Ivy's Poison

Ivy's Poison

The pictures on the front page of practically every major newspaper on Wednesday, January 17, conjure an ugly image of Bangladesh's political scene. Frenzied men with weapons attacking each other, their faces in grotesque contortions representing rage, venom, aggression. This would not be anything out of the ordinary given the current trends of streets looking like battlefields after clashes between opposing political groups or more realistically, between factions of the same political group. Wednesday's images, however, have taken our political image to an all-time low. They are of a woman city mayor, the first of her kind to hold such a position, being shielded by her followers from being attacked by a mob of men—supporters of an MP known for his mysterious and tenacious grasp over Narayanganj.

Despite all their attempts to protect her, Mayor Ivy was injured—a brick hit her leg and in the jostling she fell. Newspapers say around 50 were hurt though none of them can quantify the terror and despair of the people of this city who had to witness these disturbing, shameful scenes. For it is indeed shameful that a city's mayor would be attacked by members of the ruling party because she was trying to do her job.

The entire fiasco centred on the issue of eviction of hawkers from footpaths so that pedestrians could use them. Seems like a regular duty of a diligent mayor. But in Narayanganj, as anywhere else in the country, politics is far from being regular. As expected, when the eviction drive was announced, the hawkers, through their association, protested—where would they go after all?

The mayor was given a memorandum, she announced her decision to free the footpaths, the hawkers staged demonstrations, the city corporation announced a few designated areas where the hawkers could sell their ware till February 27 from 5pm to 9pm, a lawmaker gave a 24-hour ultimatum to revoke the eviction drive and give the footpaths back to the hawkers, and finally in a bizarre confrontation, the mayor and her supporters were attacked by the said lawmaker's men.

If you were a stranger to our special brand of politics, the first logical question would be: Why is this lawmaker interfering with the mayor's work? The second one would be: If the lawmaker was so concerned about the hawkers' wellbeing, couldn't he have had a discussion with the mayor and work out a solution? Thirdly, why did it all turn so violent with someone even brandishing his gun and allegedly firing shots into the air? Fourthly, and most importantly, why would a lawmaker's followers attack the city's mayor? Are they not on the same side—same government, same party?

These questions may seem quite straightforward and resulting from pure common sense. But this is Narayanganj we are talking about—Bangladesh's Gotham City where the Joker reigns with full impunity and Batman is a simply attired woman who has taken on the task of trying to fix a city that seems almost unfixable, being in the grip of one of the most powerful political families in Bangladesh's history. This is the place of the famous “seven-murder case” that involved members of the RAB as well as influential people connected to the political elite. is is where Tanwir Muhammad Taqi, the son of cultural activist Rafiur Rabbi of Narayanganj, was abducted and killed on March 6, 2013. Even after more than three years, the law enforcers have yet to find his killer(s) although Taqi's father has filed cases against certain individuals including the nephew of the lawmaker involved in Tuesday's incident.

But to be fair, having Selina Hayat Ivy as a mayor has been a sliver of hope for this Gotham of a city. Ivy, despite her formidable opponents, has endured, perhaps because of being from a political family—her father, Ali Ahmed Chunka, was a former Narayanganj municipal chairman and an AL leader—and definitely because of sheer grit and determination. 2011, she won the mayoral elections after beating Shamim Osman by one lakh votes. In 2016, despite efforts by MP Shamim Osman to exclude her from nomination from the panel, the prime minister picked her to be mayor.

Tuesday's unsavoury incident in which a mayor and her supporters were attacked by goons of a lawmaker, gives an indication of the obstacles she faces. According to Mayor Ivy, she had come to Chashara to tell people that the footpaths would be free for pedestrians to walk on, that the displaced hawkers would be rehabilitated in a proper building, honouring the prime minister's directive. According to news reports, when some of Ivy's supporters tried to evict some hawkers, an altercation erupted. She was then attacked by supporters of the lawmaker.

After the incident a probe committee has been engaged and both the mayor and the lawmaker have been summoned by the PM—no doubt to express her disappointment in two important leaders and favourites from her own party.

But even for the ordinary citizens who have witnessed all kinds of violence in the name of politics over the last few decades, the idea that a mayor—a woman politician who has braved the patriarchal system to attain the trust of the public and the support of the prime minister who happens to be a woman—can be physically attacked and blatantly intimidated by a lawmaker, is shocking. this is a preview of what is to come as we get closer to our national elections, there is little to feel optimistic about.


Aasha Mehreen Amin is Deputy Editor, Editorial and Opinion, The Daily Star.


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Fearless cricket Mashrafe's mantra

Fearless cricket Mashrafe's mantra

The hallmark of a professional is his ability to think positively and the words of Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza yesterday reflected that ideal ahead of today's tri-series clash between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

It was evident during the pre-match briefing that Mashrafe and Co. were well aware of the fact that they need to handle their emotions professionally in the face of all the chatter surrounding their former coach, Chandika Hathurusingha.

There is nothing wrong with the players being pumped up to prove their credentials against their recently-departed coach, but what Bangladesh's most successful ODI captain desires from his teammates is 'a brand of cricket which ensures freedom and a fearless approach'.

During a marathon press conference, Mashrafe repeatedly emphasised on the need to properly execute their plans and play disciplined cricket all through the match, just as they had against Zimbabwe in the tri-series opener.

We did everything right in the first match, now how we can execute our plan in the next match is most important. The way Bijoy [Anamul Haque] played the first match on his return to the team after a long break embodied exactly how we want to play; fearless cricket," opined Mashrafe.

Like a true professional, Mashrafe added that the team had put the Chandika issue behind well before the start of the series.

It's new for a team to face its last coach…actually we put behind the issue well before the series. Once he left we forgot his planning. We are coping with a new coach, so there is no scope to think about this issue," said Mashrafe.

The right-arm pacer also did not hesitate in having a slight jab at his former coach, saying: "Everywhere you face challenges. When Hathurusingha was in Bangladesh there was some kind of pressure on him and the challenge for him would have increased after the loss in South Africa. That challenge could have been interesting but he didn't stay, rather he chose Sri Lanka.

However Mashrafe showed his opponents due respect considering that they have players like Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, and added that the team had to be mentally prepared to handle any tough situations, such as the one Sri Lanka found themselves in against Zimbabwe.

Mashrafe, who was looking for a combined effort and consistency, has high hopes from his pace bowlers as he believes that their performance matters the most in Bangladesh's wins and informed that it was good news for him that Mustafizur Rahman provided evidence of returning to his old form.

Mashrafe has all but a settled unit, with two stalwarts in Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan getting off to a flyer in the new year, but he believes that Shakib's promotion to the number three position created an opportunity for young all-rounders to show their potential at the number eight position by scoring quick-fire runs.

We have a big space at the number seven-eight position after Shakib's promotion in the batting order and one will only be able to cope if he can be consistent at this position," said Mashrafe.

In the end, the Bangladesh captain gave the impression that the Tigers were confident of their plan to beat Chandika's Sri Lanka and just needed to execute accordingly in the middle today.

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Students' demo shuts Nilkhet

Students' demo shuts Nilkhet

Students of seven colleges took to the streets at 11:30 am yesterday, blocking the capital's Nilkhet intersection for more than two hours. This resulted in lot of suffering for commuters who were stuck in long tailbacks because of the demonstration.

The agitated students roped off the intersection, halting traffic movement for more than two hours, causing severe traffic congestion in the area.

They barred every vehicle and even pedestrians from crossing the intersection till noon. Some of the students sat in the middle of the road and chanted slogans.

Demonstrating students of the seven DU-affiliated colleges yesterday gave ultimatum to the university authorities for publishing their 2nd year final result by this month.

On information, DU VC Prof Akhtaruzzaman reached the spot at around 1:45pm and assured them of publishing the results by February 25.

Rejecting the vice-chancellor's assurances, the students of 2014-2015 sessions threatened to go for tougher movement from February if the authorities fail to publish the results by January.

The VC later said that they would take necessary measures to publish the result within the shortest possible time and if possible, they would do it by this month.

The students placed a five-points demand which included publication of the results of 2nd year final exam by this month, beginning the honours third year final examination by March, immediate publication of their academic calendar, immediately finishing final exams of all sessions, including the 2012-2013, one holding examinations of all sessions of degree courses and publication of their results within the shortest possible time.

Following further assurances by the DU VC, the students ended their demonstration with a threat to wage tougher movement from February if the authorities fail fulfil their promises.

We are calling off our protest upon assurance of the VC but we would go for tough movement if our demands are not met within the given timeframe,” Toufiq Mahmud, a third year student of Dhaka College 2014-15 session, told The Daily Star.

The second year final exam of 2014-2015 session was held on January 7, 2017 under the National University (NU). As the colleges gained affiliation with DU on February 17 last year, the university took their viva-voce and the responsibility of preparing and publishing their result now falls on them.

Earlier on November 25 of last year, the DU authorities published the honours final year result of 2011-2012 session after the students demonstrated for several times in the capital demanding its publication.

Yesteryday's protest follows other demonstrations by a section of Dhaka University (DU) students demanding scrapping of the affiliation with the seven colleges.

Leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League yet again barred some students from joining yesterday's movement, by threatening to evict them from the halls and harassing them verbally and physically.

As the two colleges-- Eden Mohila College and Dhaka College-- are nearest to where the demonstrations took place, their students played a key role in yesterday's demonstration and, thus, faced the brunt of the harassment.

BCL leaders of Eden Mohila College on Wednesday night directed the students not to join the protest citing instructions from the student body's top brass, said one of the victims, on condition of anonymity.

Some BCL leaders, including Joint Convener Tasleema, along with others, started hurling abusive words towards the protestors when they joined the protest defying the command, one of the assaulted female students alleged.

They also punched two female students, leaving one injured.

Contacted, Tasleema rejected the allegations saying that she only instructed the students to form the human chain peacefully without blocking the roads.

The BCL leaders of Dhaka College also tried to bar their fellow classmates from continuing the protest but later allowed it after failing to stop them, alleged one of the protestors from the college.

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Obesity multiplies risk of cancer disease, especially in women

Obesity multiplies risk of cancer disease, especially in women

New European research has found that being overweight or obese exponentially increases the chance of suffering from heart disease or cancer, with the risk even greater for women than men.

The findings come from the Spanish Risk Function of Coronary and Other Events (FRESCO) study led by researchers from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and doctors from Hospital del Mar, who analyzed 54,446 people over a 10-year period.

Participants were men and women aged 35 to 79, with 46. 5% of participants classed as overweight and 27. 8% classed as obese.

Only 26 percent of the participants were considered to be a normal weight, with a body mass index (BMI) below 25.

The team found that being obese posed the greatest health risks for women, who were five times more likely to suffer a cardiovascular disease, and 12 times more likely to develop cancer than women who were a normal weight.

Women who were classed as overweight but not obese still had twice the risk of heart disease and four times the risk of cancer than those who were normal weight.

Although obesity was found to double a man's likelihood of developing some type of cancer, unlike women it did not appear to have a significant influence on cardiovascular diseases.

proportional increase in the risk of adverse health events," with the team describing the results of the study as "concerning.

It is necessary to find strategies for promoting a healthy diet, doing physical activity, screening for diseases, and establishing prevention policies that affect the entire population in order to decrease the prevalence of obesity," commented Dr. Jaume Marrugat, principal investigator of the study. The improvements in cardiovascular risk factors achieved over the last 20 years are dramatically neutralized by the obesity epidemic.

The researchers added that even small weight reductions can bring huge health benefits. In a country where the average life expectancy is 80 for example, overweight people who lose 5 kilos in their 40s and do not put the weight back on can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 percent. Women would also benefit from a 20 percent reduction in the risk of cancer.

The World Health Organization estimates that obesity affects more than 650 million people across the globe, a number which has tripled since 1975.

As well as cardiovascular disease and cancer obesity is also linked to a variety of other health conditions including diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders.

The findings can be found published online in the journal Preventive Medicine.

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Tigers cross 250

Tigers cross 250

Bangladesh lose their fourth wicket as Mahmudullah Riyad falls. Mahmudullah c NLTC Perera b Pradeep 24 (23b 2x4 1x6) SR: 104.

43. Mushfiqur swivels well to run two and bring up his fifty in style.

The 44th and the 45th over has seen Bangladesh batsmenn Mushfiqur and Riyad looking to free their arms. Mushfiqur Rahim executed a tricky scoop off Pradeep's slower delivery on the 44th over before running two off the next delivery to reach 50. Mahmudullah hit de Silva over long-on for six as Bangladesh reached 277 for three with five overs remaining.

Bangladesh lose their third wicket as Shakib Al Hasan falls after scoring 67. Shakib Al Hasan c & b Gunaratne 67 (63b 7x4 0x6) SR: 106.

Shakib gets out of a nothing delivery as he slaps the ball straight into the hands of bowler Asela Gunaratne. Frustrating end to Shakib's innigs and Bangladesh would have loved to see him carry on. Mahmudullah Riyad is the new batsman at the crease.

Mushfiqur Rahim is going strongly at the other end as he is on 39 off 32 balls. He is in good form as was showcased by his magnificent six off Thisan Perera in the 36th over, where he danced down the wicket and slapped the bowler over mid-off for six.

Bringing Shakib up the order is paying dividends for the Tigers as he struck a 50 off 50 deliveries. Mushfiqur Rahim is batting on 15.

33. 4: Shakib drives it to mid-off and hurries for a quick single and that brought up his 36th ODI fifty. A run-a ball 50 from the all-rounder.

Bangladesh lose their second wicket as Sri Lanka make the crucial breakthrough. Tamim Iqbal c Dickwella b Dananjaya 84 (102b 7x4 2x6) SR: 82.

Tamim Iqbal falls trying to play Dananjaya without getting to the pitch of the ball. The feet did not move adequately and he adjusted by reaching out for the ball. Got the slightest of nicks and Sri Lanka make the crucial breakthrough. The Tamim-Shakib partnership stops at 99. They put on 99 off just 86 runs and Bangladesh innings as Bangladesh innings gained momentum. Mushfiqur Rahim is the new batsman at the crease.

Tamim Iqbal is really looking to assert dominance now that he has reached his fifty. He went after Gunaratne in the 24th over hitting the bowler for consecutive sixes to pick up 15 runs in that over. In the next over an overpitched Nuwan Pradeep delivery did not go unpunished as Tamim drove it handsomely through the covers for four. The opener is on 73 off 87 deliveries while Shakib  Al Hasan is batiing on  25 off 26 deliveries.

21. Tamim Iqbal knocks the ball to mid on to take a single and bring up his 40th ODI fifty off 72 balls. It is his second successive fifty in the tri-series.

Shakib Al Hasan comes in and along with Tamim Iqbal, carries forward the early impetus provided by Anamul to take the score past 100.

Anamul kept living dangerously as he remained positive but always providing a chance for breakthrough and he was finally gone trying to hook Thisara Perera in the 15th over. Anamul left after scoring 35 runs as Shakib Al Hasan joined Tamim Iqbal at the crease.

Bangladesh reach 50 without loss after 10 overs in their match against Sri Lanka in the third ODI of the tri-nation series.

It has been a shaky start for Anamul Haque as he struck a couple of boundaries but also got lucky when he was dropped in the very first over. He then hit Akila Dananjaya for six in the 10th over and in the very next ball a difficult stumping opportunity was missed.

Anamul survived again as Lakmal found the edge of hid bat in the seventh over. Ball went to slips again and just fell wide of the fielder and ran away for four. Tamim on the other hand is looking pretty solid out there as he drives Nuwan Pradeep through the covers for four.

Tamim has been watchful while Anamul has looked to play his shots after the first five overs of play. Anamul is lucky to be still there after he played away from his body and was dropped at first slip by Kusal Mendis in just the third delivery of the very first over bowled by Suranga Lakmal. Tamim Iqbal followed him with a similar shot in the very next ball. An eventful first over. Tamim and Anamul then played two lovely straight drives for four runs as they presented the full face of the bat in the second and the third over respectively.

Bangladesh have won the toss and elected to bat first against Sri Lanka in the third ODI of the tri-nation series.

Tigers are buoyed by their win against Zimbabwe on the opening game of the tri-nation however Zimbabwe came back strongly with a brilliant win against Sri Lanka in their second game.

Lankan skipper Angelo Matthews is ruled out through an hamstring injury and in his absence Dinesh Chandimal will lead the side. Bangladesh have picked Mohammad Saifuddin to replace Sunzamul Islam in a bid to further strengthen the pace attack.

Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal (wk & capt), Nuwan Pradeep, Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Wanindu Hasaranga, Niroshan Dickwella.

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2 detained with foreign currency at Dhaka airport

2 detained with foreign currency at Dhaka airport

Detainees Ariful Islam is resident of Mirpur while Shamim Dhali is resident of Mohammadpur in Dhaka.

When they were heading towards a Kuala Lumpur-bound flight, Customs Intelligence officials acting on a tip off challenged them, searched their bodies and found the currency hidden, said Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) Director General Moinul Khan.

Both of them often used to travel abroad, the official said.

A total of 128,500 Saudi riyals and 556 Malaysian ringgits were recovered from their possession. The foreign currencies were estimated at Tk 27,87,639, he said.

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IDN TAKE: The Baltic States: Gained Dependence

IDN TAKE: The Baltic States: Gained Dependence

by Adomas Abromaitis

Future of Europe is still uncertain. Though security is the real priority for all countries, each of them understands the process of achieving security by its own.

Lithuanian and Latvian authorities increased political activity and intensified preparing to NATO summit that will take place in Brussels in July 2018. It is

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Facebook won’t retreat from Stories as it adds desktop posting

Facebook Stories might feel redundant because 300 million people use its other Snapchat clones on Instagram and WhatsApp. But Facebook is convinced that the narrative, ephemeral, camera-first format is the future of sharing… and advertising.

So despite criticism and a slow start for traction, Facebook is doubling down on Stories by testing the

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Turo car-sharing marketplace launches in Germany

Turo car-sharing marketplace launches in Germany

Peer-to-peer car-sharing platform Turo is expanding to Germany officially, starting today, after acquiring last September Daimler’s Croove in-house product for providing essentially the same service. Turo also received a significant strategic investment from Daimler at the same time, as it acquired the automaker’s car-sharing experiment, and it now

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