Harsco wins $13M in rail equipment contracts

Rail maintenance equipment maker Harsco Corp. said Monday it has received $13 million in new rail orders, including contracts from Bangladesh and Liberia, a nod to the company’s effort to bring in new business from overseas.

Under one of the deals, Harsco will build a machine for the Bangladesh Railway system that makes rail tracks more durable by leveling and ramping them.

The unit will be constructed in Harsco Rail’s U.S. production facilities and is scheduled for delivery next year.

The Liberian order calls for the sale of a Harsco Rail Grinder, a machine that helps maintain and improve track by resurfacing and correcting damage. It will also be delivered next year.

Harsco has also received new orders in the U.S. from three railroads for its new drone tampers — fully automated vehicles that can tamp down track beds. The units are scheduled for delivery starting later this year and continuing into early 2012.

Bangladesh India MOU Signed For Power Cooparation

Sources :The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and the Indian state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) signed here today (Monday-30-08-2010) a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for improving power stations in Bangladesh.

The NTPC, as government utility of India, as per the MoU will assess the feasibility of establishing coal-based power stations in Bangladesh. It will also make endeavour to improve human resources through training and development and look into the possibilities for developing power generations projects especially one coal-based project in Joint Venture.

Md. Abul Quasem,Chief Engineer (generation) of BPDB and Mr. A K Sharma, General Manager, of NTPC signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations at the NTPC Bhawan here this morning.

Indian Power Secretary P Uma Shankar and Chairman of the Bangladesh Power development Board Mr. A S M Alamgir Kabir witnessed the signing of the MoU. Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Mr. Tariq A Karim, Chairman of NTPC R. K. Sharma and senior officials of the NTPC and the members of the Bangladesh delegation were also present.

The NTPC may provide engineering consultancy service to BPDB for feasibility studies, site selection, technology selection, engineering design etc, for developing two coal based power projects approximately 1320 MW each in Khulna and in Chittagong, the MoU envisaged.

“The purpose of the MoU is to create a framework for the general understanding between NTPC and BPDB regarding their cooperation in the power sector of Bangladesh,” the MoU said. Dhaka and Delhi during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in January this year, had expressed their desire to enhance traditional ties of friendship through development of economic cooperation in different fields including the power generation, transmission and energy efficiency.

Under the MoU signed today, the NTPC may provide long-term operation and maintenance consultancy services to BPDB for its underperforming power stations to improve their operating efficiency. The NTPC may also carry out technical assessment of the old power stations of Power Development Board in Bangladesh for efficiency improvement.

The MoU also have provisions to provide training to power professionals through the existing training system of NTPC and to prepare long term plans for BPDB to utilize NTPC’s training facilities.

The NTPC would also conduct simulator training on combined cycle gas turbine as well as coal fired power stations for improvement of Operation and Maintenance skill.

The NTPC and the BPDB may also set up a coal-based power project at Khulna under joint venture with 50:50 equity participation and the Joint Venture Company (JVC) will be registered in Dhaka.

The Joint Venture Company (JVC) will be managed by its Board of Directors with NTPC and BPDB nominating equal number of directors to the board of JVC. The Chairman of the JVC shall be a nominee director of BPDB for the first eight years and the MD shall be a nominee director of NTPC.

Thereafter, the position of Chairman and MD shall be nominated by rotation for 3-year period each from NTPC and BPDB respectively. A Joint Technical team (JTT) constituted with equal representation from both BPDB and NTPC will oversee the implementation of the MoU, it said.
NEW DELHI, Aug 30 – BSS

Bangladesh’s Secular Revolution – A World Model

In the pantheon of Islamic states, Bangladesh seems an unlikely place for a secular revolution. It is a dry country with no bars, casinos or horse races. Bangladesh is not liberal in its social mores, compared to Muslim-majority countries like Turkey or Indonesia. And secular principles are far from being consistently upheld: Madrassas receive state funding, while citizens are often hounded for perceived slights to Islam.

Yet since its landslide election in 2008, the ruling Awami League party has rolled back the Islamization trend of recent decades. In July, the government banned the extremist scholar Syed Abul Ala Maududi’s books. A historic Supreme Court ruling last month struck down a constitutional amendment that had paved the way for Islamist politics. And a special tribunal to try war crimes of the 1971 Liberation War began its work last month.

These trials are garnering a significant amount of public attention, as the accused are mostly leaders of Islamist political parties. The Awami League is emboldened no doubt by its resounding majority?its alliance controls 264 out of the 300-seat parliament. Its leaders sense a historic opportunity to redress the past. In the late ’90s, the Awami League adopted an arguably more moderate course, but this leniency was violently repaid when an alliance of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami won power, when repeated terroristic attacks killed top Awami League leaders. This, combined with the desire to see justice done, has shaped the party’s determined mood.

Activists demand war-crimes trials, March 2010.
.Cynics argue that the trials are politically motivated. The principal target, Jamaat-e-Islami, is a crucial ally of the main opposition BNP. Yet, any perceived benefits to the Awami League are not as straightforward as they may seem. Driving Jamaat underground might make it more dangerous, and any votes lost by Jamaat due to the trials will accrue to BNP, not to the Awami League. Indeed, it might have been safer for the Awami League to ignore the historical injustices. With the advent of the trials, many are now anxious of violent extremist reprisals. Yet repeated opinion polls indicate overwhelming public support for the trials.

Aside from the political jousting, the widespread public support for all the secularizing measures is worth closer scrutiny. Bangladesh’s Sufi Islamic roots clearly play a big role. Religious practice in this delta consisted of practices woven gently into the existing cultural fabric, not harshly imposed from outside. While the Islamism that has swept the region in recent decades has left a mark?from greater numbers of madrassas to the prevalence of burqas worn by women?it did not uproot a deeper cultural antipathy to extremism.

Yet this is also a society where the high court dared to declare fatwas illegal and ruled last week that no woman can be forced to wear burqas at work or school; a society where the secular holidays like Bengali New Year and Valentine’s Day?both irritating to the fundamentalists?are celebrated by millions of youth. Even in its heyday, Jamaat never garnered more than 10% of the popular vote.

Why? Credit women’s empowerment, which provide not only a sign of societal progress, but also remain its most salient cause. The prime minister and the opposition leader are both women. The foreign affairs, home and agricultural ministries are all run by women. Women hold top jobs in government, banks and business, and are especially prominent in legal, medical and social industries. They excel in art, culture and sport. They serve in the armed forces and fly planes for the national airlines. In the lower socio-economic spheres, women work in agriculture, microfinance and the garment industry. Tens of millions of women are economic decision-makers.

Of course the struggle for gender rights and equity still has a long way to go. But the attempt to achieve these worthy goals, led mainly by nongovernmental organizations, has also increased social resiliency against religious fanaticism. In fact, it’s not a stretch to argue that the government’s actions to stem Islamism could never have been imagined without society’s secular backdrop.

The foreign community could reinforce these positive trends by supporting the war crimes tribunal. Important in its own right, the success of the trials is crucial to the secularization process as well. Trade and development partners also need to review their economic policies. The United States, for example, could reduce its punitive tariffs on Bangladeshi garments, providing an immediate boost to the economy.

Just as importantly, it’s key to recognize that Bangladesh has come further on its own in the struggle to stay secular than many Muslim countries?even those with greater foreign aid or intervention. Which just goes to show that Bangladeshis can do much to build themselves a better future. Is there a more positive example for the Islamic world?

Research on Islam, finance, and politics in Bangladesh Highlights -By Bridget Kustin

All America is hallowed ground for freedom
By Bridget Kustin

Last week, I returned to Baltimore after spending a summer researching Islam, finance, and politics in Bangladesh. I still haven’t unpacked–I want to preserve the memories of hospitality and gratitude that couldn’t be captured in my field notes. The smell of wood smoke on clothes worn as my village host prepared me an elaborate Ramadan fast-breaking meal. The parting gift of pungent spices from an Islamic bank officer who accompanied me across my rural field site, answering my questions for hours. And when I arrived home, an email from one of Bangladesh’s most senior figures in Islamic banking and politics was waiting for me, asking if I made it back safely.
As I recovered from jet lag the day after my return, a passenger asked a cab driver in New York City if he was Muslim. When the cab driver responded affirmatively, the 21-year old passenger offered the traditional “Assalamu alaikum” greeting, then apparently slashed the driver’s throat and stabbed his arms and face. According to news reports, this horrific act will be charged as a hate crime.
The cab driver was an immigrant. He came to America 25 years ago from Bangladesh.
Critics of the proposed “Ground Zero” Cordoba House insist that America is exceptional because opposition to different religions and religious institutions is expressed peacefully. This is not true. Violence against Muslims is not systematic or state-sponsored, but it still occurs. These individual violent acts are all but sanctioned by media and political figures who undermine the humanity of Muslims by calling their religion inherently violent, or an existential threat to “American values,” or an innate threat to national security.
A less severe position is that Muslims can be good Americans, but projects such as Cordoba House are insensitive. According to these critics, constitutional rights should be subject to good taste.

Commissioners Richard Land and Nina Shea of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal advisory body, have opposed Cordoba House as insensitive and as a potential security risk, respectively. USCIRF commissioner chair Leonard Leo directs a Tea Party group collecting signatures against Cordoba House, billed on its website as an “affront to decency and common sense.”
The irony of American advocates of religious freedom opposing a Muslim community center would make for pitch-perfect political comedy a l??? The Daily Show if it wasn’t so deeply troubling. As a former USCIRF employee, the deep disconnect between these commissioners’ overseas advocacy and their domestic intolerance of the religious freedom of Muslims suggests to me that Islamophobia has worked its way well into the mainstream.
During my tenure at USCIRF from 2007 to 2009–first in communications and then as South Asia researcher–commissioners defended the right of religious minorities to build and maintain their religious institutions, no matter the popular objections or prevailing social norms. Among the countries in my portfolio, commissioners argued for the rights of Christians to maintain churches in Orissa, India, despite strong anti-Christian sentiment grounded partially in the fear of “forced conversions.” In Pakistan, commissioners defended the right of persecuted Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims and call their houses of worship mosques–despite the widespread, impassioned belief that Ahmadis are not ‘real’ Muslims. Commissioners criticized Sri Lankan government for citing security concerns while restricting the freedom of individuals to worship where and how they pleased.
Indeed, USCIRF advocacy is generally dedicated to upholding Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that every individual has the right, “alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Commissioners Land, Leo, and Shea should protect Cordoba House under Article 18 with the same vigor they have extended to foreign countries.
In Bangladesh this past summer, I met many Muslim Bangladeshis who excitedly told me about friends or relatives living in the United States, while gamely answering my probing questions about Islam. How shameful that being Muslim in the United States is now suddenly enough to have one’s religious freedom restricted via popular pressure–or even to get one killed.
To my host community in Bangladesh, and to my fellow Americans: that cab driver’s life is just as innocent and just as valuable as any of the 3,000 lost on September 11, 2001. All of America is hallowed ground for the freedoms that have made this country great. There is no greater affront to decency than to allow the slow erosion of our commitment to tolerance.

Bangladesh approves $7.2 bn -Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport project-under PPP

Bangladesh on Sunday approved plans for a new international airport near Dhaka to be completed by 2013, officials said.

The USD 7.2 billion Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport , named after the Bangladesh independence leader, will have two runways with provision for a third and will be connected to the capital by an elevated expressway and a monorail.

The exact location of Bangaldesh’s third international airport will be chosen from three possible sites within 50 km (31 miles) of Dhaka, following a feasibility study, civil aviation officials said.

Construction of the airport will be funded under a public private partnership project.

“The project, proposed by the Finance Minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in the parliament last year was approved at a meeting of the cabinet on Sunday,” a senior government official told reporters.

Dhaka’s existing Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, opened in 1980, has only one runway and could not be expanded due the a lack of land.

This is the first project approved after the PPP guideline was finalised last month.

The meeting of the committee was held yesterday at the Cabinet Division with Finance Minister AMA Muhith in the chair.

The estimated cost of building the airport named Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport is Tk 50,000 crore, according to a pre-feasibility study by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism.

Alongside the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, the government has decided in principle to build the second international airport near Dhaka.

A nine-member pre-feasibility study committee has been formed headed by a member of the Civil Aviation Authority. After visiting seven sites in Gazipur, Tangail and Mymensingh, the committee selected three among those.

A high official of the cabinet division said the final selection will be made after consulting with the private investors.

The cabinet committee also okayed four projects of Bangladesh Railway involving Tk 900 crore to reinstate two rail routes and develop a third one to ensure smooth supply of fuel for the upcoming rental power plants.

Of the total amount, Tk 280 crore will be funded available Indian credit under a deal signed recently.

The communications ministry also sought permission of the cabinet committee on economic affairs for 10 percent advance payment for the contractors.

Re-establishing rail link on Panchuria-Faridpur-Pukuria route and setting up of rail track on Pukuria-Bhanga route will cost Tk 267 crore.

Under another project, renovation of Sholoshahar-Dohazari and Fatehabad-Nazirhat rail routes will be implemented at a cost of Tk 203 crore.

These routes will be used for supplying fuel to Dohazari, Hathazari and Faridpur power plants.

Under another project the ministry will procure 10 broad gauge (BG) diesel electric locomotives costing Tk 217 crore. The ministry will also spend another Tk 183 crore for collecting 180 BG bogey oil tank wagon and six brake vans.

The government is going to import one lakh tonnes of rice from Vietnam through government-to-government negotiation without floating any tender.

The cabinet committee has exempted the food ministry from following the rules of PPA
Facts :
Not only has air traffic increased dramatically in Bangladesh, but cargo transportation has also escalated, and none of the airports in the country are presently equipped to handle the massive flow of trade and passengers. Over the last few years, external trade in Bangladesh has grown from $1 billion to $35 billion, and airports such as Shahjalal International Airport are taking strain due to their lack of facilities and space to accommodate cargo. It has therefore been decided that a new airport should be built, which is able to service the cargo industry, as well as passengers

Bangladesh Beximco & Saudi firms eye joint venture investment to upgrade Bangladesh’s sole oil refinery

Leading business conglomerate Beximco has set up a joint venture with a Saudi firm to invest nearly $1 billion to upgrade Bangladesh’s sole oil refinery.
“Beximco and Marasel Company Ltd of Saudi Arabia will jointly submit interest for funding an upgradation project of the Eastern Refinery Limited,” a statement from Beximco said.
State-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) invited offers in July from international firms and financial institutions to finance the $900 million project near Chittagong port.

“The fund from Beximco and Marasel are likely to be accepted if the terms and conditions are found favourable,” a senior official of BPC told Reuters.

Beximco’s businesses range from textiles to pharmaceuticals. Its subsidiary Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BXPq.L: Quote) BXPH.DH is listed in London.

The Marasel Company Ltd is owned by Saudi Prince Salman Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and has large investments in different sectors, mainly in energy.

“In line with its business diversification objectives, Beximco Ltd is now poised to enter into the oil and energy sector, and has mobilised necessary resources for this purpose,” the statement said.

Beximco owns the single largest stake in a Bangladesh private bank and a local private airline, a senior executive of Beximco said. But he could not give the size of the conglomerate in terms of equity.

The refinery upgrade will increase ERL’s production capacity by 200 percent to 4.5 million tonnes per year from 2013.

It presently produces 1.5 million tonnes of petroleum products from imported crude to meet 30 percent of the country’s requirement of 3.8 million tonnes a year.

About Eastern Refinery
Corporate Profile

Eastern Refinery Limited, a subsidiary of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation was incorporated under Companies?? Act 1913(amended in 1994) as a Public Limited Company in 1963 with 35% EPIDC??s( East Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation) shares, 30% shares held by Burmah Oil Company (BOC) and the rest 35% by private entrepreneurs. From November, 1985, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) became the 100% share holder of the company.

ERL plays a vital role in supplying around 40% of the country??s current petroleum products?? demand and thus maintains stability in the POL Products?? market of the country. ERL sometimes becomes the only fall back system available, to avoid products crisis in the face of disruption of products?? import.

A Board of Directors appointed by the Government, (of which Managing Director of ERL is one of the Directors) manages the company. The Managing Director is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ERL.

ERL as a profitable company in the Public Sector contributes substantially to the national exchequer in the form of dividend, taxes, VAT etc.

Bangladesh census to be digitised

Bangladesh will conduct its census next March and the process will be implemented using digital methods for more accuracy.

Planning Minister A.K. Khandker Thursday said the population and housing census, an exercise undertaken every 10 years, will be held across the country in March.

It will be the fifth exercise since the country’s independence, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency reported.

The country’s population was 76,398,000 in 1974, went up to 89,912,000 in 1981, reached 111,455,185 in 1991 and rose to 130,522,598 in 2001, New Age newspaper said.

The estimates of 2009 place the population at 156 million.

Bangladesh to Buy 30,000 Metric Tons of Parboiled Rice

Bangladesh is seeking to import 30,000 metric tons of non-basmati parboiled rice from any country other than Israel, the Directorate General of Food said in a notice on its website.

Suppliers have until Sept. 6 to submit offers, according to the Aug. 26 notice posted on the website. The grain is to be shipped 40 days from the date the contract is signed, it said

India Bangladesh Relations

Sources
The most talked about issue in South Asia is India-Pakistan relations. Bangladesh-India relations are seconding among the population of the region. It could be mentioned that India Bangladesh relations also significantly impact on the internal politics of both the countries. Especially the dynamics and pattern of the internal politics of Bangladesh is importantly influenced by the impact of India Bangladesh relations.India Bangladesh relations have a long history. After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, the extent of the relations some times grow warmer and of course some times come down to the level of coolness, but never reached the freezing point. Presently the relations between the two neighbors are warmer that told by the observers. It is also observed that the recent Dhaka visit of Indian Finance Minister was intending to provide another degree of warmness to the India Bangladesh relations. It should be said that Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina visited India at the early month of this year. And at that time several agreements were signed between the two countries. One of the objectives of Indian Finance Minister??s recent Dhaka visit was to observe and discuss on the development of the implementation of those agreements in Bangladesh side. The India Bangladesh relations evolved around few issues mainly on joint rivers, border & enclaves, security issues and bilateral trade, regional cooperation, maritime boundary, transit and transshipment and on international politics. The extent and pattern of Bangladesh and China relations are also impact on the relations of India and Bangladesh. The public perception on India Bangladesh relation is also another important issue that considered always in both of the countries. Is India a friend of Bangladesh? While public perception is concern, it is difficult to find out any appropriate answer. In consideration to this public perception, it could be told that India was the friend of Bangladesh while the people of Bangladesh were struggling for the noble cause of independence in 1971. So, what is wrong with the public perception of Bangladesh that they have confusion about India? To find out the answer, it is essential to be analyzed the political development of Bangladesh, the changes in the internal politics of India and Indian behavior to Bangladesh as a powerful neighbor, which took place in last four decades. The dynamics of internal politics of Bangladesh was continuously changing in last four decades. The spirit of the independence of Bangladesh was a secular political idea. The secularism was in practice up to 1975; mainly it was in practice in state level and among the educated middle class. The secular idea emerged in this land just after the British rule in 1947. And of course, in 1960s, secularism emerged as a strong political and cultural ideology among the educated middleclass of Bangladesh that is among the middle class of the than East Pakistan. But just after the independence of Bangladesh the secular politics was fading out and an obscure picture of religion based politics was emerging in the society, it could be told that the cause of that back step is yet unexplainable.Bangabandhu Sheikh Muzibur Rahman was assassinated on 15th August of 1975 and Bangladesh stepped into the era of military autocracy. In that changed political scenario, the practice of religion based politics surfaced with vigor in Bangladesh. At that time religion based politics was patron by the state. Importantly, before 1991, Bangladesh never experienced real democracy. Rather, from 1975 to 1990 Bangladesh was ruled under military autocracy or military autocracy with the veil of civil character. That time, Bangladesh, was the hatchery of religion fundamentalism. An urban people upsurge in on December 1990 ousted the military autocrat General Ershad. In 1991 Bangladesh Nationalist Party BNP, the party founded under military control and took political character while struggling for democracy against military rule in 1980s, came into state power through democratic process. In 1996 Bangladesh Awami League, the leading party of the struggle of Independence and Liberation war, return to state power and again in 2001 BNP formed government. Bangladesh was governed by an extra constitutional military backed interim government for two years after the end of 2nd BNP tenure. On December 2009, Awami League formed Government with absolute majority.From 1971 to 2010, India was also the changing showground of politics and many changes were taking place in India. In 1971, Congress was in the control of Indian central politics under the leadership of Indira Ghandhi. After a little interval Congress again regain power in Delhi and Indira Ghandhi became Prime Minister again. After the assassination of Indira Ghandhi, her elder son Rajib Ghandhi became the Prime Minister of India and President of Congress. India stepped into a new pattern of international politics under Rajib Ghandhi. Rajib was also assassinated and this incident forced India towards alliance politics in centre. In provincial level, regional political parties became more important, influential and powerful. The Hindu fundamentalism surfaced and BJP formed government in center. Presently, in central politics of India, Congress under the leadership of Sonia Ghandhi, the widow is powerful but the alliance politics is yet significantly strong. In this time frame there are many changes in international politics as well. Though India was a non-alliance state, the country had economic and military relations with the then socialist Soviet Union. The socialist center Soviet Union was collapsed at 90s of last century and India had changed international relations policy as a logical consequence of the changed international political environment. By the time, in the post cold war era, India made themselves as one of the important players of international politics and emerged as globally significant regional supper power. In post cold war world, political Islam and other religion based politics and terrorism in the name of religion had emerged as new world phenomena. What ever the cause of the new phenomena, it is in existence in the world and it has a big impact on the India Bangladesh relations. It is mentionable that, thought the last four decades, the development of international and regional politics, the impact of these development on the two neighboring countries and the mental makeup of the people of the two countries always have impact on the extent and pattern of India Bangladesh It is assumed by all that presently India Bangladesh relation is warmer than any recent past that it was. Most of the people will show the logic that in India Congress, the supported the noble cause of Bangladesh that is the Independence, is in state power and in Bangladesh Awami League, the party that lead the war of Independence, is governing the country. Both of the parties are old friends in south Asian region. One could be reached at a conclusion through this simple equation. But it should also be taken into account that international or bilateral relations do not run always through simple equations.Joint rivers are always a hot issue for India and Bangladesh both. Farakka Barrage and water sharing of river Ganga are not only the issue of diplomatic concern, also the issue is related to environment, ecology, food security and the future geo-pattern of Bangladesh. And of course joint rivers issue has the important impact on the internal political debates and development in Bangladesh. The solution of the problems relating to Joint Rivers depends on the attitude and intention of India. That is why, in Bangladesh, who ever in state power, that government want to reach on a solution in this regard. But India is always reluctant on the issue. Present government of Bangladesh has tabled the Tista water sharing in bilateral discussion but India is again reluctant as the country was. If only joint rivers issue is considered, India Bangladesh relations could not be termed as warm as it seems to. But it should be mentioned that only one issue could not be the indicator to judge any bilateral relation.The border and enclaves issue should be considered with due importance while the extent and pattern of India Bangladesh relations would be discussed. Of course this issue has a sharp and clear appearance to the people. On enclave, there are discussions between India and Bangladesh but there is no tension on the issue. Border is a big issue to measure the extent and pattern of India Bangladesh relations and it should be told that many unexpected occurrences and incidents over the border line is yet the concern for India Bangladesh relations. Experience is that, several times the behavior of Border security personnel went beyond the norms and of course that actions are the determining factors to judge the pattern of diplomatic relations that prevailing between India and Bangladesh. This issue is the cause of concern for both of the neighbors. Security is another issue that impact on the relations between India and Bangladesh. In consideration to the totality of India Bangladesh Relation, current character of global politics, image of India and Bangladesh among regional and international community including United States, it could be said that there is no possibility of war between India and Bangladesh. Rather it could be told that war between India and Bangladesh might be a schizophrenic imagination. But Security, in terms of militancy and armed insurgency in the north east India and in the hill districts of Bangladesh, has significant impact on India Bangladesh relations. The political leadership and administration of India and Bangladesh have reached on an agreement that no one will facilitate the militants and insurgents at any extent. This agreement provided warmth to the Indio-Bangla relations. As bilateral trade is concern, Bangladesh always a country of deficit. Though India and Bangladesh are the member state of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), there are many tariff and non tariff barriers for trade. Most of the barriers are against Bangladesh, this should be mentioned.The ray of hope is there that both of the countries are agreed to overcome the trade barriers within a logical period of time. Maritime boundary debate that prevails in the India Bangladesh relations is an international, regional and bilateral issue now. It seems that the two neighbors would be able to reach at a solution on this issue; at least the pattern and extent of the relations indicate a good consequence.Transit and transshipment are the most talked about issues that have extensive influence and impact on India Bangladesh relations. These issues are highly related to regional and international politics as well. While the word transit uttered, the eco of the sound in Bangladesh is that India is seeking facilities for their commercial and military transportation to the northeastern states by using the land of Bangladesh. There might be some truth in this reaction. It is also the truth that India will gain more from the transit through Bangladesh. The hard truth is that the extant and pattern of the relations of India and Bangladesh is mostly dependent on transit issue. That is why, for Bangladesh, it is logical that transit must be used as a leverage of relationship. It is also a reality that, while transit is concern, Bangladesh must demand transit facility through India to connect Bhutan and Nepal for commercial transportation. And the development is that India agreed upon the demand of Bangladesh in principle and now it is on the track of implementation so far. In exchange of Indian action, Bangladesh agreed to give the surface and river transportation system and the port facilities for Indian use. In view of the actions that have taken by both of the countries, it could be told that the two neighbors are running forward to build up a peaceful and prosperous South Asia. But things are not like this. The pattern and extent of India Bangladesh relations are also related to the international politics. India and China are the two Asian Superpowers. Both of the countries, probably, intending to enhance their influence in Oceans as part of their security strategy. Apparently Indian Ocean is for India and Yellow Sea and a portion of Pacific Ocean are for China. It is a reality that the extent and pattern of India China relations enable Bangladesh to ensure the rule of the nation in regional and international politics and also enable Bangladesh to determine the strategy to exist as a small state between the two Asian Superpowers, especially as a small neighbor of the gigantic India. It should also be mentioned that the pattern and extent of India Bangladesh relations determine the pattern and extent of Bangladesh China relations. After the recent India visit by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh relations with India grew warmer. But, probably, it went down following the China visit by the Prime Minister. It is not that China visit has very significant impact on India Bangladesh relations. But Indian observation on Bangladesh China relations has extended and intensified, it should be said, because Prime Minister of Bangladesh, while visiting China, agreed upon to provide transit and port facilities for the use of China. Besides this, Bangladeshi Prime Minister seeks cooperation from China for renovation of Chittagong port and for building of deep sea port at Chittagong coast line.Presence of China in South Asian Region, especially in the sea is considered as security concern from India. China already has put their foot at Hambantota in Southern Sri Lanka and at Gawder in Baluchistan of Pakistan by providing assistance in building of new ports. In other words, by providing assistance in building of these two ports, China ensured its presence in Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, which is considered as security concern by India. Besides these, Indian and many other countries have believed that China has military presence at Hungai naval base of Myanmar and there is a China observatory at Coco Island near to Nicobar. In view of this situation, it is to be observed that what would be the Indian reaction to the presence of China at Chittagong. One thing should be mentioned that all superpowers have their front-yards or backyards. It is more than a truth for Russia, China and United States. Central Asia is the yard of Russia and East Asia and South East Asia are considered as the yard of China. But South Asia is not yet considered as the yard of India. India has an image of the largest democracy of the world and also intending to maintain this image as well. That is why India is not intending to use South Asia as yard, rather interested to develop South Asia i.e. the SAARC as an economic, political and to some extent a military Union of the member states as per the model of European Union. This behavioral pattern of India is the determining factor to inter relationship of South Asian Nations. It is also should be mentioned that present India Bangladesh Relations are mostly necessity driven (could be told reality driven), not that much of Ideology driven, which was showed at the 70s of last century. In consideration to this situation Bangladesh should determine the strategy for relationship with India on the basis of the strategy of regional cooperation. With all considerations, the historical aspects of the South Asian region also be taken in to consideration for determining the pattern and extent of India Bangladesh relations. South Asia is a land of ancient civilization. The nations have their own culture and politics. But the history of political evolution of the South Asian Nations is same and all the nations are emerged from a single civilization. In consideration to this heritage ??South Asia?? is closer to the ??South Asia??.

The Harry Potter star,Emma Watson – Watson Visits Fair Trade Factory In Bangladesh

The Harry Potter actress travelled to the rural towns of Dhaka and Bajshahi last month (Jul10) and visited workers at Swallows, the Fair Trade firm producing the range she is releasing with fashion label People Tree.

>And Watson jumped at the chance to get involved – she waded barefoot into a river to help dye natural yarns and fabric and attempted to operate several textile machines.

The kind-hearted star also made a stop at a local school, where she taught a math class to young students and handed out gifts.
In between filming and her university degree, it’s refreshing to see that a star like Emma Watson still finds the time to devote to a good cause.
The Harry Potter star, whose campaign for People Tree is the last featuring her long locks, decided modelling for the ethical brand just wasn’t enough.

Emma also flew to Bangladesh to visit the slum homes of garment factory workers – where the collection she endorses is made.
Down-to-earth Emma, 20, who is currently studying at Brown University, even got stuck in at the factory, helping workers with the sewing.
She said: ‘I’ve been given a lot in my life and I have had so many fantastic opportunities. It’s really important to me that I try and give something back.’
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE EMMA IN BANGLADESH…

‘Following my summer collection for People Tree I wanted to visit Bangladesh to see the difference Fair Trade makes.

‘The contrast between the slums in Dhaka where the people who work in the garment factories live and Swallows (the Fair Trade community supported by People Tree) was all too apparent. ‘

‘I still find it hard to convey what Fair Trade means to those producing our fashion — it’s just so impressive to see how the women have used Fair Trade clothing to escape poverty and empower themselves and their children. I was moved and inspired.’
Although Emma is not directly involved in the design, she selected the Fair Trade textiles used including cable knits and the first Fair Trade hand-woven brushed check.
The collection is comprised of tulip skits, dresses and shirts and is available to buy today.
Emma, who shot to fame when she was cast as Hermione in Harry Potter And The Philospher’s Stone, has come known for her effortless sty

Dhaka mulling Tehran offer to join ??peace pipeline?

“Iran formally invited Bangladesh last month to join $7.5bn plan

India remains hesitant because of disputes about prices, transit fees and its volatile ties with Pakistan”

DHAKA: Energy-hungry Bangladesh is examining an offer from Tehran to join a much-delayed project to pipe natural gas from Iran to Pakistan and India, an official said on Tuesday.

Last month, Iran formally invited Bangladesh to join the long-stalled 7.5-billion-dollar trans-national gas pipeline, dubbed the ??peace pipeline??, Bangladesh??s energy secretary Mesbahuddin Ahmed told .

??We have sought more information on the offer, which we will examine,?? he said. A spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in Dhaka confirmed the invitation.

The pipeline plan would see gas carried from Iran, which has the world??s second-biggest reserves after Russia, to Pakistan and then India. New Delhi has hesitated over the project because of repeated disputes about prices and transit fees and its volatile relationship with Pakistan.

But Hossain Mansur, the head of Bangladesh??s state-owned energy giant Petrobangla, told AFP: ??Personally, I??d welcome the offer.??

Bangladesh has offshore gas fields, but the country??s energy reserves are being depleted fast, Mansur said.

The government estimates current gas reserves will run out by 2014-15 at present consumption rates unless new gas structures are discovered.

The country has been grappling with a severe gas crisis in the past three years, with demand shooting up to 2,500 million cubic feet a day, against a supply of 1,950 million cubic feet a day.

Bangladesh vaccinating cows to contain anthrax outbreak

DHAKA ? Bangladesh has launched a vaccination drive in its northern dairy farming region to contain an outbreak of anthrax that has affected more than 100 people this week, an official said Tuesday.

Another 62 infections have been reported in the last 24 hours, taking this week’s toll to 114, Mahmudur Rahman, a health ministry director, told . No-one has died.

“We have sent medical teams to all anthrax-affected areas. The livestock department has also launched a major vaccination drive in the region,” he said.

Anthrax is a potentially lethal bacterium that exists naturally in the soil and commonly infects livestock which ingest or inhale its spores while grazing. It can be transmitted to humans who handle or eat infected animals.

Anthrax does not spread directly from one infected human or animal to another but is spread through spores.

Anthrax spores can be produced in vitro and have been used in biological warfare. Weaponised anthrax has not been part of Western countries’ military stockpiles for decades but has been used in bioterrorist attacks.

Bangladesh’s current outbreak — one of nine this year — has spread in the dairy farming districts of Sirajganj and Pabna due to diseased cows being slaughtered and then sold on, Rahman said.

All of the current cases in Bangladesh are cutaneous — or skin — anthrax, which can cause wound-like lesions, he said.

“The farmers were not aware of anthrax. They slaughtered sick cows without knowing that it could transmit the disease to humans,” he said.

Along with the vaccination drive, local authorities have launched an awareness-raising campaign in the region, urging farmers not to kill infected animals and sell the meat.
Sources