. The authorities also held seven other admission seekers suspected of cheating in written tests earlier and seized papers and mobile phones from them. “We came to know from a secret source that a particular circle provided answers to question papers of the admission test to the applicants through mobile SMS,” Shahedur Rahman, chairman of the department’s admission committee told the Dhaka Tribune. “After getting the information, we reexamined the answer sheets of the students and found at least eight of them with the same answers. Those students got 15 out of 15 both in Bangla and English, but none of them achieved GPA 5 in their SSC and HSC results,” the professor added. Later, the university authorities decide to keep an eye on the suspected cheaters during the viva voce. “We detained them and seized their mobile phones,” Shahedur said. However, only Indrajit’s phone inbox still contained the correct answers to the test questions, he said. The authorities took Indrajit to the proctor’s office for questioning, while the other suspects were released after providing information. Indrajit claimed that he paid Tk2 lakh to some unidentified people after standing 10th on the merit list of the written test. “Indrajit would be handed over to the police,” JU Proctor Tapan Kumar Saha said, adding: “We would ask the central admission committee to take proper steps regarding the matter after finishing our investigation.” l

Trader's body exhumed for autopsy

Dry weather likely n UNB
Light rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty wind is likely to occur at one or two places over Khulna, Barisal and Dhaka divisions and in the regions of Comilla, Noakhali and Sylhet until 6pm today. Weather might remain mainly dry with temporary partly cloudy sky elsewhere over the country, Met Office said. Day and night temperatures may remain nearly unchanged over the country. The sun sets in the capital at 6:09pm and rises at 6:03am tomorrow. Country’s highest temperature 36.0 degree Celsius was recorded in Jessore and lowest 15.2 degrees in Srimangal yesterday. Highest and lowest temperatures recorded in some major cities yesterday were: City Dhaka Chittagong Rajshahi Rangpur Khulna Barisal Sylhet Cox’s Bazar High 33.8 30.6 35.3 32.5 35.5 34.5 34.4 33.0 Low 20.5 19.0 17.8 18.3 22.0 22.6 19.0 19.0

n Our Correspondent, Gazipur
Following a court order for a post mortem examination, the body of a trader was exhumed yesterday, four months after his death. Family members of Kafil Uddin alleged that Nazmul Haque and his men beat up Kafil in Zoina Bazar area on August 2 last year, while the trader died from his wound on November 6. Following a court order based on a case filed by the victim's wife, Upazila Nirbahi Officer Aziz Hyder Bhuiya organised the exhumation yesterday. l

New industrial waste regulations on cards
n Tribune Report
The Department of Environment has said a new standard and guideline for managing industrial wastes will be added as part of the country’s environmental regulations. “Sludge generated from Effluent Treatment Plants used in textiles and other industries pose serious threat to our environment. A Waste Management Standards and Guidelines has become extremely important as an initial step towards a solution to this problem,” Rafique Ahmed, director for international convention at the DoE, told a stakeholder session discussion. “Sludge is the solid residue generated during treatment of wastewater, and currently there are no official instructions on how to dispose this sludge in an environmentally friendly manner,” he said. The DoE, together with Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES), a joint programme of the governments of Germany and Bangladesh, initiated by GIZ, held the discussion. He said: “The DoE is quite serious in addressing this pollution issue and having this in mind. We look forward to the enhancing our engagement with GIZ in this regard. “Following this consultation process, we expect to see Standards and Guidelines for textile and hazardous wastages from other industries finalised and gazetted to become part of the environmental regulations,” said Elke Shrestha, a senior adviser for the PSES. The stakeholder session followed years of cooperation with DoE that involved collecting representative samples of sludge, sending them to Germany for laboratory analysis, drafting of Standards and Guidelines and training of DoE officials last year. l

Fajar Sunrise Zohr Asr Magrib Esha 4:48am 6:03am 12:06pm 4:28pm 6:09pm 7:25pm


Officials of a mobile court check fishes for the presence of formalin at a market in the capital's Uttara yesterday




Wednesday, March 19, 2014


City canals fall victims to encroachment and waste dumping
Dhaka Wasa to reclaim 26 canals under a water supply and sanitation project
n Abu Hayat Mahmud
Two major canals in the capital – Shahzadpur and Shutibhola canals – have become victims of rampant encroachment and indiscriminate waste dumping, as authorities concerned reportedly remained soft against the canal-grabbers, and have also failed to re-dig, demarcate and monitor the condition of the canals. Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) officials claimed that the city canals had no illegal occupants; but residents of Shahzadpur, Uttar Badda, Khilbari Tek, Nurerchala, Jauar Tek alleged that negligence by the authorities have allowed encroachers to grab parts of the Shahzadpur and Shutibhola canals. Abul Khayer, a resident of Shahzadpur, said most locals dumped their household wastes in Shahzadpur canal and many even occupied significant portions of the canal in the absence of proper maintenance. “The workers of Wasa come after a long period of time to clean only the garbage, but take no step to re-dig the canal,” he said, adding: “The canal’s width has reduced because of encroachment by land owners near the canal.” K Jamal, another resident living near the bank of Shutibhola canal at Uttar Badda, said the bed of the canal was full of polythene-waste and other garbage. “As the canal is filthy and uncared for, people of its adjoining areas throw their household wastes including a huge number of poly-bags in it. In rainy season, it becomes almost impossible to live in this area because of overflow of rainwater with garbage,” he said. According to Dhaka Wasa, Dhaka used to have 65 canals but the number has come down to 43 over time. Of the existing ones, around 20 canals have also nearly vanished because of encroachment, Wasa officials said. In a bid to ensure sustainable delivery of storm water drainage and wastewater disposal from the city, the government in September 2008 approved the Dhaka Water Supply and Sanitation Project (DWSSP), in association with the World Bank. As part of the project, Dhaka Wasa has taken steps to reclaim 26 canals from illegal occupation by building walkways, channels, lining and planting trees along demarcation of the canals’ embankments. The Shahzadpur canal passes through Pragati Sarani, Shahzadpur, Shutibhola and Uttar Badda; while the Shutibhola canal winds its way through Shutibhola mouza, Satarkul mouza and the eastern part of Ulan mouza. According to a 2007 survey by Wasa, the 1.91km-long Shahzadpur canal was 9 metre wide on an average, and the 3.68km-long Shutibhola canal was around 10-20 metre wide. However, during a recent visit to the area, the Dhaka Tribune found that different establishments built near the banks of the canals has caused the width of Shahzadpur canal to narrow down to around 5-7 meter, while Shutibhola’s width had become around 9-10 meter. The dumping of household wastes and poly-bag into the canal by locals has also reportedly caused the depth in different areas of the canal to come down to around 2-3 meter. AFM Abdul Aziz, project director for the DWSSP, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We will immediately start the development of Shahzadpur canal, Shutibhola canal and Abdullahpur canal. “Dhaka Wasa has asked invitation

Shahjadpur canal is filled with wastage, hampering water flow of the canal. The photo was taken yesterday for tender to appoint contractors for the implementation of the project,” he added. Aziz said the project consisted of constructing open RCC (reinforced concrete) rectangular channel, closed RCC box-culverts, walkways, erection of demarcation pillars and tree plantation. He claimed that constructing walkways and planting trees would depend on space availability, but demarcation


pillars would be erected at 10 metre gaps, while waste containers would also be set up on both sides of the channel at suitable locations. l

500 students from DU, Buet to get laptop loan n Muhammad Zahidul Islam
The government will soon introduce a project which would enable university students to secure loads for buying laptops without the need of a guarantor, said a source at the division of Information and Communication Technology. Under a pilot project starting May this year, some five hundred students from Dhaka University and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) will be able to avail this facility from state-owned Janata Bank. State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak and other officials from the division already held a meeting with Janata Bank officials at his office yesterday in this regard. Sources said, each student will be able to take a loan of Tk36,000 under the pilot project, for which requires no guaranty while the repayment method was yet to be finalised. The government had been planning to offer this special loan for the university students from last year, but could not manage a commercial bank to support the idea. “We are ready to disburse this loan, but we need to prepare a scheme before we can do that,” Janata Bank Managing Director and CEO SM Aminur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune. He also said for agriculture, central bank gives banks a loan on a 4% interest rate and the banks add another 6% and then disburse it, “Same think can happen here and we are ready to do it,” he said. Citing a recent study, a high official of the ICT division said, 70% of the students in public universities come from rural areas and only 6% of them have personal laptops. “So rural students will get priority for this loan,” the official said. “We are also trying to engage some local and international donor agencies to support the program as our plan is to turn our whole student population in a modern working force by equipping them with the latest ICT-related technologies,’’ State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak told the Dhaka Tribune. He, however, added that the initiative depends mostly on the success of this pilot project. Janata Bank MD said, “For our security, we need guaranty but it is not possible to take guaranty from the institutions.” Earlier, Rupali Bank and Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) expressed interests in the project, but later backed off. Source at the ICT division also added the government also plans to disburse loans among 80,000 university students to help them buy a personal laptop. l

A week of body recovering JnU Chhatra League and Teachers’ passes, police yet to file case Association postpone demo
n Our Correspondent, Kurigram
Family members of Kalu Sheikh alleged that police were reluctant to file a case against culprits although one week has passed since the body was recovered . The deceased’s mother Zamila Begum of Char Mia Para village, Roumari upazila made the allegation. She said the family had been feeling unsafe as the culprits were issuing death threats after their names were revealed. On top of that, the police have been seem associating with the killers in plain view, the victim’s family members alleged. Kalu Sheikh was killed on March 7. The Indian Border Security Force recovered the body on March 11 and handed it over to Border Guard Bangladesh. The deceased’s wife Momtaz Begum said: “My husband was killed over a land dispute. After his body was recovered, we went to the police station but police did not take our case.” Deceased’s sister Monira Begum said the killers were pressuring the police not to lodge a case. Meanwhile, Rajibpur police station Officer-in-Charge Helal Uddin said: “It is not true that we did not consider the allegations. The BGB gave the body to us and the decision to file a case or not will be made after getting the autopsy report.” l

n Mohammad Jamil Khan
The Jagannath University (JnU) Teachers’ Association and the Hall Recovery Sangram Parishad led by the university unit Bangladesh Chhatra League have postponed their ongoing agitation programme to retrieve their grabbed halls. On the other hand, the Progressive Students’ Alliance led by the left student parties took the lead of the ongoing demonstration and warned that they would cordon off the secretariat and the prime minister’s office if their demands were not met in face of the demonstration. In a written statement yesterday, JnU unit Chhatra League announced that they would postpone the demon-

stration until the probe formed submitted their report, while the teachers’ association, in their statement, claimed that they postponed the demonstration as JnU unit Chhatra League Secretary Shirajul Islam alleged stopped the tender work of Chemistry Department. The teachers said they would not participate in any demonstration led by anyone like Shirajul. However, JnU Teachers’ Association Secretary Dr Parimal Bala said they would start new programmes, if needed. Meanwhile, agitated students led by the progressive alliance brought out procession on the campus around 10am and staged demonstration by setting fire to tires in front of Bangladesh Bank Sadarghat Branch.

The students also blocked the Chittaranjan Avenue, suspending vehicular movement for two hours. Later, the students announced new demonstration programmes around 2pm through a media briefing at the university cafeteria after holding a rally in front of the Shahhed Rafiq building. As per new demo programme, they would hold protest rallies and processions on March 19, 20, and 24, along with a view exchange meeting with the local residences on March 31. They would also hold a sit-in programme in front of the JnU vice-chancellor’s office on April 2. They also warned to cordon off the secretariat and the PMO, if their demands were not met by then. l

Two committees formed over implementing DAP
n Mohosinul Karim
The cabinet committee on Detailed Area Plan (DAP) yesterday formed a sub-committee and a technical committee to assist the cabinet committee to ensure proper use of land in the DAP area. Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sharif was made convener of the sub-committee and he would recommend the cabinet committee for implementing the DAP over changing character of land. Meanwhile, Rajuk’s member of planning wing was made convener of the technical committee for suggesting the cabinet committee after conducting feasible examination of the land in the DAP area. The decisions were taken in the cabinet committee meeting held at housing and public works ministry conference room with committee chief Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain in the chair, Ministry’s Senior Information Officer SM Golam Kibria told the Dhaka Tribune. Members of the sub-committee are Environment and Forest Minister Anowar Hossain Manju, secretaries of land, local government, environment and forest and housing and public works ministries, director general of directorate of Environment and Water Development Board and Chairman of Rajuk. The members of technical committee are: deputy directors of directorate of urban development, department of architecture and directorate of environment, representatives of Dhaka Wasa, Water Development Board and Inland Water Transport Authority while Rajuk’s Director (Town Planning) would be its member secretary.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Ministry Mosharraf Hossain expressed his dissatisfaction over slow progress of the DAP implementation.
Sources, who attended the meeting, Minister for Housing and Public Works Ministry Mosharraf Hossain expressed his dissatisfaction over slow progress of the DAP implementation. It was discussed in the meeting that realtors, who were given permission to develop land and construct buildings, are taking relatively higher prices. So, the government would take realistic decision in this regard after reviewing the DAP plan soon, he added. At the meeting the minister said the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipaksha should give emphasise on ensuring the water flowing facilities while giving approval of land development and construction of buildings in the planned area. Committee Members, Communication Minister Obaidul Quader, Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Environment and Forest Minister Anowar Hossain Manju, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sharif, attended the meeting.

A procession is brought out in the city yesterday, marking the 94th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the National Children’s Day DHAKA TRIBUNE

Locals block road demanding repairs
n Our correspondent, Barisal
Agitated locals blocked and dug sections of the road and held demonstration demanding immediate completion of repair of Barisal-Nabagram road in Barisal city yesterday. Around 4,000 agitated residents of Barisal city blocked the Barisal-Nabagram Road by felling logs, cut roads by digging and staged sit-in from Government Syed Hatem Ali College Chowmatha to Ruiar Poll areas of the road. Locals alleged that the repair and reconstruction of the vital eight-kilometre long road connecting vast areas of western part of the city and eastern part of Jhalokati district remained suspended following the changing of mayor after city corporation election of June 15, 2013. Kawsar Hossain, one of the residents in the area, said that the contractor left the site of work without completing the task more than a year ago. Vehicular movements on that half-done road cause regular accidents, spread dust, and create health problems like asthma and diarrhoea among the neighbouring residents, alleged Nasimul Alam, another resident. AKM Shahidul Islam Talukdar, local councillor of ward 22 of Barisal City Corporation, contacted with BCC Mayor and expressed his solidarity with the participants of the movement. The mayor assured him of starting the work within seven working days. The agitated locals opened the road for vehicular movements after two hours, giving the authority a seven-day ultimatum, the ward councillor said. Nurul Islam, superintendant engineer of BCC, said Md Samraj, nephew of Shawkat Hossain Hiron, Barisal city AL president and former BCC mayor, received the work order of Tk20 m for construction of footpaths and reconstruction and repair of 1.5 kilometre part of the Barisal-Nabagram road in November 2012 and started construction work as scheduled. Humaun Kabir, BCC engineer in charge of monitoring that work, said that contractor Samraj stopped the work after the defeat of Hiron and subsequent winning of BNP leader Ahsan Habib Kamal in BCC election. BCC issued show cause notice against Samraj last month and in reply he assured resumption of the work soon. If he failed, punitive action would be taken against him, the BCC officials said. l




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A tale of potholes and broken promises
A portion of the Shahjadpur-KhukniEnaetpur road, stretching 11 kilometres, lies in a sorry state with big potholes in the centre, causing immense sufferings for both commuters and pedestrians. Locals said it had become common a situation on the road to see vehicles stuck on potholes as well as on muddy land which often creates traffic congestion on both sides of the road for hours. While talking to this correspondent local commuters shared their woes. They said the road was neither fit for vehicles or for pedestrians. Rasel Hosain, a resident of Shahjadpur, said: “Earlier when the road was in fine condition, we reached the district town within 30 minutes, but now it takes three hours, which is not only killing our time but also taking a toll on our health.” He alleged that the Road and Highways Department had not conducted renovation work on the road for the last couple of years. Communication Minister Obaidul Quader visited the road on May 25 last year and had assured the locals that he would take measures to repair the road soon. But no actions have been taken. Local Member of Parliament Hasibur Rahman Swapan said the road would be a crucial issue to local people during

Horrible road a headache for locals; authorities pay no heed upazila election scheduled to be held n Our Correspondent, Sirajganj the on March 31. He apprehended that local

people might not cast vote in favour of Awami League nominated candidate in the upcoming upazila poll since the local people become irritated with the sorry state of the road. The Awami League leader also expressed his concern to Health Minister Mohammad Nasim when he visited the area on Saturday. It was learnt that the minister made a phone call to the communication minister and Quader assured the veteran Awami League leader that the road would be renovated within 1 to 2 days. But the Road and Highways Department is yet to take any measure to fix the road. Swapan said: “If the road is not repaired it would be tough for the Awami League nominated candidate to seek support from voters.” Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Shahjadpur Russel Sabrin said, “The road is very crucial. The renovation is important to mitigate the sufferings of the people.” When contacted, Executive Engineer of Sirajganj Roads and Highway Department Mohammad Moniruzzaman said, “A project will be taken to repair the road in future. The potholes on the roads would be repaired as soon as the health and communication ministers give assurances.” l

Students of Sheikh Sayera Khatun Medical College form a human chain in Gopalganj district town yesterday, protesting vandalism at one of their hostels


Woman raped, tortured

n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat
A woman was raped, tortured and the rapist cut-off her hair in Mostafi village under Gokunda union in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila on Sunday night. According to sources, neighbour Anisur Rahman, 32, son of Motabbel Hossain, used to disturb the woman, a mother of a child. The rapist entered the victim’s house at 10pm and raped her while her husband was not in the house. At one stage, the victim caught the rapist and screamed for help. Hearing her screaming, locals went to the spot. But they did not dare to protest the rapist as he was from influential family. Later, the rapist along his relatives physically tortured the victim and cut off her hair. The victim filed a case in this connection. The rapist and his relatives vandalised and looted her house as she filed the case. Police said the victim was preparing to lodge another case with the police station. She was admitted to Lalmonirhat Sadar Hospital. The Residential Medical Officer in the hospital Dr Nabiur Rahman said she was seriously hurt as she was hit by sharp weapons. The Investigation Officer SI Asaduzzaman said the police were trying to arrest the culprits. Confirming the incident, OC Mahfuzur Rahman said the police had recorded the case and arrested one of the accused. l

Teachers, students ‘forced’ to participate in poll campaign
n Our Correspondent, Barguna
An Awami League backed candidate is allegedly forcing teachers and students of different schools at Betagi upazila in Barguna to take part in his election campaign, hampering their educational activities. Election to Betagi upazila will be held during the third phase of the upazila poll scheduled to be held on March 23. In this regard, the BNP-backed candidate Shahjahan Kabir sent a written complainant to the local administration, seeking measures. In the letter, the rival candidate said AL-backed chairman candidate Golam Kabir had been forcing teachers and students with the help of local administration to join his election campaign. Teachers of Betagi Degree Collage, Putiakhali Secondary School, Bibichini Talgachia Secondery School, Kaunia Collage, Chopkhali Secondery School and Chopkhali Johur Uddin Madrassah, Dokkhin Chopkhali Gpvernment Primary School, Danmari Chatra Government Primary School, Uttara Chopkhali Government Primary School, and Char Chokhali Government Primary School could not do their regular activities as they have to participate in election campaign. If the teachers are entrusted with the responsibility of presiding officer and polling officer, they would get involved in vote rigging, the letter said. Some teachers, who preferred to be unnamed, said, they were participating in election campaign following the directives of local Awami League leaders. Betagi Upazila Secondary Education Officer Shahjahan Ali Sheikh said, “We will not engage the teachers, who are working for an Awami League candidate, in election jobs.” Additional Deputy Commissioner (general) Mohammad Ali, who is now also serving as district returning officer, said “We will take legal actions as a chairman candidate made complaint against his rival candidate.” Golam Kabir, however, differed with the allegation and said, “No one is participating in election campaign halting educational activities as far as I know. Everyone, after finishing office hours, is doing election campaign.” l

Once a freedom fighter, now a rickshaw–puller
Sultan fighting a different battle to make ends meet wedding but I failed to do so. their group as he was always the first n Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat Rina’s I’ve to pay Tk 30 a day to rent the rick- to act on the group commander’s order.
In 1971, Sultan Miah fought for the country’s independence and his left leg was left unfit for work due to injuries. In a strange twist of fate, however, this freedom fighter, who never reveals his woes to anybody, has been pulling rickshaw for the last 14 years to make a living. Sultan earlier had a small grocery shop in the village but could not continue the business due to lack of capital. The war veteran lives with his wife Jahanara Begum and daughter Rina Khatun in a rented house at Shaheed Shahjahan Colony in the town. He had a four-decimal land in Khochabari village under Lalmonirhat municipality but sold it seven years ago to arranger his elder daughter Shefali Begum’s wedding. The 15-year-old Rina Khatun works as a housemaid at a nearby house. “I want to marry Rina off but I don’t have much money to do that. My wife has been asking me to save money for shaw but I can’t pull it for long because of the injury in my leg,” said Sultan. “I make Tk 70-80 a day by pulling rickshaw, which is insufficient to bear all the family expenses. That’s why we often starve for half of the day,” he added. Sultan says he receives a monthly allowance of Tk 2,000 as a freedom fighter from the government but the whole amount is spent on house rent and medicine for himself and his wife. The 58-year-old joined the Liberation War when he was just 18. He received training in India and fought against the Pakistani forces under group commander Soleman Ali of sector-6 in different areas of Lalmonirhat, including Bawar, Goddimari, Votmari, Dawabari, Daliya and Singimari. He also fought in Dimla and Daliya of Nilphamari at the time. Moza Miah, a fellow wear veteran, said, Sultan was a brave member in “While in the battlefield, Sultan was always very caring about his fellow fighters. We would love him very much,” said another fellow fighter Abu Hossain. Describing her husband, Jahanara said he was physically unfit for hard work. “He needs to take rest all the time but it’s a pity that he now has to work very hard to make ends meet. We want to have fish or meat on the menu but we can’t as rice, vegetables and other items gobble up the meagre amount he brings in,” she said. Now the couple’s only dream is to save enough for arranging their younger daughter’s wedding but they are unsure of the time it will take to save the required amount. “I would rather die than beg for collecting the money. I am a war veteran and that’s why begging is not for me,” Sultan said in a determined tone. l

30 hurt in Rajshahi BCL attack n Tribune Report
At least 30 students were injured in an attack by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) men at a hostel of Rajshahi New Govt Degree College in the city early Tuesday. Witnesses said the BCL activists had an altercation with some general students of the college on the campus during a farewell ceremony for the HSC examinees on Monday morning. As a sequel to the incident, a group of 15-20 BCL men attacked the students of the dormitory around 12:45am, leaving 30 injured. l

A campaign against netting jatka (hilsa fry) being conducted in the Padma River in Faridpur yesterday, marking the Jatka Preservation Week DHAKA TRIBUNE

Pregnant woman fight for life as husband pours boiling water on her
n Our Correspondent, Pirojpur
A husband poured boiling water on his six-month pregnant wife on March 8, centering on dowry, and confined her in a room for four days in Pirojpur. The name of the victim is Asma Akter, 22, daughter of Atahar Ali Mollah, hailing from Amtola area of Sadar union under Nazirpur upazila in the district. She got married to Sohag Hawlader, 27, son of Rashid Hawlader of Barisal three years back. Locals rescued the critically injured Asma and took her to Nazirpur Upazila Health Complex. Atahar Ali said he had given Tk10,000 as dowry to his son-in-law during her marriage. But later on, Sohag started physical and mental torture on Asma demanding additional dowry. Asma said: “I have been pregnant for six month. On March 8, I was cooking rice, while Sohag started pressurising me to bring additional Tk50,000 from my parental house. When I refused, he poured boiling water on me.” ‘’Sohag confined me up into a room and rubbed salt and chilli powder on my wounds. I fled to my father’s house after four days of the incident,” she added. Health Assistant of upazila health complex, A Matin Sarder said: “Some parts of the body were badly burnt.” Md Khaleque Hawlader, officer-incharge of Nazirpur police station said: “I contacted with Atahar Ali Mollah upon learning about the incident. I discussed the matter with Pirojpur district police super and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Barisal police. Atahar was sent to Bananipara police station. A case was filed. l


Long Form

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


A passage to Pakistan
A wary Bangladeshi’s visit to a familiarly foreign land yields pleasant surprises



n Kazi Anis Ahmed

was supposed to go to Lahore in January 1971, but I didn’t make it there until just this year. In 1971, my father – a Bengali – was still an officer in the Pakistan Army and he had been posted to the western side of the country. My mother, only 25 at the time, faced the prospect of traveling alone with both my brother, barely a year and a half, and me – practically a newborn – 2,000 kilometres from her home in Dhaka. So she did the smart thing; she left me with my grandparents to go set up home first. My grandmother would follow in a few weeks and deposit me with my parents. Before that trip could take place though, war broke out. The story of my family is not atypical of what many Bangladeshi families went through in 1971. My father’s

‘Why do you keep dwelling on the past? Why can’t you move on and look to the future?’ The answer is quite simple: some events are so great that you simply cannot move forward without an acceptable resolution


were the last to return. They had become interned in West Pakistan along with scores of other Bengali officers and their families during the war. For families on either side of the separated nations, the hardest part was not knowing when, or whether, they might be united again. Through it all, of course, my brother and I were as carefree as children are. My brother grew up thinking of a prison camp as “home.” I grew up thinking of my grandparents as “Mom” and “Dad.” What’s more, being a potential orphan, I was spoilt with love and care by a retinue of doting aunts and uncles. Meeting my parents at last on a November day in 1973 in the old Dhaka airport, is among my earliest memories. What I remember best, however, are not the strangers who greeted me as their own, only to be rejected thoroughly by me in the coming days; the most vivid part of that scene for me is a series of bright red Cessnas parked on the tarmac. ike many Bangladeshis of my generation, I was reared on stories of the Liberation War. Stories of the atrocities by the Pakistan Army and their local collaborators, as well as the heroic resistance mounted by our Mukti Bahini, filled my boyish imagination by turns with outrage and loathing, pride and awe. I didn’t grow up thinking of Pakistan as an enemy nation; the war was over and we had won. Yet, I was nowhere close to feeling any easy friendship toward my Pakistani peers, even during my university years in the United States. Professions of a putative fraternity as Muslims were not good enough. I had to know where each one stood on the matter of ’71. Over the years I found that Pakistani denial took mainly three forms: refusal to accept the scale and vicious nature of the violence that had been committed; pleading that “terrible” things happen during wars; and, finally, that the Bengalis, too, did “terrible” things. There is sufficient third-party documentation by now (most recently, say, The Blood Telegram by Gary J Bass) for the denial of violence to be no longer tenable. It also doesn’t take much to see that there is great difference between unintended collateral damage and deliberate acts of mass violence against unarmed civilians. The third issue – allegations of retribution or summary killings by members of the Mukti Bahini – is trickier. All such incidents need their own historic reckoning. Bangladeshis would do well to acknowledge any mistakes on their part as they seek re-


dress from others. But, one must also note that the crimes of the Pakistan Army, in their scale and brutality, far outstripped anything committed by units of the Mukti Bahini in the brief period between the war’s final days and the new Bangladeshi government’s assertion of its authority. Also, the responsibility of a state and its forces committing genocide can’t be excused by citations of acts of an effectively militia-style force. I invoke these issues not so much with the expectation that Pakistanis who are still in denial will be persuaded, but simply to hold up for them a view that I believe is common for many Bangladeshis. I have heard Pakistanis ask, “Why do you keep dwelling on the past? Why can’t you move on and look to the future?” The answer is quite simple: some events are so great that you simply cannot move forward without an acceptable resolution. passed the first four decades of my life unable to bring myself to visit Pakistan. Even as other members of my family made the trip, I was held back by historic qualms and personal wariness. What kind of conversations would I have if I went there? The prospect of visiting Pakistan came up again for me, decades after my first aborted trip, in the form of an invitation to the Lahore Literary Festival 2014. This time I was able to make the trip, thanks foremost to the friendship I had formed with a number of Pakistani authors in recent years, and their informed stance on ’71. For me, Lahore also held great fascination. This is the city where my father had studied engineering and spent nearly 12 years of his life. Prewar Lahore sounded entirely charming: a city of colleges and gardens, music and laughter. My father’s tales faltered though whenever we reached ’71. He could not explain how a society that appeared so elegant and friendly in his personal accounts could also be the cradle of policies that led to one of history’s most horrific episodes. There was nothing to say besides that the well-meaning were too few, too powerless; and that the masses were whipped into hysteria with false information at a time when information was indeed far easier to control. Bangladeshi intellectuals have long known and appreciated the opposition mounted by Pakistani liberals during ’71. What was interesting for me to discover on this trip is the abiding hold of that liberalism across generations. As a narrative of extremism has come to dominate global perceptions of Pakistan, the fact that there is a durable,

Is this tiny but deep strain of liberalism any match for the more ferocious ideologies that seek to crush it?

youngest brother, a 17-year-old in Jessore, left home one morning with the hope of crossing the border to join the Mukti Bahini; he was never found again. Another uncle spent most of the nine months of war on the run, a hunted man. My mother’s brother walked all the way past the border to join the famous camp of Khaled Mosharraf. He came back to Dhaka with two grenades in his pockets, but was arrested by the Pakistani Army before he could carry out his operation. Fortunately, he suffered no worse than imprisonment. Another uncle was also captured, and tortured. Everyone lived in terror and penury common to war times, and in dreadful uncertainty about the future. Despite the loss and the torment, my family was lucky. There are families who lost most of their loved ones; we lost ultimately only my father’s youngest brother. Among those who made it back home, though, my parents and brother

indigenous tradition of liberalism has fallen by the wayside. In my university days, I regularly came across Pakistanis who, liberal on most counts, simply could not square the globally mainstream narrative about ’71 with their sense of identity. Education in the world’s best colleges, or living in the most cosmopolitan capitals, was not enough to open up the space that was required to question received narratives. But in Lahore I came across many young people from local colleges who did precisely that with ease. Is this tiny but deep strain of liberalism any match for the more ferocious ideologies that seek to crush it? I know too little about Pakistan to make any pronouncements let alone predictions. I can only say that an encounter with this country that I had long resisted proved to be more full of surprises, and pleasanter ones, than I had expected. Lahore as a city – Mall Road, Gymkhana, and much else – proved indeed to be as beautiful as my father always said it was. But a city is defined, ultimately, by its people. The Lahoris, certainly the ones who attended to us during LLF or entertained us afterhours, lived fully up to their reputation for charm and hospitality. What struck me most, however, was the crowd that came to the Alhamra: informed, open, and questioning. I had invited my mother on this trip, so that she could show me the old places that my parents frequented: the old Gymkhana and Rahat Bakery; Coffee House and a spot in Anarkali where my father had taken her on a date, only to discover that he had forgotten to bring any money. We met old friends of theirs with whom they had reestablished contact. I was older today than they were when the war took place. Yet, I could see that in their eyes I was the child who had been left behind, the one they had never met. To know that one can hold such a place of affection in the hearts


of strangers was something I didn’t know as a child, and it took me by surprise again, even now.

s a Bengali, I can never stop insisting that Pakistan as a state needs to apologise for the genocide of ’71. But I also don’t want my sense of peace to be in the hands of another person, let alone a deeply troubled state. It is each person’s choice if they wish to find a measure of reconciliation at a personal level, and how they do it. In this respect, the kind of interaction I have enjoyed with my Pakistani peers has come as a deeply welcome opportunity. Our friendship, like all friendships, is based on an attraction of personalities and shared interests, or laughs; but given our history, there is a layer of special resonance that I suspect neither side can ignore. The fact that the tenor of my encounter with them was echoed by literary Lahore helps deepen the sense of personal rapprochement. I was surprised by the rapidity with which I began to feel at ease in Lahore. One day, taking a break from the literary sessions, my mother and I went to the cantonment looking for their old house. It was believed to be on a small street off Safdar Road. As we stood on that quiet little road, on a cool and cloudy day, it was odd to think that I might have played on that mossy driveway. A green field stretched before us. The low height of the buildings evoked an era, especially for someone from Dhaka, long gone but not forgotten, and not to be forgotten. Would I be quite the same person, I could not help wonder, if I had never been separated from my parents? To some questions there can be no answers. l Kazi Anis Ahmed is the publisher of Dhaka Tribune and the author of the recently published novel ‘The World In My Hands.’ This article was first published in Newsweek Pakistan.




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Welcome to the republic of Crimea, the world’s newest statelet
number around 11,000 troops and gives Moscow access to the Mediterranean. CURRENCY: As of Monday, Republic of Crimea has two official currencies – the Ukrainian hryvnia and the Russian ruble. Paying in rubles in shops in the main city Simferopol is impossible for the moment, though at least one bank has made the switch and is providing bank statements in both currencies. TOURISM: Crimea’s tourism business is a big part of the local economy and the picturesque city of Yalta – famous also for a 1945 agreement that divided Europe post-World War II – takes in around 10,000 cruise passengers a year alone. After Sunday’s referendum, separatist prime minister Sergiy Aksyonov’s first thought was about the future of the tourism sector – a major part of the local economy. “I invite you all to come to Crimea this summer!” he tweeted early on Monday morning, adding: “Let’s focus our efforts on preparing for the high season!” SELF SUFFICIENCY?: Crimea may claim independence but it is hardly self-sufficient, depending on the mainland for 85 percent of its water supplies and 82 percent of its electricity, according to Mikhaylo Gonchar, an energy expert at Kiev’s Nomos Centre. The company Chornmornaftogaz extracts 1.6 billion cubic metres of natural gas from the Black Sea every year, which just about covers Crimea’s heating and cooking needs. CRIMEAN PRIDE: Despite the referendum and the authorities’ stated wish to join Russia, some Crimeans would like their peninsula to be neither with Russia nor Ukraine. The territory has a varied history, with Huns, Venetians, Byzantine Greeks and Ottoman Turks controlling its seaside cliffs and rich farmland over the centuries. l

Iran, six powers seek nuclear progress in shadow of Ukraine crisis
n Reuters, Vienna
Iran and  six  world  powers  will try to make headway toward resolving their nuclear dispute in talks that started in  Vienna  yesterday, with Western officials hoping the challenge will not be made even more difficult by the Ukraine crisis. So far, diplomats say, there is little sign that the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War will undermine the quest for a deal to end the standoff over Iran’s atomic activity and avert the threat of a Middle East war. But unity among the powers on Iran may be tested in the meeting of their chief negotiators on the issue in the Austrian capital  Vienna, with the four Western states and  Russia  at loggerheads over the future of Ukraine. Russia and the West have in the past differed on how best to deal with Iran, with Moscow generally enjoying warmer ties with the Islamic Republic and suggesting Western fears about any nuclear military aims by Tehran are overblown. But Western diplomats said there had been no apparent spillover from the Ukraine situation on expert level talks between Iran and the powers - the United States,France,  Germany, Britain,  China and Russia - held two weeks ago. “We hope that will continue to be the case,” one said. The  United States  and  European Union have imposed sanctions including asset freezes and travel bans on some senior Russian and Ukrainian officials after Crimea applied to join  Russia  on Monday following a secession referendum. As in previous meetings, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov represented  Russia  at the talks - which started around 10:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) and are likely to end late on Wednesday.  European Union  foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton leads the negotiations on behalf of the powers. Iranian media said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had cancelled a customary pre-talks dinner with Ashton on Monday evening. The official IRNA news agency said it was because of Ashton’s “undiplomatic” behaviour, an apparent reference to her meeting Iranian human rights activists during her first visit toTehran 10 days ago. Despite a concerted push to end the decade-old nuclear dispute after a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, was elected president last year on a platform to end Iran’s international isolation, big power divisions have reared their head before. Russia  and  China  only reluctantly supported four rounds of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme between 2006 and 2010, and condemned subsequent U.S. and European sanctions that targeted the country’s lifeline oil exports. Iran has long denied accusations from Western  powers  and  Israel  that it has sought to develop the capability to produce atomic weapons under the cover of its declared civilian nuclear energy programme. In November, Iran and the six powers  struck an interim deal under which  Tehran  has since shelved higher-grade uranium enrichment and obtained modest relief from punitive economic sanctions in return. That  six-month pact was designed to buy time for hammering out a final settlement by a July deadline, under which the West wants Iran to significantly scale back its nuclear programme. l

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (C), Crimean parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantionov (L) and Alexei Chaly, Sevastopol’s new de facto mayor (R), sign a treaty on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula becoming part of Russia in the Kremlin in Moscow AFP

n AFP, Simferopol
Its borders are patrolled by Russian troops and it adopted the ruble on its first day of independence – welcome to the world’s latest pariah statelet, “Republic of Crimea”. Recognised as a sovereign country only by Moscow, Crimea is still officially part of Ukraine for the rest of the international community and its separatist leaders have already been hit with a series of EU and US sanctions. But following a disputed referen-

dum on Sunday in which nearly 97 percent cast their ballots for splitting from Ukraine, the strategic Black Sea peninsula has taken on the trappings of sovereignty – at least on paper. The plan of Crimea’s pro-Moscow authorities is to eventually become a part of the Russian Federation but how and when that will happen are still open questions. In the meantime, here are some key points about Crimea – an entity about the size of Belgium with a population of around two million people – and its independence claim:

FLAG: Like any want-to-be independent state, Crimea already has its own flag – a horizontal blue-white-andred tricolour that is fast replacing the Ukrainian colours around the peninsula. Adopted by the Crimean autonomous republic of Ukraine in 1992, it bears a close resemblance to the Russian flag. RUSSIAN BASE: The naval port city of Sevastopol distinguishes the Republic of Crimea from many other statelets with limited recognition around the world. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which has been based there for 230 years, is estimated to

‘Israel can’t rely on US on Iran’ n AP, Jerusalem
Israel cannot depend on the United States to lead any action against Iran’s nuclear program and can only rely on itself, the country’s defense minister said in remarks published yesterday. The comments by Moshe Yaalon came as world powers and Iran were about to start a new round of talks over Iran’s contested nuclear program. The West fears the program could be used to make a nuclear weapon and seeks to scale it back. Tehran denies the program has a military dimension and insists it is for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation. If a deal with world powers is reached, sanctions imposed on Iran over the nuclear program could be lifted. Israel has criticized the ongoing talks with Tehran, saying an interim nuclear deal, struck last November, has left Iran’s military nuclear capabilities largely intact while giving it relief from some economic sanctions. At the same time, Israel’s strongest piece of leverage, the threat of a military strike on Iran, has taken a back stage to the talks. l

UN: List of suspected Syrian war criminals grows
n Reuters, Geneva
United Nations human rights investigators have added to their list of suspected war criminals from both sides in the Syrian civil war after a new round of atrocities in recent weeks, its head said yesterday. The U.N. inquiry has identified military units and security agencies as well as insurgent groups suspected of committing abuses, Paulo Pinheiro told the Human Rights Council. Four confidential lists of suspects on both sides have been drawn up to date. “This ‘perpetrators list’, as we call it, contains names of persons criminally responsible for hostage-taking, torture and executions,” said Pinheiro, a Brazilian chairing the inquiry. “It also contains names of the heads of intelligence branches and detention facilities where detainees are tortured, names of military commanders who target civilians, airports from which barrel bomb attacks are planned and executed, and armed groups involved in attacking and displacing civilians.” In its update report, the U.N. commission of inquiry on Syria said the period of January 20 to March 10 was marked by escalating hostilities between insurgent groups throughout northern and northeastern provinces as Islamist rebel strongholds came under attack. Syrian government forces have dropped barrel bombs on Aleppo and other cities, causing extensive civilian casualties in areas with no clear military target, and severely tortured detainees. Insurgents seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad have used car and suicide bombs targeting civilian areas, also violations of international law, it said. Fighters from al Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, executed detainees, including civilians and captured soldiers, in Aleppo, Idlib and al Raqqa in the hours and days before coming under attack by other armed groups such as the Islamic Front, it said. l


A picture taken on March 14 shows damage caused by shelling on a wall in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus. Syria’s fabled desert Greco-Roman oasis of Palmyra saw its last tourist in September 2011, six months after the uprising began. Its most recent visitors are violence and looting AFP

US study: TV, print still Nigeria to go ‘soft’ against Boko Haram n key for news
AFP, Abuja


AFP, Washington

Americans might have embraced the latest gadgets but they are still partial to getting at least some of their news the old-fashioned way. Adults in the United States tend to frequently move from one device or platform to another - television and print newspapers among them - as they follow current events, a survey released Monday found. “Americans on average reported that, during the past week, they followed the news using four different devices or technologies,” it said. “The majority of Americans across generations now combine a mix of sources and technologies to get their news each week,” said Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated PressNORC Centre for Public Affairs Research. The survey also found that, for many Americans, traditional media was still more trusted than news blogs and social networks. Eighty-eight percent said they liked to get their information directly from a news organization, such as a newspaper, TV newscast, website, or newswire, rather than from aggregators or social media. And the trust factor plays into this as

well. Americans largely trust the traditional news organizations: 43% saying they trust this information completely or very much and 44% indicating they trust it “moderately.” By contrast, only 15% of those who get news through social media say they have high levels of trust in this source and 27% for news coming from electronic sharing with friends. “Contrary to the idea that people now tend to trust news sources that share their point of view, taken together the findings suggest that rates of trust are highest for news operations that have less editorial opinion built into their model, such as local television news and wire services,” the study said. The report was based on a survey of 1,492 US adults between January 9 and February 16. The researchers said the overall sampling margin of error was 3.6 percentage points. The study confirmed differences in how various age groups get their news. Fully 89% of those in the 40 59 age bracket and 95% of those 60 and over used television to get news in the past week, compared with 76% of those 18 29. Three-quarters of those 60 and over said they had read print publications in the past week versus 47% of adults age 18 29. l

Nigeria’s national security advisor on Tuesday said the authorities would begin using a “soft approach” to stem the Boko Haram Islamist violence raging across the northeast. Sambo Dasuki said the military would continue to battle the insurgents, who are blamed for killing thousands of people since 2009, but the government was also set to use “a carrot and stick approach”. The new strategy was aimed at engaging communities in the struggle against extremism. “We believe that we can win the war

against terror by mobilising our family, cultural, religious and national values,” Dasuki told a news conference. Analysts and Western diplomats have consistently said that Nigeria cannot defeat Boko Haram with force alone and they have called for massive economic development programmes in the deeply poor north to curb the violence. Nigeria is Africa’s top oil producer but more than half of its 170 million people live on less than $2 (1.4 euros) per day. Boko Haram, which has said it wants to create a strict Islamic state within Nigeria, has carried out attacks across the

mainly Muslim north over the last four years. But the recent violence has been concentrated in the northeast, the insurgents’ historic stronghold. The northeast, like Boko Haram itself, is dominated by people from the Kanuri ethnic group and analysts have argued that engaging Kanuri leaders should become a key plank of the counter-insurgency strategy. The rest of northern Nigeria is dominated by ethnically Hausa Muslims. More than 700 people have been killed in 40 separate attacks across the northeast in 2014 alone, according to Human Rights Watch. l

New group claims Egypt police killings n AFP, Cairo
A new Egyptian Islamist group claimed responsibility for a spate of attacks on policemen in the Nile Delta that marked an escalation of a militant campaign following Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow. Ansar al-Shariah, a name used by jihadist groups in other countries, had recently announced its formation in Egypt, before issuing another statement on Monday saying it targeted 28 “treasonous” security men. More than 200 policemen and soldiers have been killed by militants based in the restive Sinai Peninsula since the army overthrew Morsi in July. Militants have spread their reach to the capital and the Nile Delta, carrying out car bomb and shooting attacks against police targets. The statement, posted on Facebook and circulated on militant Islamist forums, said the attacks in the Nile Delta over the past few months were to avenge abuses against “our sisters,” a possible reference to detained Islamist women. The statement’s authenticity could not be verified. Most of the attacks have taken place in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, where many policemen have been shot dead since January. l

Activists break into French nuclear plant
n Agencies
Police have arrested 34 Greenpeace activists who forced their way into a nuclear power plant in eastern France, the company that runs the plant, EDF, said. The activists hung anti-nuclear banners from the Fessenheim plant, France’s oldest in operation, but the country’s nuclear safety authority said they did not enter into its buildings and its security was not compromised. The protesters used a truck to force their way into the site early in the morning yesterday, according to activists outside. Police gendarmes subsequently surrounded and entered the plant. “Gendarmes have 56 activists under control and 34 have been arrested,” an EDF spokesman said. “There has been no impact on the security of the plant, which continues to function normally.” President Francois Hollande has promised to close Fessenheim by 2016 and cut France’s reliance on nuclear energy to 50 percent of its electricity mix from 75 percent now. Greenpeace wants Fessenheim’s two 900-megawatt reactors, which have been in operation since 1977, to be shut immediately. In a statement yesterday, Greenpeace France said the activists had come from 14 countries across Europe “to denounce the risk to Europe from France’s nuclear power,” and to promote a transition to other energy sources. Greenpeace activists have a history of breaking into nuclear plants in France and about 30 were arrested last July after entering EDF’s Tricastin plant in southern France. l



Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Search for lost jet tests China, US capabilities
n AP, Tokyo
Finding the missing Malaysian jetliner would be a coup for any of the more than two dozen countries out there looking. But for China and the United States, it’s a lot more than that — it has been a chance for the two rival powers in the Pacific to show off what they can do in a real-life humanitarian mission across one of the world’s most hotly contested regions. The hunt has major ramifications for Beijing, which has been rapidly improving its military while aggressively challenging neighbors over territorial disputes. Washington is looking to prove it’s still the top dog to allies worried about how seriously it takes the threat China poses to the Pacific status quo. So far, neither country has come up with anything significant. But they have been vigorously waving their flags. Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines — which China barely got involved in — the U.S. was once again quick to respond. Within days, the Navy had two destroyers in the South China Sea participating in the search, the USS Kidd and the USS Pinckney. Both are both based in San Diego but were training in the area when the jet disappeared. Since the flight was bound for Beijing and two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese, the public expects the government and military to pull out all the stops. With more Chinese traveling abroad than ever — 100 million last year, more than double the figure for 2009 — they are increasingly reliant on their government to assist and protect them when overseas, and they are looking for proof that it can fulfill that role. National prestige is also a huge factor. Though the U.S. remains the dominant power in the Pacific, China deeply craves that role. Sizable chunks of its defense spending, which has grown significantly over the past two decades to $131 billion, have been devoted to boosting its ability to project force for both military and humanitarian missions. China’s Achilles’ heel is its relative lack of experience, not having fought in a major conflict since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Its leaders have been trying to compensate with more realistic training scenarios, including joint maritime search and rescue exercises with other nations. “Everyone understands, without anything being said, that the U.S. has unmatched search and rescue capabilities that reflect the size and sophistication of its air and naval forces,” said Avery Goldstein, a China security expert at the University of Pennsylvania. “China’s capabilities in this regard are improving but not yet in the same league, especially for operations at great distance from the Chinese mainland.” Given new clues from radar and satellite data that the missing Boeing 777 turned west and flew on for several more hours, the search has shifted to a vast swath of land and sea stretching from the southern Indian Ocean up to Kazakhstan. That’s an area that neither China nor the US has traditionally put much emphasis on, and has forced both to rethink their strategies. “China is strong in terms of hardware, but it lacks experience and good security ties with regional states,” said China expert Li Mingjiang at Singapore Nanyang Technological University. l

A big problem for China is its bad blood with virtually all of its neighbours, many of whom are key players in the search
China has the most at stake and has been taking an unusually high-profile role. Almost immediately after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared March 8, China dispatched its largest-ever rescue flotilla to the initial search area in the South China Sea, which Beijing considers its own backyard. Beijing sent four warships and five coast guard and civilian patrol service vessels, along with helicopters and fixed-wing surveillance aircraft. Among the warships are two of China’s largest and most advanced amphibious docking ships. The 20,000-ton vessels are equipped with helicopters and a range of small boats, including up to four hovercrafts. “On the one hand, China is simply doing its duty in orchestration with other countries,” said Ni Lexiong, a military expert at Shanghai’s University of Political Science and Law. “On the other hand, this operation offers an opportunity to assess the Chinese navy’s willpower, efficiency and ability to carry out operations far from home, especially in comparison with the U.S.” Fresh off a massive relief effort after

A personnel of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue looks over horizon during a search in the Andaman sea area around northern tip of Indonesia’s Sumatra island for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 AFP

Cybercriminals use fake websites to steal data n AFP, Singapore
Cybercriminals are exploiting the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane by luring users to websites purporting to offer the latest news in order to steal their personal information, an Internet security firm warned yesterday. Trend Micro urged Internet users to exercise caution when clicking on links shared on social media for news of flight MH370, which mysteriously vanished from the radar in the early hours of March 8 while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Trend Micro said its global network of research, service and support centres TrendLabs had spotted an executable file disguised as a video that, when clicked, allowed scammers to collect a user’s data, such as his or her IP address. “Given the heightened interest in the missing flight, it was only time (before) cybercriminals used it to their advantage,” TrendLabs expert Paul Oliveria said in a statement.

MH370: 6 baffling facts
n Tribune Desk
There are some astonishing things you’re not being told about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the flight that simply vanished over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. n Fact #1: All Boeing 777 commercial jets are equipped with black box recorders that can survive any on-board explosion. No explosion from the plane itself can destroy the black box recorders. They are bomb-proof structures that hold digital recordings of cockpit conversations as well as detailed flight data and control surface data. n Fact #2: All black box recorders transmit locator signals for at least 30 days after falling into the ocean. Yet the black box from this particular incident hasn’t been detected at all. The absence of a signal means the box either vanished, malfunctioned or been obliterated by some powerful force beyond the worst fears of aircraft design engineers. n Fact #3: Many parts of destroyed aircraft are naturally buoyant and will float in water. If Flight 370 was brought down by an explosion of some sort, there would be massive debris floating on the ocean, and that debris would not be difficult to spot. n Fact #4: If a missile destroyed Flight 370, the missile would have left a radar signature. The problem with this theory is that there exists no known ground-to-air or airto-air missile with such a capability. All known missiles generate tremendous debris when they explode on target. n Fact #5: The location of the aircraft when it vanished is not a mystery. Air traffic controllers have full details of almost exactly where the aircraft was at the moment it vanished. And yet, they remain totally baffled on what happened to Flight 370. n Fact #6: If Flight 370 was hijacked, it would not have vanished from radar. Hijacking an airplane does not cause it to simply vanish from radar. Even if transponders are disabled on the aircraft, ground radar can still readily track the location of the aircraft using so-called “passive” radar. l

Chinese MH370 relatives threaten ‘hunger strike’ n AFP, Beijing
Desperate relatives of Chinese passengers aboard flight MH370 threatened to go on hunger strike yesterday as they demanded answers about the missing aircraft from Malaysian officials. “Now we have no news, and everyone is understandably worried. The relatives say they will go to the (Malaysian) embassy to find the ambassador,” said Wen Wancheng, whose son was aboard the missing flight. “The Malaysian ambassador should be presenting himself here. But he’s not,” Wen said, updating reporters after a regular meeting between Malaysia Airlines officials and family members at a hotel in Beijing. Two-thirds of the passengers on the flight, which had 239 people on board, were Chinese. Outside the meeting room, a woman clutching a placard reading “Respect life. Give us back our families” told reporters that the relatives were going on hunger strike. She declined to say how many were doing so, or give her name.

Italy appeals to UN to help free marines from India n Agencies
Italy has appealed to the United Nations to help free its two marines who are being tried in India for killing two Indian fishermen in 2012. “Italy is willing to try the marines at home, but in the meantime we ask for their freedom,” said interior minister Angelino Alfano was quoted as saying by ANSA news agency. Alfano’s remarks came ahead of his meeting with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. Italy has been trying to rally international support among the EU, the US and NATO countries to bring home its marines. Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012, sparking diplomatic tensions between India and Italy. The marines, deployed on the Italian-flagged oil tanker MT Enrica Lexie, said they mistook the fishermen for pirates. They are now staying in the Italian embassy in New Delhi awaiting trial. India has removed the possibility of a death penalty but insisted that the marines would still be prosecuted under the anti-piracy law. Now, they face up to 10 years in jail. Rome wants the marines to be tried in Italy, claiming the incident took place in international waters. However, New Delhi says it has the right to try the Italians as the victims were Indians on board an Indian fishing boat. Italy argues that the case sets dangerous and wide-ranging precedents for any country involved in anti-piracy missions overseas. Lats month, UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters that the secretary general is “concerned that this long-standing matter between Italy and India remains unresolved.”

Taiwan MPs stage fast to Thailand ends state of emergency protest at China trade pact n
AFP, Bangkok
Thailand announced Tuesday the end of a nearly two-month-old state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas, hoping to lure back foreign visitors following an easing of deadly political protests. The use of emergency rule dealt a heavy blow to Thailand’s key tourism industry during what is usually peak season, and also raised fears of a drop in foreign investment. The state of emergency will be replaced by another special law, the Internal Security Act, with effect from Wednesday until April 30, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s office announced. “We’re confident that we can handle the situation so the cabinet agreed to revoke the state of emergency as requested by many parties,” Yingluck told reporters. “The cancellation is to build confidence in the economy and the tourism sector,” she said. Thailand’s international tourist arrivals were down roughly eight percent last month from a year earlier, with Bangkok’s airports seeing a drop of more than 18 percent in total, according to official figures. Yingluck has faced more than four months of political protests aimed at ousting her elected government and installing an unelected “people’s council” to oversee reforms. The state of emergency was introduced in the run-up to a February 2 general election called by the premier in an unsuccessful attempt to calm the crisis. Political bloodshed, often targeting protesters, has left 23 people dead and hundreds wounded in recent months, including in grenade attacks and shootings. However, attendance at the demonstrations has fallen sharply in recent weeks, while the introduction of emer-

n AFP, Taipei
Three Taiwanese opposition legislators on Tuesday started a 70-hour hunger strike to protest at what they term illegal moves by the ruling party to ratify a contentious trade agreement with China. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers made their move after a legislator from the ruling Kuomintang party announced on Monday that the trade pact had been approved by a joint committee. The committee’s approval was the first of three ratifications needed to pass the bill. The China-sceptic DPP said the announcement was illegal, since the bill had not been deliberated for a single minute since the joint committee opened its session last Wednesday. The committee has been stalled since the dispute sparked a brawl Monday between rival lawmakers. But Kuomintang legislators insisted that the trade pact had been automatically passed by the joint committee, after it failed to be screened within the required three months due to opposition filibustering.

The three DPP legislators threatened to extend their protest fast if necessary. The DPP and the smaller but more radical Taiwan Solidarity Union also pledged to mobilise supporters when parliament holds a full session on Friday for the second reading of the trade bill. The agreement signed last June is designed further to open up trade in services between the Taiwan and China, which split 65 years ago after a civil war. The two opposition parties say it will hurt small service companies and damage the overall economy. They insist it be reviewed clause-by-clause, a demand rejected by the Kuomintang. Under the deal China will open 80 service sectors to Taiwanese companies, while Taiwan will allow Chinese investment in 64 sectors. The pact is one of the follow-up agreements to the sweeping Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed in 2010 to reduce trade barriers. Cross-strait ties have improved markedly since President Ma Yingjeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang came to power in 2008 pledging to strengthen trade and tourism links.

gency rule failed to prevent protesters disrupting the February election. The demonstrators late last month moved to scale back their rallies, consolidating at one site in Bangkok’s Lumpini Park as they ended their so-called “Bangkok shutdown”, which had seen them occupy key road intersections in the city. The authorities were unable to use the security powers offered by the state of emergency in any case, after a Civil Court last month ordered the government not to use regulations issued under the decree. The court banned the use of force against the protesters, after attempts by riot police to clear areas occupied for weeks by opposition demonstrators sparked deadly clashes. Thailand’s tourism sector needs about three months to bounce back following the lifting of emergency rule, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand.

Suicide bomber kills 15 in Afghanistan
n AP, Kabul
A suicide bomber riding a rickshaw blew himself up outside a checkpoint near a market in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 15 civilians, officials said, in the latest attack in the countdown to next month’s presidential elections. Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the capital of Faryab province, but it happened in an area where the Taliban and allied militant groups are active. The Taliban have threatened a campaign of violence to disrupt the April 5 vote, which will choose a new president to lead the country as foreign troops prepare to end their combat mission by the end of the year. The attacker was approaching a checkpoint where cars were being searched on a road leading to the governor’s compound in Maymana, the Faryab provincial capital, when he detonated his explosives hidden in the rickshaw, the officials said. However, most of the victims were vendors peddling fresh bread and other people at the busy roadside market area. Deputy Governor Abdul Satar Barez said 15 people were killed and 46 people were wounded — 27 of them seriously — in the explosion that struck some 200 meters (yards) away from the governor’s compound. Women, children and employees of the nearby electricity department were among the casualties, Barez said but he couldn’t provide an immediate breakdown. “They killed innocent people in a place where locals were just trying to earn 10 Afghanis (about 20 cents) to buy a piece of bread. Most of the casualties were either selling bread or buying it,” he said. The Taliban have staged numerous attacks in Faryab, which lies far from their traditional strongholds in southern and eastern Afghanistan. In October 2012, a suicide bomber struck a mosque packed with senior regional officials in Maymana, killing 41 people. Afghan civilians are frequently caught up in the violence as insurgents battle Afghan and international troops in an effort to undermine the Western-backed government. The United Nations said 2,959 civilians were killed and 5,656 wounded last year, a 14 percent increase from the previous year. The Taliban deny that they target civilians, but the U.N. report blamed 74 percent of all civilian casualties last year on insurgents.




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Letters to

the Editor


Arrests risk stability

Hard decisions
March 15 The author seems to be a very innocent well-wisher of AL as well as the people of this country but he has possibly not paid sufficient attention to the reality of Bangladeshi politics and its ruling class. Their real objective is far from what the author thinks. My assessment is that the ruling class provides some support to those very goons and swindlers on a quid pro quo basis against whom the author pleads for taking hard decisions. It’s simply the philosophy of give and take. So the hard decision is certain to elude the author forever. Otherwise how do these goons and swindlers keep thriving in every regime, be it AL or BNP, and neither party ever fails to garner enough votes to capture power in alternate terms. One thing the author has correctly identified is that public memory is very short-lived. I have never seen either of the ruling party leaders fail to draw less than a million votes in any of their political meetings anywhere in the country. Had public memory been otherwise, this could not happen. nds

he recent arrests and jailing of senior BNP leaders are detrimental to the aim of restarting dialogue between the two country’s largest political parties. While it is important that instigators and perpetrators behind the killings during the anti-government protests last December-January must be brought to justice, it remains unclear how this process is helped by the arrest and incarceration of Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain. There is also reason to fear that this move may lead to new instability, which nobody wants. As we have seen numerous times in recent years, the jailing of BNP leaders can give some of its activists an excuse to take to the streets, often with deadly results. Jailing senior leaders risks undoing the stability and goodwill that has been achieved this year. The government has a duty to the public to ensure their safety, and this implies taking wise, constructive steps that act in everyone’s best interests. With BNP having largely eschewed hartal/violence, and taking part in the upazila elections, it behooves the government to also take steps for reconciliation. To this end, there needs to be some incentive for the BNP to toe the line, otherwise they will conclude that they are better off re-launching their violent programs.

With BNP having largely eschewed hartal/violence, it behooves the government to also take reconciliatory steps

Familiarity breeds contempt
March 11 Harun Once again, a good piece by Mr Ahmed. Social media has become inundated with simplistic “hate the US, love Russia” memes and sentiments. But they all seem to miss the actual facts – that the US has been deplorable in Ukraine itself, not just in its previous mistakes, while Russia has been politically savvy but no less pure in its intentions. Condemning only one is a mistake that many people are constantly making and it is good to see a balanced – and factual – approach to this here. Najeeb What is particularly worrying about Ukraine is how people have begun to talk about it purely as a geo-political tug of war between the USA and Russia, while forgetting the people at the heart of the conflict in the first place. I applaud the writer for putting things back in perspective, and I implore anyone who reads this to not let the people of Ukraine be forgotten. To deprive an entire nation of its own agency is nothing short of criminal. Fabiha This was an eye-opening article. I was not aware of all the facts, so I did some digging, and learned enough to make me wonder how much more is going unreported. Good job to the writer, I hope others follow suit!

The ‘real’ Made in Bangladesh
March 14 In This is most definitely a constructive response to the campaign of American Apparel. Chiran Devid Yes, thank you for sharing and writing about this topic. We needed to know about this! :-) Faisal Mohammed Hossain My goodness, this news has become a complete joke!

The seven-year itch
March 12 I’m a little confused by the writer’s allusion to the “seven-year itch,” given the timeline he describes. I mean, if the AL succeeds in seeing through another five years following their January 5 fait accompli and present occupation of power, it would be by then, a 12-year ordeal (counting the two-year long army autocracy, and the, hypothetically speaking, two full AL terms ending early 2019). Besides, the ruling regime constantly conjures fantasies of achieving a supposed utopia in Bangladesh, by 2021, and frankly, I see visions of a 14-year nightmare looming. The remainder of Mr Khan’s astute analysis is largely in sync with my own thinking on our political predicament. The concluding paragraph is an accurate precis of the author’s persuasive arguments, and the concluding line markedly prescient, too. Ronnie

Dubai firm proposes preconstruction study for Sonadia deep-sea port
March 13

Telcos asked for Tk15cr for T 20, record national anthem


BTCL failure is mismanagement

Vikram Khan And what about the protection of the unique fauna and flora, the sanctuary of sea turtles and other oceanic wild life at Sonadia island?! We’ll sacrifice all for greed???? Shehzad Muhammad Arifeen Vikram Khan: No, we’ll sacrifice them for people, as we always do. It is so easy to write off any new idea with emotionally-charged words like “greed.”

March 10 Why beautify this city? Much better to hire some new coaches to teach the national team to play cricket and save us the biggest embarrassment. Parveen

he state-owned landline telephone company BTCL is now owed more than Tk10,00C by international carriers. Over 80% of this credit is not backed by any form of bank guarantees or security. It is not just inefficient but negligent for the BTCL to leave such an enormous amount of credit outstanding to foreign telecom companies, when this is a sector that is booming with a high rate of cash flow. No privatelyowned company would have allowed such a large amount of sums owing, to build up. Such business practices continue because the BTCL is still a publicly owned company being protected by the state, with very little accountability. This is an example of the mismanagement and bad business practices that are enabled to take place when the government gives preferential treatment to pubic companies. This type of mismanagement cannot be allowed to go unabated with so little accountability. The BTCL’s business practices must be held to a higher standard by the government. A good way to do this would be to privatise the BTCL. Once privatised and answerable to shareholders, the BTCL will be forced to run profitably and pay taxes to the government. It will be forced to compete with other profit-making private telecom companies on a level playing field.

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Be Heard


Business practices must be held to a higher standard, A good way to do this would be to privatise the BTCL


ACROSS 1 Thailand’s former name (4) 4 Cricket trophy (5) 8 Little wave (6) 9 Send out (4) 11 Lofty structure (5) 12 Consumer (4) 14 Alcoholic drink (3) 15 Reluctant (6) 19 Governing body (6) 21 Everyone (3) 22 Season (4) 24 Character (5) 27 Open-air public pool (4) 29 Presses on (6) 30 Now (5) 31 Footwear (4) DOWN 1 Prosecute (3) 2 Got up (6) 3 Small child (4) 4 Liable (3) 5 Incline (5) 6 Cut with blows (3) 7 Light reddish-brown (6) 10 Stubborn animal (4) 13 Rodent (3) 14 Way of viewing (6) 16 Animal doctor (3) 17 Salad item (6) 18 Snow vehicle (4) 20 Fragrance (5) 23 Ailments (4) 25 Concealed (3) 26 Secret agent (3)



How to solve Sudoku: Fill in the blank spaces with the numbers 1 – 9. Every row, column and 3 x 3 box must contain all nine digits with no number repeating.


28 Lyric poem (3)



Wednesday, March 19, 2014


The new Modi
n Sushovan Dhar
series of recent opinion polls indicate that India’s main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are ahead of others in the forthcoming parliamentary elections of 2014. The party, led by its “charismatic” leader Narendra Modi, is more favoured than the ruling Indian National Congress (INC) and all other parties. Narendra Modi, the butcher of Gujarat - who led the carnage there in 2002, with mass killings against the minority Muslim population that lasted for about three months - is in his new incarnation seen as a hero and a true leader of the nation by most Indians. The consequences of the BJP’s victory, and that of Narendra Modi, at the helm of the Indian state would be very bleak. It would not be limited to a few communal riots here and there but a capitalist development in the interest of the top layers of the country, mass exploitation of workers and other toilers, along with mobilisations based on extreme communal politics and the destruction of peoples’ organisations. This fertile grounds for the eruption of extreme right-wing politics have been laid by the current INC-led United Progressive Alliance government in particular, and the continuing neo-liberal politics of the last two decades in general. It is important to note that the locus of Indian politics had steadily shifted from centrism to right–wing three decades ago, and between centre-right to extreme–right permanently in the last few years. In fact, during the last five years, an unprecedented deterioration of living standards of the ordinary people started to seep in, coupled with massive scams and corruption, and terrible inflation. Workers across industries have seen their real wages fall and minimum wages denied across sectors (mostly informal). In the last 20 years, casualisation and informalisation of the formal sector prevailed rampantly. Around 65% of the formal sector workers are contract labours enjoying less than a quarter wages of the permanent workers in similar positions. On the other hand, we witness a huge corporate-led land-grab and the grabbing of other natural resources. The worst affected sections are dalits, the indigenous population, women, marginalised ethnic groups and others in the lower echelons of the society. The onset of globalisation has significantly changed the patterns of India’s capitalist evolution. By another two decades, the Indian economy is likely to become the third biggest economy, after the USA and China. In PPP terms, India is already the third largest economy. PPP, or purchasing power parity, takes into account the relative costs and inflation rates in different countries. As per IMF, India’s GDP (PPP) in 2012 was 4,711 trillion US dollars, ahead of Japan. However, economic growth is not shared out on a redistributive model. Currently, the proportion of population dependent on agriculture is around 53%. As the huge number of farmer suicides across much of India show, globalisation has not benefitted all peasants. The prime targets of benefits have been agribusiness companies, whether Indian or non-Indian. A second layer is the top level of farmers. Landless rural families increased from 35% in 1987 to 55% in 2005.

Don’t we have enough world class performers?


The butcher of Gujarat is, in his new incarnation, seen as a hero

But a missed opportunity


n Nazim Farhan Choudhury
am a fan of Matthew Islam and diligently follow his writings. He is always erudite in his thinking, and articulate in his arguments. But I think he missed the big picture in his article “Not a Cultural Hijack” (Dhaka Tribune, March 16, 2014). His contention was that many detractors were overreacting to AR Rahman headlining the BCB’s T20 World Cup opening ceremony/celebration, and he tries to put forward some convincing arguments. Of these, the one I disagree with most, is that we do not have artists who are “entertaining and of a world standard.” But before I come to that, let us understand what this ceremony was all about. If it was a mere AR Rahman or Akon concert, then that was that. But it was not. It was the de facto Opening Ceremony for the ICC T20 World Cup being held in Bangladesh. We can call it a “celebration,” but when the PM declares the games open, that is what it is! Anyway, what was BCB celebrating? We all have read that the honourable finance minister himself called corporate Bangladesh to cough up the money to host this event. So this was not a mere concert played to an audience of a few thousand. If it is a pseudo-opening ceremony, it has a few criteria that it must fulfill.

Along with being entertaining, this was an opportunity to showcase Bangladeshi culture and its contribution to humanity. And we do have a lot of it. As great as Mr Rahman is, he did not reflect that in his show. There are those, including Mr Islam, who point to Shakira at the South Africa FIFA World Cup opening ceremony. I was awed by that program. My take was not that Shakira played, but that rather, it was a celebration of African culture and its ability to compete in a global platform. So much so, that a hip-shaking US chart-topping Columbian took an African beat and turned “Waka Waka” into the song for the world.

a few Bollywood tracks and just some Bangladeshi rock bands. To think that we do not have those artists or talents to put up a show that can entertain and enthrall everyone is wrong. We have world class dancers like the above-mentioned Akram Khan. Or bands like Asia Dub Foundation, State of Bengal, Lokkhitara, Joi, to name just a few. Classical singers, playwrights, instrumentalists, dramatists, writers, humourists, designers, filmmakers … we have many, many, talented living Bangladeshi artists who could put together a spectacular show. Not just of music but also of other performing arts. I know I will get a “no one of AR

This was an opportunity to showcase Bangladeshi culture and its contribution to humanity

And the world sang along. What of last year’s London Olympic ceremony? It was pure entertainment – from songs to dance (mind you done by a Brit-Bangladeshi), from humour to tribute, from culture to legacy. Everybody watching was mesmerised by Cool Britannia. Our celebration could have been so much more than

Rahman’s calibre” thrown at me now. But how do we know that? Have we ever given them a “world stage”? Usually shows of this scale are hard to come by. The business model does not support the investments that need to be made to put together the razzmatazz. But in this instance, that was not

the case. So, if we gave Aly Zaker or Anusheh or Sarwar Faruki or Amitabh Reza or Parchonath or Aarong a fraction of the money it took us to bring Mr Rahman and Akon, we would have had a show we would have been proud of! I believe that. But even if the organisers do not, why not get Mr Rahman to produce a show based on Bangla cultural roots? Rabindranath and Nazrul, Satyajit Ray and Lalon, Gombhira and Lokokontho, Humayan Ahmed and Hanif Shanket, Bass Baba Sumon and Habib, Tareque Masud and R Nabi, and Shahidul Alam and Bibi Russel could surely have provided the inspiration and content. That would be a show of and about Bangla. Now that would have been a spectacle. That would have been something that not only celebrated Bangladeshi culture, but also gave back to it. That would have been something that we would talk about for much longer than we would about a music concert we spent a couple of million dollars on. The failure of BCB’s celebration was not because of its performers but rather for the organiser’s lack of vision. And sadly, it was for their lack of trust and faith in one of the world’s richest cultures, and the creative ability of its practitioners. l Nazim Farhan Choudhury is CEO of Colours FM 101.6, a radio station focused at the female audience.

The combination of a shift to more and more cash crop cultivation, with a shift to encouraging agribusiness investment in various forms, has been sharply negative for even relatively well-off farmers. Cotton farmers, who previously used to buy local seeds, now buy BT seeds at massively increased rates. During the last decade, the share of profits in the revenue generated has more than doubled when compared to the share of wages. In both the manufacturing and services sectors, companies use loopholes as well as a lack of implementation of labour laws to suppress wages. Both companies and the government increasingly engage contract workers to bring down wage costs and improve productivity. Simultaneously there has been a swell in the numbers of persons engaged as “contract workers” or “casuals,” or where the precise relationship between the worker and the employer is legally uncertain, within the formal sector. Communalism of all kinds has to be opposed. In India today, Hindu communalism - as the potentially majoritarian communalism - if harnessed successfully can lead to a fascist type of regime. At the same time, this unprecedented savage economic liberalisation with its deregulation, casualisation of labour, escalating social injustice and the unprecedented inequality, growing inequalities and gaps and increase in marginalisation has to be resisted at all costs. l Sushovan Dhar is an activist. He is based in Kolkata.

Crimean referendum and rumours around it
n Alexander A Nikolaev
t is indeed a matter of regret that, while covering the crisis in the Ukraine and the situation in Crimea, Bangladeshi mass media mostly rely on highly biased reports of some international news agencies. The press release of the Embassy of the Russian federation dated March 9, 2014 already mentioned this. Fortunately, there were a few independent attempts to analyse the state of affairs in the Ukraine as well. At such a background even more regrettable were recent remarks of a distinguished member of the Diplomatic Core in Dhaka (see the issue of The Dhaka Tribune dated March 15, 2014). grasped the state power through an unconstitutional coup d’état. He would have also never spoken of the “shadow cast by the presence of Russian troops” if he knew that those troops, to be more precise – the Russian Black Sea Fleet, has its base in Sevastopol for long under an inter-governmental agreement between Russia and the Ukraine itself. By the way, those troops still remain either aboard or in their barracks, and nobody has a valid proof of their presence elsewhere. The esteemed high commissioner would definitely reassess his approach to the referendum if he learned that the right of self-determination of the people of Crimea can no longer be realised within the borders of Ukraine with its unconstitutional “government” being dominated by ultranationalists and heavily influenced by neo-Nazi groups such as notorious “Praviy Sector” (The Right Sector). Being denied the right to speak their own mother language, the Russians in Crimea (above 60% of the Peninsula population) have now found themselves in a position almost identical to that of Bengalis in erstwhile East Pakistan. It is advisable that my esteemed colleague be more careful with the information he relies on. I have the moral and professional responsibility to say so as someone who in capacity of a consul general of the Russian Federation has spent five years in Crimea and Sevastopol, and in capacity of the OSCE Verification Mission member – almost a year in Kosovo (ex-Yugoslavia) where Mr Gibson supposedly has never been to. It would be appreciated if my distinguished British colleague either studies the subject of Ukrainian crisis in depth, or leaves it to experts and concentrates his noble efforts on such a matter as protection of LGBT rights for example. l Alexander A Nikolaev is Ambassador of the Federation of Russia to Dhaka.

Where is the bar now?
n Syed Jawad Quader
ith what happened before the High Court Division bench of Mrs Naima Haidar, J, and Mr Zafar Ahmed, J, where lawyers and journalists fought each other like pickets, I as a lawyer and a member of the bar am saddened, but not shocked. I lament, but am not dumbfounded. I think both lawyers and journalists are expected to be made up of the best intellects a country or society has to offer. We have so much in common. We make up the moral compass of a nation. We transact in the currency of expression. We build our reputations on integrity, honesty, impartiality and accuracy. We make a work of art out of the smallest of details to paint the biggest picture. The event was merely just a glimpse of where the both of us have landed ourselves in. Together. That too on the first day of the Supreme Court Bar Association elections for 2014. What struck me was that while the judiciary was busy deliberating on contempt charges against journalists for comments they made, no one wondered if the lawyers and journalists who engaged in the street fight, for which court proceedings at that very court was stopped for an hour, committed contempt of court. How one cannot see a rabid street fight in the corridors of the very institution that safeguards justice as anything short of a sacrilege of the court and justice, is beyond me. Let me introspect at the outset and think about those two fateful days in December, when government forces used water-canons on lawyers of the Supreme Court and painted its gates pink, when thugs and goons ran down the gates of the Supreme Court and ran amok in its premises, mercilessly beating down lawyers of the Supreme Court, both male and female, in broad daylight, when people who will never be able to spell a word threw open their flies and flashed their manhood at the minaret of the Supreme Court, when they set the court on fire. is a holy shrine, not just for us lawyers, but for you as well. Many of us spend more time in courts than they do in their own homes. We should never hold it in low esteem, or allow someone else to do the same. For allowing this is akin to being nonchalant over the raping of the sanctity of our own home, or a place that is perhaps even more sacred. As for journalists, we came to know how much they respect the courts from their role in Shahbagh, where they threw their united support behind a group of people who openly disrespected, defied and protested against a verdict of a court, thereby discrediting it. A lot of us, lawyers even, were unabashedly okay with it then. Are they all okay with it now? In the contempt proceeding that created all the hoopla in the first place, the journalists who were discharged of the contempt proceedings all took the convenient way out – by rendering their unconditional apology to the court – instead of endeavoring to justify why their comments and publications were not tantamount to contempt of court. Contemplating the actions of their colleagues who were engaged in combat just a few meters away, I wonder if they actually felt repentance or defiance. You cannot blame me for thinking so, because their apology was in direct contrast to their colleagues’ actions. What actually does surprise me is how everyone continues talking the talk about how supreme our courts and our laws are, but do nothing when those very virtues get attacked. It all boils down to one simple introspective question: What more did we expect? Where is the bar now? l Syed Jawad Quader is a barrister-at-Law and an advocate at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.

It is never going to be business as usual again, unless we respond to the moral duties we owe
In those dark hours and their aftermath, what did we as lawyers do to establish our dominion over the court, to use the law to bring the perpetrators to justice, to protect the image and dignity of the very establishment that makes us what we are, to do ourselves justice? What did the establishment do to protect its own foot–soldiers, to thump its own superiority over injustice, to protect the promise it made to the constitution and to resurrect the supremacy of law over the lawless? What did the mother do to protect and safeguard its own children? Nothing. On that day, a signal was sent out that lawyers can be beaten up, even inside the highest courts, without having to pay a dime for it and that we as lawyers are all OKAY with it, so long as we can resume business as usual. Well, fair warning. It is never going to be business as usual again, unless we respond to the moral duties we owe to the very establishment that feeds us. The court is a lawyer’s workplace. It

It grasped the state power through an unconstitutional coup d’état
It seems that HE Mr Robert W Gibson, British high commissioner to Bangladesh, gave his own public assessment of the Crimean referendum with no other source of information at hand but a one-sided muddy news stream from the West that flatly ignores realities on the ground. Otherwise Mr Gibson would definitely have mentioned the undisputable fact that the so called “government” in Kiev is illegitimate since it




n Shadma Malik
Bipad Bhanjan Sen Karmaker’s Colour of Natural Disposition is going on at the Alliance Française de Dhaka (AFD) and will continue until March 27. A total of 53 skillfully done paintings based on acrylic and mixed media are on display for the two-week show. The title of the exhibition Colour of Natural Disposition refers to the beauty of rural Bangladesh through portraits and landscapes. Each artwork offers a visible façade of rural scenes which have been carefully constructed in his brush strokes. This is his third solo exhibition and it introduces an important spatial and cultural concept of Bangladesh by representing ample use of colours which can be seen in nature. Providing viewers with a treat of a natural environment, his canvas mostly dominates red and blue colours. Bipad’s semi-abstract and abstract paintings convey moods of nature. In a simplistic manner, the artist endeavours to portray beautiful Bangladesh. His artistic thoughts are deeply influenced by his childhood memories of an ideal village, where he grew up in the midst of river, canals, green fields, schools, temples, mosques, play grounds, and peaceful coexistence between Hindu and Muslim communities. In his canvases, he tries to depict the day to day life of common people living in Bangladeshi villages, so that the viewers from home

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sumaiya Shimu takes a walk down the dark side

Colour of Natural Disposition on display at AFD

Sonai Madhab goes to Murshidabad
n Entertainment Desk
Bangladeshi theatre troupe Loko Natya Dol’s (Banani) acclaimed play Sonai Madhab is participating in a festival oraganised by Ritwik theatre troupe which was inaugurated yesterday in Murshidabad, West Bengal, India. On March 25, ot the concluding day of the eight-day long theatre festival, Sonai Madhab, will be staged. The play is an adaptation of folk ballad Mymensingh Geetika. The folk romantic tragedy is directed by Eugene Gomez while music for the play is conducted by Mostafa Anwar Swapan and Didendro Chowdhury. Padabali Kirtan is a very traditional way of play staging where actors-actresses carry the story of play to the end through singing and acting simultaneously while Jatra is an another popular style of narrating stories on stage. The play Sonai Madhab is a combination of Padabali Kirtan and Jatra— the two core styles of folk plays of the region. Dancing, a key feature of Jatra, is also used dominantly in the play. The steadfastness of women’s love and boldness of the lead characters of Mymensigh Geetika make some critics believe that the ballads may have been influenced by some matriarchal society. The Sonai Madhab’s story also reflects invincible forces in love, inviolable purity of women’s hearts and humiliating defeat of the oppressors, the men. The story of the play revolves around the Sonai and Madhab, the two central characters of the play who struggle for their love. l

n Shadma Malik
After her drama serial Naree, Sumaiya Shimu has once again taken up a thrilling role in a telefilm titled Phire Esho Shundori Toma. Directed by Shumon Shams and written by Anisul Haque, Sumaiya is pairing up with Ahmed Rubel. Phire Esho Shundori Toma will be aired today at 3:05pm on Channel i. A small town girl Suronjona get into the dangerous and destructive habit of drug addiction. In her demise, she influences her peers to take up the ugly habit as well. Suronjona’s substance abuse not only affects her mental condition, but also creates problem in her family life. After the death of her father, she is thrown out from her house. Soon afterwards, she meets a poet named Montu who falls in love with her despite her addiction. In a haste, the couple ties the knot and Montu hopes

that with love and devotion he will influence Suronjona into leaving drugs. But when reality sinks in and he discovers that nothing works for his wife but her routine fixes. In the end, the couple gets a divorce. About taking up this role, Sumaiya said: “I always focus on the story. I believe that a good script is always in demand. For me, acting is not only performing on screen but working with an aim in mind. Playing such a role to create awareness against drugs might alert users of the impact of drugs. The story of Phire Esho Shundori Toma had no good ending. It showcases a practical phase of an addict. The telefilm portrays that there is no coming back from drugs. Like the drama serial Naree, it is also a social message to the audience.” Currently, Sumaiya is working on single drama including Chor Na Dakat which will air on March 26. l

and abroad may discover their culture, way of life and the ultimate beauty of their motherland. Nurul Islam Nahid, MP, Minister, Ministry of Education, artist Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, eminent theatre personality Ramendu Majumdar and Professor Dr Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah were present at the inaugural ceremony on March 14. l

n Entertainment Desk

Portrait workshop at Pathshala

Dhallywood’s “Most Wanted” duo Ananta Jalil and Barsha have recently performed Umrah

Pathshala South Asian Media Institute is hosting a two-day-long workshop by acclaimed photographer Nasir Ali Mamun from March 21 at its photography campus. The opening day of the workshop will comprise of discussions focusing on the “portrait” genre of photography and Mamun will share his techniques and extensive experience garnered over his four decade long prolific career. The second day of the workshop will grant participants the rare opportunity to get their portfolio reviewed by the “Poet of the Camera.” Mamun will offer constructive critique and shed light on the intricate details that go into capturing a portrait. Nasir Ali Mamun began his photographic career just after the Liberation War. Popularly known to art critics and connoisseurs as Camerar Kobi, he was born in Dhaka in 1953. In his four- decade long photography career, Mamun has captured magnificent portraits of renowned cultural personalities nationally and internationally. Regarding his early days in photography Mamun said: “I had to borrow camera to quench my thirst for photography. I had to struggle a lot initially to have my own camera. But that did not deter me from pursuing my goal.” l

BSA brings four new environmental theatres
Afrose Jahan Chaity
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy’s Theatre and Film Department has come up with four new theatre productions and the first one will premiere today, declared a press conference yesterday. The productions highlight history, cultural heritage and inspiring features of our beloved motherland and the stories are based on Bangladeshi archeology and social history. All of the productions are environmental theatre, in which a pre-existing production is placed in an environment similar to the one in which the play is set. It’s a new initiative of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and each production costs TK three lakh. Juddhopuran will be premiered today at 6pm at the Jallad Khana in Mirpur Benaroshi Polli. The show will continue till March 21 and the production will be performed five times each day. Director Anisul Haque shared the story of the production which is based on the genocide at Mirpur Jallad Khana during the Liberation War. The play also urges for the quick and fair trial of war criminals. On March 24, second production title Concentration Camp 71, directed by Baqar Bakul will be premiered in Faridpur Stadium. The place is the witness of the tortures and exploitations done by the Pakistani army to the innocent Bangladeshis during the Liberation War. Theatre artistes from Faridpur will take part in the production. Two theatre productions are based on Bangladeshi archeological landmarks. Theatre artists from Joypurhat will perform in the production based on Paharpur Bihar, directed by Debashish Ghosh. Minister of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs Asaduzzaman Noor will inaugurate the premier show at Paharpur Buddhist Bihar scheduled to be held on April 12. Another production based on such theme highlights Wari-Bateshwar region. The production titled Shikor is directed by Tanvir Ahmed Sidney. The Wari-Bateshwar region in Narsingdi, Bangladesh is the site of an ancient fort city dating back to 450BC. The 2500-year old ruins being unearthed near the old course of the Brahmaputra River are a major archaeological discovery in South Asia. It challenges the earlier notions of early urban civilization in Bengal. Director General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Liaquat Ali Lucky is the advisor of the project. l

Mick Jagger girlfriend found dead from suspected suicide
n Entertainment Desk
L’Wren Scott, a fashion designer, model and Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, was found dead in her apartment in Manhattan, New York on March 17 morning. She was 49 years old. The police suspects Scott committed suicide, as she was hanging from a doorknob, wearing a scarf. The famous fashion designer’s body was discovered at 10 a.m., after her assistant let herself in the apartment at the request of Scott, who had texted her to come over at 8:30 a.m. Scott’s long-time boyfriend Jagger, who was on tour in Australia with The Rolling Stones at the time of the death, is devastated and completely shocked by her death. Questions have arisen, as no written note was found in Scott’s apartment. Jagger and Scott had dated for 13 years, significantly longer than his previous relationships. Scott was born Luann Bambrough, and was adopted by a Mormon family in Roy, Utah. In her younger years, she enjoyed being the tallest and prettiest girl in her class, and when she was discovered by fashion photographer Bruce Weber, her career became almost surreal. Scott walked the catwalk in Paris and posed for luxury brands, including Chanel and Thierry Mugler. In the early 90s, she decided to move to California to become a fashion stylist for celebrities, allowing her to continue her glamorous life from a different angle. In 2006, Jagger’s girlfriend launched her own fashion brand. She was proud to dress celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessica Parker and Reese Witherspoon, who wore her designs to several award shows. l

Enders Game Avatar 3D Aakash Koto Dure Thor: The Dark World 3D The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 3D , Frozen in 3D Agnee Time: 10am - 10pm Star Cineplex, Bashundhara City Robocop, Gravity Captain Phillips, Elysium Time: 12:30pm – 9:30pm Blockbuster Cinemas Jamuna Future Park Ka- 244, Pragati Avenue, Kuril

Sonakshi Sinha sings for the very first time
n Entertainment Desk
Sonakshi Sinha has not only dubbed for the character Jewel in the Hollywood film Rio 2 but she has also revealed her singing talent. She said: “There’s a scene where Jewel is dancing and singing so they made me sing a few lines as well! It was such a new experience, I would have even loved to sing more but unfortunately I am only just a bathroom singer!’ Sonakshi Sinha and Imran Khan feature as the lovable and memorable macaws Jewel and Blu respectively for Rio 2. The English version of the movie will see the voices of Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. Though in the past B-town actors have lent their voices on a small scale, this is the first time such a huge Bollywood association has taken place for a Hollywood franchise. Fox’s Rio 2 in 3D is releasing on April 11 in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telegu. It is one of the most anticipated Hollywood movies in India and is an adventure comedy set in the Brazilian city of Rio De Janeiro! The movie will feature the return of Blu, Jewel and their three kids who leave their domesticated life for a journey to Amazon rainforest! l


Sculpture Exhibition By Hamiduzzaman Khan Time: 10am – 8pm Athena Gallery of Fine Arts, Progoti Shoroni, Uttar Badda

Did you know?
Chelsea (47) are on the longest current run of Premier League games without conceding a penalty

30 42 21 37 2 132 0,
For Bangladesh pacer Al-Amin the game against Nepal was an opportunity to stage a comeback from a low outing in the previous game. He couln’t have asked for a better comeback as his two for 17 was enough to secure him the man of the match award at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday.  “It is my first World Cup, and this is my third T20 match at this level. The first match bowling wasn’t too bad. I was trying to make a comeback in this game,” said Al Amin at the post-match conference.  However, despite the decent result he did show signs another poor spell by drifting to the batsman’s legs in his first over. “In the first over I had a tough time to control the ball because of the dew. I was thinking afterwards that I have to make amends in the next three overs. The wicket had grass and I thought of making it count. I have never faced such dew in my life. I saw the seam was wet when I looked at it before bowling the second ball. I bowled cross-seam for a while and then I used the seam when it was better,” said Al Amin.  There were certain points in the game which made look that Bangladesh were going in a relaxed mode against their weaker opponents. The Tigers came in the match on the back of a dominating win over Afghanistan and though Nepal are a weaker opponent, Al Amin explained that they had no room to relax and thinks might have looked casual as the no wickets feel when the spinners were bowling in the middle overs.  “There was no chance to relax. This was a do-or-die match for us. We tried to play good cricket. We took a few early wickets but if Shakib (al Hasan) bhai and Raj bhai (Abdur Razzak) could have got us a few more in the middle overs, we could have wrapped them up for a smaller total.  “The wicket wasn’t particularly great for spinners. Our bowlers like Raj bhai and Shakib bhai struggled to bowl. There was too much dew,” he said.  Meanwhile after a convincing win over Hong Kong, the defeat was the first for Nepal in the tournament. The Associate member’s faced a Test playing nation for the first time while this World Twenty20 is also their first world event. Nepal’s coach Pubudu Dassanayake overlooked the defeat and said his side’s main intention was to bag experience against a Test playing nation through the game. l

Wednesday, March 19, 2014



14 Man United plot

season-saving salvo

14 Totti makes

instant impact on Roma return

15 Gayle announces

his arrival as WI beat England

Al Amin eyed the comeback
Nepal innings
Khakurel† c Razzak b Farhad 8 Sagar c Shakib b Al-Amin 12 Malla lbw b Al-Amin 13 Khadka b Mashrafe 41 Vesawkar run out (Mushfiq) 40 Bhandari not out 0 Extras (lb 3, w 9) 12 Total (5 wickets; 20 overs) 126 FoW: 1 19, 2 38, 3 39, 4 124, 5 126 Bowling Mashrafe 4 0 23 1, Al-Amin 4 0 17 2, Farhad 3 0 27 1, Shakib 4 0 22 0, Nasir 3 0 22 0, Razzak 2 0 12 0

Bangladesh innings
Tamim c Sagar b Regmi Anamul run out (Sagar /Khakurel) Sabbir not out Shakib not out Extras (lb 2) Total (2 wickets; 15.3 overs) FoW: 1 63, 2 79 Bowling Kami 2 0 21 0, Khadka 3 0 23 0, Gauchan 4 0 40 0, Mukhiya 2 0 16 Regmi 3 0 14 1, Sagar 1.3 0 16 0 Bangladesh won by 8 wickets Player of the match Al-Amin Hossain (Bangladesh)

Shahzad, Shafiq power Afghans to maiden World T20 win
A well architected 68 from Mohammad Shahzad followed by a blistering 51 from Shafiqullah saw Afghanistan cruise past Hong Kong by seven wickets to land their maiden World Twenty20 victory at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday. Wicketkeeper-batsman Shahzad, after a first-ball duck against Bangladesh, was very cautious at the start before he opened up to hit six fours and three sixes in his 53-ball knock which made their path to overcome Hong Kong’s 153 runs easy. Afghanistan required 86 off the last 10 overs with nine wickets in hand and the match could have seen a different winner had Hong Kong fielders put on a better display. However, a thunderous 24-ball fifty from Shafiqullah, who is also a wicketkeeper, made sure Afghanistan reached 154 with two overs to spare. Along with five fours, the 24-year-old right-handed batsman clobbered three sixes, all of which came in the same over.

Dhaka craze for Ctg match
When Bangladesh team was facing Nepal at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday in their second encounter of the World T20 Championship, the people back in Dhaka may not have witnessed the match from the stadium but the craze is still the same when fans glued themselves to the TV - be it on the roadside, TV showrooms or at their home after returning from their work. After Bangladesh crushed Afghanistan in their first match – avenging a loss to the same opponents in the Asia Cup - expectations from the home crowd rose high and even though the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium was not hosting any match yesterday, the fans still gathered in the stadium premises and discussed yesterday’s match against Nepal. The excited fans gathered outside the TV showrooms all over the city and the festive mood of the Mirpur Area was unchanged as people discussed the match in groups where the main topic was how easily Bangladesh can beat Nepal yesterday. One of the fans, who was betting with his friends that Bangladesh will win the match by ten wickets if they chase and if they bat first, the home side will be win by over fifty runs, informed the approach of the cricketers against the match against Afghanistan gained his expectations for the Tigers as he had before. “Actually the way our Tigers played against the Afghans on their first match that’s their natural game and every cricketer looked hungry of winning and tried to give their hundred percent. And if they continue playing with the same approach Bangladesh not only reaches the super ten phase they can even beat a bigger side. This is what we expect from them and we have the believe that our team can play much better,” said Atikul Islam, a university student who lives near the stadium in Mirpur. However it was not long ago when Bangladesh team were going through their worst time on the field, after displaying some great cricket in the last two years. They have come back strong in the mega event and the biggest hurdle towards the main stage has been cleared with ease. l

Hong Kong 153 8 in 20 overs
M. Chapman 38, Waqas Barkat 32, Jamie Atkinson 31; Shapoor Zadran 2 27, Mohammad Nabi 2 27; Hamza Hotak 2 32


Afghanistan 154 3 in 18 overs
Mohammad Shahzad 68, Shafiqullah Shafiq 51 not out Afghanistan won by seven wickets
Shafiqullah, including the sixes, took 24 off the 17th over bowled by 20-yearold medium pacer Aizaz Khan which effectively took the game away from Hong Kong. Earlier, Hong Kong opted to bat first and rode on three mid-thirty innings’ from Waqas Barkat, Jamie Atkinson

Afghanistan’s Shahzad celebrates his fifty against Hong Kong in Chittagong yesterday

and Mark Chapman to scamper past 150. Irfan Ahmed made a hash of Afghan left-arm seamer Shapoor Zadran’s natural in-swing as he was cleaned up in the very first delivery before Waqas and Jamie counter attacked to add 42 in 4.2 overs. Jamie’s quick fire 20-ball 31 contained five fours and a well timed pull over mid-wicket for six. Hong kong reached 100 for two in 13 overs, but were not able to capitalize on the scorecard as the dismissals of Waqas and Chapman were followed by a mini collapse.    Waqas returned for run-a-ball 32 while Chapman made 38 off 43 as Hong Kong lost their last six wickets for 52 runs. Shapoor, Hamza Hotak and Afghan skipper Mohammad Nabi bagged two wickets each. After two games each in Group A, Hong Kong, who won both their warm-ups against Zimbabwe and Netherlands, are yet to register a win in the first round of the multi-national event. l

Australia face uphill battle
Australia will face a tough task as they attempt to win their first World Twenty20 as they have been placed in the same group with defending champions the West Indies, as well as two former winners India and Pakistan. Bangladesh look likely to join the group in the Super 10 phase and Australian captain George Bailey, who was recently appointed the captain of Kings XI Punjab for the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League, acknowledged yesterday that his side have a difficult road ahead of them. “We’ve got a very challenging group, no doubt about that. So certainly the way we’re looking at it is, if we progress through the group, we’ll be playing some very good T20 cricket,” said the 31-year-old batsman yesterday. Nonetheless, Australia’s recent form makes them one of the favourites to lift the trophy. Not only have they won their last five games against South Africa and England but they thoroughly outplayed their opponents in both batting and bowling in those games. Bailey was cautious in assessing his side as the best though. “Whether it’s our best team, I guess we’ll find out in the next few weeks. “As far as balance goes, I think it’s probably the team that gives us the most options in terms of batting and bowling that we’ve ever put together,” said the man from Tasmania. “I’m really happy with our pace battery. One of the important things in subcontinent conditions is to either have really good pace, or to have guys who swing the ball. With the addition of Doug (Bollinger), along with Mitchell Starc and Nathan Coulter-Nile, I think we’ve got three guys who bowl at really good pace and can all swing the ball, so that’s really important for us. The other thing is, you have to be able to finish at the other end too, and those guys have all got really good skills at the death,” he added. The captain went on to admit that the subcontinent teams’ familiarity with the conditions gave them some advantage compared to others. Asked about the matter, Bailey replied, “I would imagine so, and that’s not selling any of the western countries short. Playing in your own conditions, there’s a comfort there, and there’s a knowledge that it might take teams a little bit to adjust to.” He went on to add, “I think we have played a lot in India, and I don’t think the conditions will be much different from that, so it’s not going to be altogether foreign for us.” l

Calm down boys
The incident took place in the second ball of the 11th over after Anamul Haque had just played a superb shot past cover for four. Anamul had cut the ball hard towards point and Sagar Pun did very well to dive to his right and stop the ball stop and return it to the keeper. But by then, Anamul took off for a single only to see his same-age partner Sabbir Rahman sticking to his place at the non-striker’s end. The miscommunication between the two 22-year olds was not the silly or immature part of the incident but it was Anamul’s reaction to the dismissal. He hesitated and stopped after taking a few steps when he saw Sabbir was not responding, but still for some reason instead of trying to get back to his crease he sprinted and tried to cross Sabbir (which would have caused Sabbir getting run out). Anamul broke into frustration which was followed by a heated word of exchange between the youngsters, with Anamul reacting in a very immature manner.   However, replays showed Anamul failed by few inches to cross Sabbir and eventually he walked back with a body language very inappropriate for a national team player, especially when it is in a World Cup. l

Australian star allrounder Shane Watson shares his thoughts with the press in the open media session yesterday MUMIT M

Sign Rodgers up for long term: Gerrard
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has urged the club’s American owners to agree a new deal with manager Brendan Rodgers as soon as possible. High-scoring Liverpool are second in the Premier League, four points adrift of Chelsea but with a game in hand, and Gerrard said the Northern Irish manager had proved he was a ‘perfect fit’ since joining in 2012. “I am absolutely delighted he is here and I hope there is a lot of movement in Boston now because they have got to get him signed up as soon as possible,” the captain told reporters. –Reuters



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Durant’s Thunder roll over Bulls
Kevin Durant again flashed the hot hand for Oklahoma City as he tallied 35 points to power the Thunder to a 97 85 win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday. The 35-year-old American has now scored at least 25 points in 32 consecutive games as he dipped into his bag of tricks to score on a range of different shots that stymied the Bulls’ defence. “He’s playing at an MVP level this year and the last couple of years,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “But his consistency this year? –AFP

Defoe dreams of England recall
Former Spurs striker Jermain Defoe slammed in two goals on his debut for Toronto FC in North America’s Major League Soccer at the weekend, rekindling hopes of an England recall for the 2014 World Cup. “I’d like to score as many goals as possible for the club and go to the World Cup,” Defoe told the FIFA website. “I just need to play and score goals,” he said. “To get on a World Cup squad you have to be playing. “Throughout my career people know I’ve scored a lot of goals. I think the most important thing for me is to play and score goals. –Reuters

Zenit hoping for a European miracle in Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund host Zenit St Petersburg in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday with the Russians admitting they need a minor miracle to progress. Last season’s runners-up Dortmund enjoyed a 4-2 win in the first leg in St Petersburg three weeks ago and Zenit have since sacked Italian coach Luciano Spalletti. Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas was named as his successor on Tuesday and will be unveiled at a press conference on Thursday. Former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder and ex-Russia captain Sergei Semak will be on the touchline in Dortmund as Zenit’s interim coach. “We want to peform with dignity in the return match with Borussia. Of course our chances are slim, but miracles sometimes happen,” Semak said ahead of the game. Both teams come into the Westfalenstadion clash on the back of defeats. Zenit went down 1-0 at the hands of reigning champions CSKA Moscow on Saturday and it was the second consecutive Russian Premier League match in which they have failed to score. Meanwhile, Dortmund suffered a 2-1 loss at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Bundesliga. Coach Jurgen Klopp was sent from the dugout for arguing with the fourth official, a misdemeanour for which he was later fined 10,000 euros ($13,926) by the German Football Association. Only two teams have ever won a Champions League knockout tie after losing the first leg at home, but Zenit are at least near full-strength for the game. Dortmund, meanwhile, are set to welcome back playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan from suspension, but Germany winger Marco Reus is still doubtful with injury. However, Germany midfielder Sven Bender is not expected back until late next month due to a groin injury, while Ilkay Gündogan has been sidelined since mid-August due to compression of the spine. Centre-back Neven Subotic is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing knee ligaments and Poland winger Jakub Blaszczykowski will not play again this term after sustaining a knee injury in late January. “Now we need to forget about the (Moenchengladbach) defeat quickly and focus on Zenit,” said Dortmund’s Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, who has six goals in seven Champions League games this season, including a brace in the first leg. l

United plot season-saving salvo AVB named as Zenit boss
Still reeling from their humbling by Liverpool, Manchester United return to Old Trafford on Wednesday needing to overturn a 2-0 Champions League deficit against Olympiakos to save their season. Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Liverpool left David Moyes’s side 12 points below the top four in the Premier League and, having already gone out of both domestic cups, the Champions League represents a last chance of salvation. Notions of the club qualifying for next season’s Champions League by winning the current tournament appear fanciful, but elimination in the last 16 on Wednesday would suck all intrigue from their campaign. Succeed, and United will take their place alongside Europe’s most glamorous sides in the quarter-finals, three years after last reaching the last eight en route to defeat by Barcelona in the 2011 final. Fail, and the unwanted consolation of a Europa League place will be all that is left to play for; a fraught summer of soul-searching all there is to look forward to. United were synonymous with stirring comebacks under Moyes’s predecessor, Alex Ferguson, but they require a vast improvement on the insipid showing produced against Liverpool. Worryingly for both United’s supporters and the club’s hierarchy, the team’s performances appear to be get-

(L to R) Manchester United's Robin Van Persie, manager David Moyes and Ryan Giggs laugh as Darren Fletcher jumps for the ball during a training session at the club's Carrington training complex in Manchester, northern England yesterday. United are set to play Greek side Olympiakos in the Champions League today REUTERS

Man United v Olympiakos Dortmund v Zenit
ting worse, despite strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both now operating at full capacity. They offered disconcertingly little resistance in the first-leg loss to Olympiakos in Piraeus on February 25, but goalkeeper David de Gea has promised an

improved showing in the return fixture. “We know we didn’t play a good match in Greece. They were better than us and they won,” the Spaniard told the UEFA website. “But now there is the return leg at Old Trafford and I think that, with our fans behind us, we have to go onto the pitch and fight and attack from the first minute. “We will give everything we have and play a lot better than we did there.” United have recovered a first-leg deficit only once in the Champions League era, atoning for a 2-1 loss to Roma in the quarter-finals of the 200607 tournament with a stunning 7-1 victory at Old Trafford. l

Ambitious Russian side Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday named ex-Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas as their new manager, in a big name appointment as the club seeks to break through into the top ranks of European football. The club said in a statement that the 36-year-old Portuguese handler, who first made his name with Porto, will officially sign on for Zenit on March 20, taking over from Italian Luciano Spalletti, who was sacked last week. He will start as coach just a day after Zenit play at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16, with the Russians needing to overturn a 2-4 first leg deficit. Caretaker manager Sergei Semak will be in charge for that game.

“Zenit has agreed terms on a contract with new head coach Andre Villas-Boas. The contract will be signed and Mr Villas-Boas will be presented in St Petersburg as Zenit’s new head coach on March 20,” Zenit said in a statement. Zenit’s owners, the Russian statecontrolled gas giant Gazprom, will be looking beyond this season in signing Villas-Boas as they seek glory on the European stage. Spalletti achieved domestic success with Zenit, leading the Saint Petersburg side to two Russian league titles, and delivering a first Russian Cup win in 11 years soon after his appointment. But Gazprom lost patience with Spalletti’s failure to make a breakthrough in the Champions League after several big money signings. l

Nadal, Federer bring box-office boost
After missing last year’s Sony Open, both world number one Rafa Nadal and 17-times grand slam winner Roger Federer return to South Beach this week along with their box office punch. There will be no shortage of tennis glitterati around Miami for the next fortnight with 19 of the top 20 men’s and women’s players in action at Crandon Park but perhaps none more welcome than Federer and Nadal as their absence last year left a hole that could not be filled. Nadal and Federer are box office gold for any tournament and with the Spaniard missing due to a knee injury and the Swiss maestro on an extended break last year’s attendance dropped 5.5 percent to 308,000. “Anytime you have two stars the size of Roger and Rafa, guys who are bigger than the sport, bigger than tennis, missing it hurts,” tournament director Adam Barrett told Reuters on Monday. “These guys are superstars, they draw crowds whether they are at the airport, a hotel or walking through a mall. “Anywhere they go they are going to bring additional crowds both tennis and non-tennis folks.” With a promising weather forecast and lineup that includes world number one Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, defending men’s champion Andy Murray and three-time winner Novak Djokovic the Sony Open could set record ticket sales this year. “A lot of it has to do with how the draw unfolds,” Barrett said about a possible attendance record. “A lot of years when you set record attendance you get intriguing matches. “Every year you wait, you let it unfold, we will be close to records every year. The only thing that really takes records out of the equation is rain.” The women’s main draw gets underway with first-round matches on Tuesday while the men’s main draw begins Wednesday. After a first-round bye, Nadal will open action against the winner of Dutchman Robin Haase and Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who will be chasing his 600th career win. Third-seeded Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka along with big hitters Canadian Milos Raonic and American John Isner lurk as danger men. But it is the bottom half of the draw where the real intrigue lies with world number two Djokovic, fresh off a win at Indian Wells, two-time winner Federer and holder Murray all eager to add another Miami title to their resumes. l

Players of Celaya football team pose with brown paper bags over their heads in protest at unpaid wages, before Saturday's Mexican second division match against Merida, in Celaya, Mexico's state of Guanajuato on Saturday. The Mexican players' association said on Monday that measures were being taken to resolve the impasse after the players claimed they had not been paid for two months REUTERS

Berlusconi gives Seedorf backing
AC Milan owner and president Silvio Berlusconi has given under-fire coach Clarence Seedorf his backing amid speculation the Dutchman could be on his way out of the club. Milan suffered their third consecutive league defeat on Sunday in a 4-2 reverse at home to Parma having been reduced to 10 men inside 10 minutes when goalkeeper Christian Abbiati was sent off, The result dropped Milan to 12th, a massive 40 points behind leaders Juventus and 12 behind city rivals Inter, who sit fifth and in the first available Europa League spot. Media speculation on Monday suggested Milan had already lost patience with Seedorf when he inherited an ailing side from former handler Massimiliano Allegri in January. l

Distin uncertain over Europa League
Everton defender Sylvain Distin admitted he will have mixed emotions should the Toffees qualify for the Europa League. A place in next season’s elite and lucrative Champions League now looks beyond the Merseysiders, who are nine points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City, having played a game more than their Premier League rivals. But last weekend’s win over Cardiff, coupled with Manchester United’s defeat by Everton’s near neighbours Liverpool, left Roberto Martinez’s men in sixth place – the final qualifying spot for European football. However, Everton’s current squad is relatively small and any injuries collected in Europe’s second-tier tournament could have a damaging impact upon the club’s Premier League fortunes. “It’s mixed feelings because you can’t say no to playing in Europe. As a player it’s impossible to not want that,” Distin told the Liverpool Echo. “But it’s completely different from the Champions League in terms of finances for the club. It’s a lot of travel and you need a big squad. “Yes, it would be amazing for the club and for the fans to be travelling back in Europe again but for the team, if we’re not going to have a much bigger squad next season, it could be tough. “If you look at the big picture, as I say it’s important you’ve got to ensure that being in the Europa League doesn’t make you suffer back in the league. l

Totti makes instant impact
Francesco Totti made an instant impact on his return from a buttock injury when he scored one goal and helped set up another in AS Roma’s 3-2 Serie A win over Udinese on Monday. Second-placed Roma were also helped by an outstanding display from goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis as they stayed three points clear of thirdplaced Napoli, who rode their luck to beat Torino 1-0 with a controversial late goal by Gonzalo Higuain. Roma made only a small dent in Juventus’ lead as the champions stayed 14 clear points clear at the top and on course for a third successive title following their 1-0 win at Genoa on Sunday. But it was an important win in the battle for a Champions League place, with only the top two going directly into the group stage. A third place finish earns a place in the two-leg final qualifying round. One club-man Totti, in remarkable 22nd season at Roma, is still hugely influential and his side had failed to score

Torino Roma
Totti 22, Destro 30, Torosidis 69

0 1 3 2

Higuain 90

Pinzi 51, Basta 80

in their last two games without him. The 37-year-old put them ahead in the 22nd minute when he fired in a rebound from 12 metres for his sixth goal of the campaign after Udinese’s teenage goalkeeper Simone Scuffet parried Gervinho’s shot. Roma went further ahead after half an hour with a lethal counter-attack. l



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gayle announces his arrival
Chris Gayle declared his arrival in Bangladesh for the ICC World T20 with a match winning unbeaten 58 steering West Indies to a seven wicket victory over England in a warm-up match at Fatullah yesterday. Sporting “solar red” coloured shirts as part of their new Twenty20 kit, England posted a modest 131-7 in the opening innings with captain Eoin Morgan top-scoring with 43 not out. Moeen Ali (22) was the only other batsman to post over 20 runs in the England innings. Chris Gayle, who was rested last Thursday’s final T20 international between the two teams, hit an unbeaten 58 from 38 balls to ease the current World T20 holders to victory with 23 balls to spare. England bowler Tim Bresnan proved particularly expensive, conceding 29 runs in two overs. Gayle and Dwayne Smith (36) put on 78 in 8.3 overs for the Windies’ first wicket to leave the result in little doubt. England face India on Wednesday in their final warm-up game before they open their World T20 campaign against New Zealand on Saturday. l


England 131 7 in 20 overs E. Morgan 43*, M Ali 22; K Santokie 3 24, S Cottrell 2 23 West Indies 132 3 in 16.1 overs C Gayle 58*, D Smith 38; Bopara 1 20 West Indies won by 7 wickets

Two players get worldwide bans for Australian match
Two English players have had life bans extended worldwide for fixing matches in Australia’s second-tier Victorian Premier League, soccer’s governing body FIFA said Monday. Defender Reiss Noel and goalkeeper Joe Woolley, who both played for Southern Stars, pleaded guilty and were fined by a Melbourne court in December after manipulating games on the instruction of betting syndicates based in Malaysia and Hungary. Noel was slapped with a fine of A$2,000 (US$1,800) while Woolley got a penalty of A$1,200 for his role in the crime. The two players were subsequently given lifetime bans by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) and these were extended worldwide by FIFA’s disciplinary committee on Friday, soccer’s governing body said. FIFA said two other British players and one Australian team official were still under FFA bans in relation to the same criminal investigations being conducted by Victoria police. –Reuters

Thuram ‘understands’ Brazil protests
French football legend Lilian Thuram expressed sympathy with Brazilian protesters threatening to disrupt the World Cup, saying he understands their anger over the tournament’s multi-billion-dollar price tag. The 42-year-old star of France’s 1998 World Cup-winning side told AFP during a visit to Rio de Janeiro that protesting over the cost of the World Cup was understandable given the country’s creaking infrastructure. “I am not Brazilian so I would not join the protesters -- but I understand them totally,” Thuram told AFP when asked if he supported the demonstrators. “When you live in a country that has problems with health care and education, those are going to be more of a priority for some people than building stadiums. “It seems evident to me that these people are denouncing the money spent on stadiums rather than on hospitals.” –AFP

West Indies opener Chris Gayle goes big during their World T20 warm-up match against England at Fatullah yesterday


Bangladesh set to qualify
Bangladesh all but confirmed their Asian Games Hockey berth with a 2-0 victory over Singapore in the group B match of the Islami Bank Asian Games Hockey Qualifiers at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium yesterday. The victory meant Bangladesh top the group with six points and confirm a last four slot of the eight nation meet. Six of the eight teams will get the ticket of Asian Games scheduled to be held at Incheon Korea next September. However it was again a frustrating showing by Bangladesh as the forwards continued to misfire. Krishna Kumar, Pushkor Khisha Mimo, Mainul Islam Koushik and Hasan Jubaer Niloy all missed scoring chances in either half of the match. Coach Naveed Alam admitted his disappointment. “The diagram is not working, I have talked with the forwards and asked them about their problems, they have to be more concentrating,” said Naveed. Bangladesh came close to a goal in the 4th minute but Pushkor Khisha Mimo’s placing on a push of Sheikh Md. Nannu missed the side post by a whisker. In the 21st minute, Singapore midfielder Elifh Abdul Latifh went through the Bangladesh defence but his fierce hit was blocked by goalie Ashim Gope. In the 33rd minute, Bangladesh forward Krishna Kumar saw his powerful hit miss the sidepost in a one on one situation with Singapore goalie A. Suresh. Suresh had denied Bangladesh’s drag and flick specialist Mamunur Rahman Chayan with a superb save a few minutes earlier. Bangladesh forward Krishna Kumar broke the deadlock in the 40th minute with a solo effort on the left flank and beat Suresh with an upward push. In the 49th minute, Chayan doubled the lead off the 4th penalty corner for Bangladesh. Nannu initiated and Sarwar stopped the ball for Chayan. Krishna Kumar was adjudged as the man of the match. Singapore remained on their previous collection of three points. Meanwhile, Iran tasted its first victory beating Hong Kong China 2-1 in the first match of the day. Hong Kong China took the lead in the 18th minute after midfielder Chow Ho Yin coolly collected the ball at the edge of the D and hit the 18 inch board with a controlled punch of his stick. Iran staged a comeback in the 45th minute. Norouzzaadeh Reza initiated the ball in the midfield and Taheridad Navid pushed the ball past Hong Kong goalie Hayward Andrews. In the 52st minute, Norouzzaadeh Reza and Navid played a one-two to go past the Hong Kong defence and Navid’s angular slap hit gave Andrews no chance to react. Norouzzadeh Reza was adjudged as the man of the match. Iran have three points from two matches while Hong Kong have lost both of their matches. l


Pioneer football league commences today
The Dhaka North & South City Corporation Pioneer (Under-16) Football League, organised by Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), begins at the Paltan Ground today. Tangail Football Academy will face Arambagh Football Academy in the inaugural match. Finance Minister AMA Muhith will inaugurate the juvenile football league, comprising 65 football clubs. Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports Arif Khan Joy will be also be accorded a reception at the same function, to be chaired by BFF President Kazi M Salahuddin. Deputy Chairman of the Pioneer Football League Committee and BFF member Bijon Barua disclosed the details of the league at a press conference at the BFF House yesterday. BFF member Iqbal Hossain, additional director of the league’s co-sponsor RB Group (Walton) FM Iqbal Bin Anwar, BFF general secretary Abu Naeem Shohag, and Welfare & Cultural Secretary of Dhaka South City Corporation Mohammad Motaleb also spoke on the occasion. The league will be played at six different venues across the capital - Dhupkhola East End Club, BG Press, Outer Stadium, Bijoy Sarani Army Museum, Rahmatganj Club and Mohammadpur Edgah grounds. l

Hull City name set to stay the same
Controversial plans to change the official name of English Premier League club Hull City appeared to have been thwarted on Monday by the Football Association. The membership committee of English football’s governing body said it had made a “unanimous recommendation” to the FA council to reject a plan from the club’s wealthy Egyptian owner Assem Allam to change the name from Hull City AFC to Hull Tigers. Although Hull’s longstanding nickname is ‘Tigers’, many of the Humberside club’s fans were up in arms at the proposal while Allam, who has invested millions of pounds into the club, threatened to quit if the plans were rejected. It was a threat he reiterated at the weekend, having previously told fans chanting “City till I die” that they could “die as soon as they want”. –AFP

Bangladesh forward Krishna Kumar goes wild to celebrate his goal against Singapore in the Islami Bank Asian Games Hockey Qualifiers yesterday COURTESY

Australia ready: Watson
The current Australian side is getting in shape of the mighty Australian side in the early 2000’s led by Steve Waugh and later carried on by Ricky Ponting. The Aussies had a terrific season recently winning the T20 series against South Africa and obviously the success in the Ashes. The second best all rounder and the ninth ranked batsman in the ICC official rankings in the T20 Shane Watson praised Darren Lehman, the new coach of the side after he took over from Micky Arthur. The all rounder informed that this is the best Australian side in the T20’s so far and said all changed courtesy of their coach. “The difference is just our coach Darren Lehman the day from he took over from Micky Arthur certainly pointed us the direction and he knows how to get the best out of the players. He knows to create the right environment for the players and we are looking to perform and certainly enjoy the game,” said Watson at the open media session on a hotel yesterday. “I have got no doubt and it’s the best T20 team I have ever played for Australia and its got match winners and power through around and any guy can win a game for us is batting and bowling wise we have got quality spinners but definitely we are going to miss Mitchell Johnson and it would have great if he is in the side but we are still a good side and its going to be a good tournament,” he added. The hard hitting opener, who has a strike rate of 148.60 in 41 matches and is one of the most highly rated all rounders in world cricket at the moment, thought to quit from international cricket a few years back but changed his thoughts and informed he is enjoying the game and would like to continue. “That days very much gone as I said to be involved with the Australian team certainly is a very fun time you know we are playing brilliant cricket and certainly enjoying for that period of I time I certainly was not involve with cricket and the reason why I play the game because I love it and that time was certainly I was not enjoying and since Darren came in he certainly adds the environment,” he informed. On the other hand the number one ranked batsman in the shortest format of the game Aaron Finch is all set to fire like the left hander is known for with David Warner at the top informed that playing a lot of cricket in the subcontinent really helped him to adapt to the conditions. “I think the guys played lot more cricket in the subcontinent than Australia, it’s going to help us and the conditions are pretty much familiar to us. However the conditions will be testing as we know playing in these conditions earlier,” said Finch. The attacking left hander who has the strike rate of over 167 informed that they will be attacking their opponents as they have a very deep batting order. “I think it’s time to be very aggressive as we have Warner, Bailey, Maxwell which gives us the depth in our team which gives us the luxury to be attacking upfront,” he said. Meanwhile Cameron White the former captain of the T20 side informed that this is the best chance for Australia to win the tournament as the mighty Aussies are yet to get the trophy in their cabinet. “I think we previously played pretty well obviously semi final in the last World Cup and the final in the World Cup before that but obviously we have to work hard it’s a tough group. But this time we have the best chance as we have a balanced unit and we got lots of options and we got pretty much all covered,” said White. l

Proteas beat BD A
Bangladesh A  116 (18.4/20 ov) South Africa 122/5 (18.3/20 ov) South Africa warmed up for their ICC World T20 with a five wicket victory over Bangladesh A at the Fatullah Stadium yesterday. Batting first Bangladesh A posted 116 allout in 18.4 overs with Junaed Siddique scoring 29, wicket keeper Nurul Hasan chipping in 25 and Mukhtar Ali slamming 35 off 20 balls hitting fout fours and two sixes. Dale Steyn and Tsotsobe grabbed two wickets each conceding 10 and 21 runs. Later South Africa scored 122 for five with Farhan Behardien contributing unbeaten 36 off 31 balls, J.Duminy adding 25 off 41 and J. Morkel remaining not out hitting 27 off 12 balls. l

Sony Six NBA 2013 14 8:30AM Atlanta v Toronto 8:30AM Golden State v Orlando Star Sports 4 2:30PM AFC Champions League Sydney Wanderers v Kawasaki Frontale 1:00AM Sony Open Tennis, Miami Star Sports 1 World T20 2014 3:30PM Zimbabwe v Netherlands 7:30PM Ireland v UAE Star Sports 2 World T20 warm-up 3:30PM Sri Lanka v West Indies 7:30PM India v England Ten Sports 1:45AM UEFA Champions League, R16 Leg2 Man Utd v Olympiakos Ten Action 1:45AM UEFA Champions League, R16 Leg2 Man Utd v Olympiakos

BFF ex-co members greet their Pioneer League sponsors in a press conference held at the BFF House yesterday COURTESY

Dropped catches
Afghanistan bagged their maiden win in the ICC World Twenty20 and also in a world event defeating Hong Kong by seven wickets at Chittagong’s Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday. Opener batsman Mohammad Shahzad’s 68 was vital for Afghanistan chasing 154 but that came after two dropped catches. However, Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi disagreed that catches cost the match and said such things were part of the game. “No, because that target on this pitch, because the ball comes on the pitch, maybe 170-75 was a good target, not 153. Also, because we have some wickets in hand, the chase was easy,” said Nabi to the media yesterday. “Every match is important to win. Bangladesh was an important game, we lost. We’ll try and win both games,” he added. Afghanistan will face Nepal in their last group match of the first round of the tournament. According to coach Kabir Khan, Afghanistan will look forward to win the game too to keep their chances alive in the tournament. “The only way we can survive in the tournament now is Bangladesh losing a game while we win our last. But there is a very minute chance for this to happen to be honest. But we will like to keep all options open and go for the win against Nepal,” said Kabir. While for Hong Kong, back to back defeats means they are already out of the league. However the side’s coach Charlie Burke is happy for the team’s better showing after they were thrashed by Nepal in the previous game. “Yeah, better performance, we still did a lot of basics wrong, the fielding was very poor again today, which is inexcusable. We pride ourselves on our fielding and we fielded really well in all the pre-matches and again we dropped some simple catches today,” said Burke. The 34-year-old Australian also blamed the dropped catches for the defeat, despite being in control of the game at times. “Definitely, you drop someone that goes on and makes a good score it really hurts you, and they chased really well. I thought Afghanistan remained calm the whole way through and they showed how good a side they are... to miss that run-out that we should have easily got and two dropped catches, really hurts you,” he said. l

Bangladesh A 116 (18.4/20 ov) Junaid 29, Muktar 35, Steyn 2/10 South Africa 122/5 (18.3/20 ov) Duminy 25, Behardien 36, Morkel 27, Taijul 3/12 South Africa won by 5 wickets

Ronaldo, Romario in World Cup spat
Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Romario on Monday indulged in a World Cup war of words as the former accused his compatriot of blaming him for a promise of free tickets for handicapped fans which has not materialized. “It is deplorable to see Romario, once again, make me publicly responsible for things which are outside my remit,” World Cup Local Organization Committee member Ronaldo wrote on his Facebook page. l



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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Missing plane search spans Asia, EWG: 3rd phase upazila polls not fully free, probe shows little progress marred by violence
n Reuters, Kuala Lumpur
An international land and sea search for a missing Malaysian jetliner is covering an area the size of Australia, authorities said yesterday, but police and intelligence agencies have yet to establish a clear motive to explain its disappearance. Investigators are convinced that someone with deep knowledge of the  Boeing 777-200ER and commercial navigation diverted  Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, carrying 12 crew and 227 mainly Chinese passengers, perhaps thousands of miles off its scheduled course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. But intensive background checks of everyone aboard have so far failed to find anyone with a known political or criminal motive to hijack or deliberately crash the plane, Western security sources and Chinese authorities said. Malaysian Acting Transport Minister  Hishammuddin Hussein  told a news conference the «unique, unprecedented» search covered a total area of 2.24 million nautical miles (7.68 million sq km), from  central  Asia  to the southern Indian Ocean. Flight MH370 vanished from civilian air traffic control screens off Malaysia’s east coast less than an hour after takeoff early on March 8. Investigators piecing together patchy data from military radar and satellites believe that someone turned off the aircraft’s identifying transponder and ACARS system, which transmits maintenance data, and turned west, re-crossing the Malay Peninsula and following a commercial aviation route towards India. Malaysian officials have backtracked on the exact sequence of events - they are now unsure whether the ACARS system was shut down before or after the last radio message was heard from the cockpit - but said that did not make a material difference. “This does not change our belief, as stated, that up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, the aircraft’s movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane,” said Hishammuddin. “That remains the position of the investigating team.” his country had carried out a detailed probe into its nationals aboard the flight and could rule out their involvement. US and European security sources said efforts by various governments to investigate the backgrounds of everyone on the flight had not, as of Monday, turned up links to militant groups or anything else that could explain the jet’s disappearance. A European diplomat in  Kuala Lumpur  also said trawls through the passenger manifest had come up blank. One source familiar with U.S. inquiries said the pilots were being studied because of the technical knowledge needed to disable the aircraft’s communications systems. The New York Times  cited senior U.S. officials as saying that the first turn back to the west was likely programmed into the aircraft›s flight computer, rather than being executed manually, by someone knowledgeable about aircraft systems. Malaysia Airlines  Chief Executive Ahmad JauhariYahya told Tuesday’s daily news conference that that was “speculation”, adding: “Once you are in the aircraft, anything is possible.” Malaysian officials said on Monday that suicide by the pilot or co-pilot was a line of inquiry, although they stressed that it was only one of the possibilities under investigation. Malaysian police  have searched the homes of the captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and first officer,  Fariq Abdul  Hamid, 27, both in middle-class suburbs of  Kuala Lumpur  close to the airport. Among the items taken for examination was a flight simulator Zaharie had built in his home. A senior police officer with direct knowledge of the investigation said the programs from the pilot’s simulator included Indian Ocean runways in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Diego Garcia and southern India, although he added that US and European runways also featured. “Generally these flight simulators show hundreds or even thousands of runways,” the officer said. “What we are trying to see is what were the runways that were frequently used. We also need to see what routes the pilot had been assigned to before. This will take time, so people cannot jump the gun just yet.”l

n Mushfique Wadud
The Election Working Group, a network of 29 civil society organisations, yesterday claimed that the third phase of upazila parishad elections last week were marred by violence and intimidation of voters as well as observers. At a press conference to release a preliminary report, EWG said it did not believe the third phase polls on Saturday were fully free, fair or credible. It also claimed that incidents of violence had gradually increased from phase one to three. “Considering the violent incidents, we cannot say that the elections were fully fair,” said Taleya Rahman, an executive committee member of EWG. Abdul Alim, the group’s director, said the Election Commission did not make adequate preparations to avoid violence. He also alleged that the elections were not “fully free”. The preliminary report estimated the average voter turnout to be 64.6 percent.

Background checks clean

China’s ambassador to  Malaysia  said

According to the report, EWG observers faced obstacles while monitoring elections in some parts of the country. “In an extremely concerning event in Daganbhuyian upazila, a EWG observer was taken against his will, beaten and finally released on the condition that he would not observe the election. The incident was reported to the EC,” it said. The report said 258 incidents of violence were reported from 54 upazilas, while 143 incidents of voter intimidation were seen. It also said in 90 cases, EWG members were not allowed to observe vote counting. Furthermore, 87 incidents of violation of electoral laws were reported. Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah, EWG steering committee member, said local government elections were supposed to be non-partisan, but now, except using party symbols, everything was done politically. Nazmul said local elections could also be held politically, and in that case, the accountability of political parties would increase. l

10 girls gain self-reliance making sanitary napkins
n Our Correspondent, Gaibandha
Ten teenage girls are earning a great deal of profit and becoming self-reliant in Baniarjan village of Gaibandha through producing sanitary napkins and supplying those to local drug stores. of Swechhashebi Shongothon Chinnomul Mohila Samily, the initiator of the project. He said: “We selected ten students from lower and middle class families upon consent of their parents and provided them training on making napkins. Necessary equipment like sewing machines, printed packets, a shop and other goods were provided to them on conditions. Now they are working three hours a day besides studying.” The project aimed at making the local young girls independent and creating awareness on health issues. Through this project the teenagers were emerging as small entrepreneurs, said Murshidur Rahman. Ripa, an HSC candidate, said: “Although we faced problems initially, people are now appreciating us.” One packet of Aporajita contains five sanitary napkins and costs Tk60. A statement on the cover reads: “The money spent to buy this will help teenage girls to become self-reliant.” “Through this pilot project we are trying to make the poor girls financially stable. If this project turns out to be successful, then we will go for wider programmes,” said the executive director. The project is supported by Practical Action Bangladesh and funded by the Unicef and the UK AID. l

‘Although we faced problems initially, people are now appreciating us’
They are Rupa, Afruza, Ripa, Hena, Situ, Jui, Mahmuda, Lebu, Khadiza and Hiramoni. Alongside pursuing education at different schools and colleges, they are making around 400 pieces of napkins a month under a project named “Sanimart”. The girls are also running their own shop named “Sanitation Mela.” Their handmade sanitary napkins called “Aporajita,” have already gained popularity among locals, informed Murshidur Rahman, executive director

A girl displays a packet of handmade sanitary napkins at their shop in Baniarajan village in Gaibandha


A victim of violent student politics n Our Correspondent, Rajshahi
Akhtaruzzaman Rajib, a second year student of mass communication and journalism department at Rajshahi University, started losing his eyesight after he was attacked during a peaceful movement on February 2, protesting evening masters courses and a fee hike. After he attended his final examination viva voce, like other students, he joined the rally organised by the general student body later in the day. Suddenly, bomb splinters from a cocktail hurled by Bangladesh Chhatra League activists in front of the administrative building hit his right eye. “It happened all of a sudden while I was trying to escape the attack. Soon I realised blood was oozing out of my right eye,” he told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. Rajib, from a poor family in Barguna, is now undergoing treatment at Rajshahi Eye Hospital. He needs to go India for better treatment. Fellow Mustafizur Rahman Mishu said they rescued Rajib and admitted him to Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital. He was shifted to the eye hospital a month later. Dr Lutfur Rahman of the eye hospital said: “Rajib needs at least Tk4.5 lakh for the first phase of his treatment in India.” His teachers and friends are going door to door to collect funds for him. l Money can be sent to Rajib at Akhtaruzzaman Rajib Khan, Dutch Bangla Bank, A/C 35-151-34172. Rajib can be contacted at his mobile number: 01721532872. l

Each Rana Plaza worker Probe body fails to identify culprits to get Tk50,000 from behind Ctg gold trader abduction n Trust Fund
Tarek Mahmud, Chittagong

n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi
Every worker, who worked at the garments housed at Rana Plaza, will be given Tk50,000 as compensation from the “Rana Plaza Donor’s Trust Fund,” formed to compensate the victims of the deadly factory disaster. The decision was made at a meeting of the Rana Plaza Compensation Coordinating Committee yesterday.

‘It is a great achievement for the trade union that it has been able to provide compensation for all workers’
This fund would be distributed among workers by the coordinating committee through bKash by April 15, Ramesh Chandra Roy, secretary general of IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, told the Dhaka Tribune. The Trust Fund, backed by the International Labour Organisation, includes IndustriALL, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign. The ILO is the

trustee of the fund. Currently, the Trust Fund has $8m while British retailer Primark would give $1m to the fund. About $40m is needed to pay 3,000 workers or the families of those killed in the collapse on April 24 last year. At least 1,133 workers were killed and over 2,500 injured in the incident. “It is a great achievement for the trade union that it has been able to provide compensation for all workers,” Ramesh said. As per the decision of yesterday’s meeting, long-term compensation would be provided through fixed deposit, with the help of Dutch Bangla Bank, he added. On the other hand, the Primark would pay 20% compensation of claim for those who are missing, dead and needs long-term treatment by March 31. On Monday, the Primark said it would begin paying $9m in long-term compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse. As many as 580 workers or their dependents of New Wave Bottoms, which supplied Primark and was based on the second floor of the eight-storey building, will receive the payments. It also plans to pay the rest 80% compensation by May. It would be distributed through the Coordinating Committee. l

A probe body of Chittagong Metropolitan Police, which was formed to investigate the role of law enforcement agencies in connection with the abduction of the port city’s gold trader Mridul Chowdhury, has failed to identify the culprits behind the abduction. The probe committee also did not find any connection of Rapid Action Battalion or Detective Branch personnel being involved with the abduction, although the abductors identified themselves as RAB and DB officials during the incident, said probe body sources. Banaz Kumar Majumdar, additional commissioner (crime and operation) of the CMP and chief of the probe committee, forwarded the probe report to the Police Headquarters yesterday. Banaz said the committee had not found any involvement of law enforcers with the abduction, while the kidnappers of Mridul could also not be identified. “I hope everything will be revealed in the investigation of the case, which was lodged regarding the abduction,” he added.   A member of the probe committee, seeking anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that the report also criticised the files and documents preserving system of the RAB for being defective. Gold trader Mridul was abducted

from in front of his residence in Chittagong city on February 11, while his abductors released him in Comilla on February 17. Mridul, before his abduction, had lodged a lawsuit with Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court against Major Rakibul Amin of RAB-2, RAB source Dipu and Mridul’s driver Babul, accusing them of robbing about 80 tolas of gold. Soon after the lawsuit, armed people identifying themselves as law enforcers picked up Mridul from his home, the gold trader’s relatives claimed. Mridul, in his confessional statement recorded by a Chittagong court on February 19, said a group of five or six people introducing themselves as RAB members and DB officials picked him

up and took him on a black microbus. The victim’s family alleged that Major Rakibul Amin, deputy director of RAB-2, was involved with the abduction as Mridul lodged a lawsuit against him. Major Rakibul and Mridul gave their statements before the probe body on March 5. Major Rakibul refuted the allegation against him, while Mridul said the abductors asked him repeatedly during his captivity why he had lodged the case against RAB officials. Earlier on March 2, the CMP formed a three-member probe body as per the order of Police Headquarters to investigate the role of law enforcement agencies in connection with the abduction, while the committee was asked to submit its report within a week. l

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B3 Dhaka, Seoul sign

framework agreement to increase aid

B4 HSBC: High-tech goods

to lead trade growth over next 15 years


Inspections lead to fear of job loss
Nearly 6,000, mostly women, were working in two factories closed after structural flaws were revealed


BGMEA to send letters against order withdrawals
n Ibrahim Hossain Ovi
After order withdrawal by different Western brands, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has decided to send letters to the Accord and Alliance asking for taking steps against such cancellation by their signatories. BGMEA vice president Shahidullah Azim said they would urge the brands to give a two-year time to complete corrective measures take in the garment sector. "We will send letters to Accord and Alliance not to pull out any order from the factories in next two years,"he told the Dhaka Tribune. A group of 150 European retailers and brands are the signatories of Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh while Alliance for Workers Safety in Bangladesh has 27 North American retailers. The cases showed orders were withdrawn mainly from the shared buildings which could be presumed flawed. "But if orders continue to be pulled out, thousands may lose jobs," said Shahidullah Azim. BGMEA sources said orders pullout from Accord signatories is more than from the Alliance brands. “But no brands were supposed to take any such step until completion of current initiative of renovation or retrofitting the factory buildings,” said a readymade garment exporter preferring not to be named. "We are ready to shift factories from the weak buildings or retrofit. But they (the brands) are not giving us enough time to do that. If it continues, shut-down will be the only option," he alleged. A high official of Accord said they were considering the complaints of order withdrawal. “We have received complaints of withdrawing orders from the factories housed in shared buildings. We will see the matter,” said Rob Wayss, executive director of Accord (Bangladesh Operation). However, Alliance said they had not received any such complaints from the owners. “We got no order withdrawal complaints from the factory owners yet,” M Rabin, managing director of Alliance, told the Dhaka Tribune. He added they would see the issue if there were complaints from factory owners. “It’s a matter of buyers and supplies,” Rabin said. The issue of fire and building safety came under the spotlight last year, following the Rana Plaza collapse that killed over 1,100 workers. After the disaster, the retailers’ platforms made a commitment to provide financial and technical supports to improve fire and building safety standard of RMG factories in Bangladesh, from which they source products. l


Tazlina Zamila Khan

As production in two garment factories in Dhaka has been suspended temporarily after Accord found structural hazards in the building, a number of around 6,000 workers fear loss of their jobs. Softex Cotton Ltd and Fame KnitWears Ltd were asked to stop working in the “weak and flawed” building early this month. They were of 10 factories inspected by the Accord experts on a pilot project. The owners of the two factories said they might no longer resume production in the building which Accord-designated hazardous. When told about the workers’ fear, the employers, while talking to the Dhaka Tribune, however assured that the workers would be taken back in their other factories. The assurance would not satisfy workers until they saw it happen. “We may be refused from getting back our jobs. The factory closure could be for permanent,” feared a worker. “The owners have other factories. If the ones where we were working are closed permanently, they will have no problem,” she added explaining her fear. But the employers said they would return jobs to the workers if they went to their other factories. “The workers will be given back their jobs if they come to us,” said Rezwan Selim, managing director of Softex which employs about 3,500, mostly women.

Bangladesh Accord Foundation, a group of 150 clothing brands and retailers, plans to inspect 1,500 garment factories by early September. According to the workers, they are going to the factories every morning hoping that the production is resumed. “I have two children. My husband is a rickshaw puller. It is tough to feed a family with the pittances we earn,” said Ayesha, a worker, sitting at a makeshift tea stall in a slum of Dhaka. “We heard the factory is in a temporary shutdown for retrofitting the building. But the closure becomes permanent, I will have nowhere to go,” she expressed her fear. The workers are now waiting for wages for the interim period which is likely to be three months. “It won’t be good if the owners don’t pay us wage for three months on March 20,” said Shabuj, another worker. On March 6, the Accord on Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety, an initiative of European retailers, asked the factories to suspend production as the building was inspected flawed. “We are completely unable now to pay wages of three months to workers. We will request the Accord to make the payments. This is their liability,” said Softex MD Rezwan Selim. According to him, Accord’s decision of production halt was not fair as “the building condition was not too bad to continue production.” “At least they could give us one month time,” Rezwan vented his grievance.

Women sewing clothes inside a factory in Dhaka “At around 10.30pm of March 6, Accord authorities called me and asked to evacuate the factory within March 10.” “But, this was not an enough time for such a task. On March 8, I sent them a letter asking for some time,” said Rezwan. Sources concerned said the building was approved for a four-storeyed structure but rose to seven storeys. Softex was housed in the unapproved floors. But Fame KnitWears was in the approved floors and so it can continue production after the Softex machineries are removed. “Accord told me to continue production after Softex evacuation. I told my workers to come on March 22,” said Md Moshiul Azam Shajal, owner of Fame KnitWears and a director of BGMEA. Fame owner however hinted that he might decide not to run the factory any longer in the present building and to shift to another place. “As problems have been found with the building, it is better relocate. Problems may be found again even after retrofitting,” said Moshiul Azam Shajal. Softex is going to find sub-contractors for supplying the already-taken orders, said manager Abul Hashem. The 30-year old building designated as flawed is owned by the ruling party lawmaker Ilias Uddin Mollah. He said the building would be retrofitted in a three-month time.


“The inspection team suggested strengthening of some columns. It can be done in three months,” said Mollah. Md Shahidullah Azim, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said if the workplace safety was ensured, the country’s garment sector image will return. Accord steering committee member Roy Ramesh Chandra said the decision about the two factories was taken for the welfare of both owners and workers. The workers of Softex Cotton Ltd and Fame KnitWears Ltd demanded wages for the time of suspension. The owners asked them to wait until March 20 (tomorrow) for the wages. l

Inter-bank ATM transaction charge lowered
n Tribune Report
Clients of banks under National Payment Switch of Bangladesh (NPSB) would enjoy lower charge for inter-bank ATM (automated teller machine) transactions from April 1. The card issuer banks would pay Tk20 to the booth-owner bank for each transaction, but the card issuer bank could charge highest Tk10 from their clients, said a circular Bangladesh Bank issued yesterday. At present, clients are charged at least Tk15 for each transaction. Bangladesh Bank introduced the NPS in December last to create a common platform among the existing shared switches already built-up by different private sector operators. The operation of the NPS started yesterday with seven participant banks. The NPS project was taken by the BB to bring all the ATM card holders of different banks under one umbrella so that any card holder of any bank can draw money from any booth through the inter-operability system. According to the circular, card issuer bank would pay charge of Tk5 to the booth-owner bank for balance inquiry or take mini-statement by using ATM of other banks. Card issuer bank could also charge it from their clients. ATM card issuer might also be refrained from imposing any charge on their clients. Bangladesh Bank would not charge on its clients at this moment for maintaining the NPSB. There is financial involvement in setting up of ATM booths, maintenance, ensuring security and storing cash. As a result, expenditure of the ATM owner banks will increase in providing the services to the other banks’ clients. In this context, Bangladesh Bank imposed the minimum service charge on transactions and another service for using one bank’s ATM by other banks’ clients, said the circular. l

Emerald Oil debuts at bourses today n Tribune Report
Share trading of Emerald Oil Industries, a rice bran edible oil producer, begins at the two stock exchanges simultaneously today. The company is the 19th to get listed in the food and allied sector that accounts for about 8% of the total market capitalisation of the Dhaka Stock Exchange. Its initial public offering has been oversubscribed by more than 39 times, according to the Chittagong Stock Exchange. Investors ordered shares worth over Tk784 crore against the offer of Tk20 crore. The company issued 20 crore ordinary shares of Tk10 each under the fixed price method. The IPO proceeds is being used for repayment of term loan, IPO expenses and strengthening the capital base. The company’s earnings per share was Tk2.85 and net asset value Tk14.06, according to its financial statement as of June 30, 2013. l

Body to ensure security of state banks formed
n Asif Showkat Kallol
The government has formed a six-member committee to recommend measures within two months to help prevent burglary at the state-owned banks. The committee of the Banking and Financial Institutions Division (BFID) would make surprise visits to any branch of the eight state-owned banks to see on ground the actual security condition of the branches, said an official yesterday. He said the committee was formed in the backdrop of burglary in Bogra and Kishoreganj branches of Sonali Bank. Earlier, Banking Division Secretary Aslam Alam had said they formed a committee, headed by BFID’s additional secretary Amalendu Mukherjee. Other members of the committee are Bangladesh Bank Executive Director of SM Muniruzzaman and deputy managing directors of Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali banks. It could coopt any officers and experts, if necessary. According to a circular issued yesterday, the committee will give suggestions after receiving related recommendations from state-owned banks. It would regularly evaluate and monitor the security and vault management of the bank branches after the inspection. The committee will also look after the insurance policy and rules for vault and security, and seek help from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology to enhance the technical standard of the strong rooms, vaults and other safety aspects. Meanwhile, Sonali Bank board formed 61 teams to monitoring the security management of every chest branches of the across the country. l

DSEX slide to eight week low
n Tribune Report
Stocks fell for the fourth session in a row amid continuous volatility yesterday with benchmark index DSEX sliding to more than eight-week low. The market moved between red and green initially but huge selling spree dragged the market down at the end. The benchmark index was down 36 points or 0.8% to close at 4,554, which was lowest since January 20 this year. over manufacturing and financial sectors as they are lured by low prices earnings ratio of the banking stocks. Among the large cap sectors, banks posted a mild recovery from the last session’s heavy correction. Cement, engineering, mutual fund and telecommunications sectors fell 2.3%, 1.6%, 1.1% and 1.4% respectively. “Market fell as investors appeared to get a wobble in investment behavior,” said Lanka Bangla Securities in its market analysis. IDLC Investments said profit booking in selective large cap scrips turned the session red. Additionally, marginal level of panic sales resulted in the losing streak to be extended to fourth session, causing a total loss of 118 points from the benchmark index, DSEX, it said. “Apparent lack of market direction kept investors somewhat dozy. As cautious stance came up-front, market activity became sluggish, causing turnover to register lower.” Zenith Investment said market showed no sign of recovery yet, and instead took a nose dive from lack of investor participation. “To the disappointment of most traders, banks alone could not contribute much to lift the market, since most of the sectors shed blood during today’s trading hour.” Square Pharmaceuticals was the most traded stock with a turnover of Tk24 crore. The most traded stocks included Square Pharmaceuticals, Bangladesh Shipping Corporation, Padma Oil, Lafarge Surma Cement, Grameenphone, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, Olympic Industries and Meghna Petroleum. l



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

DSE key features March 18, 2014
Turnover (Million Taka) Turnover (Volume) Number of Contract Traded Issues Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis) Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis) Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis) Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.) Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)
3,226.72 58,061,182 83,839 287 95 187 5 2,263.78 27.44

Closing (% change) 10.93 6.13 6.08 5.79 5.49 4.17 3.78 3.60 3.33 3.02

I P D C -A Dhaka Bank -A Marico BD Ltd-A 5th ICB M F A GlaxoSK (BD) -A AB Bank - A Reckitt Benckiser -A Agni Systems -A AMCL (Pran) -A Prime Bank-A CSE GAINERS Company I P D C -A Phoenix Insur -A Eastland Insur -A MutualTrust Bank-A Marico BD Ltd-A Daffodil Computers -Z PragatiLife Insu. -A Dhaka Bank -A AMCL (Pran) -A Shahjalal Islami -A

Average (% change) 12.87 5.35 3.39 6.33 4.04 5.23 3.78 2.28 3.64 2.90 Average (% change) 11.27 16.00 5.51 13.54 2.75 3.77 3.71 6.55 3.69 1.78

Closing average 20.78 22.43 1,145.16 193.33 1,334.95 27.59 1,000.00 22.88 250.37 23.81

Closing 20.30 22.50 1,170.60 191.80 1,362.80 27.50 1,000.00 23.00 251.30 23.90

Daily high 24.80 24.00 1,172.20 194.00 1,366.90 28.60 1,000.00 23.10 253.80 24.90

Daily low 19.50 18.90 1,077.00 187.60 1,286.50 24.00 1,000.00 21.00 230.00 20.90

Turnover in million 8.822 43.038 21.529 0.058 13.750 23.958 0.100 12.112 38.993 2.712

Latest EPS 1.36 3.66 46.53 21.32 45.35 2.20 28.52 1.10 6.06 0.56

Latest PE 15.3 6.1 24.6 9.1 29.4 12.5 35.1 20.8 41.3 42.5

Closing (% change) 11.48 9.95 5.30 5.17 4.40 3.85 3.70 3.67 3.46 2.74

Closing average 20.64 46.40 51.70 17.94 1153.63 13.49 238.02 22.45 250.95 14.90

Closing 20.40 46.40 51.70 18.30 1153.60 13.50 238.00 22.60 251.30 15.00

Daily high 21.50 46.40 51.70 18.50 1169.50 13.90 238.10 22.70 253.90 15.10

Daily low 20.00 46.40 51.70 16.70 1138.00 13.00 238.00 21.40 246.80 14.30

Turnover in million 0.805 0.056 0.010 0.135 0.231 0.074 0.595 1.862 5.897 1.432

Latest EPS 1.36 3.81 3.60 2.05 46.53 0.60 2.38 3.66 6.06 1.67

Latest PE 15.2 12.2 14.4 8.8 24.8 22.5 100.0 6.1 41.4 8.9

'Apparent lack of market direction kept investors somewhat dozy. As cautious stance came up-front, market activity became sluggish'
Shariah Index DSES lost 14 points or 1% to 995. The blue-chip comprising DS30 shed 19 points or 1% to end at 1,636. Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, fell 85 points to 8,853. Trading activities improved but still remained poor with the DSE turnover standing at Tk322 crore, which is over 10% higher over the previous session. Energy, textile and engineering sectors were under pressure as large cap stocks of these sectors performed badly. However, investors showed interest

CSE key features March 18, 2014
Turnover (Million Taka) Turnover (Volume) Number of Contract
279.76 6,401,703 11,953 227 85 136 5 2,155.94 26.13

News, analysis and recent disclosers
From TradeServers:
REPUBLIC: The Board of Directors has recommended 12.50% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. The Board has also decided to issue Rights shares @ 1R:1 (i.e. 1 Rights share for every 1 share) at an issue price of Tk. 15.00 each (including a premium of Tk. 5.00 each) subject to approval of the shareholders and the Regulatory Authorities. Date of AGM: 16.04.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: Trust Milonayaton, 545 Old Airport Road, Dhaka. Record Date: 31.03.2014. The Company has also reported net profit after tax of Tk. 61.22 million, EPS of Tk. 2.76, NAV per share of Tk. 13.98 and NOCFPS of Tk. 5.56 for the year ended on 31.12.2013. Another record date for entitlement of the proposed rights shares to be notified later after obtaining approval from BSEC. FLEASEINT: The Board of Directors has recommended 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. The Board has also taken the following special decision: The name of the Company be change, subject to approval of the Shareholders, Bangladesh Bank and the Registar of Joint Stock Companies (RJSC), from "First Lease Finance & Investment Limited" to "First Finance Limited". Date of AGM: 08.05.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Trust Milonayaton, 545, Old Airport Road, Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka. Record date: 31.03.2014. The Company has also reported net profit of Tk. 133.17 million, EPS of Tk. 1.32, NAV per share of Tk. 14.27 and NOCFPS of Tk. 2.26 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. SAPORTL: The Board of Directors has recommended 15% cash dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 11.05.2014, Time: 10:30 AM, Venue: Bashundhara Convention Centre (2), Block-C, Umme Kulsum Road, Bashundhara R/A, Dhaka-1229. Record Date: 31.03.2014. The Company has also reported EPS of Tk. 0.88, NAV per share of Tk. 28.25 and NOCFPS of Tk. 1.31 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. IPDC: The Board of Directors has recommended 5% cash dividend and 10% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 15.05.2014, Time: 10:00 AM, Venue: BRAC CDM, Rajendrapur, Gazipur. Record Date: 27.03.2014. The Company has also reported net profit after tax of Tk. 141.98 million, EPS of Tk. 1.36, NAV per share of Tk. 19.79 and NOCFPS of Tk. 3.28 for the year ended on December 31, 2013. DHAKABANK: The Board of Directors has recommended 17% cash dividend and 5% stock dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 17.04.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: Bashundhara Convention Centre-02, Block-C, Umme Kulsum Road, Bashundhara R/A, Baridhara, Dhaka. Record date: 27.03.2014. The Company has also reported consolidated EPS of Tk. 3.66, consolidated NAV per share of Tk. 22.25 and consolidated NOCFPS of Tk. (0.75) for the year ended on December 31, 2013. BERGERPBL: The Board of Directors has recommended 220% cash dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2013. Date of AGM: 20.04.2014, Time: 11:00 AM, Venue: RAOWA Complex, Convention Hall-1 Mohakhali DOHS, Dhaka. Record date: 30.03.2014. The Company has also reported profit after tax of Tk. 860.94 million, EPS of Tk. 37.13, NAV per share of Tk. 119.03 and NOCFPS of Tk. 42.67 for the year ended on December 31, 2013 as against Tk. 752.79 million, Tk. 32.46, Tk. 100.20 and Tk. 46.48 respectively for the year ended on December 31, 2012. SAMORITA: National Credit Ratings Limited (NCR) has announced the rating of the Company as "AA-" in the long term and "ST 2" in the short term based on audited financial statements of the Company up to June 30, 2013.

Daily capital market highlights
DSE Broad Index : DSE Shariah Index : DSE - 30 Index : CSE All Share Index: CSE - 30 Index : CSE Selected Index :
DSE LOSERS Company Bank Asia -A Anwar Galvanizing-B SummitAlliancePort.-A First Lease- A National Polymer -A Apex Foods -A Legacy Footwear -A EBL NRB M.F.-A Closing (% change) -7.85 -6.95 -6.76 -6.44 -6.15 -5.67 -5.42 -5.19

4554.78094 995.01939 1635.98706 14075.2018 11840.7613 8853.2973

(-) 0.79% (-) 1.41% (-) 1.19% (-) 1.01% (-) 1.02% (-) 0.95%

▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼

Traded Issues Issue Gain (Avg. Price Basis) Issue Loss (Avg. Price Basis) Unchanged Issue (Avg. Price Basis) Market Capital Equity (Billion. Tk.) Market Capital Equity (Billion US$)

Average (% change) -9.96 -4.17 -6.36 -7.47 -2.38 -1.41 -5.28 -3.51

Closing average 17.26 28.71 26.49 24.65 72.13 133.32 38.93 7.43

Closing 17.60 28.10 26.20 24.70 70.20 129.80 38.40 7.30

Daily high 18.00 29.50 28.10 25.50 75.10 138.70 40.30 7.40

Daily low 16.00 28.10 25.00 23.90 69.60 129.00 37.80 7.30

Turnover in million 4.011 1.407 12.457 18.460 25.801 16.465 5.879 0.026

Latest EPS 1.75 0.02 0.88 1.32 1.70 3.56 0.36 0.44

Latest PE 9.9 1435.5 30.1 18.7 42.4 37.4 108.1 16.9

Desh Garments -B Bay Leasing.-A
CSE LOSERS Company First Lease- A Anwar Galvanizing-B Hakkani P& Paper -B SummitAlliancePort.-A Bank Asia -A Imam Button -Z Apex Foods -A National Polymer -A

-5.15 -5.14

0.13 -3.70

112.02 33.79

108.60 33.20

117.50 34.90

107.00 33.00

8.525 3.217

1.18 1.56

94.9 21.7

Closing (% change) -9.63 -8.00 -7.10 -7.09 -6.99 -6.82 -6.76 -6.52

Average (% change) -8.69 -4.02 -7.33 -7.25 -7.16 -6.84 -1.72 -3.09

Closing average 24.58 28.92 32.62 26.36 17.25 8.17 132.93 71.76

Closing 24.40 27.60 32.70 26.20 17.30 8.20 129.60 70.30

Daily high 26.00 29.30 32.70 26.80 17.40 8.40 137.00 74.90

Daily low 24.20 27.60 32.50 26.00 17.10 8.00 128.70 69.60

Turnover in million 3.023 0.188 0.082 0.992 0.104 0.041 0.871 2.727

Latest EPS 1.32 0.02 0.28 0.88 1.75 -2.58 3.56 1.70

Latest PE 18.6 1446.0 116.5 30.0 9.9 -ve 37.3 42.2

Peoples Insur -A SonarBangla Insu. -A

-6.27 -6.15

-6.96 -8.57

31.40 24.42

31.40 24.40

32.00 24.50

31.20 24.00

0.063 0.073

2.20 1.85

14.3 13.2

Sector 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

Market fell as investors appeared to get a wobble in investment behavior
CSE Total

DSE TURNOVER LEADERS Company Square Pharma -A BSC A Padma Oil Co. -A BATBCL -A LafargeS Cement-Z Grameenphone-A
BD Submarine Cable-A

DSE Million Taka 332.08 124.09 54.40 328.67 360.23 389.91 9.28 230.45 448.12 1.22 40.18 43.49 19.45 187.18 35.79 48.04 117.77 218.97 20.05 217.12 0.22

% change 10.29 3.85 1.69 10.19 11.16 12.08 0.29 7.14 13.89 0.04 1.25 1.35 0.60 5.80 1.11 1.49 3.65 6.79 0.62 6.73 0.01

Million Taka 40.89 11.49 3.37 23.72 23.91 25.02 20.09 33.65 7.12 3.13 10.08 2.41 15.63 5.50 1.84 7.54 22.77 4.75 37.95 0.01

% change 13.59 3.82 1.12 7.88 7.95 8.32 0.00 6.68 11.18 2.37 1.04 3.35 0.80 5.19 1.83 0.61 2.51 7.57 1.58 12.61 0.00

Million Taka 372.98 135.58 57.77 352.39 384.13 414.94 9.28 250.54 481.77 8.34 43.31 53.57 21.86 202.81 41.29 49.88 125.31 241.75 24.80 255.07 0.23

% change 10.57 3.84 1.64 9.99 10.89 11.76 0.26 7.10 13.66 0.24 1.23 1.52 0.62 5.75 1.17 1.41 3.55 6.85 0.70 7.23 0.01

UCBL - A Dhaka Bank -A Singer BD -A Jamuna Oil -A AMCL (Pran) -A

Olympic Ind. -A Meghna Petroleum -A National Tubes -A

Volume shares 870,275 245,645 386,008 56,767 2,413,000 522,000 503,318 429,769 294,526 412,320

1,900,849 1,919,053 194,537 177,248 155,740

Value in million 240.66 156.81 130.67 120.73 116.73 111.09 107.89 92.84 82.60 62.20

44.28 43.04 42.20 40.94 38.99

% of total turnover 7.46 4.86 4.05 3.74 3.62 3.44 3.34 2.88 2.56 1.93

1.37 1.33 1.31 1.27 1.21

Daily closing 274.20 641.50 336.00 2146.10 47.90 211.30 212.70 213.70 279.10 148.10

23.30 22.50 216.80 230.60 251.30

Price change -3.18 2.27 -2.47 1.38 -3.23 -1.45 -1.35 -2.55 -2.00 -4.82

2.64 6.13 0.46 -0.52 3.33

Daily opening 283.20 627.25 344.50 2116.80 49.50 214.40 215.60 219.30 284.80 155.60

22.70 21.20 215.80 231.80 243.20

Daily high 285.00 644.75 355.00 2150.00 49.40 215.00 220.00 219.30 285.00 157.00

23.70 24.00 218.80 232.00 253.80
Daily high

Daily low 270.00 623.00 315.00 2025.00 47.80 210.70 197.00 205.00 260.00 147.10

20.50 18.90 210.00 220.00 230.00
Daily low

Daily average 276.53 638.35 338.51 2126.83 48.38 212.81 214.35 216.02 280.46 150.85

23.29 22.43 216.93 230.97 250.37


Volume shares

Prepared exclusively for Dhaka Tribune by Business Information Automation Service Line (BIASL), on the basis of information collected from daily stock quotations and audited reports of the listed companies. High level of caution has been taken to collect and present the above information and data. The publisher will not take any responsibility if any body uses this information and data for his/her investment decision. For any query please email to or call 01552153562 or go to

Square Pharma -A BD Submarine Cable-A UCBL - A LafargeS Cement-Z Padma Oil Co. -A Grameenphone-A Beach Hatchery -A AMCL (Pran) -A Appollo Ispat CL -N UNITED AIR A Delta Life Insu. -A AB Bank - A BEXIMCO Ltd. -A Quasem Drycells -A

48,785 67,701 65,454 492,928 211,500 28,379 41,200 180,500 23,500 175,200 321,829 18,100 154,417 123,288 80,138

Value in million

31.12 18.72 14.04 11.46 10.23 9.60 8.74 5.98 5.90 4.90 4.75 4.58 4.26 3.87 3.73

% of total turnover

11.27 6.78 5.08 4.15 3.70 3.48 3.16 2.16 2.13 1.77 1.72 1.66 1.54 1.40 1.35

Daily closing

641.00 272.90 212.90 23.20 48.00 336.50 210.60 32.90 251.30 27.70 14.70 251.40 27.50 31.20 45.30

Price change

2.23 -3.50 -1.57 1.31 -3.23 -2.32 -1.68 0.30 3.46 -1.77 -1.34 -1.49 2.61 -0.95 -1.52

Daily opening

627.00 282.80 216.30 22.90 49.60 344.50 214.20 32.80 242.90 28.20 14.90 255.20 26.80 31.50 46.00

644.50 283.00 218.00 23.70 49.40 343.00 214.50 33.80 253.90 28.30 15.10 257.00 28.40 31.70 47.80

623.00 270.00 212.40 22.30 47.80 335.10 210.20 32.50 246.80 27.50 14.60 250.00 26.40 28.50 45.00

Daily average

637.87 276.58 214.43 23.26 48.37 338.37 212.07 33.13 250.95 27.94 14.77 252.88 27.59 31.38 46.53


n Sheikh Shahariar Zaman

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Banks closed March 23, 31 in upazila-poll areas n Tribune Report
All the bank branches in fourth and fifth-phase upazila polls areas will remain closed on March 23 and 31. Bangladesh Bank made the directive through a circular yesterday to facilitate the bankers exercise their voting rights. The fourth phase of upazila elections will be held on March 23 in 92 upazilas while the fifth phase will take place on March 31 in 74 upazilas. l

Dhaka, Seoul sign framework agreement to increase aid
Tribune Report
Bangladesh and South Korea have signed a framework agreement to increase aid volume to promote poverty reduction and the sustainable economic and social development in the country. The Korean government has pledged to increase its official development assistance to 0.25% of gross national income by 2015 and this agreement would help Seoul to increase the volume of its aid to Bangladesh, said a press release. The agreement, signed yesterday, would facilitate the development cooperation programmes of Korea International Cooperation Agency [KOICA]. At present, KOICA is supporting Bangladesh in health, education, and governance sectors in accordance with the Country Partnership Strategy for Bangladesh (2012-2015). KOICA is implementing eight development projects with a total cost of $42.7 million including the $13.75m project for Establishment of National Institute of Advanced Practice Nurses in Bangladesh. So far, more than 1,500 government officials received professional trainings and master degrees from differ-

Dhaka, Tokyo may negotiate new loan package
Bangladesh hopes to start negotiations for the 35th yen loan package with Japan next month. “We have agreed in principle to get the loan and primary fact-finding has already been completed,” Additional Secretary of the Economic Relations Division Mohammad Shafiqul Azam told the Dhaka Tribune. Japan is Bangladesh’s biggest bilateral development partner and has so far provided about $11bn flexible loans since country’s independence in 1971. “Bangladesh’s performance in spending aid was the best among Asian countries last year and if we can continue it, we hope that more loans will be coming from Japan,” he said. Dhaka and Tokyo signed the 33rd loan package of about $760m in February last year and the 34th involving $1.03bn the following month. Earlier, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for Bangladesh Mikio Hataeda told the Dhaka Tribune that development partnership between the two countries would continue. He also said if the Bangladesh government could show its capacity to implement the ongoing projects, then the Japanese government would be positive in increasing its assistance. When contacted, Bangladesh Ambassador to Japan Masud bin Momen told the Dhaka Tribune: “Japan always provides unconditional loans and we look forward to more assistance from them.” The budget session is underway in Japan now and it will conclude this month. Japan usually starts assistance negotiations with receiver countries after passing its national budget. About the visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to Bangladesh this month, Momen said: “We are yet to get confirmation. If the visit takes place, it will be a goodwill one.” The minister is expected to visit Bangladesh from March 21-22.

Microsoft’s CEO may unveil Office for iPad on March 27

n Reuters

ent specialised Korean institutions and universities under KOICA’s training programmes. Since 1993, KOICA has dispatched more than 460 Korean overseas volunteers and experts to Bangladesh to work in the government institutions for providing technical support to develop the capacity of those host organisations. KOICA also supported Bangladesh in rural and agricultural development, ICT and reducing climate change im-

pacts. South Korean Ambassador Lee Yun-young in the signing programme appreciated Bangladesh’s growth and performance in socio-economic development and achieving MDGs. He hoped that Bangladesh could follow the Korean model of development as Korea, once an aid recipient developing country, achieved its remarkable development through proper utilisation of its human capital, foreign assistance and others. l

MRP service in Tokyo

The Bangladesh mission in Tokyo is set to introduce machine-readable passports and machine-readable visa services from today. Home Secretary CQM Mostaque would inaugurate the service, Momen said. “We made preparations for the last one and a half years, and now we are introducing it,” he added. l

Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Satya Nadella may unveil an iPad version of the company’s Office software suite on March 27, a source familiar with the event told Reuters, and use his first big press appearance to launch the company’s most profitable product in a version compatible with Apple Inc’s popular tablet. Nadella, who replaced longtime CEO Steve Ballmer earlier this year, will address the media and industry executives in San Francisco on March 27. l

Growth in compensation for US CEOs may have slowed Yen weakens in Asia despite Crimea tensions n

n AFP, Tokyo
The dollar and euro rose against the yen in Asia yesterday as investors took in their stride Crimea’s vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia as the West announce sanctions against Moscow officials. The greenback fetched 101.82 in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from 101.68 yen in New York Monday. The euro also rose to 141.87 yen from 141.58 yen in US trade, and $1.3931 from $1.3921, despite weak eurozone inflation data. The yen, a low-risk and safe resort in times of uncertainty, surged last week ahead of Sunday’s referendum. But analysts said the outcome was widely expected and dealers were turning to economic matters closer to home. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree recognising Crimea as an independent state after the vote to secede, which has fanned the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War. The United States and European Union on Monday slapped Putin’s inner circle with economic sanctions while the White House warned of more to come if Moscow continues to interfere in Ukraine. Japan followed suit Tuesday with a set of its own sanctions against Russia. “The conflict is far from over. But markets don’t regard the situation as critical,” said Kengo Suzuki, chief FX strategist at Mizuho Securities. With the dollar gaining broadly, and US stocks and bond yields rising, “sen-

timent is turning to a risk-on mode”, he told Dow Jones Newswires. US traders were buoyed by data showing industrial output increased more than expected in February, adding to a growing feeling that the world’s number one economy is on a recovery track. The news comes as the Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting Tuesday, the first to be chaired by the bank’s new chief Janet Yellen. She is expected to further cut the bank’s stimulus programme but investors will be closely watching her postmeeting news conference as they look for clues about future policy. The euro’s rise came despite eurozone February inflation coming in at 0.7%, lower than an initial estimate of 0.8%, adding to concerns of deflation in the 18-member bloc. The dollar was mostly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It weakened to 60.92 Indian rupees from 61.19 rupees on Monday, to 44.64 Philippine pesos from 44.67 pesos, and to 1,067.83 South Korean won from 1,068.45 won. The greenback also slipped to Sg$1.2647 from Sg$1.2651 and to 32.16 Thai baht from 32.24 baht, while it edged up to 11,282.30 Indonesian rupiah from 11,267.50 rupiah. The Australian dollar rose to 90.81 US cents from 90.54 US cents. The Chinese yuan continued to fall after Beijing at the weekend widened the currency’s trading band, with the dollar buying 6.1883 yuan against 6.1558 on Monday. l

Big US companies appear to have handed out smaller increases in compensation to their chief executives in 2013 than in 2012, mainly as a result of reduced grants of stock options, according to an early review of annual regulatory filings. Based on disclosures from 46 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index that had filed annual compensation reports by March 11, the median compensation increase for a CEO was 1% to $8.64m. That was a slower rate of increase than this group of 46 received for 2012 when its median CEO pay rose 15% to $8.53m. The median compensation for CEOs in S&P 500 companies overall increased about 5.5% for 2012. The review, conducted for Reuters by proxy adviser and corporate governance consulting firm Institutional Shareholder Services, provides an early peek at compensation trends but ISS cautioned that there could be significant changes once all companies have reported and that the 46 companies may not be representative of trends for companies in the entire index. Most companies will file their executive compensation data over the next few weeks. Some pay experts have been expecting to see slower growth in compensation for 2013 - despite the bull market in stocks - as S&P 500 corporate profits only increased 6.2% amid a stuttering US economic performance, and due to the increasing use of performance measures to decide on levels of compensation. In the kinds of incentive plans be-

coming more popular, executives do not receive higher compensation just because a company’s share price rises, but rather must perform well on a series of measures - not just profit, but often including revenue, margins, cash flow, and in some cases even a company’s safety and environment records.

'The indications are that companies continue to do a better job of matching up pay with performance'
“They’re not going to get monster rewards,” said Alan Johnson, managing director of pay consulting firm Johnson Associates in New York. “The indications are that companies continue to do a better job of matching up pay with performance.” However, the figures are unlikely to assuage concerns that CEOs are reaping bigger increases than those received by many Americans further down the food chain, exacerbating inequality. President Barack Obama has been stressing policies intended to reduce inequality, such as a push for a higher minimum wage. The study looks at what was granted to CEOs for 2013 and does not include all the compensation CEOs actually pocketed in 2013 after stock and option awards granted to them in previous years were exercised or vested. With the S&P 500 surging 32.4% last year, including dividends, and almost tripling

from the lows it hit in the financial crisis, some of those awards from 20092012 have proven very lucrative. A separate review by executive compensation data firm Equilar of 44 companies in the Fortune 1,000 that filed their statements in January or February shows that the median value executives gained from exercising stock options or stock vesting was $2.1m in 2013, up 18% from 2012.

Radical changes

Investor activists and proxy advisers, including ISS, have pressed companies for years to align pay with shareholder interests. In recent weeks, a handful of companies have made radical changes in the way they reward their CEOs, including semiconductor maker Intel Corp and mining group Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Among the 46 S&P 500 companies surveyed, the median cash salary rose $27,584, or 2.6%, to $1,079,327. But the median stock award rose $337,493, or 9.5%, to $3,887,008, and the median cash incentive award rose $63,799, or 3.3%, to $1,998,102. Restraining the overall increase, though, were less generous stock options awards. Of the 46 companies, only 32 of them awarded stock options to their CEOs in 2013, down from 35 in 2012. For those 35 companies (including those who did not grant options in 2013), the average award fell by $548,543, or 23%, to $1,880,476 in 2013. Some companies said they reduced their option awards as they wanted to reduce the incentive to take certain risks. At financial services company Comerica Inc, total compensation for

CEO Ralph Babb fell 10% to $6.46m, as the value of his option awards fell to $314,729 from $1,047,682 in 2012. Comerica said in a filing it cut the weighting of stock option awards during the year to “discourage inappropriate risk taking and better align with regulatory expectations.” At paint maker Sherwin-Williams, total compensation for CEO Christopher Connor fell 1.5% to $10.8m, as the value of stock option awards fell to $3m from $3.3m in 2012. The company said in a filing that it has de-emphasized stock options in favour of stock awards related to performance to provide more focus on operating performance. “Most CEOs get it, an increase in stock price is going to be their greatest opportunity for compensation,” said David Dorman, an investor and board member at a series of companies, including network technology company Motorola Solutions Inc, pharmacy group CVS Caremark Corp and KFC and Pizza Hut owner Yum! Brands Inc. He said that generally compensation for executives in corporate America “will be in a pretty tight range.” A few caveats apply to the ISS figures. They do not include set-asides for executive pensions and other deferred obligations, which are often established by formula. At some companies these set-asides fell in 2013 as interest rates rose. John Roe, ISS’s executive director of corporate services, said companies have embraced new forms of pay. “For the companies in this sample, it was a year of compensation adjustments rather than increases,” he said. l

Green Delta Insurance Company Limited declared 15% stock dividend and 15% cash dividend for its shareholders for the year ended December 31, 2013. The announcement was made at the 28th Annual General Meeting of the company, held on Saturday at Spectra Convention Center Limited, Dhaka. The meeting that presided over by the company’s chairperson AQM Nurul Absar, was attended by sponsors, directors and a large number of shareholders Modhumoti Bank Limited has opened its 5th branch “Modhumoti Kanaipur” at Faridpur on Sunday. Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, MP, Chairperson of the executive committee inaugurated the branch as chief guest while Md Mizanur Rahman, Managing Director and CEO of the bank presided over the opening ceremony

Business conference of Rupali Bank Limited (RBL) held at Dhaka South Divisional office last Saturday at RBL Training Academy’s auditorium. The bank’s Managing Director M Farid Uddin ordered to maintain security strictly of all branches while speaking as the chief guest while general manager Syed Abu Asad presided over the programme

Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, MP, is receiving flower bouquet from BangladeshMalaysia Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BMCCI) President Nasir A Choudhury while newly elected BMCCI Board of Directors called on him in the Ministry on March 16

A voluntary blood donation programme along with free eye camp, gynae and general treatment was held at Laucchara, Sreemongol, Moulvibazar by Jamuna Bank Foundation. Kanutosh Majumder, the bank’s chairperson inaugurated the ceremony as chief guest

First Security Islami Bank Limited (FSIBL) handed over a cheque for Lakho Konthay Sonar Bangla Fund to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Prime Minister’s Office on March 15. Vicechairperson of the bank, Alhaj Mohammed Abdul Maleque seen handing over the cheque to Prime Minister



Back Page

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

China’s yuan dips in widened band, but scope for big swings seen limited
n Reuters, Shanghai
China’s yuan eased against the dollar on Monday after the central bank doubled the currency’s daily trading band as part of its commitment to let markets play a greater role in the economy. Yet the currency moved in a relatively narrow range reflecting market views that the People’s Bank of China will seek to limit currency swings at a time when markets fret over China’s cooling growth and the quality of corporate debt. “The PBOC, with the help of major state-owned banks, will for certain tighten the grip on yuan’s value in coming days and weeks to prevent what it sees excessive volatility,” said a dealer at a European bank in Shanghai. In the longer run, however, the central bank is expected to allow the currency to move in a broader range in a sign of its confidence that it can keep speculators at bay and that the economy was mature enough to handle greater uncertainty about the exchange rate. “Over time, the widening will pave the way for the PBOC to gradually lessen intervention in daily trading and will help China’s reforms to make the yuan fully convertible eventually.” On Saturday, the People’s Bank of China doubled the yuan’s daily trading range, so that it can now rise or fall 2% around the daily mid-point rate. The currency opened at 6.15 to the dollar, just 0.29% to the weaker side of the official mid-point rate. It briefly fell to an intraday low of 6.1642, 0.2% weaker than Friday’s close. Since the start of this year the yuan has lost 1.8% against the dollar, largely as a result of the central bank’s efforts, reversing much of last year’s near 3% rise as Beijing sought to change the perception the yuan was a safe oneway appreciation bet. Beijing’s efforts to clamp down on such trades combined with concerns over China’s economic health are expected to keep the yuan on the back foot in coming weeks. Earlier this month, a Chinese company became the first to default on a corporate bond, and concerns about economic growth were highlighted by a dramatic 18 percent fall in exports in February and sluggish manufacturing. “Given China’s recent relatively weak export performance, we see little upside for the yuan this coming year,” said Tao Wang, an economist at UBS in Hong Kong. The Bank of International Settlements data underscore that point showing the yuan at a record high against a basket of currencies of China’s trading partners adjusted for inflation. l

A man plugs his car on March 17 in Paris, at the charging station for electric vehicles dedicated to public services staff at the French economic and financial ministries after its inauguration AFP

Gold drops as rising US equities trigger profit-taking
n Reuters
Gold prices fell on Monday as a sharp rally in US equities triggered profittaking after bullion briefly rose to a sixmonth high earlier in the day. Wall Street, measured by the S&P 500 index, rose about 1% as East-West tensions over Crimea eased after the region voted to join Russia and the referendum passed without violence. Analysts said even though gold may extend gains in the short term on geopolitical tensions and worries about China’s economic slowdown, the metal is due for a pullback after recent gains. “Correction potential is building up, which would come into play if the Crimean crisis were to ease,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodity research at Commerzbank. Last week, gold posted a 3% gain, for its sixth consecutive weekly gain, after Russia repeated its threat to invade other parts of Ukraine, showing no sign of heeding Western pleas to back off from a Cold War-style confrontation. Spot gold was down 0.8% at $1,371.14 an ounce by 1:57 p.m. EST (1757 GMT), having earlier hit its highest since September 9 at $1,391.76. US COMEX gold futures settled down $6.10 at $1,372.90 an ounce, with trading volume on track to finish below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. Gold’s losses were limited after the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, on a small group of officials from Russia and Ukraine after the weekend referendum. Technical selling and renewed liquidation by hedge funds could also limit the precious metal’s gain, analysts said. Gold’s recent rally to six-month highs may spark a further jump to levels last seen in the second half of 2013, but fresh highs could be followed by a slide back to last year’s three-year lows, technical analysts said. Traders now await the US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting today. The central bank is expected to announce another $10bn cut to its bond-buying stimulus. l

Managing roadblocks to leadership
n Tribune Business Desk
Ata Safdar, managing director of Reckitt Benckiser, Thailand, Philippines, and Indo-China will be speaking at the Leadership Summit 2014 about key challenges and opportunities towards developing leadership. He started his career at the largest FMCG multinational company Unilever as the Product Group Manager of Toilet Soaps Nigeria. He carried on at Unilever to become the Customer Management Director in Bangladesh for four years. In 2002, he moved on to Reckitt Benckiser, Bangladesh as the Managing Director.


Oil prices mixed in Asia n AFP, Singapore
Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade yesterday as investors keep a close eye on simmering international tensions over Crimea and await the outcome of a Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for April delivery, eased 13 cents to $97.95 in afternoon trade while Brent North Sea crude gained 28 cents to $106.52 for its May contract. “Market participants seem to be waiting for a clear picture of the possible scope for diplomacy in the Black Sea peninsula sovereign crisis,” CMC Markets Singapore said in a market commentary. Traders are also focusing on the policy meeting chaired by new US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen today. l

He also served as the Managing Director Nigeria and General Manager, Central Africa, and Reckitt Benckiser for four years. In the summit Mr Safdar will discuss developing corporate leadership in the context of Bangladesh. l

HSBC: High-tech goods to lead trade growth over next 15 years
n Reuters, Washington
Exports of high-tech products will grow more quickly than exports of other goods over the next 15 years as emerging Asia moves away from being a low-cost production hub for foreign brands and toward developing valueadded local products, according to research from HSBC. High-tech goods would make up more than 25% of goods traded by 2030 compared to 22% in 2013, HSBC said in its latest global trade report, which forecast trade would pick up only slowly in the near term. The value of global goods trade would rise at an average rate of 8% a year from 2014 to 2030, with high-tech goods rising about 9% a year, HSBC said. Mineral fuels would rise 5% a year and raw materials about 6%. World Trade Organization data show fuels and mining products were the fastest-growing export category between 2009 and 2012, followed by agricultural products. Exports of office and communications equipment rose 27% over the period. HSBC said much of the future increase in high-tech trade would be driven by internationalization of supply chains, with parts for high-tech products crisscrossing national borders, but Asian firms would also snare market share from Western competitors. HSBC forecast that by 2030, China would account for more than half the global trade in high-tech goods. Hong Kong and the United States would remain in second and third place, although with a lower market share, and Korea would displace Singapore as the fourthbiggest exporter of high-tech goods. China, home of the world’s thirdbiggest smartphone manufacturer, Huawei Technologies, and the biggest PC maker, Lenovo Group, is already ramping up spending on research and development, as is Malaysia. “These two economies may have depended on foreign investment to fuel their early growth in high-tech exports, but they are now increasing their technological know-how and moving up the value chain to develop hightech products of their own,” HSBC said in the report, based on forecasts from Oxford Economics. China, India and Indonesia are among 10 countries on a US “watch” list for failing to protect US companies’ intellectual property rights, for example through lax rules against trade secret theft or poor patent protection. The United States and European Union are also pushing China to resume talks on expanding a list of hightech products covered by a 16-year-old pact that eliminated duties on products including personal computers, laptops and telephones. The HSBC report showed China accounted for 36.5% of high-tech goods exports in 2013, followed by Hong Kong at 13%. The United States was in third place at 9.6%. In 2000, the United States was the world’s biggest tech exporter with a market share of 29.2%. HSBC said Asian countries also logged a high share of high-tech imports, as did the United States. “This internationalization of supply chains explains why the United States - the designer of devices such as the iPhone and a country with an evident comparative advantage in the hightech sector - operates a trade deficit in these goods,” HSBC said. “The outsourcing of production of high-tech goods by US companies to serve the large domestic consumer market for these goods means that US companies import a large quantity of assembled products that they have designed themselves.” The data highlight why the United States and other trading partners such as Japan, Canada and Korea are keen to restart talks on the WTO’s Information Technology Agreement, or ITA, which reached an impasse in November. China has said cutting all tariffs to zero would be unfair and wants some products excluded and others to have a long phase-in period, saying the pact has to take into account differing levels of development. Michael Punke, US ambassador to the WTO, on Monday urged China, as this year’s chair of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation trade group, to take up calls to conclude an expanded ITA by the next regional trade ministers’ meeting in May. l

Twitter CEO in China ‘to learn more’
n AFP, Washington
Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo is visiting China, the biggest market where the popular messaging service is banned, the company said Monday. The US firm said Costolo “is visiting China because he wants to learn more about the Chinese culture and the country’s thriving technology sector. “We have no plans to change anything about our service in order to enter the market.” The company offered no further details on Costolo’s plans or timetable. But a tweet earlier Monday from Costolo was posted from Tokyo, with no mention of China. Twitter’s microblogging platform is banned in China, but a study by the research firm GlobalWebIndex last year said as many as 35 million people find ways around the “Great Firewall” and use it. The visit comes after Friday’s announcement that Weibo, sometimes referred to as the Chinese Twitter, was filing in New York for a share offering to raise $500m. The move will allow the popular Chinese-language social network to spin off from the Internet giant Sina, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing said Weibo had 129.1 million monthly active users in December and 61.4 million average daily active users. Weibo was launched in August 2009 with a business model reminiscent of that of Twitter. Weibo reported revenues for 2013 of $188m, triple the level of 2012, but has continually lost money, like its US counterpart, with accumulated losses of $274.9m as of December 31. Despite Weibo’s vast popularity in China, its ascent has hit a few speed bumps recently due to a social media crackdown by Beijing and the rise of rival Tencent’s mobile app, WeChat. Twitter’s high-flying Wall Street debut in November drew attention to the growing power of social media, but it also raised concerns about a potential bubble in the sector. The company’s shares soared after debuting at $26 in the initial public offering but dropped the following day to slightly more than $40. Shares rose slightly Monday to end at $52.05, off the highs from earlier this year. Twitter has fast become ingrained in popular culture but must still convince investors of its business model. The first earnings report since Twitter’s vaunted public offering disappointed many observers. l


Visitors check out products at the ZTE stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona