Dhaka needs food aid

DHAKA: Bangladesh has sought half a million tonnes of food for hungry cyclone survivors, an official said on Wednesday, as several hundred victims demonstrated to demand better distribution of aid. The Bangladesh government said it has requested the aid from the international community as concerns mount over a shortfall of staples such as rice to feed thousands of people devastated by the November 15 cyclone. “We need half a million tonnes of food by the end of March,” disaster management ministry official Ayub Mia said. — AFP

NATO seeks help

BRUSSELS: NATO is seeking contributions from Muslim nations for its military force in Afghanistan, hoping Arab nations in North Africa and the Middle East could help train Afghan army units for the fight against the Taliban, a top allied commander said. Concerns that their soldiers would be drawn into fighting fellow Muslims have made Islamic nations reluctant to send troops to join the NATO-led force of 41,000 in Afghanistan.— AP

Sheikh Hasina trial

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi judge set December 3 to start the trial of former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in an extortion case. Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Azizul Hoque fixed the date for formally charging Hasina and two others accused of taking kickbacks to allow a businessman to build a power plant, public prosecutor Sharfuddin Khan said. Hasina, who has been detained in a makeshift jail inside the Parliament complex since July 16, was not produced in court on Wednesday. If found guilty, the defendants could face up to 14 years in jail. — AP