Archive for: May 2013

12-hour strike on Sunday

REF:  BNP-led 18-Party alliance has called for a nationwide general shutdown from 6am to 6pm on Sunday demanding reinstatement of a caretaker government provision, release of their party leaders and to protest ban on rallies.


Shamsuzzaman Dudu, Advisor to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, made the announcement on Friday in a press conference.


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Be active to press govt: Tarique

REF:  BNP’s Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman has appealed to the supporters to remain active to force the government to agree to the opposition’s demand for a caretaker government.

He was speaking at a meeting of BNP leaders in London on Tuesday.


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DCC polls schedule after Ramadan

REF:   Election Commissioner M Shah Newaz on Tuesday categorically said the schedule of bifurcated Dhaka city corporations (DCC) polls would be declared after Ramadan.

The election commissioner came up with the observation while talking to journalists at election commission secretariat in the noon.

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7 Afghan police officers killed in blast

REF:  Seven police officers were killed in western Afghanistan on Tuesday when a police vehicle struck a roadside explosive, a Herat province spokesman said.

There was no claim of responsibility. The incident took place during the spring offensive of the Taliban, the militant anti-government movement.


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Unrest in Ashulia again

REF: Some thousands of ready-made garment workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway and clashed with police while staging a protest demanding a wage hike and other facilities in Ashulia on Monday morning.

Authorities of the concerned Ha-Meem Group were compelled to declare a holiday in the wake of the protest.


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GSP only if working standards are met: Mozena

Source: Bangladesh can convince United States to continue GSP for its garment exports by improving working conditions and safety standards in its factories, US envoy to Dhaka Dan W Mozena said on Saturday.


The disaster at Savar happened because labour groups were not there to defend worker interests, Mozena told a public hearing on industrial safety at the parliament members club on Saturday.

Israfil Alam, chairman of the standing committee for Labour and Employment asked the ambassador if the current working conditions and safety would lead to Bangladesh loosing out on the GSP for its readymade garment exports. Read more →

Corruption charges all lies: Hasina

Source: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has flatly denied any involvement of her family members in the Padma bridge scam.

During an interview on the CBC, correspondent Terence McKenna asked the Prime Minister: “Anti-Corruption Commission have accused you in previous cases to raise money through your sister, Sheikh Rehana. Here again, SNC-Lavalin was asked to pay money to your friends, family, is that not so?” Read more →

Editors demand Mahmudur’s release

Source: Sixteen newspaper editors have asked for the release of Daily Amar Desh acting editor Mahmudur Rahman, saying that his arrest and continued detention was a threat to the freedom of press.
In a statement on Saturday, they also expressed concern about the closure of Amar Desh press and two TV stations.

The statement said that both the Islamic TV and Diganta TV should be allowed to go on air and Amar Desh should be allowed to print and circulate. Read more →

Syria crisis: US rues Russian missiles sent to Damascus

REF: The US has chided Russia for what it calls an “unfortunate decision” to send missiles to the Syrian government.


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey said the shipment “will embolden the regime and prolong the suffering” that has killed 80,000.



The sophisticated anti-ship missiles could be used to counter any future foreign military intervention, US officials told The New York Times.

Some 1.5 million people have fled the conflict, says the UN refugee agency.

Most have fled to Jordan and Lebanon, but not all have been registered yet, meaning the true total is likely to be far higher, according to the UNHCR.

Meanwhile, Syria’s national production has dropped by 40% and the number of people living below the poverty line has risen from two million to five million in just two years, according to the man in charge of the UN’s plans for reconstructing Syria after the conflict.

Abdullah al-Dardari, a former deputy prime minister in President Assad’s administration, told the BBC that rebuilding what has been destroyed would cost up to $80bn.

Appetite for intervention?

Gen Dempsey’s description of Moscow’s decision to send missiles to Syria as “ill-timed and very unfortunate” comes amid growing alarm that chemical weapons may have been used in the country, something US President Barack Obama has said would be “a red line”.

Russia is one of Syria’s few remaining allies and a long-term arms supplier to the Assad regime. Over the years, in contracts worth billions of dollars, it has sold thousands of tanks, artillery units, aircraft, helicopters and defence systems to Damascus.

In 2007, the two countries signed a deal on the supply of Yakhont missiles which, with a range of 300km (200 miles), could prove a threat to warships in the Mediterranean.

Although there have been growing calls for arms to be channelled to the rebel fighters in Syria, there has so far been very limited enthusiasm in the West for outright military intervention.

But there is concern that the presence of sophisticated Russian-supplied weaponry will make it much harder to agree and carry out such intervention, implement a blockade or conduct targeted airstrikes in the future.

Without confirming reports of the missile shipment, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the supply of missiles did not break any international rules.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met Mr Lavrov in Sochi on Friday to discuss plans for an international conference to try to find a way of ending the Syrian conflict, which would aim to bring together the Syrian opposition and members of Mr Assad’s government.

The UN estimates that 80,000 people have died in the uprising, and that some 4.25 million people have been displaced within the country.

The simmering conflict has raised tensions on Syria’s borders: On Friday, Turkish state media reported at least 10 people were killed when a fuel tank exploded in the southern town of Altinozu in Hatay province, where car bombs killed 50 people last week.

The fuel tank was set alight by smugglers during a raid by police, officials said.

Frustrated by the lack of international consensus on Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has had talks this week with President Barack Obama in Washington where he was expected to call for a more assertive stance.

Mr Erdogan said on Friday the UN should discuss imposing a no-fly zone inside Syria at the international conference being mooted.

“With respect to a no-fly zone… it is not a decision that could be taken between the United States and Turkey. It is something that would have to come through the UN Security Council,” he said.

‘Hasina will be the interim head’

REF:  The general elections will be held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina heading the transitional government as per the 15th Constitutional Amendment, according to Awami League leaders.


Several divisional and organising secretaries of the working committee confirmed that the matter was unanimously agreed at its meeting in the Ganabhaban on Friday.


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