• Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Op-Ed

Editorial

  • Editorial

    Cattle market hemming in hospitals

    Relocate it immediately

    A cattle market in the Agargaon area has put the lives of scores of critical patiens in jeopardy as it blocks the approach to some major hospitals in the city. Desperate to get redress, the health ministry on Monday sought the home ministry's intervention, as the relevant authority, the LGRD ministry, wouldn't listen to its plea. It is not only patently irresponsible, but also an instance of utter insensitivity to public welfare and access to medical facilities on the part of LGRD ministry. The ministry looks after the affairs of the local government bodies, the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) in this case which leased out the space for the cattle market. The chaotic situation created by the flow of sacrificial animals and their handlers is blocking the access to hospitals, hindering medical treatment of citizens, and causing impediment to public mobility in that busy hub of hospitals.   Is it not strange that the existence of a traumatology and orthopaedic hospital, a paediatric hospital, cardiovascular and mental hospital, among others, did not cross the minds of DNCC officials even for a moment when they decided to let a cattle market operate there? One is dismayed at DNCC chief...

Opinion

STRANGER THAN FICTION

Should Bangladesh take al-Zawahri's threats seriously?

THE answer to the question planted in the title of this article is a definitive “NO”. There is absolutely no reason to take Ayman al-Zawahiri seriously or consider his threats “ominous”. If al Qaeda could, it would have attacked Bangladesh by now. Between February and September this year, Zawahiri has circulated two video speeches, the first one primarily focused Bangladesh and the second one mainly focused India. The fugitive head of al Qaeda, which is fast losing ground to...

Why is Indian outward FDI shying away from South Asia?

THERE have been promises of greater Indian investment in South Asia for a long time. A report produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2007 argued that India would play a key role in investing in South Asia and this in turn will stimulate intra-regional trade in the region. The report made special reference to the rapidly growing Indian IT industry and identified it as a potential investor in South Asia. The ADB argued that business process outsourcing,...

Question on question papers?

THE results of the admission test of the 'Kha” unit of the University of Dhaka for the 2014-15 academic session were very disappointing. A total of 40,565 students sat for the test against 2,221 seats on September 19. Of them, only 3,874 students i.e. 9.55% passed. Only two students qualified for enrolment in the English department. The results raised questions about the standard of education in the country. The minister for education, on the contrary, finds the admission test...

Will rising minimum wage affect the RMG sector?

Will rising minimum wage affect the RMG sector?

MINIMUM wage for workers in Bangladesh garments industry is a hot button issue for both manufacturers and the Western retailers. At the recent Harvard University Conference on “Globalization and Sustainability of Bangladesh Garments Industry”, two issues dominated the discussions: wages and workers' safety.  The participants, while supporting the cause of workers' rights to...

BOTTOM LINE

Kashmir issue at the UN

PAKISTAN Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on 26th September raised the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly while blaming India for "another missed opportunity" to address outstanding issues. As a consequence the foreign secretary-level talks were cancelled.  Asserting that a "veil" cannot be drawn over the "core" issue of Kashmir, he said Pakistan...

New momentum on climate must generate action in Asia-Pacific

The landmark Climate Summit convened by the United Nations Secretary-General last week in New York was unprecedented in terms of the participation of leaders, the private sector and a range of other stakeholders. The level and scale of enthusiasm it generated augurs well for global climate action and for future generations. This new...

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Letters

Letters To The Editor

Justice for Felani

Justice for Felani

Felani Khatun, a 15 year old Bangladeshi girl became the worst ever victim of border killing in history when she tried to cross the Bangladesh-India border on 7 January 2011. The Indian authorities failed to provide justice at the first trial, thanks to their indifference. The Indian court acquitted Amiya Ghosh, the killer of Felani, of the charge of killing. The retrial of Felani killing has started again as the verdict of the first trial was rejected by Felani's father. We, the people of Bangladesh demand a fair trial this time. Our government should play a more active role in this regard. S. S....

Letters To The Editor

Aminbazar speed breakers need urgent repair

It is our common practice that whenever any accident occurs, we become very aware for a few days. But as time passes we forget the whole thing. After the tragic accident on the bridge near Aminbazar, speed breakers were constructed on both sides of the bridge. But now these speed breakers are completely worn out and in need of urgent repair to avoid any future accident. Eid and puja are imminent and a large number of people will go home...

Letters To The Editor

Is poetry dying?

“Is poetry a dying art?” by Kaiser Haq published in TDS on September 27 has touched us who are concerned about literature in current age. The number of books published each month and the number of sustainable literature journals points to the simple fact that production and promotion of knowledge here is actually going down the drain. People write in their leisure time, which is not adequate. Nobody has the time or the needed focus to do adequate research before...

Comments on news report

“54 primary schools illegally occupied,” published on September 27, 2014 MH Khan School lands, railway lands, rivers, village markets etc. -- all are occupied by influential people and their goons. Nobody cares and nothing will be done regarding this, not at least in the near future. ***** “Share of loot led to Keraniganj 4-murder” (September 27, 2014) Sayed Rahman Why those two innocent kids had to die untimely? ***** “Trapped by rickshaws” (September 26, 2014) Sayed Rahman The report shows the utmost callousness of the SUV driver as well...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Bangladesh-India relations

A few days ago, Bangladesh foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali visited New Delhi for the third meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Consultative Commission (JCC), where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for concrete steps to promote Bangladesh-India trade and investment, as improved connectivity would promote economic cooperation and strengthen people-to-people ties. We appreciate Indian PM's remarks. At the same time, we want to say that Bangladesh-India trade and investment shouldn't mean monopolistic business of Indian products in Bangladesh, as...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Metaphors in communication

Metaphors are used to describe something by referring to it as an object that is different and suggesting that it has qualities similar to it. "Love is a rose, but you better not pick it," is a line from Neil Young's song sung in 1977 which is an example of metaphor. Metaphors have been used in poetry for centuries and its use in communication is also popular. In recent years, scientists, particularly, neuroscientists have been doing research on the...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Focus on quality education

We have known from news reports that of the total 40,565 examinees, 22,000 failed in English and only 2 students qualified to be enrolled in the Dhaka University's English department for the 2014-2015 session. This time, the university has made it compulsory for the applicants to obtain at least 15 marks in “Elective English”, apart from the usual 20 marks in the general English, to be enrolled in the department. The number of GPA-5 scorers at SSC and HSC levels...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Comments on news report

“Cops capture 2 'ISIS recruitees',” published on September 26, 2014 MH Khan Only a dumb idiot can think of destroying lives. Our education system should teach our children how precious our life is. Nothing can be more important than living and preserving lives. ***** “Human rights under attack everywhere” (September 25, 2014) Sayed Rahman Honourable secretary general, it is not a new phenomenon to us. It has been occurring for a long time. ***** “Usefulness questionable” (September 25, 2014) Genuine Musafeer It could well be termed as 'an unusual...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 29, 2014
'A week that may change the world'

The above titled article was published in your Op-Ed page on September 27. There is no question that climate change is an important issue. Across the world, people are suffering due to the effects of these changes. Yet aid agencies are unable to secure sufficient funds to help them because, of the one billion dollars spent globally every day on climate finance, only 6% goes to helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change today. The rest is spent on...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Secondary issues get precedence over urgent ones

The government is spending crores of taka for not-so-urgent ventures and, large groups of people are going on foreign trips with public money which are not so necessary. Problems like shortage of electricity causing frequent load shedding, which demand urgent attention, are being totally ignored. Then comes the horrible traffic jams from morning till late at night. Is anything being done to save the public from this endless misery? Why are these big issues being left unsolved, while public money is...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: September 29, 2014
They show total disregard for public's feelings

We are a nation that loves to make records which would be included in the Guinness Book of Records. On December 16, 2013 Bangladesh made the world's largest human flag, while on March 26, 2014 we made another world record: 2.5 lakh people sang the national anthem together. We spent a huge amount of money for organising these two events. We heard that more than 50 crore taka was spent for singing the national anthem. Now we are going to...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Comments on commentary

“Protector turning predator?” published on September 26, 2014 Fareed Wakil A courageous write-up, and a solid argument as to why all democracies, and especially fragile ones like  Bangladesh where democratic institutions are under continued attack by the state must preserve freedom of speech, freedom of the media and freedom of thought. Mr Anam is fighting the good fight for all of us. Gulshan Dhaka To be a journalist, one first has to take license from the government! We still have people who loudly...

Letters to the editor

Published Date: September 28, 2014
Crisis-ridden United Airways

Almost all English dailies of 25th September reported that since Sept. 24 the airline has stopped all operations. All aircraft are lying at the domestic terminal of the airport. Surely the cash crunch did not happen suddenly. Only a few days back, the airline bought a new aircraft on loan. Was the airline's financial and cash flow not scrutinised by the financial institution concerned before such a loan was approved? In their last board meeting, they had removed their...

Letters to the editor

Published Date: September 28, 2014
What's left for us to eat?

This refers to your front page report, “Vermicelli, flour tainted with formalin” (Sept.25). It is better to buy wheat and chana dal and give to the flour mill to get the required flour. Not only flour, even fruits like pineapple, guava, banana and mangoes are artificially ripened. Visit any supermarket and more than 50 per cent of the products displayed on shelves is harmful. For example, pickles, tomato ketchup, jam among others, which contain high quantity of salt and...

Letters to the editor

Published Date: September 28, 2014
Beware of foreign dogs!

I'm a regular morning-walker around Dhanmondi lake. The other day while I was walking past a house, I saw two big size  notices on its main gate: “Bideshi kukur hoite sabdhan. Bina onumotite probesh nishedh” (Beware of foreign dogs. No entry without permission). Names of the persons who gave this warning were boldly displayed right above the notice. They were retired government high-ups and their successors. I was shocked to see that native Bangalees being cautioned about foreign dogs. What...

Comments on news report

Published Date: September 28, 2014
“Govt seeks to certify journalists,” published on September 24, 2014

Kabdullah I support the idea of fining and jailing journalists for publishing lies and fabricated news. However, the government should introduce punishment for politicians from the ruling party for lying and fabricating as well.  

Comments on news report

Published Date: September 28, 2014
“11-day hilsa catching ban from Oct 5” (September 24, 2014)

Sayed Rahman Will the ban be implemented properly? The government should also help the fishermen who are totally dependent on catching fish in those areas. Afreen Very good decision. But it depends on how strictly the laws are enforced.  

Comments on news report

Published Date: September 28, 2014
“Railway knocks down 715 illegal structures”(September 24, 2014)

Sayed Rahman “Around one hour after the drive, several owners of the demolished shops were seen running their business on the same spot again.” How long will this continue?  

More

Editorial

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Launch capsize probe report

IT is not often that we get to know the findings of any probe report, least of all those related to accidents and loss of life. We have at hand now the findings of the committee tasked with probing the Pinak-6 disaster. The findings are highly disconcerting and expose an abject lack of concern for public safety, dereliction of duty, lax oversight and rampant corruption. One of the aims of setting up such a committee is to find the flaws...

Editorial

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Elusive railway tickets

AS happened many times before, tens of thousands of Eid holidaymakers are facing difficulties in booking their passage home. It's already too late to increase the intake capacity for the swelling number of passengers rushing to travel by train. Apart from the limited capacity, the blocking of tickets for VIPs, on-line complications and suspected black marketing deprive many ticket seekers of a chance to get it, particularly in good time.    Railways being a bulk carrier of passenger and a safe...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Politics of education: Debate over student exams

Politics of education: Debate over student exams

AN interesting debate in Bangladesh over “quality” of education is currently keeping some of us amused over the topic as well as the debate participants. On the surface, the debate is a fallout of the pathetic performance in the recent Dhaka University intake exams by students who graduated from higher secondary schools recently....

Exclusive to The Daily Star
THE WORLD IN WORDS

Published Date: September 30, 2014
The intellectual battle against ISIS

The intellectual battle against ISIS

THE global financial crisis taught the world how profoundly interdependent our economies have become. In today's crisis of extremism, we must recognise that we are just as interdependent for our security, as is clear in the current struggle to defeat ISIS. If we are to prevent ISIS from teaching us this lesson the hard...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Kashmir keeps turning up

THERE has seldom been a time when the domestic politics of India and Pakistan have not intruded into efforts to normalise bilateral relations. When Nawaz Sharif spoke at the United Nations about a plebiscite in Kashmir, the Pakistan prime minister was not so much addressing India as he was audiences back home. Mr. Sharif has not yet emerged fully from his battle for survival against Imran Khan. The cricketer-turned-politician is now planning to widen his protests for Mr. Sharif's...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Freedom of the press and Lord Denning

THE signs are ominous. The Bangladesh Press Council, which was set up to preserve the freedom of the press, now wants to control it by having the powers to punish journalists for “false reports,” and to issue certificates to intending journalists. To gain this authority, it has already consulted with the information ministry and drafted proposals for changes in the Press Council Act, 1973. The Cyber Tribunal recently awarded seven years imprisonment to a person accused of disseminating “a...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Regulate-cigarettes to protect health

Regulate-cigarettes to protect health

IN recent years the electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) industry has been rapidly expanding, evolving from just one manufacturer in 2005 to a $3 billion global business with 466 brands. Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), of which e-cigarettes are the most common prototype, are battery-powered devices that use electricity to aerosolise a nicotine containing fluid for inhalation. We know that nicotine is addictive and is not harmless. But as ENDS are not made from tobacco leaves, they have largely escaped any regulation. The rapid global growth of ENDS represents an evolving frontier filled with both promise and threat for tobacco control. There is an urgent need to regulate the use of...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Is South Asia becoming a breeding ground for IS?

IT seemed that after the death of Osama bin Laden, militant Islamist/Wahaabist groups had shrunk in size. The arrival of the IS (also known as ISIL or ISIS) in this context and its unprecedented rise is hence a cause for concern from many angles. The IS differs largely in its modus operandi from what had previously been known of such jihadist groups; members of the group operate in a military manner where they occupy and gain control over territories and...

Editorial

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Modi-Hasina talks

THE meeting between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Indian PM Narendra Modi in New York on Saturday has been a significant event for two important reasons:  First, it was much-awaited in the backdrop of several high level contacts which set the scene for the one-to-one contact at the highest political level. Secondly, this was the first ever meeting between the two leaders. The change of leadership in India warranted a measure of confidence building and fresh approach...

Editorial

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Register as Bengalis or....

ACCORDING to a news report carried in this paper on Sunday the Myanmar government has drafted a plan to offer the Rohingyas an option to register as 'Bengalis' or face detention in camps. This either-or-option for an ethnic group that has been living in that country for several centuries and suffering unbridled persecution there for a long time is really asking them to choose between the devil and the deep sea. Bangladesh has a real concern about the Rohingyas and...

Kaleidoscope

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Fighting the menace of question-leaking

Fighting the menace of question-leaking

IN the not-so-distant past, the main concern of authorities conducting public examinations was the practice of adopting unfair means by a dishonest examinee who copied either from another student's answer script or from pages of a book, or from crib sheets that he/she carried secretly into the examination hall.  The challenge before the...

Business & Finance

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Europe's austerity zombies

IF the facts don't fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts -- or so German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-austerity European leaders appear to believe. Though facts keep staring them in the face, they continue to deny reality. Austerity has failed. But its defenders are willing to claim victory on the basis of the weakest possible evidence: the economy is no longer...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Adventurous to earn and generous to give away

GOOD news for photographers! Now, one can take a perfect group picture using an app called Perfect Shot. It uses the smile and eye detection systems in the camera and takes the shot at the perfect moment when everyone is smiling and no one is blinking. The developer of Perfect Shot is a 19-year old University drop-out named Meyer. He left a prestigious university without completing his undergraduate course in computer science to start his private company. Meyer learned...

KNOT SO TRUE

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Disproportionate attention to proportions

SHE has millions of followers, 2 thousand-acre estates according to official count, 28 kilograms of gold, 10,000 saris, 750 pairs of shoes, and, of course, a salary of Rs.1.00 per annum. A film star turned politician, chief minister for four times, she is the latest case of the Modi-fied Indian government which has just jailed her for possessing disproportionate assets. It's all part of the new drive of driving corruption away from the government, which has itself close to...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
The US' unauthorised air strikes in Syria: Against or favouring Wahhabism?

The US' unauthorised air strikes in Syria: Against or favouring Wahhabism?

SINCE the night of September 22/23, US fighter planes have been carrying out strikes with missiles and drones against targets in and around Raqqah, the city in the Northern part of Syria where the headquarters of ISIS's self-proclaimed 'Islamic state' are located. Four of the US's Middle Eastern allies are known to be...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Timetable for political party registration

In the aftermath of the much talked-about one-sided election on January 5, 2014, it is in public perception that the Election Commission (EC) could not establish good, acceptable electoral governance. Whatever little that was achieved in the past witnessed sharp decline. Even the recently held upazilla and union elections have shown lack of voters' confidence in the system. Reports say that voter turnout was minimal, and that sufficiently proves lack of interest in voting and indicates declining faith in...

SUNDAY POUCH

Published Date: September 28, 2014
Is the old world order breaking down? Perhaps

Those who were born after the Second World War knew that they were in the cusp of a new world order. Europe, the colonial power, was losing its economic and political clout. The USA was emerging like a Phoenix and taking over world leadership. The then Soviet Union was only challenging it. Asian and African nations were shaking off their dependence on colonial masters and were planting their first seeds of independence. The United Nations was groping its way...

Published Date: September 28, 2014
Why Modi should have visited Bangladesh first

Why Modi should have visited Bangladesh first

Prime Minister Modi has lost no time in making overtures to neighbours. Beginning with Bhutan, his second trip was to Nepal, the third may be Sri Lanka. Bangladesh is India's most important neighbour by all considerations -- security, cross-border migration, sharing of common resources. Yet, the Indian prime minister's first meeting with Sheikh...

Published Date: September 28, 2014
Challenge within

IT is not what President Barack Obama said at the UN General Assembly that matters; it is the horror of the situation in the Middle East that must prod the Muslim world into asking itself -- to borrow the title of historian Bernard Lewis's celebrated book -- what went wrong? The American leader's focus in his speech on Wednesday was on a joint struggle that would “degrade and destroy” the self-styled Islamic State, which he called a “network of death”...

Published Date: September 28, 2014
'Proper care of waterways is the most pressing environmental challenge'

'Proper care of waterways is the most pressing environmental challenge'

Mark Angelo is an internationally celebrated river conservationist. He is the founder and Chair of both BC and World Rivers Day and is Chair Emeritus of the Rivers Institute at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). He has received both the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada (his country's highest honour) in recognition of his conservation efforts over the past four decades. As an avid paddler, Mark has traveled along close to 1,000 rivers around the world. From 2003 to 2005, his acclaimed Riverworld programme played to sold-out audiences across North America and the programme's website had more than 40 million visits. Mark continues to...

Published Date: September 28, 2014
RTI and good governance

Free flow of information increases the dimension of knowledge. In the knowledge- based society in which we live today, acquisition of information and its applications have an impact on our quest for building an informed enlightened society where everyone's rights are understood and met. This is essential for good governance. People who have access to information and who understand how to make use of the acquired information in the process of exercising their political, economic and legal rights become empowered,...

SHIFTING IMAGES

Published Date: September 28, 2014
Discovering the “invisible” Delhi

The eclectic intellectual scene in Washington never ceases to surprise me! Within days of my return after a prolonged visit to Dhaka, I received an unusual invitation -- a private book reading by Pakistani author Raza Rumi. Rumi's book, Delhi by heart, is a riveting account of the political, cultural and social history of India's capital. The narrative is part dialogue with knowledgeable residents and part research delving into the fascinating stories of the kings, royals, Sufi dervishes and...

Editorial

Published Date: September 28, 2014
Innovative way of cheating in exams!

That Bengali mind is highly innovative has been proved once again. But it was done for a bad purpose. Nowhere in the world perhaps has IT, particularly cell phones, been so imaginatively used than that we saw being done in admission tests of Dhaka and Jagannath universities on Friday. Not only were the question papers leaked out but in a matter of less than 15 minutes the answers were also supplied to the candidates who were roped in by...

Editorial

Published Date: September 28, 2014
City schools under illegal occupation

Out of the 295 government primary schools there are in the city, 54 have been lost to grabbers. Treating these as soft targets with little or no resistive power, government bodies, politically influential people and assorted vested interest groups have held them in partial or full possession for years, even decades. The unchallenged sinners have set up anything ranging from Ansar-VDP camp, community centre, slums, WASA installed pumps to kitchen markets, garages, mosques and Eidgahs. There is no question about the...