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     Volume 6 Issue 37 | September 21, 2007 |

   Human Rights
   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   Special Feature
   Food for Thought
   A Roman Column
   View from the    Bottom
   Dhaka Diary
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Cleansing the Body and Mind
Though fasting is a scientifically recommended procedure by which one can retain ones health by filtering out extra fat and toxins, the excessive price of necessities, the tendency to take very little nutritious food during Iftar, and the tendency to over-eat have been waning the profundity, magnanimity and solemnity of the Ramadan.
Fasting is a great lesson to understand the plight of hunger. One must refrain oneself from all kinds of consumption and bad habits, give zakaat and attend regularly to the rites of Islam. It also teaches us to be humane and considerate.
The efforts of the government and all walks of people can only make the holy month more sacred, and be great refreshment for the body and mind.
Amit Abdullah
Dept. of Finance, DU

About BTV
In his letter Ebrahim Khalil Milon from New Govt Degree College, Rajshahi (September 7, 2007) demanded reform of BTV in a very forceful language. Although, I myself am also a proponent of introducing some reformation to BTV, I oppose some of his thoughts.
Khalil has denounced BTV for telecasting talk shows. But if we look around, then we will see that talk shows are potentially one of the most informative programmes. Take for example “Hard Talk” broadcast on BBC which is a very dynamic and informative programme.
NTV has been for the last four years constantly telecasting classical instrumental music as a special programme for Eid and they have been highly praised by viewers. And yes, these programmes have been organised in an innovative way and that's why it is now one of the glittering attractions on Eid. Also, programmes of traditional songs sung by various renowned singers have regularly been arranged by NTV in every Eid and they have been warmly greeted by the public.
However, I agree with the writer that BTV keeps on presenting the news in the most archaic way and they hardly fulfil the thirst of the general public. I agree with him that whatever the BTV is going to telecast they should do so in an innovative way.
Tahsin Khan
By email

T20 and its Lack of Skills
I thank the writer of "Twenty20 and its lack of skills"(Sept 14, 2007). He points out the negative aspects of this shortest form of the game in a very logical manner. It is true that in a Twenty20 match, a players' true potential is not reflected because, the brief time period of the matches, is not sufficient to highlight the true mettle of a player. I agree with the author that test match is the ultimate 'test' for a player as his cricketing knowledge and skill can be assessed properly in a test match. But T20 also has some positives--it creates scope for the minnows to challenge the top teams(examples are already visible--the tigers' win and Zimbabwe's shocking victory) and it also is a definite crowd-puller. In addition, this T20 world cup has also proved to be more thrilling and entertaining compared to this year's 50-over World Cup (which failed to produce competitive matches).
Wasif Wahed

Our Image Abroad
In the September issue of the Reader's Digest the photograph of beggars outside the shrine of Shah Amanat in Chittagong in 'Unseen Asia' by Jashim Salam was a big attention-grabber. The photographer wanted to say that begging is very common and beggars are seen mainly in front of shrines, marketplaces and during festivals while always having a smile on their faces.
What kind of an image will the international community have on us when they see such a photograph? As responsible citizens we should not portray such an image of our country. If poverty is the theme then there should be photographs which show poor people working hard despite many constraints and contributing to the development of the country.

British Council Fees
Dr D Costa recently wrote about the rising cost of O and A Level fees (September 7, 2007). He mentions that he had to pay Tk 31,000 for 5 EdExcel 'O' Level examinations. If his son were to appear for Cambridge International Examinations [CIE], as did my son [a student of Chittagong Grammar School] this past May / June, the cost would be slightly more than half at Tk 17,800/- for the same 5 O Level exams (Tk 3,200 per O Level subject and Tk 1,800 for registration per candidate).
EdExcel was taken over by Pearson, a large American publishing company, in 2003 and as their parent company and 75% share holder their focus is on increasing profits, often at the expense of consumers and with deteriorating products and services.
Polly Curtis, from the Guardian Newspaper (UK) writes in August 2004, a year after the takeover by Pearson: "The Pearson takeover of EdExcel nearly a year ago came as something of a shock to board members at the QCA. Exam boards have traditionally been registered as charities and have ploughed the bulk of their profits back into the examining process. Pearson has made inroads into a market which it believes has been too amateurish. It has the potential for less accountability. They might be more efficient; on the other hand a private company's first duty is to its shareholders and it may be it will be less accountable to the young people who take their exams."
As one of the biggest international markets for EdExcel, Bangladeshi students who appear for EdExcel 'O' Levels will find that prices will continue to rise while the quality of exams and marking will be compromised as Pearson looks for cost cuts. When a subject is not commercially viable it will be withdrawn as was 'Bangladesh Studies' by this board due to poor take-up.
I suggest Dr. D Costa and other concerned parents lobby their children's school to switch to the CIE board which will save them money and ensure better services in future.
Akash Abdel

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