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    Volume 8 Issue 98 | December 18, 2009 |

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War for Peace
President Barack Obama, when he was delivering his wonderful speech after accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, sounded more like a philosopher having a great command of English literature rather than an American president having a command over his people to get their endorsement for his views on global security. He certainly managed to express his feelings poetically. If only Obama could carry on learning English literature, perhaps he, like the former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, could someday be awarded a Nobel Prize in literature!
President Obama attempted to redefine the concept of 'war and peace' and introduced war as a new tool to enforce peace. Mahatma Gandhi espoused the notion of nonviolence as a pathway to peace. Obama, on the contrary, has advocated violence in order to stamp out violence with a goal to bringing peace. Force, Obama declared, is not only necessary but also morally justified.
Just nine days before he was to receive the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Obama ordered 30,000 additional American troops into a war which, many fear, may turn into another Vietnam War---a war Americans can ill afford at a time when their nation is still smarting from the recent economic meltdown.
By accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, instead of rejecting it, Obama is now a hostage in global politics. Treading a path shrouded by a smoke screen of glamour Obama has stepped into a kind of a trap that he thought might be a gateway to fame.
“War for peace” may now go down in history as a new phrase coined by Obama and “War is an antithesis of peace” may now become an out-of-date axiom. A dark haze hung over the city of Oslo as people lined the roads to catch a glimpse of the American president on his way to the city hall to attend the prize giving ceremony. Not far away a crowd chanted some welcome slogans and held up a yellow banner, saying, “Obama, you won it, now earn it”.
The world can only hope that Obama did catch a glimpse of that yellow banner!
Maswood Alam Khan

Risky Journeys

In Bangladesh launch accidents are a common phenomenon. Every year many tragic incidents happen in our country but the government has hardly taken any step to prevent them. A few days ago, tragedy struck at the Tetulia River near Lalmohon of Bhola with more than one thousand passengers on board. More than 85 dead bodies have been recovered so far and many are reported missing. Most of the recovered dead bodies were found trapped inside the body of the launch. After watching this tragic accident's video on satellite channels I was greatly shocked. The launch was loaded with three times more passengers than its capacity of 650. Similarly, dozens of accidents happened in our country and more than two thousand people have lost their lives up till now.
According to a survey carried out by the department of shipping in the recent past, about 40% of the motor launches in the private sector are unfit for plying and almost as many required major modification. In spite of being unfit, many launches have been carrying passengers regularly on various routes. So, it is my earnest request to the government to take urgent steps to stop launch accidents.
Mohammed Jamal Uddin

Controlling the Price of Essentials
In a democratic country when the price of commodities rises, people consider the government responsible. People at large think that government has to take policy decisions as well as effective measures to control price and ensure adequate supply. It is a reality that the present democratic government could not effectively control prices and could not ensure adequate supply of commodities in the recent past. Most people are not happy with the government in this respect.
The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), a hundred percent government owned organisation, could not play its desired role due to delay in decision-making and bureaucracy. TCB's procurement rules do not allow it to react quickly to market demands. It is difficult to change government executive orders, rules and regulations to delegate authority to TCB. Rather it is easy to convert TCB into a Public Limited Company (PLC) under Companies Act, 1994. A PLC does not require Ministry, Cabinet Purchase Committee or Cabinet approval to purchase or to sell any item whatever the value.
TCB could be converted to a Public Limited Company in the above mentioned form to strengthen the government's capacity to protect the public from unethical price increase and hoarding of commodities by syndicated traders in the country. The government would execute its policies through its nominated directors and would avoid the time consuming government purchase and sales procedures.
The present government should consider the proposal to have an effective control on supply and price level of commodities. The measure would force the traders to play ethically. As a result, it would be an important weapon to control any spike in the commodities prices in the future.
Md. Ashraf Hossain
Central Bashabo, Dhaka-1214

Bad effects of Advertisements
Advertisement is the means to promote the sale of goods and services. The manufacturers try to attract the consumers through a very tempting display of the goods. But now-a-days most of the advertisements are so rough and misleading that the consumers become the ultimate prey of the advertising campaign. By various persuasive displays the producers deceive the consumers and maximise their profit. Though there is a huge mismatch between the advertisement and the standard of the goods, people are frequently conned. We also see the absurd antics of male and female models with every advertisement which is often unnecessary. Many of the advertisements are lacking in good taste. I think it is high time for the elected government to stop such unethical practices and formulate an appropriate set of rules that will protect the interests of the consumer.
Mohammad Shahidul Islam
Dept. of English
International Islamic University, Chittagong.

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