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

September 29, 2007

England vs Sri Lanka, South Africa vs Pakistan, and Australia vs India: Its a feast of cricket

After the successful completion of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, we now head towards the 2007-2008 cricket season. Just as I write the tours of the England in Sri Lanka, South Africa in Pakistan, and Australia in India is in progress. We will see some exciting cricket in the coming month.

Too bad will have to wait for Bangladesh's game till December when they tour New Zealand. But nonetheless we will have plenty of cricket to be occupied with.

I will have to again settle for the free online streaming video and audio link sources to watch these games. Will update these when I get the time.

Today Australia is taking on India for a day-night one-dayer. They are fuming for a revenge and lets see how they go about it.

Myanmar (Burma) - Pictures tell a thousand words

Watch video of the reported sniper murder of Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai (via Hot Air)

Burma is boiling with the saffron revolution lead by the Monks. The Military Junta is resorting to Genocide to cull the protests. Many unconfirmed deaths reported. These pictures will tell you what is happening there.

(Photo courtesy Burma-Myanmar Genocide 2007)

The difference between the 1988 pro-democracy protests and the recent protests are that
the Myanmar Bloggers
are taking to the task of telling the stories to the world. Pajamas Media pays tribute to the pro-democracy bloggers. However the Junta was quick to react by cutting the Internet connections.

Ex-Czech President Václav Havel writes a brilliant piece slamming the inactions of the International community. Some excerpts:
How many times and in how many places has this now happened? Worse, however, is the number of countries that find it convenient to avert their eyes and ears from the deathly silence with which this Asian country chooses to present itself to the outside world.

On a daily basis, at a great many international and scholarly conferences all over the world, we can hear learned debates about human rights and emotional proclamations in their defense. So how is it possible that the international community remains incapable of responding effectively to dissuade Burma's military rulers from escalating the force that they have begun to unleash in Rangoon and its Buddhist temples?
Expressing my solidarity with the pro-democracy campaigners of Burma hoping that the International community acts rather sooner than later.

September 27, 2007


September 26, 2007

Free Cartoonist Arifur Rahman

Calling for an international campaign to free the Bangladeshi cartoonist Arifur Rahman who was detained for his harmless statirical cartoon published in Alpin, the satirical supplement of the Bangla Daily Prothom Alo. He is only twenty years old.

Backgrounds on this:

- Bangladesh: yet another Muhammad cartoon controversy

- Attack against freedom of speech: Bangladesh cartoon controversy update

The Bangladeshi Bloggers have pressed for Arifur Rahman's release whereas the Bangladeshi media people are silent about their colleague. I wonder what is keeping them.

* Shourav did the splendid banner above and called for support. (Anybody can use it under creative commons)

Other bloggers chimed in:

* Some more bloggers in Bangla blogging platform "Bandh Bhanger Awaaj"

* Mash at "Or how I learned to stop worrying"

* Addafication

* Dhaka Shohor

* Voice of Bangladeshi Bloggers

- In the Middle of Nowhere who also ask to free Nurul Islam, the Bangladeshi aid worker (BRAC) kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Talibans.

- Serious Golmal

- Unheard Voices

- Tacit

Many international organizations demanded the release of Arifur Rahman:

- Reporters without border (RSF) - Cartoonist arrested over harmless play on name Mohammed. Excerpts:
"The play on words had no intention of attacking the Prophet," Reporters Without Borders said "It was a joke about a cultural custom. The government should not yield to pressure from extremist leaders who are trying to politicize the case. Rahman should not be made a scapegoat. He must be freed."
- International Press Institute (IPI) protests jailing of Cartoonist in Bangladesh and suspension of publication of satirical weekly. Excerpts:
IPI would like to remind Your Excellency that the state of emergency imposed in January after the cancellation of the general election is not an excuse to restrict press freedom. With a general election planned for the end of 2008, it is vital that the country’s citizens have access to information and that the media is free to report facts and express opinions.
- Mukto-Mona condemns the arrest of cartoonist Arifur Rahman. Excerpts:
Thanks to the army & fundamentalists' combined efforts, Mr Rahman's life is now threatened inside or outside prison. What should have been a funny cartoon for people to laugh at has suddenly turned into a matter of life and death for a man whose only attempt was to provide readers amusements. Mukto-Mona demands the immediate release of Mr Arifur Rahman and for protection to be provided to him.
Please show your support for Arifur Rahman by putting the badge on your blog.

Join the facebook group to get the updates.

September 25, 2007

Today's Links

* Believe it or not: The strange power of reality TV.

* South Asia slow to hop on broadband bandwagon.

* U.S. Tells Bangladesh to restore democracy at the earliest.

* Bangladesh to militarize education

* Bangladesh govt may outstay welcome - Commonwealth

* Khilafatists march against press freedom in Dhaka.

YouTube video of the day

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: There are no homosexuals in Iran

Now playing

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Listening to Spiritual vibes via Luzidium

September 24, 2007

Picture of the day: the birthday girl

Twenty20 World Cricket Championship: India vs Pakistan dream final

Today India and Pakistan will engage in a dream final contest at the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. This is the script every cricket tournament organizers want to write, but never happened before. The neighbors feel about the game, the supremacy over one-another with a sense of rivalry zealot and of course with great enthusiasm. The 30,000 tickets of the ground has already been sold out and no wonder millions of fans in India, Pakistan and across the world will be glued to Televisions, radios, desktops, laptops to follow this match. This match has been already dubbed as the perfect final and the mother of all matches.

Update: And what a great final it was! King Cricket wonders "How can a mere 40 overs of cricket contain so many twists and turns?" India won the match by 5 runs. The match had to be decided in the last over when Misbah-ul-Haq played an improvised shot behind the keeper but mistimed and was caught by Sreesanth. India did well in the bowling department and there was no batsmen remaining for Pakistan to play the last 3 balls to score 6 runs. Catch the highlights if you have missed the actions. "What a brilliant tournament and what a brilliant final!"

It was a triumph for cricket. The Hero of the final - everyone. It has been so much fun for the spectators, players, organizers and sponsors.

Money will be flowing on the Indian team for their victory. The Indian team has been awarded a bonus of US$ 3 million. Yuvraj Singh will receive a cash award of Rs 1 crore [US$ 253,000] for hitting six sixes in an over in the match against England.

Patrick Kidd at Times Online has some interesting comparisons of World Twenty20 with the ODI World Cup.

The Googly compiles their choice of the team of the tournament. Whats your pick?

Quote of the day

"Bangladesh has regularly paid its debts, expanded exports and are now being punished for its success"

- Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, the recently appointed permanent representative of Bangladesh to the UN offices in Geneva, via Jubilee Debt Campaign

September 21, 2007

Minus three formula?

Ex-president (dictator) Ershad has been tipped for an ambassador post in China. But he has to retire from politics beforehand. Time limit for his decision has been set up to October. If he decides against it more dismissed trials against him will be invoked again.

- This rumor is brought to you by the official propaganda machine.


Minus two formula in effect

September 20, 2007

Attack against freedom of speech: Bangladesh cartoon controversy update

(Cross posted in E-Bangladesh)

The issue gets complicated as:
* The Government asks Prothom Alo publishers to suspend the publication of the newspaper’s weekly satire supplement Alpin.

* The Dhaka district magistrate asked the publishers to explain within two weeks why the publication of Alpin would not be banned and legal action would not be taken against the publisher.

* Three cases were filed Thursday with different courts against the editor, publisher and cartoonist of Bangla daily Prothom Alo.

* Religious groups postponed their planned demonstration in front of the Baitul Mukarram mosque on Friday after a meeting with the daily’s editor.

* In one of the three cases filed Thursday, officer-in-charge of Tejgaon police, Jan-e Alam brought blasphemy charge against the cartoonist, Arifur Rahman in Dhaka. A madrassah official in Chittagong brought sedition charge against editor of the daily Matiur Rahman, publisher Mahfuz Anam and the cartoonist while a lawyer in Comilla accused the three of violating emergency power rules. (The new age)
This is clearly a hypocrisy as 9 years ago, a similar cartoon was published in Bangladesh by Chattra Shibir, the Student wing of the Islamist party Jamaat-E-Islami. Where was religious feelings then? And why no case is filed against the Islami Chattro Shibir?

We saw more drama today. Rumi of In the middle of Nowhere describes this picture:
The all powerful editor of the most circulated daily in Bangladesh, Mr Motiur Rahman, is begging apology, knees bent, to the boss of the bigots and the head Islamist of Bangladesh, Khatib Obaidul Haque. Supervising the apology ceremony is none other than the information advisor (Minister) of Bangladesh, Mr Moinul Hossain.
Very worrying sign indeed.

The adviser, Barrister Mainul Hosein, has publicly and on the record stated that there is a deep conspiracy to destabilize the country with this single cartoon. Sada Kalo has this to say to him:
Mr. Hosein, if I may offer some advice: if there is a conspiracy, you don't have to look too far. See the pictures of the people burning newspapers and protesting outside the mosques? They are the people who took a cartoon, which may be offensive to some people, and blew it out of all proportion.

Mr. Hosein, you are playing into the hand of these fundamentalists. I understand mobilizing the army or police against these kath-mollas would be counter-productive, but at least shut your mouth and don't give them any more ammunition.

Another strong blow to freedom of speech:

Saptahik2000, a popular magazine's Eid supplement was taken off shelves because of a memoir of exiled writer Daud Haider. The news paper report was that he compared Kaaba Shareef of Mecca with a brothel.

The Bangla blogosphere were quick to find out the truth. It was these lines of Daud Haider:

"I have come to Lukhnow, shouldn't I visit the Baiji's house (traditional dance hall; hat tip Mash)? What will people say if I don't. If anybody travels to Mecca, is it befitting not to visit Kaaba Shareef?"

It seems some people can't read the fine prints and sniff religious provocations everywhere. Rumi explains in comments section about Baiji Bari:
He looked for baiji bari (house). And he was told those old traditional baiji bari, where classic music and dance by very well trained professional musicians used to entertain the elites of the society, is no longer existent. Some brothel run here and there with the name of baiji Bari.
Daud Haider, who is renowned for his phrase "birth is my life-long sin" is a renowned poet of Bangladesh. In March 1975 poet Daud Haider published a poem in Daily Sangbad tiltled "Kalo Shurjer, Kalo Jotsnai Kalo Bonnai" which contained remarks against religious values. In independent Bangladesh the fundamentalists first showed their strength by protesting in front of Baitul Mukarrom Mosque and some fatwa was declared against him declaring him Murtad. He is on self exile till then and now living in Berlin, Germany.

It may be reminded here that the Shaptahik 2000 is a publication of the Prothom Alo group. The Daily Amar Desh reports:
Shaptahik 2000 authorities apologized for the inadvertent mistake in the publication and said that it has withdrawn the issue. There was also a press note of Islamic Shashontontro andolon who said by comparing Kaaba Shareef with brothel the magazine has attacked the Iman of the whole Muslim nation. They demanded cancellation of the declaration of Prothom Alo
Now we are getting somewhere. It seems that certain quarters are targeting the Daily Prothom Alo and the Daily Star who were vocal against the fundamentalists in the past decade.

In another move today the Government has set some guidelines for TV talk shows:
* Television stations will not air more than three to four talk shows a week and edit them before put them on the air. That means there will be no live talk shows, sms or phone-ins.

* Producers will consider only businessmen, educationists and intellectuals as potential guests and the debates will focus on nothing else but cultural, economic, social and educational issues.
What is there to speak except from praising the lord in the month of Ramadan? Welcome to the Hirok Rajar Desh.

Update I: Daud Haider clears his position in an interview broadcast in Bangla TV, UK:

"I do not possess the mentality to utter derogatory remarks against Islam. I did not compare Islam or Kaaba Shareef with anything". He also comments that the present government is running the country in consultation with the anti-independence force Jamaat-Shibir. He says if the uneducated bigot Mullahs (clerics) become judge of arts and culture then all the progressive publications will shut down. He also urged his countrymen to save the country from these fundamentalists and uneducated clerics.

Twenty20 World Cricket Championship: way to the semi-finals

We saw some extraordinary games and performances in this tournament. Some snippets of todays (September 20, 2007) games:

India vs. South Africa: Would you believe it, they are into the semis with a big bang by beating England yesterday and South Africa today. As Patrick Kid in Times Online Cricket Blog puts it "Six reasons why India are back in business".

See Yuvraj Singh's Twenty20 record of 6 sixes and over in the previous match against England.

Today they not only brilliantly outplayed strong contender South Africa but they have eliminated them out of the tournament. Ouch that will hurt South Africa. And New Zealand will be thanking India.

Pakistan vs. Bangladesh: Bangladesh was 20-30 runs short of an affordable victory against Pakistan. People say Pakistan did not look convincing as a Trophy contender although they finished at top of the group. But one thing people forget that Bangladesh has become competitive now a days. The talent is there, the experience is enriching. They just need some good battle plan and strong nerves. Everybody was impressed with the Bangladesh debutant opener Junaid Siddique who won the man of the match award for his brilliant 71 in 49 balls. He has sound techniques and right temperament. I think Ashraful was a bid unlucky with the lbw decision and there were some unlucky runouts. We often forget about the factor luck in one game. But as Ashraful said this was a decent tournament for Bangladesh.

Australia vs Sri Lanka: Clinical performance I should say. The team possesses some thinking cricketer. Before taking on Bangladesh they studied Bangladesh team from the field (watching Bangladesh's match with South Africa). Then they found out Bangladeshi players inability to play with short balls and strangled Bangladesh with their bowling in the match against Bangladesh. Today they did the same. Sri Lanka thought they could take on Australian bowling by attacking from the start. But Australia could chip some early wickets and Srilanka lost its way. It was an one sided match in the end.

So the qualifiers of the semis are India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand. Looking forward to see some exciting match in the Semi finals and the final. We may even see a India - Pakistan final!

September 19, 2007

Bangladesh declares open sky at the expense of the local aviation industry

The news was on last week that Bangladesh Government was considering to declare Bangladesh an open sky for two months. That means foreign airlines will operate as many flights as they want as current restrictions on numbers of their flights to protect the local industry is lifted.

The reason: to clear a backlog of 150,000 Bangladeshis who have jobs waiting in Malaysia and Middle East but no flights to get them there. And still Biman Bangladesh is a losing concern running operations in unprofitable locations with insufficient old carriers and over numbered inefficient staffs.

It was confirmed today in ATN news channel (via Mezba).

I had recently acquired an insider info on Biman that its curtailing of 6000 employees was actually due to a prescription of a likely joint-venture bid with a foreign carrier as Biman is thinking of privatization.

Meanwhile some retired Biman officials are trying to float a private Airlines to fill the voids of Biman. "The routes to Narita, New York, Frankfurt and Paris are some of the profitable ones that Biman Bangladesh Airlines kept suspended and we have a plan to operate for those destinations," said the ex-MD of Biman who is heading the initiative. (Report: Daily Star)

Here is an appeal to salvage Biman. But it seem to be plunging into oblivion only with no rescue in sight.

September 18, 2007

Is Bangladesh blocking access to Google?

In the wake of recent ban of Google and Gmail by Iran authorities concerns mounted in Bangladesh this month as people had difficulties to access Google properties. The problem is still persisting. Here is my analysis published in E-Bangladesh.

Bangladesh: yet another Muhammad cartoon controversy

Alpin is one satirical cartoon supplement of the Daily Prothom Alo, which claims to be the most popular Bangla Newspaper in Bangladesh. In the 6th page of its 431st issue a cartoon titled 'name' was published (on Monday, September 17, 2007) which created much controversy in Bangladesh.

So what was in that cartoon? The controversy is not in the picture, rather in the text. The Bangla blogosphere took on this issue right from the beginning.

The text of the cartoon is a conversation between a boy and an aged person. Sudharam Sadhu posts the texts in his blog:
* Boy, what is your name?
- My name is Babu.
* It is customary to mention Muhammad before the name

* What is your father's name?
- Muhammad Abu

* What's this in your lap?
- Muhammad cat
(Here is the cartoon)

This appears to satire the culture of the use of Muhammad in Muslim names and nothing to disgrace the prophet itself.

However the Islamist political parties thought otherwise. The Daily Naya Diganta reports that Khelafot Andolon had protested aginst this at Baitul Mokarram Mosque in Dhaka by burning copies of Prothom Alo. Its Ameer, Maulana Shah Ahmadullah Ashraf stated:
(that) the cartoon indicates disgrace of the Muslim prophet by naming a cat 'Muhammad'. Similar to the Danish Cartoon incident prophet Muhammad has been defamed in Muslim majority Bangladesh. He says Muslims use Muhammad in their names to pay the respect to the prophet. He demanded Prothom Alo to seek apology to the nation otherwise they demanded the Government to take strong action against Prothom Alo."
No doubt this has instigated many people to react strongly against this newspaper. Check the comments section of the Daily Amar Desh report to get an idea about the outrage. You will also laugh at some stupid comments and I wonder how this newspaper approved them-probably they have a personal vendetta against Prothom Alo.

Prothom Alo gave in to all this and published an apology today:
We apologize and are extremely sorry:

...inadvertently an unedited, unapproved and unacceptable cartoon titled 'name' was published...we are withdrawing the cartoon...and taking actions against the persons responsible for this.
Wow! Note the emphasis (added), they just don't want to face this and blame somebody else! They have removed the Monday's publications from their archives. What an escapist move!

Arif Jebtik slams Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman for his actions of suspending the editor of Alpin for his rescue:
I have seen the real character of the intelects of this country who cries out for Freedom of expression, freedom of speech and such popular tags in Matiur Rahman's actions.
However the Bangla Blogosphere is divided over this issue. Hasib comments on Sudharam's post:
This is an innocent cartoon. It is evident that the target is not the prophet himself. The retarded ones should read the texts again.
Tirondaz says:

The protests against these cartoons show the opportunist intentions of the political Islam. I have no support for these kinds of protests.
While Ummu Abdullah says:
Prothom Alo apologized, so the issue is over. The apology indicates they are also in doubt. This victory is for Bangladeshis. I welcome the protests.
Ziner Badshah comments in the above post:
In our parts of the world people add Muhammad to their names to respect the prophet...there is nothing religious about it...even if it is it does not add any value to anyone...but defaming this culture is like the same as destroying the Bamian heritage in Afghanistan by the Talibans.
And what a reaction was from the Caretaker Government! BDNews24.com reports that the Government has banned the debated issue of Alpin and more worryingly detained Arifur Rahman, the creator of the cartoon. The Press and Information Department (PID) said in a statement that the cartoon hurts the feeling of the citizens.

Kowsheek Ahmed is outraged by this action of the Government:
"Arifur Rahman achieved many awards for his cartoon. This time for a innocuous cartoon he was made victim of self proclaimed defenders of religious feelings. Now a days satire cartoonists are prone to these kinds of attacks. But this is happening in this dire time when we are crying that we are being more tolerant, claiming all piece of the world is embedded in this religion. The Alpin issue has been banned and the editor was suspended.

How strange are our realizations. After the 22nd August revolution the Government has become so narrow in their views that a mere cat has instilled fear in them."
For more hot buzz on this issue please read the Bangla Blogging platforms "Bandh Bhanger Awaaj" and "Sachalayatan".

Cross posted in E-Bangladesh and Global Voices Online.

Update:International reactions:

* Reports in IHT, Yahoo News, Press TV, Kuwait Times, Hindustan Times.

* The folks at LGF has got something to cheer about.
A commenter says:
They got upset over that? Good lord, these people are idiots! It's a mild cultural comment, it doesn't involve religion at all.
Idiots! Idiots! I'm falling into despair. Can no one in Bangladesh think?

Update II: Reporters without borders picked up this story and demanded release of Arifur Rahman.

Update III: This debate just got more interesting. The Bangla Blogosphere is just great, they dug out a similar cartoon published in Bangladesh by Chattra Shibir, the Student wing of the Islamist party Jamaat-E-Islami. Saleem Samad writes in E-Bangladesh:

Day later the blogger’s in Bangladesh have stumbled into a nine-year old juvenile magazine “Kishore Kantha” published by pro-Islamist Chattra Shibir, the student wing of dreaded Jamaat-e-Islami.

Now that we know the history of the cartoon published in Prothom Alo, can we anticipate the FUA-MUA will also take action against the contributor madrassah student Mohammad Masud and the editors Matiur Rahman Akhand (chief editor), Ehsanul Mahmud Zubayer (editor) and Sirajul Islam Shahin (executive editor).

The cartoon in the pro-Islamist juvenile magazine was contributed by a student of a notorious Madrassah in Amirabad, Feni in November 1998. Why nobody bothered? Rather interpret - nobody dared to raise the issue of “hurting the feeling of Muslims.”

September 17, 2007

Today's Links

September 15, 2007

Blogger Play is fun!

"Blogger Play will show you a never-ending stream of images (in slide show) that were just uploaded to public Blogger blogs. You can click the image to be taken directly to the blog post it was uploaded to, or click “show info” to see an overlay with the post title, a snippet of the body, and some profile information about the blogger who uploaded it."

- Via Blogger Buzz

Twenty20 World Cricket Championship: Bangladesh vs. South Africa

Looking forward to watching this match. BBC says that South Africa weeks revenge for their last World Cup 2007 defeat by Bangladesh. But Bangladesh only have victory in mind as it asserts that its Win over the West Indies was no surprise but continuation of development. Cricinfo predicts chances of rain so pace bowlers will find the conditions suitable for them.

Today's (Sep 15, 2007) South Africa v Bangladesh match at Cape Town is scheduled to begin at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT).

I watched the India Pakistan match in Sky Sports 1 via sopcast seamlessly. Will be tuning in today also.

Some more links (will work when match starts):

- Sopcast
- Msn India Cricket

September 14, 2007

Twenty20 World Cricket Championship: India vs Pakistan match

Watching the game live via sopcast and stats via cricinfo. India was put to bat by Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik and they lost Gambhir in the first over and Sehwag in the 3rd over. India is 9/2 in 2.1 overs. The game promises some scintillating cricket.

Those who want to know how to download sopcast please check this post.

Well well what a match this has been. Those who did not watch it missed all the excitements. After being down to 36/4 India posted a respectable total opf 141/9 in 20 overs. Pakistan started well in reply but India came back with tight bowling and after 17.4 overs when they lost Afridi and were down to 103/6 it looked like they will not make it. but Pakistan clawed back in the last three overs and they have tied the match with 141/7 in 20 overs.

And then something happened which I have never seen before. The match was decided by a bowl out. In this tie breaker like football each team has to nominate five players who will bowl at a set of stumps over 22 yards. Each team will have alternate attempts at hitting the stumps and the team with the most hits wins.

Here are the proceedings via Cricinfo:
Round 1

Sehwag is up first for India. Dhoni waits behind the stumps. Sehwag has a big grin on his face. Sehwag runs in, bowls flat and fast and hits the stumps.

Arafat gets ready for his turn. He bowls a full toss that misses off stump.

India lead 1-0 after the first round.

Round 2

Harbhajan bowls quick and straight and hits. He's delighted and celebrates like he's taken a wicket, or scored a penalty.

Gul runs in off a short run up and also misses the stumps. The Indians love it.

India lead 2-0 after the second round. Massive pressure on Pakistan.

Round 3

Robin Uthappa runs in, bowls seam up and knocks the stumps over. He takes off his cap and bows to the crowd.

Pakistan have to hit the stumps with all their three remaining chances to stay in the bowl-out. If India hit one more time, they will win.

Here comes Afridi and he fires it down leg side! India have won the match 3-0 through a bowl-out after the proper match ended in a thrilling tie!
Video Highlights of the India - Pakistan match are here.

September 13, 2007

Hurray! Bangladesh won

What a game it was! Bangladesh hinted an upset against West Indies during the first over when Syed Rasel got the danger man Chris Gayle out. The bowling performance was brilliant and dull on some occasions. But most importantly they kept the West Indies batsmen within 164. I thought they could have restricted them within 140 if Samuels and Smith did not hit those hattrick sixes from Ahsraful's bowling. Aftab also dropped Chandrapaul and did some mis-fields. But what an innings was from both of them. With Aftab's 62* in 49 balls and Ashraful's brilliant 61 from only 27 balls Bangladesh cruised to victory in over 2 overs to spare. Ashraful made a record - the quickest fifty in Twenty20 games.

(Wallpaper: courtesy Cricinfo.com)

With this result Bangladesh storms into the second round and West Indies are out of the tournament. This really was a tough group and feeling pretty sorry for West Indies. I think they should won the first game with South Africa as they were in a superb position.

Here is the ball-by-ball match proceedings from Crioinfo. The highlights of the Bangladesh-West Indies match is here. No wonder the Bangladeshi blogosphere and the folks at Bangla Cricket are celebrating.

Congratulation Boys! Something to cheer about amidst all those disheartening news.

Update: Cricinfo's Edward Craig analyzes Bangladesh's performance and vouches Ashraful's statement that there is more to come from Bangladesh:
Everyone had better be wary of Bangladesh. Big boys may bully these teams at Test level, where all that matters is 20 wickets. Take that out of the equation and magnify the importance of fielding and any well-drilled side can compete.

Bangladesh's simple gameplan - bowl length, field well, hit and run hard - is what won it. They came into this match and this tournament with a plan, each member of the team knowing his role.

This tournament has achieved what the ICC has been trying to do for years, made every team competitive. Ashraful backs this up: "We have been beating big teams regularly over the last year and when people say it is an upset or a one-off it doesn't make sense. We have made the Super 8s in two big tournaments this year and it is about time they stop calling us a minnow. There is more to come from Bangladesh."

Bangladesh will make the semi-finals, you read it here first.
Well Edward lets hope you are right and Bangladesh plays up to your expectation.

Abolish road signs to improve traffic?

The title may sound absurd, but the scientists have put their trust on controlled chaos theory. According to Der Spiegel:
European traffic planners are dreaming of streets free of rules and directives. They want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren -- by means of friendly gestures, nods of the head and eye contact, without the harassment of prohibitions, restrictions and warning signs.

(Image courtesy Wikipedia)

They have tried this system in seven European cities and found that:
Unsafe is safe: the result is that drivers find themselves enclosed by a corset of prescriptions, so that they develop a kind of tunnel vision: They're constantly in search of their own advantage, and their good manners go out the window.

The new traffic model's advocates believe the only way out of this vicious circle is to give drivers more liberty and encourage them to take responsibility for themselves. They demand streets like those during the Middle Ages, when horse-drawn chariots, handcarts and people scurried about in a completely unregulated fashion. The new model's proponents envision today's drivers and pedestrians blending into a colorful and peaceful traffic stream.
So after the testing phase the German town of Bohmte in the Lower Saxony State is getting rid of its road signs in a bid to cut accidents.

I have seen in Germany that people expect that one will follow the rule like giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists while turning right. But cyclists often do not press the brakes even if it has enough time to avoid a car ignoring the priority. So I hope with this system these kind of laid down approach will be changed.

It would be interesting to test this model In Bangladesh where most of the traffic signs don't work anyway and people do adapt to this kind of controlled chaos only partially.

September 12, 2007

Bangladesh on Tsunami alert

According to weather office in Dhaka a tsunami may hit Bangladesh coastal lines after Wednesday midnight following an earthquake measuring 8.2 in Richter scale near southern Sumatra of Indonesia. The earthquake was also felt in Comilla, Noakhali, Chittagong and neighboring districts in Bangladesh.

BDNews24 informs that the Malaysian authorities reported a tsunami measuring 1-3 meters in height and heading away from the epicenter of the quake. The region had been put on Tsunami alert.

The Bangladesh government issued a tsunami warning for all of it's coastal regions, urging people to take shelter in safer ground. Reports in Bangladesh now says that around 3am this morning, a wave 2 to 3 ft higher than regular ones will hit Teknaf, Sandweep and neighboring areas.

Police have used loud-hailers from 8:00pm night (14:00 GMT) in Sandweep, a coastal island. AFP reports quoting the police chief of Sandweep that ao far some 70,000 people have been evacuated to cyclone shelters, colleges, schools and government administrative buildings.

The Pacific Tsunami warning center’s message says:



Meanwhile Tsunami warnings have been withdrawn in Indonesia and India.

It is great that the Bangladesh authorities have already warned so that people have sufficient time to take precaution and avoid presence in coastal lines.

Latest reports confirm that the Government has replaced the Tsunami warnings to a tidal surge as the Tsunami waves did not occur after two hours of the estimated time.

(Crossposted in E-Bangladesh)

Cricket:- Twenty20 World Cup - South Africa vs West Indies match highlights

Yesterday was the curtain raiser of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup. And what a exciting match was the South Africa vs West Indies one. I watched the match live via sopcast ( espn live stream at channel no. 10912) without trouble till about the last phase of the South African Innings. Then I had to switch to the BBC live audio broadcast. It was a feast of runs and butchery of bowlers by the batsmen.

Scott Wickstein aptly puts it:
I remember back in the day when going at 5 runs an over was a fair rate of knots. In this brave new world of Twenty-20, even 10 an over isn’t always enough, as the West Indies found out this morning. Pity Chris Gayle, who scored the first ever International century in this form of the game, 117 off 57, and still ended up on the losing side.
Well in case if you missed it don't forget to check the video of highlights of South Africa vs West Indies match. Especially Gayle's innings is a memorable one as one BBC commentator said its worth telling "we were there to witness this".

The Googly accuses the West Indies fielding for their defeat. They dropped crucial catches.

Today we have three matches. Stay tuned to these exciting games.

September 10, 2007

Propaganda: threat to rebuke dissent in a foreign land

This news was overlooked by many Bangladeshis. A news article have been published in one popular Bangladeshi newspaper the Daily Ittefaq, owned by one of the advisers of the Caretaker Government which warns against the dissents against the Governments actions among Bangladeshi diaspora communities in USA. Some excerpts (translated by Rumi Ahmed):
It has been learned that a list is being prepared of those who are protesting the arrest and demanding the release of those arrested in Bangladesh for corruption, nepotism and massive looting with abuse of state power....Three officials from a special law enforcement agency of Bangladesh have already arrived in New York on a special mission. These intelligence agents are contacting professional, political and community leaders and are collecting from various sources the names-addresses as well as the immigration status of the organizers of these protests. According to a reliable source in the Bangladesh embassy in Washington, it will not be at all difficult for the intelligence agents to track a handful of expatriate Bangladeshis. Full details of these protesters will be sent to airports and respective police stations in Bangladesh. The same source also informs us that naturalized American citizens will also not be spared as their photo along with video footage will be sent to special law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh. In addition, those expatriates who under the banner of news agencies, and without any basis and with ill motive, write in our local newspapers inflammatory and negative stories that damage the image of our country will also be tracked.
Mash reports:
A similar report appeared in Jonomot, a weekly Bengali language newspaper published in London, England. The report in Jonomot claimed that a similar intelligence team had been dispatched to the United Kingdom to collect information on protesters there.
He posts and excellent rebuttal of this propaganda in Daily KOS and E-Bangladesh titled "I will not be silenced":
The latest report in the Ittefaq serves to further intimidate those in the West who are protesting the Bangladesh military government's suppression of fundamental rights. If the report is correct and Bangladesh has indeed dispatched intelligence agents to the United States to spy on Bangladeshi nationals and US citizens of Bangladeshi origin, it is almost certainly a violation of US laws. The United States government should take immediate steps to protect the rights of its citizens against foreign government spying.

Protest and dissent are fundamental to the health of a democracy. It is the violation of human rights that defame the image of Bangladesh, not the reporting of them.
This shows the absurdity of the propagandists who fail to realize that these types of reports can create a diplomatic incident with those countries involved and put the Bangladesh Government in a more awkward position. This kind of immature report is unacceptable from a leading Daily like Ittefaq and I am sure the report has no merit. One may as well question the reasons behind publication of these reports.

Picture of the day: shelter

This is a typical cellar door found in all private apartment blocks and large private houses in Switzerland. After the Second World War and especially during the cold wars it was mandatory to build blast shelters inside cellars. In Switzerland the lightest shelters are constructed of stainless steel.

Twenty20 World Cricket Championship watch and listen online: free live streaming audio & video links & ball-by-ball commentary

The ICC Twenty20 World Championship will be starting from tomorrow. But I will not be able to watch it on TV as I don't get the channels here through local cable feeds and I am not ready to spend a lot of money installing required subscription enabled sat receiver scrapping the old one. So again I am resorting to the net for the video. And of course I will be hearing BBC commentaries while I am working.

I have a high quality internet connection but sometimes I do not get quality feeds, and frequent stuck ups of the stream can annoy but nevertheless something is better than nothing.

Here are a few relevant links for those who have to follow the matches online :

# Free audio streaming links:

* BBC Sports -Cricket for complete coverage from the BBC with live audio feeds, video highlights, feature stories, picture galleries, or have your say in the online forum. Please click on the Live link and on the next page click on "Live Test Match Special audio" to hear the commentary. Another link "BBC Five Live Sports Extra".

* Listen to live audio feeds from Sportingo.

* MSN India - Cricket

# Free video streaming links:

* Fabulous links from Kalyan's Blog.

* Search for Nepali Students Bergen's embedded video link. It will be up soon.

* Sopcast: Please download sopcast from here. Then find live video cricket broadcasts from the channels list and click on any one of them. Wait a few moments and you can watch clear free live video of the match in full screen mode.

* Live Webcast from Tamil audio-video.

* All TV channels Online - for free sopcast streaming

* Some more links from Thinkers On Move Blog.

# Updates via sms:

Receive wicket, score and milestone updates via sms during the test match from Cricket-Online.com

# Exclusives and ball-by-ball commentary in Internet portals:

- Cricinfo.com
- StickyWicket.com
- Cricket365.com
- 123 India.com
- CricketWorld.com
- CricketZone.com
- Crick8.com
- Cricketnext.com

# Other necessary links:

* ICC World Twenty20 South Africa 2007 - official site

* ICC World Twenty20, 2007/08 match schedule

* Twenty20 World Cup - Information, News and discussions

* Twenty20 World Cup 2007 match results

* Twenty20 World Cup coverage in Bangla Cricket

* Cricket 20: the home of Twenty20 cricket

, , ,

Indoor politics is back in Bangladesh: what next?

At last the stranglehold on Bangladesh politics has been relaxed for the better. Today the chief of Caretaker (interim) Government has declared in a televised speech to the nation that:

* announced an end to a long-running ban on indoor politics from Monday.
* no more cases would be filed and nobody would be harassed in connection with the incidents at Dhaka University and other public universities across the country late August.
* the national taskforce on corruption would not publish any new list of corruption suspects after the current month.
* there may be some mistakes his government made as there were mistakes by any government.
* repeated his pledge to transfer power to elected public representatives after arranging the elections by the 2008 deadline.

(video courtesy Voice of Bangladeshi Bloggers)

But what sort of politics can we expect when the supreme leaders of the major political parties are behind bars? There are already split within major parties. The Economist slammed the apparent minus two solution and comments:
this is not a country preparing for a return to democratic politics. The BNP is in a mess. Hours before her arrest, Khaleda Zia expelled Mannan Bhuiyan, the BNP's secretary-general, for “a conspiracy to split the party”. The League, for its part, has found it impossible to part with Sheikh Hasina, who remains popular. No self-respecting politician will enter the fray while the army runs the show. Mohammad Yunus, a Nobel-prize-winning microcredit pioneer once seen as a potential candidate to fill the political vacuum, floated a party earlier in the year, but has scrapped plans to enter politics.

...diplomats say that the present regime is “the only game in town”. The generals' secular stance and tough opposition to Islamist extremism still make them attractive to Western governments. But with the two big parties decapitated, the fear is that the Islamists, both the mainstream and a more radical margin, will profit from the political vacuum and growing economic discontent.
Update: Zafa analyzes the speech in a writeup in E-Bangladesh.

Glimpse of poverty

This news just broke my heart. But I salute the fighting spirit of the people of Bangladesh who just don't break down and life goes on. Sadly you don't find these people in the current politics of Bangladesh. They are just vote banks to be exploited.

September 08, 2007

Bangladesh's garments sector growth is decreasing

The Daily Star has a rather worrying report. It informs that:
The RMG sector, which accounts for more than 75 percent of Bangladesh's export earnings, fell behind the export target of the EPB (Export Promotion Bureau) for the first time in history, notching a negative growth of 6.03 percent in knitwear products and barely edging past with 0.16 percent rise in woven items during the last fiscal year. (Stat: The Daily Star)
The reason behind is that major buyers are cutting order citing many reasons and piling up orders for India, Vietnam and other Asian countries.
The leading garment exporter sees the sale loss to major retailers in the US and the Bangladeshi government's failure to protect garment industries and investment as two main reasons for the slump in business.

Market watchers meanwhile predict that worse is to come next year when the EU's 7.5 percent export growth restriction on China goes by December-end.
One experienced exporter said that Bangladesh garment would grow more strongly if the business climate was improved and the fears of RMG buyers dispelled.
“The buyers appreciate the anti-corruption drive, stable political situation and improvement in areas like the port, electricity and customs. But they are also concerned about where does the country go? Where does it end"
Readymade garment (RMG) entrepreneurs has sought soft loan facilities from the government to provide regular wages and bonuses for their workers in the current what they said dull season (reports the Daily Star):
The BGMEA president attributed the dull season for the sector to short winter in Europe and US and shaky consuming practice for high oil prices.

Bangladesh cellphone network - a strength of the country

Last year I reported that:
India's Home Minister Shivraj Patil was shocked when he found mobile phones in the country's eastern frontiers functioning, courtesy of the sophisticated rural telephone network of Bangladesh instead of the Indian communications network coverage.
This year Bangladesh is moving ahead with GPRS/EDGE enabled mobile phone network making access to internet possible in rural areas with or without Pcs.

The Uncultured Project (by a Canadian expat) thinks that Bangladesh cellphone service is better than Canada:
I’m writing now from a rural village in Bangladesh (called Modiphur). There is no electricity, no running water, and the diesel generator that was powering a ceiling fan and light bulb died earlier this night. Bangladesh is still a third world country afterall. But, despite all this, I am still able to check my mail, see what’s going on at Digg, and post to this blog.

Bangladesh is one of the few countries in the world that can guarantee each one of its residents can get a cellphone signal - no matter where they are in the country. With a population of over 150 million (over four times Canada’s population) that’s pretty impressive. There are populated parts in the North in Canada that most cellphone service providers don’t bother putting up towers for. Not only can Bangladeshis send and receive calls from anywhere in the country - they can also surf the web on either an EDGE or GPRS network.

Canada, unlike Bangladesh, does not even offer an unlimited flat-rate EDGE/GPRS internet service. The gigabytes of data that I have used over the EDGE network here in Bangladesh has cost me only $20 a month.

September 07, 2007

Government shuts down Bangladesh's first 24 hour news channel CSB

The Bangladesh government temporarily shut down its first 24 hour private satellite news channel on charges of forgery. If the TV authority can not answer satisfactorily the charges of forgery within 7 days, the station will be shut down permanently. News reports in BBC, The Daily Star and BDNews24.

Tiktiki has the background and time line of events concerning CSB news in Dristipat blog. Shada Kalo sheds a light into the forgery charges.

Drishtipat Blog appeals to the Government:
We earnestly hope that the news channel will not go off air permanently. They should be fined in financial terms by all means, if found guilty. But people’s employment, the economic activity it generates and the perception of free media in our country — all should be taken into account before making a final decision.
If these are ignored this will have a considerable impact on the Government's image.

September 06, 2007

Cricket: Twenty20 World Championship and the Bangladesh cricket team

Twenty20 is the shortest form of cricket consisting of twenty overs of play for each team which takes three hours to complete. It was introduced in UK in 2003 and gained popularity in recent years.

The ICC Twenty20 World Championship is the international championship of Twenty20 cricket and the inaugural tournament will be held in South Africa starting on September 11, 2007. It will feature 12 teams, including all 10 Test-playing countries, in a Thirteen-day event. The future tournaments will be hosted by England in 2009, Sri Lanka in 2012 and Bangladesh in 2014.

Cricket South Africa is providing cheap tickets to make the game accessible for people of all economic conditions. The cheapest tickets cost just R20 [£1.40] for those happy to sit on the grass banks during the group stage of matches (reports Yahoo). Check out here for last minute tickets.

Here are few necessary links:

* ICC World Twenty20 South Africa 2007 - official site

* ICC World Twenty20, 2007/08 match schedule

* Twenty20 World Cup - Information, News and discussions

* Cricinfo's coverage of the Twenty20 World Championship

* Twenty20 World Cup 2007 match results

* Twenty20 World Cup coverage in Bangla Cricket

* Cricket 20: the home of Twenty20 cricket

Now lets look at how Bangladesh will perform in this match. It will be a batsmen's game as the short time-frame of the format does not allow bowlers to contain and batsmen use unorthodox strokes to clear the boundary. Not only this is exciting for the spectators, this game is more open for lesser quality teams to cause an upset.

In the latest Twenty20 Quadrangular in Kenya involving Pakistan, Uganda and Kenya Bangladesh fared well. It only lost to Pakistan but not without fighting.

Hear Ian Chappell's analysis on Bangladesh's possibilities in Cricinfotalk. Bangladesh is in group A with South Africa and West Indies. He lauded Bangladesh's decision to include mostly young players in the team (the oldest is Abdur Razzak - 25 years). He comments that SA and WI are the two sides who has the tendency to go down to lesser sides and he won't be surprised if Bangladesh make it to the final 8 stage. Well I am also hoping that Bangladesh will make it to the next round and all they have to do is beat either one of WI and SA and maintain good run rate in the other game.

Remarks from an expat on Bangladesh's political situation

Gregor writes a touching piece from Bangladesh in a forum. Some excerpts:
The political situation in Bangladesh has an impact not only on the business community but also on the people. Unfortunately the responsibility is not with the caretaker government but with the previous governments, lead by said ladies. It was them who ran the country into turmoil and, to a large extent, destruction. They are responsible for the deteriorating relationship with our neighbors, the energy crisis which leaves millions of people without electricity for the better part of the day and many more ill developments, not to speak about paving the way for corruption, extortion and crime in a never experienced extent.

The same two ladies, who have nothing to their credit except one is the daughter of a famous father, founder of Bangladesh, the other wife of a famous husband, they are now concerned about all sorts of things. These are the same persons that catapulted family members and friends into the highest Government and party positions that deprived the people of Bangladesh of control about their constitutional rights, that lived a very glamorous life and there was nobody and nothing that would limit their lifestyle in any form or shape.

At the same time the overwhelming majority of people live of less then US $ 250 a year, have no air condition (and if they had, no electricity to run them), experience massive transportation problems, waste hours to get from A to B and would have a very limited choice when it comes to buying the needs for every day's life.

And here comes my point: Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina have the chutzpa to speak on behalf of the people of Bangladesh.

They pretend to be concerned about the rice price, the catastrophic consequences of this years weather and the many people that died, the political development of the country, democracy, election and many other extremely important issues.

They don't hesitate to address the very basic instincts of the people of Bangladesh, pull every psychological trick in the book just to (mis)lead people to believe they would care, instrumentalize and manipulate the press for their games and to top all of this, make the people believe they'd be victims of a witch hunt.

Now remember, these are the same, identical persons, that had every imaginable comfort, no limits on money, police clearing their way when they needed to use the roads; they snipped the finger and it was done.

My question is: Did they care then? Do they care now? Where and what is their contribution to the flood victims? It is so cynical to misuse the press to fabricate a story, like they would want to go to the victims and console the poor guys. What precisely is it they want?

My answer: They're more worried about losing their privileges and wealth, power and influence than anything else. They're not the least interested in the average Joe's and Jill's on the streets, after all their expensive shoe could get dirty. They want to keep their hands on things and take over and retaliate as soon as emergency law has been lifted.

They're innocent until proven otherwise! But in every democracy in the world the accused steps down and focuses on the trial or her/his private life. Here they keep manipulating the people, hoping they would probably venture into the streets and cause some headache for the government and the media provides the platform for the spectacle.

Please, liberate yourself from these two ladies. Let justice take it's course and if they're found guilty they should get the same treatment every criminal gets once sentenced. If found not guilty send them into retirement. Bangladesh has many, many talented and strong you women and men, which could lead the country into a golden future.
While I agree with most of the remarks, I noticed some spelling errors and check my highlighta of the use of words. Could this be a propaganda? These days its hard to believe what is real and what is told on purpose.

September 05, 2007

State of IT Education in Bangladesh

Believe it or not the above are from text books for higher secondary level (HSC) and these are authorized by the education board of Bangladesh. (Via Sakib)

I am stunned reading all these. They could not think beyond the old style of memorizing tables of differences between computer and Internet. And how could they do this to the students making them learn these craps like:
"Computer cannot understand people's command: Internet can understand people's command" or "Computers have memory: Internet does not have memory".

And from the second picture:
8. Dos-based operating system is keyboard dependent so if dirt or insects enter inside the keyboard then the computer does not respond properly.
9. Keyboard takes much space in the computer table.
Give me a break. I don't know I should laugh or cry? Where are the voices of the IT industry in Bangladesh? Why aren't they protesting?

Sakib tells that HSC students choose this subject to get some easy marks which are on the hands of the teacher. He went the labs once in his total HSC study period and the teacher taught how to save files on MS word. He reports that the teacher took Tk 2000 (about 30 USDs) for 80 practical marks. Pathetic.

Five-nation naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal

Warships from five nations, India, USA, Australia, Japan and Singapore have started a joint navy exercise in the Bay of Bengal. Earthtimes.org reports:
Malabar-2007, as the Sep 4-9 exercise is named, features 25 vessels participating in a variety of manoeuvres. Given the vast scope of the war games, the operational area of Malabar-2007 stretches from Visakhapatnam on the eastern seaboard to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that guard the approaches to the Strait of Malacca, considered the world's busiest waterway.
Indian left wing communist parties are protesting against this drill.

Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta writes in Desicritics:
The main purpose of these wargames is to make sure that navies of various regions work together....and more importantly, because of the HUGE distances involved, require all navies to pull together when faced with terrorist and pirate threats.
If this was about fighting pirates then Bangladesh would have been included in the drill as Bangladeshi ships are also attacked by pirates.

mydearBangladesh blog uncovers the story behind it:
The Malabar series is now in its 13th year. The drill has previously been a bilateral India-US engagement and has been expanded for the first time to also include Japan, Australia and Singapore. So, tension is slowly building up in Asia to stop China becoming more powerful.

Read this BBC commentary on China's displeasure about new 'strategic alliance' against it:

"Defence papers issued by all four governments have described China as a potential threat, and that combined with the launch of the Quad suggest a pattern of alliance-building activities that China cannot ignore.

Perhaps as a sign of things to come, 1,600 Chinese troops travelled to Russia's Ural mountains to join several thousand mostly Russian troops in "Peace Mission 2007" manoeuvres in August."

September 04, 2007

UNICEF helps

I came across this information that UNICEF constructed wells for clean drinking water for Bangladeshis under one of its hygiene projects. But one article of Fred Pearce published by UNESCO states:
Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands will die.

Why? Because nobody tested for the natural poison, arsenic, widely found in underground water. And when a doctor did find traces of the metal, and when Bangladeshi villagers did start turning up at doctors' surgeries with the tumours and telltale signs of arsenic poisoning, the results were swiftly buried so that nobody made the connection.
Anyone has more info on this?

Via Notes on Civil Society.

September 03, 2007

Khaleda Zia behind bars

People say that there is never a dull day in Bangladesh politics. Today early in the morning the military-backed (care-taker) interim government in Bangladesh had arrested former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on corruption charges. His son was also arrested on the same charge. Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying has detailed timeline of the events leading to her arrest. It was surprisingly a televised even as the news of the arrest was leaked and the media was trailing the security forces convoy rolling to her house.

Earlier in midnight a case was filed against her where she was accused of favoring her son misusing her power by awarding contracts to a local company, when she was in power. Her elder son is already behind bars also facing corruption charges. She will share a makeshift detention center in the parliament compound with her longtime political rival Sheikh Hasina who is also detained on charges of corruption.

Dozens of high profile Bangladeshi politicians and businessmen are behind the bar because of the governments ongoing battle against corruption and cleansing of the politics in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is under a state of emergency since January 11, 2007, when this interim government was formed.

The Bangladeshi blogosphere has mixed feelings over this issue. Shafiur is delighted hearing this news and distributing misti (sweets) on the net. He is sarcastic about this:
She and her son Koko have not been upfront about their various financial activities, and so it is hoped they will be helped to become more transparent in special quarters set aside for them.
People were discussing after the arrest of Sheikh Hasina about one and a half months ago why no charges were being brought against Khaleda Zia. There are also speculations that a certain quarter is trying to get rid of these political icons and use the space to clinch power. The Voice of Bangladeshi Bloggers comments:
Finally, the former Prime Minister of Bangladesh, the mother of all corruption, has been arrested by the army backed care taker government. They're now trying to balance their action by arresting Khaleda Zia.
Khaleda Zia told in an exclusive interview with bdnews24.com hours before the arrest:
"I'm not afraid of arrest. People are with me. The case against me is false."
Dhaka blog comments on Khaleda Zia's remarks:
I just don't like politicians from every party crying out "the cases against me are false" and "conspiracy" every time they suffer political intimidation. If there were really these many "conspiracies" in Bangladesh, our GDP would have shot up a bit more!
But the question still remains whether this will pave the way towards restoring democracy in Bangladesh. Rumi writes in Drishtipat Blog ironically:
A significant number of people have been blaming two main political leaders for all the vice of Bangladesh. Now as both the causes of the all the evil are effectively contained in jail cells, so a sun of eternal lasting peace is supposed to rise in the horizon today. People should start living in immense joy, peace and happiness. No more there should be any chaos, corruption, poverty, lawlessness, hunger, crime in this country. There would be everlasting peace.
People commenting on this post also had mixed reactions. While some were gleeful and lauded the government one questioned:
Interesting to see that we, Bangladeshis, judge situation by heart; not by brain. None of the allegations are proved against KZ or SH, though some bloggers are ready to hang them till death!
The country is suffering from high inflation and recent unrest after riot broke out with students and police over withdrawing an army camp from a university campus led to declaration of curfew. The care-taker government promised holding of election by end of 2008 after completing a massive new voter ID project.

(Cross-posted in the Global Voices Online & E-Bangladesh)

Today's Links

* Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran

* How much paper would it take to print out Wikipedia?

* Boom Boom Afridi.

* Nobel Peace Prize-winner Prof. Yunus featured on BENCHMARK

* The Thai doctrine

* Bangladesh detains suspected Islamist militant

September 02, 2007

Bangladesh through lense

I am highlighting a brilliant photographer Bir Azam's works in Flickr. He is an undergrad MIS undergrad student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and is involved with business and social work. In his own words:
My (second) aim is to bring up the beautiful places and views of my homeland Bangladesh to the eyes of the other people of the world so they can picture that Bangladesh is just not a country with poverty and flood but a beautiful place where the beautiful people live.
Via Limelight on Bangladesh

Unnayan TV

Unnayan TV (development TV) claims to be the first online video channel of Bangladesh which publishes regularly video contents on development, human rights and educational issues of Bangladesh.

Explore it.

(Via Global Experiences)

Saying no to military dictatorship is not the same as opposing the military

Sohail Motahir Chowdhury wrote a brilliant article (in Bangla) titled above. I am translating the same for you:
"In today's world a military ruled country means a country remaining in the dark ages. I think even the chief of the army will agree to this. When the adviser of the care-taker government Barrister Mainul Hossain declared that this is a military backed government, then the army chief was the first one to explain that the army has no relation to this government. It proves that even the chief of army knows that a military backed government is something the world deplores. But I am sure with this statement the army chief did not try to belittle the army or questioned its powers. The army is a powerful force in its own field which is vital in the context of sovereignty of Bangladesh. But the efforts of some opportunist military higher ranks to grab the power using the army as a platform and establish a military rule is of course deplorable.

Bangladesh is fighting to bring back democracy. The country is passing through critical times to cleanse the electoral and democratic process. Nobody wants a military rule to distort these efforts. The army chief has reiterated that they do not want to come to power. This realization and wishful thinking of the Bangladesh army is laudable.

But there is really no need to belittle the freedom to oppose the military rule. Even the members of Bangladesh army can also support this thought of the general public. The students had demanded the withdrawal of the army camp from the campus of Dhaka University with this notion. But this demand and the protests do not mean that the students are at war with the military and they want destruction of the armed forces. Those who tries to give this explanation to the events that occurred recently are actually cooking up conspiracy theories for their own interest. They want to cash in with these disputes and divides.

To protest against the government does not mean conspiring against the country. Government and the state are two different things. Equally opposing military rule does not mean speaking evil against the army. The army is an integral and important part of a country's sovereignty. A military rule is detrimental to a country's development and prosperity."