Trained female JMB militants appear on scene for first time

February 21, 2009

Julfikar Ali Manik
Noor Jahan, one of the females, arrested at the JMB den at Ghortoil in Gazipur, took a SIM out of a cellphone and broke it into pieces with her teeth in the blink of an eye when police raided the place.
Sub-inspector (SI) of Tongi Police Station Sirajul Islam, who was present during the arrest, said, “I strongly believe Noor Jahan and the other two women arrestees are JMB members.”
The women acted like trained Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) members, Sirajul said, adding that they destroyed the papers and documents in their bags so that police can get little evidence.
SI Sirajul said the three women’s response to police questions during interrogation is very much identical to those of male Read more

PM for change in politics, economy

February 21, 2009

Hands Ekushey Padak to 13
Staff Correspondent
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said it has become imperative to bring changes to the country’s politics and economy, and to the outlook of the people as well, to ensure democracy.
“A change is necessary in politics and economy. People should have respect for all forms of work, and a change in people’s outlook is also a must for that to happen,” Sheikh Hasina said in the morning after distributing the Ekushey Padak 2009 to 13 distinguished individuals for their contributions in their fields of work.
“Those who contribute to the nation, must be rewarded. I welcome all of you. You keep on serving the nation and the country, and I promise you all out government assistance,” Hasina said as the chief guest of the award ceremony in Read more

2,500 languages threatened with extinction: UNESCO

February 21, 2009

Agence France-Presse . Paris
The world has lost Manx in the Isle of Man, Ubykh in Turkey and last year Alaska’s last native speaker of Eyak, Marie Smith Jones, died, taking the aboriginal language with her.
Of the 6,900 languages spoken in the world, some 2,500 are endangered, the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO said Thursday as it released its latest atlas of world languages.
That represents a multi-fold increase from the last atlas compiled in 2001 which listed 900 languages threatened with extinction.
But experts say this is more the result of better research tools than of an increasingly dire situation for the world’s many Read more

Govt to probe BTCL, Teletalk failure to woo clients

February 21, 2009

Bdnews24.com . Dhaka
The government will investigate the failure of state-run fixed and mobile phone operators to woo new customers, the post and telecommunications minister has told Bdnews24.com.
‘Land phone was out of reach of the people in the past. The people had to wait for two-three years after submitting application. They had to pay Tk 20,000 to 30,000,’ Raziuddin Ahmed Razu told Bdnews24.com on Thursday.
‘Now the situation has changed. The call tariff and connection fee have been cut. Customers can talk at Tk 0.10 to Tk 0.15 a minute.
‘The connection process has been made easy, as well. New technology has been introduced. However, the previous governments did not Read more

26 passengers still missing

February 21, 2009

Launch Tragedy
26 passengers still missing
Our Correspondent, Barisal
A day after launch ML Fahmida Happy Express went down in the Kirtonkhola near Barisal, at least 26 people are still missing.
Hundreds of relatives were seen waiting at the riverbank for missing people. Many of them were searching for their dear ones by boats, trawlers, and speedboats. They were even using nets of local fishermen to find the victims. Their attempts, however, were unsuccessful.
Port Officer of Barisal Rafikul Islam told The Daily Star that Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has formed two enquiry committees that have three members each.
Barisal administration’s three-member enquiry committee led by Additional District Magistrate Abdullah Al Baki started its Read more

$30m project to maintain voter roll

February 21, 2009

bdnews24.com, Dhaka
The Bangladesh government and the United Nations Development Programme took on a $30 million project on Thursday to further strengthen the electoral system and ensure the sustainability of the voter list with photographs
“I am confident that this project will make a significant contribution to sustaining the achievements of the Bangladesh Election Commission including the maintenance of the internationally acclaimed photographic voter list,” said UNDP Country Director, Mr. Stefan Priesner.
The “Construction of Server Stations for the Electoral Database” (CSSED) project . will establish 502 permanent centers at Upazila, City Corporation Thana and Divisional levels to maintain and update the existing voter list with Read more

Ekushey book fair witnesses boost in sales

February 20, 2009

Staff Correspondent

Visitors crowd a bookstall at the Amar Ekushey Book Fair at the Bangla Academy in Dhaka on Thursday. — New Age photo

Visitors crowd a bookstall at the Amar Ekushey Book Fair at the Bangla Academy in Dhaka on Thursday. — New Age photo

Ekushey book fair witnessed rush of visitors and boost in sales at Bangla Academy on Wednesday with one day away from Amar Ekushey February and International Mother Language Day. Arrival of new titles also increased with Read more

27 killed as cargo ship rams launch

February 20, 2009

Over a dozen still missing; capsized vessel salvaged
Rafiqul Islam, Barisal

A rescue vessel of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority pulls the capsized launch ML Fahmida Happy Express out of the Kirtonkhola in Barisal yesterday afternoon. Photo: STAR

A rescue vessel of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority pulls the capsized launch ML Fahmida Happy Express out of the Kirtonkhola in Barisal yesterday afternoon. Photo: STAR

Twenty seven bodies were recovered and more than a dozen are still missing after an overcrowded launch, being hit by a cargo vessel, sank in the Kirtonkhola in Barisal yesterday. The launch was carrying over 100 Read more

Nation set to observe Amar Ekushey

February 20, 2009

Staff Correspondent
The nation pays homage to the martyrs of the language movement one minute past midnight today amid heightened security at and around the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka on the occasion of Amar Ekushey.
The president, Zillur Rahman, will first place flowers at the Central Shaheed Minar followed by the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, other ministers, high commissioners, ambassadors and the chiefs of the foreign missions.
On February 21, 1952, a number of students campaigning for the recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan were killed in police firing.
Ekushey February has also been observed as International Mother Language Day every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic Read more

Defence policy in the offing: Armed Forces to be kept above controversies: PM

February 20, 2009

UNB, Dhaka

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina distributing certificates among the graduates at the Defence Service Command and Staff College at Mirpur in the city on Thursday.-PID photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina distributing certificates among the graduates at the Defence Service Command and Staff College at Mirpur in the city on Thursday.-PID photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Thursday said her government would keep the Armed Forces above all controversies and build up them as a patriotic, brave, efficient and invincible force.
Referring to her party’s election manifesto she said a National Defence Policy will be formulated to ensure security of the people and Read more

Stinky water sickens residents of 6 cities

February 20, 2009

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury
Residents of six cities are not only angry at the acute shortage of water, but are disgusted that the little amount of tap-water they get is contaminated, malodorous and tastes awful.
Many of them have been suffering from waterborne diseases after drinking the contaminated water which stinks even after prolonged boiling.
Mindless dumping of industrial wastes in water bodies including rivers and canals, excessive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in farmlands and unabated cutting of supply lines by ill-trained mechanics have contaminated the water and made it undrinkable, said scientists and authorities.
‘I could not go to school today as I had to wait in the queue to collect drinking water from the roadside pump as we hardly get Read more

Mojahid, Babar barred from going abroad

February 20, 2009

Staff Correspondent

L-R: Mojahid and Babar

L-R: Mojahid and Babar

Immigration officials at Zia International Airport (ZIA) yesterday prevented Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid and former BNP state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar from leaving the Read more

Cabinet okays five bills

February 20, 2009

Anti-Terrorism Bill empowers police to detain any suspects
Staff Correspondent
The cabinet on Thursday approved five bills for enacting as laws some of the many ordinances, including the Anti-Terrorism Ordinance, promulgated by the military-controlled interim government.
Fakhruddin’s government on June 9, 2008 promulgated the Anti-Terrorism Ordinance containing many harsh provisions, including the death sentence for terrorism, in spite of protests from almost all quarters.
The special meeting of the Cabinet approved the passage of the ordinance into law, although the committee of experts, formed to examine the interim regime’s ordinances, had recommended that it should be scrapped.
The cabinet also approved a bill for passage into law of the three ordinances promulgated by the interim regime to bring about certain Read more

Balance of power in Upazila-level stressed

February 20, 2009

Role of MPs & UZ Chairmen in local dev
Balance of power in Upazila-level stressed
Sahidul Islam Rana
There should be a ‘balance of power’ between the Upazila Parishad Chairmen and the Member of Parliament (MPs) to ensure smooth functioning of different development works in local levels throughout the country.
Hoping for massive development, including infrastructural and others, some grassroots-level political leaders and activists as well as a section of general people said, “Whatever the role of the elected representatives would be, it must be people-oriented and as per the election-pledges of voted leaders.”
Almost all, who talked to The Bangladesh Today, expressed their different opinions with regards to the ongoing much-talked-about the ordinance of Local Government (Upazila Parishad) promulgated by the erstwhile Army-backed Read more

Tk 7.74cr spent for 51 lawyers, claims ACC

February 20, 2009

M Moneeruzzaman
The Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday claimed that it had spent Tk 7,74,41,566 to pay retainers to 51 lawyers engaged to deal with more than 500 graft cases filed by it in the last two years. Some newspapers have alleged that it paid the lawyers more than Tk 14 crore to punish 156 corruption suspects.
‘Tk 5,11,59,866 was spent for paying the lawyers between June 2007 and June 2008 and Tk 2,62,81,700 was spent between June 2008 and January 2009,’ the ACC’s spokesman, Hanif Iqbal, told reporters at a briefing on Thursday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina questioned the justification of the payment of such a large amount to lawyers and said the government Read more

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