Quelling anti-Rampal protests (with South Korean assistance)

rahnuma ahmed

It was a peaceful procession.
We had gathered under the aegis of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, outside the National Press Club in Dhaka, on October 19, 2016. After a brief rally, where speakers described the harm that the Rampal coal power plant would cause the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest straddling both sides of the Bangladesh-India border, we formed a procession, raised slogans and proceeded toward the Indian High Commission in Gulshan to deliver an open letter for the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.
Since India is the major partner in building the Maitree Super Thermal Power Project, i.e., the Rampal coal power plant, the National Committee’s open letter called on the Indian prime minister to scrap the project.
It’s not only us. Forty-one Indian people’s movements, green and civil rights organisations have called on Narendra Modi to scrap the the project. So has the Unesco and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A Unesco statement recommended the ‘Rampal power plant project be cancelled and relocated to a more suitable location’ as it could damage the world heritage site, home to 450 Royal Bengal tigers, expose downriver forests to pollution and acid rain, threaten the breeding grounds of Ganges and Irrawaddy river dolphins, far worsen the already liminal ecosystem which is being threatened by rising sea levels (The Guardian, October 18, 2016). Three large French banks, including BNP Paribas, a sponsor of the Paris climate summit in 2015, have refused to invest, while two Norwegian pension funds have withdrawn their investment. Continue reading “Quelling anti-Rampal protests (with South Korean assistance)”

RESISTING RAMPAL

‘Go back NTPC, get out India’
rahnuma ahmed

Dhaka, Bangladesh, August 20, 2016. ? Taslima Akhter
Dhaka, Bangladesh, August 20, 2016. © Taslima Akhter

Of all the slogans raised in protest against the coal power plant being built at Rampal in Bagerhat, this one’s the best. Continue reading “RESISTING RAMPAL”

Save Sunderbans: Global Protest 7th Jan 17

The Price of Gratitude
It is where the Bengal Tiger, now close to extinction, still stalks. It is where deer roam and hummingbirds fly. It is the richest terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem anywhere. Sunderbans (“beautiful forest” in Bangla), the world’s largest single tract mangrove forest is a UNESCO-declared World Heritage that has sheltered 50 million coastal people from ravaging storms. The beautiful forest is in danger. The joint project of PDB (Bangladesh) and NTPC (India) for 1320 MW Rampal imported coal-fired power plant spells disaster for Bangladesh. Thousands have taken to the streets in protest, braving arrest and torture, but the government, who have already killed protesters of other energy projects are determined to bludgeon through. We need you and we need you now.
On the 7th January 2017, we have called for a global protest. You have a role to play. Join the movement.
Stage demonstrations/human chains and send written appeals to the embassies of Bangladesh and India.
Organise bicycle rallies, boat rallies, use theatre, songs, cartoons, masks or just hold up placards. Send us your protest/solidarity video messages and photographs.
Appeal to United Nations.
Campaign to International Press/Media
Find other creative ways to resist.
Send them to: shahidul@drik.net and kallol_mustafa@yahoo.com. Share this message and make it go viral.

Open Letter to the Prime Minister of India

On behalf of the National Oil, Gas, Mineral Resource, Power and Port Protection Committee, Bangladesh

Engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah

Prof. Anu Muhammad, Member Secretary

Professor Anu Muhammad (centre) and Engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah (right)
Professor Anu Muhammad (centre) and Engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah (right). Photo Dhaka Tribune

October 18, 2016
The Honourable Prime Minister,
We respectfully address you with grave concern and anxiety. The people of Bangladesh today is sternly worried over the future of the Sundarbans, which not only happens to be the only protection barrage of the southern belt of Bangladesh, but also the largest Mangrove Forest of the world, as well as the most valuable ecological habitat of the country and the World Heritage Site. The joint venture of both India and Bangladesh to build a1320 MW capacity coal-fired power plant has caused much worry among the people of Bangladesh. Continue reading “Open Letter to the Prime Minister of India”

A Planet Made of Diamond

The 6 Most Mind-Blowing Things Ever Discovered in Space

It’s actually really easy to think of space as boring. The planets in our own solar system all seem to be empty rocks or balls of gas, and you find a whole lot of nothing before you get to the next star. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s most creative minds can’t get past populating the place with planets that look a whole lot like Earth (and specifically, parts of California) featuring monsters, rapey aliens or Muppets.

But real space is far, far stranger. You just have to know where to look to find things like …

Science fiction writers have this annoying thing they do where they can only think of like five different types of planets. You know, there’s the ice planets (like Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back) and the forest planets (like in Avatar), desert planets, lava planets, etc.

But scientists have studied almost 700 real planets outside the solar system, and some of them are downright gaudy. Case in point: PSR J1719-1438 b. Planet Fancy isn’t having any of that rocky gassy stuff. Because it’s straight up made of diamond:

Via?Inewp.com
It’s a wedding gem worthy of Jesus or the Sultan of Dubai.

How Is This Even Possible?

The universe’s biggest showoff actually used to be a star, and sometimes the debris that’s left over after the star dies starts a second career as a planet. In this case, Blingworld started off life as one of two parts of a binary star. The larger twin made like a bomb and supernova-ed. What was left behind was a pulsating star, or pulsar, and a white dwarf. The dwarf stabilized just far enough away from its former brother to lose matter to the bully but to keep its carbon core.

Via?Spaceflightnow.com
What a dick!

Carbon is just a shitload of heat and pressure away from becoming a diamond. On Earth, that happens underground and creates little shiny bits for people to dig up and cram into their jewelry. But in this particular spot in space, the conditions were just right for the entire interior of that former star to harden, crystallize and turn into a planet-sized gem.

Damn it, mankind’s single goal should now be to assemble a mission to tow this bastard back to Earth. There’s one pawn shop owner who’s going to be in for a big fucking surprise.

Photos.com
“Yeah, that’s cute. Get your telescope and come with me.”

#5. A Gigantic Rain Cloud

Here’s another thing you never see in space movies: water. The Millennium Falcon doesn’t have windshield wipers. The Enterprise’s huge display screen doesn’t get fogged up because they flew through a space cloud. If you saw that in a sci-fi movie (with the pilot all “Damn, I can’t see due to all of this space rain!”), you’d laugh your ass off. “Have these people even been to space?”

But, guess what: Scientists have found a big-ass pool of water just floating out there in the cosmos. This massive reservoir of floating space water vapor is in fact the biggest collection of water in the universe that we know of.

Photos.com
With the smallest concentration of child urine.

And when we say “big” we’re not talking Pacific Ocean big. We’re talking 100,000 times larger than the sun big. This is a vapor cloud so large it holds 140 trillion times more water than all of our oceans.

Photos.com
And you know what that means …?space sharks.

How Is This Even Possible?

As with everything else on this list, scientists are doing a lot of shrugging and guesstimating at what we’re actually looking at. After all, the water cloud is 10 billion light-years away, so it’s not like the next generation of astronauts are going to be packing their swimming trunks or anything. But they think that what’s going on is that there’s this massive black hole that’s chomping down on everything around it. Instead of spewing out energy like a normal black hole would, the black hole is excreting water vapor. Somehow. They’re still figuring it out.

Basically, picture the big black spot as a gaping mouth and the ring of water around as drool, and you get the idea:

Via?Universetoday.com
And all like, “Duuuuhhhh,” because black holes are stupid.

Or, if that image is disturbing, pretend the big black hole in the center is a space water park and the gassy ring around it is the universe’s most kickass lazy river.

OK, so you could totally wind up flying your spaceship through a rain cloud. But it’s not like flying through a thunderstorm. After all, there’s no lightning in space. Right?

#4. Lightning!

Wrong!

Scientists have known for a while that lightning isn’t unique to Earth. They’ve observed lightning on Mars and Saturn. What they didn’t know is that lightning could occur in the middle of goddamn space, with a force equal to a trillion lightning bolts, or to use the proper scientific terms, 50 million fucktons of electricity.

Via?Newscientist.com
Yeah, where’s your kite now, Benjamin?

That insane electrical current was discovered near galaxy 3C303. But is this huge electrical current serving as an outlet for God to plug in his blow dryer? No, it’s not doing anything that cool … it’s just firing a massive jet of electrified matter 150,000 light-years into outer space.

OK, so maybe referring to this as a lightning storm was underplaying it a bit. Instead, try imagining a single bolt of lightning 50 percent longer than the entire Milky Way galaxy.


Add a skull and the silhouette of a graveyard and you have yourself an ’80s metal album cover.

How Is This Even Possible?

Like most cool things in space, this electrical current is caused by a black hole, the prima donna of the universe. Astronomers speculate that a giant black hole in the center of 3C303 has an unusually strong magnetic field, which in turn generates a ridiculous amount of electricity.

Photos.com
Which in turn makes a wicked T-shirt design.

In fact, it’s the biggest burst of electrical current ever detected in the universe. Maybe that’s how we were able to pick it up from two billion freaking light-years away.

In pictures: India coal fires

Underground fires have been burning in the small dusty coal town of Jharia in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand for more than 80 years now. All efforts to put out the fires have been in vain. Photos: ©Arindam Mukherjee: BBC

Jharia coal fires
In places like Laltenganj, the fires are now burning overground. Continue reading “In pictures: India coal fires”

Phulbari: Santa visits GCM Resources, but investors are left wanting

By , City Diary Editor Telegraph

Environmental activist Ashley Feils was evicted from the GCM Resources AGM after presenting chairman Gerard Holden with a stocking full of coal

Continue reading “Phulbari: Santa visits GCM Resources, but investors are left wanting”

Protest against hike in energy prices

By Monirul Alam/The Daily Prothom Alo
Text: bdnews24.com
Police on Sunday foiled an attempt by the demonstrators of various left organisations to besiege the Ministry of Energy in protest against the hike in energy prices.
Witnesses said at least three activists were injured when police charged batons at them.
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) and Gonotantrik Baam Morcha activists attempted to march towards the ministry from the Press Club area at around 11am, but the police blocked the roads by placing barricades at the secretariat-press club link road.
Protestors attempted to break through but the police charged batons and lobbed tear gas shells to dispersed them.

DEC 30 2012 Dhaka.Bangladesh.The left-leaning parties Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) marching towards the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Sunday Dhaka to protest against the plans to hike energy prices. At least 10 activists were injured during a clash with police. ? Monirul Alam
The left-leaning parties Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) marched towards the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Sunday Dhaka to protest against the plans to hike energy prices. At least 10 activists were injured during clashes with police. 30th December 2012. Dhaka. Bangladesh ? Monirul Alam

An activist show their party flag and poster in front of press club.  The left-leaning parties Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) marching towards the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Sunday Dhaka to protest against the plans to hike energy prices. At least 10 activists were injured during a clash with police. 30th December 2012 Dhaka.Bangladesh.  ? Monirul Alam
An activist shows the party flag and poster in front of press club. The left-leaning parties Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) marched towards the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Sunday Dhaka to protest against the plans to hike energy prices. At least 10 activists were injured during clashes with police. 30th December 2012 Dhaka.Bangladesh. ? Monirul Alam
Continue reading “Protest against hike in energy prices”

An ode to Biswajit

Freedom fighter at Suhrwardy Uddyan. 26th March 2012. Dhaka. Bangladesh. Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

He stopped at every print. Getting close to scrutinise every character, pausing more at some that perhaps stirred a memory. He smiled broadly when I approached him. ?eto amar chobi tulsen? (it is me you?ve photographed) he said. This was his war. He remembered the pain the terror, the joy. He had never applied for registration. No card, no land, no perks. He had never been asked to speak at a dais extolling his glory. Victory being won, he had drifted out the way he had drifted in.

He was a Baul singer, living off the alms given by visitors to Suhrwardy Uddayan, where the deed of surrender had been signed on the 16th December 1971. He had no regrets for his lack of wealth, or for not having had his share of the spoils of war. It was our departure from the values that had driven him and his fellow muktijodhdhas (freedom fighters) that saddened him. He had a great love for Mujib, and felt we had let him down.

Continue reading “An ode to Biswajit”

Naomi Klein on Capitalism and Climate Change

November 15, 2012

The Shock Doctrine?author Naomi Klein joins Bill to discuss hurricanes, climate change and democracy.


BILL MOYERS: Welcome. The Sherlock Holmes of money in politics — Trevor Potter — is here with some clues to what the billionaires and super PACs got for their lavish spending in the most expensive election in our history. In a nutshell: “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
But first, if you’ve been curious about why New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama for re-election, just take another look at the widespread havoc caused by the Frankenstorm benignly named Sandy. Having surveyed all this damage?Bloomberg Business Week?concluded: ?It?s Global Warming, Stupid: If Hurricane Sandy doesn’t persuade Americans to get serious about climate change, nothing will.” Continue reading “Naomi Klein on Capitalism and Climate Change”