China’s Communist Party congress pledges continuity, not change

The overarching theme emerging from China’s ongoing Communist Party congress is one of continuity, not change.

 

The weeklong meeting, which opened Sunday, is expected to reappoint Xi Jinping as leader, reaffirm a commitment to his policies for the next five years and possibly elevate his status even further as one of the most powerful leaders in China’s modern history.

 

A look at what’s happened so far, and what’s to come:

 

MORE OF THE SAME

 

This is not an inflection point for the party. That happened 10 years ago when it named Xi as leader, though it wasn’t evident at the time.

 

Since then, Xi has reoriented China both domestically and internationally. The military has staked claims to disputed territory while diplomats have become more assertive, saying China won’t be bullied by the U.S. and others.

 

Xi has brought back stronger state control over the economy and society, expanding censorship and arrest to stifle dissent. An unprecedented crackdown on corruption has brought down hundreds of senior officials, including some potential political rivals.

 

All of that is here to stay was the message from a one-hour and 45-minute party report that Xi delivered to the opening session on Sunday, extolling the party’s efforts toward what he calls the “rejuvenation” of the nation.

 

ELEVATING XI

 

Xi has already swept away competitors and consolidated power. The question is whether he will gain even more power — and how.

 

Practically, he has placed himself in charge of the military, foreign policy, the economy and most other matters through a series of party working groups that he heads.

 

Symbolically, his ideology, known as Xi Jinping Thought, was enshrined in the party congress at the previous congress in 2017.

 

Another amendment to the constitution is on the agenda for this week’s congress. No details have been divulged, but analysts say it could further raise his status in the party.

 

THE NEW LEADERS

 

It is customary for the party to unveil its top leadership for the next five years the day after the congress closes, with the small group named to the Politburo Standing Committee identified for the first time when they parade out on stage.

 

Xi is widely expected to be at the top, getting a third five-year term. That would dispense with an unwritten agreement for party leaders to step down after two terms.

 

The others named to the Standing Committee, which currently has seven members, could offer clues to Xi’s future and the direction of policy.

 

He is expected to stack the committee with loyalists. Analysts wonder whether China’s economic slump will force him to temper his enthusiasm for a state-run economy and include supporters of a more market-oriented approach.

 

No obvious successor was picked for the current Standing Committee in 2017, signaling that Xi was eyeing a third term. Doing so again would suggest he plans an even longer stay.

 

WAIT FOR THE WEEKEND

 

With most of this week’s sessions behind closed doors, none of this is likely to be known until the weekend. Any amendment to the constitution would typically be announced at the closing session on Saturday, and the new leadership paraded out on Sunday.

 

ZERO-COVID BLUES

 

For many Chinese, weary of pandemic restrictions that have disrupted lives and the economy, the more immediate question is whether there be any easing after the party congress.

 

The answer is probably not immediately, and changes when they do come will most likely be gradual.

 

The Communist Party is always eager to portray the country in a positive light around the congress and avoid any societal disruptions — and a major COVID-19 outbreak would be one.

 

But even after the congress, it will remain uncertain how widely COVID-19 will spread if travel and other restrictions are eased, so party officials remain cautious about opening up.

 

Plus there’s always another major event to worry about. As a follow-up to the party congress, China’s legislature will meet next year, probably in March. Many Chinese are preparing to hunker down at least until after that.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

French league: Neymar leads PSG to win over Marseille

Neymar scored his ninth goal in the French league this season to guide Paris Saint-Germain to a 1-0 win over bitter rival Marseille in French soccer’s biggest game on Sunday.

 

Still unbeaten this campaign, PSG posted its ninth win in 11 league games to move three points clear of Lorient at the top of the standings. Marseille slumped to a second straight loss and dropped to fourth place, six points behind PSG.

 

Only Lille forward Jonathan David has scored as many goals as Neymar in the French league this season. Neymar has also delivered seven assists.

 

The Brazil striker broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time at the conclusion of a counterattack.

 

Back from injury, Lionel Messi hit the crossbar and combined well with Neymar and Kylian Mbappé throughout the game with the “MNM” combination creating many chances on the break in a lively match at the Parc des Princes.

 

Marseille was well organized and continued to press even after it was reduced to 10 players in the 73rd minute when Samuel Gigot was sent off for a late tackle on Neymar.

 

PSG could have won by a larger margin but Marseille goalkeeper Pau Lopez made eight saves to keep his team in the match.

 

Known as “Le Classique,” the game between PSG and Marseille became popular during the 1990s when the arrival in the French league of stars such as Rudi Voeller and George Weah ignited a strong rivalry.

 

But Marseille, the only French team to win the Champions League back in 1993, has fallen well behind since PSG was taken over by Qatari investors in 2011.

 

The southern French club is, however, enjoying a strong revival under coach Igor Tudor and hoped for its first win against PSG in two years.

 

The game started at a high tempo with PSG taking control immediately.

 

Messi tested Lopez twice, before Achraf Hakimi lost his one-on-one with the Marseille goalkeeper. Lopez was decisive again in the 19th to deny a low shot from Mbappé with a diving save to his right side.

 

In the 28th, Neymar found Mbappé behind the defense with the World Cup winner forcing Lopez to parry the ball away with a firm left hand.

 

PSG continued to push and was rewarded with a free kick on the edge of the box after Messi was brought down. The former Barcelona player took the free kick and fired onto the crossbar. Lopez did not move.

 

Marseille waited for openings and stuck to its game plan with a high press. It finally cracked at the stroke of halftime when Amine Harit gave the ball away in its own half. Vitinha launched a quick counterattack, with Mbappé finding Neymar at the penalty spot. The Brazil forward slotted the ball in off the post.

 

Marseille fought hard for an equalizer, with good efforts from Chancel Mbemba and Jonathan Clauss that were denied by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

 

NO BLANC EFFECT

 

Laurent Blanc could not turn Lyon’s fortunes around in his first match in charge.

 

The former Bordeaux and PSG coach was appointed last week as the replacement for Peter Bosz with the mission to put the seven-time champions back on track.

 

His arrival did not produce an immediate effect, though, and Lyon lost 3-2 at Rennes to extend its current winless run to six matches.

 

Lyon started the season with big ambitions, aiming for Champions League qualification, but it has won just four of 11 league matches so far.

 

Forward Alexandre Lacazette scored twice for Lyon, but his brace was not enough to make up for the team’s defensive frailties.

 

“When you concede three goals, you need to score four, it’s too much,” Blanc said. “And my players did not come back on the field focused enough after halftime, so I’m pretty upset.”

 

Rennes winger Martin Terrier also scored twice against his former club, taking his season’s tally to seven goals. His fine header from Adrien Truffert’s cross in the 77th minute capped his team’s sixth win of the season. Amine Gouiri scored Renne’s other goal.

 

The 56-year-old Blanc has been successful during his previous stints managing French clubs, winning the league title in 2009 with Bordeaux when he ended Lyon’s long reign, then three times at the helm of PSG from 2014-16.

 

Elsewhere, Nantes moved out of the relegation zone with a 4-1 thrashing of last-place Brest and Toulouse beat Angers 3-2. Ajaccio drew 1-1 at Troyes and Auxerre was held 1-1 at home by Nice.

 

Quickly reduced to 10 men against Clermont at home, Monaco broke the deadlock through a penalty converted by Breel Embolo at the half-hour mark but could not hold onto its lead. Komnen Andric leveled the scoring in the second half of the 1-1 draw.

 

On Saturday, second-place Lorient had missed the chance to move to the top of the league after drawing with 10-man Reims 0-0 at home.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

Rockets strike mayor’s office in occupied Ukrainian region

Pro-Kremlin officials on Sunday blamed Ukraine for a rocket attack that struck the mayor’s office in Donetsk, a city controlled by the separatists, while Ukrainian officials said Russian rocket strikes hit a town across from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, among other targets.

 

The attacks came as Russia’s war in Ukraine nears the eight-month mark. Kyiv also reported holding the line in continued fierce fighting around Bakhmut, where Russian forces have claimed some gains amid a seven-week Ukrainian counteroffensive that has led Russian troops to retreat in some other areas.

 

On the front line, “the key hotspots in Donbas are (neighboring towns) Soledar and Bakhmut, where extremely heavy fighting continues,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address Sunday.

 

Those towns and Donetsk are in the industrialized Donbas region, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv since 2014. The Donetsk region is among four that were illegally annexed by Russia last month.

 

Zelenskyy accused Russia of including convicts “with long sentences for serious crimes” in its front-line troops in return for pay and amnesty — something Western intelligence officials have also asserted.

 

The municipal mayor’s building in Donetsk was seriously damaged by the rocket attack. Plumes of smoke swirled around the building, which had rows of blown-out windows and a partially collapsed ceiling. Cars nearby were burned out. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Kyiv didn’t claim responsibility or comment on the attack.

 

Kremlin-backed separatist authorities have accused Ukraine of numerous strikes on infrastructure and residential targets in the occupied regions using U.S.-supplied long-range HIMARS rockets.

 

Last week, the Kremlin launched what is believed to be its largest coordinated air and missile raids yet on Ukraine’s infrastructure. The wide-ranging attacks included the use of self-destructing explosive drones from Iran, and killed dozens of people.

 

Zelenskyy’s office said Moscow was shelling towns and villages along the front line in the east Sunday, and that “active hostilities” continued in the southern Kherson region.

 

The rockets at Nikopol, across from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, damaged power lines, gas pipelines, and a raft of civilian businesses and residential buildings, Ukrainian officials said. Russia and Ukraine have for months accused each other of firing at and around the nuclear plant, which is Europe’s largest. It’s run by its pre-occupation Ukrainian staff under Russian oversight.

 

The region of Zaporizhzhia also was illegally annexed by Russia last month, despite the fact that some 20% of it remains under Ukrainian military control.

 

Meanwhile, in western Russia along the border with Ukraine, officials said air defenses shot down “a minimum” of 16 Ukrainian missiles in the Belgorod region, Ria Novosti reported. Russian authorities in border regions have accused Kyiv of frequently firing at their territory, and say civilians have been wounded. Ukraine hasn’t claimed responsibility or commented on the alleged attacks.

 

Russia has used Belgorod as a staging ground for shelling and missile attacks on Ukrainian territory.

 

Meanwhile, Russia opened an investigation into a shooting in that region Saturday in which two men from a former Soviet republic who were training at a military firing range killed 11 and wounded 15 during target practice, before being slain themselves. The Russian Defense Ministry called the incident a terrorist attack.

 

Other developments:

 

— France, seeking to puncture perceptions that it has lagged in supporting Ukraine, confirmed it’s pledging air-defense missiles and stepped-up military training to Ukraine. Up to 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers will be embedded with military units in France, rotating through for several weeks of combat training, specialized training in logistics and other needs, and training on equipment supplied by France, the French defense minister, Sébastien Lecornu, said in an interview published in Le Parisien.

 

— The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank in Washington, accused Moscow late Saturday of conducting “massive, forced deportations of Ukrainians,” which it said likely amount to ethnic cleansing.

 

It referenced statements made this week by Russian authorities that claimed that “several thousand” children from a southern region occupied by Moscow had been placed in rest homes and children’s camps amid the Ukrainian counteroffensive. The original remarks by Russia’s deputy prime minister, Marat Khusnullin, were reported by RIA Novosti on Friday.

 

Russian authorities have previously admitted to placing children from Russian-held areas of Ukraine, who they said were orphans, for adoption with Russian families, in a potential breach of an international treaty on genocide prevention.

 

— The Ukrainian military accused pro-Kremlin fighters of evicting civilians in occupied territories to house officers in their homes, an act it described as a violation of international humanitarian law. It said the evictions were happening in Rubizhne, in the eastern Luhansk region. It didn’t provide evidence for its claim.

 

— A Russian commander wanted for his role in the downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine in 2014 has been deployed to the front, according to social media posts by pro-Kremlin commentators. Posts by Maksim Fomin and others said Igor Girkin, also known as Strelkov, has been given responsibility for an unspecified Russian front-line unit.

 

Girkin has been on an international wanted list over his alleged involvement in the downing of Kuala Lumpur-bound flight MH17, which killed 298 people. He remains the most high-profile suspect in a related murder trial in a Dutch court, with a verdict expected Nov. 17.

 

Recently, Girkin’s social media posts have lashed out at Moscow’s battlefield failures. Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency said Sunday it would offer a $100,000 reward to anyone who captures him.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

 

Over 50 including cops injured in clash between villagers in Sylhet

More than 50 people including policemen were injured during a clash between two groups of Lamakazi in Bishwanath upazila on Sunday night (October 16).

 

Police eventually managed to disperse the mob after spreading tear gas shells and firing blank shots in the area, said Kabir Hossain Dhala Miah, a chairman of the local union parishad.

 

During the clash, a number of shops and vehicles were vandalised, he added.

 

He said the clash ensued around 8:30 pm following an altercation over the collection of toll money at the Lamakazi bus stand. Later it divided the villagers into two groups, creating a skirmish in the area, leaving at least 50 people injured.

 

On information, police rushed to the spot and managed to bring the situation under control around 11 pm.

 

Several cops including Biswanath Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Gazi Ataur Rahman were injured during the clash as the agitating mob also attacked them, added the chairman.

 

Additional police forces have been deployed in the area as a tense situation is still prevailing in the area, he added.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

 

Real Madrid show Barcelona still have a long way to go

Carlo Ancelotti learned his lesson, and Real Madrid won the “clásico” Sunday.

 

After an embarrassing 4-0 loss at home to Barcelona last season, the Madrid coach made sure he did not try anything different with his team this time as Madrid won 3-1 to take the lead of the Spanish league.

 

It also handed Barcelona another painful blow four days after the Catalan club’s hopes of advancing to the Champions League all but ended.

 

Ancelotti had used midfielder Luka Modric in the “false nine” position in attack last season and Barcelona took advantage to rout Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

 

“I thought about what happened last season when I tried something different,” Ancelotti said. “For this match, I did not try to come up with anything, I left the players in their positions and Modric played a spectacular match in midfield.”

 

Karim Benzema and Federico Valverde scored first-half goals, and Rodrygo added another in second-half stoppage time as the defending champions won the first “clásico” of the season to move three points ahead of Barcelona in the league standings. The rivals had entered the match tied on points, with Barcelona ahead on goal difference.

 

It was Madrid’s sixth win in the last seven “clásicos,” with the only setback the 4-0 result the last time the teams met at the Bernabéu.

 

Sunday’s defeat was another frustrating setback for Barcelona after they were held 3-3 by Inter Milan at home Wednesday to be virtually eliminated from the Champions League with two rounds left in its group stage.

 

“We had our chances, but we are going through a bad moment and nothing goes our way,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández said. “We need to change this dynamic as soon as possible.”

 

Barcelona did not advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League last season, their first without Lionel Messi, but elimination this time would be extra disappointing considering the club went on a spending spree to boost its squad with players such as Roberto Lewandowski and Raphinha.

 

Lewandowski, the league’s leading scorer, wasted his greatest chance in the first half, missing high from near the goal line.

 

Barcelona dominated possession and created scoring chances, but it was Madrid who capitalised on their opportunities and took advantage of Barcelona’s defensive struggles.

 

“We knew how to suffer when they controlled possession, but we were effective up front and scored the three goals,” Modric said.

 

Benzema opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a shot from inside the area, off the rebound from a save by goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen in a one-on-one situation with Vinícius Júnior. It was Benzema’s first goal in six matches. He also had a goal disallowed for offside in the second half.

 

Valverde added to the lead with a low shot from just outside the area in the 35th, with Ferran Torres getting a goal back for the visitors in the 83rd.

 

Substitute Rodrygo sealed the victory for Madrid by converting a penalty kick in stoppage time after being brought down inside the area.

 

“We are very disappointed,” Barcelona defender Jules Koundé said. “We did not play a bad match but we made mistakes in transition in the first half and they took advantage.”

 

Madrid were still without injured goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, while Barcelona were also hit by injuries and Xavi had to improvise Koundé as a centre back.

 

It was Madrid’s eighth win in nine league matches, with their only setback a 1-1 draw at home against Mallorca in the seventh round.

 

Barcelona, whose only draw had come in the first round against Rayo Vallecano at home, entered the match having conceded only once in eight league matches.

 

Source: Unitted News of Bangladesh

 

‘Recognising the Bangladesh Genocide of 1971’: ICSF welcomes US Congress initiative

 

The International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF) has welcomed the resolution “Recognising the Bangladesh Genocide of 1971” introduced in the US House of Representatives.

 

The resolution is the first of its kind relating to the genocide od 1971 perpetrated in Bangladesh by the Pakistan Army, presented anywhere to any legislative body in the world, the ICSF said in a statement Sunday.

 

“We laud this initiative from Congressman Steve Chabot and Congressman Ro Khanna for tabling this bi-partisan resolution,” the statement reads.

 

The ICSF called upon the Bengali/Bangladeshi diaspora around the globe to create the necessary pressure on their respective representatives so that other countries may follow suit and together become a formidable force in securing the global recognition of genocide perpetrated in Bangladesh during 1971.

 

The forum is an independent global network of experts, justice advocates and organisations committed to ending impunity for international crimes, ensuring justice for the victims of these crimes, and upholding rule of law and human rights.

 

The ICSF’s work centres on the genocide perpetrated in Bangladesh in 1971 and it is working to obtain global recognition of it.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

 

Haaland fails to prevent Liverpool from ending City’s unbeaten start

Mohamed Salah ended Manchester City’s unbeaten start to the season with his second-half goal securing a 1-0 win for Liverpool against the defending Premier League champion on Sunday.

 

On a dramatic day at Anfield, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was sent off for furiously running out of his technical area, while City coach Pep Guardiola angrily remonstrated with the home fans after seeing Phil Foden’s goal ruled out by VAR.

 

Salah — who scored the fastest Champions League hat trick in history against Rangers on Wednesday — provided the decisive moment in the 76th minute after Alisson’s clever long clearance landed straight at his feet.

 

Racing clear, Salah swept a shot past Ederson to fire Liverpool ahead.

 

Just minutes earlier, the forward thought he was about to be substituted when his number was erroneously raised as Klopp prepared to make changes.

 

Defeat for City leaves Guardiola’s team four points behind leader Arsenal, which won 1-0 at Leeds earlier in the day.

 

Victory provides hope for Liverpool that it can recover from an unconvincing start to the season, which left it 13 points adrift of City before kickoff.

 

Despite Liverpool’s struggles so far this term, this still felt like a meeting of the Premier League’s elite after the two teams’ dominance in recent years.

 

That was underlined by an even first half, with both having chances to take the lead.

 

Andy Robertson fired Liverpool’s best chance over, while Erling Haaland forced two saves from Alisson and might have done better with at least one close range header.

 

The game burst into life after the interval when Salah raced through on goal and looked certain to score.

 

But the Egyptian’s effort went wide of the post, with replays later showing Ederson had provided a crucial touch.

 

That went unnoticed by the officials and City restarted the play with a goal kick, from which Foden eventually found the back of the net.

 

With the visiting fans rejoicing, VAR invited referee Anthony Taylor to review the incident on the pitch-side monitor.

 

Walking past a furious Guardiola, who remonstrated wildly, Taylor ruled the goal out for a foul on Fabinho in the buildup.

 

City’s manager was furious, repeatedly turning to the Anfield fans behind the dugout to gesticulate.

 

The crowd delighted in his anger and erupted shortly after when Salah fired Liverpool in front.

 

When Alisson collected an inaccurate free kick from Kevin de Bruyne, the goalkeeper then launched a kick downfield to perfectly pick out his teammate.

 

This time Salah made no mistake with his finish.

 

There was still time for more drama when Klopp raced out of his technical area to appeal a decision, leading to him receiving a red card.

 

Substitute Darwin Nunez might also have doubled Liverpool’s lead when making a mess of a late chance with only Ederson to beat.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

 

Brunei Sultan leaves Dhaka for home

Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, left Dhaka for his country via a special flight this morning.

 

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen saw him off at Dhaka airport.

 

He also handed over an album to the Sultan containing photos of his two-day state visit that ended Sunday evening.

 

Brunei Sultan leaves Dhaka for home

 

The Sultan arrived here on Saturday afternoon and held meetings with President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

 

The two countries signed four bilateral cooperation documents including a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on energy cooperation after his official talks with the Prime Minister on Sunday.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

T20 warm-up: Bangladesh suffer a heavy defeat to Afghanistan

Batting woes continue for Bangladesh with a few days to go before their battle in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup.

 

On Monday, Bangladesh suffered a humiliating 62-run defeat to Afghanistan in their first of the two warm-up matches ahead of the main event.

 

Bangladesh top-order- Najmul Hossain Shanto, Soumya Sarkar, and Shakib Al Hasan – failed to come up with the required batting intention when they needed in a chase for 161 runs for victory.

 

Afif Hossain, who has been playing well in T20Is for a while, suffered the first-ball duck too.

 

Mehidy Hasan Miraz was the ‘best’ batter for Bangladesh scoring 16 off 31 balls.

 

In pursuit of 161 runs, Bangladesh were bundled for only 98 runs for nine wickets in 20 overs.

 

For Afghanistan, pace-bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi bagged three wickets. He once again proved that he is too good for Bangladeshi batters.

 

Earlier, Ibrahim Zadran and Mohammad Nabi scored 46 and 41 respectively to propel Afghanistan to 160.

 

Right-arm pacer Taskin Ahmed did well taking three wickets.

 

Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat first in Brisbane. Hazrat Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz added only 19 runs in the opening stand.

 

But the number three Ibrahim came up with a steady innings and Nabi also did well to post a big total.

 

For Bangladesh, Taskin Ahmed bagged three wickets while Shakib Al Hasan and Hasan Mahmud scalped two wickets each.

 

As the days go by, Afghanistan are strengthening their position as an unbeatable opponent for Bangladesh in the T20 format. While Bangladesh are an ever-struggling side in this format, Afghanistan are, in contrast, a new force to offer a challenge to any country.

 

Bangladesh will take on South Africa in their second warm-up match on October 19.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

 

Diplomatic double standards: The Bangladesh case

Bangladesh’s win in the election for membership of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a sure enough pointer of its global standing as a nation, regardless of what a small cabal of Western nations would have others believe.

 

Bangladesh won the seat for the term 2023-25, by securing 160 out of 189 votes. Bangladesh received the highest votes in the Asia Pacific Group – ahead of Maldives (154 votes), Vietnam (145 votes) and Kyrgyzstan (126 votes). Bahrain withdrew their candidature few days ago. Republic of Korea (123 votes) and Afghanistan (12 votes) lost the election.

 

This would be the fifth term for Bangladesh as member of the 47-strong UNHRC.

 

The Bangladesh government has rightly claimed in a press statement that “this is a clear manifestation of the recognition by the international community of Bangladesh’s continued endeavour and commitment for the promotion and protection of human rights… This also nullifies the ongoing smear campaign with falsified and fabricated information, by some politically motivated vested corners at home and abroad, aimed at negatively portraying the human rights situation of Bangladesh.”

 

This also comes at a time when the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances stands exposed for significant errors in its list for Bangladesh. The inclusion of two insurgents from India’s Manipur state, who have been released from jail or are locked up in India to face charges of armed separatism, was unbelievable. How could an UN group miss on the well reported trial of UNLF chairman Rajkumar Meghen and include him as victim of enforced disappearance? The only explanation seems they took the data supplied by local rights NGOs too seriously and didn’t run a double check.

 

So, while there are documented cases of human rights violations in Bangladesh, as in any other country including the US, the UN Report should have been error-free.

 

Several western diplomats based in Dhaka miss no opportunity to lecture Bangladesh government on improving the human rights situation and on the need for inclusive elections. But do they advise the opposition on the need to avoid violence?

 

Opposition parties like the BNP have ruled out participation in the next national polls and called for a violent ouster of the government. And what are the western diplomats doing? Lecturing the government in Dhaka to be “nice and kind” to those who are openly threatening that BNP’s Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman would run the government after December 10 and are calling for extensive road and bridge blockades to bring down the government – clearly a recipe to ruin the national economy. The lack of western resolve to resist the Taliban led to a cataclysmic disaster in Afghanistan, the impact of which is now borne by the Afghan people, especially the women.

 

And now these preachers of modernity tell Bangladesh and its long-serving woman Prime Minister, who has presided over an incredible decade of economic growth and human development, to go soft on bus-burning and bridge blocking?

 

Western diplomats have always considered capitals like Dhaka to be their playground. BBC Bangla ran a piece by Akbar Hossain (on January 11, 2022) on the diplomatic manoeuvres in an uncertain Dhaka landscape after the BNP-Jamaat coalition government ended its term in 2006 and was replaced by a caretaker administration.

 

Hossain has detailed the diplomatic maneuverers of the US, British envoys and the one representing the UN. According to the article, they were all operating to correct the country’s many deficits — the trust deficit between the two major parties, the BNP and the Awami League, and their top leaders; the democracy deficit that was leading to situations in which the opposition parties were reluctant to contest in the polls; and the faith deficit in the army which had become a key player, but which BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia felt would largely back her.

 

Be that as it may, the BBC story offers a few pointers on western diplomats playing their “democracy game”. The extra-constitutional or unconstitutional role played by the unelected caretaker government, which turned Bangladesh into a playground of foreign maneuverers and severely undermined its sovereignty, must have influenced the subsequent Awami League decision to use its majority and scrap the caretaker arrangement.

 

If the leading democracies in the west and neighbouring India can do without a caretaker, so went the logic, Bangladesh jolly well can.

 

If the west is serious about inclusive elections in Bangladesh, its diplomats must ask the opposition to give away the “oust government” violent agitation and join the elections. It is fair of them to send observers to monitor the poll process – but it is also incumbent that observers from other countries are allowed. If the west expects Hasina to shackle her security forces while opposition activists run riot and bring the national economy to a standstill, I would only recall the title of Charles Dickens’ novel “Great Expectations”. Dear Sirs, no government worth its salt will abandon its responsibility of governance and maintenance of law and order. And Sheikh Hasina, who lost almost her entire family and still braved military dictators to bring democracy back to Bangladesh and then bring her party back to power surviving twenty assassination attempts including the deadly August 2004 grenade attack, is no western stooge like Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani who will pack bags to flee at the first sight of trouble.

 

Sukharanjan Dasgupta is a Kolkata-based commentator and author of “Midnight Massacre” on the 15 August 1975 coup.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

 

All polls under AL govt are fake, Rizvi says about Zila Parishad elections

BNP Senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Monday alleged that all the elections, including those of the Zila Parishad, under the current government are ‘fake’.

 

“We’re now not involved in any election. We won’t talk about this election (Zila Parishad). In fact, all elections under the current regime are fake,” he said.

 

Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, the BNP leader said they are now focusing on only the national election that has to be held under a neutral caretaker government.

 

“We’re on a movement to force the government to hold the election under the caretaker government. We’ll take that movement to the path of victory.”

 

Rizvi made the remarks as journalists sought his comment on the Zila Parishad polls.

 

Meanwhile, the Elections to 57 Zila Parishads were held on Monday peacefully at 925 booths in 462 centres across the country by using electronic voting machines on Monday noon.

 

Rizvi alleged that the ruling party leaders and ministers have started making unguarded remarks seeing the huge flow of people to BNP’s two massive rallies against corruption and misrule.

 

He slammed Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader for this remark that their party can arrange the gathering of 30 lakh against BNP’s 10 lakh.

 

“If you can gather a large crowd and have huge popularity, then why do you have to resort to vote robbery in the dead of night or uncontested voting? Not only the country’s opposition parties and civil society, but the international community is also vocal and making various statements against night-time voting and uncontested elections,” Rizvi said.

 

The BNP leader also said that Quader’s comment about holding a rally of 30 lakh people is nothing but a matter of laughter.

 

He alleged that the government has been stopping vehicle movements, and attacking and arresting the BNP leaders and activists during the rallies of BNP. “Despite that, the participation of mass people in BNP’s rallies is increasing gradually. People are joining the rallies by walking on foot or in vans and trawlers. The sacrifices of these patriotic people won’t go in vain.”

 

Rizvi urged the government to step down by handing over power to a non-party-neutral government to avert a mass upsurge in the coming days.

 

He also came down heavily on Information Minister Hasan Mahmud for what he said making ‘bizarre’ and ‘reckless’ comments about BNP and its programmes.

 

“The Information Minister is supposed to give correct information. But he gives such information that people can’t stop laughing,” the BNP leader observed.

 

He also said Hasan Mahmud is becoming a laughing stock before the people by making such false and fabricated remarks only to appease the prime minister.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

Keep your promise to take Rohingyas back home, Momen tells Myanmar

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said Myanmar “should keep their promise” for the repatriation of the Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State.

 

“We are ready to send them back. Myanmar should keep their promise. They should come forward and do their part of the job,” Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

 

Despite assurance from the Myanmar side, not a single person was taken back over the last five years, said the foreign minister.

 

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char.

 

Momen also criticised the countries which are doing “business as usual” with Myanmar though they talk about human rights issues.

 

“These are not acceptable. If you truly value human rights, then you need to remain aware of it,” he said, referring to the trade and investment relations of the European Union and the UK with Myanmar.

 

Momen said Myanmar agreed to take them back after verification and assured that they will provide safety and security for the Rohingyas there.

 

“They made a commitment to create a condition for a safe and dignified return,” he said, adding that the saddest thing is that not a single Rohingya could return.

 

Noting Myanmar’s internal problems, the foreign minister said where there is a will, there is a way despite those problems.

 

“We are trying our best…..the process must start,” Momen said.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

 

Double agricultural production by 2030 to ease climate change impacts, says Environment Minister

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md. Shahab Uddin said on Monday that the challenge of growing demands for food in the country must be dealt with by doubling the agricultural productions by 2030 to combat the adverse effects of climate change.

 

The Minister made the comment at a discussion organised by the Ministry of Agriculture to mark the World Food Day 2022 at the city’s Osmani Memorial Auditorium.

 

He said that to double the agricultural production, climate tolerant crops are needed by introducing new varieties, expanding modern farming methods and ensuring the use of environment-friendly agricultural inputs.

 

He said research on agricultural products processing, value chain development should also be given importance.

 

The minister said that the market for exports of agricultural products should be searched abroad after meeting domestic needs and GAP rules should be followed during the production of agricultural products for exports as per the demand.

 

Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP, is a voluntary certification program, which verifies through an audit that ensures food safety practices are being used. This helps reduce the risk of microbial contamination in fruits, vegetables and nuts and aims to make sure these foods are safe for eating.

 

Shahab Uddin said that Bangladesh has achieved sufficiency in food grains, but now special attention needs to be given to achieve self-sufficiency in nutrition.

 

Keeping market prices within the purchasing power of the people, fair market management, balanced distribution and nutritional awareness are also needed, he said.

 

By developing sustainable agricultural practices, Bangladesh is implementing sustainable development goals, he said adding that such practices are crucial to tackling the impacts of climate change.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh