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Monday April 21,2003

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News Brief, Summary of more than 20 leading Bangla & English Dailies,

Source : News Garden

Thursday, April 24, 2003


 Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia yesterday  inaugurated the work or country’s 250-megawatt-capacity first-ever thermal power plant at Barapukuria under Parbatipur upazila of Dinajpur district. The power plant to be fuelled by newly mined coal is expected to go to production by 2005.

  Country’s first large-scale exposition of electronics and information technology begins today (Thursday) at Bangladesh China-Friendship Conference Centre, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the city.

 Twenty-four more bodies, trapped inside the overturned passenger launch MV Mitali 3, were recovered yesterday morning, pushing the death figures in Monday's tragic incident to 130.  Rescue vessels MV Hamza and MV Rustam, and divers of the Fire Service and Civil Defence and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA)  in a joint effort salvaged the 150-tonne Mitali-3 at about 8:15am yesterday. The Barisal-bound launch carrying nearly 400 passengers remained upside down since it caught up a storm and capsized near Pagla jetty Monday evening.

 Most of the 2,136 river vessels operate without fitness certificates and have passed the surveyor's test even with gross structural faults. MV Mitali-3 and MV Majlish, which sank in the Buriganga and the Meghna on Monday, had faulty designs. According to the government officials concerned, most of the launches were built at private dockyards in a very unscientific way without proper designing or supervision. Of the 2100 registered vessels, only 800 renewed their fitness certificates in 2002, reports Daily Star.

 The businesses yesterday welcomed the government decision to clear all export formalities within three hours instead of existing four to seven days. They however said the decision needs to be constantly followed up so that it can be implemented. The business leaders were speaking at a discussion on "Port Charges and Simplification of Customs Clearance Procedure" organised by Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in the city yesterday..

 Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman yesterday said banks are stuck up with huge bad loans due to insider lending. He said 75 per cent of total default loans are lying with the bank management and their relatives. "Sanctioning of loans is based on nepotism, not on proper assessment," he said while addressing a seminar on 'Implementation of Money Loan Act, 2003' in Dhaka.

 Accountability and transparency in public spending are totally absent, as a parliamentary public accounts committee is yet to be formed, according to a discussion meeting yesterday. The committee should have been formed on the first day of the House, since it is the only place where the government's overall financial accountability and transparency are discussed, said the speakers at a discussion meeting on Restructuring for Good Governance: National Budget 2003-04 was organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at the Hotel Sheraton.

 At least 12 people, including seven policemen, were injured in an explosion in the court police room at the deputy commissioner's office in Madaripur yesterday. The explosive material in gunny bag went off  when it was  taken there as evidence in a case, police said.

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The issue of illegal migration with India can be resolved by ending cross-border smuggling, said Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan at function in the city yesterday.  Condemning terrorists of all races and creeds, he also urged India as well as all political parties to refrain from doing politics with terrorism and to unite on handling the issue.

 President Pervez Musharraf has declared Pakistan's willingness for full dialogue with India on all issues, including Kashmir, state media reported Wednesday. "We are prepared to engage in a comprehensive dialogue with India on Kashmir and all other outstanding issues," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press of Pakistan, at a banquet for visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

 In reply, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that a dialogue could commence with Pakistan on all issues once it stops sponsoring cross-border infiltration and destroys terrorist infrastructure on its soil.

A thunderstorm swept through North East Indian State of  Assam on Tuesday, killing at least 34 people and injuring 300 others, police said on Wednesday.

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World trade is set to grow slightly in 2003 but could be hampered by the fall-out of the Iraqi war, the spread of SARS and the continued sluggish global economy, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said on Wednesday. WTO experts have projected, in their latest World Trade Figures report, two-to-three per cent growth for global trade in 2003.

 US President George W Bush said on Tuesday he has no current plan for another war and played down Shi'ite demands for an Islamic state in Iraq, according to excerpts of an interview. Increased US pressure on Syria since the toppling of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by US-led forces had fuelled speculation that Damascus could be the next target in Bush's campaign against nations he accuses of aiding terrorism.

 American forces claimed thay  captured four top officials of Saddam Hussein's former government Wednesday, including the air defense force commander and the former head of military intelligence in Iraq.

Oil from Iraq's southern fields began flowing through pipelines Wednesday for the first time since the war, and power at last was restored to parts of Baghdad. In the holy city of Karbala, thousands of Shiite Muslims demonstrated against the United States.

 US Secretary of State Colin Powell is warning France it faces consequences for trying to block the U.S.-led war with Iraq, and Bush administration officials are exploring ways to exclude France from some NATO meetings.

 US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Tuesday the United States would not be intimidated by a North Korea with nuclear weapons and could "do whatever might be required" to face such a threat. Powell made the remark in a television interview as US officials prepared to sit down with North Korean and Chinese officials in Beijing for talks on addressing North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

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Abahani Krira Chakra's hopes of regaining the title were laid to rest when the popular Dhanmondi outfit suffered a sensational collapse on the fourth and final day of their GrameenPhone Premier Super League clash against City Club at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday. Needing 63 runs to topple a modest City Club first innings total of 170, Abahani could add only 35 runs to their overnight score of 108-4 before being shot out in 38.1 overs.

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