Image by Rezwan

Overcrowded passenger ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj, Bangladesh

The World Cup Goal-E Project

This street in Bangladesh has a colorful world cup celebration

New Chum Hill Ruins

Remnants of Kiandra gold mine at New Chum Hill, #nsw #australia

June 30, 2006


Received this press release titled above via email. The item was released in the name of Peter Snowman. I don't know anything about this man except that he writes in the Asian Tribune. He has also written about the ministers before.

This is quite an interesting story if proven true.

June 29, 2006


Another election pledge remains unfulfilled. I guess whatever the next promise will be, we will remain in the bottom of this list indefinitely. Because accountability is the vital thing that lacks in the politicians of Bangladesh.

June 28, 2006

(Crossposted in the Global Voices Online)

The latest happenings in Bangladesh related blogs around the world:

* Tourism: A tourist in Bangladesh explores Mainamati, where a number of Buddhist archeological sites can be found.

* Pictures: Zev posts photos of Sonargaon, the ancient capital of Isa Khan’s kingdom in Bengal. It is located near the current-day city of Narayanganj, Bangladesh. More pictures from Zev of old Dhaka, now capital of Bangladesh.

* Society: Adhunika blog discusses two important issues in Bangladeshi society "When to get married": Before or after graduation? And on the status of the single women in the society.

* Review: Journalist Ahmede Hossain does a review of a Bengali film : Ontorjatra (Home-Land) directed by Tareque Masud and Catherine Masud.

* Religion: In his quest for truth and spirituality, Sadiq finds that Jesus also travelled to India.

* World Cup: Shafiur writes how dramatic the symbolism in football can be. Mezba classifies the ubiquitous flag wavers.

* Blogs and business: Razib of the South Asia Biz Blog comments that blogs can help South Asian companies grow.

* Living: Dutch expat Hermie living in Dhaka has had enough with her American neighbor.

* Bangla Blogging: "Give me a notepad, I will give you a community"- Hasin hayder, the man behind the sensational Bangla blogging platform "Somewhereinblog.net" writes how it was born and on its latest developments. He has thoughts of expanding it to a wider community.

Berlin has a mixture of old and modern architectures; beautified by rivers, lakes and lots of greeneries.

* Bangladesh’s fraying democracy.

* Bangladesh imperils FDI.

* Indian entrepreneurs on the rise.

* Asian cities are rude.

* A veil doesn't mean 'oppressed'.

* 55 ways to have fun with Google.

Can be fun!

The Australian world cup march was finally halted by the Italians.

A biased commentator of a Chinese TV has termed this win as a part of the glorious tradition of the Italian team. In fact Italy seemed way off their traditional prowess in the game and narrowly went past Australia with the help of a controversial penalty in the last minute.

And there is no shortage of exultation amongst the Aussies at their achievements up to 2nd round.

Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman is a liberation war hero in Bangladesh awarded with the highest of the gallantry award "Bir Shreshtha". He died in August 1971 while trying to defect with a Pakistan air force jet to join the liberation war against Pakistan.

"Rehman attempted to hijack a jet aircraft during a training flight. Pakistan has always maintained that the trainee pilot, Rashid Minhas, prevented the attempted hijacking, which resulted in the aircraft crashing shortly before leaving Pakistani airspace on 20 August, 1971.

Both Rehman and Minhas were killed.

Minhas was immediately decorated with Pakistan's highest gallantry award, the Nishan-e-Haider, and Rahman declared a traitor.
" (BBC)

There is an interesting debate in the Pakistan Defence forum blog showing how divided the Pakistanis still are regarding this incident and other events of Bangladesh's liberation war against Pakistan. But one important reason behind Matiur's action has come out which many forget to mention:

"The PAF (Pakistani Air Force) made a big mistake by grounding all Bengali PAF Officers - Is it any wonder that they became frustrated, disgruntled and ultimately disloyal?"

Pakistanis did not believe in Bengalis. That is why they did not allow Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to form the government even though he had a clear majority. You cannot oppress someone and still wish them to be loyal and integral to your pseudo unity.

Matiur Rahman has finally come home to Bangladesh, close to his family and laid to rest with the due respect he deserves.

Via Drishtipat Blog.

June 27, 2006


I have found yet another first-hand experience of an American who was nice enough to explore Bangladesh in the conventional way and blog about it.

Some can argue the merits of his comments but at least his presumptions are not biased like this kind of literature, which was written by a person who has never been to Bangladesh.

June 23, 2006


After all watching football is better than constantly bickering in an ineffective parliament. The only problem is that all entertainments for the lawmakers are financed by our tax money.

June 22, 2006


The North and eastern German landscapes have changed a lot since the mid Nineteen Nineties. Today the landscape is dotted with spectacular homogeneous windmills or wind turbines, some of which are 100 meters high. In the regions of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and in Saxony-Anhalt thousands of Windmills have emerged to provide power to the national grid. One such turbine can generate a million kilowatt hours a year, powerful enough to provide electricity needs of a small village. They provide a beautiful view specially when you are taking the Autobahn (highway).

Since 1997, Germany has overtaken the United States as the world’s leading producer of wind energy. It is estimated that Germany now has approximately 10,000 such wind turbines.

"Germany is now the world leader in renewable energy. 10% of its electricity requirements are now supplied by wind, solar, bio-mass and small hydro. Experts say that this will grow to 20-25% within 15 years, when nuclear is scheduled to be phased out." (source)

The only problem is that the wind energy is very expensive. Extracting one kilowatt/hour of energy from the wind costs four times as much as using fossil fuels. A law which tells the electricity providers to buy power from wind turbines at a designated price, secures the windmill owners. That is why the opposition to wind power is growing as it is not a profitable business.

The state of the remaining traditional windmills in eastern Germany is dilapidating. They face extinction as they are either being modified or simply being brought down.

I think technological advancements will make electricity generation from windmills less expensive in the coming years. It is great to see that Germany is clutching on to this form of energy eventhough it is not economically a better choice. I think after 50 years, when the major oil and coal reserves of the world are almost emptied, Germany will not face a crisis being depended on fossil energy.

June 20, 2006


* Germany's soccer extravaganza.

* Wikipedia protects some entries from edits.

* The Asylum "Game".

* 'An inconvenient truth': a preview.

* Indian influence in the US.

* Islamists want author Taslima Nasreem deported from India. Taslima Nasrin is one of the 12 controversial persons to sign the manifesto against Islamist totalitarianism.

Nokia Corporation and Siemens AG have announced a merger of communications service provider businesses. The proposed Nokia Siemens Networks will have an expected annual revenue of $20 Billion USD. BenQ, another major cellular phone company had recently acquired Siemens' handset division.

Mergers and acquisitions have become a ritual of today's global multinationals. Increasing market share, world-wide presence and economics of scale are a few of the main advantages of such mergers and acquisitions. But are people aware of the downsides of M&As? I just watched in the TV news that 9000 people will be victims of globalization loosing their jobs because of the Siemens-Nokia merger.

"In no other capital city of the world can one see such an undignified treatment of the nation's holy sites. The Statue of Liberty, the Arc de Triomphe, the National Monument in Rome wedged between an advertisement and the back of a stage?"

- German Left-wing newspaper Berliner Zeitung in a commentary criticising Berlin city for allowing the Brandenburg Gate to be obscured by a giant soccer ball on one side and a public viewing screen on the other. (source: Spiegel Online)

June 19, 2006


The above is statement by a foreign investor in Bangladesh. Newsweek has recently published an article which reiterates this assumption. The article titled "Bullish on Bangladesh" is reasonably well informed than the TIME article earlier this year. It starts with:

The headlines are grim. But they mask what is shaping up to be one of the world's most amazing turnarounds.

It concludes:

...perhaps, Bangladesh would make headlines for something other than killer cyclones or riots in Dhaka's streets.

Historically the country has been portrayed negatively most of the times by the media (local and international). Its potentials have seldom been focused. Some blame it largely on the pessimistic Bengalis, but looks like the time has changed. It may be argued that whether by dint of some investment the international media is getting the correct picture. In reality the truth must come out in the open in one way or another.

Not to mention here that Bangladesh is also subjected to influences of powerful nations and certain negative outcomes of the country's political instability are beyond prediction and one can hardly fathom which way the wind is blowing. The ideal way to explore Bangladesh is to look beyond the headlines.

June 18, 2006


What if someone writes an elegy for Bangladesh being frustrated by all the negative things happening in the country? One guy did it. And he is damn right.

June 15, 2006


* Suicide in religion.

* World Cup 'facts' that miss by a mile.

* Oriana Fallaci on trial for connecting the dots.

* Israel score 7 on World Cup eve.

* After life in Bangladesh, the view is different.

* Bangladesh: The next IT outsourcing destination?

* BhangChoor the path for the victory to the parliament.

Sculpture near the state opera
A sculpture near the state opera

If you were staying in your home in Berlin and were away from the TV, you could tell the exact moment when Germany scored a goal. That's when you had heard a lot of screams and gunshots (firecrackers?) in the neighborhood. And of course the cars would be honking when the fans would be going home after the end of the match, letting you know that Germany had won.

More world cup links:

* The Polish invasion was stopped today by Germany backed by their black-red-gold colored patriotism. Apparently no hooligans were harmed during the match.

* Was soccer fan Bin Laden watching? the Saudi Arabia -Tunisia match? He surely would be angry on Tunisia because they pulled a last minute goal to draw the match denying Saudi Arabia a win after 12 years. Looks like the Brazilian Marcos Paqueta, Saudi Arabia's 16th coach in 12 years is about to be sacked.

* After yesterday's Brazil-Croatia game fans are wondering whether the Brazilian superstar Ronaldo is pregnant.

Tag: ,

June 14, 2006


Today is the 3rd annual international webloggers day. I didn't know!

You know you are in a city hosting a world cup match in the day, when:

1) You hear horns honking in many cars in the streets. The cars are carrying flags as well as the fans.

2) Suddenly you see a corner of a square filled with people with Yellow jersey (Brazil) and the other corner filled with people of check jerseys (Croatia). The fans were assembling, singing, partying.

3) A peaceful procession of some singing Brazilian supporters is leisurely watched by some people with Croatian jersey drinking beer in a roadside restaurant.

4) In a S-Bahn (city train) bound for the Olympic stadium, the processions of supporters entering using different doors, chanting slogans, singing, honking air-horns. Police keeping an eye on them sweating in the scorching heat (It was 35 degrees!).

5) During the match, in some streets, the vibrant atmosphere of the city in a week day looked like a deserted city in a holiday. Looks like many are in the front of a TV screen with a beer in hand.

6) More than 200000 people gathered in the fan mile in the Strasse des 17. Juni near Brandenburger Gate to watch the match in big screen. Everybody was partying.

Berlin has hosted its first world cup match yesterday night. Those, who could make it to the stadium, had a real great time.

Tag: ,

June 13, 2006


The FIFA world cup is the single event which is powerful enough to generate a festive atmosphere across continents proving that football is the most loved sports in the world. The TV coverages of this year's World Cup are projected to reach more than a billion people in 200 countries worldwide. Some are watching the game online.

Examples of the football passion: the socceroo fever has gripped Australia after their win against Japan in the first match. And remember, if you were an Australian and happened to be in Japan during the match, you would not risk even a smile in this circumstance.

Meanwhile if you are in Germany and you dare to blog about the world cup being boring, you can get a reader response like this:

Yes you may have found the [soccer] game you watched boring; ...There is definitely a learning curve for the enjoyment and appreciation of the game. But, if nothing else, you are in Germany and you should realize the unbelievable impact that this "game" can have on people. In fact, I imagine most of Germany is taking off work for the next month. The point is, watch the god damn world cup and realize how excellent/influential it is.

For more personal experiences of the world cup fans, I present to you the following links:

* Dispatches From the World Cup.

* The world cup blog.

* Live rants, images and podcasts from we all speak football.

* Running with the Ronaldos in the blogosphere.

* Fan Fest Berlin.

Tag: ,

June 11, 2006


Watching football in Big screen

Love of Argentina

June 09, 2006


The World Cup 2006 has just been started. Philipp Lahm scored the first goal of the World Cup from an wonderful kick in the 6th minute. Germany is leading against Costarica 1:0.

Wait! A dramatic comeback from Costa Rica in the 12th minute. Paolo Wanchope scored from the German defender's mistake. The score line is 1:1.

Germany is ahead of Costa Rica (2:1) in the 17th minute from an wonderful finish from Miroslav Klose. The game is still young and 3 goals have already been scored. If you are not watching this match you are missing something!

For live matchcast click here.

More World Cup links:

* Live Blog: Germany vs. Costa Rica

* Multilingual world cup racism helpline.

* Soccer lounge.

* Spiegel’s World Cup blog.

Tag: , ,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the nation (and the world) on the occasion of the World Cup 2006 to be held in Germany. But she did it in style, like no head of nation has done before. She addressed in a video podcast. She stressed that new technologies like podcasts are not for the young generation alone. She is very happy to address this way and hopes to continue the podcasts to let people know how the German government works. She asked for readers (listeners) feedback via emails.

Just imagine, you don't have to depend on the mainstream media to access to a head of state's address. The world can change if the leaders start it.

The French house legend Bob Sinclar was little surprised when his song "Love Generation" was chosen last year by FIFA to promote its Mascot. the Germany 2006 mascot GOLEO VI, has his own album. Before a ball has even been kicked at the tournament, GOLEO has scored a No.1 hit with his first single from the album, 'Love Generation', recorded with Bob Sinclar. You can watch it here:

June 08, 2006


Its less than a day till the begin of the proceedings. But the football crazy nation just can't wait. Yesterday a local news paper had a headline in giant fonts "Did you buy chips? Have you enough beer at home? Remember, only two days left." The countdown has began long ago.

picture from Der Spiegel Yesterday Berlin staged a big party celebrating the opening of world cup festivities at the Brandenburg Gate. Over 200,000 fans gathered to celebrate the concerts from afternoon onwards and laser light shows at night. There were concerts featuring Nelly Furtado and Simple Minds amongst other prominent artists and an appearance by the Brazilian living football legend Pele. The fans also cherished documentaries about the history of world cup and the winning moments of Germany in the huge screens. The show was telecast live. The road from Brandenburger Gate upto the Grosser Stern (Strasse des 17. Juni) have been developed into a funfair with more than 10 giant screens. The roadsides are infested with food and souvenir shops and there are also many entertainment opportunities.

The atmosphere of the fest is very vibrant. As I was walking through the fanfest road today, I was amazed to see the crowd cheering the odd Ghana supporters passed by me. The place is well secured by physical checkup in the entry point. Most interesting thing is that in all the places people spoke English seeing that I am a foreigner. A couple of times I was cheered by the passers by as a Indianer (I didn't have the chance to correct the mistake).

All of the 12 host cities are all staging Fan Fest programs everyday showing World Cup games on giant screens and providing other entertainment for those who could not get a ticket for the matches. Notably the entrance is free for all in these places. I have also seen two other interesting places, one is the ADIDAS arena besides the German Parliament & another, the ZDF arena inside the Sony Center in the Potsdamer Platz. The Adidas arena is a replica of the Berlin olympic stadium (where the final would be played) and consists of four giant screens in the middle and 10000 seats for the viewers. People who have got no World cup match ticket can buy relatively less cost ticket here and get the vibe of a real stadium packed with 10000 fans.

Many pubs are advertising that they will show the match live on TV and side-by-side the menus for the guests. In tourist spots like the Europa center, makeshift multiple bear pubs have been set up with stages for live concerts. Suddenly there is more rush in the public transports and the bus and U-bahn in major areas are packed with people. Football fans are arriving and you can tell it by the looks of them, wearing sports T-shirts, blabbering every language in the world and sometimes carrying a map.

The last minute touchups are being done. Shops in major areas of Berlin city have been decorated on festive look. The construction sites are being covered with wooden partition with colorful posters as if hiding the scars.

Soccer teams have mostly arrived and some of them faced a chilled greeting as this year’s temperatures have been some of the coldest ever recorded in Germany. But they don’t need to worry, the weather is getting better. The Germans are disappointed that Michael Ballack, the captain is not playing in the opening game. Pele, Maradona and Claudia Schiffer will formally open the World Cup. Singer ToniBraxton combining with pop opera quartet Il Divo will sing the official tournament song, "The Time of Our Lives" in the opening ceremony tomorrow.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the world, the football fever is spreading. In Bangladesh, if you look upwards in the rooftops, you will be confused where you are. Because flags of the world cup playing countries, specially the Latin Americans are flying high.

The footballs to be used in the World Cup are made in Pakistan.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov appealed to the country's business leaders to let employees watch World Cup football matches.

Serbia and Montenegro will play as one team for the last time in this year’s World Cup.

More world cup links:

* The Football connoisseur's Guide.

* 10 ugliest World Cup footballers.

* The Germany survival guide for the world cup tourists.

June 07, 2006


Berlin is ready for the world cup! I am getting the heat of the football madness right at the ground zero of World Cup. Many street side decorations got the shape of a ball. Even the phone booths got one ball on the rooftop. And of course the famous TV tower (up) has been painted in the shape of a ball. Some cars are carrying flags of different world cup participant countries. The world cup supplements of many magazines and newspapers have swarmed the newspaper stands. And creativity has never had a more influential subject than football. Regular shops are selling football shaped candies, football shaped corn flakes and what not?

Shops will be kept open till 10 at night during the world cup for the tourists. Special brothels are ready to entertain some of the international guests. The public transport authority has issued special whole day tickets for the world cup fans. Shops will remain open till the late hours during the world cup. And suddenly (quite contrary to their habit) some Germans are trying to speak in English to foreigners. The city has put on a friendliness campaign like Berlinizer to lend a helping hand to the visiting tourists speaking their language.

Germany is expecting visit of millions of football fans during world cup. The June 9-July 9 tournament in 12 cities is expected to inject $12 billion in the dull economy. Some 50,000 jobs are expected to be created to help staff hotels, shops and venues hosting the games. But Germany has also many things to worry. Security is the top priority for the Germans. Recent attacks against the foreigners by right-wing radicals were much publicized. Every now and then it is reminded that 'Germany loves colors'. I hope this also remains after the world cup.

And the Germans have just gone crazy. They are trying to statistically prove that whenever Germany hosts world cup they wins. But they seem to ignore the fact that one number does not form a statistics trend(Germany has previously hosted the cup in 1974 and won). You can get the tune of their confidence in this poem:

Germany will win, there's no denying -
Everyone agrees, or else they're lying!

But the national team is yet to prove their fans confidence in the field. Although they had some wins in recent matches, they have drawn with Japan, a team low in WC ranking. But the fans expect that Germany will succeed for the fourth time in clinching the title. And the next 33 days, it will be a crazy ride for many.

After all who can escape the world cup madness?

Some useful world cup links:

* FIFA Worldcup official site.
* Complete match schedule.
* Fantasy world cup.
* World cup downloads.
* Joga Bonito - World's longest soccer video.
* World cup predictions.
* The World Cup Blog.
* We all speak football.

AsiaPundit is hosting this year's Asia Blog Awards Q1. The awards are based on the Japanese financial year, which ends on March 31, and nominations are now open for the April 1-June 30 period, full-year awards are to be based on the quarterly contests. Please nominate the best Bangladeshi blog in your view here and remember the last date is the 16th of June, 2006 (Samoan time). Any blog by a Bangladeshi based on original content is eligible. You can check this list of Bangladeshi blogs for reference.

Oh, and please note that you should leave my blog out. I am participating as a judge. So I am not eligible for this contest.

June 06, 2006


* The horrors really are your America, Mr Bush.

* Khamanei is wrong, Iran needs nukes to protect indepenedence, no matter who runs it.

* Bush on Pakistan and a Pakistan version of George Bush speechwirter.

* how did islam become an ideology?

* Bangladesh city introduces polygamy tax.

* Islamists set sights on Bangladesh.

* Why I think ClickFraud is far greater than imagined.

Today's date is the magic date. Is this the day of the devil or will this bring one luck? Nevertheless it is a day to remember. And what did you do to keep this day in your memory? The Stuttgarter Zeitung says that many couples in Baden-Württemberg chose this date to be their wedding date. Those who missed this date can wait thirteen month for 07.07.07.

Now that Bangladesh is connected to the submarine cable (SEA-ME-WE4) link to Internet, it is facing a new logistics challenge. According to this petition:

From the network risk prospective, SEA-ME-WE4 is a single-point of failure which can take the entire nation down as she becomes dependent on it’s virtues. This is why it is absolutely vital for Bangladesh government to take pre-emptive steps to get onboard with the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) consortium.

The AAG consortium represents a new undersea cable infrastructure that will provide Bangladesh with the ability to mitigate the single-point-of-failure risks associated with the SEA-ME-WE4 cable infrastructure. The AAG cable will connect Asia to the US from Malaysia to Hong Kong, the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and the US. It’s branches will also connect Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Vietnam.

The BTTB has recently turned down a low cost expansion offer of the existing capacity of SEA-ME-WE4. I doubt they will pay heed to this petition.

Update: According to the Daily Star, an anonymous BTTB official commented that political commitment is necessary to make it happen and there are vital time consuming issues like getting finance from International Finance Institutions and negotiating with AAG. Now who is to bell the cat?

June 04, 2006


Bangladesh has been flooded with conspiracy theories lately. The term conspiracy (n, a secret plan by a group of people to do something illegal or harmful) is misused by all and sundry. The textile workers are protesting, bombs went off in a cinema hall:- must be international conspiracies. It seems all that can not be explained or not to be explained logically are simply branded with the term 'international conspiracy'.

The latest international conspiracy was pronounced yesterday in newspapers by the Prime Minister’s son Tareq Rahman’s friend Giasuddin Al-Mamun. We have been hearing about these since years but Sunita Paul has written about him in the Asian Tribune on June 3, 2006 in an article on Election 2007 in Bangladesh:

Gias Uddin Al-Mamun, is one of the hated names in Bangladesh, who, just because of being Tareq Rahman’s friend, became one of the richest men in the country from extreme poverty status.

In recent years, it is alleged that Mamun has also established links with Indian intelligence agency and he now plays an important role in politically guiding Tareq in taking extremely pro-Indian stand. It was already reported in Bangladesh press that, Mamun maintains close relations with several Indian beauties, who are used by this man for gaining several favors for New Delhi from influential figures in Bangladesh.

Tareq according to reports is also a very potential prey for Mamun, which this young politician either fails to realize or simply ignores, because of some unknown fact. Mamun was the main figure in smuggling a few million dollars to Malaysia accrued illegally as alleged, from number of projects, which brought extremely bad reputation for Begum Khaleda Zia and her government.

Although some of the BNP leaders are now speaking against corruption, they too know for sure that, even Begum Khaleda Zia does not have the courage to arrest Mamun and send him to prison to face series of corruption charges.

Sunita Paul writes in a follow up that in a interview in a local newspaper Mamun termed the accusations of Sunita Paul as "an international conspiracy". She comments:

The statement of Giasuddin Al-Mamun proves that, these shameless corrupts are not only desperate in continuing their wrong doings, they almost know for sure that, under the protection of Tareq Rahman, BNP government will have no reason to take any action against them.

Well Mr. Mamun, is not it the time that you explain the source of your fortune instead of the conspiracy crap? I am waiting to hear BNP's comment about this issue.

It is good to see that traders and shopkeepers in Kolkata have been ordered to use Bengali in their signboards. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in 2001 had changed the name of the city from Calcutta to Kolkata, the Bengali original name.

Actually it looks like a fight back of the Bengalis in the West Bengal on the growing influence of Hindi & English, which are strangling the use of their mother language. But Nirmalya Nag says that the government has to do much more to put the emphasis back on Bengali:
Now, when flaunting your English speaking capability has become a fashion, the Left Front government has done precious little to ensure that none could pass the standard/class X without taking Bengali as a subject. Perhaps West Bengal is the only state in India where this system exists. ..... I was stunned to know that there could be an educated Bengali in Kolkata who does not know of Sukumar Ray's works.
In Bangladesh the situation is different. Bengali is the state language and the language of the government. The street signs and the vehicle number plates are in Bengali. But the educated Bangladeshis are also slowly decreasing their reading habits and ignoring literature. Blame it on the poor education system or the influence of TV, but this is a threat Bangladeshi societies need to address too to save the Bengali language.

June 03, 2006


* What exactly is a Blog, anyway?

* The 25 worst tech products of all time.

* Download great movies for free.

* The movie spoiler.

* Best democratic dreamscape - The Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

* Old aids pin-prick story comes to bangladesh.

* The dirt road to the information superhighway.

* Iran, you're next. Here we come!

This device is desperately needed in Dhaka. The $200 price tag looks expensive but might be feasible for a cluster of houses.

I missed being there, watching live the opening ceremonies of the Europe's largest train station, the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. The ceremonies included a live concert and a spectacular laser show which attracted some 500,000 people and the grand opening in the early hours of 27th of May (midnight of 26th) (video clip).

But I was also lucky because on that night hell broke loose as a 16 year old drunken schoolboy went on a knife stabbing frenzy among the spectators and injured 28 people. People were also shocked to learn that one of his first victims was a carrier of AIDS, prompting fears that all who suffered stab wounds and those who treated them can be affected with the tainted blood in the knife. Over 50 people will have to wait six month anxiously to know whether they are infected or not.

However I went there after a couple of days. It has five stories. The 2nd level of underground and the top level have many tracks in four directions. The three levels in between contain shops of all major international brands (from Mcdonalds to Espirit). The train informations are all on multiple digital screens in various places, which look better than many international airports. Only the loudspeakers are in a high volume and needs adjustment. The glass domes are three and a half football fields long. No wonder, it took ten years and billions of Euros to build it. Here are more pictures of the station from Flickr.

People used to know this station as Lehrter Hauptbahnhof (empty main station). Now it has been renamed to Hauptbahnhof. Berlin's Zoological Garden station has lost its importance. I was reminded by my co-rider in an S-bahn that it is a pride of the Berliners.

Dropping Knowledge, a Berlin based NGO has launched an interesting initiative. On September 9, 2006, 112 scientists, social entrepreneurs, philosophers, writers, artists and activists from around the world will be seated around a vast round-table in the historic Bebelplatz square. These inspiring individuals, renowned for their lasting creative, social or humanistic contribution will engage with 100 questions selected from the 'donate your question campaign' open to the global public.

So please donate your question and spread the word. I am looking forward to the answers. (via Metroblogging Berlin)

June 02, 2006


Listening to Shaheen Sheik. Check out the interview taken by Kiruba Shankar to know more about her.

French church in Berlin Musee Insel

In recent times the burning question has emerged regarding the religion Islam:

Is Islam compatible with democracy and human rights?

There are many views like the contra view, which tries to prove e.g. women are inferior under Islamic law. These views are contradicted by the pro view, which e.g. says:

The Qur'an, if approached holistically, promoted equal status for women. The verse often quoted by theologians to show inferior status of women is 4:34 and ignore verses like 2:228, 33:35 and several others or try to explain away them as merely promoting spiritual equality. It is far from true. The Qur'an taken as a whole is far more supportive of equality of sexes.

Avari draws an analogy that:

Percentage of Muslims who live in democracies: 52%, so by democratic standards, Islam is democratic.

A commentator in Avari's blog says:

The issue of democracy- and the rejection of democracy- is only an issue in the Arab world. As many here have said, Islam is not incompatible with democracy. Thus, it should come as no surprise that dysfunctional Arab regimes- tyrannies- work overtime to displace that idea from their own people.

Perhaps it is pertinent to mention that Bangladesh, a democracy with majority Muslims has a women head of state, which is quite unthinkable in an Arab state.