Happy New Year!!!

Wishing you a very Happy and Successful New Year.

Video: Benazir Bhutto’s Final Moments of Assassination.

Click Bellow To See more videos related to this>>>
Continue reading

Broken pieces of stolen artefacts recovered.

(Original News From The Daily Star)

Investigators yesterday retrieved some broken pieces of the two stolen Vishnu statuettes from a dump on the city outskirts and the National Museum authorities confirmed that those belong to the 1,500-year-old relics.

So far, the law enforcers have managed to gather 27 pieces of the Gupta era idols–‘Vishnu’ and ‘Bust of Vishnu’–at Baliarpur of Aminbazar.

Of the fragments salvaged, 20 make up about 25% of the black terracotta statuette of Vishnu where the Hindu god stands with goddesses Saraswati and Laxmi on either side. The remainder pieces comprise a little over 10% of the bust, Swapan Kumar Biswas, acting keeper of the National Museum, told The Daily Star last evening.

Sub-inspector Monu Sohel Imtiaz, investigation officer of the case filed for the theft, said the retrieved pieces form 80% of the goddess portion and only a fraction of the hand [one hand was already missing] and legs of Lord Vishnu.

They make up upper part of the biscuit colour bust including most of its crown, he added.

The investigators, meanwhile, have yet to know the motive for the theft and destruction of the age-old objects that were stolen from the Zia International Airport (ZIA) last weekend. The two along with 143 others had been awaiting shipment to Paris for an exhibition at the Guimet Museum.

“We are now concentrating on further interrogation of the arrestees and efforts to hunt down Abbas,” Additional Director General of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Colonel Gulzar Uddin Ahmed told The Daily Star yesterday.

Earlier, a number of the arrestees have confessed to having a role in stealing the seventh century images and tearing those to shreds. They have named Abbas to be the mastermind.

The Rab official also said that the chips that have been recovered so far would be handed over to the investigation officer and used as evidence in trial.

Though they were confirmed to be of the stolen relics, if the authorities want, reconfirmation can be done. Besides, there could always be a scientific test in this regard, Swapan Kumar said.

He added that they identified the pieces primarily by matching them with photographs of the statues. In cases of those too tiny to match the photographs, they were depending on their experience.

“It would have felt great had the artefacts been recovered intact. It really hurts to see them smashed into pieces as they can neither be remade nor be restored to their previous condition,” said the stand-in keeper.

Captain Mahbubul Haider of Rab, one of those involved in the recovery drive, said “The pieces that are being retrieved are very small and I’m afraid we won’t be able to get back every part of the relics.”

Talking to The Daily Star, he also described the sequence of events leading to the retrieval.

He said as it took six days for them to obtain the confessions, the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) cleaners by that time had taken remains of the broken statuettes collected as garbage from Uttara to a vast 300-acre dump at Baliarpur.

Unable to trace the broken off parts in Uttara, the investigators contacted the DCC staff who had collected the garbage of December 22. With help of the DCC staffers, the law enforcers marked the area at Baliarpur where garbage from Uttara is usually dumped.

They began search through the trash spread over 200 by 200 yards Thursday but did not find anything that day.

They continued scavenging through the waste piled up over the days since disposal of the artefacts and at around 11:00am yesterday they struck the leg of Vishnu.

Most of the pieces were recovered late in the afternoon. Working throughout the day, some 200 Rab personnel and 25 DCC teams rounded up around 200 pieces. Later, two National Museum officials including Swapan Kumar identified 27 pieces as parts of the stolen idols.

Shafiqul Alam, the other member of the identification team, is a conservator (wood and paper).

Observers said instead of someone specialising in wood and paper, terracotta experts should have been involved in the job to ensure the identification is accurate and flawless.


A Rab official seeking anonymity said Abbas of the ‘Abbas-Nasir’ group, a ZIA-based gang accused of committing the theft, is known as a smuggler in Uttara. His passport seized by the law enforcers identifies him as a businessman.

The elite crime-buster added that Abbas, who has numerous allegations of smuggling against him, had travelled to many countries. Besides smuggling, his group has long been involved in stealing from the cargo terminal.

The Rab was raiding different places in the city and elsewhere to arrest six to seven members of the ring.

The motive for the heist could become clear once Abbas is captured, said a Rab official.

Pakistan: Benazir Bhutto Assassinated.

Today’s big story–and no doubt one of the biggest stories in a long, long time–is that Benazir Bhutto, opposition leader and former prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated this morning in a bombing that killed at least 20 other people. International leaders, including President Bush, are condemning the attack.


No one claimed responsibility for the killing. But suspicion was likely to fall on resurgent Islamic militants linked to al Qaida and the Taliban who hated Bhutto for her close ties to the Americans and support for the war on terrorism. A local Taliban leader reportedly threatened to greet Bhutto’s return to the country from exile in October with suicide bombings.

Bhutto had been campaigning for the parliamentary elections that are scheduled for January 8, but some are suggesting that those elections be postponed.

We’re still trying to track down any local gatherings, vigils, rallies, etc, so if you know of any events, let us know, please.

Bangladesh adviser quits over artefact theft.

The adviser to Bangladesh’s army-backed interim government for education and cultural affairs, Ayub Quadri, resigned on Wednesday amid an inquiry into the theft of two rare archaeological artefacts, his family and friends said.

They said Quadri tendered his resignation citing unexplained personal grounds but government officials said it was linked to the theft of two statues of Hindu Lord Vishnu on Saturday.

The antiques were lost while being boarded in a Paris-bound plane at the Dhaka airport, which was waiting to fly a consignment of antiques from Bangladesh for an exhibition at the Guimet museum in Paris.

Officials at the Dhaka National Museum said the Vishnu antiques were sculptured about 1,500 years ago and were among the rarest archaeological objects in Bnagladesh.

Quadri later told reporters he would share responsibility for the loss of the artefacts and might consider quitting his government post.

The first consignment of artefacts was already flown to Paris by a French aircraft before authorities stopped the second shipment following detection of the theft.

“The government has decided to regret to the Guimet Museum in Paris that it would not be possible to go ahead … as planned,” said a statement from the office of the head of the interim government on Tuesday.

The decision was made as opposition from art lovers and conservers against the shipment of the rare artefacts to France had intensified following theft of two Vishnu statues.

Police detained 15 suspects and were interrogating them.The art lovers had earlier protested against the shipment as they were worried artefacts might be stolen during shipment.

Shakira grieves with Sidr-hit children video.

El Clasico: Real Madrid beat Barcelona by 0-1 at Nou Camp.

Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to seven points with a 1-0 win over Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season at the Nou Camp on Sunday.

Julio Baptista’s goal towards the end of the first half was enough to earn victory for Real, who extended their unbeaten run to six games.

Lionel Messi was sidelined with a thigh injury but Barcelona still started strongly, looking to maintain their 100 per cent winning record at home.

Iker Casillas was needed to keep out a Samuel Eto’o shot, before quickly regaining his balance to prevent an Andres Iniesta goal.

Casillas made another brilliant save, this time from the below-par Ronaldinho, before Real hit Barca on the counter-attack.

Juilo Baptista fired the ball into the roof of the net on 36 minutes after a slick passing move between himself and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Frank Rijkaard’s side began to throw caution to the wind as the clock ticked down, but a well organised Madrid back four stood firm throughout the second half.

Although Thierry Henry was back from injury and sat on the bench, Rijkaard instead brought on 17-year-old sensation Bojan Krkic, who threatened at times and brought a good save out of Casillas.

But Barcelona could not break through and now face an uphill battle when La Liga resumes in the New Year.

2 Paris-bound statues stolen from ZIA

Amid tight security, two 1,500-year-old terracotta Vishnu statues bound for an exhibition in Paris were stolen while in the custody of Air France at the Zia International Airport (ZIA) Saturday.

Named ‘Vishnu’ and ‘Bust of Vishnu’, the statues are from Gupta era of the seventh century. Since being discovered in a dig at Mahasthangarh of Bogra, they had been kept at the National Museum.

Their insurance value totalled 45,000 euros that is equivalent to around Tk 45 lakh, sources at the cultural ministry said.

Despite protest from art connoisseurs, the government was sending the statues along with 143 other artefacts to the Guimet Museum in the French capital under a deed signed with France. In the first phase, it sent 42 relics on December 1.

Continue reading

Bangladesh beat New Zealand XI in Cyclone Sidr Relief Match

Bangladesh defeated a New Zealand Cricket (NZC) XI by four wickets in a day-night Twenty20 game in Hamilton to pick up their first win of the tour. After the Bangladeshi bowlers had restricted NZC XI to a modest 133, Farhad Reza’s 17-ball 31 propelled the visitors to a win with three overs to spare.

Sent in, NZC XI had a slow start reaching 19 for 2 in 5.3 overs. They were propped up by James Marshall and Scott Styris who added 39 for the fifth wicket. Marshall top scored with an unbeaten 33, which included one six and a four. For the Bangladeshis, opening bowler Shahadat Hossain took 3 for 15 off his four overs.

The visitors’ chase began poorly with the openers falling cheaply but the next five batsmen contributed with scores over 20 to ensure victory. Three run-outs had threatened to derail the Bangladeshis’ reply, but Reza and Mehrab Hossain jnr added 47 for the sixth wicket to ease their side’s concerns. Michael Mason was the most effective NZC XI bowler, conceding only 21 runs off his four overs.

After having lost two of their three previous games of the tour – with one match abandoned, the Bangladeshis will take some confidence from this win, which comes ahead of the first ODI against New Zealand on Wednesday.

The game was a charity match to help raise funds for people affected by Cyclone Sidr, which ripped through Bangladesh in November and killed more than 3000 people. The ICC also donated US$250,000 to the Bangladesh Relief Fund at the start of the match.


Continue reading

Shakira grieves with Sidr-hit children.

Renowned singer Shakira comforts 11-year-old Sidr-orphan Nipa hearing the child's ordeal during her Monday's visit to cyclone-hit areas in Patuakhali. Courtesy: Unicef

Renowned singer Shakira comforts 11-year-old Sidr-orphan Nipa hearing the child's ordeal during her Monday's visit to cyclone-hit areas in Patuakhali. Courtesy: Unicef

It is hard to imagine celebrities being emotional. Let alone global mega pop stars. But, when Colombian singer and songwriter Shakira sat in a Dhaka hotel visibly shaken from her visit to Sidr-hit areas, it is easy to understand why she was chosen as a Unicef goodwill ambassador.

Speaking to The Daily Star after returning from the daylong tour, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll passionately recalled her experience in the cyclone-hit areas, often pausing to sigh and reflect between sentences.

“She sang to me a song of grief. It was a beautiful song in Bengali…It said, ‘Mother, wherever you are, write to me’. I will never forget her voice,” Shakira recalled the moments she spent with Nipa, an 11-year-old girl left orphan by Sidr, in Patuakhali.

But, like so much of what she stands for, Shakira also found hope. “Amid all this calamity, sadness and grief, I saw kids playing, singing and smiling in this semi-destroyed school. It was like an oasis…of relief,” she said, speaking about Child Friendly Spaces, an institution where children traumatised by the deadly cyclone’s devastation spend their days playing and learning.

“This made me think more than ever that the world should focus on providing these safe spaces where the children can grow healthy up in places away from trouble, at least for a few hours,” she said, her eyes beaming with the audacity of such hope.

“Where children can be children, play and sing. It’s much more than learning, it’s a place where children can socialise and communicate with children,” she said.

“I loved hearing the kids say they dream about becoming doctors and nurses…They all had positive dreams. That’s what I want to leave Bangladesh knowing some of these kids will be given the opportunity to accomplish their dreams,” she said, wishing to see the results when she again visits Bangladesh.

Still coming to terms with what she had seen in the southern part of the country, Shakira said, “I was devastated to see that entire villages were wiped away. Everything they had was gone…that touched me. The loss of so many human lives…I will never forget the faces of the mothers who lost their children.

“Bangladesh and its people need attention, international attention from governments, NGOs and regular people as well,” she said.

The Unicef goodwill ambassador had already planned on visiting Bangladesh but brought the visit forward after seeing the damage caused by cyclone Sidr. As part of her wider plans, she visited a Unicef project in Rajshahi where “hard-to-reach-children” spend days in centres away from the streets.

Shakira has been working with children since she was 18 when she built a foundation called Pies Descalzos, meaning “bare feet” in Spanish.

The seeds of inspiration had been sown a decade earlier at the age of eight. Her father was bankrupt and her family just lost most of what they had.

Her father used to take her to a park in the more run-down part of the town, where she found kids sniffing glue and was shattered by the sight of their hardship. “From that point I decided I will do something to help them one day,” Shakira recalls.

“I always felt very committed to review the issues that children face, maybe because I grew up in a country like Colombia, where children face the same problems like children in Bangladesh and elsewhere,” she said.

“Children are the most vulnerable population in the world and at the same time they are our only hope for a safer world,” she said, adding, “We are all concerned about a better future and a more secure place for our children, our children’s children and for us.”

Any attempt to question that commitment is quickly foiled by a well-prepared, sharply honed answer when she was pressed on how she deals with the fact that in a few months she will be singing in a glitzy concert when the children here will still be struggling with their daily lives.

“I guess it’s using that spotlight that shines on me during that concert and moving it away from me to put on the issues that need that attention. This is what I can do in my own small way,” Shakira was unhesitant in her reply.

She feels this is a commitment to a broader movement, a collective call of the time and her generation.

“I’m sure my generation is not willing to tolerate any more of the brutalities in these countries. We are tired of it. In the next years, my generation will have the power and it’s not little. So, it’s a great power that we have to communicate and that’s why I’m part of the social issues,” she said passionately.

The 30-year-old feels that the passion is shared by others of her generation. “I can do things in a very small way in the community of young people who want to do something about all this. These little things make great changes.”