Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today Passed 57th Anniversary of National Press Club, Dacca, Bangladesh

Today 20th, 2011 the anniversary of National Press Club, Dacca Bangladesh observed. In this occasion all honorable members were present. President mr. Kamal Uddin Sobuj, General Secretary Mr. Abdal and officials of the executive committee were present. Senior journalists, media personnel and concerns were remembered the anniversary. After valuable speeches, social and entertaining events held on the occasion.

Toady's Meeting at Hazaribag Leather Tannery College

Today 21st, 2011 an events would held at Hazaribag Leather technical College. Honorable member of Parliaments Dhaka Seat 12, Barrister Fazle Nur Taposh, MP would chair the occasion. Along with many Awami League Leaders and concerned would attend on that meeting. All media concerns are requested to pay their attention on this events.

BBC to scrap Ariel print edition after 75 years

Delivering Quality First cuts will cost the broadcaster's communications department 30 jobs, including four at Ariel, which will go online-only from December

The BBC's staff newspaper Ariel is to close its print edition as the broadcaster's communications department prepares for a restructuring that will cost 30 jobs.

The Ariel team – eight-strong, with some working on the newspaper part time – will lose four full-time staff as the title goes online-only.

The final edition of the weekly newspaper, first published 75 years ago, will appear in December.

The communications department restructuring is part of the BBC's Delivering Quality First (DQF) plan, under which it will cut nearly 2,000 jobs as it seeks to make savings of £670 million by 2016/17.

Candida Watson – editor of Ariel for the past two years, who will lose her job in the cuts – said that the closure of the newspaper "pales into insignificance" in the context of the "savage cuts being inflicted in other areas".

But she added: "That doesn't make it any less of a shock to the long-serving staff who produce Ariel, to our regular correspondents who make the letters page a thing of occasional joy and frequent conversation, or to those of you who like to pick up the paper and read it quietly in a break, or take it to read on the journey home.

"And how will certain tabloids fill their diary columns now?"

Watson acknowledged that some staff would see it as a "none too subtle way of diminishing internal criticism of BBC management", but said that it was "hard to argue" for a licence fee-funded internal newspaper at a time of deep cuts to the broadcaster's budget.

Director general Mark Thompson said: "Ariel newspaper has been an important part of the BBC's history for 75 years and like many of you I will be sad the paper version has to close as part of DQF savings.

"However, I am pleased that it will live on online, reflecting the lives, issues and challenges that we face every day."

Thompson came under fire from print and broadcast unions last week after telling staff in a Belfast meeting: "No one is forcing you to stay". The BBC's head of news Helen Boaden was also criticised by the unions this week after she reportedly told regional journalists at the corporation to "grow up" when they complained about cuts, adding: "We could have killed you off"

Adam Westbrook :: online video & entrepreneurial journalism

Multimedia journalism that’s making money

What you’re looking at is a very profitable piece of multimedia journalism.

Death & Taxes is a data visualisation project by Jess Bachman: a 24×36 inch glossy poster that’s just been published by Seth Godin’s Domino Project. It’s available to buy from Amazon US – for $27.00 (currently discounted to $20) – and at the time of writing, has already sold out.

Jess (who isn’t a trained journalist) took all the spending data published by the US government (he says it runs into thousands of spreadsheets) and visualised it into this one image. And let me repeat the most important point: it’s a poster. Not an interactive, not a video, or a motion graphic – a poster: something you can sell to the public. Something that can go up on classroom walls.

I bet no-one teaches poster production on multimedia journalism courses these days…maybe they should.

This is an example of a clever idea, that serves a need, packaged in a sellable way. And here’s the takeaway: anyone reading this blog could have done this. The data is available, for free. The data interrogation and cleansing is free too, if you learn how to do it. The design is tricky, but doable – especially if you rope in a talented friend.

What does it cost? Time -and lots of it. Plus determination and stamina – all fuelled by a brilliant idea.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Aid Worker Diaries - Pakistan floods: A message to all humans

They say the floods that hit Pakistan on 2010 were the worst ever floods since 1929. One would think nothing would compare to the pain and misery that met the eyes during the flood response in 2010. But it seems there is no limit for human misery. Eyes can open to observe more devastation, hearts can feel more pain, and souls can be shaken again. 29th September 2011: I have never been one for remembering dates, but this date will be engraved in my mind for years to come.

Field visits to areas affected by floods mean working 36 hours out of 24. Route clearance, coordination, travel arrangements, security monitoring... It is natural to have your mind buzzing with multiple things to focus on, while your cell phone keeps ringing.

Driver aware of the route, check; meeting with timings set up, check; departure for field in time, check; reservations made, check. The check list is never ending. Make a plan and be prepared for the plan to change. We set out at 0830hrs, our destination district MirPurKhas in southern Sindh. It is a bewildering sight to watch the destruction water can cause. Stretches of land, for as far as you can see, blanketed with water, leaving only memories and debris of what has been. For those who have never travelled here, it must almost seem peaceful. For those who have had the chance to visit this region, you can imagine how strange it is to see a normally hustling and vibrantly colourful place engulfed in ice cold grey water.

We found a woman in her early 20s, sitting by the road near a bundle of clothes covered with flies. She looked weary, exhausted and very ill. The cry of a baby filled the air and, to my amazement, she picked up that bundle of cloth and rocked it. We stopped our car and went over to her. She held in her arms an infant, newly born and very weak. Upon inquiring, we discovered that she was stranded. She had lost her husband somewhere in the chaos and after giving birth was too weak to go to a nearby camp or search for her husband. The baby was starving. His tiny body was covered with mosquito bites, and greedy flies clung to his delicate skin. She said she was lucky – her baby was alive. She pointed to another woman sitting across the road, saying, “She lost her four year old son and gave birth to a stillborn baby.” Then she turned to us and pleaded for shared hope and reassurance: “My baby will live, right? We survived this. Surely God will not let him die now!” I looked at the feeble child, and at the others. We all wanted to be hopeful, to say truthfully, “Yes, he will live to be a strong healthy young lad.” When the camp vehicles came to take the two women away, I stood there watching the track the tyres left behind and wondered: how much more can people suffer? These young women, who have grown up in a culture where they do not go out of the house uncovered, were left to care for their surviving children while lying exposed, un-chaperoned and unprotected.

When we reached the camp, I saw desolation that comes to haunt me when I try to close my eyes at night: the dirt streaked faces of children, some lying listlessly on bare ground, some with tattered clothes to cover their bodies, others with nothing. Women, oblivious of what they were wearing and what they had lost, were trying to protect their children from swarming mosquitoes and other vermin. The stench of waste, sweat and filthy water was nauseating. Those who had energy to fight for it were competing for the stale, dry pieces of chapattis that were available to eat. Others, who were too weak to even get up and claim food for themselves, just lay down, with watchful eyes, waiting for someone to drop them a piece. Desperation and helplessness can do that: kill your dignity, finish your will and rob you of everything.

Now that I am back in my home, I can appreciate much better all the little things that life has to give: the togetherness of family, the comfort of shelter, the clean, fresh air, the warm food... And the knowledge that even if we cannot help all, we can give some back what was taken away. That is the only thing that drives me. We can help give them back their life, their dignity. This is a message to all humans. We can care!

CARE has been working in Sindh since 2007, initially responding to floods, then with a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights program, and staying on to support these communities devastated by the 2010 and 2011 floods. CARE’s priority is to work with marginalized women, providing primary health services and raising awareness on health and hygiene practices to help women help themselves.

Jamshed Naseer Siddiqi is Security Officer with CARE Pakistan.

A Solution For A Struggling Global Economy: Gender Equality

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their courageous work promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. In awarding the prize, the Nobel Committee stated that democracy and peace cannot be achieved unless women have the same opportunities and rights as men.

They might have added that without gender equality sustainable economic development cannot be achieved either. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that women are the key to a global economic recovery.

A few weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, chairing the first-ever Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy, made this point emphatically: “By increasing women’s participation in the economy and enhancing their efficiency and productivity, we can have a dramatic impact on the competitiveness and growth of our economies.”

In her remarks, Secretary Clinton recounted some of the evidence: The Economist found that the increase in employment of women in developed economies during the past decade contributed more to global growth than did China. In the U.S., a McKinsey study found that women went from holding 37% of all jobs to nearly 48% over the past 40 years, and that the productivity gains attributable to this modest increase in women’s share of the labor market now accounts for approximately 25% of U.S. GDP. That works out to over $3.5 trillion – more than the GDP of Germany and more than half the GDPs of China and Japan.

Women are indeed the world’s third largest “emerging market” after China and India. A Boston Consulting Group survey concludes that women will control $15 trillion in global spending by the year 2014 and by 2028 will be responsible for about two-thirds of all consumer spending worldwide.

As farmers, workers, business owners and householders, women are central to the global economy. In developing countries, rural women farmers grow most of the food that is eaten and dominate the informal economy. In the U.S., they drive most consumer purchasing decisions and are now half the workforce and the majority of college graduates.

Yet the barriers to women’s full economic participation – laws, customs and practices that reinforce gender discrimination at multiple levels – remain. Women are over-represented at the bottom of the global economy and under-represented at the top. They constitute a majority of the world’s poor, more than 60% of the world’s hungry, hold less than 20 percent of the world’s land titles despite their dependence on and predominance in agriculture, and are much more likely to be illiterate and face gender-based violence. Among Fortune 500 companies, women hold only three percent of CEO positions and 15 percent of board seats.

It is time we understand that these barriers are not only tragically unjust but are also fundamental impediments to global economic growth.

Put simply, persistent gender inequality is holding countries back. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s estimated that between 1960 and 1992 inequality between men and women in education and employment suppressed annual per capita growth by 0.8% points per year; gender equality would have doubled economic growth over that time period. The Asia and Pacific region is losing $42 billion to $47 billion annually because of women’s limited access to employment opportunities, and another $16 – $30 billion as a result of gender gaps in education.
A Goldman Sachs report found that reducing barriers to women’s participation in the labor force would increase America’s GDP by 9%, the Euro Zone’s by 13% and Japan’s by 16%. According to Secretary Clinton, in APEC economies (including China, Russia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Korea) unlocking the potential of women by narrowing the gender gap could lead to a 14% rise in per capita incomes by the year 2020. Rising incomes mean increased spending, which in turn stimulates economic growth.

Multiple studies have shown that women spend more of their earned income on food, healthcare, home improvement and schooling. In other words, empowering women has a multiplier effect, leading to more job growth and stronger local economies. The research also shows that women are stronger savers than men – and a higher savings rate translates into a higher tax base.

In her APEC speech, Secretary Clinton summarized data from 20 semi-industrialized countries suggesting that for every one percentage point increase in the share of household income generated by women, aggregate domestic savings increase by roughly 15 basis points.

There is also a growing body of research from the business world demonstrating that when companies empower and advance women they are likely to reap the benefits in terms of improved performance and profitability. For example, a 2007 Catalyst study found that when Fortune 500 companies were divided into quartiles based on the percentage of women on their boards, the top quartile companies outperformed the bottom quartile by 42 to 66% across a range of financial indicators. A recent McKinsey survey found that of companies that had made efforts to empower women in emerging markets, 34% reported increased profits, and another 38% said they expected to see profit as a direct result of those efforts.

In a McKinsey survey, a third of executives reported increased profits as a result of investments in empowering women in emerging markets. The World Bank finds that eliminating discrimination against female workers and managers “could significantly increase productivity per worker by 25 to 40%.” Reducing barriers preventing women from working in certain sectors would lower “the productivity gap between male and female workers by a third to one half…across a range of countries.”

The way to catalyze any market, emerging or otherwise, is to invest in it. But somehow this message doesn’t seem to be getting through when it comes to investing in women. It needs to. Empowering women can transform businesses, economies and societies. Conversely, by failing to advance women we are not only failing them and their families – we are actively undermining economic growth.

The urgent need to revive global economic growth calls for a new focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Nobel Committee has sent a clear signal and Secretary Clinton has clearly articulated the challenge. Now it is up to other global policy makers as well as leaders in the private sector to take the next steps. Let the truth be told: investing in the transformative potential of women is the key to lifting the world out of poverty and recession.

Ritu Sharma is the President of Women Thrive Worldwide, a Washington-based non-profit advocating for shaping U.S. development assistance and trade policy to benefit women and girls across the globe. Joe Keefe is Chair of the Board of Women Thrive Worldwide and President & CEO of Pax World Management LLC.

New Pak High Commissioner Takes Office

New Pakistani high commissioner to Bangladesh Mian Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi has presented his credentials to the President Mohammad Zillur Rahman on Tuesday.

The high commission issued a statement for the media where it was said that the matters of mutual interest were discussed in a meeting with the President.

The statement also read that Pakistan greatly values its relations with Bangladesh and considers Bangladesh as a brotherly Islamic country.

Mian Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi is one of the Pakistani diplomats specialized on South Asian affairs. Before being sent to the country's Bangladesh mission, Hashmi was serving as the director general of Pakistan's foreign office's department for South Asia.

Hashmi played a key role amid the secretarial talks between India and Pakistan last year on efforts to fight terrorism and prisoners' exchange between the two nations.

Social Watch launchs 2011 Basic Capabilities Index A lost decade in the fight against poverty

The first decade of the 21st century was a lost decade in the fight against poverty, in spite of the excellent performance of the emerging economies, said Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch, on the eve of the international days on hunger and poverty.

Social Watch, a network of citizen organizations monitoring social policies around the world launched today a Basic Capabilities Index derived from well-being indicators which slows very slow progress in the last twenty years. This index contradicts the assessment of the World Bank, according to which extreme poverty would have halved around the world between 1980 and 2005.

“By looking at basic well-being indicators like malnutrition, child delivery and primary education instead of focusing on income, the BCI is closer to reality than the one-dollar-a-day line of the World Bank”, claims Bissio. The world average inhabitant doubled her income from 4.079 dollars in 1990 to 9.116 dollars in 2011 but the world Basic Capabilities Index barely increased in these twenty years from 79.3 to 87.1 points. A slowdown was registered during the first decade of the 21st century, when the index moved up three points, while progress amounted to five points between 1990 and 2000.

The index computed by Social Watch merges mortality among children under five, which relates strongly with malnutrition, the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel, and primary education data.

The figures do not allow yet to assess the whole impact of the crisis that started in 2008, since social indicators are gathered and published much slower than the economic numbers. Yet, Social Watch member organizations have already verified in their own countries that the world’s most vulnerable sectors are indeed the ones carrying the largest burden of austerity measures.

Before the crisis, gross income was growing fast while progress in education, health and nutrition was advancing slowly. If industrialized countries enter into a prolonged period of stagnation or recession, the situation of the most vulnerable sectors at global level can only become worse.

The countries holding the top positions in the list according to BCI values this year are Japan, Norway, Netherlands, Switzerland and Iceland. The worst ranked countries are all in Africa: Chad, Sierra Leone, Niger, Somalia and Guinea Bissau.

(Click over image to download)

International Women’s Media Foundation to Honor Four Brave Women Journalists Who Face Danger Reporting the News 21st Annual Courage in Journali

Four brave women who risk their lives covering the news will be honored by Hollywood stars and top journalists in Los Angeles on Oct. 24 and New York on Oct. 27 at the International Women’s Journalism Foundation’s Courage in Journalism Awards.

Actor Aaron Eckhart will present BBC’s Katie Adie -- a pioneer for women journalists who reported from war zones around the world -- with the IWMF’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Oct. 24 at The Beverly Hills Hotel in LA.

ABC’s Nightline anchor Cynthia McFadden will be the mistress of ceremonies at the Courage in Journalism Awards dinner in Los Angeles. Actress Robin Givens, ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz and Omnilife-Chivas Angelica Fuentes Tellez will also present the awards.

IWMF’S Courage in Journalism Award winners face daunting challenges reporting on violence in their countries. Mexican drug cartels have murdered two editors and threatened to kill Zeta editor Adela Navarro Bello, Iranian officials have targeted and harassed Reuters bureau chief Parisa Hafezi and Thailand authorities have charged editor Chiranuch Premchaiporn with violating laws for allowing 10 strangers to post anti-royal comments on her website and she could face up to 20 years in prison.

They will be honored in Los Angeles, and then again in New York on Oct. 27 at a luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. IWMF Courage Co-chair Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour will oversee the New York luncheon as mistress of ceremonies. ABC’s Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos, Jordan Media Institute founder HRH Princess Rym Ali, Bloomberg News White House correspondent Julianna Goldman and chief U.S. correspondent for the Middle East Broadcasting TV Nadia Bilbassy-Charters will present the awards.

Bank of America, a long-time Courage in Journalism Awards supporter, returns again this year as National Presenting Sponsor. Bloomberg News is the East Coast Chair and Walmart Stores is the West Coast Chair.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver a videotaped message at the LA and NY events congratulating the women journalists for their brave efforts reporting the news.

West Coast Awards Oct. 24:

6:30 p.m. Red carpet arrivals at The Beverly Hills Hotel.

7:30 p.m. Crystal Ballroom at The Beverly Hills Hotel.

East Coast Awards Oct. 27:

11:a.m. Reception at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.

Noon Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.

Event would held in Dhaka Reporter's Unity DRU by Bangabandhu Village Doctor Parishad

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Long March of BNP- by ZIA Sena

Remembering 'Sheikh Russel" son of Late Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibor Rahman

Move Over, China: Why India May Be the Better Partner for Latin America Read more:

Bolivia this month is accusing India's Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. of failing to honor its $2.1 billion investment commitment to develop the Mutún iron ore mine and smelting works. Jindal in turn claims Bolivia isn't providing it sufficient gas and electrical power to get the job done. Such disputes between Latin American governments and foreign multinationals, especially in the mining sector, are hardly new. But what's different today is that the tussles as well as the triumphs increasingly involve India – the emerging Asian power whose economic clout in Latin America could soon rival China's.

The Mutún discord notwithstanding, India's rise in Latin America and the Caribbean is a good thing for the region's development. As U.S. engagement in Latin America wanes, China's keeps growing: its bilateral trade from Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego has soared 18-fold since 2000 to $166 billion in 2010, and in 2009 it became Brazil's largest commercial partner. According to the U.N., China's investment in Latin America topped $15 billion last year. But while that has helped fuel a Latin American boom, it's no secret that what Beijing wants most is commodities – almost all its imports from the region are raw materials like oil, copper and soybeans, and its investments almost always involve those products or the infrastructure to ship them – and what it seems to want least is to buy from or invest in Latin America's more important manufacturing sectors.

That's less the case with New Delhi. Granted, India and its 1 billion people crave Latin America's food and fuel as well. But its companies – which, not coincidentally, are largely of the private sector as opposed to China's, which are largely state firms – appear as interested in building enterprises in the region as they are in merely extracting minerals. Although India's bilateral trade with Latin America was seven times less than China's in 2010 at $23 billion, it still represents a ten-fold increase from 2000 and involves not just commodities but manufactured goods like regional jets from Brazil's Embraer S.A.

Read more:

Malaria vaccine trial raises hope By Helen Briggs

A malaria vaccine has shown promising results in a clinical trial in Africa.

Infants given the prototype vaccine had about half the risk of getting malaria compared with those who did not receive the jab, say researchers.

The vaccine, known as RTS,S, is one of two experimental malaria vaccines being tested around the world.

More than 15,000 children aged under 18 months took part in the year-long study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine .

The trial was conducted in seven African countries on two groups of children - newborns aged six-12 weeks - and babies aged five-17 months.

One year on, there were about half the number of cases of malaria in the older group of children given the vaccine, compared with those in a control group who received vaccines against other illnesses.

"These data bring us to the cusp of having the world's first malaria vaccine," said Andrew Witty, chief executive of the British pharmaceutical company, GSK, which developed the vaccine alongside the non-profit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative.

The international team was led by Dr Mary Hamel of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

These initial results show that RTS,S/AS01 reduces malaria by half in children aged 5-17 months during the 12 months after vaccination ”

End Quote Study authors

The researchers wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine: "These initial results show that RTS,S/AS01 reduces malaria by half in children aged five-17 months during the 12 months after vaccination and that it has the potential to have an important impact on the burden of malaria in young African children."

Results in the younger infants are still being assessed.

Global health experts say the vaccine is less effective than others against common infections like polio and measles, and it is not yet clear how much it will cost.

Tsiri Agbenyega, a principal investigator in the vaccine trials in Ghana, said: "We would have wished that we could wipe it out, but I think this is going to contribute to the control of malaria rather than wiping it out."

Each year, about 225 million people get malaria, with about 800,000 deaths, mainly in African children.

GlaxoSmithKline's Andrew Witty lauded the work as an "incredible scientific achievement"

The World Health Organization said on Monday that there had been remarkable recent progress to combat the disease, with a nearly 20% fall in the number of deaths worldwide in the past 10 years.

A preliminary trial of another potential vaccine recently revealed promising results.

The trial was designed to test safety, but researchers found that 45 children given the MSP3 vaccine had high levels of protection.

The results of the Burkina Faso trial were also published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The RTS,S study was funded by GSK and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, assisted by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Comilla City Polls Likely In December

Election to the newly formed Comilla City Corporation is likely to be held in December this year, sources at the Election Commission (EC) said.

The Election Commission sent a letter to the LGRD and cooperatives ministry last week, asking to complete all necessary measures soon for holding polls in the city corporation.

The letter signed by EC deputy secretary Abdul Baten also asked Comilla district administration to take preparation for holding the polls likely to be held in December.

There is a legal obligation to complete the election to the new city corporation by January 11, 2012, the letter stated. Earlier, the EC sent similar letter to the ministry a month back.

The commission also asked the ministry to assign a number of wards of Comilla city and publish gazette demarcating the wards soon as at least three months is required for holding of the polls.

As per local government (City Corporation) Act 2009, the Election Commission is obliged to complete elections to any new city corporation within six months after its formation.

The EC in its 2nd letter said it had sent a similar letter to the local government ministry one month ago to complete necessary measures for holding Comilla city corporation polls, but it is yet to start doing the job.

Election commissioner Brig-Gen. M. Shakhawat Hussain told daily sun that election to Comilla City Corporation is facing uncertainty as there is a complaint to the ministry about the legality over its formation.

";Without settling the matter, election to the Comilla City Corporation can not be held,"; he added.

Seeking anonymity, an official of the EC secretariat said the ministry did not fix the number of wards of the new city and demarcate the wards even three months after the formation of the city corporation.

The new city corporation comprises two municipalities Comilla Sadar and Comilla Sadar Dakkhin (South).

";It will be tough for the EC to complete election by January 11, 2012, if the ministry fails to settle the issues in proper time. Election schedules will have to be announced at least 40/45 days before the voting day,"; he added.

As per the provision 34 (a) of the local government (City Corporation) Act 2009, the commission is obliged to complete polls of the new city corporation within 180 days after its formation.

On July 10, Comilla, one of the country';s oldest municipalities, was upgraded to city corporation comprising of 18 wards of Comilla municipality and nine wards of Comilla sadar municipality. Comilla was upgraded to municipality in 1864.

No small matter

MOST people would, at least initially, tend to shrug the matter away. Concerns about people’s ability to question the great and the good in government?

People’s ‘right’ to gain access to information about what public entities and departments are doing? Dream on, they’d say.

Let’s start with the right to food, water and a generally decent life; let’s start with some human rights.

Thought about just a little more deeply, though, the fallaciousness of this line of reasoning becomes clear. Why don’t a lot of people have access to food or potable water, for example? In general terms, because of mismanagement, the lack of planning and — here one can hear lots of voices piping up — that scourge of Pakistan, corruption. Most will get this far and start calling
for accountability. Fewer, though, will pause and think about what accountability means.

In the very first instance, someone who does something for which they ought to be held accountable later is a person who does not expect to be found out. In other words, certain knowledge that information can be withheld can allow dishonesty of purpose. Veils of secrecy make shady deals and wheels within wheels, or just plain inefficiency or even laziness, much more likely. The ability to keep information from getting out is the first box to tick on the list of any potential fraudster; the first crutch of those guilty of the dereliction of duty.

‘Knowledge is power’ is just about the oldest aphorism in the book. And a people with access to knowledge about those that rule over their lives and country — knowledge about how that task is accomplished — are very powerful indeed. So it is that access to information has always been at the heart of the tussle between bureaucracies the world over and the people: the latter want it, the former doesn’t want to cough it up because unsavoury secrets may come to light; accountability may occur.

Realising the role that access to information plays in fostering improved and more honest governance, many countries have enacted legislation making public access to certain sorts of information mandatory — the ‘transparency’, in short, that every Pakistani craves.

Technically, Pakistanis too have the right to freely access information. In fact, we were the first South Asian country to come up with a law in this regard, the Freedom of Information Ordinance 1997 which was later fine-tuned by the Musharraf government into the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002.

However, many have argued that although this did, at least technically, give Pakistanis the legal tool to demand information from governmental bodies, it remains merely that: a technicality. In practice, the legislation is riddled with clauses that allow secrets to remains under wraps.

Its detractors — and there are a great many of them (the few proponents seemingly comprising stakeholders in secrecy in the bureaucracy itself) — say that exemptions and procedures given to governmental departments under the 2002 ordinance
are such that they render it virtually and practically ineffective.

There are other points of criticism as well, such as that it deals with only federal ministries and divisions (although two provinces subsequently passed their own legislation, i.e. the Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005 and the Sindh Freedom of Information Act 2006). Other criticisms are that the 2002 ordinance’s implementing mechanisms — means through which reluctant bureaucracies can be prodded into actually producing the information demanded — are such that they invite evasiveness, and that there is no protection for whistleblowers.

The civil bureaucracy wields considerable power anywhere in the world; it is a machine that runs under its own weight and is notoriously averse to letting any information out. Political circles everywhere seek to control it; as permanent secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby smirked during an episode of Yes, Minister, “ministers come and go, but I go on forever”. Transparency, one route to which is the right to information, is important in this regard. Pakistan has not been lacking in those demanding better legislation on people’s right to information, though one could wish there were a few more voices. Amongst them are a number of activists and reformers, some of whom have argued for this cause on these pages.

Amongst politicians, a staunch proponent has been former information and broadcasting minister Sherry Rehman. Last week, she submitted a draft of her Right to Information Bill before the National Assembly, a project she initiated in 2004 with the submission of an initial draft that called for deep-reaching amendments to the 2002 ordinance. Updated versions of the bill were also submitted for review in 2006 and 2008.

The 2011 Right to Information Bill seeks a repeal of the 2002 legislation and tries to close some of the gaps. There are more stringent implementing mechanism clauses, whistleblower-protection clauses and most interestingly, a clause that seeks to bring large private companies within the ambit of the law if and when it is approved.

If the new proposals do become law, they are likely to have at least some positive effect. Sporadic articles published in various newspapers over the years have documented individuals’ (failed) efforts, under the 2002 ordinance, to obtain information from various departments. In most cases, these people cited the loopholes in the legislation itself that allowed bureaucracies to retain their secrets.

On March 29, 2008 — soon after receiving a unanimous vote of confidence in parliament, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani set out his administration’s 100-day priorities.

Amongst those that remain unfulfilled well past the 100-day deadline is a new freedom of information law. And the 18th Amendment inserted Article 19(A) into the constitution, which explicitly recognises that every citizen shall have the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance (subject to regulation and reasonable restrictions imposed by law).

It’s about time these promises were fulfilled.

BNP All Set For ‘March’ Toward North

BNP-led four-party alliance is to begin its road march towards Rajshahi division from Dhaka in Tuesday morning. The alliance's second such programme in a week to press for restoration of the caretaker government system, its leaders warned of 'instant action' if the programme was obstructed.

BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, is about to lead the massive motor rally, to begin from Uttara at 10:00am and address at least six rallies on her way to Chapainawabganj via Bogra.

Nazrul Islam Khan, a party standing committee member, said the convoy would comprise more than 3,000 vehicles. "We hope people would take part spontaneously in the programme as they did during the Sylhet march", he said.

Party's acting organizing chief Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the government would have to bear the responsibility for 'consequences' if there was any attempt to obstruct the march.

Tuesday's programme is going to be the second road march in the BNP's latest spell of political mass contact after its march towards Sylhet early this month to build up a movement against the nearly three-year-old Awami League-led government.

Starting from Uttara at 10:00am, the road march will stop for its first en-route rally on Kaliakoir bypass. A second one is scheduled to happen in Bhuapur in Tangail, party sources said.

A third rally will be held in front of Aristocrat hotel near Hatikumrul of Sirajganj. But the party is yet to obtain government permission for this third party, sources said.

In the afternoon, the march will reach Bogra for a rally at Altafunnesa ground. Khaleda Zia and her companions are scheduled to stay the night in Bogra town.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Missing nurse case: Gehlot sacks tainted minister Read more at:

Jaipur: With his government under fire for the disappearance of Bhanwari Devi, a midwife and nurse, over six weeks ago, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today dropped controversial minister Mahipal Maderna from his cabinet.

Mr Maderna, the Water Resources Minister, has been accused of kidnapping and murdering Bhanwari Devi. The 36-year-old auxiliary nurse midwife went missing near Jodhpur on September 1. Her husband, Amarchand Nat had alleged that she was abducted at the behest of Mr Maderna and his associates. The minister allegedly had an affair with Bhanwari Devi, proof of which was contained in a CD that showed him caught in a compromising position with her. He, though, had refuted all the charges levelled against him.

But with the Rajasthan High Court making some sharp observations over the shoddy probe into the case and political pressure mounting, the Chief Minister finally met Mr Maderna on Saturday asking him to resign. But when the the latter refused to relent, Mr Gehlot was forced to sack him.

Mr Gehlot is understood to have recommended Mr Maderna's dismissal to the state Governor.

But he remained tightlipped when questioned on the minister's ouster, sticking to a "no comments" stand.

The Gehlot administration's delay in action against the minister seems to have arose from political compulsions. Mr Maderna belongs to the influential Jat community, a major votebank for the Congress. But the party insists that the minister's removal would not dent the party's popularity among the community.

"Congress is a party that has a strong base in all communities and the Jata are very much with our party. This is a criminal case and it will have no effect on any community supporting or opposing our party", Dr Chanderbhan, Rajasthan Congress President said.

The High Court had ordered the police to officially provide an update every alternate day on its attempts to locate Bhanwari Devi.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had, on October 11, taken over the probe and has registered a case in this regard after the Rajasthan government requested the Centre last month to hand it over to the agency.

The Jodhpur police had also received an anonymous letter on October 7 that claims that Bhanwari Devi is alive and is being held hostage by an influential politician in Haryana. Its sender has not disclosed his/her identity but claimed that he/she was "very close" to the people who planned Devi's abduction.

The police had also found the vehicle in which the nurse was allegedly abducted. The Bolero jeep, found near Palanpur in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat bordering Rajasthan, reportedly belongs to Shahabuddin, a key accused in the case and who allegedly executed the conspiracy that led to Bhanwari Devi's disappearance.

Read more at:

Tackling Terrorism: US Congressman Lauds PM Hasina’s Roles

Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security of the United States House of Representatives Congressman Peter T King lauded the roles of the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for "successful combating of terrorism" in the country.

The US lawmaker in a recent note to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that political stand and untiring support of her government to the anti-terrorism efforts not only curbed operations of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) and Jamaat-ul- Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) but also "expedited the US-sponsored battle against extremism".

Claiming Bangladesh as a leading ally in the United States-sponsored ongoing counterterrorism operations worldwide, Congressman Peter T King said, "Your actions have empowered your nation to stand firm against radical influences emanating from Pakistan and Afghanistan".

He also emphasized the need for extended cooperation of the nations around the world for better tackling of terrorism and saving life and property of the innocent people.

The Committee on Homeland Security comprises Lamar Smith in Texas, Daniel E Lungren in California, Mike Rogers in Alabama, Michael T Mccaul in Texas, Gus M Bilirakis in Florida, Paul C Broun in Georgia, Candice S Miller in Michigan, Chip Cravaack in Minnesota, Joe Walsh in Illinois, Patrick Meehan in Pennsylvania, Ben Quayle in Arizona, Scott Rigell in Virginia, Billy Long in Missouri, Jeff Duncan in South Carolina, Tom Marino in Pennsylvania, Blake Farenthold in Texas, Mo Brooks in Alabama, Bennine G. Thompson in Mississippi, Loretta Sanchez in California, Sheila.

Jackson Lee in Texas, Henry Cuellar in Texas, Yvette D Clarke in New York, Laura Richardson in California, danny K Davis in Illinois, Brian Higgins in New York, Jackie Speier in California, Cedric L Richmond in Louisiana, Hansen Clarke in Michigan, William R Keating in Massachusetts, Kathleen C Hochul in New York and Janice Hahn in California.

Mass Awareness Needed To Prevent Heightening Disappearances’

Speakers say at Odhikar’s Chittagong seminar on ‘enforced disappearance’

Discussants have put emphasis on raising awareness against increasing cases of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh in recent years.

"Social, national and international organisations could play vital role against the enforced disappearances in Bangladesh", speakers said.

The seminar, titled 'Campaign for Acknowledgment of The International Convention of Saving People from Enforced Disappearance', was organized by Odhikar in Chittagong's Hotel Agrabad in Saturday morning.

Dhaka councillor and BNP leader Chowdhury Alam, was allegedly picked up by plainclothed cops in public from Dhaka's Bailey Road in June last year. He was later never found.

Local politicians from a number of parties including BNP and Awami League, university professors and right activists took part and spoke at the seminar.

"House committees and media have important roles to play in rooting out the vicious crime from Bangladesh," said Moin Uddin Khan Badal, a Chittagong MP of Awami League-led ruling grand alliance while addressing the meeting.

Atilur Rahman Khan, city unit president of Odhikar, played the role of the seminar's moderator. Sazzad Hossain, an Odhikar member, presented the keynote paper which read the present condition of the enforced disappearance round the world.

A total of seventeen Bangladeshis became victims of enforced disappeared allegedly by their government in 2010. The count in 2011, though not finished yet, is too seventeen.

"Enforced disappearance is a crime that stretches over a long period starting with the primary abduction. Political parties of most of the countries use enforced disappearance as a means to gaining their political goals," the keynote paper said.

It mentioned that a total of 88 countries have so far signed and 29 other countries supported the convention, which came into effect on December 23 in 2010.

After independence of the South Asian nations from the British rule, enforced disappearance for the first time appeared in India as her government's tool to fight the spread of Naxalite movement across the country.
Photo: Amnesty International

Shah Alam, general secretary of the Chittagong unit of Communist Party of Bangladesh, Naim Uddin, city unit vice-president of Awami League, Dr Shahadat Hossain, general secretary of city unit of Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Dal, Masud Parvez, professor at Chittagong University, Morshedul Islam, chairman at the department of journalism at Chittagong University, Raja Mia, Chittagong unit president of Workers' Party, Abu Hanif, Chittagong unit general secretary of Workers' Party, Najim Uddin Shyamol, general secretary of Chittagong Union of Journalists, Belayet Hossain of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Masuda Bilkis and Hasan Maruf Rumi took part in discussion among others.

Speakers said, the crime would not be eradicated from any society without the willingness of the state and people would be losing their abilities to protest against illegal activities of the people in power if the crime continued.

"Different forces of government were also involved in crime and this should be stopped to prevent the enforced disappearance", said one of the speakers.

Hillary Asks Dipu Moni To Let Press Be Free

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reportedly instructed members of her cabinet at a meeting last Monday that if any newspaper or electronic medium publishes or broadcasts false reports about any of the ministers he or she should file a case against it in the court. Meanwhile, Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, has said that the press in Bangladesh should be allowed to work freely. Hilary made the remark to Bangladesh's Foreign Minister Dipu Moni when she met the former in Washington last Wednesday, according to a US government website.

According to the text of the statements of the two foreign ministers it would appear that the focus of the discussion between Hilary Clinton and Dr. Dipu Moni were press freedom in Bangladesh, the independence of Grameen Bank and freedom of NGOs from government control. Hilary Clinton did not mention Nobel Laureate Professor Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, who has been ousted from the managing directorship of the micro-financing organisation, but referred to it as a Nobel Prize winner. The relevant part of her statement read, We know that governments alone cannot make change, that it has to come from the people. And we urge the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that media outlets are able to exercise freedom of the press and that NGOs have the opportunity to be a vibrant contributor to the future of Bangladesh. And of course, we have expressed directly to the government our concern and hope that the Grameen Bank, which was well recognized by the world, particularly with a Nobel Peace Prize for what it's done to help alleviate poverty, is able to continue to function productively on behalf of the Bangladeshi people.

It is possible that Hilary found it necessary to bring forward the state of press freedom in Bangladesh after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's advice to her ministers to take a hard line about the media. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, according to the US government website, said in response to Hilary Clinton's observation, Bangladesh, as a secular democratic country, having a very free and robust media, the very vibrant civil society, looks forward to more effective cooperation with countries like the U.S., which is a good friend and partner. And I can assure Secretary Clinton and everyone, friends all over the world, that Bangladesh Government will do and is doing everything in its capacity to uphold all the values that we all cherish of freedom, of liberty, of cooperation, of rights for everyone.

Dipu Moni also said: And with regard to Grameen, as a statutory body enjoying all the rights and privileges that it does, Bangladesh Government is also proud, as a country we are proud, that we have a Nobel-winning institution. And we firmly believe, that it will continue to do the job that it is supposed to do with a lot of success. And we will see cooperation in every sector, including trade and investment, from the U.S. However, from what Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is reported to have remarked to the Washington Post newspaper it does not appear that she is at all appreciative of Grameen Bank's work up to now. Meanwhile, the 70-year old US organisation Freedom House continues to rate Bangladesh's press to be partly free. Overall the Bangladesh government has quite a few problems in its hands which it needs to resolve with the outside world, namely, its ability to deal with corruption in high places, its trustworthiness with regard to respect of administration and development, its willingness to show at least a degree of accountability to the people and its respect for democracy as well as respect for the personal honour of its citizens.

The fresh threat to the press, namely, possible litigation by ministers have added to the anxiety of journalists and editors, many of whom, have been taken to the court by ministers, advisors, and Awami League's supporters on charges of causing defamation to the person or party. None of these cases is anywhere near a conclusion but the accused have to frequently appear in court on dates set for hearing. Also, a number of journalists have been arrested or taken to court on false charges of committing robbery, snatching, rioting or extortion. This correspondent is personally aware of two cases in which the relevant courts have found the accused journalist to be not even involved in the alleged crime. The Prime Minister's advice for suing the press came after two ministers complained to her to deal with newspapers, citing misreporting about themselves. But some other ministers are said to be in a dilemma. They fear that if they file cases against the media then the latter will do its best to prove that it was right, which may lead to embarrassing disclosures and on the other hand if they do file a case then the criticism against them or report about their alleged misconduct would appear to be true. For the press, the greater cause of anxiety however is physical attacks by government party goons, arrest by police and torture while in custody.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's reported direction has brought forth the criticism that while she is ready to cut down the press to size nothing has been said by her aides what is she doing or will do when ministers and officials are caught lying. Even she herself is not beyond the charge of making misleading statements.

Discovery Channel announces journalism grant

Discovery Channel announces journalism grant

Student journalists can submit ideas for long-form magazine stories to a contest and the winning article could be turned into a TV show.

Discovery Channel is sponsoring the Emerging Journalist competition for students and recent alumni of the following graduate and undergraduate level journalism schools: University of California Berkeley, Columbia University, University of Missouri, New York University and Northwestern University.

Participants must submit a three-page proposal focusing on either an American subculture or a unique American job.

One to three entrants will receive a US$5,500 grant to write their stories and Discovery might develop a TV show around the winning idea.

Proposals must demonstrate solid writing skills, originality, viability and relevance, as well introduce main characters, themes and a larger context for the issue. Entrants should suggest a target magazine for publishing.

The deadline is November 18.

Drug seizures up 41%: Iranian police

TEHRAN – Brigadier General Hossein Zolfaqari, the commander of the National Border Police, announced on Sunday that the seizure of illicit drugs in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year (which started on March 21) has increased by 41 percent compared with the corresponding period last year.

Zolfaqari also said that the rise in drug seizures shows that the police have been successful to carry out close surveillance of the borderlines and maintain the security of border areas.

Stopping of IMF Supports is Prestixe Concerns for Bangladesh'বিশ্ব ব্যাংকের অর্থায়ন বন্ধ দেশের জন্য অসম্মানজনক'

'দুর্নীতির কারণে' পদ্মা সেতু প্রকল্পে বিশ্ব ব্যাংকের অর্থায়ন 'বন্ধ হয়ে যাওয়া' দেশের জন্য অসম্মানজনক বলে মন্তব্য করেছেন খালেদা জিয়া।

বিএনপি চেয়ারপার্সন রোববার রাতে বলেন, "বাংলাদেশের ইতিহাসে কখনোই কোনো প্রকল্পে বিশ্ব ব্যাংক অর্থায়ন বন্ধ করার নজির নেই। অথচ এবার বর্তমানের সরকারের লুটপাট ও দুর্নীতির কারণে পদ্মা সেতুর মতো প্রকল্পে তারা অর্থায়ন বন্ধ করে দিয়েছে।

"এটা আওয়ামী লীগের জন্য অসম্মানজনক না হলেও বাংলাদেশের জন্য সম্মানজনক নয়।"

রোববার রাতে খালেদা তার গুলশান কার্যালয়ে দলের রাজনৈতিক প্র্রশিক্ষণ কার্যক্রম উদ্বোধনের সময় এ কথা বলেন।

পদ্মা সেতু প্রকল্প তদারকির জন্য প্রাক নির্বাচনী তালিকায় থাকা কানাডীয় প্রতিষ্ঠান এসএনসি-লাভালিনের 'দুর্নীতি'র তদন্তে বিশ্ব ব্যাংক কানাডা পুলিশকে অনুরোধ করলে পদ্মা সেতুতে 'দুর্নীতি'র বিষয়টি প্রকাশ্য হয়।

এরপর বিশ্বব্যাংক কয়েকদিন আগে এ প্রকল্পে অর্থায়ন স্থগিতের কথা জানায়। দেশের সর্ববৃহৎ এ নির্মাণ প্রকল্পে ১২০ কোটি ডলার ঋণের প্রতিশ্র"তি দিয়েছিল সংস্থাটি।

আওয়ামী লীগ যখনই ক্ষমতায় এসেছে তখনই দেশের সর্বনাশ করেছে দাবি করে তিনি বলেন, "২০০৯ সালে ক্ষমতা গ্রহণের পর তারা আরো বেপরোয়া হয়ে উঠেছে। এখন আওয়ামী লীগের একমাত্র লক্ষ্য টাকা।"

আওয়ামী লীগ মুক্তিযুদ্ধের ইতিহাস বিকৃত করছে বল্ওে অভিযোগ করেন তিনি।

আওয়ামী লীগ 'উঠতি' ব্যবসায়ীদের মনোনয়ন দিয়ে রাজনীতি বিনষ্ট করেছে- এ মন্তব্য করে খালেদা বলেন, "জিয়াউর রহমানের আদর্শ ছিলো ড্রইং রুমে বসে রাজনীতি নয়, রাজনীতি করতে হলে মানুষের কাছে যেতে হবে। তিনি আমাদের এই আদর্শই শিখিয়েছেন।"

খালেদা জিয়া প্রশিক্ষণ কেন্দ্রের নেতৃবৃন্দকে প্রশিক্ষন বিষয়বস্তুর তালিকা সাংস্কৃতিক আগ্রাসন, সমুদ্রসীমানা ও সম্পদ, মুক্তিযুদ্ধের সঠিক ইতিহাস, '৭৪ এর দূর্ভিক্ষের কারণ ইত্যাদি যুক্ত করার আহবান জানান।

প্রশিক্ষণের বিষয়বস্তু

রাজনৈতিক প্রশিক্ষণ কার্যক্রমের পাঠ্যসূচিতে রয়েছে- ভারত-বাংলাদেশ অভিন্ন নদীমালা ও পানিচুক্তি, সংবিধানের পঞ্চদশ সংশোধনী, বিশ্বায়ন ও সা¤প্রতিক বিশ্ব রাজনীতি এবং যুদ্ধ পরবর্তী সরকারের কার্যক্রম, '৭৫-পূর্ব রাষ্ট্রের মূলনীতি, একদলীয় শাসনব্যবস্থা ও ঐতিহাসিক ৭ নভেম্বর।

প্রশিক্ষণার্থীদের ১০০ নম্বরের পরীক্ষায় অংশ নিতে হবে। পরীক্ষার পাস নম্বর ধরা হয়েছে ৪০। কৃতকার্যদের সনদপত্র এবং ৭ বিভাগের সর্বোচ্চ নম্বরপ্রাপ্তদের মধ্যে প্রথম, দ্বিতীয় ও তৃতীয় স্থান অর্জনকারীদের প্রশিক্ষণ ক্রেস্ট দেবেন দলের চেয়ারপার্সন খালেদা জিয়া।

রাজনৈতিক প্রশিক্ষণ কার্যক্রমের উদ্বোধন করে খালেদা জিয়া বলেন, "দলের যেসব নেতা-কর্মীকে প্রশিক্ষণের জন্য ডাকা হবে তাদের সবাইকে আসতে হবে। প্রশিক্ষণের বিষয়বস্তুর ওপর আমাদের বিশেষজ্ঞরা যেসব মতামত দেবেন তা পরবর্তী সময়ে বুকলেট আকারে জনগণের মধ্যে ছড়িয়ে দিতে হবে।"

অনুষ্ঠানে বিএনপির স্থায়ী কমিটির সদস্য, সহসভাপতি, চেয়াপার্সনের উপদেষ্টা, যুগ্ম মহাসচিব, সাংগঠনিক সম্পাদকসহ অঙ্গসংগঠনের ৪৩ জন নেতা অংশ নেন।

এদের মধ্যে দলের স্থায়ী কমিটির সদস্য আর এ গনি, মাহবুবুর রহমান, এম কে আনোয়ার, আ স ম হান্নান শাহ, মির্জা আব্বাস, আবদুল মঈন খান, নজরুল ইসলাম খান, সহসভাপতি কামাল ইবনে ইউসুফ, হাফিজ উদ্দিন আহমেদ, আলতাফ হোসেন, আবদুল্লাহ আল নোমান, সেলিমা রহমান, চেয়ারপারসনের উপদেষ্টা হারুন আল রশীদ, ওসমান ফারুক, অধ্যাপক আবদুল মান্নান, যুগ্ম মহাসচিব আমান উল্লাহ আমান, বরকত উল্লাহ বুলু, মাহবুবউদ্দিন খোকন, সাংগঠনিক সম্পাদক ফজলুল হক মিলন, গোলাম আকবর খন্দকার, মজিবর রহমান সারওয়ার, মশিউর রহমানসহ অঙ্গসংগঠনের সভাপতি-সাধারণ সম্পাদকরা ছিলেন।

উদ্বোধনী অনুষ্ঠান

অনুষ্ঠানের শুরুতে দলের প্রশিক্ষণ বিষয়ক সম্পাদক কাজী আসাদুজ্জামান ও কবীর মুরাদ রাজনৈতিক প্রশিক্ষণ কার্যক্রম তুলে ধরেন।

গুলশানে চেয়ারপার্সনের কার্যালয়ের নিচ তলায় একটি কক্ষে এই অনুষ্ঠানটি হয়। শ্রেণীকক্ষের মতো অনুষ্ঠানস্থলে একটি লেখার বোর্ড বসানো হয়। সামনের চেয়ারের বসে জ্যেষ্ঠ নেতারা বিশেষজ্ঞদের বক্তব্য শোনেন।

অনুষ্ঠানে ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের সাবেক উপাচার্য অধ্যাপক এমাজ উদ্দিন আহমেদ, অধ্যাপক মনিরুজ্জমান মিঞা, অধ্যাপক মাহবুবউল্লাহ, স্থায়ী কমিটির সদস্য জমিরউদ্দিন সরকার বক্তব্য দেন।

সূচনা বক্তব্যে দলের ভারপ্রাপ্ত মহাসচিব মির্জা ফখরুল ইসলাম আলমগীর বলেন, "চেয়ারপার্সনের নির্দেশে এই রাজনৈতিক প্রশিক্ষণ কার্যক্রম শুরু করা হয়েছে। দলের জ্যেষ্ঠ নেতা থেকে শুরু করে সব নেতাদের এই কার্যক্রমের আওতায় আনা হবে।"

উদ্বোধনের পরই বিআরটিসি'র বাস বন্ধ হলো Stopped BRTC Bus after just only opened

বাগেরহাটের শরণখোলা থেকে চট্টগ্রাম পর্যন্ত বাংলাদেশ রোড ট্রান্সপোর্ট কর্পোরেশন (বিআরটিসি) বাস সার্ভিস উদ্বোধনের পরই বন্ধ করে দিয়েছে বেসরকারি বাস মালিকরা।

প্রত্যক্ষদর্শী ও পুলিশ জানিয়েছে, রোববার বিকেল ৪টার দিকে শরণখোলা-চট্টগ্রাম পথে বিআরটিসি সার্ভিস উদ্বোধন হয়।

এরপর বাসটি বাগেরহাট কেন্দ্রীয় বাস টার্মিনালে পৌঁছালে আন্তঃজেলা বাস-মিনিবাস মালিক সমিতি বাসের যাত্রীদের নামিয়ে দিয়ে বাস চলাচলে প্রতিবন্ধকতা তৈরি করে। পরে খালি বাসটি বিআরটিসি'র খুলনা ডিপোতে নিয়ে যাওয়া হয়।

বিআরটিসির কর্মকর্তা নীহার রঞ্জন মজুমদার বলেন, "বিআরটিসি'র বাসটি খুলনা ডিপোতে পাঠানো হয়েছে। আপাতত শরণখোলা-চট্টগ্রাম পথে বিআরটিসি'র বাস সার্ভিস স্থগিত করা হয়েছে বলে জানান নীহার রঞ্জন।"

স¤প্রতি স্থানীয় জনগণের দাবির মুখে বিআরটিসি কর্তৃপক্ষ শরণখোলা-চট্টগ্রাম পথে দুটি বাস চালু করে। দুই বছর আগে এই পথে পাঁচটি বেসরকারি পরিবহন সংস্থার ১৫টি বাস চলাচল করতো। এখন শুধু বাগেরহাট থেকে দিনের বেলা চট্টগ্রাম পর্যন্ত কয়েকটি বাস চলাচল করলেও রাতে কোনো সার্ভিস নেই।

বিআরটিসি খুলনা ডিপোর ব্যবস্থাপক নীহার রঞ্জন মজুমদার বিডিনিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর ডটকমকে বলেন, "সপ্তাহ দুই আগে এলাকাবাসী এই পথে বিআরটিসি বাস চালুর দাবিতে স্মারকলিপি দেয়। বিষয়টি তখন বেসরকারি বাস মালিকদের জানানো হয়। তাদের সঙ্গে একাধিক বৈঠকও হয়। কিন্তু বেসরকারি বাস মালিক সমিতি এ ব্যাপারে সিদ্ধান্ত জানাতে কালক্ষেপণ করছিলো। ফলে কর্তৃপক্ষ এই পথে বাস চালানোর সিদ্ধান্ত নেয়।"

বিকাল ৪টায় উদ্বোধনের পর শরণখোলা থেকে একটি বাস ১৭ জন যাত্রী নিয়ে চট্টগ্রামের উদ্দেশে ছেড়ে যায়। পথে মোড়েলগঞ্জের ফুলমবাড়িয়ায় বেসরকারি বাস মালিকরা প্রথম গাড়িটিকে বাধা দেয় বলে জানান বিআরটিসির ওই কর্মকর্তা।

মোড়েলগঞ্জ থানার ওসি আব্দুল খালেক বলেন, শরণখোলা-চট্টগ্রাম পথের বিআরটিসি'র বাসটি ফুলমবাড়িয়ায় প্রায় চল্লিশ মিনিট আটকে রাখা হয়। পরে গাড়িটি পুলিশি প্রহরায় বাগেরহাটের দিকে ছেড়ে যায়।

প্রত্যক্ষদর্শীরা জানান, সন্ধ্যা সোয়া ৭টার দিকে গাড়িটি বাগেরহাট কেন্দ্রীয় বাস টার্মিনালে এসে পৌঁছালে আন্তঃজেলা বাস মালিক সমিতির নেতারা এবং তাদের শ্রমিকরা বাস থেকে যাত্রীদের নামিয়ে দেয়।

বাগেরহাট মডেল থানার উপ-পরিদর্শক (এসআই) সৈয়দ আশিকুর রহমান বলেন, "বিআরটিসি'র বাস চলাচলে প্রতিবন্ধকতার খবর শুনে পুলিশ সেখানে গিয়ে বাসটি উদ্ধার করে। পরে তা খুলনা ডিপোতে পাঠিয়ে দেওয়া হয়।"

এদিকে শরণখোলা-চট্টগ্রাম পথে বাস চলাচলের খবর শোনার পর পরই বেসরকারি বাস মালিকরা সকালে শরণখোলা-রায়েন্দা পথে চলাচলকারী একটি বিআরটিসি বাস মোড়েলগঞ্জের ফুলবাড়িয়ায় আটকে দেয়।

প্রায় দুই ঘণ্টা আটকে রাখার পর বাসটি গন্তব্যের উদ্দেশ্যে ছেড়ে যায় বলে পুলিশ ও বিআরটিসি কর্তৃপক্ষ জানায়।

বাগেরহাট আন্তঃজেলা বাস মিনিবাস মালিক সমিতির সভাপতি মিনা রাকিবুল হাসান মিলন দাবি করেন, "বিআরটিসি কর্তৃপক্ষ অবৈধভাবে বাস চলাচ্ছে। মালিক সমিতির সঙ্গে আলোচনা ছাড়াই বিআরটিসি কর্তৃপক্ষ একক সিদ্ধান্তে এই বাস চালু করেছে।"

"এর ফলে শরণখোলা ও মোরেলগঞ্জ থেকে বাগেরহাট কেন্দ্রীয় বাস টার্মিনাল পর্যন্ত চলাচলকারী সমিতিভুক্ত বাস মালিকরা আর্থিক ক্ষতির সম্মুখীন হবেন। বিআরটিসি'র বাস বন্ধ করতে হবে।"

তিনি জানান, যোগাযোগ মন্ত্রণালয় ও বিআরটিসির সঙ্গে মালিক সমিতির ত্রিপাক্ষিক চুক্তি অনুযায়ী দূরপাল্লার বাস জেলা সদরে কেন্দ্রীয় বাস টার্মিনাল পর্যন্ত চলার বিধান রয়েছে। তাই শরণখোলা উপজেলা পর্যন্ত বাস চলতে দেয়া হয় না।

ACTIONAID ACTIVISTA WORLD FOOD DAY event held today at Central Sahid Meenar

Youth like you are what ACTIVISTA calls Leaders of Today.
ACTIONAID ACTIVISTA Bangladesh is having its FIRST INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN. It’s a chance for you
to be a part of an International Campaign of ACTIONAID, and also to be called an ‘ACTIVISTA’. It is an
amazing opportunity for YOUTH like YOU to say something for the betterment of the society. Our
program would consist of many interesting activity including a FLASHMOB, its fairly new and a very
unique way of spreading awareness. On that day, our two day long Signature Campaign being held in
Universities such as NSU, Brac, EWU, IUB & University of Dhaka will be counted and concluded by
THOUSANDS of Candle lighting in front of Shaheed Minar.
Women Engaged in Agriculture ARE FARMERS
We DEMAND State Recognition and Equal Rights
& protecting the interest of SMALLHOLDER FARMERS
We have not held any prior workshops because it is initiation for ‘YOUTH UNITING’. Here we have an
open dialogue for both participants and organizers. This event is being co-organized with Bangladesh
Youth Forum (BYF) & International Youth Council of Bangladesh (IYCB) here in Dhaka.
In order to get your certificate you have to ensure complete attendance, make sure you sign yourself
in, on arrival at the attendance booth. PLEASE ARRIVE ON TIME, THE PROGRAM WILL START ON
TIME* See you there!
DATE: 16th October 2011
TIME: 2:00pm – 7:00pm
ACTIONAID ACTIVISTA is a Global Youth network of 27 countries, which includes South Africa, Kenya,
Uganda, Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Myanmar/Burma, Denmark, United Kingdom,
USA, France, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia,
Peru, Haiti and Nicaragua.
Together we work for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set up by the United Nations. Each day
1.02 BILLION people out of the world population sleep empty stomach. United Nation decided to set the 1st
MDG to half the world hungry until the end of 2015, but instead it is increasing daily.
For more queries please contact:
+880 1727732647; +8801678170025; +8801751062608; +880 1929717296.
2:00pm Participants arrive at the
2:00pm Hand & Body paint T-shirt
distribution and Attendance.
2:30pm WELCOME & Framing of the
3:00pm-3:45pm Rally: Shaheed Minar-Doyel
Chottor-TSC-Shaheed Minar
2 Line Rally
3:45pm-4:00pm Women Farmer inaugurates
the program and speech.
4:00pm-4:14pm Demand paper reading.
4:15pm-4:30pm Guest Speakers speech
4:30pm-5:00pm Open Forum
5:00pm-5:15pm Snack Break
5:15pm-6:00pm Theatre play and ACTIVISTA
theme song
6:00pm-6:15pm CORE ACTIVISTA Motivational
6:15pm-6:45pm FLASHMOB & Candle Light
6:45pm-7:00pm Theme Song & ACTIVISTA

We urge all consious member of society to help, advice and support to strenthen bright future for Bangladesh and also green world

Liberal Democratic Party Press Release