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International Crimes TribunalDhaka, 23 February, Bonikbarta : The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 got a new chairman today as the government appointed Justice M. Enayetur Rahim to the post that remained vacant since January 1, 2014. A circular to this effect was issued by the Ministry of Law, Mizanur Rahman, senior public relations officer of the ministry, told BSS.

Justice Rahim obtained M.A degree in Mass Communication and Journalism and then LL.B, according to his profile details available on the website of the Supreme Court. He was enrolled as an advocate of district court, the High Court Division and the Appellate Division of Bangladesh Supreme Court on November 30, 1986, January 2, 1989 and May 15, 2002, respectively.

Justice Rahim was elevated as an additional judge of the High Court Division on June 30, 2009 and appointed a judge of the same division on June 6, 2011. He participated in international seminars held in Hong Kong in 2006 and in Egypt in 2009. Justice Rahim visited India, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

 

 

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AssadDhaka, 23 February, Bonikbarta : The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution yesterday calling for humanitarian aid convoys to be allowed access across war-torn Syria, but diplomats immediately voiced doubt about its effectiveness. Syria’s staunch ally Russia, with support from China, had blocked three previous resolutions aimed at pressuring the Damascus regime since the crisis began in March 2011, with an estimated half of all Syrians urgently awaiting immediate help.

But Moscow and Beijing, two of the five permanent Security Council members, did not do so this time, sending a strong message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose administration is accused of serious rights violations in attempting to cling on to power from rebels. It will not, however, trigger automatic sanctions against Syria if it fails to comply.

The resolution, which also criticizes the dropping of barrel bombs by government aircraft, was drafted by Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg and had the backing of Britain, France and the United States, the other permanent Security Council members. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the move, but said the resolution should not have been necessary.

Humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated; it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law, he said. Profoundly shocking to me is that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war. Some 200,000 people are under siege in government-controlled areas — and 45,000 in opposition-controlled areas, he added.

The text of the resolution, which was the subject of fierce negotiations between Moscow and the West and condemns terror attacks in Syria, calls for all parties to immediately lift the sieges of populated areas… and other locations. It demands that all parties, in particular the Syrian

authorities, promptly allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, including across conflict lines and across borders, in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people in need through the most direct routes.

Ban added: If this resolution is implemented quickly and in good faith, at least some of the suffering can be eased. The humanitarian situation in Syria, where more than 140,000 people have been killed in the nearly three-year war and millions more forced to flee their homes, continues to deteriorate, he said. US Secretary of State John Kerry said the resolution was overdue and that, if fully implemented, would save lives.

After three years of slaughter and savagery, people rightfully will question whether progress is possible, but this resolution holds the promise of something real, he said.

 

— Doubts persist —

 

However, some diplomats doubt the effectiveness of the resolution in the absence of automatic sanctions should Damascus refuse to let aid convoys have access to all areas, including those hardest-hit. Half the country’s people need urgent assistance. Host countries need support in caring for more than 2.5 million refugees, said Ban.

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict. They are the daily victims of brutal violence and indiscriminate attacks, including the use of heavy weapons, aerial bombings, mortars and car bombs in population areas. He added: There are continued reports of massacres and atrocities throughout the country. Women and girls have been subjected to sexual and gender-based violence.

Syrian government and allied militias have been responsible for countless killings, disappearances, the horrendous use of barrel bombs and torture on a massive scale. Western members of the Security Council have been mulling a humanitarian resolution for a year. After months of difficult talks, the council adopted a non-binding statement on October 2 urging more access to aid, but that statement produced little except administrative progress.

Moscow’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Russian haggling had resulted in a resolution of a balanced nature, while stressing that there is no automaticity in taking sanctions. His US counterpart Samantha Power called it a long overdue and necessary step. This resolution is important because it contains clear demands for specific and concrete actions and there is a commitment to act in the event of non compliance… it remains to be seen whether our action today will have the beneficial results we intend, she said.

The move was also cautiously welcomed in London and Paris. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement: Our priority now is the full and immediate implementation of the resolution. In Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also said the world would be watching the Damascus regime closely. The Security Council requests must be followed up. The resolution provides for a monitoring mechanism to ensure this, and the adoption of additional measures if no significant improvement is observed measures, he said.

 

Sun-02/International/Desk

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Photo8185Dhaka, 23 February, Bonikbarta : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today opened the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium here fulfilling the long-cherished demand of the people of the tourist town. She inaugurated the stadium by unveiling its plaque here this afternoon, while munajat was offered seeking continued peace, progress and prosperity of the nation.

The world-class stadium with a capacity of one lakh spectators is being built on 49 acres of land beside the world’s largest sea beach in the tourist town. Apart from the main ground, there will be a practice ground at the stadium, named after Sheikh Kamal, eldest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and founder of Abahani Krira Chakra, a leading sports club of the country. A total of Taka 23 crore has been spent so far for constructing a modern pavilion, erecting boundary wall and development of the ground, officials said adding gallery will be built and floodlight will be installed at the stadium later.

The stadium being built on the land adjacent to Cox’s Bazar Parjatan Golf Course will be one of the beautiful stadiums of the world with green surroundings. The Prime Minister also opened the Cox’s Bazar International University by unveiling its plaque. Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, State Minister for Youth and Sports Biren Sikdar, Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports Arif Khan Joy, Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hasan Papon, MP, PM’s Principal Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder and Special Assistant Mahbubul Hoque Shakil, national cricketer Mominul Islam and local lawmakers and AL leaders were present on the occasion.

 

 

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MALAYSIADhaka, 14 February, Bonikbarta : Malaysian Islamic authorities took their annual swipe at Valentine’s Day Friday, calling it a threat to Muslim values, but 138 couples took part in a mass wedding to mark the date. In its official Friday sermon text distributed to mosques in the Muslim- majority country, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department blamed Valentine’s Day for everything from alcoholism to abortion.

‘Social ceremonies such as this are a stepping-stone towards greater social ills such as fraud, mental disorder caused by alcohol, abortion and baby- dumping, and other negative ills that can invite disaster and moral decay among youths,’ it said. Known by its Malay-language acronym JAKIM, the department is an official watchdog of Muslim values. It regularly denounces Valentine’s Day as encouraging vice and promiscuity. More than 60 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people are Muslim ethnic Malays.

However, members of the large Chinese minority celebrated the day with a mass wedding of 138 couples. The lovers tied the knot at the Thean Hou temple in the capital Kuala Lumpur, releasing scores of red, heart-shaped balloons after the ceremony. Another 70 couples were to wed in the afternoon in individual ceremonies, an official at the Confucian temple said.

‘We’re doing it specially for this year as only once in 19 years does Valentine’s Day coincide with Chap Goh Mei,’ the official said. Chap Goh Mei is the term used in Malaysia for the annual Chinese Lantern Festival. The temple has staged mass weddings before on dates deemed auspicious. More than 500 couples wed at the temple on September 9, 2009.

The number 9 in Chinese is a homophone for a word meaning ‘forever’. The date was seen to signify long-lasting unions. Muslim conservatives in multi-faith Malaysia have become increasingly outspoken in recent years against perceived threats to Islamic values, challenging the country’s moderate Muslim image. In 2011, authorities arrested nearly 100 Muslims in a crackdown on Valentine’s Day.

They were detained for ‘khalwat’, or ‘close proximity’, the crime of being alone with a member of the opposite sex other than one’s spouse or close relative. It can bring up to two years in jail upon conviction in Islamic sharia courts that handle religious and moral offences by Muslims.

Concerts by a number of major Western musical artists have also been scrapped over the years after Muslims complained they could encourage immoral behaviour. Muslim authorities in the central state of Selangor this week launched a campaign to distribute thousands of leaflets to youths warning against celebrating Valentine’s Day, reports said.

 

Fri-02/International/Desk

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abul-muhitDhaka, 14 February, Bonikbarta : Finance Minister AMA Muhith today said the size of the national budget for the next fiscal (2014-15) is likely to be around Taka 2.5 trillion and his ministry would soon begin pre-budget consultations with cross-section of people.

‘The size of the upcoming budget may be around Taka 2.5 trillion and we will soon start pre-budget consultations soon,’ said the finance minister while talking to reporters after inaugurating the 28-megawatt Shahjahan Ullah Power Plant at Kumargaon in Sylhet.

He said that the government has been successful in boosting power generation that has helped minimize load-shedding to a large extent. Total power generation capacity was only 3000mw when the last grand alliance government took over in 2009, he said, adding that the grand alliance government attached priority to the sector and increased the power production to 7,000mw.Power production will cross 10,000MW soon, he added.

Muhith said another 20mw Power Plant will be constructed in Sylhet soon. The finance minister criticized the US for its observation about the January 5 national polls of Bangladesh and said the US was committing a mistake at the instigation of BNP. The UK was also committing similar mistake, he said, and added that the US and the UK should keep it in mind that the present government is a legal government elected by the people. ‘There is no scope for holding a mid-term poll,’ Muhith added.

He said the tenure of the government is five-year and it has been taking various development programmes for implementation within this period. Even that, the government has invited BNP for a dialogue, he said, adding but BNP would have to desert its demand for restoration of caretaker government if it wants to join dialogue.

Chairman of Shahjahan Ullah Power Plant Ataul Haq Saker chaired the programme while VC of Shahjalal Science and Technology University Aminul Haq Bhuiyan, Member of Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) Engineer SK Nurul Afsar and Sadar Upazila Chairman Ashfaq Ahmed also spoke.

 

 

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FDhaka, 14 February, Bonikbarta : Speakers at separate discussions here have stressed for further flourishing and enriching of our own Bengali culture in building the long- cherished happy, peaceful, prosperous and non-communal Sonar Bangla.

They were addressing the discussions organised on Thursday by different socio-cultural organizations and educational institutions marking the traditional Basanta Utsab to welcome the first day of Falgun, the 11th month of Bengali Year, in the city.

In this respect, they called for bringing forth the past glories of Bengali culture to build the middle income digital Bangladesh as envisioned by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the footing of Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Students, both male and female, wearing traditional Pajama- Panjabi and red-bordered yellow saree gathered at central Shaheed Minar to welcome the Pahela Falgun by singing Tagore’s ‘Ajee Ae Basante, Kato Ful Fote….’ or reciting ‘Ajee Basanto Jagrata Dware…..’

District Shilpakola Academy, Rangpur Sahittya Sangskritik Parishad, Chandosik Sahittya Sangskritik Gosthi, Sound Touch, Sammilito Sangskritik Jote and many other cultural organizations chalked out elaborate daylong programmes to welcome Basanta.

The programmes included colourful rallies in the morning, recitation of spring poems, musical soiree, drawing and dance competitions and discussion highlighting Nazrul’s famous romantic song ‘Ashe Basanta Fulabone, Shaje Banobhumi Sundari.’

The central Shaheed Minar area at Public Library premises,Surovi Uddyan, Begum Rokeya University and some other parts of the city wore festive looks, featured mainly by recitation of Basanta poems, songs and dances throughout the day. Deputy Commissioner Farid Ahammad presided over the main discussion meeting organised by District Shilpakola Academy at its auditorium in the city. Wife of the Deputy Commissioner and President of District Mohila Krira Sangstha & Rangpur Ladies Club Farhana Yasmin Farid attended and addressed the discussion as the chief guest.

Dance Trainer of Bangladesh Shilpakola Academy Tabassum Ahmed, General Secretary of District Shilpakola Academy Tauhidur Rahman Tutul, noted cultural personalities Siraj Uddin, Monwar Hossain, Razzaque Murad, Moksudar Rahman Mukul, SM Arif, Mahmuda Akhter Neela, Sirajul Islam Siraj and Lovely Begum, addressed as the special guests. The discussion meeting was followed by a colourful cultural evening.

 

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SportsDhaka, 12 February, Bonikbarta : Fourth-tier Cannes played the role of giant-killers once again on Tuesday as they dumped out Ligue 1 side Montpellier 1-0 in the last 16 of the French Cup, while Lille staved off an upset after outlasting Caen on penalties. Cannes, who are toiling away in the amateur ranks having been in the top flight less than two decades ago, had already seen off Saint-Etienne in the previous round before claiming the scalp of Rolland Courbis’ revitalised Montpellier.

A goalless 90 minutes on the French Riviera was overshadowed by unrest in the away supporters’ section, to which the police responded by firing tear gas into the area occupied by Montpellier fans to restore calm. Extra time was needed at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin and Mbaye Niang, on as a substitute, having started on the bench after a brush with the law last week, missed a glorious chance to put Montpellier ahead on 102 minutes when he struck his penalty kick against the base of the post.

That miss was to prove extremely costly as Cannes countered on the break in the dying stages before Belkacem Zobiri drilled home a dramatic winner in the 119th minute to seal a place in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, 2011 winners Lille were forced to stage a furious fightback at home to second division Caen before outlasting their opponents in a shootout to reach the last eight of the competition.

Rene Girard’s side appeared on course to be added to the growing exodus of eliminated Ligue 1 outfits, a list that already included favourites Paris Saint- Germain, after falling 2-0 behind inside the opening half hour. An error from reserve Lille goalkeeper Steeve Elana was pounced on by Fode Koita who put Caen in front at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on 14 minutes.

Koita struck again on 29 minutes to double the visitors’ lead before Ronny Rodelin pulled a goal back for Rene Girard’s side shortly after. Lille’s sustained pressure in the second half finally told as they were rewarded with an equaliser on 76 minutes when Jonathan Delaplace reacted quickest to slot home the rebound after Divock Origi’s long-range effort smacked against the post.

Nolan Roux then looked to have won it for the hosts as he fired them ahead with just seven minutes remaining only for Rodelin to nod the ball past his own keeper deep into stoppage time, prompting an additional 30 minutes, and eventually, penalties. In the shootout the first 11 spot-kicks were dispatched successfully before Caen’s Mathias Autret, needing to score to keep his side alive, skied his effort over the crossbar. On Wednesday, Monaco make the short trip to Cote d’Azur rivals Nice, while 2012 Cup winners Lyon are at home to Ligue 2 side Lens on Thursday.

 

 

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OECDDhaka, 12 February, Bonikbarta : Chronic unemployment across advanced democracies edged down again in December, but there were wide differences and the rate in the eurozone remained far above the average, the OECD said yesterday. The average rate in the 34-member OECD area was 7.6 percent of the workforce which meant that 46.2 million people were registered as available for, but without, work.

The total of people unemployed is 11.5 million, more than when the financial crisis began in the middle of 2008, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its monthly unemployment bulletin.

The OECD rate edged down by 0.1 percentage points, in the third monthly fall in a row, in December. Japan showed a low rate of 3.7 percent with a reduction of 0.3 points, and in the United States it fell by three points to 6.7 percent. But in the eurozone, which had 17 members in December, the rate was stuck at the same level as in November, at 12.0 percent. But here, too, there were wide differences.

The rate in France was stable at 10.8 percent, and in Germany at half that level at 5.1 percent. In Spain, with a rate of 25.8 percent, there was an improvement of 0.3 percentage points. In Ireland, emerging from a bailout, the rate fell by 0.2 points to 12.1 percent. Italy achieved a reduction of 0.1 points to 12.7 percent. In the Slovak Republic it fell by 0.2 points to 13.8 percent. In Poland, outside the eurozone in what analysts call emerging Europe, the rate fell from 10.2 to 10.1 percent.

Referring to a particular issues of concern for policymakers, the problem of lost-generation unemployment among young people, the OECD said that the average rate in its overall area eased by 0.1 points to 15.5 percent in the month, and by a full percentage point on a 12-month comparison.

However, the youth unemployment rate remains very high in several euro area countries, in particular in Greece, at 59.2 percent in October, the latest month available, Spain at 54.3 percent, Italy at 41.6 percent, Portugal at 36.3 percent and the Slovak Republic at 32.6 percent, it said.

 

Wed-01/Economics/Desk

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S.koreanDhaka, 12 February, Bonikbarta : With Seoul-Tokyo relations at their lowest ebb for years, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is as unpopular with South Koreans as North Korean leader Kim Jong- Un, a new survey said Wednesday. Following Abe’s visit to a controversial war shrine in December, his already low favorability rating in South Korea declined to 1.0 on a 10-point scale, according to the poll carried out by the Asan Institute think-tank in Seoul said.

This is the same favourability rating found for Kim Jong- Un, the institute said. Nevertheless, half of the Korean public said they supported the idea of a South Korea-Japan summit and nearly 60 percent wanted President Park Geun-Hye to take a proactive role in improving ties.

Park has ruled out a summit with Abe until Tokyo demonstrates sincere repentance for past wrongdoings. But she has held out the prospect of an eventual summit with Kim Jong-Un, despite the fact that North and South Korea remain technically at war. Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean peninsula remains a hugely emotive issue in South Korea, which feels successive Japanese governments have failed to apologise properly or atone for abuses committed during the period.

Japanese politicians express exasperation at the repeated requests for contrition, pointing to numerous apologies and a 1965 agreement that normalised relations and included a large payment to Seoul. Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine, which commemorates around 2.5 million Japanese war dead including several high-level war criminals, was condemned by South Korea and China.

The Asian survey showed half of South Koreans identify an ongoing territorial dispute with Tokyo over a tiny set of islets as the main obstacle to improved relations. The Dokdo islands — known as Takeshima in Japan — are controlled by South Korea, which sees Japan’s rival claim as an example of its refusal to shed its imperialist past.

 

Wed-01/International/Desk

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JournalistDhaka, 12 February, Bonikbarta : Pakistan remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its annual report released Wednesday, with the restive province of Baluchistan a hotspot for violence. Seven reporters were killed in the line of duty in 2013, the report said, blaming the government’s unwillingness to administer justice. By comparison, ten journalists were killed in Syria, eight in the Philippines and seven in Somalia.

Placing Pakistan as the 158th country out of 180 on its Press Freedom Index, the report noted: The government appears powerless in the Taliban… and the military establishment, which is known as a ‘state within a state’ among many international observers. Four of the deaths occurred in Baluchistan in southwestern Pakistan, which is wracked by Islamist violence and a long- running ethnic separatist insurgency.

Cameraman Imran Shaikh and his colleague Saif ur Rehman were among those killed after rushing to cover a bomb which hit the provincial capital of Quetta in January 2013. Both men died after being hit by a second blast that occurred ten minutes after the first.

Shaikh’s widow, Shazia Bano, told media the family lived in constant threat, but he continued his work regardless. He was not scared and used to say that it is our job and we have to do it… I used to force him to quit his job as journalist but he replied, what I should do if I quit?

While Shaikh and Rehman were caught up in militant violence, other journalists fall victim to the powerful interests linked to the government or intelligence agencies. Riaz Baloch, another Baluch journalist who published a story about a pro- government figure linked to a car theft operation, told media he was kidnapped, tortured, and detained for nearly 60 days.

They took me to mountains… where I was subjected to severe torture and I was asked … why I published the news. Pakistan’s constitution theoretically protects freedom of speech, and the media is seen as having taken great strides in recent years. But certain subjects, particularly criticism concerning the all-powerful army and spy agencies, remain taboo. Last year Pakistan was placed 159 out of 179 countries in the index, with nine journalists killed.