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La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

( 5 août —- 12 août)

La mairie de Dacca du Sud va bientôt introduire poisson «Guppy » pour faire disparaître les moustiques qui provoquent «Chikungunya» et «Dengu». La  mairie désire aussi doubler le budget pour la bataille contre moustique.

Une incendie mystérieuse a causé assez de dégâts au troisième étage du bâtiment de départ à l’aéroport de Dacca. L’incendie a arrêté toutes les opérations pour 2 heures.  L’étage abrite succursales de Qatar Airways, Saudia Airlines et Air India. Le bureau de l’ Air India a subi la plupart de dégâts.

L’autorité de l’aéroport a entamé une enquête. Les pompiers pensent que l’appareil  de l’ Instant Power Supply ou court-circuit a causé l’incendie.

Deux réservoirs d’essence d’un appareil de combat ont été trouvés à Nabinagar, Brahmanbaria. Les villageois les ont rendus à l’armée de l’air.

L’incendie continue à frapper Bangladesh. Cette fois elle a ciblé le bureau de ministre des Affaires étrangères et l’aéroport de Dacca.

Une incendie, l’issue de court-circuit, s’est déroulée à la salle à l’informatique au bureau de ministère des Affaires étrangères. Les personnels l’a éteinte.

Les dirigeants du parti en exercice a Volé 33.000 tonnes de blé, valent Tk 900 millions, depuis entrepôt du port de Chittagong. L’importateur sud coréen est en train de chercher le blé et les coupables.

La force frontière du Bangladesh achètera deux hélicoptères russes, MI 171. La société turque «Delta Defense» va fournir plus de 600 voitures blindées à l’armée de terre. L’armée de la terre a choisi Delta Defense. Le blog militaire «Bdmilitary» a corroboré l’accord.

Malaisie a recommencé appréhension des travailleurs migrants à la veille de «ASEAN Games». L’autorité malaise a reçu l’info qu’il se peut que 16 terroristes de Daesh attaquent «ASEAN Games». La police malaise a appréhendé 409 étrangers dont 61 bangladais.

Selon un reportage de Bloomberg, la Police chinoise a appréhendé deux ressortissants de la Chine Gao Shuhua et Ding Zhize pour avoir liens avec piratage de $81 millions depuis la Banque centrale bangladaise. Le reportage revendique que Ding possède un casino au Macao. L’autorité chinoise a déjà puni Gao pour avoir mené opération clandestine de casino en Chine. Gao a été libéré en 2015 comme sa santé détériorait. Mais il a ouvert une compagnie au Macao , selon les documents des affaires de Macao.
Il a aussi investi dans Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co , qui a  blanchi plus d’un quart d’ argents piratés depuis Bangladesh Bank.

Ding opérait les soirées de Baccarat pour les Chinois au Macao. Il a abandonné l’opération et a acheté beaucoup de maisons dont un skyscrapper au Macao. Il  possède aussi  beaucoup de salons dans les casinos aux Philippines. Des voleurs ont volé presque $600.000 depuis lui.

Gao et Ding ont tiré des argents piratés depuis leurs comptes dans RCBC Bank aux Philippines.

Ensuite ils ont joué le Baccarat dans un salon pour les VIPs au Casino Solaire. Ils ont aisément blanchi les argents aux pays étrangers, peut- être au Corée du Nord. En dépit de la requête de Bangladesh Bank pour arrêter toute les transactions, les deux jouaient le   Baccarat sans difficulté. La police philippine n’a pas déporté aucune plainte contre eux et les a laissés quitter le pays.

All Journos Are Govt Babus

Government has opened a new front of confrontation. This time it picks up  the press as its opponent. Latest brawl revolves around the 9th wage board for journalists.

The inflation-hit journalist community is longing for it for a long time. In a country where democracy is dysfunctional, press is playing the role of an alternate party.

It is a little surprise that government came down hard on it. Just the first six months of this year,19 journalists fell victims of controversial section 57 of ICT Act. It has further irked the press people by shelving the newest wage board that lays down the pay structure of the journalists.

Well anarchists once again found themselves at the heart of this debate. Representative of the radical lefts contrary to other members in the cabinet pressed for retaining section 57 of the ICT Act.

As police stations across Bangladesh are deluged with cases filed under section 57, Police Headquarter has issued a notice instructing all the Police stations to forward all such complaints to Police HQ and to wait for its final words before registering them as cases.

Then Finance minister took a potshot at the 9th wage board. He reacted angrily to the number of newspaper in Bangladesh (200 +),  cited by a reporter at the secretariat. The comment rattled the FM who could not keep his calm: “Journalists do not need a wage board. They are paid more than the govt officials and even if there is a pay structure it will be for the first 15 or 20 outlets, not for the rest.”

Senior journalists strongly contested his claim that journalists receive higher salaries than govt officials. In fact, they get much below than the salaries of public servants.The truth is that very few media outlets follow the pay scale set by journalists.

Just before the next big annual festival, The Bakri Eid, his announcement disheartened many journalists who take an overwhelming risks that merely matched by what they receive at the end of the month. And it is a profession that is despised by all the political parties, security agencies and business people alike. Moreover, a journalist is not a highly sought after groom in a country where public servants, engineering graduates and doctors top the list of preferred grooms. So FM’s comment hit hard a noble profession, where a good number of journalists still stick to their code book of ethics.
The mischievous smile of the Information Minister, who was enjoying the comment, rubbed salt into their wounds.

But the FM’s remark has some truth. There is an explosion of media outlets. And many of them are not on a par with the standards set by the highest circulated dailies.  Advertisement of public offices fatten them while the professionals live off what the market offers them. Partisan journalists grab the govt facilities intended for professional ones.

Successful corporate houses tend to embark on media businesses as a mean to ward off rivals’ campaign and to safeguard its business interests in a  corrupt business atmosphere.

Before going further, I frankly apologize to the persons who will feel offended  by  my observations that I am going to present.

The recent spat on pay row caused a schism in the journalist community. There is a group that rallies behind the govt, yet they back the demand of new pay scale. They are the elite owners and editors.

One of the stark features of our media industry is that the lefts , who share power with the govt , hold sway over here. Either the owner or the editor or the chief news editor of a news outlet is former leader of the Student Union, student wing of the Communist Party or a JaShod activist or a leader of Chhatra League, student wing of the ruling party. I am not anti-left , nor am I against everything they embark on.

As long as the former comrades stick to  professionalism, there is no problem.

But when former rule breakers set rules for others and lay down the terms , problems start to brew.

Their rise to the key positions in media outlets is indeed a puzzling thing in a Muslim majority country, where democracy was derailed by men in fatigues.

Answer lies to the procurement of military hardware by Bangladesh armed forces. Having surrounded by a big neighbor to whom every country wants to sell weapons , no country wants to be in the bad book of India by selling arms to its rivals.
Moreover western democratic countries have many laws that bar these countries selling arms to regimes that rose to power ousting democratic governments.

Other countries do not have these restrictions. Many of these countries are ruled by the communists or government officials of former communist governments.
They are very generous to come forward to the aid of their comrades of other countries. Ambitious Generals find them useful pawn to set them against other mainstream political parties.

Even bigots of other countries provided monetary assistance to their political projects. It is pretty much known that the Information minister and his party had ties with the regime of Colonel Gaddafi.

No wonder their rise to key institutions including public university takes place when extra constitutional force is in power.
Recently, big ticket arms purchase and big infrastructural projects coincided with their stunning empowerment in politics.

Well the arms are being procured from former and current communist countries. The countries also finance some big projects that yield lucrative commission.

The problem with ideological groups is that they defend their interests like a badger. While the radical rights are cornered, we let the radical lefts to ascend the staircase to power. But both of them are simply two opposing sides of the same coin, which is made up of hate , ego, arrogance and a complete denial to accept anything different from their own views.

That is why there are twisted reports, malicious campaigns against the persons they dislike, demonization of systems and views that they do not like, lack of respects for people or groups holding different views , willful suppression of reports of corruption and nepotism by fellow comrades holding key positions in the government.

Once they took refuge in media outlets to evade the onslaught of hostile governments. These outlets were their  sources of bread and butter. Now their policies and stance have taken a heavy toll on the media and journalists.

Do not want to buy the observations just put forward? Please prepare a checklist of facts, do your own research and tick the facts that will match your own findings.

It is a great shame that the anarchists took full advantage of democratic space and all the governments empowered them. Now look what they have done. They have brought us to a dead end on the path of democracy.

Key institutions that ensure checks and balances in a democracy have come to a stand-off. Fingers are pointing at them.

FM correctly observed that the media industry and the financial market are saturated.  Over the course of time  banks and media outlets must merge to meet the challenges of the market. If market is to judge about who will stay and who will quit, then FM does not have any trouble to introduce the 9th wage board.

The subtlest protest came from within the journalist community. Having seen the chances of the 9th wage board are slim, one journalist changed his Facebook profile picture into a comment attributed to former Libyan dictator Col Gaddafi. No clue whether he really made the comment. It reads:
“All journalists are government officials.”

Please oblige the supreme leader.

La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(28 juillet —- 04 août)

Toute la semaine la vie de Dacca a été asphyxié par embouteillages insupportables.

La pluie torrentielle et les rues mauvaises sont les coupables. A cause de développement des rues le système d’évacuation des eaux a subi dégâts. Il n’a pas bien fonctionné pendant la pluie. Donc toute la ville a été encombrée.

A Bogra , deux fidèles du parti en exercice ont violé une femme et sa fille. Puis ils ont rasé leurs têtes.La nouvelle a bouleversé tout le pays.

A Jessore, un dirigeant du parti en exercice a violé une femme enceinte.

La mort mystérieuse d’une domestique a provoqué une querelle à Banasree. Les gens sont descendus dans la    rue et ont attaqué la maison où la domestique travaillait. Ils ont mis le feu à la voiture de son patron.

La société informatique «Accenture» va bientôt quitter Bangladesh. Depuis 2013, Accenture a offert les solutions informations au géant de Télécom Grameenphone Bangladesh, une succursale de Telenor. Récemment Accenture a demandé beaucoup d’argent pour ses services informatiques, mais Telenor l’a refusé et a publié un appel d’offres. Société indienne «Wipro» a fait une soumission pour l’adjudication et l’a remporté. Accenture a déjà terminé 556 employé. Ils sont tous Bangladais.

De plus en plus de journalistes se trouvent victimes de la section 57 de la loi informatique. La presse et les hommes de droits s’en sont pris à la section puisqu’elle est utilisée par le gouvernement pour harceler les critiques. En six mois , des plaintes ont été déposées contre 19 journalistes en citant la section.

A Hobiganj, un journaliste, âgé de 70+ ans, a été incarcéré par Police pour avoir publier un reportage contre un député.

A Jessore, un journaliste    est victime actuel de la section. Il a publié un comment dans son compte de Facebook critiquant la mort d’une chèvre donné par un ministre.

Bangladesh achètera «105 mm self propelled howitzers » pour son armée de la terre. Blog militaire «Bdmilitary» a corroboré la nouvelle.

Need For A William

Very few countries in the world allow its citizens to die in foreign soils in destitution. Very few disown them. Bangladesh is one of those countries.

A country that is not ravaged by war, strife, and likes to boast its economic indicators to the world encourages risky, and in some instances illegal, migration of its citizens.

Situation is so grave foreign countries urge Bangladesh to rein in this illegal trade.

According to Italian Interior Ministry, 8436 Bangladeshis entered the country clandestinely in the first six months of this year, crossing the Mediterranean sea. In 2016 , a similar number of Bangladeshis  followed the illegal route and reached Italy in a bid to scatter all over Europe. According to European Union, 93435 Bangladeshis are staying illegally in European countries. Bangladesh strongly contested the figure.

A survey by IOM reveals that on average illegal Bangladeshis paid more than $5,000 to human traffickers to reach Italy taking a perilous boat ride. Dubai-Istanbul-Tripoli turned out to be their preferred route to reach Libya.
Traffickers locked them in Libya  for one year and forced them to work in homes and restaurants.

Another report of Saudi Gazette says the Kingdom will send back around 50,000 illegal Bangladeshis under a general amnesty. They do not have valid documents.

In its drive against undocumented foreign workers, Malaysia arrested 1520 Bangladeshis. In 2015, thousands  of Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar perished in the jungles and in the sea while they tried to cross the sea illegally huddling into boats to reach the prosperous South Asian country. Their tragic death shocked the world and prompted a regional crackdown against human traffickers. Hundreds of human traffickers were detained and in Thailand a General was sentenced to prison.

None however were tried in Bangladesh. Chairman of National Human Rights Commission Kazi Reazul Haque expressed his discontent with this and stressed that Bangladesh might make a list of  at least 30 high profile human traffickers and try them.

As long as the world does not heed the severity of the problem,  Bangladesh does not feel the urge to stall such activities.

Nothing has been more detrimental to our country’s image than the utterly false notion that our economy is  sound and there is stability in politics.

So first rule to solve this human trafficking is to acknowledge that there is something wrong with our economy that miserably fails to mop up the excess labor force. Then, let democratic practices pit against the whims of few mighty ones.

Illegal migration has taken such a virulent form because Bangladesh sees no wrong in it. And the popular perception is that migration is a natural phenomenon. A popular novelist once told, ” Bangladesh is just like a seedbed. From here we will move to every corner of the world.” Many people share the same view.

Sending people abroad is a lucrative trade and government recognizes the industry as “man power business”. There is even a ministry to look after the well beings of the expatriates .

Since it is an industry, all sorts of practices, fair and unfair, are going on here no holds barred. People are so desperate to go to their dream destinations , they are even ready to pay more than the required cost. They are poised to work under harsh conditions and to embrace any situation to make their fortune abroad.

A parasitic class was born out of  their desire and desperation. This class exploits the vulnerabilities of would-be foreign workers and share the rents with the corrupt politicians and officials.

Inhumane sufferings of the migrant workers are often ignored as long as remittances are kept coming. Unlike the workers from other countries, the Bangladeshi workers do not find their govt on  their sides when they are in trouble in foreign soils.

When a govt evades its responsibility about its own citizens, other countries are less interested to take their responsibility, particularly when the country is not paralyzed by problems.

Govt of Bangladesh is guilty of two counts: first, it allows a modern day slave trade in its soil ; second, it disowns its own citizens when they are in distress.

It was William Wilberforce who took it upon himself to rise against the slave trade. His relentless campaign against slave trade witnessed a success when in 1807 the British Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act that formally banned slave trade in British empire.

In Bangladesh we need a William among us. We need him to revamp our migration system and policies. We cannot let our nationals rot in foreign jungles, streets and shores. Calling all the Williams out there. Act.

La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(21 juillet — 28 juillet)

Un étudiant a perdu la vue après avoir battu par Police. Des étudiants sont descendus dans la rue et ont demandé à announcer la date d’examen à  l’Université de Dhaka.
Police a chargé la foule et a tiré une bombe lacrymogène vers les étudiants. Elle a frappé les yeux d’un étudiant.Un portable a enregistré la querelle. Police a dit qu’elle allait se pencher sur l’incident.

Pluies torrentielles ont provoqué glissement de terrain à Cox’s Bazaar. Et le glissement y a tué 4 personnes dont deux enfants.
A Himchhari, un universitaire a été aussi tué à cause de glissement le dimanche.

Un employé de l’ambassade de la Chine au Bangladesh a divulgué que l’ Exim Bank of China allait financer construction d’un tunnel sous le Karnaphuli à Chittagong.

Une Cocotte-Minute a explosé dans un kiosque à thé à Khulna. RAB présume que quelqu’un y a mis une bombe à  retardement.

Selon un reportage du Prothom Alo, deux députés  du parti en exercice ont détourné Tk 24 milliards en se soumettant des projets religieux qui n’existent jamais.

(Cont)

Opportunities In Crisis

Congestion of container vessels cripples operation of country’s premier port. Crash of two gantry cranes on the eve of Eid hampered day to day operations of the port, causing delay in unloading the cargo.

The sluggish pace of port operation and the long queues of cargo vessels stirred  business community and precipitated meeting after a meeting with high govt officials.

Govt as usual has gone through the same drilling as it did in the past: evade responsibility and pass the blame.

The RMG exporters bear the brunt of this congestion. Several western countries  have put into place air cargo ban on Bangladesh. Air cargoes, though expensive, have proven to be the last ditch effort of the exporters to meet the deadline set by buyers.

As that card is limited on the table, exporters fear loosing future orders if the crisis prolongs. For this reason, they could not keep their calm and dressed down concerned officials in the official meetings.

The news of Chittagong port crisis has reached to RMG buyers and international ports. H&M officials have already expressed there concerns to the concerned authority and BGMEA.

According to a newspaper report the congestion of vessel  takes a vessel 12 days to berth in the jetties.

Every day 15 to 17 vessels await in outer anchorage. In this backdrop international vessel companies hike the rent of the container.

Country’s importers and exporters hinge heavily on this port. So the long tailback of cargo vessels caused a consternation among the merchant bodies.

As a drastic measure the port authorities nodded positively to a proposal of using the berthing facilities of Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Company Limited (CUFL).

The CUFL jetties were at the heart of a debate when ULFA arms haul rocked the nation.Police accidentally discovered arms consignments destined to neighboring states of India.

Moreover unlike the Chittagong port, CUFL jetties lacked the scanner to detect radioactive materials.

The new Payra port has not been considered as an alternative in spite of the fact that the new port has berthing facilities for bulk carriers. If the port were operational immediately after the onset of the crisis, tailback of vessels would not turn into worse.

The congestion of port also coincided with the soaring prices of coarse rice. Govt imported rice from abroad to resolve the crisis. If port authorities did not  prioritize unloading the rice carrying vessels, the price of rice would rise further.

This is where the port crisis becomes extremely important. Unless there is a direct intervention by the govt–a round the clock unloading of containers to ease the congestion– it will evidently raise the price of kitchen commodities.
And if the unfolding of this sort of  crisis influences an ongoing political  event, its consequences will be devastating for a govt.

The crane crash cropped up 2 days before Eid. Yet the authorities turned a blind eye to this congestion. They acted only when the international press carried the news on container congestion in Chittagong port.

The sheer number of unloaded containers also has repercussions. In the wake of this congestion, Chittagong port authorities unloaded more than nine thousands containers in a single day , a record for the port authorities. But the problem is due to lack of space they have to be cleared without going through a standard scrutiny. This means authorities will not know whether the containers contain the declared goods.Perhaps many containers may evade the US installed scanner and watchful eyes of the customs.

The chief of Chittagong port hinted that an ongoing legal battle with Penang port authority of Malaysia also contributed to the worsening of the congestion.

His remark also left us pondering over other alternatives. Recently Sri Lankan President Sirisena made an official visit to Bangladesh.  FTA between the two countries was mooted and 13 MoU were signed. The MoUs included coastal vessel agreement. Sri Lankan port Hambantota is underutilized because of lack of investments. If the port gets a part of Bangladesh’s Malaysia-bound vessels, the port will ratchet up its operations.

More than one million TEUs (20-foot Equivalent Units) of containers are transported from Chittagong to other destinations across the country every year. A big part of this is done through highways.

Govt took initiatives to increase container traffic in waterways. Yet the route did not garner much attention of  exporters and importers, who still prefer highways and rail route.

I do not want to buy the conspiracy theories surfaced after the crisis at face value. However I do echo some of the questions raised:

Why the crisis was not resolved at the first place? Why was it delayed?  Why a senior admiral of Navy is heading the Chittagong port authorities while the Navy operates an inland container vessel company? Was the congestion engineered to increase the frequency of container transport through waterways where a company closely associated with a ruling party leader and the Navy run company dominate the inland container ship business? Is it true that rent of container in the case of riverine transport is pegged high? Why do other ports not have scanners that could detect radioactive hazardous materials?

Country’s growth potential is hobbled by bottleneck of infrastructure. This kind of trouble in inadequate infrastructure will cut a swathe through export earnings. I wonder how the govt will achieve the $50 billion RMG export mark with creaky infrastructures and  men whose interests are not aligned with those of the department they are heading. An anemic economy will not bring any opportunities for our hard working businessmen, let alone cronies.

La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

( 14 juillet — 21 juillet)

Selon un reportage de New Straites Times, presque 3,546 Bangladais se sont profités de «Malaysia My 2nd Home» programme migratoire offert par Malaisie. Ils ont blanchi Tk 1,5 milliards pour MM2H programme.

Selon un reportage de l’IANS, Inde est prévenu Bangladesh sur Inondation. Inde a transmis les données avant le 30 juin.

Selon un rapport de Rand Corporation, il se peut qu’al-Qaeda augmente sa présence en Inde, au Bangladesh et au Pakistan.

Bangladesh et Sri Lanka vont bientôt signer accord de libre-échange. Les deux pays ont pris la décision pendant la visite officielle du président du Sri Lanka Sirisena.

Luttes intestines de la succursale étudiante du parti en exercice ont tué un fidèle et blessé 4 personnes.
A Sylhet, deux factions du Chhatra League se sont battus, laissant un tué par balle. A Rajshahi, la querelle entre deux bandes du Chhatra League a blessé 4 activistes. A Barishal, un dirigeant a violé une femme. Police l’a appréhendé.

Il n’y a pas de protestation, de manifestation , de causerie télévisée en signe de protestation de la mort de lauréat du prix Nobel  Liu Xiaobo dans la presse bangladaise. Mais des quotidiens ont publié traduction de la chronique de Project Syndicat. C’est une indication comment la Chine, premier fournisseur des armes de l’armée bangladaise et financier des  projets du développement, exercice son influence dans la presse bangladaise.

Immigration malaise n’a pas laissé à entrer activiste des droits de l’homme Adilur Rahman dans le pays. Adilur est critique de l’abdication, tuerie extrajudiciaire par gouvernement bangladais.