Echo

Gallup Poll: Corruption in Bangladesh is still widespread but decreasing  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

"Gallup asked Bangladeshis about their views on corruption, finding a majority saying that the level of corruption in the country is lower (73%) than it was five years ago."




Here is the complete poll information.

Survey Methods:

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults in Bangladesh, aged 15 and older, conducted May 28-June 13, 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3.5 percentage points.

(Graph courtesy Gallup)

Links of the day  

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Trial Of War Criminals  

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The mass opinion of Bangladesh has tilted towards the trial of War Criminals of 1971 liberation war. People from all walks of life have raised their voices with petitions, signature campaigns, pasting stickers in public places etc. to pressurize the government to make this possible.

It was an election promise of the Awami League government and the Bangladesh parliament has approved a resolution seeking speedy prosecution of the country's 1971 war criminals. Bangladesh has sought United Nations' assistance for trial of the war criminals, many of whom were rehabilitated in Bangladesh's politics taking the advantage of a state of impunity over the last three decades.

Adding to that the government has imposed travel restrictions on people suspected of war crimes.

It seems sensing their defeat the Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami has been planning their defense:
"The top leadership of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), the country’s largest Islamist party which is accused of killing unarmed civilians then, is planning an “apology” for its “political stance” of opposing the freedom movement.

But it will not acknowledge or apologise for the role of many of its leaders and its youth front cadres who engaged in the killings.

War records show JeI formed the Razakars and Al-Badr forces to counter the freedom fighters. The then secretary general of JeI Moulana Abul Kalam Mohammad Yousuf established the Razakars and Al-Badr with Islami Chhatra Shangha members."
Jamaat has never been apologetic about its opposition to the freedom movement. So they are finally coming to the reality and the truth is coming out. I think the younger Jamaat leaders can save their face by kicking their accused top leaders and let an UN led impartial trial of War Criminals happen. Justice must prevail.

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Stickers courtesy: Sachalayatan

Images from Dhaka  

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"We are all well because Bangla Link 'Desh' is there." Mobile service providers and their competition dominate Bangladesh. Mobile phones are used all over, by all income classes. The call rates and connection charges are all time low (Even it was a few times more in just 3 years ago).

Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF)-2009 has always been a crowd accumulator.

I have read about the killer smogs in many Asian countries. Each morning numerous flights and boat journeys are being postponed in Dhaka and across Bangladesh because of the smog. The smog is visible when you look at the city from an elevated space. You can barely see the sun in the day time.

People call it a concrete jungle and its a typical megacity.

Dhaka has become a city of malls. Basundhara shopping complex at Panthapath is Dhaka's showcase.

New King On The Block  

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From Cricinfo:

Shakib Al Hasan has confirmed his consistently impressive performances by heading the ICC's ODI allrounder rankings, the first time any Bangladesh has topped any ICC rankings. His performances in the home tri-series involving Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, took him to 380 rating points, helping him surge past last week's top two, New Zealand's Jacob Oram (368 points) and England's Andrew Flintoff (366).
More on Shakib Al Hasan here.

Update:
An exclusive interview with Shakib Al Hasan. He is just another kid on the block but with strong commitment and full of dreams. I wish more Bangladeshi players had commitments like Shakib. You must want something before you can have it truly.

Change has come  

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Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov

Photo: Official portrait of US President Barack Obama from public domain

Today's Links  

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Israel Shells UN Aid Compound  

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NEWS: Israeli forces shelled areas deep inside Gaza City on Thursday, hitting the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and wounding at least three people among the hundreds taking shelter in the compound.
Israel says its a mistake. But probably they took The Onion piece seriously:
The U.N. Headquarters in New York has flags from all over the world and enough uranium to wipe Israel off the map.
UN and Israel were not having good relations anyway after the white phosphorous shell claims.

Back to home  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

I know I have been neglecting this blog, big time. There was a time I used to blog in every possible situation. Only two years ago I published a post in my blog from a plane flying at 35000 feet (10668 meters) somewhere above the Caspian See. Now I realize probably I am growing old.

After two years I am in Dhaka now. I wonder why I didn't bother writing about the journey or updating from the transit point of the total 20 hours journey even though there was free internet available.

Dhaka, what should I say, continues to bewilder me. At the first look its the same traffic jams, crowds, zillions of rickshaws plying in the streets; but there is something different this time. Dhaka has grown its concrete masses. There are new buildings, malls being constructed just about everywhere. And the most visible thing, Dhaka has accelerated its pace. Everybody is in a hurry or seem to be occupied with something. Even the kids standing in the corner of the streets were seen texting with their mobile phones. My four year old is fascinated with rickshaws and loves to ride them here but she even realizes that they are rolling on too fast. While riding rickshaws or any car you will be scared with the feeling that you are hitting someone right, left or front. But miraculously you survive and reach your destination without any trouble. Ofcourse the fares have been almost double, that makes sense because of the inflation.

There are new big traffic lights but I was surprised that there are still policeman controlling the traffic points manually disregarding the lights. While traveling at night I was told that nobody follows the traffic lights after 10 PM. I was wondering when exactly are they followed. There is a calculated anarchy in place here that I am unable to fathom. So far I have avoided driving in Dhaka but I have taken the challenge to drive on next Friday. When the word challenge is coming from someone who has a driving license since 1999 and has driven in Dhaka for many years and about 40000km in different European countries you know there is something wrong somewhere. Will keep you posted on this.

The broadband connection at my home failed at times but I was able to use my Nokia E71 as a modem and the 'Edge' connection proved to be as good as broadband, without disruption in service. And its at a decent price - Tk. 1150 (13 Euros) per month internet flat compared to the monthly 1000tk. shared bandwidth broadband connection with variable speed (the more users connected at a given point of time). This is good news.

The positives of Dhaka this time so far (I haven't had the time to explore much) is that there was no black out. The air is much cleaner. I was told that now more than 70% of cars have converted to CNG (compressed natural gas) option. This is a welcome change, but the smogs are continuing to be prominent here.

We have more entertainment options (cable channels). The price of essentials are decreasing.

More updates will follow...

Quote of the Day  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,

"I'm Jewish and descendant of holocaust survivors. Moreover, I've been a Zionist all of my life. I went to a Zionist school, I was active in Zionist youth groups. I've always been a fervent supporter of Israel as a refuge for Jews around the world who seek a place to exercise their traditions and embrace their identity in peace.

I sang the Israeli anthem in the train rails of Aushwitz-Birkenau and I pledged to fight every day of my life to make sure the savage crimes that had taken place there would never happen again. Every year I pledged: Never Again. Remember and Never forget.

Well, I haven't forgotten. And so to honor that pledge, to honor the memory of my family members who died in those death camps and because "there comes a time when silence is betrayal", today I finally and publicly end my support for the state of Israel."

[...]

"I'm done justifying crimes against humanity by a country that claims to be an illuminated western democracy. I'm done defending a country that is unwilling to grant self-determination to a neighboring people because it won't let go of a few settlements and divide a city. I'm done tolerating the slaughtering of innocent kids, the murderous and barbaric occupation of an impoverished people, the utter disregard for human life."
- Chilean Jew at Daily Kos

Quote of the Day  

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In today's ultra-networked world, an unaffiliated individual with a laptop and an Internet connection is often more influential and resourceful than an organization with a staff of twenty and a fax machine was only twenty years ago. This is a truly strange period of institutional change when an organization's vast assets also look like its greatest liabilities. - Evgeny Morozov

Picture of the day  

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The difference of temperature between the two worlds...in and out of the house. Just to remind the readers that in many places in the world people do not have the luxury to live in a warm cocoon and are prone to the natural extremes.

The New Cabinet in Bangladesh  

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A new cabinet has sworn in a while ago. The 31 member team includes 23 ministers and 8 state ministers.

Here is the full list:

  • Sheikh Hasina - Defence, Parliamentary, Religion, Women Affairs, Energy, Housing, Works
  • Motia Chowdhury - Agriculture
  • Syed Ashraful Islam - LGRD
  • AMA Muhit - Finance
  • AK Khandker -Planning
  • Nurul Islam Nahid - Education
  • Abul Kalam Azad - Information
  • Dr. Abdur Razzak - Food and Relief
  • Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain (father in law of Hasina’s daughter Saima Wajed) - labour and employment and expatriate welfare
  • Dilip Barua - Industries (technocrat quota)
  • GM Quader - Civil Aviation and Tourism
  • Barrister Shafiq Ahmed - Law (technocrat quota)
  • Raziuddin Ahmed Razu - Telecommunications
  • Dr. AFM Ruhul Haq - health
  • Col Faruq Khan - Commerce
  • Abdul Latif Siddiqui - Jute and Textiles
  • Ramesh Chandra Sen - Water Resources
  • Enamul Huq Mustafa Shahid - Social Welfare
  • Rezaul Karim Hira - Land
  • Afsarul Amin - Shipping
  • Abdul Latif Biswas - Fisheries and Livestock
  • Syed Abul Hossain - Communication
  • Dr. Dipu Moni - Foreign
  • Advocate Sahara Khatun - Home


  • State Ministers:

  • Mostafizur Rahman - Environment
  • ABM Tajul Islam - Liberation War Affairs
  • Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj -Home
  • Dr Hasan Mahmood - Foreign
  • Begum Munnujan Sufian - Labor
  • Dipankar Talukder - CHT
  • Ahad Ali Sarkar - Sports
  • Yafes Osman -Science

Dacca Boots  

Posted by Rezwan in

Nepalis love their trademark Dhaka Topis. After caps, Dhaka (formerly Dacca), the capital of Bangladesh finally gets a boot fetish named after it.

Chilean industrial design student Camila Labra’s collection of footwear are made from recycled plastic bags and are called Dacca Boots.

From Trashbag Athletics:
Chilean industrial design student Camila Labra is bound to make a change on the way we thing of “environmentally sound” footwear. Appropriately dubbed Dacca Boots, feature an extensive collection of ankle high boots - made mostly out of recycled plastic bags. The boots are built by fusing several layers of polyethylene plastic shopping bags together. Resulting in a resistant material, sturdy enough to mold - while the interior components are covered with quilted piqué cotton fabric, to ensure comfort - these boots are impermeable, non-toxic, lightweight & flexible. Named after Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka, best known for being one of the most polluted city’s riddled with plastic bags in the world - which plastic bags have been banned since 2002, Dacca Boots was born! Labra accepts special orders for her Dacca boots, and will run you around $45 each.

Interested? Visit Botas Dacca

Debunking the myth of vote rigging  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

“It’s unbelievable that nearly 90 percent votes were cast in Monday’s polls, and that means a voter needed only 55 seconds to cast ballot.” - BNP office secretary Rizvi Ahmed

Shada Kalo debunks the myth:

The calculations are correct, but the data is wrong, because one polling center does not equate to only one polling booth. According to the Election Commission, there were 177107 polling booths, and that changes the calculation to:

Average votes cast per polling booth = 70 million / 177101 = 395 votes. Time to cast each vote = (480 x 60) / 395 = 72 seconds.

72 seconds is much better than 14 seconds or 55 seconds per vote, right?

Let’s take a look at the 2001 election. According to the Election Commission there were 56185707 votes cast in 149288 polling booths (29,978 polling stations). Using the same calculations:

Average votes cast per polling booth = 56185707 / 149288 = 376 votes. Time to cast each vote = (480 x 60) / 376 = 76 seconds

4 seconds per vote less time required in 2008 compared to 2001 may seem like it is significant. But consider this: in 2001, a voter would have to go to the polling officer, and give his name and father’s name. Then his record would be pulled up from a printed list, his address and age would be asked and his answers would be verified, then he would be handed a ballot paper and seal.

This time, a voter went to vote with a laminated ID card with an unique serial number. This number would be compared against the printed list. This is much faster than looking up by name, even manually, and there is no scope for confusion between Abdul Alim, son of Abdul Halim and Adbul Alim, son of Azizul Alim, etc.

Then the voter’s photo and other biographical data would be compared on the voter list and photo ID, and he would be handed a ballot.

The saving in time for using the photo ID would easily exceed 4 seconds per voter when compared with the time required in 2001 to verify the identity of each voter.

Our conclusion: a 2008 voter had more time available to cast the vote than a voter in 2001. So people looking for a conspiracy using fuzzy math should look at the 2001 vote first.

Gaza Conflict  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

The recent Gaza Strip bombings by Israel defense force has sparked worldwide protests and criticisms against Israel. For more perspectives than what you get in the newspapers please check these citizen journalists views:

New year's resolution  

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New years resolution no. 1: I have started to moblog. I want to post a picture not using the sms to blog option. But its not working.

Happy New Year!  

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Happy New Year Berlin!!!! Wishing a peaceful and prosperous 2009 for everyone.

Image by Hyunlab