Fresh areas flooded in Sirajganj

first_imgThe flood situation in Sirajganj has worsened. Photo: Prothom AloThe flood situation in Sirajganj has worsened following a rise in the Jamuna water level on Wednesday morning, reports UNB.“The Jamuna River was flowing 146 centimetres above the danger level at Sirajganj point at 6:00am,” said executive engineer of Water Development Board (WDB) in Sirajganj Syed Hasan Imam.Fresh areas were inundated as water level of the Jamuna River had risen by 19 centimetres in the last 24 hours, he added.Low-lying areas of Sadar, Kajipur, Belkuchi, Chouhali and Shahjadpur upazilas remained submerged by Jamuna water since Tuesday.last_img read more


Bangladesh seeks multilateral approach to solve Rohingya crisis

first_imgChina’s foreign minister Wang Yi, Japan’s foreign minister Taro KonoBangladesh wants multilateral initiatives, not bilateral ones, to solve the Rohingya crisis although China has long been insisting that Dhaka should resolve the issue with bilaterally.While putting emphasis on international intervention, Dhaka will continue bilateral discussions with Naypyidaw at the same time.The foreign ministers of four countries and delegates of the European Union (EU) are arriving in Bangladesh to discuss the Rohingya issue.Thousands of Rohingyas fled the persecution carried out by Myanmarese security forces in Rakhine state into Bangladesh since 25 August this year and Bangladesh is aware of the consequences if the international community fails to mount pressure on Myanmar, the issue of repatriation will remain unresolved.A foreign ministry official told Prothom Alo, Bangladesh had no option but to resolve the repatriation of Rohingyas with the help of international community.The government would have to remain firm in this strategy, he added. Bangladesh would convey this message to China’s foreign minister Wang Yi who arrived in Dhaka Saturday.The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) placed a proposal before the United Nation’s third committee on Thursday. Bangladesh will express its disappointment that China voted against this proposal, added the official.Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi came to Dhaka on Saturday to discuss the Rohingya crisis.  He would meet Bangladesh’s foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali on Saturday morning and the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, in the evening at Ganabhaban.German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, Swedish foreign minister Margot WallströmJapan’s foreign minister Taro Kono also arrives in Dhaka on Saturday. Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, and senior EU representatives will arrive in Bangladesh on Sunday. They will join the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Naypyidaw after the visit. The delegates will discuss about the Rohingya crisis on the sidelines of the meeting.A group of US representatives is also scheduled to visit Cox’s Bazar on Saturday to observe the situation there.Foreign minister Mahmood Ali will take the foreign ministers of Germany, Sweden, and Japan and EU representative Federica Mogherini to the Rohingya camps on Sunday.They will meet the prime minister on their return from Cox’s Bazar. China’s foreign minister will, however, not join them on the Cox’s Bazar trip.This is the first time in the recent past that delegates of five countries and organisations have visited Bangladesh within a span of two days. Bangladesh is placing importance on this visit after the OIC proposal was passed with a landslide of votes. On Thursday in the UN, Germany, Sweden, Pakistan and EU countries voted in favour of the OIC proposal. China voted against the proposal while Japan and India abstained.During the visits of the foreign delegations, Bangladesh will discuss its expectations and its stance regarding the Rohingya issue.China’s standDiplomats of Bangladesh in New York told Prothom Alo, UN’s social, humanitarian and cultural forum, the third committee, arranged a vote on Rohingya crisis where China voted against the proposal.Senior officials of Bangladesh foreign ministry said they would discuss the possibility of China’s president Xi Jinping visiting Dhaka any time soon.Prior to the visit of the Chinese foreign minister, special envoy of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Sun Guoxiang, visited Bangladesh in April and October this year.He offered to mediate between Bangladesh and Myanmar to resolve Rohingya crisis.Chairman of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and former ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad told BBC on Friday, “It is not that China is unconcerned about the Rohingya crisis. It is just that their thinking may be different. So far, two statements have been approved in UN’s Security Council unanimously. We have differences. But we are eager to work with China.”*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat.last_img read more


Bustruck collision kills 2 in Gopalganj

first_imgA woman and a bus driver were killed and at least 10 people injured in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck on Dhaka-Khulna highway in Gopalganj’s Sadar upazila early Monday, reports UNB.The deceased were Mala Begum, 35, wife of Sobhan, a resident of Morelganj upazila in Bagerhat and the bus driver Sheikh Shahon, 48, son of Sheikh Kabir, a resident of Bogail village in Bhanga upazila of Faridpur district.The accident took place around 1:30am when the Khulna-bound ‘Banaful Paribahan’ bus collided with the electric wire-laden truck, leaving the duo dead on the spot and ten other bus passengers injured, said police sub-inspector Shawkat Hossain.The injured were admitted to Gopalganj General Hospital.last_img read more


4 cases over quota clash vandalism in DU VC residence

first_imgThe official residence of the Dhaka University vice chancellor was vandalised during a demonstration by quota protesters early Monday. Prothom Alo File PhotoFour cases were filed with Shahbagh police station in the capital on Tuesday night over clashes on Dhaka University campus and vandalism in the official residence of the DU VC during a demonstration by youths seeking reform of quota system in the public service.Police said a large number of unnamed students have been accused in the cases.Of the cases, two were filed by two sub-inspectors of Shahbagh police station, the third one by an inspector of special branch (SB) of police and Dhaka University’s chief security officer Kamrul Ahsan filed the fourth case.Kamrul Ahsan told Prothom Alo that over 100 unknown miscreants were made accused in the case over “an attempt to kill the vice chancellor” and destruction of properties worth about Tk 15 million.He said the miscreants burned two vehicles to ashes and vandalised two more.SB inspector Humayun Kabir filed a case against 30-40 unnamed persons for hindering police from discharging their duties and setting fire to a motorcycle in the Doyel Chattar area.Shahbagh police station sub-inspectors Bhajan Kumar Biswas and Rabiul Islam filed two cases against ‘a large number’ of unnamed students for hindering police from discharging their duties.Amid demonstrations at Shahbagh and its adjacent areas early Monday seeking reform of the quota system, some unknown attackers entered the VC’s residence breaking open its main gate and ransacked several rooms and furniture.last_img read more


Rohingya Muslims awaiting tough Ramadan

first_imgRohingya refugee carries an elderly man at the Palongkhali refugee camp near Cox`s Bazar. Reuters file photoThe 12-year-old Rohingya refugee dreamed of Ramadan back in his own village — fish to break the day’s fast, gifts from his family and relaxing beneath the trees before evening prayers at the mosque.But for MD Hashim and others like him living in squalor in Bangladesh, the start of the Islamic holy month now serves as a bitter reminder of everything they have lost since being driven from Myanmar in an army crackdown.”Here, we can’t afford gifts and don’t have good food… because this is not our country,” Hashim told AFP on a barren hillside in Cox’s Bazar district.The United Nations has described the army purge against the persecuted minority as ethnic cleansing, and thousands of Rohingya Muslims were believed to have been slaughtered in the pogrom that began last August.Nearly 700,000 Rohingya fled the violence for Bangladesh, where they squat in bamboo and tarpaulin shacks on dirt slopes.While they acknowledge that they were lucky to escape, now, with food and money scarce and temperatures soaring, Ramadan looms as a source of anxiety for many Rohingya.Sitting inside a plastic tent on a blazing day, Hashim fondly recalled the simple pleasures that made Ramadan the most exciting time of year in his village.Each night, friends and family would break the fast together with fish and meat dishes cooked just once a year for the Islamic holy month.New clothes would be offered and sprinkled with traditional perfumes called “attar” to mark the holiday, he said.”We can’t do the same here, because we don’t have money. We don’t have our own land. We can’t earn money because we are not allowed,” Hashim said.The Rohingya are barred from working and more than two dozen military checkpoints restrict them from leaving what has grown into the world’s largest refugee camp.They rely on charities for everything from food and medicine to clothing and housing materials. Hashim must walk over an hour in the searing heat to reach the nearest market.- Scorching heat -He said many young Rohingya were also anxious about giving up food and water amid the scorching temperatures in the camp.In the past, Hashim relished joining his friends for the annual act of devotion, as they were able to rest in the cool shade of trees between their chores.”We cannot fast here like we did back in Burma (Myanmar), because it’s too hot. There are no trees,” he told AFP.”The tarpaulin is hot, and it gets hotter when the sun is beating down. It will be very difficult.”Even so, Hashim is one of the fortunate ones, able to celebrate with his family. Other Rohingya children will spend Ramadan not just away from home, but alone.Thousands crossed into Bangladesh without parents or family, either separated in the chaos or orphaned by the violence and disease that defined the mass exodus from Myanmar.”Unfortunately, it will be their first Ramadan to remember for the wrong reasons,” Roberta Businaro from Save the Children told AFP in Cox’s Bazar.”They will only have dirt and mud and dust to play with. They will be spending a Ramadan away from their home, from their parents and from their friends.”The Koran exempts the ill, elderly and others who cannot fast from giving up food and water.But despite the hardship the Rohingya would not abandon their traditions, no matter how challenging their circumstances, said imam Muhammad Yusuf.”It will be difficult while the sun is so hot, but we will still fast,” Yusuf told AFP.last_img

Iraq forces launch operation to retake west Mosul

first_imgFighters of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitaries sit in a heavily-armed vehicle near defensive positions near the frontline village of Ayn al-Hisan, on the outskirts of Tal Afar west of Mosul. Photo: AFPIraqi forces launched an offensive on jihadists defending Mosul’s west bank Sunday, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the city.“Our forces are beginning the liberation of the citizens from the terror of Daesh,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a short televised speech, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.“We announce the start of a new phase in the operation. We are coming, Nineveh, to liberate the western side of Mosul,” he said, referring to the province of which Mosul is the capital.Federal police and interior ministry forces were expected to start the new phase in the offensive by moving on Mosul airport, which is on the southern edge of the city, west of the Tigris River.The jihadists have put up stiff resistance to defend Mosul, their last major stronghold in Iraq and the place where their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” in 2014.After shaping operations around Mosul, it took Iraq’s most seasoned forces-the elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) — more than two months to clear the eastern side of Mosul.After a pause in the operation launched on October 17, federal forces now face what was always billed as the toughest nut to crack: Mosul’s west bank, home to the narrow streets of the Old City.“West Mosul had the potential certainly of being more difficult, with house-to-house fighting on a larger and more bloody scale,” said Patrick Skinner, from the Soufan Group intelligence consultancy.The streets around the historical centre, which includes the mosque in which Baghdadi made his only public appearance in June 2014, will be impassable for many military vehicles and force government fighters to take on IS in perilous dismounted warfare.Prior to the offensive that saw IS seize Mosul and much of Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland nearly three years ago, the east bank was more ethnically diverse than the west, where analysts believe the jihadists could enjoy more support.Tougher resistance“IS resistance could be greater in this area and it will be harder, but all the more important, to completely clear the networks from Mosul after its recapture,” said Emily Anagnostos, Iraq analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.While the federal forces’ attrition is said to be high, IS’s had been undoubtedly higher and commanders have said the jihadists may no longer have the resources to defend east Mosul effectively.Recent incidents in liberated east point to the difficulty of ensuring remnants of IS have not blended in with the civilian population in a huge city which most residents did not flee ahead of the government offensive.Aid organisations had feared an exodus of unprecedented proportions before the start of the Mosul operation but half a million-a significant majority-of residents stayed home.Their continued presence prevented both sides from resorting to deadlier weaponry, which may have slowed down the battle but averted a potentially much more serious humanitarian emergency in the middle of winter as well as more extensive material damage to the city.“Mosul is going better than we expected, but there are serious dangers ahead,” Lise Grande, UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, told AFP.Residents of west Mosul have reported very difficult living conditions and warned that they were already low on food, with weeks of fighting expected to lie ahead.IS fighters and Mosul residents remained able to move across both sides of the city during much of the fighting in the east but all bridges across the Tigris have now been dropped and the jihadists in the west are all but besieged.IS has used civilians as human shields as part of its defence tactics and killed residents attempting to flee, making it both difficult and dangerous for the population to escape.While specialised units may attempt to throw pontoon bridges across the river to attack from the east, the main initial assault of the upcoming phase in the Mosul is expected to come from the south on the city’s airport.Army, police, interior ministry and special forces have been gearing up for the push on Mosul’s southern front, with a large concentration of fighters based out of Hammam al-Alil.last_img read more


Sikh man hurt in latest US hate crime shooting

first_imgAuthorities are investigating the suspected hate crime shooting of a Sikh man at his home near Seattle, media reported Saturday, just days after an engineer from India was fatally shot in Kansas.The 39-year-old Sikh was working on his car in his driveway in Kent, Washington just south of Seattle, when a man walked up late Friday wearing a mask and holding a gun.The Seattle Times newspaper reported that the partially-masked gunman, after exchanging words with the victim, said “Go back to your own country” before pulling the trigger, shooting him in the arm.Authorities are investigating the shooting as a suspected hate crime, according to the Seattle Times, which did not provide the nationality of the victim.The daily reported that police are continuing to search for the gunman.Jasmit Singh, a leader of the Sikh community near Seattle, told The Seattle Times that the victim has been released from the hospital.”He is just very shaken up, both him and his family,” Singh said.”We’re all kind of at a loss in terms of what’s going on right now, this is just bringing it home. The climate of hate that has been created doesn’t distinguish between anyone.”The incident follows a shooting at a Kansas bar last month that killed 32-year-old engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, causing shockwaves felt around the country.A second Indian engineer, Alok Madasani, was injured in the Kansas shooting carried out by a white gunman whom witnesses said screamed racial slurs and told his victims to “get out of my country” before opening fire.The Sikh Coalition, a New York-based civil rights group, asked local and federal authorities in a statement Saturday to investigate the latest shooting as a hate crime.last_img read more


Kushtia subregistrar hacked dead

first_imgdeathA sub-registrar was hacked and strangled to death by unidentified miscreants at his house in Babor Alo Gate area of Kushtia on Monday night, reports UNB.The deceased was Nur Mohammad Shah, 55, from Kurigram district. He used to live on the second floor of a multi-storey building in the area on a rental basis.Hearing sounds of running footsteps of several people from the second floor around 11:00pm, owners and other residents of the building came out from their flats, said Nasir Uddin, officer-in-charge of Kushtia model police station.They went to Nur’s flat and found him in critical condition with his hands and legs tied up with locally made towels.On information, police rushed there and took the victim to Kushtia General Hospital where the physicians declared him dead.Meanwhile, SM Tanvir Arafat, superintend of Kushtia police visited the spot.Locals said that Nur used to take bribes from people who came to his office for land-related issues, adding that he might have been killed over the issue.Taking of huge amount of money as bribe by the officials and staffs of Kushtia Sadar Sub-registry office is an open secret, they added.last_img read more


Gunmen storm Kabul TV station

first_imgAfghan security personnel gather at the site of an ongoing attack on a television station in Kabul on Tuesday. AFPGunmen stormed a television station in Kabul Tuesday and many staff were still in the building, an employee told AFP, describing the attack as ongoing.”I saw three attackers on security cameras entering the TV station building. They first shot the guard and then entered the building. They started throwing grenades and firing,” said Shamshad TV reporter Faisal Zaland, who escaped through a back door.Shamshad TV, a Pashto language station that broadcasts nationwide, was transmitting a holding image instead of its normal programming.Zaland told AFP that security forces were in the area of the Shamshad compound in the Afghan capital “trying to bring down the attackers”.”Many of my colleagues are still in the building,” he added.Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied the militant group was involved in the attack in a Twitter post.The interior ministry told AFP it was investigating the incident but had no further details.Kabul has been rocked by a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks as the Taliban and Islamic State insurgents step up offensives against security installations and mosques.Last Tuesday a suicide bomber, believed to have been as young as 12, struck Kabul’s heavily fortified diplomatic quarter and killed at least five people, showing that militants can still hit the heart of the city despite tighter security.Security in Kabul has been ramped up since a May 31 truck bomb went off on the edge of the so-called “Green Zone”, killing around 150 people and wounding 400 others.Special truck scanners, barriers and permanent and mobile checkpoints have been rolled out across the city.The last major assault in Kabul was on October 21 when a suicide attacker hit a busload of Afghan army trainees, killing 15.On October 20 a suicide bomber pretending to be a worshipper blew himself up inside a Shiite mosque in the city during evening prayers, killing 56 and wounding 55.Earlier this month Kabul police stopped a lorry carrying 2,700 kilograms (nearly 6,000 pounds) of explosives hidden under boxes of tomatoes, averting a potentially deadly blast.last_img read more


China blast kills at least two

first_imgRescue workers search at the site of an explosion in Ningbo, China`s eastern Zhejiang province on 26 November, 2017. Photo: AFPA major explosion hit China’s megaport city of Ningbo on Sunday, killing at least two people, injuring dozens and wrecking buildings, state media and local authorities said.The Ningbo government said on a social media account that the blast occurred in a “vacant lot” but it did not provide details about what may have caused it.Local authorities said two people died, two were seriously injured and an unidentified number were being treated for injuries in the major port city.State media said more than 30 people were hospitalised, with the Xinhua news agency reporting that the explosion had taken place in a demolished factory at around 9:00 am (0100 GMT).Industrial accidents are common in China, where safety standards are often lax.Television images showed cars twisted and mangled by the force of the explosion, a plume of grey smoke rising in the sky, and debris scattered for dozens of metres (yards) around the site of the incident.Aerial images posted by the People’s Daily on Twitter showed at least four wrecked buildings around a wasteland of concrete debris.Footage showed rescuers wearing helmets carrying injured people away from the area, while others stood over a person lying on the ground.Pieces of concrete, wood and glass were strewn across a large area. Metal gates were twisted open and windows blown out of buildings.According to CCTV, eyewitnesses said there were “a large number of injured people” in the city, one of China’s largest ports, which sits just south of Shanghai.The Communist Party’s People’s Daily said on Twitter that no one lived at site of the explosion but garbage collectors might have been working there.An enquiry has been launched to determine the cause of the explosion, the local police in Jiangbei district, where the blast happened, said on social media.Ningbo is one of the country’s major international container shipping ports.- Past disasters -China has been rocked by several industrial accidents in recent years.In 2015, giant blasts killed at least 165 people in the northern port city of Tianjin, causing over $1 billion in damage and sparking widespread anger over a perceived lack of transparency by officials about the accident’s causes and its environmental impact.A government enquiry into the Tianjin accident released in February 2016 recommended 123 people be punished.The official who was mayor at the time of the accident was sentenced to 12 years in prison for graft in September.Huang Xingguo, 62, had also headed the disaster response committee.last_img

Iran unrest leaves 10 dead State TV

first_imgPeople protest in Tehran, Iran on 30 December 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. — ReutersTen people were killed during the street protests in Iran on Sunday, state television said on Monday without giving details.The nationwide protests have drawn in tens of thousands of people and represent the boldest challenge to Iran’s leadership since pro-reform unrest in 2009. Calls for more demonstrations on Monday raise the possibility of prolonged instability.“In the events of last night, unfortunately, a total of about 10 people were killed in several cities,” state television said while showing footage of damage from the demonstrations. It gave no further details of the deaths.Unsigned statements posted on social media urged Iranians to demonstrate again in the capital Tehran and 50 other urban centers.Iran is a major OPEC oil producer and regional power but frustrations have grown at home while the country is deeply involved in Syria and Iraq as part of a battle for influence with rival Saudi Arabia.Those foreign interventions are also fueling anger in the Islamic Republic because Iranians want their leaders to create jobs instead of engaging in costly proxy wars.The unrest erupted in the second city of Mashhad against price rises but it swiftly spread and turned into political rallies.Some called on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and chanted against a government they described as thieves.Demonstrators say they are angry over corruption and economic hardship in a country where youth unemployment reached 28.8 per cent last year.Protests continued overnight even though President Hassan Rouhani appealed for calm. In remarks carried on state TV, he said Iranians had the right to criticise authorities but also warned of a crackdown.“The government will show no tolerance for those who damage public properties, violate public order and create unrest in the society,” Rouhani said. Hundreds of people have been arrested but security forces have largely shown restraint.Iran’s leaders believe they can count on support from many of the generation that took part in the 1979 revolution because of their ideological commitment and the economic gains they have made under the government, analysts say.SOCIAL MEDIA RESTRICTIONSTwo people were shot dead in the southwestern town of Izeh on Sunday and several others were injured, ILNA news agency quoted a member of parliament as saying. It was not clear if the two dead were part of the 10 cited on state television.“I do not know whether yesterday’s shooting was done by rally participants or the police and this issue is being investigated,” Hedayatollah Khademi was quoted as saying.Regional governor Mostafa Samali told the semi-official news agency Fars that just one person had been killed and that the incident was unrelated to the protests and the alleged shooter had been arrested.Police in the center of Tehran fired water cannon on Sunday to try to disperse demonstrators, according to pictures on social media.Demonstrations turned violent in Shahin Shahr in central Iran. Videos showed protesters attacking the police, turning over a car and setting it on fire. Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.There were also reports of demonstrations in the western cities of Sanandaj and Kermanshah as well as Chabahar in the southeast and Ilam and Izeh in the southwest.The protests were the biggest since unrest in 2009 that followed the disputed re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Videos showed people in central Tehran chanting: “Down with the dictator!” in an apparent reference to Khameneilast_img read more


Suu Kyi ally Myint elected Myanmar president

first_imgWin Myint, speaker of the lower house, attends the last day of parliament’s regular session in Naypyidaw. AFP file photoMyanmar’s parliament on Wednesday elected a staunch ally of Aung San Suu Kyi as the country’s new president, allowing her to maintain a tight grip on top-level decision-making.Win Myint, 66, had been tipped for the role after former president Htin Kyaw suddenly stepped down last week, citing the need for rest.Suu Kyi is barred by the military-drafted constitution from the presidency because she was married to a foreigner and has two sons who are British citizens. She has instead served as state counsellor since her party’s landslide 2015 election victory, declaring she would work “above” the president.But her position has no official constitutional role.That makes it crucial for her to have a compliant friend as president as she manages an often fraught power-sharing arrangement with the still powerful military, which ruled the country for almost half a century.“I hearby announce that U (honorific) Win Myint, who obtained the majority of votes, is elected as President of the State,” said parliament speaker Mann Win Khaing Than.Win Myint, who resigned as lower house speaker last week, swept up nearly two thirds of the votes in a parliament dominated by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party.He beat two opponents, including the military-backed acting president Myint Swe.The former lawyer remains one of Suu Kyi’s inner circle-the pair fought side-by-side during the 1988 democracy movement that was violently quashed by the junta and saw Win Myint, alongside many others, being taken political prisoner.As Myanmar emerged from outright military rule, Win Myint won his seat in 2012 by-elections, the same vote that elevated Suu Kyi to parliament after a combined 15 years of house arrest.She is still widely regarded as a heroine within Myanmar even though her reputation lies shattered globally for failing to speak up on behalf of the country’s Rohingya Muslim community.An army crackdown has driven almost 700,000 of the persecuted minority out of the country since last August.Her supporters say she has her hands tied by the military, which retains control over three key ministries-home affairs, borders and defence-and is guaranteed a quarter of the parliamentary seats.Supreme Court advocate Khin Maung Zaw worked with Win Myint in recent years and said: “He is an honest person, he is quite hard-working, but sometimes he is stern.”As speaker he was known for his passion for protocol, famously dressing down members of parliament for failing to don the correct clothing.His tenure was marked by “exerting strict control over the MPs”, said Khin Zaw Win, director of Yangon think tank The Tampadipa Institute.Activists have been frustrated with his reluctance to abolish a controversial online defamation law that has seen dozens of people face charges for Facebook posts critical of the government or military.Observers say his appointment is unlikely to change politics much although he could assume some duties from Suu Kyi, who has been notoriously unwilling to delegate.“We cannot expect a very high political impact on Myanmar democratisation,” said independent analyst Yan Myo Thein.Political analyst Yan Kyaw said that while Win Myint’s profile may rise, “he won’t do anything against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”.last_img read more


Ceasefire reached between Israel Hamas

first_imgThe brother of a Palestinian teenager who was killed in an Israeli air strike, reacts in Gaza City on 14 July 2018. Photo: ReutersIsrael unleashed its biggest air strikes on the Gaza Strip since a 2014 war Saturday, killing two Palestinians, while dozens of rockets targeted Israel, but Hamas said a ceasefire had been reached late in the day.The exchange of fire followed months of tension that has raised the prospect of a fourth war in the blockaded Gaza Strip since 2008.Three Israelis were wounded when a rocket hit a house in the city of Sderot near the Gaza Strip, authorities said.The two Palestinians killed were aged 15 and 16, caught in an Israeli strike on a building they were near in the west of Gaza City, the enclave’s health ministry said.Twenty-five people were wounded across Gaza, the ministry said.Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said late Saturday the Islamist movement, which runs the Gaza Strip, had agreed to an “Egyptian offer to return to a ceasefire to stop this escalation.”An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment, but said its actions would depend on what happens on the ground.Thick plumes of smoke rose over parts of the Gaza Strip as Israel hit dozens of targets it said belonged to militants, including a high-rise building allegedly used by Hamas as a training facility with a tunnel underneath.In Israel, air raid sirens sent people rushing to shelters in areas surrounding the Gaza Strip as rockets and mortars were fired from the Palestinian enclave at nearby communities.Israel said around 100 rockets and mortars were fired, mostly mortars.Hamas said it fired in defence in response to Israeli air strikes.- ‘The hardest blow’ -Israel blamed Hamas for the escalation, pointing to months of protests and clashes along the border that its military argues the Islamist movement is seeking to use as cover for attacks.There have also been hundreds of fires at Israeli farms caused by kites and balloons carrying firebombs from Gaza, leading to political pressure on the government and military to take action against Hamas.Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas had been hit with “the hardest blow” since a 2014 war “and we will increase the strength of our attacks as necessary.”Hamas’s Barhoum said the group was responsible for the barrage against Israel and that it was carried out “in response to the Israeli air strikes”.”The protection and the defence of our people is a national duty and a strategic choice,” Barhoum said.- Border protests -Tensions have been building between Hamas and Israel for months over mass protests and clashes along the border fence.The protests have called for Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes now inside Israel.Since the protests and clashes broke out along the border on 30 March, at least 141 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.The majority of those killed were involved in protests and clashes but others were seeking to breach or damage the border fence.No Israelis have been killed.In addition, the arson balloons and kites from Gaza have caused 750 fires and burned 2,600 hectares, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, according to Israel’s fire service.On 9 July, Israel closed its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip in response to the fires.Hamas called the move a “crime against humanity,” with Gaza already suffering from deep poverty and worsening humanitarian conditions.The border protests peaked on 14 May, when the United States moved its Israel embassy to the disputed city of Jerusalem, but have continued at a lower level since then.On Friday, Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians, including a teenager, and wounded hundreds of others in border clashes.An Israeli soldier was also moderately wounded when a grenade was thrown at him from the northern Gaza Strip, the military said.Molotov cocktails, flaming tyres and stones were also hurled in the direction of its soldiers, according to the Israeli army.Israel says its use of live fire is necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations. Palestinians and rights groups say unarmed protesters are being shot while posing no real threat.Israel’s army said Saturday’s strikes targeted military facilities belonging to Hamas.Among the main targets was the “Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia, which includes urban warfare training facilities, (a) weapon storage warehouse, training compounds, command centres, offices and more”, the Israeli army said in a statement.”A weapons manufacturing site and storage facilities housing various types of weapons, including Hamas’ naval capabilities” were also hit, the statement added.The Israeli army said air strikes carried out in the morning hit “complexes used to prepare arson terror attacks and a Hamas terror training facility”.”We are talking about the biggest offensive strikes since Protective Edge,” Air Force brigadier general Tzvika Haimovic told journalists, referring to Israel’s name for its 2014 operation in the Gaza Strip.last_img read more


One year in Metoo gaining momentum worldwide

first_imgHollywood actresses Ashley Judd’s accusation against producer Harvey Weinstein sparked the surge of voices using the hashtag #Metoo a year ago. Reuters File PhotoFrom Hollywood to Bollywood, the #MeToo movement is making its mark around the globe since rising a year ago, with companies, politicians and charities caught up in the battle against sexual harassment of women.With the behavior of politicians likely to take center stage in pending US elections, #MeToo supporters have declared the movement a sweeping transformation permanently altering the treatment of women – though some suggest it has gone too far.The movement is newly taking hold in India, where one Bollywood actress’s complaint of sexual misconduct sparked an outpouring of support.Over the past week, women have flooded social media with their experiences of harassment and sexual violence, with senior figures in entertainment and the media and a government minister under scrutiny.Elsewhere, a Chinese university professor was fired after allegations of harassment and, in such conservative societies as Indonesia and Pakistan, women have been speaking out about sexual violence.”We are in a new era,” said Ashley Judd, one of the actresses whose accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sparked the surge of voices using the hashtag #Metoo a year ago.The revelations of sexual misconduct that started in Hollywood spread across workplaces, governments and campuses, spawning investigations and toppling hundreds of high-profile men from positions of power around the world.But while #MeToo has opened up discussions that may have long been kept under wraps or left unaddressed, some have warned it may be going too far.The movement lacks nuance, some say, noting not all men accused of misconduct need to be treated with the same broad brush as that used in the case of Weinstein, who stands accused of sexual assault – charges he denies.Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta’s harassment accusations against Nana Patekar rocked the Bollywood in #Meetoo campaign. Photo: ReutersOthers caution #Metoo will lead to women being locked out of business opportunities by men wary of being falsely accused of misconduct.Actress Catherine Deneuve famously denounced #Metoo as puritanism gone too far, and U.S. first lady Melania Trump this week said she supported women speaking out, but that they need to have hard evidence to back their claims.Her comments followed the recent bruising battle over US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation proceedings exploded in controversy when a California professor claimed he sexually assaulted her in 1982.Kavanaugh heatedly denied the allegations, his supporters argued the professor had no evidence and the Senate approved his appointment, marking a victory for Trump and locking in a conservative majority on the nation’s highest court.”We have only to look back at … the hearings with Judge Kavanaugh to recognise that the world is not in a great place for women,” Lisa Borders, incoming president and chief executive of Time’s Up, told reporters this week.’NO END IN SIGHT’The legal defense arm of Time’s Up, an organization launched in January to battle sexual harassment in workplaces, said it has fielded calls from more than 3,500 women and men.New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who wrote some of the first articles about Weinstein a year ago, said in a recent Times editorial that “this discussion over harassment and assault has no end in sight”.”Perhaps it is time to start thinking of this less as a news story than as a permanent new element of our lives,” they wrote.The role of #Metoo is expected to be major in the 6 November elections, when voters choose a third of US Senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives and dozens of state governors.The mid-term elections are seen as a referendum on the policies of president Donald Trump, and opposition Democrats hope to gain control of the lower House and gain seats in the Senate, both now controlled by Trump’s Republican Party.”We’re going to have a lot more feminists sitting in those seats,” Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.”Women understand we have to have women’s voices sitting at the table or we’re going to continue to be disrespected and treated as if we don’t count and as second-class citizens by the old white men that are in office right now,” she said.More than 42,000 women interested in running for office have contacted Emily’s List, an advocacy group supporting female candidates, since Trump was elected in 2016.In the two years prior, 920 women contacted the group, said a spokeswoman.Research shows a majority of US voters see sexual harassment as a serious problem, said Amanda Hunter, spokeswoman for the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which conducts research and promotes women for political office.Campaign messages criticising or belittling #Metoo elicited negative responses from voters in the foundation’s research, she added.”#Metoo really changed the national conversation,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.last_img read more


Female car mechanic driving change in patriarchal Pakistan

first_imgIn this picture taken on 1 September, Pakistani motor mechanic Uzma Nawaz, 24, fixes a car at an auto workshop in Multan. Since picking up a wrench as one of the first female car mechanics in conservative Pakistan, Uzma Nawaz has faced two common reactions: shock and surprise. Photo: AFPSince picking up a wrench as one of the first female car mechanics in conservative Pakistan, Uzma Nawaz has faced two common reactions: shock and surprise. And then a bit of respect.The 24-year-old spent years overcoming entrenched gender stereotypes and financial hurdles en route to earning a mechanical engineering degree and netting a job with an auto repairs garage in the eastern city of Multan.”I took it up as a challenge against all odds and the meagre financial resources of my family,” Nawaz told AFP.”When they see me doing this type of work they are really surprised.”Hailing from the small, impoverished town of Dunyapur in eastern Pakistan’s Punjab province, Nawaz relied on scholarships and often skipped meals when she was broke while pursuing her degree.Her achievements are rare. Women have long struggled for their rights in conservative patriarchal Pakistan, and especially in rural areas are often encouraged to marry young and devote themselves entirely to family over career.”No hardship could break my will and motivation,” she says proudly.The sacrifices cleared the way for steady work at a Toyota dealership in Multan following graduation, she adds.Just a year into the job, and promoted to general repairs, Nawaz moves with the ease of a seasoned pro around the dealership’s garage, removing tyres from raised vehicles, inspecting engines and handling a variety of tools — a sight that initially jolted some customers. “I was shocked to see a young girl lifting heavy spare tyres and then putting them back on vehicles after repairs,” customer Arshad Ahmad told AFP.But Nawaz’s drive and expertise has impressed colleagues, who say she can more than hold her own.”Whatever task we give her she does it like a man with hard work and dedication,” said coworker M. Attaullah.She has also convinced some of those who doubted her ability to make it in a male-dominated work environment, including members of her own family.”There is no need in our society for girls to work at workshops, it doesn’t seems nice, but it is her passion,” said her father Muhammad Nawaz.”She can now set up the machinery and can work properly. I too am very happy.”last_img read more


OIC to file case at ICJ over HR violation against Rohingyas

first_imgRohingya .File photo ReutersThe Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called upon the ad hoc ministerial committee led by the Gambia to take immediate measures to launch the case of Myanmar’s human rights violations against Rohingyas at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on behalf of the OIC, reports UNB.It affirmed its support for the ad hoc ministerial committee on human rights violations against the Rohingyas in Myanmar, using all international legal instruments to hold accountable the perpetrators of crimes against the Rohingya, according to the final communiqué issued by the OIC after the 14th Islamic Summit Conference held in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.Bangladesh is hosting over 1.2 million Rohingya people in Cox’s Bazar district and majority of them entered the country since August 25, 2017.The conference insisted on the importance of conducting international, independent and transparent investigations into the human rights violations in Myanmar, including sexual violence and aggression against children, and to hold accountable all those responsible for these brutal acts in order to make justice to the victims.The OIC member states called for ensuring free and unrestricted access to humanitarian assistance by affected persons and communities.They reiterated its deep appreciation for the people of Bangladesh and the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for opening their hearts and borders and giving shelter in Bangladesh to the forcibly displaced Rohingyas and consistently supporting the dispossessed and distressed Rohingya with Bangladesh’s scarce resources.The conference called on the member states to come up generously to share the increasing burden of Bangladesh.The conference welcomed various mechanisms established at the international level to improve the situation in Rakhine State, and reiterated its support to regional mechanisms, particularly Asean through Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre), in conducting the necessary needs assessment to identify areas of cooperation in order to create conditions conducive for safe, voluntary, and dignified return of the Rohingyas.The conference condemned the inhumane situation in which the Rohingya Muslim community lives and called for urgent action to end acts of violence and all brutal practices targeting this minority and give it all its rights without any discrimination or racial profiling.It emphasised that the government of Myanmar is fully responsible for the protection of its citizens and underscored the need to stop the use of military power in Rakhine immediately.The conference urged the government of Myanmar to take practical, time-bound and concrete steps to restore the citizenship of Rohingya IDPs and forcibly displaced Rohingya Muslim Minority Community who were deprived of their nationality, with all associated rights, especially the right to full citizenship, and to allow and facilitate the return in safely, security and dignity of all Rohingyas internally and externally displaced, including those forced into taking shelter in Bangladesh.The conference reiterated adherence to the purposes, objectives and principles of the OIC Charter, such as to serve the causes of Islam and Muslims, within a spirit of genuine solidarity.It reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of the resolutions of OIC Summits and Ministerial Conferences.The conference endorsed the outcome documents including resolutions of the previous OIC Summits and Councils of Foreign Ministers as well as ministerial Executive Committee meetings.The conference reiterated its continued support for the OIC’s efforts, initiatives and good offices intended to contribute to finding equitable and just solutions to the issues of Muslim communities and minorities in non-member states.It commended the role of the OIC in protecting the rights of these communities and minorities and preserving their identity, culture and dignity, particularly in Myanmar, Southern Philippines and Southern Thailand as well as the causes of Muslims in Europe, in total respect of the sovereignty of the States in which they live.last_img read more


PM Hasina says none can destroy AL

first_imgPrime minister Sheikh HasinaPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday described Bangladesh Awami League as one of the “well-organized political parties” in the subcontinent and expressed her firm confidence that none could destroy the organisation.“Awami League is one of the well-organized and oldest political parties in the subcontinent … none could break the party despite the attacks the party faced time and again in the past and none will be able to do it in future also, Insha Allah,” she said.Mentioning that the root of Awami League is very deep, she said none could uproot this in the past in spite of efforts for a hundred times and none will be able to do it in future.Sheikh Hasina, the Awami League president, said this while presiding over a discussion organized by her party at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital on the occasion of its 70th founding anniversary.AL advisory council members Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed, presidium members Begum Matia Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Mohammad Nasim, general secretary Obaidul Quader, eminent historian professor Muntasir Mamoon, AL joint secretaries Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman, Dhaka North City AL unit president AKM Rahmatullah, MP, and Dhaka South City AL unit president Haji Abul Hasnat took part in the discussion.AL publication and publicity secretary Hasan Mahmud and deputy secretary Aminul Islam Amin conducted the discussion, while deputy leader of Jatiya Sangsad and senior presidium member of the party Syeda Sazeda Chowdhury and other senior leaders were present on the dais.The prime minister said Bangladesh Awami League is now bright in the struggle and achievement in its 70 years of history and advised the party men to emulate the ideology of their predecessors.“You’ll have to dedicate yourselves to the welfare of the country and people by following the ideology of the Father of the Nation and your other predecessors,” she said.Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu used to love the country and people and his aim was to bring welfare for the country.“So every leader and worker of the party will have to move with the ideology of the Father of the Nation, and they will have to pursue ‘simple living’ and ‘high thinking’ that we were taught in our childhood,” she said.The prime minister added that it is possible to achieve many things by leading a simple life and making sacrifice. “Great sacrifice is needed for great achievement and Bangladesh is advancing towards the peak of development as we’re following this principle,” she said.Sheikh Hasina said the party leaders and workers will have to move mixing with the people and discarding arrogance. “We’ll have to build a country where people’s welfare will be ensured and where they can move holding their head high.The prime minister directed the party men to further strengthen the organisation. “You’ll have to be ideal followers of Bangabandhu,” she said.Pointing out the sacrifice of the Awami League leaders and workers since its inception, Sheikh Hasina said no leaders of any party except Awami League made such sacrifice.She said many conspiracies were hatched to split Awami League before the independence and after Bangabandhu’s assassination. “But as much as plots were orchestrated against Awami League it was brightened to that extent like diamond,” she said.The prime minister said the AL leaders and workers endured torture and repression since the party’s inception. “AL founding general secretary Shamsul Haque lost mental balance due to torture of the Pakistani rulers and repeated jail and repression pushed him towards death,” she said.Sheikh Hasina said it is true that Maulana Bhashani left Awami League, but he was a part of history.“Maulana Bhashani used to write letters to Bangabandhu if he needs anything and the Father of the Nation did not mind to send everything Bhashani needed,” she said.In this connection, the premier said she also extended support to Bhashani’s family after her return to the country in 1981.Highlighting Bangladesh’s stunning socioeconomic development in the last 10 years, the prime minister said it has been possible due to the continuity of the Awami League government.In this connection, she expressed gratitude to the people and the party men. “The people have given scope to us to serve them by keeping confidence in and electing us time and again,” she said.The AL chief said the fate of the people changed and they got something whenever the party came to power. “We’ve brought down poverty rate to 21 per cent from 40 per cent and I’ve announced that we will cut down the rate further and we know that 17/18 per cent poverty rate exist in many developed countries,” she said.“We’ll show that we can reduce poverty to a level at least 1 per cent less than those countries,” she added.Sheikh Selim said general Ziaur Rahman was a Pakistani agent during the liberation war.“Both Khandakar Moshtaque and general Zia were Pakistani agents,” he said, adding general Zia was posted to Bangladesh before independence by ISI to foil the mass upsurge.The senior AL leader also said that Pakistani general Aslam Beg wrote a letter to Zia as he was a Pakistani agent.Obaidul Quader said the 70th founding anniversary of the AL was celebrated across the country yesterday with huge enthusiasm.“The founding anniversary programmes of the party are also going on,” he said.The AL general secretary called upon the party leaders and workers to earn love of the people and work for their welfare in that way.“For a politician, there is nothing great than earning love of the people and we learned this teaching from Bangabandhu and his able daughter Sheikh Hasina,” he said.Muntasir Mamoon said the AL government has earned the confidence and trust of the cultural activists due to its various initiatives.He called upon the government to raise allocation further for the education and cultural sectors, saying that economic GDP will not be consistent if the GDP in two vital sectors are not increased.last_img read more


Man killed in police gunfight

first_imgA Prothom Alo IllustrationA suspected drug trader was killed in a reported gunfight with police at bordering Dumurtala in Bakshiganj upazila of Jamalpur district early Monday, reports UNB.The deceased is Shipon Mia, 32, son of Jalal Uddin of Munshirchar village in Sadar upazila of Sherpur. He was wanted in 18 criminal cases, said police.Tipped off, a team of police conducted a drive in the area in the early hours of Monday, said AKM Mahbubul Alam, officer-in-charge of Bakshiganj police station.At one stage, Shipon and his associates opened fire at police, forcing them to fire back that triggered a ‘gun battle’.Shipon sustained bullet injuries while trying to flee the scene. He was taken to Bakshiganj Upazila Health Complex where physicians declared him dead, the OC said.Police recovered a motorbike, a pipe-gun and 300 yaba tablets from the spot, he claimed.last_img read more


Deaths in mob beating Police HQ orders unit chiefs to act

first_imgProthom alo illustrationThe police headquarters have asked all the unit chiefs across the country to take steps to stop deaths in mob beating.In this regard, Sayeed Tariqul Hasan, assistant inspector general of police (operation) at Police Headquarters in Dhaka, sent letters to all units of police across the country on Monday.Police think a quarter is trying to destabilise the situation by killing people in mob beating after spreading rumours of abducting boys at different parts of the country.Police HQ have also given instructions to keep vigil on social media including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs to rein in rumours about abducting boys.It said strict measures will be taken against those who will circulate confusing posts on social media about abducting boys.According to the letter, police units have been asked to inform Police HQ within three days about the steps taken.All of a sudden mob beating has increased in the country. Seven people have been killed at different places in the last four days.last_img read more