February 2017

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Cricket: Smith joins elite 'five-in-five club'
OTHER NEWS

26 February 2017 Australia's superstar skipper Steve Smith had joined another exclusive group of batsmen following his brilliant hundred in the first Test against India in Pune.

Smith made 109 in the second innings to help set his team up for a crushing 333-run victory over the hosts, handing Australia a shock one-nil lead in the four-match series, reports cricket.com.au

It was his 18th Test hundred, of which just two have been scored in the second innings, while it was also his fifth century in consecutive matches against India.

The 27-year-old is just the fifth player in Test history to score five straight hundreds against the same opposition, joining an elite list of names: Sir Donald Bradman, Shoaib Mohammad, Neil Harvey and Jacques Kallis.

Smith hit a hundred in each match of the four-Test series against India in the home summer of 2014-15, captaining Australia for the first time in the absence of an injured Michael Clarke and stamping himself as one of the next great batsmen in the sport.

His average against India now stands at 88.83 from seven matches, with five hundreds and three fifties.

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WB hands over another duty-free vehicle
OTHER NEWS

26 February 2017 With a vow to support the ongoing investigation of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID), the World Bank has handed over another car, 11 days after the directorate sought information about 16 vehicles brought into the country duty-free.

READ more: WB hands in 2 duty-free vehicles

The WB's Dhaka office turned over the sedan -- Toyota Allion, 2006, -- to officials at CIID Kakrail office around 5:00pm on February 22, Moinul Khan, director general of CIID, told The Daily Star today.

With this, the WB has handed over three duty-free vehicles.

The WB voluntarily surrendered the car and expressed its commitment to extend all out support to the ongoing investigation conducted by the customs investigators, the CIID official said quoting a letter sent by Qimiao Fan, World Bank country director for Bangladesh.

Also READ: ILO returns duty-free car to customs

“We are fully cooperating and working closely with the National Board of Revenues (NBR) and Customs Intelligence & Investigation Directorate (CIID) to address the issue of some outstanding passbooks. We have taken steps to trace the status of all outstanding passbooks issued to World Bank staff, and the whereabouts of the vehicles bought under the passbooks,” Qimiao Fan said in a press statement today.

They have taken steps to trace the status of all outstanding passbooks issued to World Bank staff, and the whereabouts of the vehicles bought under the passbooks, the statement reads.

Information based on a primary investigation, the user of the sedan was Nihal Fernando, a senior rural development specialist of WB who left the country in December of 2010 but did not surrender it to the customs authorities, he said.

Fernando bought the vehicle free of duty under privileged persons' facility for personal use.

The customs authorities found irregularities in other vehicles in its primary investigation and will take legal measures against the matter with support of the WB, the CIID official said.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) in 2003 framed a rule that allowed foreigners, who work at the local offices of the WB, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank and other international development agencies, to import durables at zero duty.

The durables brought in under the facility must be listed on a passbook. The foreigners should return the passbooks to the NBR before leaving Bangladesh on expiry of their job tenure.

The foreign nationals can either choose to take back the durables with them or sell those to people with same status. However, the NBR must be informed about their choice of action.

The rule stipulates that if any privileged person flouts the rule, the head of the organisation concerned would be held responsible for it.

Following an investigation, the CIID on February 15 sent a letter to the WB's Dhaka office seeking information about the 16 duty-free vehicles.

On February 19, 2017, the ILO country office in Dhaka handed over a sedan, brought in Bangladesh duty-free, to CIID officials.

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Appointing SC judges: Legality of president’s power questioned

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OTHER NEWS

26 February 2017 The High Court today questioned the legality of president’s authority to appoint Supreme Court judges and to control the appointment and posting of lower court judges.

The court issued a ruling asking the authorities concerned of the government to explain in four weeks as to why the constitutional provision that empower the president to appoint the SC judges and to control appointment and the posting of lower court judges should not be declared illegal.

Secretaries to the cabinet division, the president and the law ministry have been made respondent to the rule.

The HC bench of Justice Kazi Rezaul Haque and Justice Mohammad Ullah came up with the rule following a writ petition filed by SC lawyer Advocate Eunus Ali Akond.

On November 3 last year, Advocate Eunus Ali Akond filed the writ petition with the HC challenging the legality of constitutional provisions that empowered the president to appoint SC judges and control the lower court judges.

READ ALSO: Constitutional provision on president appointing SC judges challenged in court

The advocate submitted the petition praying to the HC to declare Article 95 (1) and 116 of the charter unconstitutional.

Article 95 (1) of the constitution says, “The Chief Justice shall be appointed by the President, and the other Judges shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice.”

Article 116 says, “The control (including the power of posting, promotion and grant of leave) and discipline of persons employed in the judicial service and magistrates exercising judicial functions shall vest in the President and shall be exercised by him in consultation with the Supreme Court.”

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Death of Jihad: 3 railway engineers among 4 jailed for 10yrs
top news
26 February A Bangladesh court has convicted four persons, including railway officials of negligence causing death of a child, who fell into an abandoned deep tube-well in the capital.

In December 2014, a 4-year- old boy fell into a deep tube-well of the Bangladesh Railway in Dhaka in 2014.

Five railway engineers and the contractor, who had set up the well, had been charged of death due to negligence in the case started by the boy's father.

On Sunday, a Dhaka court gave its decision over the incident, which shook the nation.

Four railway officials and the contractor have been found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison each.

They are railway Senior Sub-Assistant Engineer Jahangir Alam, who was in charge of the project, the contractor Abdus Salam, Assistant Engineer Md Nasir Uddin and Electric Engineer Abu Zafar Ahmed Shaki.

They have been also slapped a fine of Tk 200,000 each, failing to pay which will cause another two years in jail.

The court acquitted assistant engineers Dipak Kumar Bhoumik and Md Saiful Islam as charges leveled against them have not been proven.

The verdict, by the court of Dhaka's Fifth Special Judge Md Akhaturazzam, observed that it was the convicts' negligence which caused the death of the boy.

In the afternoon of Dec 26 2014, 'Jihad' fell through the 14-inch opening of a pipe of deep tube-well of Bangladesh Railway, which was unsealed even after it was abandoned.

Rescuers had called off their search after 23 hours, but the locals refused to give up. They pulled out Jihad soon afterwards but the child was dead by then.

Doctors at the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital said he had died several hours before being taken to the hospital.

The boy's father, who filed the case, said on Sunday that he was not satisfied with verdict as two of the defendants have been acquitted and that he would move the High Court.

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Monday, 13 February 2017

Writ seeking cancellation of new EC rejected
top news

13 February 2017 The High Court today summarily rejected a writ petition filed challenging the legality of formation of the new Election Commission.

The bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice Mohammad Ullah passed the rejection order saying that the president has authority to form election commission with retired persons under the constitution.

Petitioner Eunus Ali Akond told The Daily Star that he would move an appeal before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court against the High Court rejection order.

Read More: SC lawyer files writ petition to cancel new EC

The writ petition was filed yesterday with the High Court seeking its orders upon the government to cancel the gazette notification on the formation of new EC.

Advocate Eunus Ali Akond, a Supreme Court lawyer, submitted the petition, also praying for a stay order on the oath taking programme of the chief election commissioner and other EC members.

In the petition, Akond said no retired person can be reappointed as per the Public Servants (Retirement) Act 1974. But the government has appointed retired persons as EC chief and members, violating the law.

President Abdul Hamid appointed former secretary KM Nurul Huda as chief election commissioner in line with a constitutional provision, according to a gazette notification issued on February 6.

The president also appointed four election commissioners.

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People welcome spring celebrating Pahela Falgun
ENTERTAINMENT

13 February 2017 Pahela Falgun, the first day of Spring in the Bengali month of Falgun, is being celebrated across the country today in a colourful way with young girls and boys joining various functions wearing dazzling dresses.

Falgun is the eleventh month in the Bengali calendar and the first month of the season, Spring, the king of all the six seasons that brings back warm sunshine, budding flowers and dancing of birds.

The first of Falgun is known as Pahela Falgun and usually falls on February 13 of the Gregorian calendar.

After the dryness of winter, new leaves start to come out again and the nature adorns the branches with new colorful flowers such as Shimul, Polash and Marigold.

Falgun brings joys and colours both in nature and life. Everything in nature gives an impression of youthfulness or freshness, as if the nature takes a new birth. The festival-loving Bangladeshi people welcome and celebrate this day with great joy, love and in a colourful manner.

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Islamabad HC bars Valentine's Day celebration in public spaces
OTHER NEWS

13 February 2017 The Islamabad High Court (IHC) today prohibited the celebration of Valentine's Day in public spaces and government offices across the country 'with immediate effect'.

A day before Valentine's Day, the Federal Ministry of Information, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the Islamabad High Commission have been told by Justice Shaukat Aziz, who was hearing the case, to submit their replies regarding the immediate execution of the court's orders.

Print and electronic media have also been warned to "stop all Valentine's Day promotions immediately", while Pemra has been ordered to monitor all mediums and send out notifications banning any related promotions.

The orders were given on a petition submitted by citizen Abdul Waheed, who maintained that promotions on mainstream and social media for Valentine's Day are "against Islamic teachings and should be banned immediately."

The petition had further called for a ban on the celebration of Valentine's Day in public places.

Every year, Valentine's Day draws a mixed response from Pakistani citizens, with some supporting and celebrating it, but a few protesting its observance.

In major cities, various restaurants, delivery services and bakeries come up with Valentine's Day promotions.

On the other hand, there are those who come up with anti-Valentine's campaigns, such as 'Haya Day' on university campuses and various 'Say no to Valentine's Day' campaigns throughout the country.

Last year, President Mamnoon Hussain had urged Pakistanis to forego celebrtating Valentine’s Day, saying that it was not a part of Muslim tradition, but of the West.

He had said, “Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided,” and added that the downsides of western culture had "adversely affected one of our neighbouring countries."

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Death penalty for flight operation bar
OTHER NEWS

13 February 2017 Bangladesh government today endorsed a draft law that proposes maximum death penalty for obstructing aircraft operation.

Alternatively, the offense can also result in life imprisonment and fine of Tk 5 crore, the cabinet decided in the weekly meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The law Civil Aviation Operation Act-2017 has been approved with an increase in both punishment and fine, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told reporters after the meeting.

The cabinet approved the law in principally in February last year.

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No red meat on menu today
OTHER NEWS

13 February 2017 For patrons of Mollah Hotel in Dhaka’s Gulisthan, the menu will have no spicy beef curry or beef khichuri today.

On the first day of the six-day strike called by meat traders in the capital, many hotel owners and customers are suffering as no cow has been slaughtered here since last night.

Meat traders went on the strike from today, demanding a stop to “excessive tax collection” by the lessee in the city's only permanent cattle market at Gabtoli.

Read More: No red meat for six days

Each day about 20 kilogrammes of meat is served at the Mollah Hotel, according to its owner Mohammad Moin.

Meat merchants in Dhaka to go for a six-day strike demanding “withdrawal of excessive tax imposed to them at Dhaka’s Gabtali”. Star file photo

Extra chicken was brought to compensate for the unavailability of red meat, Moin told our correspondent who was visiting some of the big kitchen markets and hotels in the city.

In Kaptan Bazar, one of the busiest kitchen markets in south Dhaka, gates were clasped shut at the slaughter house. Each day about 50 cows are slaughtered here, however today operations came to a stall owing to the strike, a representative of the Meat Traders, Mojibor, said.

Asgar Ali, owner of Asgar Enterprise, said despite having a valid license, the government taxes are not maintained if the cow is priced just over Tk 50,000.

Meanwhile, at super shops Meena Bazar and Shwapno, there is both beef and mutton on sale. The beef is priced at Tk460 per kg and mutton Tk690 per kg at Shwapno, while at Meena Bazar beef is Tk 465 per kg and mutton is Tk719 per kg.

Robiul Alam, secretary general of Bangladesh Meat Merchants' Association, claimed that the lessee of the Gabtoli Cattle Market is collecting tax from meat traders at rates meant for buyers other than the traders.

The traders have been paying between Tk 200 and Tk 5,000 in tax for each animal over the last nine months, and most of them could not make profit due to “excessive tax collection” by the lessee, he alleged.

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Govt can’t collect VAT form English medium school students: SC
OTHER NEWS

13 February 2017 The Supreme Court today ruled that the government cannot collect value added tax (VAT) from the students of English medium schools.

The apex court also extended its stay order on the High Court verdict that declared imposition of 7.5 percent VAT on tuition fees of English medium schools illegal.

READ ALSO: SC upholds HC order on VAT on private universities

A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order after hearing a leave to appeal petition filed by National Board of Revenue (NBR) seeking a stay on the HC verdict.

The SC allowed the government to move an appeal before this court against the HC, Deputy Attorney General SM Moniruzzaman told The Daily Star.

He also said the NBR has been collecting 7.5 percent VAT from the English medium schools not from their students.

Following a writ petition, the HC on December 12 last year declared the imposition of VAT on tuition fees of English medium schools illegal and directed the authorities concerned to stop collecting VAT from January this year.

The HC court delivered the verdict on the ground that VAT on English medium education is discriminatory since no VAT was imposed on fees of other institutions and such discrimination is a violation of Article-17 of the constitution.

ALSO READ: SC stays HC order against VAT on fees

Following a stay petition filed by the NBR, the SC on January 3 stayed the HC verdict also asked the NBR to file a leave to appeal petition with the SC by January 29 against the High Court judgment.

Advocate AM Aminuddin appeared for the writ petitioners.

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