Rare Australian heatwave claims homes, lives

January 31, 2009

MELBOURNE: Australia’s second-largest city Melbourne ground to a halt Saturday, crippled by a once-in-a-century heatwave that has claimed almost 30 lives and razed at least 17 homes.
Wildfires raged through the southeastern state of Victoria, where authorities said flames had come dangerously close to major electricity transmission lines which supplied power to Melbourne on Saturday.
More than 500,000 homes and businesses in Melbourne were left without power on Friday night after an electrical substation exploded in the heat, bringing the city to a standstill.
Temperatures in Victoria topped 43 degrees Celsius for a record-breaking third Read more

Giant sculpture honours Iraqi shoe-thrower

January 31, 2009

BAGHDAD: A huge bronze shoe sculpture has been erected in tribute to the Iraqi journalist who grabbed instant fame when he threw his shoes at former US president George W Bush last year.
The shoe, in which a tree has been planted, stands three metres high (about 10 feet) and sits atop a white pedestal in Tikrit, the hometown of executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
A rose bush is growing next to the monument which was erected in the gardens of an Iraqi foundation that cares for children whose parents have died in the violence that engulfed Iraq after the March Read more

Committee to assess recession impacts awaits cabinet’s nod

January 31, 2009

Staff Correspondent
Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Friday said a high-powered committee, which will monitor global recession and work out remedies for its adverse effects on Bangladesh’s economy, would be formed soon.
‘It’ll be there anytime. It’s awaiting the Cabinet’s approval,’ he told reporters at the 3-day Bangladesh Chemical Congress which began on Friday.
On January 21 Muhith told a delegation of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association that the government would Read more

Sixty percent construction work of Kirtankhola-Khairabad Bridges over

January 31, 2009

Our Correspondent, Barisal
Sixty percent construction work of two bridges named the Kirtankhola (Dapdapia) and the Khairabad Bridges over the Kirtankhola and Khairabad rivers in Barisal has been completed. Construction of these bridges would influence the development of socio-economic infrastructures of the region connecting it with Chittagong and Mongla sea ports and Kuakata tourist zone.
Under these construction project, two lanes 1390 meters long ‘segmented box girder type’ bridge on Kirtonkhola and 274 meters long ‘pre-stressed concrete girder’ bridge on Khairabad rivers with 4.3 kilometers long approach roads would Read more

40 lakh tonnes additional rice production possible by farming flood-tolerant varieties

January 31, 2009

Mamun Islam, BSS, Rangpur
Agri-scientists have completed necessary research, experiments and validation of new flood- tolerant varieties of Aman paddy to pave the way for producing 40 lakh tonnes of additional paddy every year by large-scale farming in Bangladesh alone.
Repeated success of the scientists and farmers in getting expected production of flood-tolerant paddy in Bangladesh and India have ushered in a new era in the disaster-prone agriculture sector of the country, sub-continent and other flood- prone countries.
The success was achieved through farming Swarna Sub-1 along with three new Sub-1 entries of BR1-1 Sub-1, IR-64 Sub-1 and Sambamasuri Sub-1 flood-tolerant varieties of paddy using participatory variety selection (PVS) mother trial Read more

Girls acting as messengers of hygiene, sanitation

January 31, 2009

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury
When nature calls, most of the time Liza, 6, falls in trouble as her family does not own a latrine.
‘At times, I have to defecate in open spaces, no matter whether it is day or night, even knowing that it is bad,’ she said on Tuesday in the yard of their home in Dautia village of Dhamrai upazila, about 40 km from the capital.
Liza’s brother Azizul, 11, said they are sometimes allowed to use a latrine owned by a paternal uncle. ‘They [uncle’s family members] always keep us waiting even though we are in a hurry to relieve ourselves,’ he complained. When asked if she would defecate in the open if they got a lavatory someday, Liza, a student of elementary Read more

‘Comprehensive approach needed to conserve beneficial insects’

January 31, 2009

Dr Aynal Haque, BSS, Rajshahi
Environmental scientists and researchers underscored the need for taking a comprehensive approach to conserve the beneficial insects in the greater interest of maintaining a sound biodiversity and ecological balance.
They also said, the farmers destroy various species of the insects during the time of eliminating the destructive ones due to lack of adequate knowledge in this regard and laid stress on successful promotion of biological pest management system in the agro-fields.
“The destructive as well as the injurious insects can easily be controlled through promoting eco-friendly method of using organic fertilizer and indigenous insecticides instead of chemical ones,” Professor Sohrab Ali of Zoology Read more

Govt to borrow $75m from IDB for fuel import

January 31, 2009

Asif Showkat
The finance ministry has given its consent to seek $75 million loan for fuel import from the Jeddah–based Islamic Development Bank with a six per cent mark-up rate, officials said on Thursday.
The ministry has also suggested more negotiations with the IDB for reduction of the mark-up rate.
The government will seek the loan from the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, a newly established window of the IDB to deal with trade finance, at an interest rate 5.0 per cent more than London inter-bank offer.
‘The BPC will get $75 million loan from the IDB. The IDB plans to increase the mark-up rate as the Energy Division has secured consent of the finance ministry,’ Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation chairman Anwarul Karim Read more

SoftExpo ends today with IT boom in vision

January 31, 2009

Alpha Arzu
The country’s largest software and information technology exhibition of the year, BASIS SoftExpo 2009, concludes today, with a target to increase the income from IT-enabled services to $150 million from the present $7 million by 2011, software and information service leaders said.
Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services coordinator of events Nurul Alam said the BASIS organised the event to facilitate a presentation of the country’s potentials in information and communication technology to international players in different fields, like national and international vendors and service Read more

Three decades of enlightening a nation

January 31, 2009

Bishwa Shahitya Kendra celebrates 30th anniversary
Jamil Mahmud

A joyous occasion: Atiqul Haque Chowdhury and Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed having candyfloss.

A joyous occasion: Atiqul Haque Chowdhury and Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed having candyfloss.

Eminent educationist and president of the trustee board of Bishwa Shahitya Kendra (BSK), Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed, said that the organisation’s journey for enlightened people is eternal. “There are some dreams that have no specific destination. These dreams are unbound and they move forward. The movement, triggered by Read more

War criminals barred from leaving country

January 31, 2009

Govt alerts agencies concerned but no list prepared
Staff Correspondent
The government on Friday ordered all agencies concerned to bar the suspected war criminals from leaving the country.
‘All relevant information about the war criminals have already been sent to the agencies concerned asking them to guard all points so that the war criminals cannot flee the country,’ home minister Sahara Khatun told reporters after attending the 23rd annual conference of Bangladesh Law Association at the Annex Complex on Read more

IOCs surpass state-run cos in gas production

January 31, 2009

Chevron allowed to extract more gas than tolerable capacity
Aminul Islam
The daily gas production by the international oil companies in the last few days has exceeded that of the state-run companies for the first time because of the successive governments’ refusal to provide the latter with the required fund to explore and develop gas-fields.
Of the total daily supply of 1,822 million cubic feet of gas, four IOCs are currently supplying around 919 million cubic feet of high-priced gas while the three state-run companies are producing 902 mmcfd as Petrobangla is allowing US company Chevron to extract more gas from the Bibiyana field than the tolerable capacity, putting Read more

BNP to give ‘moral support’ if war crimes trials transparent, says Delwar

January 31, 2009

Staff correspondent
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Friday said it would lend ‘moral support’ to trial of war criminals ‘if it is done properly’.
‘BNP was never against holding trial of war crimes. We have moral support to the demand for trial of war criminals. But it must be done properly. It must not be politically motivated,’ BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain said Friday at his Armanitola residence in the Old Town of Dhaka.
When asked to clarify the word ‘properly’, Delwar, also a senior lawyer, said, ‘The government must maintain international standards and conventions while trying war crimes. The process must be transparent.’ He warned the Read more

Bishwa Ijtema begins amid unprecedented security

January 31, 2009

Staff Correspondent
Bishwa Ijtema, the religious gathering of Muslims Ummah from around the world began at Tongi on the outskirts of the capital amid tight security measures on Friday.
Organised by Tablig Jamaat on the bank of the river Turag in Gazipur district, the event is being attended by around three million Muslims including around one lakh women. People from at least 70 foreign countries are participating in the three-day congregation that will come to an end with the final prayer “Akheri Munajat” on Sunday.
According the sources, the Ijtema started formally after Jumma prayer. The religious sermons have already started. All sorts of stringent security measures have been taken by the authority to avert any untoward situation. Apart from Read more

Bapex finally breaks free from red tape, to buy €20m rig

January 31, 2009

Sharier Khan
Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (Bapex) has outwitted a five- year-old vicious cycle of bureaucratic bottleneck to procure a drilling rig for 20 million euro to expand its oil and gas exploration capacity.
After four rounds of failed tender bids since 2004, Bapex succeeded in its fifth round tender opened in April last year.
On January 20, the company finally signed a deal with Sichuan Hong Hua Petroleum Equipment Co (Shhpec) of China to supply a “2000 HP” rig along with accessories. The sophisticated parts of the rig would come from west Europe and the Read more

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