Showing posts from December, 2008

Democracy Returns in Bangladesh

Sheikh Hasina Wajed's Awami league won the Bangladesh elections on 30th December 2008 with an overwhelming majority. As a winner of the first parliamentary elections in seven years, she has urged her defeated rival, Khaleda Zia, who leads the rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to accept the results. Hasina has offered cabinet posts to the BNP in return for cooperation. "I think she should accept the people's verdict because this election is a free, fair and transparent election," said Hasina. The Awami League leader said: "We call upon all who participated in the election, that in a parliamentary election, we can all work together. I'm ready to work with everybody." Bangladesh Awami League has secured more than 260 seats in parliament, while BNP won 31. In 2001 elections, the BNP had got landslide victory. The BNP-led alliance has complained of rigging at more than 200 polling stations. Backdrop In the aftermath of the the withdrawal of t

Alternatives to US Domination: Prof. Mahmood Mamdani

At the Press Club of India on 30 December 2008 an unusual lecture on 'The World before and after 9/11: alternatives to US domination' by Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, the author of Good Muslim Bad Muslim: America and the Roots of Terror traced the origin of political Islam in South Asia to the political struggles of 1857. His wife Mira Nair, the Film Director was also present along with the academia and media persons. Mamdani referred to the influence of Jamaluddin Afghani of Iran, Abu ala Mawdudi and Syed Qutb on political Islam and said, "When I read Syed Qutb’s ’Milestones’, particularly the introduction where he says he wrote it for an Islamic vanguard, I thought I was reading Lenin’s ’What is to be Done?’ When I read the main text, particularly Qutb’s distinction between friend and enemy, a friend as one with whom you must use persuasion but an enemy as one who needs to be dealt with by force, I was reminded of Mao ze Dong’s distinction in his essay ’On the Correct Handli

Turkey, Egypt call on Israel immediately to stop Gaza air strikes

Turkey and Egypt has called on Israel immediately to stop bombs and killings in Gaza, killing more than 300 Palestinians. The Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit made a call for immediate cease-fire in Gaza. Babacan and Gheit held a joint press conference following a tete-a-tete meeting at the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday. "We discussed the developments in Gaza and exchanged opinions on the situation in the region," Babacan said. "In our meeting today, we evaluated what Turkey and Egypt, two influential countries in the region, can do," Babacan said. "A large number of Palestinians lost lives due to Israel's attack on Gaza. More than 300 people have been killed and hundreds of others were injured in Israel's attacks," Babacan said. "The developments in the region may hurt the regional stability. The peoples of the region are in a mood of anger. The tenseful atmosphere must be

‘Terrorism, Rule of Law & Human Rights’: Chief Justice

International conference of jurists on ‘Terrorism, Rule of Law & Human Rights’ Speech by Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of India Dr. Manmohan Singh / Sh. H.R. Bhardawaj / Esteemed colleagues / members of the bar / Ladies and Gentleman, From our recent experience, we have learnt that terrorist attacks against innocent and unsuspecting civilians threaten the preservation of rule of law as well as human rights. Terrorism can broadly be identified with the use of violent methods in place of the ordinary tools of civic engagement and political participation. It has become an increasingly recurrent strategy for insurgent movements as well as identity-based groups to make their voice heard through armed attacks and bomb blasts in place of public dialogue. Independent India is no stranger to the problem of tackling armed terrorists and has faced long-running insurgencies as well as sporadic attacks in many parts of the country. However, in the age of easy internat

Failure of the WTO & UN Model

Today, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy called off his latest attempts to push through a conclusion to the Doha Round of WTO expansion by suspending his call for yet another “mini-Ministerial” meeting this month in Geneva. Talks aimed at building enough consensus to justify the potential mini-Ministerial broke down this week over additional US demands that developing countries, particularly China and Brazil, reduce their tariffs on certain sectors of industrial goods in their economies to zero. This “market access” demand was even more extreme than the US position in July, which was already viewed by developing countries as too aggressive, given the lack of relative ambition in US and European offers on agriculture. What is needed now is a significant roll-back of WTO rules so that our government can provide solutions to the Food, Financial, and Economic Crises – and so that governments worldwide can develop a new set of rules to discipline predatory and speculative global investor

Most influential politicians

These statesmen have had a powerful impact on global politics, economics and the chemical industry. How will they play their hands in 2009? Gordon Brown, UK prime minister Brown has been at the forefront of global economic rescue attempts, including bank bailouts and fiscal stimulus moves with the G20 group of industrialized and developing nations. Barack Obama, US president-elect The 44th president of the US faces the challenge of dealing with the worst recession in a generation. Many fear he will rewrite US energy policy with potentially expensive alternatives and increase regulations. He is already calling for immediate action to curb emissions. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California governor He has rallied world leaders to call for action on global warming. In November, he convened the Governors' Global Climate Summit, where 12 other US governors and regional leaders in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, India and Indonesia pledged to work together. Vladimir Putin , Russian prime minist

Defending VS Achuthanandan

Defending VS Achuthanandan is almost like defending sanity After revealing its true colours by covering Hotel attacks and ignoring Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Teeror Attack, media reveals its bias by unfairly targeting VS Achuthanandan, Chief Minister, Kerala. Achuthanandan is the man of the masses, media likes only man of certain classes. Unlike CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, Achuthanandan is known for his honesty. Prakash Karat should have stood by Achuthanandan when media, opposition and vested interests misrepresented his visit to a martyr's house. Interestingly, Karat chose to remain silent when Singur and Nandigram happened in West Bengal. Unlike Buddhdev Bhattacharya, Achuthanandan is not a psuedo communist. Unfortunately, political parties of all ilk find such people inconvinent. Achuthanandan deserves praise for the eviction of encroachers from Munnar hill station. In the first phase of the eviction, about 16,000 acres of government land, encroach