<%-- Page Title--%> News Notes <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 157 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 4, 2004

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Words and Words are all I have…

Saifur Rahman, the country's high-flying finance minister (FM), is blessed with the gift of the gab. The beleaguered Chartered Account got another chance to showcase his prowess at a press briefing last week. The prime minister had issued directives for Bangla Bhai's arrest, he said with a Claudiusesque zeal, when he was asked about the government's inaction in arresting the leader of the extremist group. But what we see in reality is something different altogether-- when the FM keeps himself busy with making such innocuous remarks, Bangla Bhai and cronies, with the active help from the state, have been killing and maiming innocent civilians in the northern districts. Police are not equipped to prevent targeted crimes like the attack on the British High Commissioner, he reasoned. What is turbid to the general public is why the government did not take proper security measures in and around the Shrine while there was an impending threat on the envoy's life. Any comment Mr Know-it-all?


Terror Reigns

The so-called Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh has unleashed a reign of terror in the northern districts of the country. Ten people have so far been butchered by these self-styled vigilantes, while the government and the police remain indifferent to the killings. Bangla Bhai, the so-called operations commander of the butchers, remains at large even after the Prime Minister ordered the zealot's arrest. Local dailies are littered with news of the local administration's tacit approval to the killer-group's activities; some have even blamed local Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) MPs for actively supporting and, in cases, patronising the thugs.


Anti-Ahmadiyya Rampage Continues

The image of Bangladesh as a moderate Muslim country seems to be getting blurrier every other day. The extremely image conscious government however takes every opportunity to deny any such possibilities. The fire of communal hatred, which has so far been confined to members of the Hindu community, seems to have enlarged its circumference. The recent inclusion is, of course, the Ahmadiyyas, who have been for the last few months, at the receiving end of communal violence in different parts of the country. Even the ban on their religious publications -- an absolutely unconstitutional and arbitrary decision which the government claims, was taken to maintain peace, could not pacify the religious zealots who wouldn't accept anything less than their demand of declaring Ahmadiyyas non-Muslims. They are continuing their agitation, the target of their latest attack being another Ahmadiyya mosque in Chittagong. On May 28, a few thousand zealots under the banner of International Khateme Nabuat Movement Bangladesh armed with hockey sticks gheraoed Baitul Baset, an Ahmadiyya mosque in Chawkbazar. On top of the mosque's original signboard which read "Ahmadiyya Masjid Baitul Baset" they put up another sign saying "Kadiyani Upasonaloy" (place of worship) warning Muslims not to be tricked into thinking that this was a mosque. Interestingly, the police, led by Mian Lutfur Rahman Chowdhury DC (North) CMP, who thanked the agitators and asked them to go back peacefully, supervised the entire name changing ceremony.

Anti-Bush film tops Cannes Awards

Director Michael Moore's controversial anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 has won the prestigious Palme d'Or best film award at the Cannes festival.
It was the first documentary to win the top prize since Jacques Cousteau's The Silent World in 1956.
The film received a 15-minute standing ovation when it was screened on Monday.
Fahrenheit 9/11 explores the Iraq war and alleges connections between President George W Bush and top Saudi families, including the Bin Ladens.
The documentary uses Moore's customary satirical style to accuse Mr Bush of stealing the presidential election in 2000, ignoring terrorism warnings before 11 September 2001 and fuelling fears of more attacks to secure Americans' support for the war in Iraq.
The critical reaction to the film has generally been positive, with praise coming from The Washington Post, Time Magazine and British newspapers including the Independent and the Telegraph.
However, others have been more critical of the film. The Hollywood Reporter said Moore was "pioneering a reality film as an election device." And trade paper Variety described it as "rather less incendiary than expected" and said it was "a blatant cinematic 2004 campaign pamphlet".
Fahrenheit 9/11 was competing against 18 other films for the Palme d'Or.

Source: BBC online






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