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Tag: Economy

Wahid Adnan Wins Award of Excellence in CPOY


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Story: Graphics of Deadliest Crash
Graphics of Deadliest Crash
Angry protesters took to the streets as the Dhaka stocks have crashed by a record 551 points marking a 6.71 percent decrease in late December 2010. The stocks began to plummet almost immediately after trading began in the morning and plummeted by almost 200 points within an hour. The general index ended at 7654 by the close of the session. Dhaka, Bangladesh.

CONCLUDING PART: The Federal Reserve Bank. America's privately-owned central bank

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By rahnuma ahmed


It is not only the American corporate media which keeps the lid on the Federal Reserve System — since, contrary to what most ?Americans believe, it is `not federal’, has `no reserve’, is `not even a bank’ but actually a banking cartel which serves and furthers the interests of the wealthiest men in the world ? American universities too play their role. As Stephen Lendman points out, his MBA curriculum 46 years ago, had `left out the most important parts of the story and never hinted at anything sinister about how the banking system works in fact’ (The Federal Reserve, Z Magazine, June 29, 2006).

A similar situation seemingly prevails in the UK, for, when I asked a relative who teaches business and finance at a British university about who owns the Bank of England, I was told, its nationalised. Its a public organisation wholly-owned by the government. ?Corroborating the official storyline secured in place by the powers-that-be, reflected in the Bank’s website: ?’As a public organisation, wholly-owned by Government, and with a significant public policy role, the Bank is accountable to Parliament.’
But this account ? unfailingly subscribed to by most Brits, `You ask the question, Who Owns The Bank Of England? to one thousand Britons, and I kid you not, all of them will say that it is owned by the Government’ (The Tap Blog, February 27, 2010) ? glosses over actualities. For instance, the setting up of? a wholly owned subsidiary called Bank of Nominees Limited (BOEN), a private limited company, by the Bank of England in 1977, which was granted an exemption from disclosing its shareholders. ‘It was considered undesirable that the disclosure requirements should apply to certain categories of shareholders.’ This exemption is separate to the fact that the Bank of England is also protected by its Royal Charter status, and the Official Secrets Act. To put it briefly, members of the British public are ‘not allowed to know who the shareholders are who own the company which carries out Central Banking in the UK.’

Magnum Foundation Interview

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Conversation between Shehab Uddin and Shahidul Alam


Champa with her son Ridoy, running to meet me. At first, she was very reluctant but soon she became quite willing, to pose in front of the camera. To trust or distrust some one is a matter of whimsy for her like others pavements dwellers. 2008, Kamalapur Railway Station, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Shehab Uddin/Drik/Majority World

UDDIN: I’m a freelance photographer in Bangladesh and I first met Shahidul in 1998. At that time I was in my hometown in Khulna. Shahidul, who also moved to Bangladesh a few years earlier was organizing all the photographers here. So it was a great moment for me to meet him.

After that, I came to Dhaka in 1990 and I joined a newspaper here. In 2005 I decided that work in the newspaper was not right for me, and I had the opportunity to join Drik and work directly with Shahidul. So I took the opportunity and worked there as a photographer. It was really a milestone, and a breakthrough for me.
ALAM: The agency [Drik] was set up primarily because we were very concerned that countries like Bangladesh, which some have called “third-world countries” and we choose to call “majority-world countries,” have been portrayed almost invariably through a very narrow lens. It worries me that Bangladesh has become in the eyes of many, an icon of poverty. The reality is something we cannot ignore. Shehab shows it through his work and I have no intention of wallpapering over the problems we have. What I do have a serious problem with is when people are denied their humanity and become icons of poverty; they become lesser human beings.
The agency was set up because we wanted to tell stories that got across the richness and the diversity of people’s lives and we realized the story had to be told by people who had empathy for the subject. So it was a platform for local practitioners. And that’s the birth of Drik. But when we started, we realized that a lot of the photography infrastructure a Western agency has acess to, was not available to us. So we started creating some of that infrastructure here. Later on we also began developing educational structures that could foster new talents. We are one of the few agencies in the world that has two galleries of its own, runs a school of photography, and runs its own photography festival; I do not know of a single other agency in the world that does anything of this type. But all of that is really part and parcel of Drik’s photography-philosophy–in telling rich and diverse stories without compromising the subject’s humanity–we just had to create a whole space for ourselves. And now we are telling our own stories.

De-energising Bangladesh

by rahnuma ahmed

In the end, treachery will betray even itself.
Roman proverb
When the prime minister, the finance minister etc., not known for being democratically-oriented, feel obliged to respond publicly according to the terms and conditions set by the National Oil-Gas Committee, it is clear that the tide is shifting.
It is clear that? the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports (NCPOGMR) has made a significant impact on public consciousness. That there is a growing national awareness of the issue of ownership of natural resources; of the terms on which production sharing contracts are signed with international oil companies (IOCs); a growing suspicion that exporting extracted gas may not be the best way of solving the nation’s energy shortfall. More precisely, of the hollowness of the government’s reasoning as to why gas blocks need to be, must necessarily be, leased out to multinational companies.? More broadly, of whether the nation’s ruling class, regardless of which political party is in power, does act in the interests of the nation, of its people.
It is clear from what top ruling party leaders are now obliged to say, to repeatedly say, we are patriotic, we are not treacherous, that they have been forced to cede ground.
It is clear that a moral battle has been won.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the Noblest of them all?

by rahnuma ahmed

I’d thought of writing about the Nobel Laureate’s ouster from Grameen Bank last week, but fever intervened.

Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Muhammad Yunus, right and Grameen Bank represented by Mosammat Taslima Begum hold the Nobel medal and diploma during the award ceremony at Oslo Town Hall Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006. (AP)


Mine has receded, the government’s however, has not. Their’s is prolonged, one that continues. High state and party functionaries have repeatedly spoken of “irregularities” with a feverish zeal as the Bangladesh Bank relieved Dr Muhammad Yunus of his duties as managing director of Grameen Bank.
He had violated the country’s retirement law, they said. Sixty years is the age limit but Yunus was 70. This made him “too old” to be Grameen Bank’s chief, said the finance minister. He should have left ten years ago, said the Bangladesh Bank, instead of staying on “illegally”for an extra ten years.
In a writ filed at the High Court, Yunus’ defence lawyers argued that the Bangladesh Bank’s directive was illegal. No show cause notice had been served, this made his removal “illegal, malafide and arbitrary.” A week later, on 8th March, Dr Yunus lost his High Court appeal when the judge ruled, ?Professor Yunus has been continuing in his job with no legal basis, therefore his petition has been rejected.? ?Neither Yunus nor any of his senior lawyers were present at the court. ?In recent months, the independence of the judiciary has been a matter of grave concern.
Yunus and 9 members of the board of directors have filed an appeal with the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s order. A full bench hearing is scheduled for March 15. The HC’s decision was “entirely perverse” said Dr Yunus and the members of his board, it was passed without issuing any ruling.
The alignment of local, national and global influentials against, and in support of, Yunus is telling. The prime minister’s son Sajeeb Wajed, in an e-mail sent to international agencies, human rights organisations, US state department officials and prominent persons, wrote: Yunus’ only stature in Bangladesh is that of a “Nobel prize winner,” politically-speaking, he’s a “non-entity.” Accusing the Grameen Bank of “massive financial improprieties,” “tax evasion” and “embezzlement,” Sajeeb reminded us that despite being “criminal” offences, the government has not taken any “punitive” action against Yunus. It’s only concern is to “prevent further abuse of microcredit borrowers.” (dated March 5, 2011).
As I read the e-mail, I mulled, is this not the same prime ministerial offspring against whom allegations of taking a $2 million bribe from Chevron surfaced recently? A deal reportedly brokered by Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, the prime minister’s energy advisor, a la, also, of WikiLeaks fame? (`People’s resistance to global capital and government collaboration is vindicated,’ WikiLeaks Bangladesh I, New Age, December 27, 2010). ?Did not the news item (December 17, 2010) later land the editor of Amar Desh in jail? At least, that’s the connection made by some.
Bangladesh Chhatra League activists manhandle Grameen Bank staff and stakeholders who were holding a human chain in front of BM College in Barisal, March 11, 2011. Photo: Daily Star