Image by Rezwan

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

The World Cup Goal-E Project

This street in Bangladesh has a colorful world cup celebration

New Chum Hill Ruins

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

June 28, 2008

Arrest of a 88 year old Nazi War Criminal in India

"Nazi war criminal held on Goa border" -this is the kind of story that make you raise your eyebrow.

A German intelligence wing succeeded in nabbing Johann Bach – who was responsible for World War II genocide of Jews – in the jungles of Khanapura on the border of Goa and Karnataka (India).

...The 88-year-old Bach was posted as a senior adjutant at the Marsha Tikash Whanaab concentration camp in East Berlin and was responsible for the genocide of more than 12,000 Jews in World War II.

Perus Narkp, the intelligence wing received a lead which informed about an old foreigner wanting to sell an antique, priceless 18th century piano. A similar piano had been reported missing from an East Berlin museum (in close proximity of Marsha Tikash Whanaab concentration camp) after World War II.
If a war criminal can be prosecuted after 64 years then I see nothing wrong in demanding the trial of collaborators war criminals of the liberation war in Bangladesh.

Update: It turns out to be a prank. Perus Narkp is an anagram of super prank and it got the whole Indian media.

Global Voices Citizen Media Summit, Day Two:

Today is an important and interesting session in the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit Budapest. All the great projects the Global Voices Online is doing are being displayed and discussed.

Please check the live summit blog for more details.

Rising Voices is a successful initiative which provides micro grants to project small communities across the world to help them engage in the global conversation via blogging, videos, photos etc. and tell their stories. Watch this video to learn more about them:

June 27, 2008

Global Voices Citizen Media Summit

Today is the first day of the Citizen Media Summit 2008. I am sitting in a room filled up with approx 200 bloggers, activists, geeks, journalists and citizen journalists from across the world.

You can catch it live at the summit blog. There is even a Webcast and you watch it if your connection is fast.

You can also follow the live twitter feed for the summit.

June 26, 2008

From the Global Voices Advocacy Summit in Budapest

Arrived Budapest yesterday. Its a buzzing European city and it has a live night life. Of course the Euro 2008 football craze contributed to it and I watched the game in a roadside bar with big screens with some of the fellow GVers . I felt sorry for the Turkish fans (wearing Turkish jerseys) right in front of the TV screen. At one point of time the live broadcast was off and we were being showed result which went from 2:1 to 2:2 and 3:2 for Germany in minutes. Extra ordinary scenes were in the bar where both of the supporters cheered.

A large number of activists have gathered in Budapest to discuss about threats to online free speech and finding out ways towards a global anti-censorship movement.

The morning session of the Global Voices Advocacy summit has started and in the opening remarks the co-founder of Global Voices Online Ethan Zuckerman thanked everybody who came to the summit. Sami Ben Gharbia, the Advocacy director of Global voices noted that some activists could not make the summit due to visa problems and other restrictions.

Some pictures from the summit as it progresses:

Rob Faris listening to Rebecca MacKinnon

Some of the panelists

Some of the participants

Please check for the updates in the summit website or in the Global Voices Advocacy site.

June 24, 2008

From text to graphic

Wordle is a new Web-based tool which turns any text into a word cloud. Here is a Wordle version of the Bangladesh Genocide Archive first page (click image to enlarge):

June 21, 2008

The Google Sari

NewLaunches.com writes:
Satya Paul a leading fashion designer showed a Saree with Google on it in one of his recent shows.

Girl Effect

June 20, 2008

Today's Links

* General Command.

* Bangladesh 'losing on corruption'.

* Bangladesh: Violent politics risks huge growth potential

* The 5 best places to invest

* Bangladesh is set to disappear under the waves by the end of the century.

June 17, 2008

Today's Links

* A Jewish State in Germany as an Artwork.

* So you want to become a German citizen?

* Obama is a hawk.

* Package reads “Product of Bangladesh

* Bangladesh makes Internet use free for primary schools

* Bangladesh's per capita income goes up to $599

June 16, 2008

Euro 2008 football matches - watching online - free streaming videos

The Euro 2008 is the new fever in Europe. I am feeling it here in Berlin everywhere. Almost all shops are offering goods with Euro 2008 memorabilia and competitions. Some people are carrying their country's flags in cars. The pubs and restaurants have placed big screens for fans who flock there during the match. The streets become empty during a match. It is a festive environment.

And nothing more joyous can be for the Turkish fans who yesterday pulled out a thrilling last minute victory against Czech Republic (3:2) after being 0:2 down. The millions of Turkish immigrants in Germany celebrated in style. In Berlin Kurfurstendamm the party went on till dawn.

Today is an important match for Germany. They must win against host Austria to go to the next round. The other match will be between Croatia and Poland. Their match will also make a difference on who will qualify for the quarter final.

The tournament is taking place in Switzerland and Austria from 7-29 June 2008 and being aired live in many countries throughout the world. We were able to watch the tournament in German state TV so far. But since yesterday both the matches of the day are at the same time so only one match is being shown.

That prompted me to find some online links to watch the play online.

* Tournament schedule

* Official Euro 2008 website.

# Free video streaming links:

* Live Video at UEFA site

* Live Footy

* UEFA Euro 2008

* Watch Live Online TV Channels for free

* Free TV streaming: ThaiTV7 & ThaiTV9

* Euro2008sa.com

* Live Football Streaming

* LiveSats.com

# P2P clients

* 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.

Here is a list of free TV channels around the world who are broadcasting the match.

* TVU Player - another peer-to-peer apps stream (check your usage instructions if you are using internet in a dorm or an institute)

* Here is a tutorial to install and use p2p clients

# Online Audio and commentary

* BBC Sports

* ITV (Video for UK viewers only)

# Highlights:

* Euro 2008 highlights in YouTube

* LiveSoccerTV


A typical dinner in a Zimbabwe restaurant can be cost you in billion figures. I wonder what calculator they use.

Picture credit: Amit Varma of the India Uncut

Look into my eyes - by Outlandish

June 15, 2008

Today's Links

An appeal

During the Bonian war in July 1995 an estimated 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys were killed in the region of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina by units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić during the Bosnian War. The Srebrenica massacre is the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II. (Wikipedia).

Prior to the genocide, the United Nations had declared Srebrenica a UN protected "safe area", but that did not prevent the massacre, even though 400 armed Dutch peacekeepers were present at the time.

The father, mother and brother of Hasan Nuhanovic and the husband/father of the Mustafic family were among the people who were actually forced to leave the Dutch UN contingent's compound at Potocari and were effectively hande dover to be killed by the Bosnian Serbs under Ratko Mladic. Hasan and the Mustafic's are bringing a civil action in the Dutch courts on 16 June to hold the Dutch government to account for their failure to protect their relatives. Here is the press release. Please circulate it.

Amsterdam, 1 June 2008:


Civil action due to be heard at 10 a.m. on 16 June 2008 in the District Court at The Hague (Prins Clauslaan 60, The Hague, Netherlands).

On 16 June 2008 the District Court at The Hague will hear the first civil action brought against the Dutch State by relatives of the victims of genocide at Srebrenica. Hasan Nuhanovic and the family of Rizo Mustafic are seeking to establish that the Dutch state is responsible for the failure of Dutch troops acting under a United Nations mandate to protect their family members massacred at Srebrenica in July 1995.

Hasan Nuhanovic, a U.N. interpreter who lost his father, mother and younger brother, and the family of Rizo Mustafic, an electrician employed by the Dutch battalion of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), claim that the Dutch government failed to protect the lives of their relatives after the safe area established by U.N. Security Council Resolution around the town of Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia was allowed to fall into the hands of the Bosnian Serb Army.

The Nuhanovic and Mustafic families were among thousands of refugees who sought protection inside the compound of the U.N. base at Potocari but were then delivered by the Dutch UNPROFOR forces into the hands of Serb General Ratko Mladic. Dutch soldiers in U.N. blue helmets are alleged to have watched on as women and young girls were taken away and raped and men and boys separated before being taken away for summary execution.

In a tort action against the Dutch state in which much of the legal debate revolves around the division of responsibility between the United Nations and national states, the plaintiffs' lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld will argue that the Dutch government and the Dutch command within UNPROFOR were responsible for the gross negligence shown by Dutch troops, were primarily concerned for the safety of their national contingent and showed scant regard for the safety of the civilian population entrusted to their care.
Please see the full press release here.

Update: Srebrenica Families’ Anger at Removal of Judge:
It is unclear why Judge Bart Punt has left the case, which is to be heard at the Hague District Court on June 16. However, victims’ families are outraged that he is going after working on it for three years, and fear it could affect the final verdict.

In January 2007, families welcomed an interim decision by Judge Punt which supported the view that Dutch soldiers at Srebrenica should have evacuated Mustafic along with them because he was employed by the UN. Instead, according to the claimants, a Dutch personnel officer sent him away and he was captured by Bosnian Serbs.

In 2002, Dutch prime minister Wim Kok and his government resigned after a report found the state partly responsible for the fall of the UN-protected area.

Untapped investment opportunities in Bangladesh

The World Bank calls it the Bangladesh Paradox. The Bangladesh economy has steadily accelerated in recent years, with growth reaching 7 percent in 2006. The country scores particularly well on socio-economic indicators. Global banks and multilateral institutions present a highly optimistic outlook: Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Merrill Lynch have identified Bangladesh as a key investment opportunity. This impressive growth occurs in a climate of political restructuring. A caretaker government is implementing reforms toward privatizing many state-owned enterprises. The Dhaka Stock Exchange Index is at a 10-year high, up 66 percent this year, making it Asia's top performer after China. And the stock market is expected to double in size in 2008.

Discover why market-oriented reforms, strong socio-economic indicators and highly favorable demographics are poised to render Bangladesh one of the world's most exciting investment opportunities
- Asia Society

June 13, 2008

Swimming in Berlin this summer

Berlin is a city of lakes. Berliner Zeitung has published an investigative report on the quality of approx. 40 bathing locations in Berlin and found out the following (click to enlarge):

(Hat tip: Bowlerised)

The mud fight begins

After the nomination of Obama became clear for the US presidency he has been target of right-wing quarters in creative smear campaigns.

One such thing is quoting Malik's half brother in Kenya and labeling him a militant Muslim.

Good thing is that the Barack Obama campaign has launched a website to fight the right-wing smears against Barack Obama. The website is called "Fight The Smears" (Hat tip: Mash).

Drill here, drill now

We, therefore, the undersigned citizens of the United States, petition the U.S. Congress to act immediately to lower gasoline prices (and diesel and other fuel prices)* by authorizing the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries.
Approximately 700,000 people have signed.

I wish they could start a revolution of going green instead. But looks like the technology is still a long way from there. And its now US's turn to start using their resources. Probably they are waiting for the moment when all oil resources will be wiped out, they will rule the world with their reserves.

Laws and implications

Bangladesh government has introduced a tougher law to combat religious terrorism in the country. The Anti-Terrorism Ordinance 2008 passed this week empowers:
* The Central Bank to freeze the accounts of a suspected terror financier.
* judges to impose death penalty for terror financing and staging murder to create panic and jeopardize the country's sovereignty. Special tribunals will be constituted to deal with such offenses.
* Anyone resorting to murder, kidnapping or damaging property to create panic among the people and jeopardize the country's security by using explosives, arms and chemicals, will be charged with committing terrorist offense.
These will provide a deterrent to the terrorist outfits who are funded from terrorist cocoons like the Middle East and not surprisingly UK.

Although considering the population Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country it enjoys much liberal legal and cultural environment since its inception. The common perception of many who knows Bangladesh less is that it is one of these monarchy or religious party controlled state with Sharia in place. Quite contrast to that most of the Bangladesh's legal system are based on the British laws (imposed during the colonial era) and some renovations. India and Bangladesh recognizes some religion specific rules regarding marriage and inheritance. But Pakistan adopted full Sharia law in their legal systems in 1979.

Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan after a bloody liberation war in 1971. The Pakistani army carried out a genocide of many Hindus and Bengali Muslims who were deemed not proper Muslims and secessionists.

The fundamental principles of Bangladesh constitution of 1972 were:
- Democracy
- Nationalism
- Secularism
- Socialism (this principle was generally considered for social justice particularly for the disadvantaged.)

According to the section on fundamental rights, all men and women are equal before the law, without discrimination based on religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. The Constitution also guarantees the right to assemble, hold public meetings, and form unions. Freedom of speech and of the press are ensured. Persons who have been arrested must be informed of the charges made against them, and they must be brought before a magistrate within twenty-four hours.

Bangladesh was fundamentally a secular country when it was born. The Islamic parties supported Pakistan during the war and was a party to the crime the Pakistan Army committed in 1971 in the name of curling insurgency. So after the war many of their leaders went on to hiding and returned to normal life after a mass pardon.

Then the father of nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman inclined towards Socialism and was assassinated in 1975 by a military coup. Military dictatorship (and autocratic puppet democracy by military rulers) ruled Bangladesh till 1990 when democracy was truly restored. The leaders of the Jamaat returned to Bangladesh during the rule of the military rulers Zia and Ershad and some were even helped to restore in politics. For an example is the case of Abdul Kader Molla, who became known as "the Butcher of Mirpur," a Dhaka suburb which in 1971 was populated mainly by non-Bengali Muslim immigrants. Today, he is the publicity secretary of Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh. In 1996 the more progressive political party Awami League joined hand in hand with Jamaat e Islami to make a electoral pact to contest the election against then ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
"The Constitution as originally framed in 1972 explicitly described the government of Bangladesh as "secular," but in 1977 an executive proclamation made three changes in wording that did away with this legacy. The proclamation deleted "secular" and inserted a phrase stating that a fundamental state principle is "absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah." The phrase bismillah ar rahman ar rahim (in the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful) was inserted before the preamble of the Constitution. Another clause states that the government should "preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic solidarity."

State support for Islam, including recognition of Islam as the state religion in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution in June 1988, has not led to official persecution of other religions. Despite agitation by Jamaat e Islami (Congregation of Islam) and other conservative parties, there was no official implementation of sharia (Islamic law) as of mid-1988".(source)
In fact in 2001 a Bangladesh court banned Fatwa which was a blow to the Islamists.

So there are many Bangladeshi laws to safeguard the society from religious fanatics and restrictions on freedom of expressions. But in effect many people do not know of their rights. In rural areas mosque based religious leaders are respected and people are afraid to counter their unlawful acts.

A couple of months ago Mufti Fazlul Huq Amini, chairman of Islami Oikkojote (Islamic confederation) had the audacity to proclaim a Fatwa in a press release that by announcing the new National Women Development policy (promoting equal right of women), the caretaker government has spoken against the Koran, and are thus considered apostates.

His Fatwa was unchallenged and in fact the Government took no steps other than a meek protest.

So it remains to be seen whether the new laws are not politically manipulated and thus become truly effective. People has to be aware of these regulations to fight the bigotry and Jihadi ideologies.

The power of one

If you haven't checked lately what Shawn is doing for his Uncultured Project to end poverty in Bangladesh, here is a pointer:

Check the rest of Shawn and friends' journey through the Chittagong Hill-Tracts here.

June 12, 2008

Corruption of Jamaat-e-Islami

Jamaat-e-Islami, a religious party of Bangladesh boasts of not being corrupt. However in recent times some of their leaders were finally accused of corruption and even a few were sentenced. More and more shocking reports are coming. Here is one tragic tale of Salim Zahid, a journalist of the Bangla Daily Jugantor who was recently sacked in consequence to publishing one report of corruption against Rezaul Karim, a senior Jamaat leader of Comilla. The leader persuaded the journalist not to publish the report. He was also being intimidated by certain persons who claimed to be members of an intelligence organization and relative to the Jamaat leader. After the journalist published the report the leader complained that he had demanded extortion of Taka 50,000 from the leader. Salim was also being threatened for life and he filed a general diary against them. After that the intelligence agents were alleged to intimidate the Newspaper to sack him. The paper gave in and sacked Salim. This is one of the sorry tales of compromised Bangladesh Media.

Salim thinks he is victim of personal grudge of those agents who have personal relation with the Jamaat Leader.

Here is another instance (Hat tip: Hidden Street)of corruption by Jamaat leader in Rajshahi. Watch the Ekushey TV investigative report (in Bangla)as a corrupt NGO of a Jamaat leader obtained deposits from farmers using religion (Islam) as a marketing tactics.

Minus two formula and remote controlled justice

Extra-ordinary scenes were in Dhaka yesterday as the freshly released ex Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met with four advisers and had a telephone chat with the Chief Advisers to demand quick election in Bangladesh. She is is on her way to the United States today to be received by her son in Boston.

Sheikh Hasina was arrested 11 months ago in connection with an extortion case and was sent to a sub-jail on the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban premises. She was also charged with 14 more cases in the course of time.

The Daily Star claims:
The court orders came after a government-formed medical board examined Hasina on June 5 and recommended the next day to send her abroad for better treatment of her ear. Acting on the recommendations, the government yesterday freed her for eight weeks on parole.
According to Prothom Alo the government can cancel the decision of temporary release of Hasina (the executive order under section 401/4A of criminal act) anytime without showing any reason.

However only last Sunday (8th of June) a special court rejected the bail prayer of Sheikh Hasina in the Niko graft case.

Tacit comments in Drishtipat blog:
Sheikh Hasina has been given neither bail nor parole. The courts have exempted her from showing up in person for the trials, but absent a bail or parole, she should still be in jail. Unless there is a secret order somewhere labeling Sudha Shadhan a subjail, Sheikh Hasina is currently, de jure, a runaway from the law.
Cholishnu Bidda Kalpadroom comments:
In this process a new type of parole has been invented in Bangladesh. It is called the “politicized parole”.
So what had instigated this extra-ordinary freedom of Sheikh Hasina? Lots of speculations are on the board like Sheikh Hasina will not return to avoid detention. If Awami League gets the majority in the next election then she can be brought back to the parliament using by-election and eventually select for the Prime Minister post.

The most important thing is that Awami League has decided to participate in the dialog organized by the government and eventually the election. Another information is that Sheikh Hasina's Canadian Visa was also arranged by the government. So it is clear that Awami League has reached some sort of deal with the Government.

The release of Hasina has been welcomed by many as it will create a cooling breeze into Bangladeshi politics. However the whole fiasco only questions the independence of the judiciary in the country which is clearly still being manipulated politically.

A New Age editorial marked the decline:
On Wednesday, April 23, the Appellate Division curtailed the authority of the High Court Division to hear bail petitions in cases under the Emergency Powers Rules, in a judgement that has sparked furore among legal experts and practitioners, and been dubbed as the last nail in the human rights coffin.
Another commenter in Drishtipat says:
I want to talk about the so called “independent” judiciary in Bangladesh. This has been claimed as THE MOST SIGNIFICANT of the reforms of the current government. But ever since the judiciary became independent, even the high court is more aligned with the government. (The lower court has always been with the government, with or without independence).
According to Odhikar, a human rights organization (BDNews24):
"The way the caretaker government has fast-tracked the judicial process by getting courts to issue orders in a day exempting former prime minister Sheikh Hasina from personal appearance has exposed, yet again, use of judicial process for extraneous purposes. These hurried decisions have seriously undermined the judiciary and the judicial process in the people's perception.

It is obvious that political calculation has overwritten both the emergency and the ordinances by which the regime is ruling the country, but most importantly the normal process of the judiciary. Manipulation of state organs and institutions for preconceived outcomes has seriously undermined peoples' confidence in the regime and Bangladesh is already hanging on a very risky margin."
And this does not end here. Khaleda Zia also wants her two sons released and sent abroad. It remains to be seen that even charged with many high profile and evidence filled corruption cases, with what excuse Khaleda Zia's sons would be shown their way to freedom.

So it seems it is the minus two formula in effect in the expense of an independent judicial system.


Snippets from my recent London tour. This time I did not forget my camera:

In memory of someone who loved the view.

If you are wondering what view she had.

London craves for poshness.

And is truly multicultural.

I was occasionally online via my friend's Iphone. Wish this baby could be mine.

June 07, 2008

Near Einstein's birthplace

Tagore Street in Caputh, near Potsdam.

Web 2.0 Links for Nonprofits or NGOs

* Why should development organizations engage with podcasting?

* Using Blogging to fundraise.

* Drupal for Nonprofits, or, how to build social networks for change

* Managing Nonprofit technology projects - tools at Social sources commons.

* Why Web 2.0 is important to small local nonprofits

* How to run a Text-to-Screen campaigns: A MobileActive guide for Nonprofits

June 04, 2008

Change is in the air

Obama's victory speech.