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

October 31, 2009


Trailer for Determinism, the movie by Sanjit Majumder from New York.

Its a drama about a South Asian in Pennsylvania, USA financially cut off from his family who plans a heist that goes horribly wrong.

Alec, the film’s anti-hero, is an alienated South Asian. He’s always been an outsider, and he certainly doesn’t fit in here. New York is his Mecca.

Broke and cut off from his family after he flunks out of school, Alec sets off to free himself from the stereotypical role of “South Asian Geek” imposed upon him from birth. So opposed to typecasting that he can barely use a computer, he is determined to transcend Determinism — by any means necessary.

October 29, 2009

Bangladesh is a growing force in cricket

“The age-group cricket is very competitive and at junior level they (Bangladesh) are very good.

They have a lot of good spin bowlers, they are a good fielding side as well as being very aggressive and they have also some impressive batters as well, so, all in all, they are a growing force.”
- England Under-19s coach Mick Newell on Bangladesh U-19 team.
Two good news unfurled today. Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team leads a 7 match series at 4-0 after a comprehensive win over the England Under-19 team.

Secondly Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe comprehensively to level the 5 match series at 1-1. Winning is not an upset anymore for Bangladesh cricket. Just look at the winning margins they are achieving. These show that they are a growing force in International cricket.
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October 27, 2009

I love Bangladeshis

This is an unusual but brilliant opinion from a Kuwaiti - Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli, the Former Minister of Oil, published in the Arab Times:

IT is wrong to dread the citizens of certain countries simply because some of their compatriots are involved in illegal and unethical activities. Inadequacies are not inherited, yet some people seem to enjoy discriminating others due to the misdeeds of their compatriots. Actually, the main problem is the improper enforcement of the law. Some groups, including the security authorities, consider certain nationalities like the Bangladeshis as outlaws!

Kuwaitis should not forget the fact that Bangladeshis clean your streets, collect your garbage, and serve you in public and private offices as they deliver documents, in addition to preparing tea and coffee for you. In other words, the Bangladeshis do the work of lazy citizens in government departments. Moreover, Kuwaitis should also realize that Bangladeshis are the watchmen in your houses and chalets. They also drive your children to school and your wives to cooperative societies. Everybody is aware of the vital services rendered by Bangladeshis, yet many have disregarded such great contributions due to nationality-based discrimination, which has negatively affected the lives of more than 100 million people with remarkable achievements that 300 million Arabs cannot accomplish.

Those who insult or discriminate against Bangladeshis, are they aware that a Bangladeshi discovered laser eye surgery? Do YouTube subscribers know that it is a Bangladeshi entity? Does the Kuwaiti military pilot know a Bangladeshi discovered the light aluminum in his aircraft? Do users of Bose speakers know that Mr Bose is a Bangladeshi?

Do you know the first man who built a skyscraper — Sears Tower in Chicago — was a Bangladeshi? Do women who got the so-called test tube babies know that one of the leading figures in this field is a Bangladeshi? Do you know that a Bangladeshi has invented a certain statistical equation? These are just few of the contributions of Bangladeshis to the world. What are the achievements of Kuwaitis or GCC citizens who have been abusing Bangladeshis?

Wow Mr. Al-Baghli, I am moved! And thank you from the bottom of my heart.

2009 Global Hunger Index And Bangladesh

Global Hunger Index - BANGLADESH | RANK: 67, GHI: 24.70 (Alarming)

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) shows that worldwide progress in reducing hunger remains slow. According to the report, Bangladesh’s Global Hunger Index (GHI) score is 24.7, which gives it a rank of 67th out of 84 countries. The index ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst.

This report compares the 2009 GHI with the 2008 Global Gender Gap Index, which is made up of four subindices: economic participation, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival. The evidence shows that higher levels of hunger are associated with lower literacy rates and access to education for women. High rates of hunger are also linked to health and survival inequalities between men and women. Reducing gender disparities in key areas, particularly in education and health, is thus essential to reduce levels of hunger.

The web Has Your Records

All netizens have a digital dossier. Your dossier is the accumulation of all the digital tracks you make when you use social media tools or browse online.

You may or may not be aware of the above fact but there are some alarming news like the CIA and the European Union are building a social networking surveillance system.

Tom Burghardt at Dissident Voice writes:

Researchers on both sides of the Atlantic are busy as proverbial bees building a “total information” surveillance system, one that will, so they hope, provide police and security agencies with what they euphemistically call “actionable intelligence.”

In this context, the whistleblowing web site Wikileaks published a remarkable document October 4 by the INDECT Consortium, the Intelligence Information System Supporting Observation, Searching and Detection for Security of Citizens in Urban Environment.

Hardly a catchy acronym, but simply put INDECT is working to put a human face on the billions of emails, text messages, tweets and blog posts that transit cyberspace every day; perhaps your face.

According to Wikileaks, INDECT’s “Work package 4″ is designed “to comb web blogs, chat sites, news reports, and social-networking sites in order to build up automatic dossiers on individuals, organizations and their relationships.” Ponder that phrase again: “automatic dossiers.”

New Scientist reported back in 2006 that the National Security Agency “is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks.”

The above is information scary but you can confuse the data miners if not avert them if you put your real life information in your social networking activities at minimum. And if you are a blogger writing on sensitive issues, you might want to do it anonymously.

Pesta Blogger 2009

Last Saturday (October 24, 2009) I attended the Pestablogger 2009 conference held in the SMESCO building in Jakarta. Around 1200 bloggers from all across Indonesia participated in this third annual Indonesian bloggers gathering.

(SMESCO building at Jalan Gatot Soebroto)

This year's theme was "One Spirit One Nation", which reflects the nation's unity and diversity. Iman Brotoseno, the chairman of the event tells:

"Blog and other social media are able to break through physical, religious and cultural boundaries to keep us united as one nation with one spirit."

(Click here to read the rest of this entry)

The Hawa Bhaban Conspiracy

Who was behind the August 21, 2004 murder plot against Sheikh Hasina left unanswered for years. But now shocking details are emerging.

Last year we learned that the former BNP lawmaker and deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu Pintu was detained and charges were made against him and 22 persons including top Harkat-ul-Jihad (Huji) leader Mufti Abdul Hannan for the sensational August 21 grenade attack against Hasina. He confessed of his involvement in the assassination attempt during interrogation.

Now a Daily Star investigation reveals some characters behind the chilling conspiracy to kill Hasina. We hear that former home minister Babar 'supplied' grenades and the militant organization HUJI was used as mercenary group:

(Image courtesy The Daily Star)    (Click here to read the rest of this entry)

October 22, 2009

Hizbut Tahrir Banned In Bangladesh

In 2007 I wrote why Hizbut Tahrir is the next threat for Bangladesh. They had been recruiting talented youths from Bangladeshi education institutions and brain washing them for their quest to establish Khilafat. Rawi commented in my above post:

I happened to closely follow the alarming emergence of HT in Bangladesh over the last 5 years -- alarming because they openly reject democracy as "un-Islamic", unlike the other Islamist parties that at least accept the democratic system as a pragmatic norm and act within it. Ironically, when they first started their activities at universities in Dhaka in the name of "intellectual debate", I heard some of these British-accented returned-to-Bangladesh leaders claiming that HT is a "non-violent, non-political" movement (exact words). Imagine my reaction when, less than 2 years later, I come across explicitly political leaflets being distributed outside mosques in Dhanmondi.

It's not entirely true that HT is "totally peaceful". Rather, they have taken on different colors in different countries. In places in Central Asia, HT-inspired movements have been known to engage in openly militant activities. Also important to note, though HT is currently based in the UK, they were originally founded in Palestine over 50 years ago by a cleric named Nabhani. A professor I knew at college, who once personally interviewed the late founder of Hamas, said he happened to meet an HT man in Palestine whose views were the most "extremist" he had ever seen -- even more extreme than Hamas!

Finally the Bangladesh government made the right decision in banning Hizbut Tahrir in Bangladesh.

"The organisation's activities have been banned from today [Thursday] as its activities go against public security."

Hizbut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation) has already been banned in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, and in the former Soviet states in Central Asia.

October 20, 2009

My Interview Published In Asia Media Forum

Lynette Lee Corporal at Asia Media Forum has published an article on Blog Action Day and quoted me from an interview which I submitted via email earlier.

Here is the article:

Battle for Climate Change Waged in Cyberpace Too

October 19, 2009

The State Of The Blogosphere 2009

"In a year when revolutions and elections were organized by blogs, bloggers are blogging more than ever, and the State of the Blogosphere is strong."

Technorati State Of The Blogosphere for 2009 is out. Since 2004, Technorati's annual study has followed the growth and trends in the blogosphere. 2,900 bloggers were surveyed directly by market research firm Penn Schoen and Berland. Here is a summary of the report.

Day 1: Who are the Bloggers?

  • Bloggers are a highly educated and affluent group. Nearly half are graduates, majority earns $75000 p.a.
  • Two-thirds are male
  • 60% are aged 18-44
  • More than half are married
  • Half are employed full time
  • Half of bloggers who responded are working on at least their second blog
  • Media Habits of Bloggers 

Category of Bloggers:

Hobbyists: 72% - They blog for fun. They don’t make any money from their blogging. Half of them blog to express their “personal musings”.

Part-Timers: 15% - They “blog to supplement their income, but don’t consider it a full time job.” They blog to share their expertise, while some blog to attract new clients for their business. They measure the success of their blog by the unique pageviews they attract.

Self-Employeds: 9% - They "blog full time for their own company or organization." 88% self employeds use Twitter.

Pros: 4% - They “blog full-time for a company or organization".

Twitter and other social media represent one of the most important trends affecting the Blogosphere this year. With more areas of involvement, and more ways to tell the story, the blogosphere is strong - and only getting stronger.

Coming Up:

Day 2 — The What and Why of Blogging

Day 3 — The How of Blogging

Day 4 — Monetization And Revenue Generation: Brands in the Blogosphere

Day 5 — 2009 Trends: Political Impact of Blogging, Twitter Usage

Image Credit: Technorati

October 18, 2009

3D Animation Film From Bangladesh

A 3D Animation film made by Nishu and Mazhar of Batch 02 (Mechanical Engineering) from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).

October 16, 2009

I swear my chair moved

Earthquake in Indonesia have been so frequent these days that people don't bother. I was sitting in chair and I felt it was moving for a bit. I was deeply concentrated in work and I thought probably my head was spinning. Then the shaking was no more. I asked my family members who did not feel anything probably it was for a brief period - 5 seconds or so. No apparent damages in Jakarta.

And a while after a twitter message came up:

W7VOA: Another quake has just rattled Indonesia -- M6.4 prelim -- probably not big enough to trigger tsunami.
I searched the internet and saw in Detik news that the earthquake happened. USGS Earthquake Hazards Program confirms:

  • Friday, October 16, 2009 at 09:52:52 UTC
  • Friday, October 16, 2009 at 04:52:52 PM at epicenter
6.692°S, 105.153°E
55.6 km (34.5 miles)
135 km (85 miles) S of T.-Telukbetung, Sumatra, Indonesia
185 km (115 miles) WSW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
185 km (115 miles) W of Sukabumi, Java, Indonesia
270 km (165 miles) W of Bandung, Java, Indonesia
Location Uncertainty
horizontal +/- 12.3 km (7.6 miles); depth +/- 17.5 km (10.9 miles)
NST= 33, Nph= 33, Dmin=350.5 km, Rmss=1.41 sec, Gp= 76°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=7
Event ID

More Twitter messages:

RT @BrettMcGuire: 5 seconds in Pondok Indah. Hanging plants are still swinging #Jakarta #earthquake
I am amazed that because of Twitter I could confirm the news within 10 minutes.

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Better Than That One!

Via Jakarta Daily Photo:

The owner of the biggest McDonalds franchise in Indonesia has converted all his McDonald’s counters into the new restaurant: Tony Jack’s. Apparently he’s pissed by McDonald’s decision to sell its majority franchise ownership of McDonalds Indonesia to the Rekso group.

Detik Finance reports that 13 McDonalds branches were converted to Tony Jack’s on the 1st of October. The new entity vows to offer different food items from the previous venture although still dominated by burgers and fried chicken.

Since the first day of opening, the packaging of food and beverages were prepared plain, without logo and name of the store.

Their tagline is "Better than that One", hope they can live up to the expectation.

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October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Today is the Blog Action Day and this annual event aims to unite the world's bloggers where they write about a single topic in a single day to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion on the subject.

I have posted a round-up of some of the Rising Voices projects discussing climate change in their blogs.

This is my third year of participating in the Blog Action Day. You can read my posts from 2007 & 2008.

Now the question is why Blog Action Day is important. We all take part in our share of activism in our everyday lives. But they hardly make any impact on the society. Sometimes we also miss out on important issues. Blog Action Day is the opportunity to unite our voices to a common cause so that we can shake the inertia and tilt towards a change.

Every day you will find many govt. sponsored events or international conferences discussing on critical issues. But do they have the capacity to engage every common people? The advantage of citizen media is that it is free and accessible to many who wants to raise their voice. And what bloggers write do not obliterate, they remain in webspace searchable by search engines. So Blog Action Day gives people the opportunity to speak out their opinions and it is an wonderful initiative to have more local perspectives on important issues.

One may wonder whether the Blog action day will make any impact on the policy makers. Slowly people are becoming more aware of citizen media. What bloggers can do is to discuss about the ground realities of the different policies taken by governments or authorities. They should share their personal experiences, observations etc which can provide important feedbacks to the policy makers.

The bloggers are part of the local communities. With the promulgation of initiatives like Blog Action Day, non-bloggers from their communities will be interested to read what the bloggers are talking about and take part in the discussion via comments or in real life actions. Writing about issues like environment in blogs is only a catalyst to some offline actions that need too be taken.

Now coming to the point - this year's theme - climate change. Bangladesh is in the forefront of the impacts of climate change. If sea level rises, parts of Bangladesh will submerge and millions of people will be refugees.

In my opinion we cannot avoid the consequences of climate change. What we can do is to reduce the damages through careful planning, save lives via strategic migration. Less resourceful nations like Bangladesh cannot do all this alone. The world needs to act, lend a hand and plan the right course of actions.

Bangladesh has already sought 5 billion US dollars from the developed countries in compensation for damaging effects due to climate change caused by global warming. But only money won't suffice. I would like to quote Shehzaad Shams of Bangladesh Corporate Blog in explaining strategic migration here:

We do want free money...as compensation..or fresh funds..whatever you call it. However, I am sick and tired of getting free alms which almost always go down the drain (or personal pockets and fortunes). Let the deal be fair.....we will train our manpower to serve your foreign labor markets, we will take care of all legal and social coverage issues...in return we demand preference in overseas recruitment selection and eventual settlement in foreign territories, provided the incumbent meets criteria set and agreed by host and source countries. The idea is to convert potential climate refugees from burden to skilled workforce and help them get (either local) job assignments in countries which are held culprit for the climate change fiasco. In other words, if a time arises that 5,000 people are displaced due to rising tidal waves in Satkhira district, they need to be labelled formally as 'climate refugees' first. These people are free to move to higher lands or even to capital to seek for security of life and food. They need to be trained and made export ready to countries which are primarily responsible for global warming.

We can also learn from the experience from the millions of environmental refugees from Bangladesh who lose all their belongings in the recurring natural disasters and have the courage to start all over again. This courage will be the key to survive in all the future natural calamities that are going to happen because of climate change.

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Featured in Asia Media Forum, Thailand

I am featured in an article published in Asia Media Forum, Thailand. This is republished here purely for archiving purpose:
Screenshot of the article
Battle for Climate Change Waged in Cyberpace Too
By Lynette Lee Corporal

BANGKOK (Asia Media Forum) — Like veritable Davids to the status quo's Goliaths, who contribute one way or another to environmental apathy, bloggers have been busy using a very powerful weapon to smote climate change in the eye.

On Oct. 15, bloggers created a loud buzz in cyberspace via the Blog Action Day (BAD) '09 (www.blogactionday.org). BAD '09 has a yearly event since 2007, which aims to get together bloggers worldwide and have them write about a common cause on the same day — and hopefully onwards.

This year’s blog action day is being held against the backdrop of just-finished negotiations in Thailand, which are expected to lead to a new climate change deal in December 2009.

"Our primary plan is to connect as many bloggers as possible with the great organisations that are working hard every day around the world to confront the climate crisis," said Robin Beck, organising director of leading social action blog network Change.org, and the group behind BAD '09.

"On Oct. 15, we will have thousands of blogs that usually write about gadgets, or travel, or cars, or sports, or food, or any of hundreds of other topics all posting about one thing: climate change," Beck told the Asia Media Forum.

Bloggers are also expected to be creative by uploading videos, music or anything that would convey the message in a catchy manner.

As of Oct. 14, there are more than 6,300 registered blogs from 131 countries on the BAD site. Language translation, including into Chinese, are being done by volunteers and organisers expect to have about a dozen of languages up on the site come D-day. 

According to Beck, as of Oct. 13, about a thousand blogs from 19 countries in the Asia-Pacific region alone have registered. Topping the list of countries with the most number of registered blogs are the Philippines with 167 blogs, Australia (165), Japan (128), India (123) and Indonesia (113).

Bloggers and environment advocates know only too well the need to have an inclusive global interaction and dialogue about the issue, and blogging is one of the easiest ways to do this.

"There are many government sponsored events or international conferences on critical issues. But do they have the capacity to engage every common people?" asked Rezwan, an avid Bangladeshi blogger (The 3rd World View - http://rezwanul.blogspot.com/) and Global Voices Online (http://globalvoicesonline.org/) regional editor for South Asia. 

Having taken part in BAD activities since 2007, Rezwan recognises the gap between policymakers and ordinary citizens, especially when the former starts talking in rhetoric while the latter thirst for action.

"What bloggers can do is to discuss about the ground realities of the policies taken, personal experiences, observations, etc, which can provide important feedbacks to the policy makers," said Rezwan, also a translator coordinator for the Global Voices Bangla Lingua (http://bn.globalvoicesonline.org/).

Greenpeace South-east Asia media campaigner Chuck Baclagon agrees, saying that blogs "provide traction for any issue" and help people engage in conversation whether online or offline.

According to Baclagon, Greenpeace South-east Asia (http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/en/) has its own community of about 300 bloggers who support and campaign for Greenpeace activities. Their Greenpeace Philippines Facebook site has over 8,300 fans and growing.

He said that Greenpeace blogs are written in a very personal manner. "There is power in presenting the issue from a personal context because it gives a very complex issue a human face," said Baclagon, who manages the environment watchdog's blogsite, www.blog.greenpeace.org.ph.

Moreover, said Rezwan, bloggers are part of the local communities, and that means attracting even non-bloggers to join in the discussion "via comments or in real life actions".

"Writing about issues like the environment in blogs is only a catalyst to some offline actions that need to be taken," he added.

Gilbert Sape, a presenter for 'The Climate Project' (http://www.theclimateproject.org/) under environment activist and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore, has seen for himself the power of blogs.

"A lot of people don't read news anymore. However, they read blogs. Thus, blogs are indeed a new source of information for many. Even decision-makers, particularly the populist ones, read blogs to weigh their position on issues," said Sape, who facilitates the international collaboration work of the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International's regional centres. He is also former coordinator of Food Sovereignty and Ecological Agricultural Programme of PAN Asia-Pacific.

For an online cause to be successful, Girard Philip Bonotan, who works for a Bangkok-based international NGO on Southeast Asian heritage and culture, said that bloggers need to be united by a common cause and stick by it.

"By joining with larger groups that are not bloggers, the message that these groups want to spread can be easily conveyed," said Bonotan, a BAD member who maintains a blog at www.kawadjan.blogspot.com.

He, however, sees that there is still a dearth of blog posts on the environment. "My blogger network and the blogs I read are limited around certain interests, and sadly, that does not include the environment," he admitted.

One reason, said Baclagon, could be that while everybody is talking about climate change, they "still know so little about the issue".

"Climate change is a very complex issue and we need to put it in a language that is easy to understand," he said, adding that even bloggers are guilty of writing very technical stuff about it.

But more and more bloggers are learning from their oversights. Said Bonotan, "Bloggers have made their mark in how public opinion is shared, perhaps largely because of the nature of blog entries, which more often use colloquial language, hence, rather inclusive and accessible."

Rezwan also lauded the advantage of the technology in that "what bloggers write do not (get) obliterated... they remain in the webspace searchable by search engines".

For Baclagon, a good blog should always speak about how an issue directly affects a person. "A good blog, too, does not merely present a problem, but also gives an empowering message and a call to action," he said.

Sustaining the interest of bloggers and readers about climate change, said Sape, can be achieved by "providing concrete and tangible actions that readers can do".

"It could be from the simplest thing (like recycling or turning off the air-conditioning when not needed) to bigger actions (like donating money to NGOs or taking part in protest actions)," added Sape.

Knowing how vulnerable Bangladesh is to the effects of climate change, Rezwan can only hope that world leaders and individuals start to take the future seriously.

 "The world needs to act, lend a hand and plan the right course of actions," he said.


War Criminals In Great Britain Are Protected By Law

Delwar Hussain published an eye opener in Guradian Unlimited (Comment Is Free) depicting that British Bangladeshis like Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin are among those accused of war crimes in the 1971 war of liberation. In this report he wrote on Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin:

A Channel Four documentary from 1995 made allegations of involvement by British Bangladeshis in the genocide. Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, director of Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the NHS, who was until recently vice-chairman of the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre and was involved in setting up the Muslim Council of Britain, is one of the most prominent people to be accused of having carried out war crimes.

Mueen-Uddin is alleged to have been part of a group that abducted and “disappeared” people. Witnesses at the time describe seeing him kidnapping a university professor and a journalist in Dhaka during the war. Mueen-Uddin told the documentary makers “all the accusations being made against me are … utterly false and malicious, and either politically motivated or instigated otherwise”.

Having left the newly created country of Bangladesh for London, Mueen-Uddin, along with other members of JI set up Islamic Forum Europe, an avowedly Islamist organisation connected to the East London Mosque.

As Lucy Lips at Harry's place predicted the Guardian has apparently received a libel threat from solicitors representing Mr Mueen-Uddin and they have deleted the phrases above from that article. They have added this disclaimer:
• On 13 October this article was changed following a legal complaint.

Lucy notes:

Fortunately, I live in New York. This blog is also hosted in the United States. I am therefore protected by the Libel Terrorism Protection Act.

The Guardian, by contrast, struggles to report factual information while handicapped by a law which is a serious and disturbing threat, to freedom of expression, the fight against extremism, and the struggle for justice by the people of Bangladesh.

Lucy also informs how these people use law to muffle voices raised against them:

Prominent members and supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami are now well embedded within the United Kingdom. They more or less run the Muslim Council of Britain and the East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre. The Imam of the East London Mosque distinguished himself recently by signing the notorious Istanbul Declaration, which the Government regards as a threat of terrorism against the Royal Navy and ‘everyone standing with the Zionist Entity’. The London Muslim Centre, similarly, regularly hosts meeting by extremists, including the Al Qaeda cleric, Awlaki.

Thanks to the efforts of judges like Mr Justice Eady, and England’s claimant-friendly law of Defamation, activists connected to Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood routinely instruct their solicitors to fire off letters before action, claiming that their poor client’s reputations have been sullied, whenever blogs or newspapers report on their words, deeds, or the politics of the organisations to which they belong. Harry’s Place receives these sorts of letters all the time.

The Spittoon also carries the news and check out their comments section for some interesting trolls. The Blog urges:

Those who are in favour of freedom of expression and justice in Britain must counter this despicable underhand move by Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin.

October 14, 2009

Bangladesh approves 10 new TV channels

Bangladesh’s information ministry has distributed no-objection letters allowing these TV stations to go on air:

1) Ekattur Television (backed by journalist Mozammel Huq Babu)
2) Channel-9 (backed by Syeda Mahbuba Akhter, the wife of retired Brig-Gen Syed Shafayetul Islam, who is younger brother of LGRD Minister and ruling Awami League General-Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam)
3) Independent Television (Salman F. Rahman, Vice-Chairman of Beximco Group and adviser of Awami League chief)
4) ATN News (Mahfuzur Rahman, owner of ATN Bangla TV)
5) Somoy Television (Ahmed Zubair)
6) My TV (Nasir Uddin)
7) Machhranga Television (owned by Anjan Chowdhury, Director of Square Grp)
8) Mohona TV (Kamal Ahmed Majumder, a ruling party MP)
9) GTV (owned by Gazi Golam Ashriar)and
10)Bijoy TV (Chittagong mayor A.B.M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury)

Bangladesh has 11 privately-backed channels already on air, plus two state-backed stations (BTV and BTV World). (Via Rapid TV News)

October 11, 2009

Who is gassing whom?

The writing on the wall tells that the very people who were gassed during the world war II by the Nazi monsters have become monsters themselves and trying to annihilate a race in the very same manner. Soul searching is needed for the people who are advocating hatred.

The documentary Welcome to Hebron was filmed for more than three years on location in Hebron, West Bank. Directed by Terje Carlsson this documentary shows how the occupation affects everyday life in Palestine and tries to shed a light on the situation there. It recently won a prize at the Cinefest Daazo Competition in Hungary.

At the center of the story, there's 17-year old Leila Sarsour, a student at the Al-Qurtuba-school, a Palestinian girl school surrounded by Israeli military installations and Israeli settlements (which are considered illegal under international law.) This peculiar location means that the school girls and their teachers are the ideal target for stone, garbage and egg-throwing. As a former commander of the Israel army, who has served 14 months in Hebron explains "When you see a Palestinian, you throw a rock." He adds that it's part of the education as children under twelve cannot be prosecuted.

The trailer of the movie:

Via We Make Money Not Art

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October 09, 2009

International Cost of Living Trends 2009

This salary purchasing power parity rank comprises cost of living indexes for each of 276 global locations. The indexes are calculated using the prices for specific quantities of the same goods and services in each location, based on expatriate spending patterns across 13 broad categories (Basket Groups). The latest salary purchasing power parity ranking, together with the overall cost of living index, sourced from www.xpatulator.com as at January 2009 is as follows: Rank Location (Overall Cost of Living Index New York=100)

1. Japan, Tokyo (126. 03)
4. Switzerland, Geneva (119. 59)
6. United Kingdom, London (118. 23)
10. Russia, Moscow (113. 41)
11. Nigeria, Lagos (112. 69)
14. France, Paris (112. 38)
16. Italy, Milan (111. 19)
27. Italy, Rome (107. 29)
29. Australia, Sydney (106. 52)
30. USA, San Francisco Calif (104. 53)
34. United Arab Emirates, Dubai (103. 36)
41. Korea Republic of, Seoul (101. 94)
47. Spain, Madrid (100. 26)
50. USA, New York NY (100)
56. Germany, Berlin (98. 18)
59. Canada, Toronto (97. 39)
66. Singapore, Singapore (94. 6)
86. Taiwan, Taipei (90. 07)
97. Vietnam, Hanoi (88. 03)
100. United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi (87. 16)
116. United Kingdom, Birmingham (84. 76)
126. Philippines, Manila (82. 07)
130. Indonesia, Jakarta (81. 76)
137. New Zealand, Auckland (80. 71
144. Thailand, Bangkok (79. 86)
147. China, Beijing (79. 73)
154. Kenya, Nairobi (78. 4)
171. India, Mumbai (76. 04)
183. Saudi Arabia, Riyadh (75. 08)
199. Afghanistan, Kabul (72. 13)
202. Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur (71. 82)
206. India, New Delhi (71. 4)
227. Syria, Damascus (67. 99)
234. Nepal, Kathmandu (65. 67)
239. South Africa, Johannesburg (64. 51)
241. Egypt, Cairo (64. 18)
248. Pakistan, Lahore (59. 48)
252. Sri Lanka, Colombo (58. 51)
258. Bangladesh, Dhaka (57. 03)
259. Bhutan, Thimphu (56. 78)
266. Libya, Tripoli (52. 74)
272. Cambodia, Phnom Penh (45. 65)
273. Yemen, Sanaa (45. 6)
276. Zimbabwe, Harare (17. 12)

The total list is here.

The above list consider the expatriate employee spending power and the standard of living maintained irrespective of global location. Bangladesh fares well as one of the cheapest locations in the world to maintain your living standard.

October 08, 2009

Now The Chinese Comes Up With Artificial Virginity Hymen kit

Why would people care about women's hymen? "Bleeding on the wedding night is still the proof of the bride's honor in Egypt and Middle Eastern countries" - explains Egyptian journalist Marwa Rakha in Global Voices. An ad for the product runs like this:
Restore your virginity in five minutes with the new technologically advanced product. Kiss your deep dark secret goodbye for only 15$ … no surgery … no needles … no medication … no side effects … only 15$.

Souad Abdel Rasoul from Radio Netherlands spotted the core of the problems of Arab Muslims:
China is a country that has really understood us and revealed our truth, our diseases, and our obsession with image but not content. We are a contradictory nation that suffers from severe schizophrenia.

By selling us prayer beads, Ramadan lanterns, Hajj clothes, veiled Barbie dolls, Islamic swimsuits, and no hymens, China has been caressing the “Islamic” concept inside all of us by providing us with the image of what we want others to see in us, even if it is just a lie.

A commenter on the Global Voices post says:
I personally feel really disturbed with this all subject; virginity can or cannot be considered a moral value, but reducing it to a simple mechanical part that can be “repaired”, “checked” or “verified” has something deeply wrong related to it.

Quote Of The Day

“One day we will be right up there at the top and it is a realistic prospect. Just look at the players we have. Tamim Iqbal, Ashraful, Mortaza can be match-winners and now we have Rubel [Hossain] who can bowl at 90mph. Give us a few years to grow together. Teams who face us in the coming months will be taking on a victorious unit and not the Bangladesh of old. There is a difference you will notice.”
- Shakib Al-Hasan, Vice Captain, Bangladesh cricket team and The Wisden Cricketer's Test Player Of The Year.
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October 01, 2009

Indonesia's miseries continue

Another earthquake in Sumatra Islands in Indonesia following yesterday's deadly one brought more miseries to Indonesians.
A second earthquake was recorded shortly before noon (AEST) today in Padang, Indonesia. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck 150 km south of the epicenter of last night’s quake. (source)

Wednesday afternoon's 7.6-magnitude quake toppled buildings and led to fires in Padang, home to nearly 1 million people on the coast of Sumatra, leaving the city largely without power and communications.

United Nations humanitarian chief John Holmes said 1,100 people had been confirmed dead and warned that the toll was likely to worsen. Earlier, Indonesia's social affairs ministry said at least 770 people were dead and 2,400 injured, 300 seriously.(source)

Many organizations have already started rescue efforts. One notable initiative is by Air Asia:

In order to help the brethren in Padang in overcoming this disaster, PT Indonesia AirAsia will provide relief flights from Jakarta to Padang and Padang-Jakarta on Sunday, 04 Oktober, 2009. Chairs will be provided free of charge for the flights with Boeing 737-300. Free seats can be booked only through www.airasia.com started 02 Oktober, 2009 from 08.00 am. In Padang, prospective passengers can be booked directly at Minangkabau International Airport. PT Indonesia AirAsia will also allocate cargo space with a capacity of 1.5 tons for delivery the help of medication, food and other goods needed to help the brethren in Padang.

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