Coronavirus

How Governments Are Using COVID-19 To Curtail Free Speech

In India, Thailand and elsewhere, authorities have recently passed laws or decrees limiting what media can do and say.

When Shafiqul Islam Kajol, a Bangladeshi journalist, turned up in police custody in early May, it had been 53 days since he was last seen or heard — and 54 since he was sued for defamation.

A politician from Bangladesh's ruling Awami League party had sued Kajol for allegedly publishing "false, offensive, illegally obtained and defamatory" content on Facebook. Kajol disappeared the day after.

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Watch: OneShot — UNICEF: Children And The Right To Have Fun

Yes, to have fun and relax — at least sometimes —should be considered a human right. Especially for children. UNICEF France and One Shot put the concept together in a single image. Enjoy!

UNICEF For Summer Holidays 2019 ©UNICEF/Brian Sokol

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Rohingya Refugees Lost Between Languages In Bangladesh

Caught between a host country trying to hinder their integration and a home country holding back their return, Rohingya children find themselves in linguistic limbo.

COX'S BAZAR — When Mohammed Reyas works on his math classwork, his mind splits among multiple languages.

The 11-year-old, a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar, starts counting in Burmese: "Tit, hnit, thone." He then switches to Bangla: "Char, panch, chhoy." Then Rohingya: "Hant, anchtho, no." Finally, he finishes in English: "Ten, eleven, twelve."

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For Rohingya, The Risks Of A Premature Return To Myanmar

The Rohingya people’s long history of forced displacement tells us of the dangers of repatriation from Bangladesh before their safety and rights can be guaranteed.

-OpEd-

Last week, trucks waited idly at Bangladesh's border to transport Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar. But not one of the refugees agreed to go. The impending return of the Rohingya is a disaster waiting to happen. There was no transparency in how refugees were chosen for return, and reports indicate that selected refugees have fled the camps or attempted suicide. Once the media spotlight fades, efforts to repatriate refugees are likely to be reinvigorated.

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Geopolitics
Faisal Mahmud

Bangladesh Boiler Rooms: On The Mundane Perils Of Our Global Economy

DHAKA — Bangladesh is shifting from an agrarian economy to an industrial one, with an average annual industrial growth rate of 6.8% (as per the CIA World Factbook) over the past decade. While this steady progress has garnered praise and bagged export deals for its economy, one problem steals its glory: boiler rooms.

In the last four years, a total of 62 persons have died in 12 separate incidents of boiler explosions in Bangladesh. On Sept. 10, 2016, 24 people died in a single explosion at Tampaco Foils Ltd, a packaging factory in Tongi at the outskirts of the capital Dhaka. On July 3 last year, 13 people died after a boiler exploded at Multifabs Ltd, a textile factory in Gazipur district.

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Geopolitics
Leymah Gbowee

Let Them Lead: The Power And Insight Of Refugee Women

It's time to recognize refugee women for what they are: intrepid organizers and providers, argues Liberian peace activist and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee.

-OpEd-

ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP — The Rohingya exodus is one of the most critical refugee crises of our times, and in recent weeks, as the world marked the first anniversary of the start of the tragic events, images of the exodus abounded. Many of those pictures featured helpless refugee women.

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Sources

Watch: OneShot — Rohingya Crisis

OneShot — Rohingya Crisis, 2017 (©Patrick Brown/UNICEF)

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Geopolitics
Rémy Ourdan

With Myanmar's Fleeing Rohingyas, A Cruel Portrait Of Ethnic Cleansing

TEKNAF — They ran, they walked, they stumbled, then they ran again. They're exhausted, starving, some are wounded. They fled with fear and death chasing from behind. They are also carrying with them the memory of those who have died and an endless list of the missing. There is, in the forced exodus of Myanmar's Rohingyas, an end-of-the-world feeling.

Two weeks after the Rohingyas started to arrive in southern Bangladesh, on the other bank of the Naf river — which runs along the border with Myanmar — there can be no more doubt about it: the Rohingyas aren't facing yet another persecution, part of an ongoing series of deadly cataclysms to have marred the tragic history of this Muslim community from the Arakan (the Rakhine state, for the Burmese authorities). This time, the Myanmar Rohingyas are the target of a systematic deportation campaign, the goal of which seems to be its totality and finality. An end of their world indeed.

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blog

Profiles Of Suspected Dhaka Attackers Surface

The Monday edition of Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star features photos of the suspected attackers of the Gulshan café siege in the capital Dhaka that killed 22 people, including 17 foreigners.

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Geopolitics
Patrick de Jacquelot

A Year After Factory Collapse, Bangladesh Under Inspection

What's the price of improved working conditions? Will the global clothing brands just pack up and go to the next cheap source of labor? Hard questions on site in Dhaka.

DHAKA — Tongi is one of the many slums in the Bangladeshi capital. Its small houses with sheet-metal roofs offer minimum shelter for at least 20,000 families, many of whom work inside the surrounding large concrete buildings and clothing factories.

Abdul Rahim, 25, is proud that he works as a supervisor in a Dhaka factory, earning a monthly wage of 10,000 taka ($128), which is almost twice the minimum wage. He believes the factory he works in is quite safe, but still worries sometimes. “We saw the Rana Plaza turned into in a pile of debris in five minutes,” he recalls. “We ask ourselves if this could happen in our factory.”

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Geopolitics
Frédéric Bobin

Islamists Target Hindu Minority In Bangladesh

''The goal of the fundamentalists is to force us to leave Bangladesh and go to India,” says one activist for the rights of religious minorities.

ENAYETPUR — There is a pile of burned-out metal sheets and poles, and the smell of ashes still remains in Enayetpur, a Bangladeshi hamlet situated on the Gulf of Bengal. Three houses of braided palm, where 20 people were sleeping Jan. 8, did not resist long in the fire caused by attackers who threw Molotov cocktails during the night.

Miraculously, only one person, Acharjee Mitu, was wounded. He still has some burns on his forehead, a shiny pink stain. A week later, the villagers are still in shock. They belong to the country’s Hindu minority, which represents just 9% of the population. During the last year, Muslim attacks against Hindus — and occasionally against Buddhists — have intensified. The controversial Jan. 5 elections, boycotted by an opposition that includes influential fundamentalist Muslims, have worsened the climate of violence.

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Geopolitics
Worldcrunch

CIA Torture Report, Observer Status For Palestine, Lakes On Mars

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CIA TORTURE REPORT TO BE RELEASED
Security has been tightened at U.S. embassies around the world and intelligence agencies have been asked to monitor more closely terrorist communications in anticipation of today’s release of a CIA torture report. The U.S. Senate will release the long-delayed report into the intelligence agency’s brutal post-9/11 interrogation techniques, The New York Times reports. The White House and the GOP reportedly clashed yesterday, with the latter urging the report not to be published. They argued that its release could “incite unrest and violence, even resulting in the deaths of Americans,” the newspaper writes.

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LA STAMPA
Roberto Giovannini

The Wretched Face Of Globalization Hiding In A Ships' Graveyard In Bangladesh

SITAKUND — Welcome to one of the most polluted and dangerous coastlines in the world. On this murky stretch just a few kilometers from Bangladesh’s main industrial port, Chittagong, are dozens and dozens of beached ships.

Sea carriers, oil tankers and huge containers that at the end of their lives — many that can no longer sail safely — are abandoned here to be dismantled. Sitakund, like Alang in India or Gadani in Pakistan, is one of a sort of planetary black holes where garbage from the rich world is summarily and quietly offloaded; where thousands of impoverished people dismantle entire ships with their bare hands, hammers and blowtorches, carrying the heavy metal over their shoulders.

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Sources
Julien Bouissou

In Bangladesh, The Internet Comes To You On A Bike

GAIBANDHA DISTRICT — In remote areas of Bangladesh, the Internet can arrive in unpredictable ways. Take for example, Shathi, who rolls into a small village, ringing the bell on her bike – and soon the kids are running to tell their parents, screaming "Hello! Hello!"

And so the women of the village come out of their houses one-by-one to meet one of the "Info Ladies." In the middle of a dirt-covered courtyard, Shathi — wearing a pink and blue tunic — carefully settles a laptop on a plastic chair, plugs in earphones and starts a Skype session. In front of an audience still stunned each time by the sight, the men of the village, working thousands of kilometers away, appear on the screen.

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blog

Bangladesh Islamist Leader To Be Hanged

BDNEWS24 (Bangladesh), AFP

Worldcrunch

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