Echo

Today's Links  

Posted by Rezwan

* Between the Owner of Grameen [Bank] and Bin Laden.

* Millions for Millions.

* No middle ground in Dhaka.

* Dhaka at a standstill for the second day.

* Riots in Bangladesh may benefit Islamists.

* Bangladesh President becomes Prime Minister.

* Isn't democracy wonderful?

Bangladesh going towards more chaos?  

Posted by Rezwan

Breaking News: BDNews24 reports:

"President Iajuddin Ahmed is set to take over as head of the caretaker government at a Bangabhaban ceremony Sunday evening despite strong objections by the Awami League and allies.

Bangabhaban officials said the preparations were complete for the ceremony at 8pm.

Government sources said many battalions of armed forces have been kept on alert to deal with unrest.

The presidential move came after Bangabhaban claims of failed parley with top political leaders earlier Sunday.

The main opposition called it 'unconstitutional'. The BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami, however, backed the plan.

Awami League leader Abdul Jalil told journalists after the Bangabhaban meeting that Dr Ahmed, at 76, could not head a 'non-party' caretaker government since he was elected by a party and aged above 72.

The constitution bars a person over 72 years and with political ties to head the caretaker government."


The country is destined to be in further chaos. The use of army in declaring a state of emergency or establishment of a martial law is not ruled out.

The usual the first casualty is information. The media will be shut down. Most Likely the internet will be blocked. Somewhere in, a software company and owner of the wap-internet based site has taken a revolutionary step. Now people of Bangladesh can send news to the world via sms using their mobile phone. Drishtipat Blog has details:

Should your ISPs goes down in Dhaka tonight and you want to send news to rest of the world and to us:

send sms SHOUT message.

example SMS: SHOUT clashes in paltan observed at 17:46, several bomb explosions heard.

The number to send the message to is 5455.

The messages will be viewable at http://wap.aawaj.com

For the time being, you can use the shout sms and let your wap friends share what you know or have seen.

But we do want to hear from the people on the ground and the following info came in courtesy of the somewherein website.


Update: President Iajuddin Ahmed took taking oath as CTG chief as an additional duty at 20:00 hours Bangladesh time. Awami league claims they were notified moments ago and they were not present in the ceremony. However they did not reject Iajuddin outright.

Bangladesh in turmoil  

Posted by Rezwan

Today Bangladesh had a nightmare in the day time. Violence erupted in many places across the country as the oppositions protest continued. The protesters had stabs and oars in their hand as prescribed by their party leaders and were put in use as their rage went on when they were attacked by police or the ruling coalition supporters.

The summary of today's events:

* Special Security Forces (SSF of president's guard regiment) were withdrawn from AL leader Sheikh Hasina's house.

* Violent clashes went on in Paltan Maidan, Dhaka with AL supporters, Jamaat-e-Islami supporters and police turning. Especially the down town Dhaka turned into a battle field. TV footages showed lynching two Jamaat-e-Islami activists to death while two of their activists were dead when Jamaat opened fire on them. The private TV channels provided some scenes people wished they had never had to watch.

* Violent clashes in Chittagong as AL supporters broke the 144 law (restricting protests) lead by mayor Mohiuddin. BNP leaders vehicle attacked.

* Riot hits across the country between ruling party and opposition activists. 12 reported killed and more than 2,000 injured in total.

In a mass gathering of BNP in New Paltan, filled with corrupt ministers, Khaleda Zia gives the war call, "respond to them in their own language!" (source Drishtipat)

* Justice KM Hasan refused to take oath as the chief adviser. He said:

"It is best I should stand aside rather than be a hurdle. I am making this gesture to render a peaceful atmosphere to the people of Bangladesh and to show my solidarity with them. The people of this country deserve better."

A copy of his press release can be found here.

* I wonder whether Both BNP and Awami League new about it since long. Couple of days before Eid they concluded the talks abruptly without facing press. Probably this was the solution fixed then. Poor Mr. Hasan, he was on strings like a puppet since long. Because in this way the face of both the parties are being kept sadly with the expense of above mess. However, Mr. Hasan can be lauded for not furthering the controversy regarding him.

* President Iajuddin Ahmed called Awami League and BNP to discuss caretaker govt. after KM Hasan's refusal.

* The events took a dramatic turn as details of the talks emerged. President Iajuddin offered himself to be the chief adviser after AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil and his BNP counterpart Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan could not agree on any former judges to head the caretaker government.

Sheikh Hasina, chief of Awami League rejected the offer outright. They said they will accept any person as chief adviser other than KM Hasan and MA Aziz. But Justice Mahmudul Amin Chowdhury, who is the second fiddle to KM Hasan is not acceptable by BNP.

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia said: "The president is now the only elected representative. He will take the decision on how to ensure free and fair elections. We will accept whatever decision the president will take."

* Dhaka will anxiously wait tomorrow to know what decision the President takes. Mahfuz Anam of the Daily Star urges the president to keep himself above controversy. He writes in an editorial:

The constitution states {article 58(C), clause 6}: "If the provisions of clauses (3), (4) and (5) cannot be given effect to, the President shall assume the functions of the Chief Advisor..."

So only when all the five options of forming a caretaker government are exhausted ONLY THEN the President can offer himself as the caretaker chief.


* Dhaka city became to a standstill as shops were closed and violence spread throughout the city. Hundreds of thousands of people especially sick old men, children, pregnant women were caught in misery while trying to return home after Eid vacation, because the public transports did not run. Many remained stranded at roads, ports, rivers, trains.

Many people lost their lives today. I only hope that this controversy settles down soon without further bloodshed. Let sanity prevail in our leaders.

Related: Bangladesh is tensed.

Bangladesh: coup possibilities?  

Posted by Rezwan

Stratfor, known by the largest and most successful global corporations as the "shadow CIA" (Barron's) asks the question "are conditions in Bangladesh conducive to a coup?"

Bangladeshi blogger Nazzina says (her father was a high military official):

"Most of the troops and officers in Bangladesh Army will not support martial law because by supporting this the Army will lose its position as a peacekeeper (UN will literally kick them out from doing their job). So there won’t be any revenue anymore. To establish themselves as peacekeepers again will take too long. Besides, Army is not in a position to get support from the civilians anymore. It’s an old concept now. Doesn’t matter who comes in power, we aren’t ready to sacrifice our democratic power again to military.

However, IF military is called, it’s going to be for a very short period time to help establish civil administration.

There’s been great rumor flying around in Army as well (so not just in civilian minds), but most of the soldiers are reluctant to be part of the conspiracy that will make both military and civilians complete losers.
"

I wish her prediction is accurate. The last thing Bangladesh needs is to give away the 15 year old hard earned democracy.

Bangladesh is tensed  

Posted by Rezwan

The Bangladesh government led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the four party alliance ends their five year tenure today. Tomorrow the power would be handed over to the Caretaker Government. Controversial Chief Justice KM Hasan is scheduled to take oath tomorrow as the Chief adviser. The Opposition parties led by Awami League (AL) and its fourteen party alliance had long been demanding that they will not participate in 2007 January election under Justice Hasan because of his past involvement with BNP. They have vowed to cripple the country with protests if he takes oath tomorrow and urged him to back down.

In her farewell address to the nation Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia urged the opposition to "maintain peace during the tenure of the caretaker government to ensure a peaceful and credible election". She said she was sorry for those who are suffering from power crisis and preached the success of her government.

Former president Badruddoza Chowdhury and a former dissident of BNP and 24 dissident active BNP members led by Oli Ahmed MP yesterday formed a new political party called Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). They have accused the government of carrying out widespread corruption, alleged absence of democracy in the party and supporting the Islamic fundamentalists.

Facts and figures of the current crisis:

* All about the caretaker government system and the latest dilemma about it.

* BBC has a chronology of key events in Bangladesh.

* Reuters has a factbox of the key political players in Bangladesh. My post two years ago analyzing the political parties of Bangladesh.

Some latest news:

These have come up from bloggers and readers in Drishtipat and other Bangladeshi blog sources, which are yet to be confirmed.

* Influencial army think tanks retired General Salam, General Ainuddin along with a Navy Commander have reported joined LDP, the new political party.

* Business Chamber sources report that the President is considering taking over of power after Oct 28th.

* Col Oli Ahmed (retd) urged nation to stop any ruling party’s corrupt politician fleeing the country through ZIA international airport.

* Special Security Force (SSF) of the presidential guards have taken over security of AL leader Sheikh Hasina.

* The Army apparently do not want to get into the mess.

* ATN TV reported for the first time in five years, police have beaten up BNP activists close to Naya Paltan and Baitul Mukarram area for creating chaos around 6:30pm Bangladesh time today.

* Violence erupted last night when AL burnt down office of BNP and then violence spread to all over old Dhaka and continued until midnight. At least 100 were injured.

* Dhaka Metropolitan Police announced Paltan Maidan is illegal for everyone to have large gathering or meetings tomorrow. It appears that before BNP activists, 14 party already took over the place by today evening.

* There seems to be at least 40,000 law enforcing personnel (mainly Police and a few battalions of RAB) are patrolling the city. Around 80 Platoons of BDR have already reached BDR HQ at Jigatala.

Latest: Reuters reports that six people have been killed and more than 200 injured. The violence spread across the country after Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia finished her farewell address to the nation on state television today evening.

Bangladesh had never been so tensed in recent times as eerie uncertainty grips the nation. All are waiting to see what happens tomorrow.

Update 1: BDnews24 reports that Justice K M Hasan has failed to find his fellow nine advisers and been forced to delay the takeover, scheduled for Saturday. ATN Bangla TV reports that KM Hasan is ill, will not take oath tomorrow.

* Wow, this is something. Eyewitness says: "there has been miking in the port city of Chittagong in the last hour or so that Justice Mahmudul Amin Chowdhury is taking over as the care taker government chief".

For latest news from Bangladesh check out BDNEWS24.COM

Bangladesh unplugged  

Posted by Rezwan

If you want to know Bangladesh closely, lesson 1 for you is:

"don't believe everything you read, hear, or see in and on the news"

This is how Robert La Bua starts his travel tip on Bangladesh published in the Bangkok post.

Some excerpts:

"But Bangladesh? Isn't it a horribly chaotic, disease-ridden country with people starving in the streets? No, actually, it is not; the people may be poor, but they are not nearly as miserable as we'd like to believe. The streets are surprisingly clean, harrowing drivers notwithstanding. In fact, as is so often the case, people poor by Western standards seem far happier than we who complain about too much cinnamon in our cappuccinos."

"Bangladesh is far more civilised than the international press would have us believe. This is a country where poets are revered and the leading university is home to a park full of statues not of politicians but of scientists. The people are surprisingly aware of world events and realities of international politics, economics, and social movements. Or is it that comparatively wealthy foreigners are surprisingly unaware of what the rest of the world already knows? More likely the latter, or so it would seem to the residents of country where the national capital, Dhaka, sees no less than 36 newspapers published daily, nine of them in English."


Its a must read I tell you.

Then again I would like to add to those who like to mention Bangladeshis as extremists because 84% of 140 million people happened to born as Muslims and nurturing 2nd largest Muslim majority in the world (without sharia but constitution and rule of law) that people are religious here and anything but extremists. As Morris Stephen says in his insightful essay:

"Here`s another perspective, from a place where for the vast majority of the population, Islam is part of the home, the street and the village. Where it`s a lived religion, not just a media construct. And you know what? Like all religions played out from day to day, it`s pretty uneventful. It`s not an ideology: it exists in the commitment of minuscule acts of human friendship. It gives people a vocabulary to understand their grief, their moments of elation, their losses and the pressures they are under.

I for one am convinced that none of the people I know and love here have the slightest inclination to destroy our civilisation, as the media would have us believe. They have far more important things to be getting on with..."


Indeed. But to the mainstream international media Salah Uddin Shoaib Chowdhury's case (govt. misuse of power) is far more important than other human rights abuses in Bangladesh because it has a religious odor in it.

Bangladesh gets a new political party  

Posted by Rezwan

There were much drama in the political arena in Bangladesh today. Just yesterday the talks between government and the opposition failed, the country is facing a political crisis.

All the attentions were diverted today towards Liberal democratic party, a new political party formed by 24 dissident ruling party (BNP) members led by Oli Ahmed MP. Amongst them are at least 12 lawmakers, a junior minister, a former Parliament speaker and three former ministers. And they say that almost 100 members are ready for defection after the change of power. Former president A.Q.M. Badruddoza Chowdhury was a dissident who left BNP 5 years ago over differences with the party chief and current prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia. The defectors alleged absence of democracy in the party, corruption in the Zia family and supporting the Islamic fundamentalists.

Many of the defectors houses were burnt down by ruling party goons. A frustrated effort it seems. One could tell that they are bad at housekeeping just from the fact that an important thing like the BNP's website is down for construction since long.

Now the equation in the upcoming election gets changed with LDP coming as a force and to fill the vacuum left by the acrimony and incompetence of the two major political parties - BNP and Awami League. An interesting discussion is going on in Drishtipat regarding this.

BNP will relinquish power today to a caretaker government under Justice KM Hasan who will be boycotted by the opposition. Prime Minister Khaleda Zia will address the nation today. The Weekly Blitz alerted that the nation is heading towards a confirmed confrontation and political violence. And there is an appehension of declaring state of emergency. The coming days are crucial for Bangladesh. I am very much tensed.

Voices from South Asia  

Posted by Rezwan

Bangladesh:

- What does Bangladesh need now for a better future? Angelmorn has a ten point prescription.

- Rifat of Close your eyes and try to see is critic about the noise pollution in Bangladesh, especially using the loudspeakers.

- Shafiur of imperfect world | 2006 informs that many of the prominent branded products (Textile, Camera Lens Parts, Golf Shafts, Mobile Parts and Automobile Parts) are currently being manufactured in Bangladesh.

- For those who want to learn more about the 2006 Nobel peace price winner Grameen Bank and its founder Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Drishtipat has a photo essay ‘One day at Grameen Bank’.

Bhutan:

- Kuensel online reports that Bhutan is going to hold its first ever general election in 2008. The Election Commission of Bhutan has proposed that the minimum qualification for Member of Parliament (MPs) as a Bachelors Degree.

- Norbu of Kuzu-Bhutan weblog shares his apprehension about the upcoming democracy.

India:

- Rimi shares her experience with the Calcutta Public transport.

- Dilip D’Souza of Death Ends Fun slates the politics about distributing IFA (iron and folic acid) tablets to anaemic women in India.

Maldives:

- Razib Ahmed of South Asia Biz reports that the Maldives will soon have its own private TV and radio station.

Nepal:

- Blogger Nepal criticizes municipality staffs in the mid-western Nepal who poisoned stray dogs to death.

Pakistan:

- Onlooker of The Glasshouse describes the latest situation of Balochistan, the troubled state in Pakistan.

- Adil Najam of All things Pakistan reports how cricket and Islam are brewing a controversy in Pakistan

Sri Lanka:

- Dhammikad of Moju Blog informs that one can hire a hit squad in Sri Lanka for less than Sri Lankan Rs. 100,000.

- Muffee of Voices in my head posts pictures of Henna art in her hand applied traditionally during the Eid celebrations.

(Crossposted in the Global Voices Online)

Today's Links  

Posted by Rezwan

* The Ahmadinejad code.

* U.N.'s rules about blogs.

* A glimmer of hope: Nobel Prize winner Muhammed Yunus and the true spirit of Islam.

* Sex and taboos in the Islamic world.

* Is Germany falling into poverty?

Eid Greetings  

Posted by Rezwan


Wishing a happy and prosperous Eid to all.

Bangladesh considering nuclear program?  

Posted by Rezwan

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed El Baradei has warned that up to 30 countries including Bangladesh could have the technology to develop nuclear bomb "in a very short time".

This is the funniest thing I have heard in recent times. Bangladesh has only one 20 year old research reactor and a neutron generator for research purposes and a 42 year old Graff accelerator. (source) The latest I have heard that Russia and China are trying to sell some small scale nuclear power plants and Bangladesh do not have the fund to buy them.

I think that the country has other things to ponder as a latest Oxfam report says that the Bangladesh government is falling behind on millennium development goal in providing basic health and education services.

The bright side of the Moon  

Posted by Rezwan

After the nobel price of Dr. Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank, Bangladesh finally could take place in international media with its positive sides.

In 1992 president Bill Clinton said in an interview that Yunus should get the Nobel. It took 14 years to get the recognition. And suddenly all are discovering Yunus as he has just emerged.

There are many such bright Bangladeshis who are showing their talent in the international arena. Do we really know about them?

Naeem Mohaiemen of Shobak blog writes in the Daily Star about the young Bangladeshi young diaspora, who are ignored by the Bangladeshi media; namely:

Deeder Zaman (Asian Dub Foundation), Akram Khan (Sacred Monsters), Moushumi Khan (Muslim Bar Association of NY), Farook Shamsher (Joi), Aziz Huq (former clerk for US Supreme Court), Sham Miah (Vol de Nuit), Sam Zaman (State of Bengal), Abeer Hoque (Olive Witch), Aladdin Ullah (Port Authority Throw Down), Shazna Nessa (Milky), Monami Maulik (DRUM), Fariba Alam (Bangla East Side), Shireen Pasha (Roti Eaters), Monica Ali (Alentejo Blues), Chaumtoli Huq (Taxi Workers' Alliance), Dishad Husain (Viva Liberty), Ivan Jaigirdar (3rd I), and many others. *
And ofcourse don't forget the latest discovery Jawed Karim, co-founder of Youtube and the technical genius behind Paypal, who is doing a masters in the Stansford University. He came into spotlight after Google bought Youtube for $1.65 billion. Jawed Karim was born in 1979 in Merseburg, East Germany to Bangladeshi dad and German mom. Jawed's mother Christina Karim told the German media that they migrated to USA because of hatred against foreigners. She said, "In 1992 it was really a bad situation in Germany".

Multiculturalism pays and Germany is yet to learn that from USA. Many of the young Bangladeshis listed above live in the USA now.

* Some more links of emerging Bangladeshis via Naeem.

Hiatus explanation  

Posted by Rezwan

My home phone and internet connection was down since last Saturday. I am not allowed to operate PC for personal use at the internship place so I pretty much missed blogging these few days. I am raising this issue because German bureaucracy sometimes is so awful like back home that I seldom feel that I am in a different country.

On Saturday noon I called the help desk via mobile and the call center transferred me with multiple hops to a point where the recorded message told that due to overwhelming customer calls they are unable to attend me and I was advised to do the complaint via internet. They did not figure people can have both down. At night I could get one lady on the other side. I asked politely, "could you please send someone tomorrow?" "We don't work on Sundays" was the reply. On my request she said she will send someone soon but can't tell when they can come. On Monday we called again and there was another guy who told that according to their diagnosis the line was alright and probably our set was out of order. My wife said "but our DSL connection is also out of order". "We don't look after internet connections" was the reply. She could make them understand that there must be some fault which is blocking both the connections. On the next day after calling them they said there will be a charge if they have to send a technical person so they were waiting for the confirmation. This time we got really angry asking why they are delaying things. Finally a person arrived and the fault was fixed. Now we are waiting for the bill.

And talking about German service charges, one of my wife's colleague got a 80 euro satellite dish (with receiver) fitted with a more than 400 Euro service charge. Seem too high? But one thing is guaranteed, you can get the perfect solution with German workmanship.

The Global Voices Online Survey  

Posted by Rezwan

If you are yet to know the Global Voices Online here is an introduction:

Global Voices Online is an international network of bloggers coordinated through Harvard University that summarizes what is going on in the blogosphere in every corner of world. The outgrowth of a conference held at Harvard University in December 2005, Global Voices is edited by Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon, who are fellows at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Global Voices focuses on highlighting the work of "bridge bloggers" who "can make a bridge between two languages, or two cultures." In 2006, Global Voices formed a partnership with the Reuters news agency to provide public comment from the Global Voices network alongside its own news coverage. (Wikipedia)
So what are you waiting for? Make Global Voices Online your daily read to know what the individual voices across the world are saying via blogs. I can assure you that these stuffs you will rarely find in the conventional media.

And if you have visited the Global Voices already or are a regular reader please do it a favor by taking this reader survey.

* "Banker to the Poor" Gets Top Honor: Der Spiegel:

Muhammed Yunus of Bangladesh and the Grameen Bank he founded were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their innovative work in the area of microcredits -- small loans that have helped to lift millions out of the most abject poverty.
* Credit where it's due: Geoff Mulgan in Guardian unlimited.
What makes him special is that he is such a perfect example of how social innovation happens - and how the best social change often comes from people addressing problems themselves rather than waiting for others to do so.
* Changing scope of Nobel peace prize: Lars Bevanger in BBC:
The choice represents a furthering of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's expressed desire to expand the scope of the prize beyond acknowledging those directly involved in preventing armed conflict.
* Microcredit Helps Woman Change Her Life: Michelle Foul of associated press:
With just US$1,000, Ana Helena Domingos is transforming her life. She used the loan to buy goods in bulk and graduate from small-time peddler to wholesaler, doubling her income in 10 months and spending the proceeds to get her daughter into a better school and start building a house. The source of what she calls "my salvation?" A microcredit bank modeled on the one that won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Blog reactions:

* The Daily KOS & Brudaimonia: A Long Time Coming: Muhammad Yunus and the Nobel Prize

* Retributions: Indian National Interest: Congratulations Dr. Yunus!

* Tom Peters: Glory Hallelujah!!

* The truth will set you free: Eat your heart out, Falwell - ‘Muhammad’ wins Nobel - AGAIN

* Berkeley Bubble: How to Really Win the War on Terror

* Nerve Endings Firing Away: Nobel for Muhammad Yunus

* Diary of a radical moderate: Good on Them: Nobel Committee Recognizes Role of Poverty in Violence

* NPR: Microcredit Pioneers Win Nobel Peace Prize

* The Walrus said: Muhammad Yunus and practical feminism

* Outside the Beltway: Bangladeshi Financial Pioneer Wins Nobel Peace Prize

* Center for global development: Yunus and Grameen win Nobel: The "Great Man" Theory of Development History?

* Slate: The Banker takes all

* Genevieve's Tales of Pillage, Plunder, Piracy, and Other Fun Stuff: Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank Win Nobel Peace Prize

* The Discomfort Zone: Microfinance wins the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

* Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwith: Yunus and the Grameen Bank Win the Nobel Peace Prize

Dr. Yunus gets the nobel prize  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Wake up world. This is real. For the first time in recent history Bangladesh has made news in all the international media for a positive contribution to the world. Dr. Muhammad Yunus and his organization Grameen Bank have jointly been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below."


It was a gloomy morning today in Berlin and after hearing this wonderful news from my wife, I rushed to see the online news sources in office. Soon the news items continued to grow. The news is now all over the world. As I checked my mail box later on the day it was filled with fellow Bangladeshis all over the world congratulating each other.

Although there may be some doubt on some minds why an economic model got Yunus and Grameen bank a Nobel peace prize, the Nobel committee has this to say:

Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development.

Micro-credit has proved to be an important liberating force in societies where women in particular have to struggle against repressive social and economic conditions.
Those who are new to Microcredit, it is the extension of very small loans to the unemployed, to poor entrepreneurs and to others living in poverty who are not bankable. These individuals lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history and therefore cannot meet even the most minimum qualifications to gain access to traditional credit. (wikipedia) The success of Microcredit model comes from the upheaval of dignity among the poor and to prove that they have a potential. These individuals remain under umbrella of a closely knitted society and the defaulters face peer pressure rather than legal notices. The whole idea is to provide a decent life with dignity for the poors and it worked (sad the rich often forget that the poor also have reasons to be proud). Read more about the Microcredit from Dr. Yunus.

Professor Yunus studied economics at Vanderbilt University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1969, going on to become an assistant professor of Economics at Middle Tennessee State University the same year. On returning to Bangladesh he joined the Economics Department at Chittagong University.

Mr Yunus set up Grameen bank in 1976 with just $27 from his own pocket. Thirty years later, the bank has 6.6 million borrowers, of which 97% are women with a repayment rate of more than 90%. Grameen Bank models have been replicated in many countries of the world.

Is Grameen Bank different from the conventional banks? Dr. Yunus answers.

Listen to Dr. Muhammad Yunus's reaction from an interview given to a Norwegian TV in a podcast.

The Bangladeshi blogosphere's take on this:

People are delighted over at the Bangla blogging platform "Bandh Bhanger Awaaj". Drishtipat has news, pictures and more links to texts and videos on Dr. Yunus and Grameen Bank. Mudhpud Chickness says Dr. Yunus has put Bangladesh on the map. The South Asia Biz says "Today is a great day for Bangladesh." Tanvir says : "I hope that this success will allow the Bangladeshis to dream big and lead the country to prosperity." Atunu says "Finally, a deserving Bangalee wins the Nobel Prize". Shahidul Alam of Drik posts an wonderful tribute to Dr. Yunus. Many other bloggers shared the news and congratulated Dr. Yunus and Grameen Bank.

The other two Bengalis to win the Nobel Prize were Rabindranath Tagore (Literature: 1913) and Amartya Sen (Economics: 1998).

Dr. Yunus's daughter Monica Yunus is a budding Soprano in the USA.

Dr. Yunus said once "One day our grandchildren will go to museums to see what poverty was like.” I hope his dream comes true some day.

Today, I am proud to be a Bangladeshi too.

Picture of the day  

Posted by Rezwan


Berlin Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) at the banks of the Spree river

Today's Links  

Posted by Rezwan

* Copyright jungle.

* Feminist struggles in Bangladesh.

* Learning in a digital world.

* German ingenuity.

* Turmoil in Tehran!

No more riding Porsche with social funds  

Posted by Rezwan

While many Germans are living in desperation with no security of their job, their social benefits are also squeezing. Conservative politicians are planning to restrict the generous social benefits by limiting the ability to buy only the cheapest of cars (less than Euro 10,000). After all there is some logic in not paying benefits "to someone who has a brand new Ferrari standing outside their house" (Dirk Niebel of the Free Democratic Party).

Bangladesh Blog Buzz  

Posted by Rezwan

The latest happenings in Bangladeshi blogs around the world:

* Politics: A recent study published in the Daily Star depicts that there are 53% undecided voters making the prediction of the coming 2007 election very uncertain. Nazim Farhan Chowdhury of Conversations with an Optimist says this is because the voters have lost all faith in the politicians. He has an interesting analysis of the major parties' chances.

* Living: Share the Magic on the burning issues of Bangladesh at present.

* Human rights: Zubair of Unheard Voices - Drishtipat group blog laments on the horrors of abuses of domestic helps and seeks ways to help them and start an awareness campaign.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury's farcical trial in Bangladesh has created much controversy. Sepia Mutiny has a round up of world reactions. However Mr. Chowdhury is still a free man and the local press is surprisingly silent over the issue.

* Violence: Nazim Farhan Chowdhury of Conversations with an Optimist criticizes the violent nature of the recent protests and police brutalities in Bangladesh. He accuses the leaderships for this situation and asks whether Bangladeshis can find again the wisdom of Gandhi and Islam to resort to peaceful means in solving problems.

* Corruption: Mohammad Farhan Husain of Had I been in Voyager 1!!! is tormented by a news article of corruption in Biman, the national carrier of the Bangladesh which had a good reputation.

* Food: Siddiqua Kabir's "Ranna Khadyo Pushti" is the most popular cook book of Bangladesh. Many Bangladeshi expats have a copy of the book in their shelves. Ihtisham Kabir of Back to Bangladesh blog praises this book saying that it is equally helpful in home and abroad.

He also posts some photos of the mouth watering foods of Iftar sold during Ramadan time in Dhaka streets.

* Travel: Sanjoy Kumar has some fabulous photos from his recent tour to Rangamati and Bandarban, two beautiful tourist attractions of Bangladesh.

* Fashion: There is a saying that 'cloth makes a man'. Andrew Morris of Morris the Pen analyzes Bangladeshi men by their fashion.

* Technology: Asif of Unheard Voices - Drishtipat group blog informs that the Bengali Wikipedia crossed 10000 entry and Bangla has become only the 2nd language from the South Asia to achieve the feat.

South Asia Blog Buzz  

Posted by Rezwan

The latest from the South Asian blogs:

Bangladesh:

- Rehan of Unheard Voices: Drishtipat Group Blog celebrates the religious freedom in Bangladesh.

- US expat Yoli Maya Yeh has fabulous pictures of some Bangladesh tourist attractions.

- Internationally acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam muses on the duel of corporate profit versus the poor in Bangladesh.

Bhutan:

- South Asia Biz informs that getting you car repaired in Bhutan means trouble.

India:

- Amardeep of Sepia Mutiny writes about Delhi’s alarming water crisis.

- A Time to Reflect reflects about the sights of Delhi at night.

Maldives:

- Pass the roti on the left side criticizes democratic India, which is arming Maldivian autocratic government.

Nepal:

- United We Blog posts an insightful article justifying the declaration of Nepal as a secular state and the abolition of the ‘Hindu State’ in the upcoming constitution update by the reinstated parliament.

Pakistan:

- Bilal Zuberi of All Things Pakistan has an interesting post about why date is termed as the Ramzan fruit.

- S. A. J. Shiraji of Light Within informs that two proxy sites (pkblogs.com and indblogs.com) that were used to access banned blogspot hosted blogs from Pakistan are now taken down. He poses the question, is this the end of the blogging era in Pakistan?

Sri Lanka:

- Hell’s Dire Agent is skeptical about Sri Lanka’s current peace process.

- South Asia Biz warns that the Dengue fever is becoming a serious concern in Sri Lanka too.

(Crossposted in the Global Voices Online)

Today's Links  

Posted by Rezwan

* Why countries like Bangladesh remain poor?

* Forms of corruption in Bangladesh: Measures of control.

* Reining in the radicals.

* Marx and Durga in West Bengal.

* Shuvo Bijaya everyone.

* Europeans have stopped defending their values.

Blogging from outer space  

Posted by Rezwan


Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian woman has become the first female Muslim to make a successful journey into outer space.

She also has been the first person to blog from outer space. This is just amazing. She starts her blog nine days ago:

"Hello World! I don’t know who is reading this. Maybe you are a young girl, curious to know who I am… Maybe a young man who liked my picture in the paper… Maybe someone who always dreamed about flying to space and wants to know how it feels to be close to realizing this dream…

In any case, whoever you are and for whatever reason you happen to be reading this page… Welcome to my blog…"
Anousheh Ansari published the first ever blog post from outer space on September 21, 2006 on board the Soyuz titled, Hello world:
"I'm finally here... the trip was long but definitely worth it... well let me start from the beginning

You have just made history, folks! You have just read the first line published to a blog from outer space."
Read Anousheh's space blog to be part of the history.

Via Desicritics.

Quote of the day  

Posted by Rezwan

"I am not aware of any other nation where each citizen, regardless of their religious affiliation, enjoys national holidays for major religious events of Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism etc."

- Rehan of Unheard Voices-Drishtipat group blog on the religious harmony in Bangladesh.