NEWS reports on Thursday in some national dailies said that the government of Saudi Arabia is applying some non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to several Bangladeshi export items, mainly in the food categories which are in high demand among expatriate Bangladeshi nationals working in the kingdom. The report said that the government is going to request the Saudi government to harmonize the tariffs rules so that Bangladesh’s exports can enter the Saudi market without impediments. The problem is that Saudi customs officials...
Ibne SirajDespite intense efforts at both diplomatic and summit levels, Sheikh Hasina’s 2009-2013 regime could not have its two important pledges fulfilled with India. The longstanding Land Boundary Agreement and the Teesta Waters Sharing Agreement could not be signed between Bangladesh and India due mainly to the lack of diplomatic efforts from Dhaka. The good news is that the Indian authorities are up with their intension to settle these two hitherto unsettled issues at the soonest possible time. It was...
Harold MeyersonWhen President Obama delivers his State of the Union address this month, he will surely highlight the issue of growing economic inequality and argue for such remedies as raising the minimum wage. He may also put in a plug for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement his administration is negotiating with 11 Pacific Rim nations and for fast-track legislation that would limit congressional input in the accord to facilitate its ratification.If he does both – bemoan rising inequality...
Noah Feldman Do corporations have a right to religious liberty? The contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act has made this abstract-sounding question into the hottest constitutional issue of the day-hotter, even, than the right to privacy from government snooping. The U.S. Supreme Court has gotten into the game by agreeing to hear a case on the issue and, in the meantime, temporarily staying the law under a range of circumstances. The stage is now set for a battle that...
Welcome news Finally the International Cricket Council has agreed that no obstacle is there to hold the Asian Cricket Cup and the World T-20 Cricket Championship in Bangladesh as per schedule since the law and order situation has much improved by this time. It is expected that all the five countries who have qualified for the finals will take part in the 50 over tournament, beginning at Fatullah near Narayanganj on February 25 with the match between defending Champions Pakistan...
Welcome news Finally the International Cricket Council has agreed that no obstacle is there to hold the Asian Cricket Cup and the World T-20 Cricket Championship in Bangladesh as per schedule since the law and order situation has much improved by this time. It is expected that all the five countries who have qualified for the finals will take part in the 50 over tournament, beginning at Fatullah near Narayanganj on February 25 with the match between defending Champions Pakistan...
The electoral drill, conducted by the Election Commission (EC) that enabled 292 candidates to become members of the parliament has now come to an end. The chief and other members of the EC would be congratulated for arranging an election that the country has never experienced before. In 153 constituencies there was no electoral activities, thus 48.08 million voters were robbed of their right of franchise. The Prime Minister, the President, the Speaker and the Chief Election Commissioner were amongst...
Egypt hasn’t made international headlines for a while, but Egyptians themselves have still been making news. The crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood that began after a coup toppled embattled President Mohammed Morsy in July has extended through the end of 2013, and will likely continue. At the same time, a low-level insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula has occasionally reached into major cities like Ismailiyya and Cairo. The government’s approach to the violence seems to be based solely around bringing as...
Communal attack must end Last parliamentary elections are marked with waves of violence, particularly against minority communities. Some villagers especially in Jessore district were attacked and forced to flee home. The political blame game continues centering the issue. One of the major opposition party denied the allegations and demanded neutral investigation and exemplary punishment for those who were involved in the heinous crime. Blame game to clear hands by political parties has been encouraged as communal crimes have not always...
THE present Syrian civil war had its roots in the Arab Spring of 2011-a series of disparate events which resulted in regime changes in several Arab states, notably Tunisia and Egypt. The Syrian opposition coalition has been recognised as the “sole representative of the Syrian people” by several nations including the United States, the United Kingdom and France-all permanent members of the UN. Syrian rebels did not want regime change at the beginning. They desired democratization of the Assad regime....
GROWTH of fresh bank deposits dropped to 16.80 per cent in the January-November (2013) period against a 20 per cent growth in the corresponding period of 2012 – reported a local English Daily on Tuesday. Bankers and analysts however have attributed the fall to a slowdown in trade and business activities due to non-economic and mostly political reasons. Huge amounts of idle money have accumulated in banks and bankers mostly have focused on low-cost and no-cost deposits to reduce their...
A NEWS report in a local daily on Sunday said that the imports of rice has phenomenally increased over the last six months compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year. Imports at that time covered 2,10,738 tonnes of rice, while it was slightly over 13,232. tonnes in the same period under the last fiscal as per trade figure released by Bangladesh Bank (BB) recently. The import of rice and wheat and other items like lentils, coriander, cloves...
Tim Hanstad and Roy ProstermanWHEN Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving more than four million homeless, one group was particularly hard hit: the landless poor. More than a thousand of the dead lived in a single squatter camp.While natural disasters may seem like equal-opportunity destroyers, they are not.The developing world’s landless poor routinely bear the brunt of these disasters. Families without secure rights to land (and that is a majority of rural...
A. Mannan The road map of our democracy, must encompass our demography be interwoven with its characteristics and diversities and enshrined with the spirit of our Constitution, any other inferences and references shall be a futile exercise. Due to constitutional impasse, by now everybody has turned out to be a free styled constitutional expert, emanated from tea shops to workshops, of different transport modes to dialogue held in political abodes, of civil society dialogue to leaflets and catalogues. I as...
Doyle McManusPeace negotiations, a wise U.S. diplomat once said, are like riding a bicycle: No matter how slow you’re moving, it’s best to keep going – because if you try to stand still, you’ll fall.Secretary of State John F. Kerry is putting that principle to the test in his dogged work on three of the world’s most tangled problems: Iran’s nuclear program, Syria’s civil war and Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Kerry hasn’t quite arrived anywhere yet on any of...
Doyle McManusPeace negotiations, a wise U.S. diplomat once said, are like riding a bicycle: No matter how slow you’re moving, it’s best to keep going – because if you try to stand still, you’ll fall.Secretary of State John F. Kerry is putting that principle to the test in his dogged work on three of the world’s most tangled problems: Iran’s nuclear program, Syria’s civil war and Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Kerry hasn’t quite arrived anywhere yet on any of...
A sharp contradiction When I compare January of 1972 with January of 2014, the difference is so vast that I feel deep anguish. At that time people were celebrating winning the liberation war, eyes sparkling with joy and happiness, hearts filled with hopes for a prosperous and peaceful country. But now everything has changed, the eyes have become dark and empty, the hearts have become filled with great fear and uncertainty, they feel that the freedom has been snatched away...
A NEWS report in a national Bengali daily on Friday said that Jagannath University has finalized the appointment of 10 section officers and one store officer at a syndicate meeting held on January 4. Out of them nine are university Chhatra League leaders which is the students’ front of the ruling party Awami League and the remaining two also belong to party university units but their selection was carried out under the VC’s discretionary quota. The appointment was hastily approved...
Sir Frank Peters :December 13 is Pupil’s Liberation Day- a memorable and auspicious occasion for many Bangladeshi school pupils, regrettably not all.It was on this date in 2011 that eminent Bangladesh High Court justices Md. Imman Ali and Sheikh Hassan Arif outlawed the barbaric practice of corporal punishment in schools declaring it:”cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom”.While some children have reason to celebrate their “Liberation Day” from...
Nicholas Crafts :Recent growth in the euro area has tracked the experience of much of Europe in the 1930s all too closely. Unless policies change, this stagnation is likely to persist. In some ways, the euro area’s prospects are more challenging than the parallel with the Great Depression suggests. If only things were as bad as in the 1930s-how’s that for a thought to put matters in perspective?The aftermath of the Depression in Europe gives a vivid demonstration of the...
Tony Edson :The recent arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade has unleashed two kinds of outrage: protests by Indians upset over her treatment by New York police, and, mostly outside of India, anger over Khobragade’s alleged crime of forcing a domestic employee to work long hours for a fraction of the prevailing wage after having pledged in a visa application to follow U.S. labor and wage laws.Less attention has been paid, however, to a more insidious problem: how international diplomatic...
COMMERCIAL banks sitting with unpaid bills against inland L/Cs are causing troubles to other banks suffering from capital shortage. Their indifference has raised concerns at the central bank which has earlier set November 27, 2013 as the cut off date to clear the snags. As reports said, most of these inland bills refer to banking scams at Sonali Bank, Agrani Bank and such other banks in which dishonest business houses such as Hall-Mark and Bismillah Groups have swindled money using...
THE country’s Hindu community has come under attacks due to post election violence at different places as news reports said raising questions about the government’s lack of preparedness in the first place to foil such attempts despite alerts from responsible quarters at home and abroad about the possibility of such incidents. Initial reports said Jamaat-Shibir and BNP activists had carried out the attacks but some news paper reports have also blamed the rival Awami League candidates in the polls for...