80 hurt as Islamist protesters, cops clash in city
100 leaders and activists picked up
Islamist activists surrounded by teargas pelt brick chips at police (not seen in the photo) during a clash at the city's Nayapaltan on Friday. Photo: Anisur RahmanAt least 80 persons including six policemen were injured in a clash between police and activists of 12 like-minded Islamist parties in the capital on Friday.
Police also picked up over 100 activists during the chase and counter chase.
Witnesses said several hundred people under the banner of 12 like-minded Islamist parties bought out a procession from the north entrance of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque toward press club after Juma prayer.
As the procession reached Paltan intersection, police fired teargas shells from behind. Moments later, police fired teargas canisters from all directions, they said, adding the law enforcers also used rubber bullets and batons to bring the situation under control.
Protesters also hurled brickbats at the police and the clash spread to the adjacent areas, they said.
Khalilur Rahman Madani, joint secretary general of the 12 like-minded Islamist parties, told The Daily Star that they were holding a mass procession peacefully demanding withdrawal of cases filed against its supporters before and after the past hartal.
Claiming that a quarter is trying to damage communal harmony of the country, he demanded punishment to the miscreants behind Ramu incident.
About 100 people were injured in the incident, he claimed.
Anwar Hossain, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Motijheel Division), said 105 persons were detained in connection with the incident.
He said police used 70 rounds of teargas shell and 60 rounds rubber bullets.
Anwar said some of the protesters were carrying brickbats in pockets and bags. From the procession, they hurled brickbats to the police, forcing police to hit back
3 storm victims' bodies recovered in Noakhali
Hundreds of people still living under open sky in Bhola
A fertiliser-laden cargo capsized in Meghna river at Monpura of Bhola during a storm Thursday. Photo: STARThree more bodies of the Thursday storm victims were recovered in Noakhali Friday morning raising the toll to 15 in the district.
Of them, two bodies were recovered in Hatia upazila while the other in Subarnachar, reports our correspondent in Noakhali.
Mokter Hossain, officer in-charge of Hatiya police station, and Mosharram Hossain, officer in-charge of Char Jabber Police Station confirmed the deaths.
Meanwhile, 50 fishermen with 12 trawlers still remain missing after the storm in the district.
Sirajul Islam, the district deputy commissioner, has been visiting the affected areas till filing of this report at 2:30pm.
In Bhola, hundreds of men, women and children are living under open sky a day after a powerful storm lashed two upazilas of Bhola killing four people and destroying thatched houses early Thursday.
Around 30 fishermen of Monpura remained missing with their fishing trawlers until 2:30pm, Ohidul Islam, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Monpura, told The Daily Star.
Earlier in the morning, Mostafizur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Bhola, said about 400 fishermen of Monpura remained missing after the storm.
A team comprising deputy commissioner, local lawmaker Abdullah al Islam Jekab and former MP Najimuddin Alam visited Monpura to observe the storm’s aftermath. The team will also visit Charfession later in the day, reports our Bhola correspondent.
Fishermen and villagers alleged that the authorities did not warn the locals of the impending storm. They said that prior to the storm they neither heard any siren nor did they see any red flag, a mandatory warning system carried out by the local disaster preparedness officials prior to the storm.
Dilip Majumdar, upazila team leader of the Cyclone Preparedness Programme, told The Daily Star that at third category warning they are only supposed to warn people verbally. Majumdar kept mum when asked why the red flag was not hoisted in the areas.
The Monpura UNO claimed that the local Red Crescent also did not warn about the storm. It only said about a gloomy sky and moderate rainfall.
Meanwhile, the poor people who lost their thatched houses, were seen returning to their devastated homesteads after spending the night in cyclone shelters.
Barisal Divisional Commissioner Md Nurul Amin visited Charfession upazila and distributed one lakh taka among the victims, said Hashem Mahajon, chairman of Char Kukri Mukri.
Charfession locals also said they did not see any red flag prior to the storm, while Mokammel Hoque, upazila team leader of the Cyclone Preparedness Programme, said they had hoisted local cautionary signal number three as advised by the Meteorological Department in Dhaka.
Abdus Salam Hawlader, Dhalchar ghat committee secretary, however said the people of the area never thought that the storm would be so severe at cautionary warning number 3.
Five hundred and fifty houses were destroyed totally while 1,200 houses were partially damaged in Charfession.
At least 22 people were killed and dozens injured when powerful storms lashed several upazilas of Noakhali, Bhola, Chittagong and Feni districts early Thursday.
Of the victims, 12 died in Noakhali, six in Bhola and four others in Chittagong.
Rohingya, Jamaat men blamed for Ramu attack
Eminent columnist Syed Abul Moksud addresses a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity in the capital on Friday. Photo: Palash KhanLeaders of a citizens' body on Friday blamed Rohingya and Jamaat-e-Islami men for the mayhem in Ramu of Cox's Bazar on the night of September 29.
"Driven by the religious sentiments, BNP and Awami League supporters got involved in the attacks," said Rubayet Ferdous, a Dhaka University teacher and coordinator of the Nagarik Pratinidhi Dal.
They came up with the comments at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity following a two-day visit to the affected areas.
"Many of the attackers were later seen in the prime minister's rally which we witnessed in various media covering the prime minister's visit to the area," he said.
Eminent columnist Syed Abul Moksud said it is an acid test for the government to unearth the truth behind the incident to ensure communal harmony.
"We doubt that this truth will never come to light," he said.
He however hoped that the government would take necessary actions to prove his doubt wrong.
They also called for a judicial probe led by a retired Supreme Court Justice to investigate the incident.
They also announced a protest rally for October 19 in front of the Teachers Students Centre (TSC) of Dhaka University to protest the communal violence.
A mob destroyed 12 Buddhist temples and monasteries and more than 50 houses in Ramu upazila of Cox's Bazar September 29 midnight.
The violence was apparently triggered by a Facebook posting of a photo defaming th
2 more held over Ramu attacks
File photoPolice arrested two more people at Ramu upazila in Cox's Bazar in the wee hours of Friday for their alleged involvement in the recent attacks on Buddhist temples and houses.
The arrestees are Monjur Alam, 25, of Ramu and Hafez Ahmed, 35, of Ukhia, reports our correspondent in Chittagong.
They were nabbed on the basis of specific allegations against them, Gazi Md Shakhwat Hossain, acting officer-in-charge of Ramu Police Station, told The Daily Star.
With these two, the number of total arrestees in this connection stands at 102.
During the September 29 attacks, 12 monasteries and about 50 houses were torched or vandalised following the Facebook post of an anti-Islam photograph tagged to a Buddhist youth's account.
Japan, Korea pledge addl $60m for poorest countries
At a ministerial meeting on the margins of the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Tokyo, Secretary Geithner stated that the United States is prepared to contribute an additional $1 to GAFSP for every $2 contributed by other donors, up to a total US contribution of $475 million.
Japan and the Republic of Korea responded immediately, each pledging an additional $30 million, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation indicated its intent to double its commitment, according to a message received here from Tokyo on Friday.
The US will also include the pledges made earlier this year - from Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom - in this challenge, bringing total financial commitments to GAFSP to date to $1.3 billion.
“Today, the United States is demonstrating once again its commitment to lead the global fight against hunger and malnutrition,” Secretary Geithner said. “By investing in GAFSP, we will mobilise funding from a diverse range of sources and set into motion innovative programs that will help communities become more self-sufficient, farmers increase their productivity, and families climb out of poverty.”
International food prices have spiked three times in the last five years. Even before the major food price volatility that began in late 2007, hundreds of millions of people suffered from chronic hunger and malnutrition.
"The real tragedy of volatile food prices is that short-term price spikes have damaging long-term consequences for the world's poor and most vulnerable," said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
"A mother should not have to choose between feeding her children and sending them to school. Lasting solutions require sustained commitment, coordination and vigilance from the international community. These new commitments are critical to our efforts to end hunger.”
In response to high and volatile food prices, donors and developing countries are working together to increase agricultural productivity, improve food and nutrition security, and better connect farmers to markets so that they can sell their crops and increase their incomes.
“GAFSP is working in partnership with Liberia, and many other countries, to help us achieve our aspirations of a vibrant agricultural sector, healthier, better-fed children, and a dramatic decrease in poverty and hunger,” said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.
Biden comes out swinging at debate, clashes with Ryan
Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan and US Vice President Joe Biden (R) chat at the conclusion of the US vice presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky, October 11, 2012. Photo: ReutersUS Vice President Joe Biden leaped to the attack against Republican challenger Paul Ryan in a lively debate on Thursday, aggressively defending the administration's economic and foreign policies in a bid to regain momentum in the White House race.
Biden was looking for a Democratic rebound after President Barack Obama's poor debate performance last week. But the younger and less experienced Ryan held his own in a series of testy exchanges.
"With all due respect, that is a bunch of malarkey," Biden said when Ryan accused the White House of projecting an image of American weakness to the world.
First estimates of who prevailed at the debate in Kentucky were split. A CBS News survey of undecided voters showed Biden as the winner by a margin of 50 percent to 31 percent, while a CNN poll of debate watchers scored Ryan as the victor by 48 percent to 44 percent.
The vice presidential candidates in the November 6 election frequently interrupted each other, talking at the same time and sometimes staring at each other in disbelief.
Biden grinned and laughed sarcastically at times, dismissing the Wisconsin congressman's answers, displaying a demeanour that might turn off some independent voters. But he repeatedly provided the passion that Obama was criticized for lacking in last week's debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The race for the White House shifted in Romney's favour after that encounter in Denver and he has taken the lead in some national polls with less than four weeks before the election.
"Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don't keep interrupting each other," Ryan said at one point.
"Well, don't take all the four minutes then," Biden responded. He later added: "I don't know what world this guy's living in."
'COULD NOT BE PROUDER'
Obama, who watched the debate on Air Force One while returning from a campaign trip, jogged out to meet reporters after landing and praised his No. 2.
"I thought Joe Biden did terrific tonight. I could not be prouder of him. He made a very strong case," Obama said.
Biden repeatedly portrayed Ryan, the 42-year-old chairman of the House