Fabio Capello-New England Coach

Team England’s search for its new manager has come to an end. The ball club made final the designation Friday of Italian coach Fabio Capello as its new manager for the next four years and a half. The Football Association’s management has approved Capello’s appointment, who will receive $9.37 million a year, will formally take charge of the team on Monday. Capello, 61, succeeds Steve McClaren, and would hopefully bring Team England to the finals unlike his predecessor.

He has signed in with England after marathon discussions with FA’s board of directors.

“I am delighted that Fabio Capello has agreed to become England manager,” said FA chief executive Brian Barwick in a report on BBC News.

Barwick said Capello’s expertise would enhance the team’s goal of playing world soccer champships. He said Capello will bring in an all-Italian four-man support team with him: assistants Franco Baldini and Italo Galbiati, goalkeeping coach Franco Tancredi and fitness coach Massimo Neri.

An English assistant coach is to be added to the staff but his complete identity has not been announced. Reports said with under-21 coach Stuart Pearce is one of the contenders for this role.

Capello will perform his first duties for the team on Monday, in a formal news conference, though he would start work officially on January 7.

The Associated Press said he will face off with team Switzerkand for an exhibition match, while the credited square off will begin August 2008. This would be England’s beginning bid to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Martyred Intellectuals’ Day

Martyred Intellectuals’ Day is for the memory of the martyred intellectuals of Bangladesh during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

On December 14, 1971, only two days before surrendering to the Indian military and the Mukhti Bahini forces, the Pakistan army, with the assistance of local Islamist leaders and groups that chose to ally themselves with the Pakistani military and most notably the Al-Badr and Al-Shams, systematically executed well over 200 of East Pakistan’s intellectuals and scholars. Professors, journalists, doctors, artists, engineers, and writers were rounded up in Dhaka, blindfolded, taken to torture cells in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Nakhalpara, Rajarbagh and other locations in different sections of the city and executed en masse, most notably at Rayerbazar and Mirpur. Several noted intellectuals who were killed between March 25 and December 16, 1971 in different parts of the country include Dr. G. C. Dev (Philosopher, Professor at DU), Dr. Munir Chowdhury (Litterateur, Dramatist, Professor at DU), Dr. Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury (Litterateur, Professor at DU), Dr. Anawar Pasha (Litterateur, Professor at DU), Dr. Fazle Rabbi (cardiologist), Dr. Alim Chowdhury (ophthalmologist), Shahidullah Kaisar (journalist), Nizamuddin Ahmed (Reporter), Selina Parvin (reporter), Altaf Mahmud (lyricist and musician), Dr. Hobibur Rahman (mathematician, Professor at RU), Dhiren Dutt (politician), R. P. Saha (philanthropist), Lt. Col. Moazzem Hossain (ex-soldier), Mamun Mahmood (Police Officer), and many others. They were killed by the Pakistan Army and/or their collaborators. Even after the official ending of the war on December 16 there were reports of firing from the armed Pakistani soldiers or their collaborators. In one such incident, notable film-maker Jahir Raihan was killed on January 30, 1972 in Mirpur, allegedly by the armed Beharis. In memory of the persons killed, December 14 is mourned in Bangladesh as Shaheed Buddhijibi Dibosh (“Day of the Martyred Intellectuals”).

The nation observes Martyred Intellectuals’ Day today even as it stands at a crossroads of history. For the people of Bangladesh, no sacrifice can be greater in dimension and more profound in substance than the dignified manner in which some of our best men and women were huddled to their death on the eve of the liberation of the country in December 1971. Indeed, the three million Bengalis who died at the hands of the Pakistan occupation army and its local collaborators in the nine months of a do or die war of liberation have left behind an uplifting message for those of us who survived, and for our children and their children: that freedom which comes at a huge price is freedom that needs constant sustenance and succour for it to continue playing its due role in the welfare of those who mean to benefit from it.

Noor Islam’s Horrors of cave days

Brac official Noor Islam, who had been abducted while working in Afghanistan three months back and released on December 7, returned home yesterday and told of horrifying experience of living in dark and fear in a cave.

“Most of the times my eyes were tied with a piece of cloth tightly and I was kept in a place which seemed to be a cave,” Noor told journalists upon his arrival at the Zia International Airport by a flight of Emirates at 10:40am.

Noor’s abductors released him on the night of December 7 and he returned home under an arrangement of the Brac Head Office in Dhaka.

Brac Director Ahmed Nazmul Hossain, Communications and Public Affairs Director M Anwarul Haq and Programme Coordinator Jalal Ahmed received him.

Noor Islam, 37, went to Afghanistan on December 7, 2004 and worked with Brac in a province until his abduction on September 15 this year.

Noor said he went to office around 10:00am on September 15 when their manager and accountant were out supervising field level activities. Then there were knocks on the door.

“As soon as I opened the door, I saw six armed men, four in police uniform. In local language they asked me to go out with them,” Noor said.

The armed men immediately tied Noor’s eyes and picked him up in a car and took to an unknown place. He would eat whatever the abductors gave him, mainly bread thrice a day.

Noor said, “I always prayed to Allah…I did not understand why they abducted me.”

After around three months, Noor heard them mention the word “khalash” in their conversations. At first, he could not catch the meaning of the word. But later, when they mentioned Bangladesh, he thought it was about his release.

“They then shifted me to a different place with my eyes tied and left me alone,” Noor said, adding that Afghan security personnel rescued him from there and gave him food and shelter that night.

“I was then handed over to Brac Country Director in Afghanistan Gunendra Roy. I stayed at his residence for a few days,” he said.

Noor thanked the media, saying, “Reporting in newspapers on my abduction has helped a lot for my release.”