Dhaka,   Tuesday 16 July 2024

The South Asian Times | সাউথ এশিয়ান টাইমস
Header Advertisement
Freedom fighters deserve utmost respect, PM Hasina says

Freedom fighters deserve utmost respect, PM Hasina says

Staff Correspondent Highlighting the sacrifices made by freedom fighters in achieving independence, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said they must always be accorded the highest respect, regardless of their affiliation or beliefs. Speaking at an event at her office on Tuesday, the prime minister said people must keep in mind the call of Bangabandhu, who had urged everyone to fight the enemy with whatever they had. “They abandoned their families, parents and everything they had, risking their lives to fight for our victory. Therefore, they deserve the highest respect at all times." She said she was aware that many freedom fighters might not support her party, the Awami League, and could hold differing opinions. “Regardless of where they stand, it is not a matter of concern for me. What matters is that they sacrificed everything, their lives and blood, and many of them became disabled to secure our country`s independence." "Even if they do not share my views or belong to my party, they are still freedom fighters. To me, every one of them is honoured. We want the people of this country to continue respecting them for generations to come. "At one time, freedom fighters were neglected. Since I came into office, I have extended all kinds of support to them, so they can proudly say, `I am a freedom fighter,`" Sheikh Hasina added. She promised that no one in the country would be neglected, saying that Bangabandhu had wanted to create an exploitation-free society. “He aimed to establish a society free from hunger and poverty. With that vision in mind, we are ensuring that no one in this country is neglected." "We have ethnic minority communities, people with disabilities and individuals with autism, and we are very empathetic towards them. We are ensuring they have access to all societal benefits and do not fall behind."

Protest showdown: Student movement, Chhatra League to hold protests nationwide

Protest showdown: Student movement, Chhatra League to hold protests nationwide

Staff Correspondent In response to attacks allegedly carried out by Chhatra League on students demanding quota reform, the Students Against Discrimination movement has called for protests on campuses across the country on Tuesday, as the ruling Awami League’s student wing is set to hold its own protests. One of the coordinators of the student movement, Nahid Islam, announced the protest plans during a press conference on Monday, near Dhaka University’s Dr Muhammad Shahidullah Hall. Quota reform: Brac, NSU students block roads in DhakaQuota reform: Brac, NSU students block roads in Dhaka Meanwhile, Chhatra League President Saddam Hussain, while talking with the media at the Raju Memorial Sculpture later that night, declared that his organization would also hold protests at 1:30pm the same day at all universities nationwide. Tens of thousands of students have been demonstrating across Bangladesh for several days, demanding the abolition of quotas in favour of a merit-based system for civil service jobs. US condemns violence against quota reform protesters in BangladeshUS condemns violence against quota reform protesters in Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday posed a question saying if the grandchildren of freedom fighters did not get jobs, would the grandchildren of Razakars get them? Quota reform protestors gathered in front of the Raju Memorial Sculpture on the Dhaka University campus the next day to hold a rally protesting the remark and demanding she withdraw it. The protests soon turned violent as the demonstrators came under attack at campuses across the country.

Quota reform: Private university students block major roads in Dhaka

Quota reform: Private university students block major roads in Dhaka

Staff Correspondent Students from North South University, Brac University, Independent University, Bangladesh, and State University of Bangladesh have blocked the Merul Badda road and the road in front of Jamuna Future Park, demanding quota reform and protesting attacks on students across the country. Brac University students began their blockade at Dhaka’s Merul Badda around 10:30am, obstructing both sides of the road. US condemns violence against quota reform protesters in BangladeshUS condemns violence against quota reform protesters in Bangladesh An officer from the traffic division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the students` blockade has closed the road from Rampura Bridge to Kuril Bishwa Road in both directions. As a result, vehicles traveling through Banasree and heading towards Notun Bazar and Badda are stuck in long traffic congestion. Protest showdown: Student movement, Chhatra League to hold protests nationwideProtest showdown: Student movement, Chhatra League to hold protests nationwide Consequently, many are opting for alternative routes via Hatirjheel and Badda Link Road, the officer added. He also mentioned students from NSU, IUB, and several other universities began their protest at 11:5am., leading to road closures on both sides. Meanwhile, students had also blocked the road in the Notun Bazar area but later moved away, the police official added. Police have been deployed at all locations

Mystery around Donald Trump shooting

International Desk After the FBI identified Donald Trump`s shooter as Thomas Matthew Crooks, a lot of information and disinformation have surfaced but there are more questions unanswered even 36 hours after the assassination attempt on Trump. Crooks acted alone and used his father`s AR-15-style rifle to shoot at Trump at the Pennsylvania rally. The bullets grazed Trump`s ear while Crooks was shot dead. What was Crook`s motive? The motive of the shooter is not yet known. The family history, upbringing of the 20-year-old did not indicate anything which could be linked to the assassination bid. On the contrary, Crooks was registered as a Republican. But he also donated $15 to a Democratic project. How did the Secret Service security breach take place? Crooks shot at Trump from about 150 yards away from a rooftop. Reports claimed those who attended the rally raised alarm about suspicious movements on the rooftop but it`s not clear why the Secret Service did not secure the area. Was Donald Trump the only target? The firearm reportedly belonged to Crooks` father and he was a lone-wolf attacker but it is not yet known what else the shooter had planned. Authorities reported finding explosives — including an IED, or improvised explosive device — inside a car driven by Crooks that was located near the Trump rally. Additionally, materials for making bombs were found inside Crooks’ home, AP reported. What`s next: Donald Trump rewrites RNC speech for Thursday Surviving the shot, Donald Trump emerged as defiant with prominent figures openly declaring their support to the Republican candidate (presumptive). Trump has reportedly rewritten his speech for the RNC convention where he would officially be declared as the Republican candidate. Axios reported that Trump will be delivering a different speech than what he had earlier prepared -- a one of a kind speech targeting Biden.

Quota reform: Public transport shortage hits Dhaka amid student protest

Staff Correspondent Commuters in Dhaka are facing significant challenges as public transport on the city`s main roads has drastically reduced due to protests and blockades by students. The protests were sparked by an attack by the Chhatra League and demands for reform of the government job quota system. On Tuesday, the shortage of rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, and buses was evident on the streets. As a result, students are resorting to using pickup trucks to reach protest sites. Quota reform protests: Dhaka disappointed by Washington’s unverified claimsQuota reform protests: Dhaka disappointed by Washington’s unverified claims Protesters advocating for quota reform have blocked various key points in the capital, including Kuril Bishwa Road, Bashundhara Residential Area, Notun Bazar, Merul Badda, Banani, Gabtoli, Mohammadpur, Shani Akhra, Science Lab, and Birulia in Savar. In response to attacks allegedly carried out by Chhatra League on students demanding quota reform, the Students Against Discrimination movement has called for protests on campuses across the country on Tuesday, as the ruling Awami League’s student wing is set to hold its own protests. One of the coordinators of the student movement, Nahid Islam, announced the protest plans during a press conference on Monday, near Dhaka University’s Dr Muhammad Shahidullah Hall. Quota reform protests: Students block several points of Dhaka-Barisal HighwayQuota reform protests: Students block several points of Dhaka-Barisal Highway Meanwhile, Chhatra League President Saddam Hussain, while talking with the media at the Raju Memorial Sculpture later that night, declared that his organization would also hold protests at 1:30pm the same day at all universities nationwide. Tens of thousands of students have been demonstrating across Bangladesh for several days, demanding the abolition of quotas in favour of a merit-based system for civil service jobs.

Trump appears at Republican convention with bandaged ear

International Desk Donald Trump received a hero’s welcome Monday as he entered the Republican National Convention arena with a bandaged right ear in his first public appearance since being wounded in a weekend assassination attempt. Hours after winning the formal nomination to be the Republican presidential candidate and announcing right-wing Senator JD Vance as his running mate, Trump marched into Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum flanked by aides and waved at supporters on the opening day of what is expected to be a triumphalist gathering. Trump, who is due to give a formal acceptance speech on Thursday, took his seat to the sound of country singer Lee Greenwood’s patriotic hit “God Bless the USA” without delivering any remarks but appeared markedly moved by the rapt ovation he received from a packed venue. Trump formally named Republican candidate, picks right-wing Vance as VPTrump formally named Republican candidate, picks right-wing Vance as VP “It was absolutely amazing. I mean, just thinking what he’s been through, and to come here today because he really cares,” Illinois delegate Susan Sweeney told AFP on the convention floor. It was the second huge moment of the day for the Republican crowd, which erupted into cheers earlier as Trump announced Vance, just 39, as his vice-presidential pick, rewarding a one-time harsh critic who has become one of his most uncompromising supporters. While Trump, 78, is increasingly confident of a shock return to the White House -- despite multiple legal problems and two impeachments clouding his first term -- President Joe Biden is reeling from weak polls and Democratic concerns over his health. The standard-bearer for a new kind of populism that has come to the fore under Trump, Vance is also one of the least experienced VP picks in modern history. But he embraces the ex-president’s isolationist, anti-immigration America First movement and is even further to the right than his new boss on some issues -- including abortion, where he embraces calls for federal legislation. Biden tells Americans to `cool it down` after Trump assassination bidBiden tells Americans to `cool it down` after Trump assassination bid Strong polling He initially made his name with the 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” a best-selling account of his Appalachian family and modest Rust Belt upbringing that gave a voice to rural, working-class resentment in left-behind America. Turning his back on previous Republican opposition to Trump, whom he once said might be “America’s Hitler,” Vance reinvented himself and ultimately won the ex-president’s endorsement in the 2022 Ohio Senate race, launching his meteoric rise. Some 50,000 Republicans descended on the shores of Lake Michigan for the four-day convention, four months before election day. The gathering comes with the country reeling from a botched attempt by a gunman to kill Trump at a rally in Butler, western Pennsylvania on Saturday. The attack -- which killed one bystander and left Trump with the bloodied ear that required the bandage -- was expected to dominate proceedings. Leading in multiple polls, despite being convicted in his hush-money criminal case in New York, Trump is exuding confidence. At 81, Biden meanwhile is facing calls from his own side to quit the race over concerns around his age. His campaign released a statement saying the Trump-Vance agenda would “take away Americans’ rights, hurt the middle class, and make life more expensive -- all while benefiting the ultra-rich and greedy corporations.” Mystery around Donald Trump shootingMystery around Donald Trump shooting Message of unity Trump told the New York Post he had “prepared an extremely tough speech” about Biden’s “horrible administration” to deliver at the convention. As some Republicans -- including Vance -- sought to blame Democrats’ anti-Trump rhetoric for the attack, Trump said he had torn up that version in favor of one he hopes will “unite our country.” Still, that means him having to rein in the instinct to settle scores -- demonstrated by his cry for supporters to “fight” in the seconds after Saturday’s attack. A diminished figure after his 2020 election loss and a subsequent riot at the Capitol by his supporters, Trump has spent much of the last four years reshaping Republican politics. Installing loyalists including his daughter-in-law Lara Trump atop the Republican National Committee, the billionaire has effectively crushed dissent within the party. He scored another victory Monday as a judge dismissed one of the criminal cases against him, concerning accusations he endangered national security by holding on to top secret documents after leaving the White House.

WHO warns childhood vaccinations stall globally

International Desk An additional 2.7 million children remain un- or under-vaccinated in comparison to pre-pandemic levels, the United Nations has warned. This stall in immunizations has created dangerous coverage gaps that enable outbreaks of diseases like measles, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) reported on Monday. The number of children without a single dose of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) triple vaccination increased from 12.8 million before the pandemic began to 14.5 million last year, the report said. The share of children receiving the triple shot stood at 84% in 2023, the same as the previous year, and down from the 86% recorded in 2019. “The latest trends demonstrate that many countries continue to miss far too many children,” Unicef chief Catherine Russell said in a statement. Why are childhood vaccinations declining? More than half of the world’s unvaccinated children live in 31 countries with fragile, conflict-affected settings. Children from unstable or violent countries are especially vulnerable to contracting preventable diseases, due to lacking access to security, nutrition and health services. Children in these countries are also much less likely to receive follow-up shots that are necessary for full efficiency. The number of children who did not receive even a single dose of the DTP vaccine rose to 14.5 million in 2023, up from 13.9 million in 2022 and 12.9 million in 2019. Monday’s report also found that 6.5 million children did not get their third DTP dose. “We are off track,” World Health Organization vaccine chief Kate O’Brien said. “Global immunization coverage has yet to fully recover from the historic backsliding that we saw during the course of the pandemic,” she added. O’Brien said that skepticism over vaccines in wealthier countries — which exploded during the Covid19 pandemic — also impacts other regions, for example, when people with migration backgrounds based in Europe spread misinformation in their home countries. Measles outbreaks on the rise More than 300,000 measles cases were confirmed in 2023 — nearly three times as many as a year earlier, Unicef Association Director of Immunization Ephrem Lemango said. Around 103 countries with low vaccination coverage of 80% or lower have suffered measles outbreaks in the past five years. By contrast, 91 countries with strong measles vaccine coverage experienced no outbreaks. “Alarmingly, nearly three in four infants live in places at the greatest risk of measles outbreaks,” Lemango said, pointing out that 10 crisis-ridden countries, including Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan, account for more than half of children not vaccinated against measles. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called measles outbreaks the “canary in the coal mine, exposing and exploiting gaps in immunization and hitting the most vulnerable first.”

Quota reform protests: Dhaka disappointed by Washington’s unverified claims

Staff Correspondent Bangladesh has reacted to the response of Mathew Miller, spokesperson for the US State Department, to a question during a regular press briefing on Monday with extreme disappointment, as he claimed that two persons had been killed in clashes during protests for quota reform in public sector jobs. Foreign ministry spokesperson Seheli Sabrin said on Tuesday that Miller had made unsubstantiated claims of at least two deaths during the ongoing student protests in Bangladesh. Use of unverified information to make such baseless claims could fuel violence and undermine the government’s efforts to maintain a peaceful environment to allow non-violent protests or movements, she said in a statement. US condemns violence against quota reform protesters in BangladeshUS condemns violence against quota reform protesters in Bangladesh “Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are cornerstones of our democracy, and the government remains steadfast to uphold those rights of the citizens while also safeguarding the public property and order. Violence does not have any place in democracy and politics,” reads the statement. She also noted an assassination attempt on former US president Donald Trump and said that to uphold democracy and democratic values, “we are committed to working together.” “We have recently witnessed with horror an attempt on the life of former US President Donald Trump during a peaceful rally in Pennsylvania, US. We are deeply concerned by the incident. Such violence runs against the core values of democracy.” Protest showdown: Student movement, Chhatra League to hold protests nationwideProtest showdown: Student movement, Chhatra League to hold protests nationwide Seheli also mentioned that the prime minister and the foreign minister had separately condemned the attack and breathed a sigh of relief learning Trump was safe and recovering. Miller, replying to Bangladeshi journalist Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey, said the US was aware of and was monitoring reports of widespread student protests in Dhaka and around Bangladesh. “So we are aware of and are monitoring reports of widespread student protests in Dhaka and around Bangladesh that have killed two and attacked and injured hundreds. The freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are essential building blocks of any thriving democracy, and we condemn any violence against peaceful protesters. Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by this violence.” Dhaka Tribune emailed the US embassy in Dhaka seeking details about the two individuals, as there has been no confirmation of their deaths in Bangladeshi media and it appears to be a rumour. The embassy did not reply. However, in response to a question in a WhatsApp group, a spokesperson for the embassy said: “The spokesperson said that we are monitoring reports. We continue to do so. We are always looking for the most accurate information and welcome journalists’ work to uncover the truth.” The embassy did not clarify where the US had found the information that two individuals had been killed and could not provide their names.

Header Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Header Advertisement
India Hosts 6th Session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly in New Delhi

India Hosts 6th Session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly in New Delhi

The Sixth Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) convened in New Delhi today, presided over by Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy, Government of India, who serves as the President of the ISA Assembly. Ministers from 20 countries and delegates representing 116 Member and Signatory countries gathered for this important event, according to a press release. In his opening remarks, Raj Kumar Singh emphasized the crucial role of renewable energy sources in addressing global energy challenges. He stated that renewable energy has the potential to supply 65 percent of the world`s total electricity by 2030 and decarbonize 90 percent of the power sector by 2050. The International Solar Alliance is committed to making solar energy the preferred energy source, attracting investments, and ensuring ample energy availability to meet growing global demands. To support this, ISA has expanded its Viability Gap Funding (VGF) mechanism, increasing the grant to 35% of the project cost based on the capacity and needs of member countries. Co-President of the Assembly, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, France`s Minister of State for Development, Francophonie, and International Partnerships, emphasized France`s commitment to the ISA. France has provided significant financial support for solar projects, including the construction of the Onigbolo solar power plant in Benin, bringing 25 megawatts of clean energy to the people of Benin. She emphasized the importance of supporting partner countries in their energy transition plans, said the release. Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General of the International Solar Alliance, stressed the need to accelerate the deployment of solar energy, particularly in developing countries and for applications that enhance the daily lives of those without reliable energy access. ISA is facilitating over 9.5 GW of solar applications in 55 developing countries and providing training to thousands of people in supporting solar energy. The organization is working on establishing STAR Centers as hubs of technology, knowledge, and expertise in solar energy, it said. The Assembly also discussed the ISA`s initiatives, including the development of solar mini-grids to provide universal energy access and mechanisms to attract private sector investment through guarantees provided by the Global Solar Facility. In May 2020, ISA initiated Demonstration Projects in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to showcase scalable solar technology applications and build the capacity of beneficiary member countries. Four projects, including solarization of the parliament building of the Republic of Malawi, solarization of health care centers in Fiji, installation of solar-powered cold storage in Seychelles, and solarization of a school in Kiribati, were inaugurated, it added. Singh dedicated these projects to the respective countries, highlighting ISA`s commitment to advancing the cause of energy transition through solar energy. The Assembly serves as the apex decision-making body of ISA and meets annually to assess the progress of solar energy deployment and discuss key initiatives related to energy access, energy security, and energy transition. The Sixth Assembly of the International Solar Alliance demonstrated the commitment of member countries to harnessing solar energy to address global energy and environmental challenges, the release also said.

Header Advertisement
Header Advertisement