• Thursday, January 29, 2015

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Suffering, silently

Rubaiya shivers with fear whenever she hears a loud sound. The third grader of a private school in Dhaka was on her way back home with her father on a rickshaw just a week ago. As they reached near Abahani playground on Sat Masjid Road, they heard a large bang and saw people running helter-skelter. Her father promptly took her to a nearby shop when Rubaiya began to cry out of panic. "Whenever she hears a bang now she asks, 'What happened...

Burdwan Blast

4 more JMB operatives held in India

India's National Investigation Agency yesterday arrested four more alleged members and recruiters of outlawed Jama'at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which is linked to the October 2 Burdwan blast. The four -- Dalim Sheikh alias Faijul Hoque Sheikh, Motiur Rehman alias Noor Alam, Habibur Rehman and Ghiyasuddin Munshi -- were arrested in different areas of West Bengal and have been put on remand by a Kolkata court. With the latest arrests, the NIA has so far held 16 people including suspected mastermind Sajid, who...

Warrant of Precedence

PM criticises SC verdict

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in parliament yesterday criticised a Supreme Court verdict on Warrant of Precedence. On January 6, the Appellate Division of the SC disposed of “with expunction, modification, observation and findings” a government appeal against a 2010 High Court order that declared illegal and void the existing Warrant of Precedence, formulated in 1986 and revised in 2008. But the full text of the order is yet to be released. On January 7, newspapers quoting SC lawyer M Asaduzzaman reported...

SSC exams to be held on schedule

With fear of violence growing among students and their guardians due to the ongoing blockade, the government is going to hold Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent exams as per schedule. "The exams will be held on schedule...," Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told reporters after a meeting with law enforcement agencies at the secretariat yesterday. Nahid discussed the current law and order situation and other issues relating to the exam at the meeting. Around 14 lakh candidates are expected to sit...

Khaleda's Gulshan Office

PM deplores denial of access to her

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said denying her access to Khaleda Zia on the day Arafat Rahman Koko died was insulting. "It was an insult to me," Hasina told parliament, five days into the incident in which she was not allowed to enter Khaleda's Gulshan office to console the BNP chief after her younger son's death in Malaysia. "When her son died, I rushed to console her. You know the entrance to her office was kept locked and I was not...

Delete 'secular', 'socialist' from Indian charter

A day after row erupted over a Republic Day advertisement of Indian Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the Shiv Sena yesterday demanded "permanent deletion" of the words 'secular' and 'socialist' from the Constitution. An acrimonious war of words had broken out between political parties yesterday when an advertisement issued by the I&B Ministry carried a picture of the Preamble to the Constitution as it appeared before the 42nd Amendment, without the words 'secular' and 'socialist'. "We welcome the exclusion of the (secular...

War Crimes Trial

Azhar appeals against death sentence

Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam yesterday challenged the death penalty awarded to him by a war crimes tribunal last year. In his appeal filed with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Azharul claimed himself innocent and sought acquittal on the five charges he was found guilty. The International Crimes Tribunal-1 on December 30 last year handed the Jamaat leader death penalty on three out of six charges of crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War. The 62-year-old...

Consultants for New Dap

Cabinet body gives nod to appointment

The government is going to appoint two consultants to draw up the 20-year fresh detailed area plan (DAP) for Dhaka Metropolis to ensure planned urban development. The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase yesterday approved the appointment at a cost of Tk 25.99 crore for preparing the DAP covering an area of over 1,500 square kilometres for the period of 2016 to 2035. A joint venture of Sheltech (Pvt) Ltd and The Decode Ltd will prepare the DAP for 753 square km...

Qulkhwani of Koko tomorrow

The qulkhwani of Arafat Rahman Koko, younger son of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, will be held at Gulshan Azad Mosque in Dhaka after Asr prayers tomorrow, Maj Gen (retd) Fazle Elahi Akbar, defence affairs adviser to Khaleda, told The Daily Star. Koko died of heart failure at his rented house in Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia Saturday afternoon. The body was flown back home in a Malaysia Airlines flight around 11:40am on Tuesday. Thousands of mourners joined the namaz-e-janaza of Koko at the...

Dudu on two-day remand in arson case

A Dhaka court yesterday placed BNP leader Shamsuzzaman Dudu on a two-day remand in connection with an arson case. The case was filed with Mirpur Model Police Station on December 28 last year for torching vehicles in the capital's Rokeya Sarani. Metropolitan Magistrate Md Asaduzzaman Nur passed the order after Sub-inspector Syed Asaduzzaman of the police station had produced Dudu, an adviser of BNP chairperson, before it with a seven-day remand prayer. In the remand prayer, Asaduzzaman, also the investigating officer of...

Michelle Obama forgoes headscarf in Saudi Arabia

Michelle Obama forgoes headscarf in Saudi Arabia

For US First Lady Michelle Obama, just a few hours in Saudi Arabia were enough to illustrate the stark limitations under which Saudi women live. Joining President Barack Obama for a condolence visit after the death of the King Abdullah, Mrs Obama stepped off of Air Force One wearing long pants and a long,...

Can evolution run backwards?

Can evolution run backwards?

In 1890, Belgian palaeontologist Louis Dollo postulated that evolution could not run backwards -- something widely accepted by the scientific community. But now a study has claimed that the changes induced by evolution can be reversible, meaning certain animals can return to an earlier biological trait. The remarkable discovery was made by finding birds had...

Rights group raps Israel 'policy' of bombing Gaza homes

An Israeli rights group yesterday criticised the government for what it called a deliberate policy of launching air strikes on homes that killed hundreds of civilians during last year's Gaza war. In a report examining 70 raids on residential buildings in the besieged Palestinian territory, B'Tselem said Israeli officials were responsible for civilian casualties during the 50-day conflict that killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. "A hallmark of the fighting in Gaza this summer was the numerous strikes on residential buildings, destroying them...

Protesters try to storm UN building in Gaza

Dozens of protesters yesterday tried to storm the Gaza headquarters of the United Nations, an AFP correspondent said, after the UN announced it lacked funds to rebuild the war-battered Palestinian territory. Around 200 people demonstrated outside the building in Gaza City of the UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, burning tyres and throwing stones. "We are still homeless!" they chanted. Some tried to storm the building before police of the Islamist movement Hamas, the de facto power in Israeli-besieged Gaza, broke up the...

US: Castro message 'positive sign'

The United States welcomed Tuesday former Cuban leader Fidel Castro's belated response to the thaw in ties between the Cold War foes as a sign that change is under way in Havana. "We take his reference of 'international norms and principles' as a positive sign," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, after Castro's letter was released. Psaki said Washington now looked forward "to the Cuban government implementing those international norms and principles for a democratic, prosperous and stable Cuba." Last week,...

Obama tackles IS fight, Iran with new Saudi king

US President Barack Obama led a heavyweight delegation to Saudi Arabia Tuesday to meet new King Salman and discussed the two countries' ongoing fight against the Islamic State group. The leaders also tackled the issue of Iran's nuclear programme and human rights in the conservative kingdom, a senior US official said. Riyadh has been part of the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against IS since last year and is a long-time regional ally of Washington. But analysts say Riyadh has grown...

US Criticism

Thai junta chief 'upset'

Thailand's junta chief said yesterday he was "upset" by comments from a senior US diplomat during a recent visit criticising the military regime, as Washington's top envoy in Bangkok was summoned for a meeting with Thai officials. On Monday US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel urged Thailand's generals to implement a "more inclusive political process" after meeting ousted former premier Yingluck Shinawatra. He added that moves against Yingluck since the military takeover  could be...