Journal from July – Wrath of the night

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Photo: Saad Hammadi

A man who escaped with his life from the restaurant was himself a kitchen staff. He was working when he heard gunshots. He ran off from the kitchen and was hiding on the second floor of the restaurant before he managed to escape. Inside, there were 50 to 60 restaurant staffs and another 25 to 30 customers dining, he said. That’s a lot of people held hostage but there was no way to verify except sources like him who were direct witnesses.

 

I walk a little further and find an anxious guardian who has a nephew-in-law among the hostages. The nephew went there with his girlfriend. His girlfriend had communicated with her father saying they were safe inside the restaurant but advised him not to call them. Since then they have been incommunicado.

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Journal from July – Into the dark

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Photo: Saad Hammadi

At the hospital gate I hear one person saying his brother, a ranking police official was injured in the attack. I took down his information. He would not be let inside until another police official heard his pleading and ordered the gatekeepers to allow him inside.

 

I spent a few minutes recceing the place. The place was empty except a few pressmen and cops in the area. I have to dodge the crowd to make my way in. With the waiting journalists at the front gate, it would not be possible to exploit an entry from there.

 

If there were any possibility it would have to be an entry from the OPD. The OPD gate was wide open. A couple of security guards were there who did not bother stopping me because they knew it was only the first layer of security. At the glass door leading inside the hospital building, there were more guards. Expectedly, one of the guards at the glass door resisted.

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A brief about Mosaic delegates from Bangladesh

Mosaic Bangladesh Team 2013Finally, it seems I have brought things slightly in shape. It’s probably time I feel a little excited about my trip to UK for the Mosaic International Leadership Programme. For the whole week until yesterday, I had filed ten reports for the new Monitor venture, one cover story for New Age Xtra. Those are besides the regular edits and tentative planning for the magazine I had to make before I board my flight tonight.

Coming back to Mosaic, last week, the eight Bangladeshis selected for the 2013 leadership summit to be held between September 8 and 21 met for an informal introduction. To simply put, it is a fascinating combination. It’s a mix of development practitioners, engineer, physician and journalist that would represent Bangladesh at this year’s programme.

A total of 64 delegates from across the world are expected to participate at this year’s programme with eight group leaders, who were delegates in the past two leadership programmes. Mosaic is founded by HRH The Prince of Wales.

Here’s a brief introduction about the Bangladeshis about to disperse among the eight global mix of groups:

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‘We have not built this industry in a planned way’

In light of a devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions claiming more than hundred lives, Shafiul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA), explains the industry’s efforts and flaws in an exclusive interview with Saad Hammadi

Three fire incidents in garment factories occurred within a space of three days. There is a saying, two is a coincidence but three is a trend. What do you make out of the situation?
Before any inquiry result comes we cannot say specifically what was behind it. Few people are saying it is a conspiracy, because Sumi, the worker of Debonair, was paid to set a fire. This is one angle of the inquiry. We, as BGMEA, have been doing training, monitoring, and ensuring fire safety. We have collaborated with brands, launched two films and made posters to create awareness, held three crash programmes in 2001, 2006 and 2010. After all these we have seen a very productive result in 2007, 2008 and 2009. We found no casualty even in 2011. So those have been going all good. In 2010 we have seen one incident and now the latest incident at Tazreen Fashions is shocking. We are trying to support the families who have lost their loved ones, as much as possible. We are taking utmost priority to take care of the injured patients at the hospital. We have seen them in a miserable condition at the Dhaka Medical College. Immediately we have taken initiative to shift them for better treatment, because they deserve it. If necessary we will send them

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Cherishing the stripes

Saad Hammadi and Ananta Yusuf weigh the success of Bangladesh at the Asia Cup 2012Image

The sea of green jerseys in the crowd had put up everything at stake to support their favourite team on field. Every blow of a wicket of the opponent called for a thunderous shout to cheer and inspire the Bangladesh team. As of filing this report, the minnows have performed their best to reach the finals of the Asia Cup 2012, where it plays Pakistan, after a fierce fight they put up against India and Sri Lanka, chasing hefty totals on both the occasions.

This past week has been a momentum for thousands of Bangladeshi cricket-loving enthusiasts, as Bangladesh made to the finals of the Asia Cup 2012. With joyrides across the country and outside, Bangladeshi supporters have kept their hopes and spirits high just as much as the national cricket team lived it up on the field.

The tournament marks some historic moments for Bangladesh’s cricket. This is the second time Bangladesh has made it to the finals of any international tournaments. The victories were a collective effort of the entire team, comprising of the bowling attack as well as the batting partnerships. Interestingly, Tamim Iqbal, who secured a place in the national squad in the last minute after a dramatic turn of events, put up a fight in every match by scoring three consecutive half-centuries in the tournament.

Apparently history was to be made during the match between Bangladesh and India at the Asia Cup 2012, where team India could ‘score 444 runs’, according to Indian media speculation. ‘Bombs were to shower in over Bangladesh’ as it played India, according to a clip of Indian sports news speculation uploaded on Youtube. ‘Sachin Tendulker could well break Virender Sehwag’s 219-run record and Virat Kohli’s blasts will put Bangladesh in tatters’.

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Social Media: An academic perspective

The purpose of each of these elements of communication appears to be larger than life.

Social media has come a long way as far as making socialisation a virtual reality. What Imageused to be shared and discussed at addas has now become replaced in the form of wall posts and group chat. It has only taken six to seven years or even less to change people’s lifestyle. The power of globalisation and its progress through technology is immense as is reflected in the social construction of our reality.

Blogs, facebook and twitter identities are modes of communication, which many professionals nowadays include in their visiting cards, hence, showing a change in the pattern of communication and their significance. What amaze me are the vastness and the fastness of the modes of communication.

Once, the postal address and a land phone number were all that used to be mentioned

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Breaking the cartel

Following widespread allegations of cartels and syndicates controlling markets for rice, sugar, edible oil, and other essentials, for a long time, the government has drafted the Competition Act 2010 to address anti-competitive practices in businesses. Saad Hammadi finds out how the government plans to address the issue and speculates how unethical businesses can still hoodwink the government initiative

The price of essential commodities has shot up manifold over the last decade, contributing to rising inflation in the country and eating away at people’s purchasing power capacity. The BNP-led government during their tenure from 2001-2006, the military-backed interim government between 2007 and 2008, as well as the present AL-led government, have all been faced with this acute problem, and despite many promises and some initiatives, the price of essential commodities is one thing all three governments have failed to control.

The accused in this case, as we have been told by all subsequent governments, are ‘cartels’ and ‘syndicates’. Apparently, traders, importers and other businessmen working in a particular area, form secret alliances and fix uniform prices for products, which do not reflect the production costs, thereby cramping customers for options and forcing them to pay their profiteering margins.

Ministers have openly threatened syndicates, however, we are yet to meet, or even see the face of at least one of these syndicates, nor have any government been able to curtail their influence to any measurable degree.

As part of their latest effort to rid the market of unfair practices, the government has recently drafted a competition law titled Competition Act 2010. The cabinet has, on October 4,

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