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Sunday, June 15, 2003

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

Sunday, June 15, 2003


US Secretary of State Colin Powell will visit Dhaka on June 19 as part of a three-nation tour of Bangladesh, Cambodia and Jordan. According to a State Department press release issued yesterday, Colin Powell will meet Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia and other senior officials during his Dhaka visit.

Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman said yesterday that he has charted a middle course in his budget proposals between heavy taxation and excessive borrowing with a view to achieving the increased development needs with limited resources.

Awami League President and Opposition Leader in Parliament Sheikh Hasina has come down heavily on the new budget, accusing the BNP-Jamaat alliance government of protecting the interest of the rich at the cost of the poor. "By imposing tax and VAT on essentials, the alliance government has ignored the interest of the poor, she said, addressing party unit meeting in London yesterday. Sheikh Hasina is returning home from London this morning .

The Awami League (AL) yesterday came down heavily on the proposed budget for the fiscal 2003-2004, branding it an onslaught on the poor and against Islamic values. Senior leaders of the party said the ruling coalition committed to upholding Islamic values in polls pledges, but now continued to renege on the promises and did not hesitate to lower the prices of alcoholic drinks.

The proposed budget for fiscal 2003-04 followed "donors' prescription" instead of giving the much needed support to the "poor people's economy" to alleviate poverty, CPB leaders told a party discussion yesterday.

Former FBCCI President Abdul Awal Mintoo said that the proposed budget would help to further strengthen the macroeconomic stability. He also appreciated government's effort to expand the tax base by not creating burden on common people.

President of Bangladesh Chamber and Industry AK Azad said that the budget provided a complete roadmap of the future economic track of the country's economy. He urged the government to provide more incentives for the country exporters.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) yesterday in its reaction to the proposed budget for the fiscal 2003-04, said that the measure to increase domestic resource would raise the tax burden of the general people.

President of BKMEA President Monzurul Huq said that the budget proposed some significant steps to support the RMG sector. The move to reduce the income tax rate for the RMG industry was a laudable step, he noted. Jhum cultivation, the primitive mode of agriculture of the tribal people in the hilly region of Chittagong, is still continuing as there is little support to run their families despite an increase in their population. Government assistance hardly reaches the poor tribal people to meet their basic needs.

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Bangladesh-India Joint Monitoring Committee is meeting in New Delhi for the second day today to prepare a report on sharing the Ganges waters . Bangladesh experts said that in January Bangladesh received less water which improved later during the dry months.

Anti-child labor activists on Thursday urged the Indian government to ratify an international convention and free millions of children belonging to the so-called "untouchable" castes working as forced labor. On World Day Against Child Labor, the Global March Against Child Labor - an organization linking 144 nations - is focusing on the plight of Dalit (untouchable) children, who form the bulk of the child labor force in India.

Nepal's new Prime Minister, Surya Bahadur Thapa, has suggested he may be ready to reinstate the dissolved parliament. Newspapers quote Mr Thapa as saying he is open for talks with the opposition parties about the matter, which was a key opposition demand. Five of the six parties in the dissolved parliament have been engaged in anti-government protests over such a demand. On Tuesday, Thapa formed his cabinet, naming six ministers from his own party.

In a major breakthrough, the Punjab administration on Friday persuaded 112 devotees, who had locked themselves inside the contentious shrine here on Thursday and threatened self-immolation to give up their protest.

A Criminal Investigation Department team of Ahmedabad state police seized, on Friday, the Mercedes car gifted by Ahmedabad-based scamster, Zahir Rana, to former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev from the latter's Delhi residence.

The super-7 fighter aircraft- result of biggest-ever Sino-Pak joint venture will undergo its test flight within next couple of months. The single-seat, turbofan engine-powered fighter will go into volume
production once tests have been successfully carried out. "The Super-7 aims to gradually replace the F-7, MiG-21 and Q-5 series aircraft that are currently in service in both China and some developing countries, The Dawn reports.
President Pervez Musharraf has said he was optimistic Pakistan and India would be able to work out a peaceful solution to the long running dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, reports said. “We are and will remain optimistic about achieving a negotiated settlement to the dispute," he said in an interview to Saudi daily Okaz

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Australian Prime Minister John Howard ordered inquiries yesterday into why Australia has granted asylum to a former Bangladeshi prime minister, Kazi Zafar Ahmed,  convicted of stealing from his
impoverished people, reports a Sydney daily, The Sydney Morning Herald.

After four airborne attacks by the Israeli military in three days, the Hamas militant group ordered an all-out assault on Israel and urged foreigners to leave. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pressed a "war on terror" while ridiculing the new Palestinian government.

Saddam Hussein has called on foreigners to leave Iraq and threatened attacks in countries with troops occupying his former state, according to a letter he purportedly faxed to an Arabic newspaper Friday.

Fires blazed on the oil pipeline from Iraq's northern oilfields today after what residents said were twin bomb attacks targeting exports through Turkey.

US troops killed 27 Iraqis who ambushed a tank patrol yesterday, after killing at least 70 at a guerrilla camp the day before, in the bloodiest clashes since President Bush declared major combat over.

At least two people have died and 26 others injured, after Cambodian police opened fire on hundreds of protesting garment workers in the capital, Phnom Penh. Security in Phnom Penh has been tightened in preparation for a meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) next week, when foreign ministers from more than 20 countries will convene in the capital.

Nasa is launching the first of a new generation of robots destined to search for water on Mars. The US space agency is making use of the neighbouring planet's close approach to Earth this month to send two space craft to the Red Planet.

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A day after announcing the national cricket team for the tour of Australia, chief selector Aliul Islam submitted his resignation. "I quit for the sake of the game in the country. And also to show respect to the inquiry report into the Bangladesh's World Cup debacle.

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