Friday, March 9, 2012

Joseph Kony is not in Uganda (and other complicated things)

BNP’S DHAKA 12 MARCH : Political tension heightens

With the nation apprehending a flare of violence in a high voltage political tension, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has threatened to issue an ultimatum to the government from their March 12 grand rally.
The rally is scheduled to exert pressure on the government for the restoration of the non-party caretaker system that was scrapped through an amendment to the Constitution in June last year. 
The rally is scheduled to exert pressure on the government for the restoration of the non-party caretaker system that was scrapped through an amendment to the Constitution in June last year.
After the meeting with Begum Zia on Wednesday night, alliance leaders said they have agreed upon issuing an ultimatum to the government to revive the caretaker government system. They have also discussed expansion of the four-party alliance making way for like-minded parties to wage a combined movement against the “neo-autocracy‘.

After her meeting with the four-party alliance leaders, Khaleda Zia held a meeting with other like-minded political parties, including JAGPA, NPP, NDP, LDP, Labour Party, Islamic Party and Muslim League. 
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia earlier made it clear that the March 12 ‘Dhaka Cholo’ march will be a warning to the government and the opposition alliance would opt for the future course of action if the ruling party fails to go by her demands.
Khaleda asked the government to refrain from obstructing the Dhaka Cholo march or announcing any counter programme on that very day. She warned that the government will have to shoulder the responsibility for any untoward incidents.
AL sees it a conspiracy
However, Awami League and its coalition partners have launched a massive campaign identifying the opposition Dhaka March programme as a move to obstruct the trial of war crimes that the government have initiated. 
Winding up a discussion in Parliament, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday called upon all sections of people, particularly the freedom fighters and the young generation, to build up a resistance against “those who are trying to protect the anti-liberation elements don’t believe in the independence of the country.” 
Skeikh Hasina on an earlier occasion also expressed her apprehension that BNP was conspiring to stage ‘genocide’ on March 12 taking the path of the Pakistani occupation army to save the Rajakars.
The ruling Awami League is also fortifying its camp with intensified organisational activities and directives to its units to tackle opposition’s “anarchy” on March 12.
The AL’s associate bodies including Chhatra League, Jubo League, Sechchhasebok League, Krishak League,Tanti League, Juba Mahila League and Awami Ainjibi Parishad—are also asked to take preparation from union level units to the central level.
Especially, party units in the capital city Dhaka and its surrounding districts have been brought under the direct command of the high-ups in the wake of opposition Dhaka Cholo programme
The AL chief held separate meetings with the leaders of the party’s central committee and associate bodies, and asked them to supervise the organisational activities round the clock.
To make sure participation of all partners of her grand alliance, Sheikh Hasina also asked HM Ershad to ensure JP’s participation in March 9 human chain in all districts, March 11 programme in Dhaka and also in the 14-party grand rally on March 14.
Urging the BNP to withdraw its programme, AL acting General Secretary Mahbub- ul-Alam Hanif asked BNP to immediately withdraw the March 12 mass rally, otherwise, he warned:  “people will give you a tough lesson.” 
The ruling party also organised a showdown in the city on March 7 to boost the moral of the party members and show its muscle to the opposition.
Police actions 
In line with political campaign, police have launched crackdown on the opposition BNP-Jamaat activists in the wake of the BNP’s much-publicised ‘Dhaka Cholo’ programme on March 12.
Police continues to conduct raids in different parts of the city based on reports of intelligence agencies about BNP’s preparation to mobilize huge people in the capital.
In Dhaka city, law-enforcing agencies, including police and RAB, have been conducting raids on various residential hotels, student dormitories, messes and other places of accommodation to find out if political workers have taken shelter there for attending the March 12 grand rally. 
“Vigilance has been beefed up at those places ahead of the BNP’s grand rally on Mar 12. Various drives have also launched in some areas,” RAB’s legal and media wing director M Sohael told the media.
Police have also asked authorities of hotels and community centres not to rent rooms to opposition workers before or on March 12 without permission of the police administration. 
Police already picked up many BNP workers from different parts of city and elsewhere in the country to frustrate the Dhaka Cholo programme. Failing to nab some party leaders, police even picked up their close relatives, BNP alleged. 
Opposition chief whip ZainulAbdin Farroque alleged “police is now conducting raids in the residences of the leaders and workers of BNP and other like minded parties with an intention to foil the March 12 Dhaka Cholo programme. 
BNP to stay on road 
Vowing to make the programme successful, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said they would stay on the streets if the hotels are not available for the opposition men.
Meanwhile, two general diaries (GDs) have been filed against BNP Acting Secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Sadeque Hossain Khoka apprehending harm to ministers and people in general during BNP’s Mar 12 grand rally in the capital.
Two pro-Awami League lawyers, Anwar Shahadat Shawon and Sheikh Ali Ahmed, filed the GDs with Ramna and Paltan police stations ahead of the main opposition’s grand rally.
BNP Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged the government has launched a negative campaign to foil BNP’s grand rally scheduled for March 12. 
“The government has resorted to the old technique of negative campaign. They are trying to foil the rally by spreading that the grand rally would lead to violence and anarchy,” Fakhrul told a press briefing on Wednesday.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir expressed apprehension that the government agents might conduct subversive activities at the BNP March 12 grand rally and put the blame on BNP.
BNP Dhaka city unit convener Sadeque Hossain Khoka also alleged that the government was creating obstacles to his party’s ‘Dhaka Cholo’ programme slated for March 12. 
Khoka said the government did not give them permission to hold the grand rally at Paltan Maidan or at Manik Mia Avenue. He said police went far to obstruct renting community centres in the capital or book hotels for the party people for overnight stay. 
Khoka said BNP will hold the grand rally in front of the party’s central office at Naya Paltan. “It will be stretched from Madhumita Cinema Hall to PG Hospital and from Nawababpur road to Malibagh which will also be the ever biggest programme of Bangladesh,” he said. 
“The March 12 programme would, be absolutely peaceful if the government wants so and if the government makes no provocation” said Jamaat leaders at their joint meeting in the city on Thursday. They asked the party workers of all levels to remain active in making the programme a grand success. 
The opposition alliance said they do not want to oust the government through March 12 programme but to make people be informed and aware of the government’s various mischief. 
BY :   Abdur Rahman Khan.

Afghanistan opens first women-only internet cafe

Afghanistan opened its first female-only internet cafe on Thursday, hoping to give women a chance to connect to the world without verbal and sexual harassment and free from the unwanted gazes of their countrymen.

Swarms of hijab-wearing young visitors poured into the small cafe on a quiet street in central Kabul on International Women's Day in a country where women still face enormous struggles even though the Taliban were toppled over a decade ago.

"We wanted women to not be afraid, to create a safe place for women to use the internet," said Aqlima Moradi, a 25-year-old medical student and member of Afghan activist group YoungWomen4Change, which set up the cafe.

Spray-painted in bright colors with smilies, birds and Facebook and Yahoo logos, the modest cafe was named after Sahar Gul, a 15-year-old Afghan girl who was brutally tortured last year by her in-laws for refusing to become a prostitute.

"There are a lot of Sahar Guls in Afghanistan. There are women every day facing violence," said Mohammad Jawad Alizada, 29, who oversaw the cafe's creation and is a volunteer from the male advocacy wing of the group.

"For as long as I can remember, Afghan women have had no rights. She (Gul) is a brave girl who stood up for herself. It is her bravery and her courage that we want to honor here," Alizada, who also works as a social research analyst at a U.S. company in Kabul, told Reuters.

While Afghan women have gained back basic rights in education, voting and work since the Taliban were toppled in 2001, their future remains highly uncertain as Afghan and U.S. officials seek to negotiate with the Taliban to ensure stability after foreign combat troops leave by end-2014.

At the net cafe's opening, high school student Sana Seerat bemoaned the lack of attention given to women: "We never have things that are just for women, everything in Afghanistan is always for men. But we are the same, equal".

Project manager Zainab Paiman applauded the cafe initiative, but said dividing the sexes could lead to further oppression of women. "We should work on harassment together. If we do things separately then we will have to continue this in future," she said, sporting a polka dot headscarf and long floral skirt.


Organizers said a British charity donated the cafe's 15 used laptops, which sit on low wooden tables surrounded by cushions where women can sit and work for the reduced fee of 50 Afghanis ($1) an hour, much less than the rates in other net cafes.

Fundraising both at home and abroad secured the approximate $1,000 a month needed for the near future to run the cafe, purposely situated near a girls' high school, although it hopes to become self-sustaining in the future.

Like other projects designed to help women in Afghanistan, from business to culture and education, there is fear of threats and violence from the Taliban, who banned women from most work and forbade them to leave their homes without a male relative.

"There will always be threats. We're not going to say we are not worried. But we can't stop because of that," Alizada said of the cafe, which has painted windows and is discreetly marked.

There is now concern among some Western officials, activists and female Afghan lawmakers that women's rights in Afghanistan could be compromised under any power-sharing deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Activists were outraged this week when President Hamid Karzai backed recommendations from his powerful clerics, the Ulema Council, to segregate the sexes and allow husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances, reminiscent of Taliban rule.

"We were so shocked by this. Karzai is an educated man, he should know that men and women are equal," said teenager Seerat.

Source :

Dravid retires, sad but proud

Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international cricket on Friday, ending a career that underpinned India's rise to the top of the sport. Dravid, 39, who said he was leaving the game sad but proud, announced his decision at a press conference in Bangalore that was also attended by N Srinivasan, the BCCI president. 

Dravid became the first of India's senior-most cricketers - including Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman - to quit the game after a season of speculation surrounding their future. His decision follows a poor tour of Australia but he enjoyed a prolific run through 2011, scoring five centuries - including four in the Caribbean and England. However, he is set to captain Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming IPL season. 

The first public tribute came from Tendulkar, who said no tribute was enough for the "one and only" Dravid. "There was and is only one Rahul Dravid. There can be no other. I will miss Rahul in the dressing room and out in the middle," he said.

Dravid, who made his debut at Lord's in 1996, scoring 95, ended his career as one of the greatest players of his generation and among the most accomplished ever. He scored 13,288 Test runs - behind only Tendulkar - in 164 matches, with 36 hundreds at an average of 52.31. His ODI career, which effectively ended in 2008 with a brief reprisal in 2011, was scarcely less successful - it yielded more than 10,000 runs and 12 centuries. He also has 210 catches, a Test record, in addition to 196 catches in ODIs. 

Behind the statistics, he will be remembered as the consummate team player, moving around in the batting order to suit the team's requirements and keeping wickets when necessary - most strikingly in ODIs, when his double role gave the team balance on its way to the World Cup final in 2003. His remarkable fitness allowed him to play 93 consecutive Tests from his debut to December 2005. 

He will be remembered as one of the last classical Test match batsmen, renowned for his technique and a willingness to bat through difficult circumstances - and over prolonged periods - yet able to stroke the ball around when the mood struck him. He was the anchor of India's famous middle-order, keeping the innings together while the strokeplayers - Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly - played a more attacking role. He appeared to especially flourish in partnership with Laxman, never more so than in the Eden Gardens Test of 2001. 

His batting qualities and efforts were often overshadowed by the flair of his team-mates yet they were brought into sharp focus over the past year with India's Test team struggling through a period of transition. Dravid showed his class on the tour to England in 2011. In a series in which India were completely outplayed and none of their other batsmen scored more than 275 runs in the Tests, Dravid amassed 461, including three hundreds, two of them when opening the innings against a high-quality pace attack. However, that was followed by a poor series in Australia, which reopened the debate about his retirement. 

As a captain Dravid had mixed success; he led India in 25 Tests, winning eight and losing six. Under him India cemented a newly won reputation for being good travellers, winning Test series in Pakistan in 2003-04 - he captained in two out of three Tests - West Indies in 2006 and in England in 2007. His captaincy coincided with Greg Chappell's controversial term as coach, though, and Dravid was clearly uncomfortable with the role. 

Yet he was seen as one of the game's thinkers, meriting a place on the MCC's cricket committee and delivering the Bradman Oration in December 2011 - the first cricketer from outside Australia to do so.