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          Volume 10 |Issue 39 | October 14, 2011 |


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The Fruits of Globalisation


Falling incomes will mean the biggest drop for middle-income families since the 1970s, says a report based on studies by a national research institution. The in-depth study forecasts two years "dominated by a large decline" in incomes, pushing lakhs of children into poverty.

Customers will be able to take photographs at several shopping centres after a nationwide campaign. It follows an incident at a city shopping centre when security guards challenged a man who had taken a photo of his young daughter. Staff will no longer try to prevent family and friends taking pictures of each other, although security guards might still challenge anyone acting suspiciously.

A 31-year-old woman has been charged with murdering a woman, aged 59, who was stabbed to death in a street south-east of the country. Nasima Elahi (not her real name), of Amrapali House, Gaurnadi, is also accused of the attempted murder of a 23-year-old woman who was stabbed at a bus stop.

A court has found the former prime minister guilty of abusing her authority when she ordered a national energy firm to sign a gas deal with Russia during her tenure. Tuesday's verdict could further strain ties between the two countries. Prosecutors had asked the court to sentence the former Prime Minister, 50, the main political opponent of the present government to seven years in jail for illegally forcing through the gas deal.

Thousands of people are fleeing their homes as flood waters threaten to engulf entire villages and towns. More than 250 people have been killed by monsoon rains in the past two months, and now authorities are working around the clock to stop waters from reaching the capital. According to one report, “Flood waters lying around in the northern part of the country are on their way to the capital”. The works minister said on Monday that government workers had two days to build three major water barricades before a runoff from the north reached the capital. He said he did not know if the capital would be protected from the flooding.

Four men brought down the economy: a billionaire mortgage-seller who fooled millions; a high-rolling banker with a fatal weakness; a ferocious financial predator; and the power behind the state. The crash of September 2008 brought the largest bankruptcies in history, pushing more than 30 million people into unemployment and bringing many to the edge of insolvency. The stock exchange turned back the clock to 1929. But how did it all go so wrong? Lack of government regulation; easy lending in the housing market meant anyone could qualify for a home loan with no government regulations in place. The finance minister at the time introduced 'light touch regulation' - giving bankers a free hand in the marketplace. All this, and with key players making the wrong financial decisions, saw the biggest financial collapse.

Police filed cases against a political party president and employees' union leaders for making instigating speeches and creating rift between people from different regions in the country. The cases filed against the three leaders are non-bailable and warranted immediate arrest. Police in its FIR against them stated that they had tried to instigate people to attack peoples' representatives (houses of MPs and ministers) while speaking at a meeting convened by the national electricity employees union.

Striking employees of the country's biggest garments industry have seized control of a factory hit by weeks of labour unrest, the company said on Monday, as a stand-off that has cost the owners over 100 crore Taka descended into violence. Workers attacked managers and supervisors and damaged equipment at the plant, shutting down production for a third consecutive day. "The plant is effectively captive in the hands of striking workers who are bent upon violence," the company said in a statement, describing the situation at the factory as "grave".

The divisional administration has sought government help for cleaning polluted rivers in the area. This brings hope for improving the lot of six rivers in the region. During a visit to Chittagong last year, the former environment minister had said he was “shocked to see the deteriorating water quality and ecological health of the rivers in the last 10 years due to uncontrolled release of sewage". The six rivers are among the 35 most polluted in the country. The minister had later proposed a collaboration of the divisional administration and the environment ministry to restore the rivers to a decent condition.

How similar are we? The top three news clips above (all current on 11 October) are taken from BBC, the next three from Al Jazeera and the last three from Times of India, but names, locations and context have been changed for a good reason. One could be forgiven for believing that all the nine stories referred to Bangladesh. The world is not any different out there. Or, in here!




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