The hidden costs of traffic

August 22, 2010

Brendan Weston
The city’s traffic has grown increasingly crowded and chaotic for more than a decade, and is a disaster even by the standards of less developed countries (LDCs). Productivity is suffering, as workers with once-short commuting distances now make glacial progress in gridlocked daytime traffic that averages barely five miles an hour. Crowded into dilapidated, steamy, fume-belching private buses, they arrive to work tired, perspiring, short of breath and tainted by dust. Those with cars inch along, tapping their horns their cell phone out and A/C blasting, getting atrocious fuel Read more

Bridging the divide

August 19, 2010

Sarwar Ahmed
It was hot and humid with an overcast sky. As we stopped to talk to farmers about progress of rice transplantation near Soling More Bazar, at Mowna, Gazipur, the water flowing through the wayside ditch was not the usual mud colour. It was bluish-black, with a disagreeable smell.
In the midst of rice fields, how on earth did this meandering dyed wastewater flow? In the distant horizon, a manufacturing unit was visible, where the dyed waste was being dumped in the open, creating this unnatural Read more

Sub-standards and testing

August 19, 2010

BSTI reform via private partners
Habibullah N Karim
On August 5, the commerce minister and the prime minister’s economic adviser shared views with members of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the impediments in the path of bolstering exports to India, our largest neighbour with whom we happen to have a very hefty trade deficit.
Despite bilateral negotiations and even some unilateral trade concessions from India, our exports remain a fraction of the more than $3 billion that India annually exports to us. Does this mean we don’t have anything the Indians want? Nothing can be farther from the truth — as seen in the Read more

The ex-factor

July 11, 2010

Sarwar Ahmed
As the bus took a late evening break at a restaurant during our journey to Bogra, we wanted to eat light as dinner wasn’t too far off. We asked the young boy who waited on us, what was available. Off he went reciting rapid-fire, a list of tummy filling, yummy items. Anything light to eat? I asked. A chicken sandwich he suggested with a big smile, though a chicken kebab would be more palatable, he went on. So we settled for the kebab, which was done well and did taste more of spices than of chicken meat. Russel, as he was being called, Read more

Eyes on green banking

June 6, 2010

Mamun Rashid
A green bank is a bank that promotes environmental and social responsibility but operates as a traditional community bank and provides excellent services to investors and clients. Its progressive approach to the community and the earth sets it apart from other banks.
It is more about focusing on ‘mother planet and its sustainability’, shifting from a traditional approach on ‘profit’ or even ‘people’. Green banking is not just another corporate social responsibility Read more

Branding Bangladesh

April 26, 2010

Mamun Rashid
“A name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors” — that is how marketing guru Philip Kotler defines “Brand”. In other words, a brand is basically a name used to identify and distinguish a specific product, service, or business.
Nation branding is substantially different from product branding and can be explained in many different ways. Nowadays we hear catchy tag lines used by several nations for promoting tourism in their countries, for Read more

Population, a growth engine

March 9, 2010

Rohan Samarajiva
I was surprised, during my last stay in Dhaka, to read a magazine article about Bangladesh’s “population problem” that made no reference to demographic structure. Modern scholarship no longer sees population solely as a burden, understanding that the relevant question is not about the size of the population as such, but about its demographic structure, the way the population is distributed across different age groups.
When the demographic structure is such that there is a “boom”, or an unusually large generation in the Read more

Digital innovation fair: An assessment

March 8, 2010

Habibullah N Karim
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 4 inaugurated the first-ever government sponsored ICT fair of the country at Bangabandhu Novo Theatre complex in Dhaka.
The country has had many ICT fairs since the late eighties but those are all sponsored and organised by the private sector. The Digital Innovation Fair is the first by the government, of the government and for the government — mostly.
Since taking the reins of the government in January last year, the AL-led coalition has been vigorously advocating the virtues of going digital. The vision of Read more

Bangladesh IT industry going global

January 6, 2010

From The Daily Star
Bangladesh IT industry going global
Habibullah N Karim
The information technology industry in Bangladesh has gradually come of age and today accounts for more than Taka 25 billion or USD350 million in annual revenues.
It is still a tiny blip compared to a GDP nearing USD100 billion but it’s a noticeable blip that is growing markedly every year.
Twenty years ago the IT industry was predominantly a hardware vendors market with little or no value addition locally. Today there are more than Read more

Dhaka celebrating 400 years to project her glorious past

October 22, 2009

From WeeklyHoliday
Abdur Rahman Khan
A nation cannot progress without having a clear conviction and pride in her past glories. A citizen develops the feeling of esteem for his or her heritage through learning about the country’s historical and cultural legacy.
This is why the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh (ASB) have planned a three-year programme for the celebration of 400 years of Dhaka city as the capital, says Professor Dr Sharif uddin Ahmed, Chief Coordinator and Chief Editor of the celebration programme.
Launched in September 2008, the three-year programme will continue till September Read more

Remittance and liquidity

October 11, 2009

Ma Taslim
The governor of Bangladesh Bank seems to have come out of the early euphoria over the central bank’s rapidly increasing international reserves caused largely by remittances.
Like most other people he was convinced of the virtues of an ever-increasing flow of remittances and large reserves. But the balance sheet of his bank, and that of the rest of the financial system that he supervises, seem to have nudged him to the realisation that it is not an unmixed blessings.
In his speech to the Small States Forum 2009 at Istanbul, he hinted at Read more

Maoists returning to power in Nepal?

August 10, 2009

Shamsuddin Ahmed
Are the Maoists returning to power or taking over power in Nepal? UCPN Maoist supreme leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda has claimed Tuesday his party will soon form a national government. He did not elaborate how UCPN (Maoist) will form the national government. Will he succeed to rally support of the majority members in parliament or the President will install the party in power by virtue of its single majority in the House by a decree.
“We will soon form a national government with the power of people’s movement,” he told a party meeting. After ruling the country for Read more

Recession phobia

May 25, 2009

Md. Shairul Mashreque
AT the beginning of the new millennium the world has been beset by an insurmountable challenge in the wake of global recession. Economic downhill-slide in major capitalist countries in the north, which boast of having strong economies, threatens to affect countries in the south — especially the least developed countries (LDCs).
The economically poor countries are now feeling the shattering impact of the domineering role of the north in open market operations. Our economy might become stagnant because of the global recession. The crisis faced by many a country in America, Europe and Asia is a “danger with a Read more

Singh is King: Lessons for Bangladesh

May 25, 2009

Hassanuzzaman
DR. Manmohan Singh has indeed proven himself to be the king of South Asian leaders by repeating history after nearly five decades. The Indian National Congress (INC) won a landslide victory in which it, along with its allies, now holds 262 seats in the parliament.
Singh’s entry in 1991 as the finance minister of India was at a time when the East and West were being reintegrated. Furthermore, the EU, which is an economic and political union of 27 states located primarily in Europe, was established through the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993 — building upon the pre-existing European Economic Community.
Overall, the decade of the 1990s witnessed a period where economics triumphed over politics, i.e., the notions of free market and capitalism overrode the visions that Read more

Why are ministers denouncing army inquiry report?

May 25, 2009

Sadeq Khan
The representative government of Sheikh Hasina, brought to power by a landslide election victory of its grand alliance at the end of two years of emergency rule, is not yet faced with any serious civic challenge to its lackadaisical style of governance. The Prime Minister enjoys blind loyalty of a countrywide network of activist following, albeit factional feuding over sharing of spoils.
She has an overwhelming majority in the parliament capable of recasting the Constitution in her desired mould, albeit on pain of confirmation by a referendum if such recasting involves structural changes of the Supreme Law. Yet Read more

Ruling party members blamed for the trouble

May 17, 2009

RED ALERT IN GARMENT SECTOR
Ruling party members blamed for the trouble
Abdur Rahman Khan
County’s export oriented garments industries have been facing grave uncertainty posing a threat to the vital foreign currency earnings and job opportunity of the huge female workers.
It is the law and order situation that has been causing concern for the garments manufacturers and exporters of the country. A thrust sector of the country, the ready-made garments sector fetches as much as 76 per cent of our total export earnings by engaging 35 lakh workers, mostly female Read more

ILO observes its 90th anniversary

May 2, 2009

Holiday desk
Amid the worst financial and jobs crisis, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is marking its 90th anniversary with a series of events across the world.
The week-long programme (21-28 April) of celebration was a global convergence on the common theme of social dialogue on decent work for a fair globalization in commemorative events in more than 100 countries in the world.?
This year’s celebration focused on the theme of social dialogue on decent work for a fair globalization. Worldwide, more than 100 countries will join, launching a global initiative aimed at fostering hope and action for an embattled world of work.
Local events took many forms, from dialogues involving labour, employers and governments to heads of state, parliamentarians, academics, and civil society.? These Read more

A brief history of Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2009

Mohammad Shahidul Islam
Every year February 14th is celebrated as a day for love, exchange of gifts, promises of eternal passion, and more. True lovers pen poems inspired by their love and admiration for the women of their dreams while others just go to shops and buy cards with verses. Students of universities enjoy the whole day, make fun and take lunch with special ones.
The history of Valentine’s Day is interesting. In ancient times, Romans celebrated in February a festival to honour the god of fertility who provided them with progeny and ensured a god crop. In Rome February 15th was celebrated as Read more

‘Obama effect’ vis-a-vis Bangladesh

January 24, 2009

Sadeq Khan
By classical military definition, the winner in a battle is the army that remains on the battlefield when the battle is over. The Hamas leadership in the Gaza strip still stands, suffering and resisting over three weeks of savage attacks, carnage and ruination by the mighty Israeli war machine.
Israeli writer and peace activist Uri Anvery commented in Counterpunch, January 19 issue: “The planners of the war (in Gaza) chose the timing with care: during the holidays, when everybody was on vacation, and while President Bush was still around. But they somehow forgot to take into consideration a fateful Read more

Nepal proceeding towards a republic

January 17, 2009

Shamsuddin Ahmed
Nepal is undergoing significant changes. Maoists, who came to power through an election last year, have recently adopted a political declaration to turn the country unto a people’s republic in line with China. They have started unification of left parties. Communist (Unity Centre) merged with the Maoist on Tuesday (January 13) and Masal Group was integrated few days ago. Renamed as Unified CPN (Maoist), the party now feels stronger.
Meanwhile, a Chinese team visited Kathmandu this week to discuss construction of a dry port at Larcha on Tibet border, opposite Tatopani in Nepal, at a cost of US$ 12.5 million. It is expected to reduce Read more

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