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

February 28, 2008

Today's Links

* Fighting for the soul of Bangladesh —Dr Ayesha Siddiqa

* Bangladesh and its giant neighbors

* The success story of an NGO in Bangladesh

* Mobile phone lifeline for world's poor.

* The scary twitter curve

* YouTube blocked in Pakistan because of Dutch video about Islam

* How a System Error in Pakistan shut YouTube

* Here's one reason students Barack the vote: respect


* Life without desktop software : Take your pc in a USB drive.

* Eye-Fi is a inovative memory card for cameras with built-in wifi connectivity.

* 10 Tech Revolutionaries: Redefining the Power and Face of Philanthropy

* Digging deeper: Your guide to Online Privacy

* How to unblock websites.

* 100 Things to do with Google Maps Mashups.

* 'Blogged' creates human edited curated Blog Directory

* Learning From YouTube: An Interview with Alex Juhasz (Part One, Two)

Video of the day

20 minutes or so on why Barack Obama needs to be elected as the president of USA - Lawrence Lessig

A must see for those who are yet to vote in the US presidential election

February 26, 2008

Picture of the day

The marbel floor and glass roof sparkling interior of the Friedrichstadt-Passagen in Berlin Friedrichstrasse. This is part of Galerie Lafayette Quartier 207.

February 25, 2008

Today's Links

February 22, 2008

South Africa vs. Bangladesh test series and the Under 19 world cup cricket

The first test of Bangladesh vs South Africa has become very interesting on the first day when 14 wickets fell. Bangladesh reeled to a lowly 192 in only 54.4 overs which seemed more like a one day score. However their reply was also strong as they sent 4 South African batsmen home. The final score at the end of the first day was 76/4 (24 overs). From the Cricinfo commentary team:

"Nobody would have least expected South Africa to be facing the heat at the end of the day, losing their top four, including Kallis. Shahadat got his inswingers spot on and induced mistakes while Rafique's experience came into play later. There was something rather unusual about the way Kallis approached the spinners, exposing the stumps repeatedly to slice it through the off side. Rafique had the common sense to keep the ball on the stumps, and though the low bounce accounted for Kallis, it was still a classical case of the bowler out-thinking the batsman.

Bangladesh are in a pleasant scenario they're not used to at the Test level. It's important they hang onto the momentum over the second day and if possible get a lead. The low bounce will evoke fears tomorrow as well and the pressure will be on the batsmen to counter that."

Rafique's inclusion really paid for Bangladesh.

The under 19 world cup:

In group D Bangladesh had two big wins against Bermuda and Ireland and England did the same. Bangladesh played England today and won by 13 runs to become the group champion. But the play was bizarre and out of the ordinary as you can see from the scorecard. Bangladesh lost the toss and batted first. Within the ninth over England opening bowler Harris (5 wickets) put Bangladesh in disarray as they were 6 wickets down with only 27 on board. However the seventh and eighth wicket partnership took Bangladesh to 149 runs in 42 overs. It is out of the ordinary as Bangladesh front line batsmen fared well in previous matches.

Still that was not enough for a strong England side whose opening batsmen put 35 in 7 overs without losing wicket. After that wickets started to fall in regular intervals and England slowed down considerably. They were 69 in 4 wickets after 21 overs so thats about 2 runs per over. They could not recover from that and their lower order collapsed to a meager 136 in 47.4 overs still 13 runs short of target. That was a bizarre performance from them and of course credit to the Bangladesh team which could keep the pressure. Suhrawadi Shuvo of the Bangladesh Under-19 team was adjudged man of the match for his responsible 56 runs (highest score of the match) and one wicket howl.

Bangladesh will play South Africa in the first quarter final.

Looking forward to follow these matches.

Update: The Bangladesh South Africa 1st test took an interesting turn on the second day. Bangladesh dismissed SA within 170, 22 runs short from Bangladesh's first innings. Shahadat Hossain had a career best figure of 6 wickets (27 runs). The Bangladesh's second wicket reply was also poor as three of Bangladeshi batesmen fell to Steyn and they are steadying the boat at 52/3 in 20 overs.

For live streaming of Bangladesh vs. South Africa Test:

If you don't have Sopcast player download from here.

Browser based Link


Sopcast direct link

Click for Live Score Card of Bangladesh vs South Africa.

Update II: Rick Eyre shares an interesting information. Ashwell Prince of South Africa was the only man in IPL auction who failed to attract a bid at his reserve price of $175000. He did an interesting analysis showing the card of the South African innings, with bowling from Bangladesh's first innings:

Neil McKenzie (non-IPL) 5,
Graeme Smith (Jaipur, $250K) 10,
Hashim Amla (non-IPL) 25,
Jacques Kallis (Bangalore, $900K) 17,
Ashwell Prince (passed in) 10,
Johan Botha (non-IPL) 25 and 2/57,
AB de Villiers (Delhi, $300K) 46,
Mark Boucher (Bangalore, $450K) 11,
Morne Morkel (non-IPL unlike his brother Albie) 1 and 5/50,
Dale Steyn (Bangalore, $325K) 7 and 3/27,
Makhaya Ntini (Chennai, $200K) 3 and 0/47.

Shahadat Hossain took 6/27 for Bangladesh in South Africa's first innings, but he is not on the IPL payroll. Nor, curiously enough, is anyone from Bangladesh. The BCCI head-hunters, it seems, were not interested.

Bangladesh - Annual report 2008

Reporters Without Borders or RSF (French: Reporters sans frontières) is a Paris-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. Their World Press Freedom Index is widely accepted.

RSF has published its annual report on Bangladesh for 2008 and it isn't pretty:
"A drop in the number of physical assaults and death threats was eclipsed by dozens of cases of arrests, maltreatment and censorship committed by the army against independent journalists. The interim government and the military put an end to political disorder but at the price of serious violations of press freedom."
Read the full report here.

February 21, 2008

Are languages free? Thoughts on the International Mother Language day

Today is the International Mother Language Day, an annual event in UNESCO member states to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. This is mostly the international recognition of the Language Movement Day called ‘Ekushey February', which is commemorated in Bangladesh since 1952. The date of 21st February was chosen in homage to a number of ‘language martyrs' from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) who were shot on 21st February 1952 in Dhaka, during public protest. They were demonstrating to establish their mother language Bangla as a national language along with Urdu, which was chosen as the sole official language in the then newly created Pakistan.

Photo: Shaheed Minar, a solemn and symbolic sculpture erected in the place of the massacre. The monument is the symbol of Bangladesh Nationalism.

How important is the mother language?

Our mother tongue is more than a language, a soul inside us. It is an armory of the human mind; an archive of the history. We invent the world through language.

Mrunalini feats her mother tongue Telugu:
“How sweet our languages are, how proud they make us. How much we miss talking in our mother tongue. Especially, when we are away from it.”
Ripon Kumar Biswas in Bangladesh watchdog says:
“Mother tongue is the language of nature, which is intimately related to the individual because it is structured and upheld by local laws of nature, which structure the physiology of the individual.”
But it is even more than that. “One does not inhabit a country; one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland –and no other;” said E. M. Cioran, the Rumanian-born French Philosopher.

That is why some times we see nationalism sparking in the world based on languages and language matters!

The freedom of languages in the world:

Thousands of local languages used as the daily means of expression are absent from education systems, the media, publishing and the public domain in general because of state policies.

We learn better in our mother tongue when it is taught in school (Mother tongue Dilemma –UNESCO News letter). But this is not the case of all minority languages. 476 million of world’s illiterate people speak minority languages and live in countries where children are mostly not taught in their mother language.

From Southern Azerbaijan under Iranian rule BayBak, Voice of a Nation says:
“It is more than 80 years that Iranian Fars authority has banned other nationalities language, such as Turks (majority in Iran), Arabs, Baluchs, Turkmens and Kurds. Every year in 21st of February all nationalities celebrate the International Mother Language Day named by UNESCO. But as before, of the day of celebration Iranian police will ride on the crowd and will arrest many.

Regarding news from Southern Azerbaijan, preparations for the 21st of February are continuing widely compare to last year. Also thousands of flyers been spread in Azerbaijan’s major cities. Capital Tebriz has been well prepared and the time for demonstration been set.”
The Unesco Courier:
Several thousand years old, the Ainu language spoken in northern Japan was dying out due to political pressure from the central government. At the end of the 20th century, this trend was reversed. While Ainu’s future is still not guaranteed because it isn’t taught in schools, the resurgence of interest is undeniable.
Sid writes in Picked Politics:
“International Mother Language Day deserves celebration in Zambia. The country has worked hard to establish and maintain political unity over the years. But as other societies are learning too late, it would be a tragedy if this hard-fought unity should be maintained at the expense of the variety of languages and dialects that have long called these lands home.”
Is your mother tongue facing extinction?

About 27 percent of the world's languages (about 6000) are threatened to be extinct. The Foundation for Endangered Languages says 83 percent of the world's languages are restricted to single countries, making them more vulnerable to the policies of a single government.

Abhinaba Basu at Geek Gyan says:
“A lot of people speaking English natively forget the importance of mother language due to its predominance. They take their language for granted. However, each year a bunch of languages become extinct, the latest being Eyak, which got extinct exactly a month ago with the death of Marie Smith Jones the last native Eyak speaking person.

I believe that if we don't actively try to preserve our mother language they will slowly become extinct. One of the most important things to preserve a language is to ensure that they are better covered by technology.”
Using ICT in Mother Language advocacy:

Citizen media is a great tool to promote own languages. According to Technorati there are more than 100 million blogs out there. A previous year’s report show that about 37% blogs are in Japanese followed by English (36%), Chinese (8%), Spanish(3%), Italian (3%), Portuguese (2%), French(2%) among others. And there are other growing language communities and they will rise eventually.

There are ICT based advocacy sites like Bisharat which promotes research, advocacy, and networking relating to use of African languages in software and web content.

Global Voices Online also supports and promotes the diversity of languages. Its Lingua project translates the contents of its main English page in a dozen languages. Now that is one example many international online media may want to follow to secure meaningful transfer of information to global readers.

First posted in Global Voices Online)

February 19, 2008

Cricket: A team looses in four balls only

This has to be a record in any form of cricket. Bermuda's women cricket team lost to the South African women team in a world cup qualifier match the result of which will be hard to be matched in centuries to come.

Bermuda could make only 13 runs in 18 overs with three of its batswomen scored 1 each (10 extras). Their captain Linda Mienzer held on to one end making 1 run off 48 balls.

Form Line and length blog:
In reply, the Bermuda opening bowler, Terry-Lynn Paynter, sent down nine wides and a no-ball before eventually getting one ball to land on the strip, which was hit for four. There was a grand sum of five scoring strokes in the match. Brilliant.
Here is the scorecard and the Cricinfo bulletin.

If you are looking for some good cricket don't forget to follow the Under-19 world cup being held in Malaysia.

February 16, 2008

Plus two formula and other links

Himal South Asian is a great regional magazine in South Asia based and its published from Nepal. I don't know about its readership in the region but its available online. Its February issue has two articles about Bangladesh.

Bangladesh: The plus two formula
"One year on, as Bangladesh teeters on the precipice of economic and political breakdown, there are rumours of a martial law in the offing. These suggestions seem to gain strength even as the government and the army chief, Moeen U Ahmed, publicly deny them. Meanwhile, the only visible electoral and bureaucratic reforms thus far have been regime changes at key government and quasi-government institutions. Actual political reform has been stalled by internecine battles for leadership within the country’s two major political parties, the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). This gridlock, suggest many political analysts, has been largely engineered by the government.

This sluggishness in the political arena looks set to continue in 2008. While the Election Commission has embarked on an ambitious identification-card project, at this point it appears likely to miss every key deadline that could actually lead to the promised elections by the end of the year. The fact that the Commission is still answerable to the office of the chief executive (previously the prime minister’s office), which controls its funding, means that the most significant reform for which many have been clamouring until now remains incomplete.

The interim government’s repeated attempts to exile the ‘two begums’ – Sheikh Hasina Wajed and Khaleda Zia, who respectively head the Awami League and the BNP – have failed in the face of popular resistance and the refusal on the part of the two ladies to be intimidated. Likewise, the once-celebrated anti-corruption crusade has quickly lost credibility, as rumoured backdoor deals see a trickle of corrupt businessmen emerging from the prison gates. To its chagrin, the government, too, has realised that its overzealousness in arbitrarily arresting key business leaders during the early months of 2007 succeeded in little more than destroying business confidence. To make up for all of this instability (which it helped to create), the Dhaka regime has been compelled to form a ‘truth commission’, where corrupt businessmen can confess past sins and atone with a fine to avoid jail sentences."
Scattered memories of 1971
"In Bangladesh, as elsewhere, the writing of history can often be a political project, with a choice made between competing narratives jostling for space. In the post-1971 period, there were several attempts made under the Awami League government to document the war. These resulted in an impressive collection of primary documents published by the Ministry of Information, a 16-volume series that includes not only official documents, but also oral histories, FIRs and police reports, as well as a collection of press clippings from around the world.

With the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in August 1975 and the coming to power of General Ziaur Rahman, the writing of history in Bangladesh took a decidedly political turn. Since then, each successive government has sought to impose its own stamp on the country’s history. In so doing, every minute detail of the 1971 war has been hotly debated, including who purportedly issued the first cry of independence, the true part played by India, and the highly contentious role of the Razakars, the militia recruited by the Pakistan Army consisting of non-Bengali Muslims and some pro-Pakistani Bengalis. Textbooks prepared under the military regimes and the governments of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) tried to drop all references to India, and refer to Pakistan not by name but as hanadar bahini, the ‘enemy army’. This skewed presentation in the textbooks has led legions of Bangladeshi schoolchildren to believe that the mukti bahini, the Liberation Army, actually fought against India in 1971.

Similar tinkering with nationalist narratives has gone on in the former West Pakistan, as well. Students in modern-day ‘Pakistani Studies’ classes use textbooks that argue: “Since independence, the leadership of East Pakistan has been in the hands of [separatists who,] in collaboration with Hindu teachers, polluted the political air and spread poisonous propaganda among the young students of East Pakistan.” Bangladesh is subsequently seen as the result of that ‘poisonous propaganda’, in which separatist elements and pro-Hindu teachers are conflated."
Click on the titles to read the complete articles.

February 15, 2008

Bangladesh press being silenced about specific news

I am shocked to see that all the newspaper or TV/Radio in Bangladesh was silent about the latest report by the Human Rights Watch on incidents of torture in Bangladesh and the ordeals against Tasneem Khalil. This was widely reported in many major international media.

A journalist working in the Daily Star commented:
"The press is still gagged tightly. We still cannot write about anything negative regarding the military in our articles. This has been going on for more than a year. Tasneem Khalil and Arifur Rahman incident have happened for a reason. Irene Khan’s trip to Bangladesh gave us some hope. But little seems to have changed since then. This country is bursting at the seams."
However the Daily Star put up an editorial today titled "17 years of 'journalism without fear or favour". What a hypocrisy considering Tasneem Khalil was working with them and they conveniently was also silent about the report.

Listen to the BBC Bangla interview of Tasneem Khalil on this HRW report and the Bangladesh Government's reactions.

Update: The Daily Naya Diganta, a leading Bangla daily published the news.

Update II: The New Age publishes a brilliant editorial titled "Tortured truths" by Rehnuma Ahmed:
"According to Human Rights Watch, Tasneem’s account is ‘the most detailed public account of a case of torture in Bangladesh.’ There are other testimonies too. The truth has been told.

We can no longer keep our eyes shut."
Via Shahidul News.

February 14, 2008

Torture and intimidation: where is accountability?

Bangladesh can ill afford to have these kind of publicity but yet again accusations of torture and intimidation flood the international media.

The reason behind is a latest report by Human Rights Watch, the international Human rights watchdog that conducts research and advocacy on human rights published today an exclusive report on tortures in Bangladesh. This report presents the first hand accounts of torture on Tasneem Khalil (a Bangladeshi journalist and the representative of CNN and Human Rights Watch in Bangladesh) during his detention with the military intelligence.

(Click on the report cover to read the report or get the download information)

According to HRW "this is the most detailed public account of a case of torture in Bangladesh available anywhere". It is understandable that few had the privilege to escape to exile and describe the unpleasant ordeals without fear. In this case Tasneem was specifically told not to disclose about the tortures, not even to his wife.

Human rights organization Drishtipat notes:
"If someone reads it as a damning indictment against army in general, it will be wrong. As evident from Tasneem’s testimony, there were quite a number of people in army who were sympathetic to him. But the reality is that there is unchecked and unaccountable power to a very few. When that happens, there is bound to be misuse ot it. As a result, the image of the whole institution suffers. That is what we are seeing in Bangladesh today."
And even the people from the intelligence tried to do damage control:
"In the original thread posted after Tasneem got released, someone from the inside named “ABC” joined in the blog. It was a very encouraging start to a meaningful civil-military dialogue. Unfortunately, it stopped as ABC decided to give veiled threats to bloggers."
So it seems whenever these people try to fix some wrong doing they mess it up badly. People forget that torture and intimidation can work in short time but those will come back to hit back in long term. Soon more and more people will talk about their injustice and the perpetrators will have no where to hide.

The HRW has some recommendations to end these tortures.

Update: Shada Kalo Blog says:
Will the government do anything against them?

Highly unlikely. We know what will happen next. The wire services are carrying this story, and there will be some spoiled dinners in Bangladesh tonight. The powers-that-be that allowed Tasneem to leave the country will be questioned. A few careers will probably be trashed. And Tasneem's so-called confessions will be brought out to "prove" that he was a spy working against Bangladesh's interest.

But you know the truth. Speak up for human rights, speak up against torture, and speak up for democracy.

Today's Links

* A Dhaka diary.

* Cloud over Bangladesh caretaker Govt.

* Taslima Nasreen and the Spirit of Islam.

* Searching for the truth online.

* Celebrate your languages.

Heartless regime

Red roses are banned in Saudi Arabia ahead of Valentine's day. How could anyone be so heartless? Can they stop love?

Oh and Happy Valentines day to all.

February 13, 2008

YouTube video of the day

Yes we can and I hear a revolution brewing up.

February 12, 2008

Intolerance leads to idolatry

The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy lingers on. From Yahoo News:
"Danish authorities on Tuesday arrested three people suspected of plotting a cartoonist's assassination for his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wearing a bomb-shaped turban that enraged Muslims two years ago.

Three of Denmark's largest newspapers said they would reprint the cartoon on Wednesday to show they would not be intimidated by fanatics. It was one of 12 Muhammad cartoons published in 2005 and then again in 2006 that led to protests in Muslim countries."
Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet for fear it could lead to idolatry. But throughout the ages there were so many depictions of the prophet as historical pieces of art and those did not raise controversies. But today's fanatics would like to bring this up for their own zealots. And their actions prove that they are making mountain out of a mole and embracing the sin of 'idolatry' in respect to Prophet Muhammad. They are worshiping Muhammad (PBUH) like some sort of an idol. Their "kill those who insult Islam" attitude is not only nonreligious but also harming the true image of Islam.

Another interesting development is in Wikipedia regarding the article on Prophet Muhammad. Some quarters are fighting to take down the The earliest surviving depiction (1315) of Muhammad from Rashid al-Din's Jami al-Tawarikh ('Compendium of Chronicles' or Universal History), an Iranian work of art.

Read an interview with the Jyllands-Posten editor who vows not to fear for his life.

Its not about democracy, its about power

Polly Toynbee's latest piece in The Guardian "Try telling Bangladeshis that elections are bad for the poor" looks at the chasms of democracy:
"Democracy struggles to take root in countries so poor that the rice needed to keep a family alive is willingly traded for a vote: patronage and clans promising corrupt favours will trump political ideals every time. Political scientists observe that democratic governments rarely survive in countries with per capita incomes of less than $1,500 a year: Kenyans and Pakistanis live on under $1,000. The same research finds democracy rarely fails once per capita incomes rise to $6,000 a year."
But there are exceptions:
"Look at India, whose per capita income is still under $1,000, yet its democracy thrives with a free press and independent judiciary."
Polly cites:
China's People's Daily was quick to gloat over the Kenyan fallout: "Western-style democracy simply isn't suited to African conditions, but rather carries the roots of disaster."
And these are the rhetorics of the Chinese regime to stay in power. The Chinese people can throw challenge on Americans that the Chinese regime is more liberal than the US in some aspects e.g. Sex before marriage is not taboo (completely different situation than a decade ago), gay marriage is not banned (which is in some states in US), abortion is not illegal. He said that the regime is happy to stay in power and relaxing on these issues. People's rising purchasing power keeps them from turning against the regime.

However the above also shows that development is not depended on democracy. And power hungry regimes want to cash on these anomalies in democracies to stay in power. Bangladesh was on the upper curve of development during troubled democracies as well as during military regimes. In Bangladesh, there are many limitations in a functional democracy, votes can be purchased, wrong people can be chosen because of inaccuracies but democracy is one of the ways to empower people. Polly puts it:
But then ask why were so many very poor, mostly illiterate, people queuing under those canopies in Kaliakor. They were driven by the universal desire to chose their own rulers, however difficult and dangerous the road to democracy.

YouTube video of the day

The Free Rice project is not a myth and its fun.

Via the Road to The Horizon:
"Eight billions grains of rice have been collected by all players. That starts to translate into REAL stuff. FreeRice donated over US$200,000 to the UN World Food Programme, resulting in actual rice going to refugees in Myanmar and Bangladesh."

February 11, 2008

Facebooked for life (or not)

The perils of the fastest growing social networking site are emerging.

Anna quotes a Facebook customer in Sepia Mutiny:
“It’s like the Hotel California,” said Nipon Das, 34, a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan, who tried unsuccessfully to delete his account this fall. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."
While the Web site offers users the option to deactivate their accounts, Facebook servers keep copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely.

Another peril is that numerous research agencies are studying Facebook profiles and following peoples conversations/likings for making them targets of Advertisers. And Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg recently unveiled a new system of advertisement that is triggered by people's conversations in Facebook. As soon as you type "I love/hate Paris", ads concentrating on Paris will be displayed. When Mark was asked whether they have considered whether they have taken Facebook users opinions, he boldly said its an advertisement supported site (not free) anyway.

So what is cheap can bring terrible consequences if you are not alert. If you are a Facebook user you should keep your profile restricted to your friends only to keep safe from identity theft. And with this tip you can ignore all annoying Facebook apps requests in one click.

Update: Facebook is reading our blogs and its great to know that they are hearing us. It may be a good case study on PR for all web 2.0 initiatives. I have received an email from a PR company of Facebook and part of it goes like this:
Below please find a comment which you can attribute to ***** at Facebook, addressing your inquiry (??) regarding Facebook account deletion:

“There are two different ways to remove your information from Facebook. The first is to deactivate an account. Once a user deactivates the account, his or her profile becomes inaccessible on the main Facebook service, and the data is kept by Facebook only to allow easy reactivation. The second option is to delete the profile altogether. When a user deletes his or her profile, personal information -- such as name and all email addresses associated with the account -- is deleted from Facebook servers. If a user decides to join Facebook again, he or she would need to create a new profile. We are working to better explain the simple deactivation process, and to ease the deletion process for those who want their personal information removed from our servers. Additional information can be found on the Facebook help page at http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=5“
So it is possible. For details on this issue please check the "How to permanently delete your facebook account" group in Facebook.

Bureaucracy vs. Customer oriented service

The problem with a government owned corporation is that it is bureaucratic and not customer oriented. A big example is Biman Bangladesh Airlines and they are paying heavily for it. I hope they can realize the problem after all.

King Khan calls Rafique

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan bought the Kolkata cricket team for 75 million Indian rupees last month. He offered Bangladesh's spin star Md. Rafique to play for them in the Indian Premier League. Rafique did not decline and said he will think about it after the upcoming series with South Africa, when he will declare his retirement. (Source: Independent Bangladesh, Cricinfo)

Avian Bird Flu H5N1 in Bangladesh

We have been hearing about the presence of avian Bird Flu H5N1 in Bangladesh since March, last year. It has now spread in an epidemic scale (40 out of 68 districts). Widespread culling is in effect trying to reduce the virus from attacking the humans. The government has banned selling live poultry. So far no human deaths are not reported in Bangladesh although some flu affected humans were quarantined.

The epidemic is not only confined to Bangladesh, but India, Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand etc are also been affected. It seems we are witnessing another global spread.

The H5N1 blog is a good source of information on this. A recent editorial in the New Nation suggests ways to tackle bird flu in Bangladesh.

And what effect does it have on the industry? In Bangladesh many have stopped consuming poultry related products. It is a massive blow to the economy.

February 09, 2008

In Istanbul among activists

In case you were wondering why my blog was not being updated, I am out of station. My travel to Istanbul was eventful right from the start when I left my camera at home. Thats very unusual as I take it almost whenever I get out of the house even for a walk.

One had to worry when you know you have to change the plane in Munich and go through immigration within 30 minutes and your flight started 15 minutes late. After the announcement in the mid air that the Istanbul bounds were rebooked to a later flight and how I ended up taking the same flight -thats another story.

I am here for a conference with more than twenty "digitally empowered activists from around the world" arranged by the 'Berkman center for internet and society' at Harvard Law School.

The conference was very informative and knowledgeable as we discussed how to get the tools to the people who need them most. And knowing these great individuals; from geeks to journalists and activists and sharing our knowledge, brainstorming was really a great experience. More interesting was to look at the laptops individuals carried; the US activists prefer Apple Macbook and in a few cases IBM Thinkpad. The Hundred dollar laptop and the ASUS EEE also made appearance.

Istanbul's European part is not much different than Europe itself except some friendly cheaters who are there to strip your wallet with the use of their rhetorics before you wake up to the reality. The city and especially the night life was live and buzzing instead of a chilly weather. Turkish foods are exotic but not upto my taste.

Haven't been able to look around the city. Hope to steal some time from tomorrow's session to visit some of the numerous landmarks of the city.

Meanwhile was shocked by internet blocks in Turkey and incidentally we are here to discuss how to beat the censorships. Example here Sakib's Wordpress blog.

John Palfrey has more on the Turkish censorships.

Ethan writes about the Imran Jamal's session on activism with Facebook. An added information: Imran is a British-Bangladeshi and I was delighted to meet him here.

February 06, 2008

Picture of the day

A 600 year old Gothic masterpiece - The Church of St. Mary in Chojna (Königsberg), Poland.

February 04, 2008

Picture of the day

Clear water in the 10 km long and 1.5 km wide Werbellinsee in Barnim district of the Brandenburg State.

February 03, 2008

What if?

What if internet ceases to work? Will we be able to carry on with our lives? Will our plastic money be authorized? Will we be able to carry on with our jobs, businesses? Do we have a back up plan? Will our electronic passports be read so that we can travel on?

We will have to have these answers ready as:

The World is Flat, and More Vulnerable Than Ever

February 01, 2008

Picture of the night