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     Volume 6 Issue 15 | April 20, 2007 |

   Cover Story
   Food for thought
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Heritage of Bangladesh
I would like to thank SWM for the wonderful cover story 'Showcasing a Hidden Bangladesh' by Ahmede Hussain (March 30, 2007).
Bangladesh has a rich and colourful heritage but because of lack of publicity our Shonar Bangla is not properly represented to the rest of the world. This is a very commendable step to showcase our heritage in France, one of the most attractive cities for tourists from around the world. I would like to thank the French embassy for taking this step. With this, two of the ancient traditions Jamdani and nakshikatha will also be exhibited. The government as well as the private sector should take the responsibility for conservation of our traditions for the next generation.
Farhana Hoque Panna
Dept. Of Applied Statistics
University of Dhaka

A National ID Card
The election commissioner's decision to make voter ID cards is undoubtedly a wise and timely decision. But they should simultaneously be thinking about a national ID card, which has a variety of uses and like other developed countries it should be introduced in our country. The cost should only be marginally more. Anyone above 18 should have a national ID card, which can be used as voter identification as well.
Rahad Abir

Oriental Bank Fraud
Last Tuesday our home worker broke into tears when she heard that she was not going to get the profits that she was entitled to as she had a savings account at the Oriental Bank. She has worked in our house for twenty years and all her salary was deposited at the Oriental Bank. She hoped to start a business with the money she got and the profits that the fraud bank owners had promised. In fact our whole family has accounts there and we are all shocked at what happened. It is indeed unimaginable how people could do such fraud in the name of an Islamic bank.
We appeal to the caretaker government to take immediate steps so that these sorts of crimes are never committed again and we also call for a befitting punishment of the persons involved in the Oriental bank scam.
Md Shahanur Rashid
Salimullah Road

The Caretaker Government: The Saviour
The present caretaker government has done an excellent job for the nation, which was engrossed in chaos and corruption for many years. Some of its effective steps include reconstruction of the Election Commission, suppression of corruption and strict measures against terrorists. Now we can hope that more corrupt politicians, terrorists and their collaborators will be caught which will ensure us a free and fair election throughout the country.
Baily Road, Dhaka

A Bold Decision by the CA
It's very soothing to learn that at last the caretaker government has taken the bold and timely decision for setting the target frame by which the apparel industries have to set up waste disposal treatment plans if they want to survive in the business.
It's very appalling that most of the apparel factories dispose their waste into the nearby ponds and rivers through the water conduit. What everyone is avoiding is the consequences of the water contamination. Waste chemicals contaminate water, fish as well as other aquatic animals. The total ecosystem of these rivers and ponds are in a vulnerable state.
The right to do business does not mean the right to jeopardise the environment and the people around. Many industry owners intentionally ignore their responsibility to the environment due to the administrational flexibility of our governments over the last years. Some industries have installed their own Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), which is very admirable.
I hope that the caretaker government will stick to the monitoring and follow up of this issue. We shouldn't forget that being proactive is better than being reactive.

'The Executions of JMB Militants'
The execution of the six Jama'atul Mujahideen men will rightly be considered a triumph of justice and the rule of law. The executions were welcomed across the country, but concern was also pronounced at the inability of the authorities to nab the patrons of the JMB. The interim government gave out indications that it was preparing to move up against the terrorist masterminds.
These militants, while they lived, carried out a wave of nefarious activities all across the country with impunity. Sadly but truly, the aspect of the entire episode is that there was scarcely anyone in the state administration who could stand up against them to help protect the general people and stop them from doing so. Unfortunately, these religious terrorists widened and mushroomed their network under the unanimous support from individuals in politics as well as the corrupt civil administration. The execution of these six religious extremists has relieved the tension of the common people.
Our heartfelt thanks to the caretaker government for carrying out justice.
Md Badiuzzaman Tamal
University of Jahangirnagar

Branding Bangladesh
Indonesia 'The ultimate in Diversity', Hong Kong 'Asian's World City', Malaysia 'Truly Asia', China 'Factory of The World', Dubai 'The Jewel in the Desert', Maldives 'Sunny side of life', 'Amazing Thailand' and Shanghai 'China's Cheerleader'. These countries have willingly created these positions and brand propositions.
Image and reputation are becoming essential parts of a country's strategic equity. Like branded products, branded states depend on trust and customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, we don't have anything unique to say or promise about our country. Individuals, firms, cities, countries and continents all market themselves professionally, often through aggressive promotional techniques. Unbranded states have a difficult time attracting economic and political attention. A powerful and positive nation brand provides a crucial competitive advantage. It is essential for countries, both rich and poor, to understand how they are seen by the public.
State branding is a long-term, cumulative effort that will influence foreign investment decisions and the state's market capitalisation. The notion that a nation is a brand, which needs to be differentiated from other nations and promoted locally and internationally, is relatively new but its gaining acceptance.
As we meet the challenges of the 21st century, it is high time we took strategic branding initiatives. To enhance our image and reputation we have ample resources and people at hand. We need to brand Bangladesh in such way so that the whole world knows of it as an emerging tiger from the land of golden opportunities.
Sharmin Rashid
Uttara, Dhaka

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