Archive | July, 2012

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Writ seeks Nepal PM’s ouster

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

A writ was filed in Nepal Supreme Court yesterday seeking the court’s directive order in the name of the president to remove Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and call for a new government formation.

The petitioners argue that PM Bhattarai should be removed from his post for his failure to inform the president right after he lost his parliamentary membership following the demise of the Constituent Assembly (CA) and request the president to form a consensus government as provisioned in the Interim Constitution.

Advocates Saroj Kumar Thapa and Parasmani Bhattarai have argued that it was necessary for the court, in the absence of parliament, to interpret the nature and scope of Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution that calls for formation of a consensus government.

The petitioners have also sought an order against the Election Commission for giving “ill advice��� to the government for holding fresh CA elections, even when there were no proper electoral laws in place and that the constitution was not amended for the purpose.

The defendants include President Ram Baran Yadav and his office, PM Bhattarai and Prime Minister’s Office, Election Commission and of the Parliament Secretariat.

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Introducing Fodors.com for Mobile

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

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We’re not sure if you noticed, but browsing Fodors.com on your phone just got awesome. We’re proud to announce that Fodors.com is now optimized for phones of all shapes and sizes. You’ll find it easier to use and navigate, offering quick access to all the relevant travel information, fascinating blog posts, and Forum conversations you’re accustomed to.

Many of you come to Fodors.com everyday to explore and discuss all things travel. And increasingly, you’re using mobile phones to do it. In fact, you’re our largest growing segment of users, representing ǹ% of our total traffic, up a whopping 168% over just a year ago!

So what fun features will you find primed for your phone?

Built for Touch

We’re saying goodbye to point and click and hello to touch and swipe. In our mobile design, you’ll find visual elements that are finger friendly and ready to tap.

Simplicity

Your phone has much less screen size than your desktop, so we had to make things easier for you to scan, read, and navigate. We’ve flowed our content into single columns and you can quickly navigate our entire site using a new drop down menu.

It Just Works

You don’t have to do anything special to experience the new Fodors.com for mobile. Simply go to Fodors.com from your phone’s browser and you’re done. Don’t worry, you can always switch back to the full desktop site at any time.

We’re excited to roll this out and look forward to your feedback! (No, but really. Have anything to tell us about this sweet new launch? Email us at news@fodors.com or leave a note in the comments below.)

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Insider’s Guide to Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, and Cobble Hill

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

By Bree Sposato

Looking for an idyllic day trip from Manhattan? These three neighborhoods are quiet by Brooklyn standards, but brimming with well-conceived restaurants, vintage shops, and wine bars.

Brooklyn Heights

Take the 2,3 to Clark Street; the M,R to Court Street-Borough Hall; or the 4,5 to Borough Hall. Check HopStop.com for weekend schedule changes.

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Food

American bistro Colonie is a beauty bedecked in rustic wood, brick walls, and a green wall that sprout 20 species of plants. Snag a seat at the candlelit chef’s table and try the egg salad with smoked marrow, scallops with spring peas, and salty caramel custard donuts.

Shops

Japanese shirts, crisp jeans, and tortoiseshell glasses spill out of vintage trunks and line the walls at menswear shop, Goose Barnacle, owned by David Alperin, who started out on Wall Street and ended up designing jewelry at FIT. You’ll find labels like the Swedish Svennson, Naked Famous, and Crate Denim. For women, there’s the longstanding Tango, which stocks blouses, blazers, skirts, and dresses from Theory, Max Mara, Elie Tahari, and more.

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Sights

When it first opened in 1883, most residents feared crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. Today, hundreds if not thousands pass its Gothic arches. For an in-depth guided walking tour, enlist the historians at Big Onion Tours. When the excursion wraps up, wander over to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a third-of-a-mile stretch with uninterrupted views of lower Manhattan along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Don’t forget to bring your camera.

Sips

If you’re looking to quench your thirst without a lot of fuss, the unassuming Henry Street Ale House draws a steady crowd for its 16 drafts, laid-back vibe, and two relatively unobtrusive TVs. Wine swillers, meanwhile, are better served at the Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar, which has an equally low-key atmosphere but an affordable selection of international wines like Sine Qua Non, Martinelli, and Chateau Montelena.

Carroll Gardens

Take the F to Fourth Avenue-9th Street; M, R to 9th Street-Fourth Avenue; F,G to Smith-9th Street; F to Carroll Street; or M,R to Union Street. Check HopStop.com for weekend schedule changes.

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Food

Tin ceilings? Check. Brick walls, roughly hewn wood tables, vintage-style menus? Check, check, check. On the hushed end of Court Street, Frankie’s 457 Spuntino gets the down-home formula right. Think anchovy and toasted garlic atop dandelion greens, lentil soup stirred with smoked bacon, and house-made gnocchi bursting with ricotta. Named for mile-long tidal strait between Brooklyn and Governors Island, Buttermilk Channel is all about comfort food, and serves (not surprisingly) buttermilk-fried chicken, hanger steak with black olives and beef jus, and an excellent house-ground burger with grilled onions and New York state cheddar cheese, in the airy, buttercup-yellow dining room. For brunch, locals swear by their short and tall stack pancakes drizzled in maple syrup.

Sweets Snacks

Remember that soda shop counter your grandma told you about? Owners Peter Freeman and Gia Giasullo bring it back with Brooklyn Farmacy, set in a restored 1920s pharmacy. Order one of the sodasâ€�all of which are made with Brooklyn-based PH Soda Co. Syrups—or my favorite, the egg cream. Everything here is fresh, local, and kid-friendly; and there’s space in the back for groups and private parties. Meanwhile, F. Monteleone Bakery speaks to the borough’s Italian heritage, with classics like pignolis, biscotti, napoleons, and ricotta cheesecake, all in gleaming glass display cases then boxed up with old-fashioned red-and-white spiraled string.

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Shop

One standout: Dear Fieldbinder, which draws creative types—writers, musicians, photographers—for its artistic approach to fashion. Co-owner and artist Lara Fieldbinder not only selects feminine—and often affordable—cuts from brands like Eberjey, Myne, Coclico, and more, but arranges them just so against the white walls and cabinets. You’ll also find a range of leather shoes and handbags.

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Sips

The result of a partnership between local mainstays Smith Vine and Stinky Brooklyn, The Jake Walk was slated for success. With its prime spot on the corner, brick walls, and polished dark wood bar, the wine-and-cheese bar hits all the right notes for the neighborhood. That’s not even to mention the dozens of bottles (from New York State to Italy, to Austria to Chile, and more), 25 wines by the glass, and 30 kinds of cheese. For stronger tipples, head to Char No. 4, which serves one-ounce pours of 300 whiskies, as well as comfort food to soak it all up.

Cobble Hill

Take the F,G to Bergen Street. Check HopStop.com for weekend schedule changes.

Food

One of the best cups of Joe in Brooklyn can be had at Cafe Pedlar, where all of the roasted beans come from Red Hook’s Stumptown and are paired with organic milk from Finger Lakes Farms. If you stick around for dinner, wander over to the 44-seat La Vara, a new Jewish- and Moorish-influenced Spanish restaurant from the duo behind two Spanish restaurants in Manhattan, El Quinto Pino and Txikito. Order the cumin-roasted lamb’s breast with scallions and preserved lemon dates.

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Sweets Snacks

When it’s hot out, nothing hits the spot like ice cream. Indulge with less guilt at the third outpost of the eco-friendly Blue Marble Ice Cream, which scoops flavors like dulce de leche, banana chip, and ginger, all made from the organic milk of grass-fed cows living in New York. For a more nostalgic fix, check out the old-school “penny” candy bar stocked with saltwater taffy, Charleston Chews, and other hard-to-find confections at the Sugar Shop. It’s a crowd-pleaser with more than 150 types of candy in all.

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Shops

For a dose of uptown sophistication and downtown cool, peruse the racks at the 10,000-square-foot Barneys Co-Op, which are heavy with the latest designs from Theory, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Helmut Lang, and the like. Not far away, former Barneys buyer Jennifer Mankins curates the trove of women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories at the LEED-certified Bird. Designers range from the international to the very local, and include A.P.C., Band of Outsiders, Demylee, Loeffler Randall, Steven Alan, and Thakoon.

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Sips

Expertly mixed cocktails are the thing at the moody Clover Club, which presents them under nine categories, including “Sours Daisies” (try the Daisy Mae), “Drink Your Vegetables” (one standout: the Green Giant), and “Cobblers Swizzles” (definitely go for the Midnight Buzz). For a more hands-on experience, take a class at the Brooklyn Wine Exchange, which hosts regular tastings of Pinots, Sancerre whites, locally produced gin, and more.

Want more Brooklyn? Check out our Insider’s Guide to Williamsburg and Greenpoint, and our Insider’s Guide to Fort Greene and Prospect Heights.

Photo Credits: Colonie: Courtesy of Colonie; Brooklyn Bridge: Brooklyn Bridge by Attribution-ShareAlike License;Buttermilk Channel: Courtesy of Buttermilk Channel; Dear Fieldbinder: Courtesy of Dear Fieldbinder; Char No. 4: Courtesy of Char No. 4; Blue Marble: Courtesy of Blue Marble; Bird: Courtesy of Bird; Clover Club: Courtesy of Clover Club

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Pakistan, US to sign Nato supplies accord today

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

Pakistan and the United States will sign today the bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on transit of cargo.

US Charge d’Affaires Ambassador Richard Hoagland and Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Rear Admiral Farrokh Ahmed will sign the agreement on behalf of their governments.

Once initialled, the MoU would replace the existing arrangement for Nato supplies, which was reportedly based on a “verbal understanding”.

Nato supplies were resumed on July 3 as per the previous arrangement after a seven-month suspension in the aftermath of November 26 Salala border attack in which 24 Pakistani troops were killed.

The new agreement that runs through 2015 can be subsequently renewed.

The accord has provision for other Nato/Isaf ( (International Security Assistance Force) countries to accede to the arrangement that would be defence-led. A concept of Central Coordination Authority, which would oversee the implementation of the pact, has been introduced.

The federal cabinet had last week approved the draft of the memorandum.

US Embassy spokesman Mark Stroh told Dawn that the US had been given the understanding that the MoU was in line with the parliamentary recommendations approved in April on new terms of engagement with the US/Nato.

He said the agreement was only about transportation of supplies with no preconditions.

Accordingly, the MoU that would govern the transit of US military supplies through Pakistani territory has provisions barring transportation of lethal equipment and inspection of the cargo.

However, shipment of weapons and ammunition consigned for the Afghan National Army has been allowed. Two routes, via Chaman and via Torkham, have been designated for transporting supplies in containers.

During the course of negotiations, Pakistan tried to introduce provisions for demurrages and charges for special services, but had to drop them because of US reluctance to pay any fee.

The US will now only be paying to its contractors, while the facility will be completely free of any charge on the part of Pakistan.

The arrangement has a mechanism for dispute resolution. All issues, it says, will be resolved through bilateral discussions without any third-party involvement.

Defence officials from both countries will regularly meet to discuss operational matters.

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Bo Xilai’s wife has little chance of fair trial, say experts

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

The wife of former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai will get a fair trial, says the Chinese state media, but observers doubt this will be the case.

Gu Kailai, who has been accused of murder, has had no access to her own lawyers so far and is going to be defended by lawyers appointed by the government instead, said media reports.

While the official Global Times argued that Gu’s trial shows that no one is above the law and is simply a criminal case, analysts say it is politically motivated.

“Such cases are a political or legal show,” said law scholar He Weifang of Peking University, of the case that has effectively killed the political hopes of Bo, previously tipped for higher office in an upcoming leadership change.

“In truth, lawyers will have little room to manoeuvre. There’s not going to be much difference whoever the lawyer is,” he added.

Nor is her trial in the central province of Anhui likely to be open to the public and media.

She has been charged, together with aide Zhang Xiaojun, with the “intentional homicide” of Briton Neil Heywood, who was found dead in a Chongqing hotel in November last year, the official Xinhua news agency reported last Thursday.

Heywood had clashed with Gu and her son Guagua over “economic interests”, Xinhua noted, without elaborating.

Gu, helped by Zhang, had poisoned Heywood out of fears that he would threaten her son’s safety, it said.

But so far, there is no indication that the case will proceed according to law, noted He.

One would expect former Chongqing party boss Bo to be questioned in court over what he knew of his wife’s actions, but this is very unlikely, He said.

Indeed, Xinhua noted in its report that the facts of Gu’s case are “clear” and that the evidence is “irrefutable and substantial”.

He suspects Gu’s guilt has already been decided.

Agreeing, Professor Steve Tsang of the University of Nottingham said: “She will be found guilty whatever the facts.

“It is unthinkable that the top leadership has not reached an agreement (on) her verdict before announcing the trial,” said the expert in Chinese studies.

She faces anything from a jail term of more than 10 years to the death penalty, but is likely to avoid death, say observers.

Another sign that her trial is a political one is the decision to hold it in Anhui’s provincial capital of Hefei, and not the south-western city of Chongqing where the killing was done, noted Tsang.

Trials involving senior political leaders are usually tried away from where they have worked and built up influence.

For instance, former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu was tried for graft in 2008 in Tianjin, and former Shenzhen mayor Xu Zongheng in the central city of Zhengzhou last year. This is to stop the accused’s supporters from interfering in the legal process.

But some say the choice of Anhui suggests Beijing hopes to influence the proceedings, as it is the home province of Chinese President Hu Jintao, as well as Chief Justice Wang Shengjun.

Also, two Anhui lawyers, one of whom is Jiang Min, director of the provincial bar association, have been appointed to defend Gu.

“There’s zero chance of her getting a fair trial as the term is understood” in Britain or the United States, said Tsang.

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Taiwan shortens detention period for foreigners

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

Amendments to the Immigration Act last year have shortened the average detention period of foreigners in Taiwan who are accused of involvement in criminal activities, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) announced yesterday.

The average detention period for non-Taiwanese nationals that are found allegedly involved in crimes have sharply dropped to 75.08 days, between December 2011 and June, from the previous number, ፎ.75 days between January 2011 to December 2011, the NIA said in a released statement.

The NIA attributed the significant decline to the amendments to the Immigration Act that cleared the Legislative Yuan and took effect last December.

The amendments to the act have removed an item from Article 38 of the law that previously gave the NIA the power to detain foreigners for as long as it determines necessary.

Under the current act, detention may not exceed 60 days, but if necessary, the NIA can extend the period until the alien is deported.

The Legislature approved changes to the rules on the deportation and detention of foreigners with a view to safeguarding human rights, according to the NIA.

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India asked to free 2 Bangladeshi workers

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

Bangladesh has asked India to release its two nationals arrested over their alleged involvement in wheat smuggling, saying that they are workers of a vessel that was to carry wheat ordered from an Indian company.

“We have sent a protest letter to the Inland Waterways Authorities of India via email and requested them to release the Bangladeshis and the vessel,” said Mofizur Rahman, director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).

The shipping ministry has already been informed of the matter, he told The Daily Star yesterday.

On Saturday, police seized 36 trucks carrying over 450 tonnes of wheat from Kolkata port.

During interrogation, the truck drivers said the wheat had been being taken to a Bangladeshi vessel, Khan Jahan Ali-2, which was to carry the consignment to Bangladesh.

Kolkata police arrested 13 people, including the Bangladeshis, in this connection.

However, the consignment was being exported by LMJ International Ltd, an Indian commodity trading company, to Bangladesh upon work orders from Directorate General of Food on behalf of Bangladesh government.

According to food directorate officials, LMJ International obtained three work orders to export a total of 1,50,000 tonnes of wheat to Bangladesh this year.

So far, the food department has received 50,000 tonnes of wheat, which had been shipped from Kolkata port and carried mostly by Bangladeshi vessels up to Mongla port of Bangladesh.

Ahmed Hossain Khan, director general of the food directorate, yesterday told The Daily Star, �€œWe will see whether there is any deviation in the contract. We do not have any oversight on how the exporter is sourcing the goods.”

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Indonesia ready to fight for Rohingya

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

In his first official statement regarding the prolonged communal violence in western Myanmar between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said that Indonesia would raise the problem at the Extraordinary Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, scheduled for mid-August.

Natalegawa said that Indonesia would emphasise its opposition to any kind of human rights violations, including the violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar.

“We must highlight, again, that Indonesia has consistently rejected discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, or any other reason. Our stance also applies to the ongoing attacks against the Rohingya in Myanmar,” Natalegawa told reporters at his office.

Natalegawa also insisted that Indonesia would not sit idly by while western Myanmar burns.

He said that Indonesia had sent an envoy to Bangladesh and Myanmar in 2010 to investigate the conflict between the Rohingya and the Rakhine after refugees from the conflict poured in into the country.

“We have always brought the issue into multilateral and bilateral discussions with Myanmar. So it’s not true that we don’t care. Our silence doesn’t mean we don’t care,” Natalegawa said.

Data from the Foreign Ministry said that 394 Rohingya Muslims have sought refugee status in Indonesia, 124 of whom were ready to be resettled in third party countries. The remaining 199 displaced persons are sheltered in a number of refugee camps in the country.

“We always open our door for anyone who needs our help,” Natalegawa said.

Separately, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said that the Indonesian government would not comment on granting political asylum status to the Rohingya who had arrived in the country.

“I have no statement with regard to that,” Pasha said at the Presidential Office yesterday.

Hundreds of the ethnic Muslim have fled Myanmar for several nearby states, including Indonesia.

The United Nations claims there are about 800,000 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and considers them among the most persecuted minorities in the world.

At least 78 people have been killed in communal violence there in the last month.

Reports say the Rohingya are currently stranded in the Riau Islands, with some in other locations around West and East Java. They left Myanmar to seek safety and asylum from the Indonesian government, with some apparently hoping to continue on to Australia for the same purpose. They are reportedly surviving in poor conditions, lacking food and other basic necessities.

When asked what the government would do about the situation, Pasha said the administration had taken all possible measures, but for the time being, Indonesia could only use diplomacy. “The government has been trying its best in our diplomatic efforts with Myanmar. Hopefully these efforts will stop the violence,” he said.

“Our position is clear: we will make any possible diplomatic efforts to help our Rohingya brothers,” Pasha added.

Myanmar, meanwhile, has denied the communal conflict was motivated by religion and rejected any effort to bring an international presence into the conflict.

“Peace and stability is indispensable for the on-going democratisation and reform process in Myanmar. National solidarity and racial harmony among different nationalities is vital for the perpetuation of the Union. Myanmar is a multi-religious country where Buddhists, Christians, Muslims and Hindus have been living together in peace and harmony for centuries, hence recent incidents in Rakhine State are neither because of religious oppression nor discrimination,” Myanmar’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

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Malaysia’s election fever continues during Ramadan

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad will not spend a single night at home this entire fasting month of Ramadan. As a leader in the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia, his political duties pick up tremendously during this time.

Every night, he breaks fast with different groups in his constituency in Selangor or elsewhere. After the meal, he heads to another location to lead the special prayers called terawih in the mosque.

These are major events in the fasting month, and no politician can afford to skip them.

“Every night, I’ll attend two events in two different places, but it’s very fulfilling for me as a politician and as a Muslim,” he said.

Dr Dzulkefly is not alone in his busy schedule. Every Muslim politician in Malaysia will be criss- crossing the country to cement ties with their constituents during the holy month, which began two weeks ago.

Ramadan, while traditionally a time for Muslims to be more reflective about their faith, also provides opportunities for politicians to meet the people in a warmer atmosphere.

Most politicians take advantage of this time to host the breaking of fast especially for the less fortunate.

Their outreach is even more crucial this year, with the possibility that a general election will be called soon after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration next month.

The election fever, which died down when Ramadan began, resumed after Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin alluded to a possible election during the Hari Raya month. Hari Raya falls on August 19 in Singapore.

“I don’t think the wait will go into next year. However, it depends on the Prime Minister,” he told reporters recently. “I have told him that this year would be the best time.”

But while politicians ramp up their political activity, they tone down on overtly political events like rallies.

This month’s programmes would tend to be religious or charitable affairs, with only their physical presence to mark it as a political event.

Political speeches are kept to a minimum, and attacks on rivals are frowned upon.

“It’s a time for restraint,” said Dr Dzulkefly, adding that he never gives a political speech in the mosque.

Barisan Nasional Youth executive secretary Ibdillah Ishak also said they refrain from speeches in mosques, and keep it short at the breaking of fast events.

The BN Youth, he said, is hosting several groups such as orphans to the breaking of fast, and has given away boxes of dates in several neighbourhoods.

It also started the Food for Life project to give away food boxes to those who need it, regardless of religion, before it was time to break fast. Food is also given out for sahur, the pre-dawn meal before fasting begins.

Its main event will be a Quran recital to be held at a mosque next month. Several Islamic scholars will be invited to lead the recital, to be joined by Umno Youth leaders including its chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

“It won’t be political,” said Ibdillah. “We are aiming to give back to society, that’s the idea of Ramadan.”

But this does not mean, of course, that the parties are taking it easy as an election window will open after the Hari Raya festival.

The group calling for electoral reforms, Bersih, is not scaling back its public awareness campaign despite Ramadan, said Maria Chin Abdullah, a committee member.

On the contrary, she said that it will hold a convention for 1,000 people in Johor Baru next month. Bersih leaders will present the findings of their research into the integrity of Malaysia’s 12.6 million-electoral roll, and brief them about electoral reforms.

It will also continue its training for volunteers to be polling and counting agents.

“I don’t think we can afford to slow down during this month, but things will pick up much faster in September,” Maria said.

Pundits are increasingly predicting the election will be at the end of this year or early next year.

Dr Dzulkefly said the Haj pilgrims will start leaving for Mecca two weeks after Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and the season will end only on October 26.

“But elections are also about the element of surprise,” he said. “We are definitely not letting up. It’s ready when you are.”

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WB failed to provide graft evidence, says Bangladesh PM

Posted on 31 July 2012 by admin

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the World Bank could not present evidence for the graft allegations over the Padma bridge project, Bangladesh largest infrstructure project so far.

During an interview by Stephen Sackur for BBC HARDtalk, Hasina also said she would hold office again if her party and the people gave her a mandate.

The prime minister slammed the charging of high interest rates by Grameen Bank, Nobel Peace Prize winning Bangladeshi microlender, in its microcredit programme.

When Sackur, during the interview aired yesterday, said there was a “long struggleâ€� between Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia and so the best thing for Bangladesh was introducing a different political view, the PM only said: “If people want.”

Asked why a key minister [Syed Abul Hossain, former communications minister who was later made information and communication technology minister] had quit if there was no wrongdoing in the Padga Bridge project, Hasina said many had started accusing him of corruption. So, he resigned.

“He has done a brave thing. Had he been involved in this corruption, perhaps he would not have resigned.”

Bangladesh’s Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the matter and it asked the World Bank for all the documents. But the global lender denied sending those, she said.

“Now my question is why they denied? If they have substantial proof, why they denied to send all the papers and documents they have? They are not supplying; I personally want it.�

As Sackur pointed to a World Bank letter sent to the government outlining its “concerns”, she said the letter doesn’t mean anything. “They should have proof with it. They could not provide any substantial proof with that letter. Just a letter cannot prove…”

Asked why she called Prof Muhammad Yunus, Bangladeshi Nobel laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank, a “bloodsucker of the poor�€, the PM said, “Did I mention his name? I didn’t. I said someone. But why it occurred in your mind that it is him? Why?”

On the model built by Grameen Bank and Yunus, she said there should be an enquiry as to how many people have emerged from poverty because of the programme.

“Poverty reduction is done by my government. Within three years we reduced 10 per cent poverty. So it is our government. And about this Grameen Bank, it is a government statutory body.”

She went on, “I am telling one thing. Taking interest 40 per cent, 30 per cent or 45 per cent from these poor people — is it fair? It is not. How can these poor people stand by themselves? If you lend money and take 35 to 45 per cent interest, it’s a shame.”

“And about this Grameen Bank, it is a government statutory body,” Hasina said, adding that she had not ousted Prof Yunus from Grameen Bank.

“He [Prof Yunus] himself did it. According to the Grameen Bank Law, MD can continue till the age of 60. How old he is? He is 71-year-old. His age did not permit him.�

Asked whether she believed that she had brought about changes in Bangladesh after a substantial election victory, the premier said already they have taken action plans.

“I do politics not only for political changes but also to ensure people’s basic needs, fundamental right. I believe that only I can do it.”

Hasina, also president of the ruling Awami League, said her government amended the constitution to ensure the democratic rights of the people so that unconstitutional or authoritarian government could not come to power.

The prime minister sought more support from the world community, including those responsible for climate change and global warming as the people of Bangladesh will be the worst sufferers.

“We have adopted mitigation plan without waiting for foreign assistance. But they should come forward with necessary funds so that we can assist our people,” she said.

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