Bangladesh

May 5, 2012 at 16:39 o\clock

Clinton in troubled Bangladesh to press stability

Friends of Bangladesh DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) May 5, 2012: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Bangladesh to press tolerance, democracy and development in one of the world's most impoverished nations that is now in the throes political turmoil.

Clinton arrived Saturday in the capital of Dhaka, which has been increasingly tense in recent weeks with general strikes protesting the disappearance of an opposition leader and a crackdown on dissent. Homemade bombs have exploded around the city as the strikes have paralyzed the country, prompting the police to arrest dozens of opposition activists.

However, Clinton's visit - the first by a secretary of state to the country since 2003 - is expected to bring a brief respite as the opposition has suspended protests for the occasion in a goodwill gesture that reflects the importance Bangladeshis place on relations with the United States, one of their largest trading partners.

In talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, opposition leader Khaleda Zia and civic leaders, Clinton will stress the importance of inclusive democracy and unity to improve living conditions in the country of 160 million that the U.S. sees as a potentially important voice for moderation among Muslim majority nations.

American officials say the trip is aimed at taking U.S.-Bangladesh ties to a new level by creating a strategic dialogue and encouraging further cooperation on counterterrorism, health, environmental and educational issues. They believe Bangladeshis will be pleased with the message.

But dozens of students paraded through the campus of Dhaka University on Saturday to protest Clinton's visit, saying the U.S. cannot be a friend of Bangladesh and chanting, "Go, go Hillary."

At least 22 people, mostly politicians, have disappeared this year, according to a local human-rights group, Ain-o-Salish Kendra. Another Dhaka-based group, Odhikar, says more than 50 people have disappeared since 2010. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch blamed security agencies for the disappearances.

The anger over what the opposition says is political repression erupted into the streets after an opposition party leader, Elias Ali, went missing along with his driver April 17 from a street in Dhaka. His car was found later abandoned.

The opposition blamed the government and launched five days of general strikes over the past two weeks in protest. The government accused the opposition of hiding Ali to give it an excuse to create anarchy in the streets. He has still not been found.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said Bangladesh will press the U.S. to eliminate its 15.3 percent tariff on Bangladesh's vital garment industry. Bangladesh exported $5.1 billion worth of goods - mainly garments - to the U.S. last year and imported $676 million worth in return.

Bangladeshi officials believe that dropping the duty will send exports soaring even further and boost the economy.

The countries are also expected to discuss an investment and trade framework agreement that would protect the huge investments of U.S. energy giants like Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

Chevron, one of the biggest foreign investors here, supplies half Bangladesh's natural gas needs, while ConocoPhillips is exploring for gas in the deep waters of the Bay of Bengal.

In Dhaka, Clinton is also expected to raise the issue of Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus' ouster from his Grameen Bank, which pioneered providing small loans to the poor. Clinton plans to meet the 71-year-old Yunus, a family friend, who the government forced out last year, saying he was well past the retirement age of 60.

Yunus' allies said the ouster was political and pointed to Hasina's anger at his 2007 effort to form a political party backed by the powerful army when the country was under a state of emergency and Hasina herself was behind bars.

Bangladesh is also seeking the repatriation of Rashed Chowdhury, who is facing a death sentence for his role in the 1975 assassination of independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina's father, during a military coup. The government says he lives in the United States, and the two nations have no extradition treaty.

May 1, 2012 at 15:28 o\clock

Bangladesh - Alarming Rise in "Disappearances"

by: bangladesh   Keywords: Human, Rights

Human Rights in Bangladesh New York April, 27, 2012 The Bangladesh government should immediately order an independent and impartial investigation into the growing number of cases where opposition members and political activists have vanished without trace, Human Rights Watch said today. The most recent episode, on April 17, 2012, involved Elias Ali, secretary of the Sylhet Division of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Ali’s case is part of an alarming rise in such incidents, including those of opposition members and political activists. Human Rights Watch recently expressed concern over the April 4 abduction and subsequent death of Aminul Islam, a prominent labor rights activist. Ain-O-Sailash Kendra, a leading human rights group in Bangladesh, has documented the disappearance of least 22 people in 2012 alone. According to Odhikar, another Dhaka-based human rights group, more than 50 people have disappeared since 2010.

“The rise in disappearances, particularly of opposition members and activists, requires a credible and independent investigation,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government has taken no serious steps to ensure such an investigation of these disappearances nor to prevent them in the first place.”

Ali and his driver, Ansar Ali, have both vanished. The police found Ali’s abandoned car and mobile phone in a parking lot near his house in Banani in central Dhaka at around midnight on April 17. There has been no sign of Ali or his driver since.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called on the police to investigate Ali’s disappearance, but also said that she believed Ali and his driver were “hiding” at his party’s orders to create a situation that would allow the opposition to blame the government.

Human Rights Watch has long documented abductions and killings by Bangladeshi security forces, especially the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). In its World Report 2012, Human Rights Watch noted that although the number of RAB killings had dropped following domestic and international criticism, there had been a sharp increase in enforced disappearances, with persons disappearing after last being seen in the custody of security agencies leading to concerns that security agencies have replaced one form of abuse with another. Bangladeshi authorities routinely refuse to confirm the detention or fate of those persons who disappear after being seen in their custody.

Under international law, an enforced disappearance is any form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of the state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun, speaking in January, dismissed Human Rights Watch’s allegations of possible security force involvement in abuses and laid the entire blame for disappearances on criminal elements.

“The government of Sheikh Hasina has made repeated promises to end abuses and ensure justice and accountability,” Adams said. “But in spite of these public pledges, the government consistently dismisses or ignores evidence of abuses by the security forces. This is why an independent investigation into all cases of disappearances is urgently required.”

Human Rights Watch further expressed concern about apparent excessive use of force by the security forces against protesters throughout Bangladesh during a general strike called by the BNP to protest Ali’s disappearance. Since April 21, two protesters, Monwar Miya and another who is yet to be identified, have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces. Reportedly, thousands more protesters have been injured and about one thousand have been arrested. Human Rights Watch called on the government to ensure a full and effective investigation into the two deaths, and ensure security forces only use the minimum necessary force to deal with violent crimes, as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

“While the police are allowed to stop protesters from committing acts of criminal violence, they must not use excessive force to quell the protests,” Adams said.

Apr 13, 2012 at 20:25 o\clock

Nation celebrates Pahela Baishakh Saturday

by: bangladesh   Keywords: Bengali, New, Year, 1419

Bengali New Year DHAKA: 14 April 2012 People from all walks of life burst into jubilation, leaving behind all the sorrows and glooms of the previous year, will celebrate the Bengali New Year 1419 Saturday amid festivities featuring culture and tradition of the Bengalis.

Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the year in the Bengali calendar, has its origin in the Mughal times when Emperor Akbar employed the Bangla calendar to facilitate tax collection.

True to this line, traders and shopkeepers open Halkhata (fresh accounts book) on this day and offer sweets to their customers.

President M Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia conveyed the nation greetings of Bangla New Year and congratulated them on the occasion.

On the occasion, the president, in his message, said the New Year comes to the lives to the Bangalees after lapse of a year with immense possibilities.

He added: “It is a significant day in the diversified heritage of the age-old Bangla, which reflects the Bangalee’s senses of happiness, sorrows, merriment, pains, hopes and expectations as well as feelings.”

Besides, in the message, the premier said the Bangla New Year is one of the major festivals of the Bangalee nation and on this auspicious day, the whole country imbued with the traditional heritage turns into a grazing ground of culture.

She added: “With its diversification in shapes, colours and flavours the Pahela Baishakh has turned today in to a festival of hearts of the Bangalees.”

Sheikh Hasina said the Bangla New Year is the source of secular spirit of the Bangalee nation.

The celebrations in the city will begin at sunrise with the gathering of thousands of people under the banyan tree at Ramna Udyan where artistes of cultural organization Chhayanaut will perform welcome songs.

The artistes of the organization will render traditional Pahela Baishakh song—“Eso hey Baishakh eso eso”--to welcome the year.

Students of Dhaka University’s Institute of Fine Arts will bring out ‘Mongol Shovajatra’ from the premises of the institution in the morning in a colorful revelry.

Besides, different socio-cultural organizations will chalk out elaborate programmes on Pahela Baishakh.

Apart form this, University of Development Alternative (UODA), College of Development Alternative and School of Development Alternative will also organize a ‘Mongol Shovajatra’ from Abahani playground at 9:00am to welcome the Bengali New Year.

Tight security measures have been taken for facilitating Bengali New Year 1419 celebration across the country.

A significant number of law-enforcing agencies will be on the watch across the country, mainly in and around Ramna Park, the main venue of the traditional celebrations.

Mar 27, 2012 at 15:43 o\clock

Bangladesh honours 83 ‘foreign friends’

Friends of Bangladesh DHAKA, MAR 27: Bangladesh has honoured 83 foreign nationals and organisations for their outstanding contributions in the Bangladesh’s war of independence.

President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday conferred two categories of honours on distinguished personalities from different countries and organisations at a gala ceremony at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.

As many as eight foreign dignitaries—an incumbent president, a former king, three former presidents and three former prime ministers - were awarded the “Bangladesh Liberation War Honour”, while 67 individuals, six organisations, people of India and Mitra Bahini were given the “Friends of Liberation War Honour” for their invaluable contribution during the nation’s struggle for freedom.

In all, 19 distinguished foreign nationals received the honours themselves, while 56 of such honours were received by the recipients’ next of kin or representatives, as many of them have passed away, while some are unable to come. On behalf of the six organisations, representatives have received the awards.

Pankaj Saran, Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka, received the honour for People of India, while the Indian state minister for defence, Pallam Raju received the honour for Mitra Bahini. Of the 75 overseas personalities awarded on the day, 46 have already passed away.

President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tribute to the foreign dignitaries for their contribution to Bangladesh’s war of independence. Foreign minister Dr Dipu Moni and AB Tajul Islam, state minister for liberation war affairs, also spoke on the occasion.

Cabinet secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan read out the citation, while Mizanur Rahman, secretary to the liberation war affairs’ ministry, delivered the vote of thanks. Michael Barnes, former member of the British House of Commons, who along with some of his colleagues visited the erstwhile East Pakistan in 1971, delivered the acceptance speech on behalf of the recipients.

The honoured 75 personalities include heads of states and government, ministers, lawmakers, politicians, artistes, humanitarian activists, journalists, military personnel and lawyers. They are from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, former Yugoslavia, Ireland, France, Sweden, Italy, Denmark and United States of America. Indian nationals dominated the number with 26 recipients, followed by USA (14), Russia (10) and the UK (7). People of India and members of the Mitra Bahini have been collectively honoured for their contribution.

The six organisations that were honoured are—Akashvani (All India Radio), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Kolkata University Shahayak Samiti, Oxfam and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Speaking on the occasion, the President described the honour conferred on the dignitaries as just a token of appreciation, as it is very difficult for a nation to reciprocate the support extended by its foreign friends during a very difficult time.

“This is merely a material means from our people, so that you can remember them,” he said. Bangladesh is grateful to recognise contributions of the country’s foreign friends and well-wishers who whole heartedly supported the war of independence and rendered invaluable endeavour in favour of freedom from their respective positions.

“Their precious inspiration and support put impetus to achieve our victory,” he said. The President appreciated the dignitaries for accepting the honours and said: “Your endless generosity, exemplary courage and firm spirit will remain in our hearts for ever.” Expressing gratitude to the foreign friends, the Prime Minister said that the nation was indebted to those who had stood by the people to extend their direct and indirect support. “Actually we are honouring ourselves by honouring you,” she said.

The Prime Minister, who spoke in Bangla, said: “It would not have been possible to achieve the victory so quickly had we not received assistance from our foreign friends.” “We cannot forget your contribution. We’ll not forget,” she added. Hasina also expressed gratitude to the unknown people who had contributed during the liberation war. “I was in captivity with my mother during the war of independence. There was a radio. Any word of support used to strengthen our belief,” she said.

The Prime Minister said that it had taken a long time to honour the foreign friends as those who believed in the spirit of the liberation war could not be in power for long. Hasina said that a list of over 560 foreign nationals had been prepared and they would be honoured in phases.

“Many have already passed away, and we might not be able to find some of them. But we’ll try to find out all the names,” she added. In his acceptance speech, former British lawmaker Michael Barnes said: “We are honoured to be invited here. We accept the honours with grateful hearts and humility.” Paying rich tributes to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he thanked the government for the decision to honour the foreigners with “generosity and hospitality”.

The ceremony was attended by Speaker Abdul Hamid, Chief Justice Mohammad Mozammel Haque, Ministers, Prime Minister’s advisers, lawmakers, judges, leaders political parties, members of the diplomatic corp, and senior civil and military officials.

According to sources, although Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia along with all other BNP MPs was invited they did not attend the ceremony. Two lawmakers belonging to Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami were not invited to attend the event. Meanwhile, Sheikh Hasina in another programme said on Tuesday that the war crimes trial would continue for generations to punish the last of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War.

“The trial has started. It will go on for generations to bring the guilty to justice,” she told a discussion marking Bangladesh’s 41th Independence Day. The Awami League, which led the Liberation War against Pakistan in 1971 and obtained victory after nine months of armed struggle, organised the discussion “The nation now is united to establish a prosperous Bangladesh free from hunger and repression, and to prosecute war criminals,” at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.

Addressing the discussion as chief guest, the Prime Minister, also the AL supremo, assured the gathering of several thousand supporters, leaders and activists of the ruling party that the war crimes trial would be completed within her current tenure.

The process has only started, she said, but many of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity are still hiding abroad. “They should be traced and brought to justice, even if that takes several years,” Hasina said. She assured the gathering that her government would take steps so that the war trials can continue for years and are not stopped midway.

Hasina accused the Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its right-wing allies of trying to protect war crimes suspects. She said the Opposition leader, Khaleda Zia, was a collaborator in the war crimes and called upon the people to remain alert against the “collaborators”. “You have to be remain alert so that these collaborators of the defeated forces can never assume office,” the AL chief said, adding that those who are serving the interests of the defeated forces, cannot be well-wishers of the people.

“Assuming office in the past, these forces turned the country’s development wheel backwards,” Hasina said, adding that these quarters would not be able to stop her government from conducting the war crimes trial.

The Prime Minister said Ziaur Rahman, the slain President and husband of Khaleda, had tried to protect the killers of Bangladesh’s founder, Bangabandhu Sheikh Munjibur Rahman. Zia also called off the early initiative by Bangabandhu for trial of war criminals, local collaborators of Pakistani occupation forces responsible for killing 3 million unarmed people, raping over 200,000 women and torching numerous houses during the nine-month-long war, said Hasina.

She was also critical about the Opposition leader’s alleged links with Pakistan and its intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence. Referring to Khaleda Zia’s presence at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium on the day of the Bangladesh-Pakistan match, which Bangladesh lost by two runs, the Prime Minister said it is not yet clear which team the BNP chief was supporting. “People want to know, as she has never turned up in a stadium to watch a cricket match before,” Hasina said.

Presided over by AL presidium member, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, the discussion was addressed among others by railway minister Suranjit Sengupta, agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, jute and textile minister Abdul Latif Siddique, LGRD and cooperatives minister Syed Ashraful Islam, party joint secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya. [source: The Daily Star]

Mar 20, 2012 at 23:04 o\clock

Cricket: Bangladesh reach first Asia Cup final

by: bangladesh   Keywords: Cricket, Bangladesh, Asia, Cup, Final

BD Cricket Dhaka: Bangladesh reached its first Asia Cup final when it cruised past Sri Lanka by five wickets with nearly three overs to spare in a rain-disrupted match this morning.

Having failed at nine previous Asia Cups, Bangladesh will meet Pakistan in the final on Thursday at the same Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium having upset both finalists from last year's World Cup.

Bangladesh's victory helped it leapfrog World Cup and Asia Cup champion India into the final. Pakistan has won the biennial event only once, in 2000, when it last appeared in the final. Winless Sri Lanka was already assured of missing the final for the first time.

After limiting Sri Lanka to 232 in 49.5 overs, Bangladesh was handicapped by a mid-innings downpour which reduced the winning target to 212 but increased the required run rate from 40 overs.

The home side wobbled at the start then Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan smashed half centuries to help them reach the target in 37.1 overs.

After Bangladesh was reduced to 40-3, Iqbal (59 off 57 balls) and Shakib (56 off 46 balls) added 76 in their fourth-wicket stand to revive their hopes, and Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah continued the fight under pressure from tight bowling.

Nasir Hossain knocked off the winning runs with a straight drive to the boundary off Suranga Lakmal and finished 36 not out.

Mahmuduallah was with him unbeaten on 32, having partnered for 77 in almost 14 overs. For Sri Lanka, Nuwan Kulasekara finished with figures of 2-30 while Sachitra Senanayake took 2-38.

Earlier, Sri Lanka posted a mediocre total after Nazmul Hossain took 3-32 and Shakib and Abdur Razzak two wickets each.

Chamara Kapugedera topscored with 62 off 92 balls while Upul Tharanga and Lahiru Thirimanne collected 48 each as Sri Lanka looked for a consolation win.

Of the eight other batsmen, only three could reach double figures after Bangladesh won the toss and decided to field first.

Nazmul set the course for Bangladesh as he claimed openers Mahela Jayawardene (5) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (19), and Kumar Sangakkara (6), who came in at No. 3, reducing Sri Lanka to 3-32. Kapugedera and Thirimanne stopped the slide with a stand of 88 before Thirimanne was stumped in the 32nd over.

Kapugedera was Abdur Razzak's second wicket in the 40th over at 169-5. Tharanga pushed the run rate to better than expected with 48 off 44 balls, including a six and five boundaries, before he was caught behind off Shahadat Hossain in the 46th.

Bangladesh made one change to its XI, bringing in Nazmul for Shafiul Islam, who injured a shoulder in the previous game against India.

Sri Lanka made two changes from last week's game against India, resting Dinesh Chandimal and Seekkuge Prasanna to include Senanayake and Kapugedara.

Mar 15, 2012 at 23:13 o\clock

Bangladesh wins Myanmar battle

by: bangladesh   Keywords: Myanmar, Hamburg

BD Sea Border Dhaka/Hamburg, Mar 14 (bdnews24.com)–In a historic victory at the UN maritime tribunal, Bangladesh has won territorial and economic rights to the vast Bay of Bengal resources even beyond it bargained for.

"We've got all we wanted," an elated foreign minister told bdnews24.com on Wednesday by phone from Hamburg, Germany, where the International Tribunal for Law of the Seas (ITLOS) is based.

Dr Dipu Moni said Bangladesh got more than it claimed in its long-running dispute with Myanmar. "Bangladesh claimed 107,000 square kilometres while it got 111,000 square kilometers area in the Bay of Bengal," she said.

"The court has given equitable solution on equidistance basis," she said, immediately after the verdict.

The President of the Tribunal, Jose Luis Jesus of Cape Verde, read the judgment in the Hamburg courtroom.

"The judgment is final and without appeal," a foreign ministry statement said. "The court also gave St Martin's a full effect," the foreign minister said.

"The full effect means Bangladesh has the territorial and economic rights surrounding the island up to 200 nautical miles toward continental shelf in an angle of 215 degrees," an official explained.

"The ITLOS ruling, by a vote of 21 to 1, brings to a conclusion the case initiated by Bangladesh against Myanmar in December 2009, to resolve a longstanding dispute with regard to the maritime boundary in the oil-and-gas rich Bay," says a statement from the foreign ministry in Dhaka.

"The court sustained Bangladesh's claims to a full 200-mile exclusive economic zone in the Bay of Bengal, and to a substantial share of the outer continental shelf beyond 200 miles.

"All of our strategic objectives have been achieved," the foreign minister said. "Bangladesh's full access to the high seas out to 200 miles and beyond is now recognised and guaranteed, as are our undisputed rights to the fish in our waters and the natural resources beneath our seabed."

The Tribunal also awarded Bangladesh a full 12-mile territorial sea around St. Martin's Island, rejecting Myanmar's argument that it should be cut in half.

A similar dispute with India is awaiting resolution at the UN court, and a verdict is due in 2014

The energy-starved Bangladesh's exploration for petroleum and natural gas in the Bay of Bengal, long delayed by conflicting boundary claims, can now proceed, Dipu Moni said.

"Today's ruling constitutes the equitable solution that Bangladesh has long desired, but was unable to obtain during 38 years of diplomatic stalemate preceding the lawsuit."

The minister also paid tribute to Myanmar. "… it is a victory for both states because it finally resolves – peacefully and according to international law.

"We salute Myanmar for its willingness to resolve this matter by legal means and for its acceptance of the tribunal's judgment.

"We are very pleased with the expertise, fairness and efficiency of ITLOS and its judges," said the foreign minister.

"The case was resolved, from beginning to end, in a little over two years. This is unprecedented for judicial efficiency in a maritime boundary case."

Myanmar had claimed that its maritime boundary with Bangladesh cut directly across the Bangladesh coastline, severely truncating Bangladesh's maritime jurisdiction to a narrow wedge of sea not extending beyond 130 miles.

Myanmar also claimed that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to award continental shelf rights beyond 200 miles from either State's coast.

The tribunal rejected both of these arguments. The International Tribunal was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes between States concerning issues covered by the Convention, including the delimitation of maritime boundaries.

The 151-page judgment is the first by any court or tribunal to delimit the maritime area beyond 200 miles, known as the "outer continental shelf", and is certain to establish an important precedent in that regard.

As the Agent of Bangladesh in the proceedings, the foreign minister presided over a legal team, including the deputy agent, Mohammad Khurshed Alam; as well as attorneys James Crawford, Philippe Sands and Alan Boyle of the United Kingdom, Paul Reichler and Lawrence Martin of the United States; and Payam Akhavan of Canada.

Myanmar was represented by its agent, attorney general Tun Shin. Its counsel included Alain Pellet and Mathias Forteau of France, Sir Michael Wood of the United Kingdom, and Coalter Lathrop of the United States.

Mar 12, 2012 at 00:05 o\clock

Closed, nervy city braces for today - BNP Rally

by: bangladesh   Keywords: bnp, khaleda, zia, hasina

12 March Govt actions disrupt communications, life; Khaleda to announce fresh agitation for caretaker govt at restriction-strung rally

Almost all highways and waterways leading to the capital remain blocked, hotels and guesthouses closed and intra-city traffic movements restricted -- all in frantic government attempts to keep opposition activists and supporters from joining the BNP rally today.

Opposition BNP is set to stage the much-talked grand rally on Monday afternoon in city’s Naya Paltan with inaugural speech of the party chief Khaleda Zia.
After a long drama, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Sunday gave conditional permission to the party for holding the grand rally.


According to DMP, the party is barred from using electronic devices and mega screen during the rally. Besides, the use of mike will also be controlled at the same time.

The party cannot start rally before 2:00pm and has to bring an end by 5:00pm in between Fakirapool and Nightingale Crossing. It cannot set up any stage on roads, the source added.

Besides, the authorities of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) requested the private Television channels of the country not to broadcast BNP’s grand rally live for the sake of the state and countrymen.

DMP deployed over 20,000 police and RAB personnel to build a multi-tier security measures in and around the capital during the grand rally.

Armed Personnel Carriers (APC), water cannons and special arrest forces are also ready. Additional law enforcers will be deployed in Bangabhavan, Prime Minister’s Office, Gano Bhavan, BNP central office at Naya Paltan, Bijoynagar, Kakrail, Malibagh, Jamaat office of Moghbazar and Paltan, Mirpur and Diplomat Zone of the city.

According to DMP sources, police set up CCTV cameras in different points, including Shantinagar, Bijoy Nagar crossing, Kakrial and Naya Paltan area in order to monitor the law-and-order situation in the programme. On the other hand, BNP has adopted strong security measures ahead of its grand rally.

Party’s own security members, volunteers and special teams comprised of 600 persons will ensure safety of the supporters and activists of BNP in different points of the capital.

Police detained some 714 BNP-Jamaat leaders and activists across the country in last three days apprehending subversive acts during the upcoming grand rally.

On January 9, opposition leader in parliament, also BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, announced a grand rally in Dhaka on March 12 in protest against the price hike of fuel oils and essentials, deterioration of law-and-order situation.

BDST: 2215 HRS, MAR 12, 2012

Mar 7, 2012 at 13:53 o\clock

Historic 7th March: Tight security for AL mass procession

by: bangladesh   Keywords: March, Bangabandhu

7 March PM No room for razakars in country: PM (মার্চে বাংলার মাটিতে রাজাকারের ঠাঁই নাই: প্রধানমন্ত্রী) DHAKA: Strong security measures have been taken in Suhrawardy Udyan area from Wednesday morning to avert any untoward incident during Awami League mass procession on the occasion of the historic 7th March.

The procession will start from Suhrawardy Udyan (gate in front of Engineers’ Institution) at 3:30 pm of the day and wind up at the historic Bangabandhu Bhaban on Road 32 of Dhanmondi of the city.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, also the AL president, is set to address here and later will inaugurate the rally, party sources said.

Law enforcers have been deployed here with dog squad. Wishing anonymity, several officers of Special branch (SB) and DB told banglanews, “Several numbers of DGFI, DB, SB and SSF team are working in the area to ensure security.”

They informed that Prime minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to go Shikha Chirontini of Suhrawardy Udyan to join rally and mass procession. So, enormous security measures have been taken in Suhrawardy Udyan and Ramna Park area, they added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wednesday said the opposition leader Khaleda Zia would not be able to protect the war criminals by staging movements against the government.

She said: “The trial of war criminals will be held in the soil of the country as there is no room for razakars here in the March.”

The premier, also ruling Awami League president, came up with the forewarning while addressing a rally held at Suhrawardy Udyan in the city organized by the party on the occasion of the historic March 7.

Criticizing the opposition leader, she said, “March is the month of liberation war and independence, but the she (Khaleda) has chosen the month to make the enemies of independence happy.”

The chief of the party said, “We have shed blood for the independence of the country and we will not allow someone to play ducks and drakes with it.”

Calling upon all to make the country free from hunger and poverty, she said, “We will observe the golden jubilee of the independence in 2021.”

Indicating Khaleda Zia, the premier also said, “You have to reply the people why you had taken five crore rupees from the Pakistan for bearing election expenses whom we defeated in 1971.”

Mentioning that the Pakistan court had revealed the information, she put question, “Who wanted to sell the country?”

The prime minister again claimed that some 15 journalists were killed, 1500 journalists were tortured and 700 officers were made OSD during the then four-party alliance regime.

Regarding the caretaker government, she said, “We had wanted caretaker government at the BNP manipulated vote.”

But, there is no vote rigging during the last three years of the incumbent government, he added. “So, there is no more need of caretaker government in the country,” she observed.

Feb 21, 2012 at 01:46 o\clock

Amar Ekushey & International Mother Language Day observed

Ekushey Padak 2012 Dhaka 21 Feb 2012: DHAKA: The nation Tuesady paid homage to the martyrs of the historic language movement of 1952 to mark the Language Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day.

President M Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar to lead the nation in paying floral homage to the martyrs.

The mournful immortal chorus ‘Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February, Ami Ki Bhulite Pari’ was reverberated all around in memory of the language heroes.

President M Zillur Rahman first placed a wreath and then Premier Sheikh Hasina laid another on the altar of the memorial to the martyrs of the 1952 language movement after zero hour amid a tight security in and around the Central Shaheed Minar.

They stood in solemn silence for some time in respect to the memory of the martyrs, who won the last battle for establishing Bengali as a state language during the then exploitative Pakistani regime and paved the way with their blood for Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.

After the offerings made by the President and the PM, members of the cabinet, MPs, senior leaders of the ruling Awami League placed their floral wreaths on the martyrs’ altar.

Before the SSF security rolled up, opposition leader in parliament Begum Khaleda Zia along with the senior BNP leaders offered their tribute to the martyrs at Shaheed Minar.

Later, walking barefoot to the Central Shaheed Minar with flowers, and singing ‘Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano

Ekushey February’, commoners paid tribute to the language movement heroes, who sacrificed their lives for the recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages in erstwhile Pakistan. The day was a public holiday.

This day in 1952, students and people from all walks of life took to the street in Dhaka in protest against the then Pakistan government’s refusal to recognize Bangla as one of the state languages and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.

Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Shafique, Jabbar and a few other vanguards sacrificed themselves to establish Bangla as one of the state languages of the then Pakistan.

The day has since been observed as the Language Martyrs Day, which the UNESCO later declared as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.

In the early hours of the day, the entire diplomatic corps in Bangladesh placed wreaths on the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka to pay floral homage to the language martyrs.

[...more]

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:18 o\clock

15 receive Ekushey Padak-2012

by: bangladesh   Keywords: Ekushey, padak, Masud, Munir

Ekushey Padak 2012 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged all to remain alert about upholding the spirit of ‘Amar Ekushey’ (immortal 21st) and said that those who reject the four main pillars of the Language Movement and the independence are the enemies of Ekushey and our independence.

“To face them, we’ll have to infuse the spirit of Ekushey among the new generation and widely practice Bangla language and literature in every field and sphere of our social life,” she said.

The premier was addressing a function, marking the distribution of ‘Ekushey Padak’ for 2012, at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city on Monday.

Hasina also urged all to establish a knowledge-based prosperous, peaceful and non-communal Bangladesh in line with the spirit of ‘Amar Ekushey’ as well as the ‘Sonar Bangla’ dreamt by father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Abul Kalam Azad presided over the function organised by the Cultural Affairs Ministry.

State Minister for Cultural Affairs Adv Promode Mankin was the special guest at the programme, which was conducted by Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan.

The Prime Minister handed over the prestigious Ekushey Padak-2012 to fifteen distinguished personalities in recognition of their contributions in respective fields.

Each recipient got a gold medal and Tk 100,000 along with a citation.

The 15 recipients of Ekushey Padak-2012: Momtaz Begum (posthumous) for the Language Movement; artist Mobinul Azim (posthumous), filmmaker Tareq Masud (posthumous), artistes Dr Inamul Haque, Mamunur Rashid and Karunamoy Goswami for performing arts; Ehtesham Haidar Chowdhury (posthumous), Ashfaq Muneir Chowdhury (posthumous) and Habibur Rahman Milon in journalism; Prof Ajay Kumar Roy, Dr Mansurur Alam Khan and Dr AK Nazmul Karim (posthumous) in education, Prof Baren Chakraborti in science and technology; Srimat Shuddhanand Mohathero for social work; and late Prof Dr Humayan Azad for language and literature.

The Prime Minister said the language movement was the result of non-communal spirit of the Bengalis and bearing this spirit, father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1972 adopted secularism as one of the main principles in the constitution.

She alleged that after 1975, the military government had rehabilitated the anti-liberation forces in the country betraying the spirit of immortal Ekushey and also mutilated the constitution.

“We’ve restored the glorious tale of the Bengalis through the (15th) amendment of the constitution,” she added.

Hasina said that the Bangabandhu gave his speech in Bengali at the United Nations in 1974 to portray the tradition of Bangla and Bengalis in the world arena. “Following the father of the nation, I also gave my speech in Bengali at the UN General Assembly.”

She said the government, beginning this month, made it mandatory to install full-fledged Bangla key pad in basic mobile handsets of all brands. Besides, initiatives have been taken to formulate the 2nd country coded top level domain dotbangla apart from dotbd (.bd).

The premier said her government has established the International Mother Language Institute after enacting the International Mother Language Act for the preservation of and conducting researches in languages of different ethnic people of the world.

She said efforts are also on to gain recognition of Bangla as the official language at the United Nations and a proposal has already been placed before the UN General Assembly in this regard.

“The illustrious melody on bloodstained ‘Amar Ekushey February’ has now spread to 193 countries of the world,” she added.

Hasina recalled the contributions of language martyrs - Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Jabbar, Shafiur and others. She also recalled the contribution of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during the language movement as he had been imprisoned several times while giving lead to the movement. —UNB

Feb 2, 2012 at 12:53 o\clock

Saydee-led rajakars raped my wife: Madhusudan Gharami

Rajakar Delwar Hossain Saydee DHAKA, February 2, 2012: A prosecution witness on Wednesday told the International Crimes Tribunal that his wife was raped by rajakars led by at his Hoglabunia village in Parerhat during the Liberation War in 1971.

Narrating the painful episode, prosecution witness No. 23 Madhusudan Gharami said rajakars along with some people had entered his house in his absence and gang-raped his wife.

“The man who converted you to Muslim had been here, you go away and I suffer unbearable pain as I’ve been raped by them, I can’t say anymore, don’t think about me,” Gharami quoted her wife as saying.

Lying on a comfortable rolled away bed beside the witness box flanked by an attending physician and a ward boy following his sickness, octogenarian Gharami, a carpenter, gave his deposition before the tribunal.

Raking the past up, Gharami burst into tears and the tribunal, both the prosecution and the defence counsel observed tears rolling down his cheeks. The attending ward boy was seen rubbing Gharami’s cheeks time and again pausing deposition repeatedly.

“Taking to a mosque, Saydee forced me, Krisna Saha and Ganesh to convert to Muslim from Hindu,” said Gharami, adding, “Saydee named me as Ali Ashraf and Krisna as Ali Akbar.

“Saydee had assured us that we would live in safety after converting to Muslim, otherwise not,” Gharami told the tribunal, adding that Krishna could not survive two days despite reciting the name of Allah.

In his deposition, Gharami said after the emergence of Bangladesh, he returned to his own religion without informing anybody.

“At the last phase of the Liberation War, my wife gave birth to a daughter and we named her Shandhya,” Gharami said. “But fearing public reproach my wife along with her daughter left for India leaving me alone and never returned to Bangladesh.” — UNB

Jan 19, 2012 at 22:08 o\clock

Army coup foiled in Bangladesh, top officers involved in conspiracy

by: bangladesh   Keywords: Sheikh, Hasina, Government, Army, Coup

Herros DHAKA: A bid to topple the Bangladeshi government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been foiled, the Bangladesh Army said on Thursday.

The Bangladesh Army said efforts by some officers to topple the government have been foiled and that the process to bring the culprits to justice has begun. "Specific information has been unearthed that some officers in active military service have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the system of democratic governance," bdnews24.com quoted army spokesman Brigadier General Muhammad Masud Razzaq as saying at a press briefing.
Razzaq branded the accused officers as having extreme religious views. "Some unruly military officers have been actively engaged in the execution of the heinous conspiracy through maintaining contacts with fugitive Major Zia (Syed Mohammad Ziaul Huq) by mobile phones and internet," Razzaq said. "On Dec 22 last year, Major Zia met a senior officer and tried to provoke that senior officer into using the army against the state and democracy," Razzaq said. "The senior officer immediately informed the appropriate authorities and his (Maj Zia's) leave and transfer order was cancelled." "But he did not return to work and has still kept himself engaged in trying to organise subversive activities against the army," he said. On Dec 28, a court of inquiry was established. "Stern legal measures will be taken against those involved," Razzaq said.

"Recently, at the instigation of some of non-resident Bangladeshis, some serving as well as retired officers with extreme religious views have tried to create disorder in the army, riding on the religious sentiments of other officers," he said.

Dec 16, 2011 at 21:34 o\clock

Bangladesh celebrating 40th Victory Day

by: bangladesh   Keywords: 40th, victory, day

Bangladesh celebrating 40th Victory Day
40 years Bangladesh

Vuctory Day Dhaka, 16 Dec 2011: The nation is celebrating the 40th Victory Day Thursday with a renewed call for establishing the rule of law, institutionalizing democracy and holding war-crime trial as part of the efforts for fulfilling the objectives of the Liberation War. A 31-gun salute will herald the day. The other programmes include hoisting the national flag, placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum, parade, reception to gallantry award-winning freedom fighters, discussion meetings and prayer sessions.The nation is commemorating the country`s triumph in the nine-month of war of independence against the Pakistani forces and their local lackeys this very day in 1971.The day is being marked all over Bangladesh and the country`s missions abroad by paying glowing tributes to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for relentlessly leading a struggle towards the country`s independence.

On this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, general AAK Niazi, along with 93,000 troops, surrendered to the allied forces led by General Jagjit Singh Aurora of India at the Ramna Racecourse, now Suhrawardy Udyan, in Dhaka after their defeat in the war.People from all walks of life will throng the National Martyrs` Mausoleum at Savar to pay homage to the heroes who embraced martyrdom to liberate Bangladesh.

Dec 13, 2011 at 14:54 o\clock

Bangladesh to honour 124 dignitaries

DHAKA, Dec 12: The cabinet, on Monday, approved a list of 124 foreign dignitaries, to confer the country's state honour,  for their outstanding contribution to the War of Liberation in 1971.


Herros

The approval came in the weekly cabinet meeting held at the secretariat, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
AB Tajul Islam, state minister for the Liberation War, told The Independent that the foreign heroes would be honoured in an auspicious day between January 10 to March 26 this year, at the south or north plaza of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Some of the Indian recipients include former chief minister of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu; former foreign ministers – Sardar Swaran Singh and VK Krishna Menon; former chief minister of Tripura, Sachindra Lal Singh; former defence minister, Jagjivan Ram; former diplomats DP Dhar and PN Dhar; former Prime Minister IK Gujral; finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw; Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora; Pandit Ravi Shankar; Satyajit Ray; singers Manna Dey and Mohmmad Rafi; artist Makbul Fida Hussain; and poet Bishnu Dey.Pakistani recipients of the award include GM Sayeed (nationalist leader of Sindh), Sheikh Ayaz, Master Khan Gul, and Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo.

As many as 83 US nationals, including including senator Edward M Kennedy and Edmond Mulky, diplomat Archer Kent Blood (consul general of the US embassy in Dhaka in 1971), singer Joan Baez, poet Allen Ginsberg, and filmmaker Lear Levin, have been selected for the award.
Russel Johnston, Bruce Douglas-Mann, John Stonehouse and Tom Williams are among the 14 UK politicians on the list, while journalists from that country include Sir Mark Tully, Simon Dring, Nicholas Tomalin and Clare Hollingworth. Singer George Harrison, Donald Chesworth, Paul Connel, Marietta Procope will also be honoured.
There will be five recipients from Australia – political leader William AS Ouderland (who was awarded the Bir Protik), Les Johnson, WA Waderland, Penny Tweedie and physician Dr Geoffrey Davis.
French recipients include former French foreign minister Andre Vumik, André Malraux, Lucien Bigeault and Prof. Alexandre Minkowski.
Former King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Bhutanese foreign minister Ugyen Tshering, and foreign secretary Dasho Karma Dorjee are also on the list.
Takashi Hayakawa, Setsurei Tsurushina and Hajima Katsube are among 13 Japanese nationals to be honoured. Nepalese leaders BP Koirala, GP Koirala, Sushil Koirala and Ram Baran Yadav have been selected by the committee. As many as 24 international organisations, including Red Cross, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Indian radio broadcaster Akash Bani, Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, World Health Organisation, and International Labour Organisation, will receive the honour.

Nov 27, 2011 at 14:10 o\clock

Bangladesh war crimes trial begins in Dhaka

by: bangladesh   Keywords: War, crime, 1971, Sayedee

Bangladesh war crimes trial begins in Dhaka
BBC Report from Dhaka

Sayedee A leader of a Bangladesh Islamist party has gone on trial (21 November 2011) accused of crimes against humanity during the country's independence struggle against Pakistan.
Delawar Hossain Sayedee is the first of seven suspects set to face a tribunal on charges relating to the 1971 war. Charges listed against him include genocide, rape and religious persecution - all of which he denies.
The chief prosecutor said the trial, which resumes on Monday, was essential for the establishment of democracy. BBC correspondent Anbarasan Ethirajan said it marked a watershed moment for Bangladesh, which has yet to come fully to terms with its violent past.

The special court will try Bangladeshis accused of collaborating with Pakistani forces, who were trying to stop Bangladesh becoming an independent nation.
'Vendetta'
More than three million people were killed and many more were left homeless, according to official figures.
Hundreds of thousands of women are also believed to have been raped during the war. Bangladeshi Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said the country had waited 40 years for the trial to come to court.
"We lost many professors, teachers, musicians - the bright sons of our country at the time of the liberation movement," he said.
"So it was our moral duty, our constitutional responsibility to try these offenders." The chief prosecutor, Ghulam Arif Tipoo, said the trial was essential for the establishment of rule of law and democracy, and also key to the future of Bangladesh.
A total of seven people - mostly from Bangladesh's two main opposition parties, are facing trial.
They all deny the allegations and accuse the government of carrying out a vendetta.
The Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who declared the country independent in 1971 and became its founding president after the war, but was later assassinated.
The tribunal investigating events in 1971 was set up in Dhaka last year without any involvement from the United Nations.
Human rights groups have urged the government to ensure the trials are carried out in accordance with international standards.
The government insisted Bangladeshi law and its legal structure were competent enough to handle the trials.
Mr Sayedee, a leader in Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami party, was arrested last year. The trial is likely to go on for months.

Nov 26, 2011 at 12:48 o\clock

BNP’s Khulna Roadmarch today

by: bangladesh   Keywords: bnp, khaleda, zia

BNP’s Khulna Roadmarch today
Roadmarch to Pabna, Khustia, Jhenidah, Jessore and Khulna

BNP Road March Dhaka, Nov. 26 - Chairperson Khaleda Zia will direct a road march towards Khulna today to pulsate up support for her party’s demand that the government reinstate the caretaker government system to oversee in the next parliament elections.

Senior leaders of the four-party alliance and similar minded parties will accompany the road march that will pass through Pabna, Kushtia, Jhenidah and Jessore before reaching Khulna.The BNP leader will stay at Jessore Circuit House tonight and restart the march towards Khulna tomorrow.

The two-day programme will end with a public meeting on Khulna Circuit House premises at 3:00pm tomorrow. Hope BNP’s this long march will carry something for the citizens of Bangladesh.

Nov 19, 2011 at 19:55 o\clock

Govt invites tender for 2nd Padma Bridge project

by: bangladesh   Keywords: Padma, Bridge, PPP, project

Padma BridgeThe government Friday invited tender for investors’ prequalification for building a $2 billion 2nd Padma Multipurpose Bridge under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative though construction of the first one hit snags over suspension of the World Bank funding over graft allegations.

Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) under the communications ministry floated the international tender on 3 November for building the 6.1-km bridge over the mighty river Padma connecting Paturia and Daulatdia points.

The proposed bridge will be constructed on public-private partnership (PPP) initiative with an estimated cost of Tk US$ 2 billion, according to the Communications Ministry officials.

Both the planned bridges are to connect the country’s cutoff southwest with the eastern part, including the capital Dhaka.

Earlier on 27 October, the cabinet committee on economic affairs approved the proposal for construction of the second bridge on ‘Build-Own-Operate-and-Transfer’ (BOOT) basis under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative.

The grand-alliance government has started the move to build the second Padma Bridge while the long-awaited first one remained mired in contentions stemming from an unsubstantiated World Bank complaint of corruption in initial project processing.

The notice published in different dailies on Friday says buses and light vehicles have to waste nearly three hours for crossing Paturia-Daulatdia channel while trucks have to waste about four hours and thirty five minutes in crossing the river by ferry.

“The bridge will boost commercial and trading activities between the east and the southwest parts of the country and will create additional employment opportunities in agriculture, traditional crafts, small-scale industries and commerce, which will help attain higher growth rate in the country and faster poverty alleviation,” says the project concept paper.

The first Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project at Mawa-Janjira point is under preparatory work for construction. However, some districts of the southwestern region through Mawa-Janjira route will take more time than Paturia-Daulatdia location to shorten the distance between Meherpur, Chuadanga, Kushtia, Jhenadaha, Magura, Rajbari, Faridpur, and parts of Narail, Gopalganj, Jessore and Madaripur districts with Dhaka and eastern part of the country.

BBA seeks the pre-qualifying of interested investors and will prepare a short list of pre-qualified firms with the intension to invite eligible international firms to indicate their interests for participation in the bid.

The applicant (s) should have essential experience and requisite qualifications in the financing and/or construction of bridge of elevated expressway or elevated railway or flyovers on a BOOT/BOT/PPP/ECP basis with combined value of no less than US$400 million during last 10 years.

According to the notice, the project investors will be selected through an International Competitive Bidding process from a pool of applications who meet the criteria.

The interested investors will have to submit their application for prequalification by 10 January, 2012.

Interested applicants may form consortium with other International Firms engaged in the financing, design and construction of roads and bridges to fulfil their qualification by forming a Joint Venture (JV).

Interested eligible applicants may get more information and documents for pre-qualification application from BBA Website: www.bba.gov.bd.

Oct 26, 2011 at 08:06 o\clock

Dhaka, Berlin agree to boost economic ties

by: bangladesh   Keywords: Hasina, Merkel

Hasina-Merkel in Berlin Bangladesh and Germany yesterday agreed to further explore bilateral trade and cooperation in the areas of sustainable development, climate change, health and social safety net programme.

“Our development cooperation is very good. We have discussed how to strengthen our economic ties,'' German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after a luncheon meeting at German Chancellery in the afternoon.

The two leaders also discussed cooperation in renewable energy, and primary and secondary education for the young people of Bangladesh.

The Chancellor praised Hasina for her government's role in tackling the Bangladesh economy despite the global economic downturn.

''Bangladesh economy is on good track,'' Hasina said, adding Bangladesh could not achieve desired level of development since the country had been under military dictators.

On international issues, Merkel said they also discussed developments in India, Pakistan and Myanmar.

Hasina said they had frank, fruitful and in-depth discussions that lasted for one hour.

Describing Germany as a time-tested friend of Bangladesh, Hasina said Germany actively supported Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971 and since then “we have been receiving uninterrupted support.''

“I am returning home happily with many promises from a great leader and renewed commitment for supporting my people and working together for bilateral, regional and international cooperation,” the premier said, reports BSS.

Hasina said the two-way bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Germany is excellent, but there is still scope to enhance it further. She praised the Chancellor for successfully handling German economy during the global economic turmoil.

About climate change, Hasina said Bangladesh is the worst affected country due to the adverse impact of the changing climate.

Bangladesh is receiving generous support from the European Union to tackle the climate change, she said.

The premier also recalled her stay in Germany when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had said ''Germany has a special place in my heart”.

Hasina extended her thanks to Merkel for facilitating the signing of two joint declarations -- one for cooperation in the field of health and the other for climate change.

Asked if they discussed the Padma Bridge funding, Merkel said they discussed overall infrastructure development, not any particular project, reports UNB.

Hasina said infrastructure includes everything and the German Chancellor promised to support infrastructure development in Bangladesh.

The premier invited Merkel to visit Bangladesh at a convenient time, which she gladly accepted.

On her arrival at the Chancellery, the office of German Chancellor, the prime minister was given a red carpet reception and guard of honour.

Hasina arrived in Berlin on October 22 to attend the World Health Summit and bilateral meeting with the German leaders. She is due to return home today after ending her four-day official tour.

Oct 23, 2011 at 16:38 o\clock

PM Hasina arrives in Berlin

by: bangladesh   Keywords: WHO, Berlin, Hasina

News - PM Hasina arrives in Berlin

Berlin, Oct 22 - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived at Tegel Airport in Berlin at 3-30 pm local time. She was received by Bangladesh`s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Bangladesh Ambassador to Germany Masud Mannan and high German government officials.
The Prime Minister was then driven to Hotel Adlon Kempinski in the heart of Berlin in a motorcade.

On her arrival at the hotel several hundred Bangladeshi expatriates greeted her with flower bouquet.

Among others, Awami League Europe chapter president Anil Das Gupta, UK Awami League president Sultan Sharif, and Europe chapter Awami League leader Nazrul Islam, were present.

Earlier, Prime Minister Hasina left Dhaka for the German capital in the morning to attend World Health Summit-2011.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to attend a reception to be hosted by students of Bangla Pathshala at Bangladesh House in Berlin Saturday.

She will attend another reception the next day (Oct 23) to be hosted by non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) in Germany at Hotel Adlon Kempiniski.

On October 24, she will attend a seminar titled `Emerging Market-Bangladesh’ at Hotel Adlon.

Germany-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce has organized the seminar to be participated by leading German business leaders and potential investors.

During her five-day visit, Sheikh Hasina will have official talks with German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel on October 25, followed by a luncheon and a joint press briefing.

The Prime Minister is expected to return home on October 26.

Sep 27, 2011 at 14:37 o\clock

Khaleda declares 3 road marches

by: bangladesh   Keywords: BNP, Khaleda, Zia

Khaleda declares 3 road marches
September 27, 2011: Paltan, adjacent areas turn into human sea

BNP Meeting DHAKA, September 27, 2011: BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Tuesday afternoon declared three road marches to press home their demand for restoring the caretaker government system.

In her address at a Naya Paltan rally, the opposition leader said they will conduct a road march towards Sylhet from Dhaka on October 10, another towards Rajshahi on October 18 and the other towards Chittagong on October 25.

She accused the Awami League-led grand alliance government of torturing opposition leaders and activists.

“They (AL) want to stay in power through intimidation,” she said. “But you do not know that you cannot stay in power through installing fear and torture.”

Saying the government is using police as ruling party activists, she asked the policemen to stop torturing people and reminded them of their duty as the protectors of the people.

The former prime minister accused the government of exacerbating public sufferings by raising fuel prices repeatedly. She said the law and order of the country has deteriorated seriously.

The opposition leader alleged that the government is turning the country into a poor one by looting money. She started delivering her address shortly after 5:00pm. She is set to declare a series of agitation programmes Tuesday afternoon demanding restoration of the caretaker government system.

The former prime minister arrived at the meeting venue in front of BNP’s Naya Paltan central office around 3:40pm amid cheers from tens of thousands of party leaders and activists.

Once on the podium, she waved to the ralliers who also chanted slogans in favour of Khaleda and carried sheaf of paddy, the election symbol of the main opposition party.

Our correspondent covering the event reports that Naya Paltan and its adjacent areas including Arambagh, Fakirerpool, Bijoynagar and Kakrail turned into a human sea as the supporters are pouring into the capital for the highly-orchestrated rally.

The leaders, activists and supporters were seen carrying colourful banners, festoons, placards and portraits of BNP founder late president Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda and BNP Senior Vice-president Tarique Rahman.

Hundreds of buses and trucks carried the supporters from adjacent districts and areas of the capital including Manikganj, Tangail, Sirajganj and Dhamrai to the venue.

Huge contingents of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and police personnel have been deployed in and around the area to maintain law and order during the rally.

In a press briefing on Monday, BNP city chief Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka said they were preparing to make the rally the biggest political showdown in recent times.

Khaleda had declared that her party would not accept general elections without the supervision of a non-partisan caretaker government. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, on Sunday at a programme in New York reiterated that the next election will be held under the political government.

The caretaker government system was scrapped through the fifteenth amendment of the constitution. Opposition leaders earlier said that besides agitation programme like road march and demonstration, Khaleda in her address may declare a time limit for the government to fulfil their demands.

MK Anwar, a member of the party's standing committee, said earlier that they will call hartal if the government tries to foil their day’s programme.

Eight like-minded parties and a few other political parties, which want restoration of the caretaker system, are expected to join the rally. [source: The Daily Star]