Dhaka gets tough with Islamists on 40th Victory Day

A top opposition leader was held on murder charge and a court rejected a petition of the chief of the largest Islamist party as Bangladesh celebrated its 40th Bijoy Divas, marking its separation from Pakistan.

Dhaka: A top opposition leader was held on murder charge and a court rejected a petition of the chief of the largest Islamist party as Bangladesh Thursday celebrated its 40th Bijoy Divas (liberation day), marking its separation from Pakistan.

In a blow to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), authorities arrested its Standing Committee member Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury, who leads the Islamists within the main opposition party and is considered close to former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

His detention took place Wednesday for his alleged involvement in killing Nutan Chandra Kundu, a Hindu entrepreneur and philanthropist, in Chittagong port town April 13, 1971, besides 107 others during the freedom movement.

Government investigators have moved the International Crimes Tribunal set up to try those accused of targeting unarmed civilians in 1971. The tribunal fixed next Sunday for hearing the petition.

In detaining Chowdhury on murder charge, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s government is following the same drill of having arrested the top brass of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country`s largest Islamist party, earlier this year, on charges other than "war crimes".

A bench of the high court Wednesday summarily rejected the petition to quash the "war crimes" trial of Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, The Daily Star reported.

Besides Nizami, Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid, Senior Assistant Secretary General Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, and Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Molla are under detention.

While the BNP says it is for impartial trials, the Jamaat leaders deny any role in the 1971 killings and say the detentions are politically motivated.


Toronto: Why do female squirrels entertain as many suitors as available?

Canadian researchers say rampant promiscuity among female squirrels in the mammal world is linked to how many males are knocking at their door.

"Their behaviour is overwhelmingly influenced by opportunity,`` says Eryn McFarlane of the University of Guelph near here.

"We found the more males in the area interested in participating in the mating chase, the more squirrels she will mate with,`` says McFarlane who worked with other researchers to find the truth about rampant promiscuity among female squirrels.

"There are no strong ties between mating behaviour and genetics in red squirrels. So even if the costs of mating with many males outweighs the benefits, there doesn`t seem to be much capacity for them to evolve lower levels of promiscuity.``

Although it makes sense for male squirrels to have as many mates as possible to ensure the most offspring, risky promiscuity doesn`t always make sense for females, says McFarlane.

But female squirrels are less than picky when it comes to mating, often entertaining as many suitors as possible, according to her.

But "having multiple partners means more energy expended on mating, increased exposure to predators as well as increased potential for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases,`` she says.

"Promiscuity also encourages harassment from male squirrels trying to coerce them into having sex.``

Interestingly, a female red squirrel goes into heat for only a single day each year. On that day, she runs around to encourage interested males to give her a chase and mates with as many as are available, according to the researchers.

Their findings appear in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters.


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