Daily news round-up

BANGLADESH

In a country that is already facing massive power shortages, the national bank is encouraging raising prices:

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has suggested the government to hike power price keeping separate tariff structure for the low-income group.  “The high cost quick rental option needed for urgent augmentation of power generation has heightened the urgency of increase in prices of energy, to keep budgetary subsidy burdens sustainable,” said the Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) of BB released yesterday.

The Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami is under investigation for its alleged ties to Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), but it denies any links:

Denying involvement of Jamaat with militant organisation JMB, he said the allegations in the reports that movement of JMB is being conducted under the supervision of Jamaat and its constitution, books, leaflets and other publication being published in support of Jamaat are false and baseless. Jamaat does not give any support to JMB. So, the allegations in the reports which were published in different dailies on Monday are biased and motivated,” Prof Tasnim said.

Powerloom workers have gone out on strike in Bangladesh.  The rhetoric of the mill owners is patently ridiculous:

Nannu Ali Khan the general secretary of Chouala Textile Mill Owners’ Association said that some so-called labours were getting benefits by this strike but the general labourers were being sufferers.

A.K Fazlul Haque, President of the District Textile Mills Owners’ Association said a section of terrorists in disguise of labourers have forced mills shut down since Monday.

The general labourers wanted to work, but they could not join their respective work as the terrorists threatened on them.

He claimed that labourers in textile and powerlooms of the district enjoy more facilities comparing to other parts of the country.

PAKISTAN

The BBC reports on the new aid package to Pakistan:

The projects, which include the building of two hydroelectric dams, are part of a five-year $7.5bn aid package agreed by the US Congress last year.

This has to be compared with a New York Times piece which is quite critical of American aid packages to Pakistan and argues that the US essentially subsidizes the non-payment of taxes by Pakistan’s rich:

Mr. Zaidi blames the United States and its perpetual bailouts of Pakistan for the minuscule tax revenues from rich and poor alike. “The Americans should say: ‘Enough. Sort it out yourselves. Get your house in order first,’ ” he argued. “But you are cowards. You are afraid to take that chance.”

The New York Times also ran a blog piece that talked about the use of Hijras as effective tax collectors.

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Greg Bruno explains why the drone attacks continue in Pakistan (and has an excellent summary of the debate about the uses of unarmed aerial vehicles):

In March 2009, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry declared the strikes “a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty” that are “counterproductive.” But as Kronstadt notes, officials from both countries may have reached a quiet understanding in the fall of 2008; at least three Predators that can be operated by the CIA are reportedly deployed to a secret Pakistani airbase, he writes. “It used to be that we’d see statements going all the way to the level of outrage,” Kronstadt said in an interview with CFR.org. “We’re simply not seeing that anymore.”

KASHMIR

The cycle of curfews and protests are continuing in Kashmir:

Srinagar: A curfew-like situation prevailed in Kashmir on Sunday as separatists enforced a shutdown while the authorities imposed curfew on Sopore and prohibitory orders in the rest of the Valley to maintain law and order.  The hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, led by its jailed leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, had called for the shutdown in the valley to protest against the killing of several youths in the past one month.

NDTV coverage of Kashmir is infuriatingly obtuse.  Kashmiris are always mobs; irresponsible police actions are always “under investigation” indefinitely:

Police said the incident took place when locals mobbed an armoured vehicle in Baramulla town, to protest against the mysterious death of a boy, who drowned in the Jehlum river on Saturday.

The mob, which was defying curfew and prohibitory orders, started pelting stones at security personnel and also attempted to set the armoured vehicle on fire, they said.

The mob took to streets after the body of Faizan Ahmad Buhroo, a class 7th student, was fished out from river Jhelum – two days after he reportedly drowned when he was reportedly  fleeing from police following a clash.

Frontline argues that the rebellion is political and not simply the response of young people without access to resources or terrorists:

Meeting one such stone-thrower in the Khanyar area of Srinagar gives one an inkling of the new rebellion that is taking shape in Kashmir, which those at the helm seem to have underestimated. This anger has nothing to do with Omar Abdullah being the Chief Minister, though in the past weeks people have held him responsible for fresh blood being spilled on the streets of the valley. It is largely connected with the sense that the “Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved” and “Kashmiris are being pushed to the wall”. “I am throwing stones to ensure azadi [freedom] and not for a money. I am not a terrorist because I don’t hold a gun,” says Haroon Ahmad (name changed), a graduate from a local college. “I have no remorse about what I do,” he says. Every morning he conducts a meeting of his friends and determines the “day’s strategy”. When asked whether he fears for his life, he says, “I know I can get killed any time but I do not care.” His friends echo the sentiment.

INDIA

Mukesh Ambani has been appointed to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals group:

New Delhi: Reliance Industries Limited chief Mukesh Ambani has been chosen by the United Nations as a member of a key advocacy group on Millennium Development Goals (MDG), whose mandate includes finding ways to fight socio-economic evils such as poverty.  Mr. Ambani is the only Indian to be a part of the MDG Advocacy Group that comprises eminent international personalities including Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, philanthropist Ted Turner and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, among others.

Mitu Sengupta reports on the troubling effects of the transformation of Delhi in advance of the Commonwealth Games:

A Right to Information (RTI) application filed for the HLRN study has uncovered a deluge of worrying information.  Funds reserved for helping marginalized communities (under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan, 2009-2010) were allegedly diverted to cover expenditures related to the CWG.  Over 100,000 families have already been evicted in order to make space for CWG-related projects, and a further 30,000 to 40,000 are on the cusp of being displaced and ‘relocated’ (in other words, shunted off to the outskirts of the city, where they face grueling commutes to work and disrupted schooling for their children).  The HLRN also reports that ‘beggars’ and homeless citizens are being arrested and arbitrarily detained under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959, an archaic piece of legislation that was imported to Delhi in 1960.

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