Govt initiates inquiry into unnatural deaths of BDR soldiers

May 21, 2009

The government has initiated an inquiry into unnatural deaths of Bangladesh Rifles soldiers in custody after the February 25–26 rebellion in the BDR headquarters in Dhaka.
‘The home affairs ministry has formed a committee for an executive inquiry into unnatural deaths of BDR soldiers after the February rebellion… The committee will find out the reason behind such incidents,’ the home affairs secretary, Abdus Sobhan Sikder, told New Age on Wednesday.
The government move came in the wake of pressure from local and international rights groups against the custodial death of Read more

Govt retracts from e-passport move

May 21, 2009

The government has decided to go ahead with the project of machine-readable passports, to be issued from the next year, backtracking from its earlier decision to introduce e-passport, to be commissioned in 2014.
The Awami League government immediately after assuming office on January 6, 2009, first decided to implement machine-readable passports and then moved towards e-passport before once again reverting to the machine-readable passport project, which, critics say, will only put an additional financial burden on the state Read more

Dhaka to sign Asian Highway pact as per UNESCAP routes

May 21, 2009

Communications ministry meets today to settle the issue
The Awami League-led coalition will sign the inter-governmental agreement on the Asian Highway network although the BNP-Jamaat government refrained from ratifying it on the grounds of ‘controversial’ route proposals, said officials of the communications ministry on Wednesday.
The BNP-led four party alliance, which tried to bring about changes in the proposed routes, did not sign the multi-national deal before the deadline that expired on December 31, 2005.
It believed that acceptance of the routes proposed by the United Nations for Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific Read more

National secrecy on the verge of being leaked out: Clandestine arms trade and the trial

May 21, 2009

Two former generals who were once in charge of national security intelligence of the country were taken to dock for abetting arms supply to Indian separatist ULFA.
They were accused of using the government installations in CUFL Jetty in Chittagong Port for unloading arms.
But their political bosses have not yet been taken to task. From which country the arms were despatched to the Chittagong Port could not be ascertained.
Major General (retd) Rezzaqul Haider and Brigadier General (retd) Abdur Rahim said in their submission in the court whatever they have Read more

Ex-NSI chiefs tell of foreign links

May 21, 2009

Ctg Arms Haul
Ex-NSI chiefs tell of foreign links
Interrogators have gleaned important information about the smuggling of 10 trucks of arms and ammunition and foreign links to the incident from the two arrested former National Security Intelligence (NSI) chiefs, the prosecution yesterday told the court.
But the former NSI directors general–Maj Gen (retd) Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury and Brig Gen (retd) Abdur Rahim–tactfully avoided information about their involvement in the incident, the prosecution lawyer said while placing his Read more

Dhaka metro govt proposed

May 21, 2009

JS body members for combining Gazipur, N’ganj with capital giving them city corporation status
Members of the parliamentary standing committee on the local government ministry at a meeting yesterday discussed forming Dhaka metropolitan government combining Gazipur and Narayanganj to improve city life.
Members of the parliamentary body suggested that Dhaka City Corporation should be divided into two parts each having a mayor to better Read more

Construction industries face slide : Prices of raw materials up

May 21, 2009

Country’s construction industries face slide, as the prices of raw materials of this industry are increasing day-by-day following the global economic recession.
Due to the economic meltdown across the world, thousands of Bangladeshi workers employed in the construction industries in Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia have been discharged from their jobs.
The jobless people are forced to return home. The increasing numbers of homecoming labourers along with continuous price hike of electricity, oil, gas and raw materials may badly affect the country’s construction Read more

A story of embattled media: 28 journalists killed in 19 countries

May 21, 2009

At least 28 journalists have been killed while covering the news in 19 countries as we approach the mid-point of 2009. INSI (International News Safety Institute) counts an additional 13 deaths in 10 countries where it is not yet clear whether the victim died as a result of their work as a journalist.
The worst countries are Pakistan (first with 3 deaths and equal first with Russia and Palestine in cases still under investigation), and Somalia, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Libya and Iraq with 2 deaths each.
There has been a welcome drop in casualties in Iraq, due to the general reduction of violence there. Iraq had been the worst killing Read more

50,000 die, 40,000 become disabled every year

May 21, 2009

Direct effect of tobacco
About 50,000 people die and 40,000 become disabled due to smoking and direct affect of tobacco every year in the country.
Some 12 lakh people suffer from eight kinds of various respiratory, brain and kidney-related diseases due to the use of tobacco every year, speaker yesterday said this while addressing a workshop on ‘Tobacco control law’ held at the civil surgeon office in the city.
The civil surgeon office in Dhaka and the WBB, a non- government organisation, jointly organised the workshop. The WBB is working Read more

Banglalink, AKTEL may merge

May 21, 2009

Mobile operators Banglalink and AKTEL are in talks for a possible merger in an aggressive bid to grab a substantial market share of Bangladesh’s 46 million market, giving a hint that the number of operators will come down in the already saturated six-operator market.
The merger issue was disclosed by Orascom Telecom Holdings Chairman Naguib Sawiris recently, when he talked with journalists on Read more

Cell phone industry seen facing more trouble

May 21, 2009

A recovery in cell phone demand will not happen until well into 2010, researcher Gartner said on Wednesday, while Reuters data showed the industry could suffer its worst quarter ever in April-June.
The handset market fell 9.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, Gartner said, adding it saw demand stabilising but it would not be until next year before demand would grow again.
‘We do not expect demand to get better before second half of 2010,’ said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.
A Reuters poll of 34 analysts forecast handset vendor phone sales in the April-June quarter to slump 14.5 per cent, with 2009 sales Read more

Siddons targets India

May 20, 2009

ICC World Twenty20
Siddons targets India
Bangladesh national cricket team have tar-getted beating India in their first match of the ICC World Twenty20s in England and are all set to depart amidst some modest but important concerns from coach Jamie Siddons.
Siddons’s biggest worry is the lack of international exposure that the Tigers have had ahead of the tournament and he believes that it is a worrying factor as the players have not faced quality bowling attacks in the recent Read more

Unplanned housing, infrastructure cuts down cropland

May 20, 2009

The dwindling size of farms, rise in landlessness and constant depletion of farmland are posing formidable threats to Bangladesh’s agriculture, increasing poverty and trapping many ultra-poor people in a vicious circle, according to various reports.
The average farm size has been reduced to less than 0.6 hectares and the percentage of landless people stands at 58 in a country where nearly 80 per cent of the ultra-poor live in rural areas.
Official statistics also show that the country is losing more than one per cent or 80,000 hectares each year from its original 13 million hectares Read more

BDR recast report placed in part, govt probe report soon

May 20, 2009

Absconding jawans now 25; no mercy for post-Feb 25 rebels
The committee, headed by Director General (DG) of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Maj Gen Md Mainul Islam, that was formed to report on restructuring the paramilitary force, submitted yesterday a partial report suggesting the new logo, the new uniform and the new name for the border guards. 
Meanwhile, the number of the absconding BDR jawans, who went into hiding after the bloody Peelkhana carnage on February 25 and 26, now stands at 25, as most of the fugitive border guards reported to their nearby units and police stations or were arrested by Read more

152 industries wreaking havoc

May 20, 2009

Villagers along polluted Turag moving to safer places
Indiscriminate discharge of liquid waste by the industries in and around Konabari industrial zone has ruined a large part of the Turag river and Baimail Jheel, causing immense suffering to residents living on the banks.
Industrial liquid waste and black smog created by brick kilns have doubled the sufferings and even compelled many to move their houses.
Locals say brick kilns have left their fruit trees unproductive, while industrial waste exterminated fish in the Read more

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