• Sunday, December 21, 2014

Freedom in the air

Opinion

The US-Cuba thaw after 50 years: Why now?

SUNDAY POUCH

The US-Cuba thaw after 50 years: Why now?

It is over 50 years (from October 1960) since the US had imposed a political and economic embargo on Cuba. The reason given then was that the US wanted to ferment Cuban dissent against the communist leader Fidel Castro. It was also said that it was to limit communist influence in the West...

BETWEEN THE LINES

Tragedy and conciliation

There was a genuine pain in India over the mindless killing of school children in Peshawar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked all Indian school children to maintain a two-minute silence in memory of the lives lost in Pakistan. He readily offered any assistance that India could render to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.  Such gestures transcend the borders. I wish this atmosphere could be sustained between the two countries.     Unfortunately, the civil society in India and Pakistan don't feel concerned over...

Some simple questions

I am an international student from Bangladesh. My questions are very simple. Why does my mother feel nervous, insecure and upset when I tell her I will go back to Bangladesh? Why does she want me to settle abroad and feel safe and relaxed? I am sure that not only my mother but many other mothers also feel the same way. If my country is free today then why can't we girls walk freely on roads without anyone staring at...

Goodbye Wonderful Bangladesh

Goodbye Wonderful Bangladesh

Over three years have passed, but it seems like yesterday when the plane landed at Shahjalal Airport, bringing my wife Grace and me to Dhaka to take up my assignment as America's Ambassador to Bangladesh. Having traveled halfway around the world, we were so tired … Grace got off first … and I followed behind, dragging a huge bag.  It was so heavy, but I dragged it through the terminal and thumped it down the stairs and into the lounge, where I held a press conference. Just as the press event was ending, a journalist queried, “What do you have in that big bag?”  “Oh,” I responded, “that is my...

The business case for trade unions

The business case for trade unions

The state minister for labour was quoted recently as saying that too many trade unions are bad for the garment sector. In a workforce of 4 million workers, the garment sector only has 200 registered unions, of which the bulk of those were registered in the last year. So there is no evidence...

SHIFTING IMAGES

It's now… or never!

A columnist wears many hats -- at times she is a voice that expresses an opinion on issues that affect a segment of the populace. At others she is a mere observer commenting on an event that deserves attention. But no matter how objective or analytical a column writer may wish to be, she is above all a real person -- a friend, a wife, a mother. Someone who feels, emotes, laughs and sheds tears. Today, I want to...

PROJECT SYNDICATE
AWAKENING INDIA

Published Date: December 20, 2014
Thanking Bangladesh

THIS month, India's parliament took the first step toward a potentially momentous decision: to settle a boundary dispute with Bangladesh that dates back to the 1947 partition of the subcontinent. An agreement in this area would provide a major boost to the already warm bilateral relationship, not least by bolstering Bangladesh's position in the region. The demarcation of the India-Pakistan border by the British was a slapdash affair, concocted by a collapsing empire in headlong retreat from its responsibilities. The...

STRAIGHT LINE

Published Date: December 20, 2014
Radicalised savagery and remedies

Radicalised savagery and remedies

THE savage attack by the Taliban militants that killed 132 students and 9 school staff members in the Pakistani city of Peshawar is the bloodiest massacre perpetrated by radical elements in recent history. If proof of continuing menace of radicalism was needed, Pakistanis have enough of it in the goriest manner. In neighbouring...

Published Date: December 20, 2014
Formulating a national policy for cycling

ALTHOUGH two years ago only a few hundred cyclists joined the Victory Day Ride (bicycle rally) organised in Dhaka by BDCyclists, one of the prominent cycling groups in the country, this year the group claims that about seven thousand cyclists turned out at their Ride. This is a clear indication that there has been a great surge in the number of cyclists in Dhaka in the past few years. Only a few years ago, commuting by cycle was for the...

CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS

Published Date: December 20, 2014
Does Lima fall a long way short to Paris?

Does Lima fall a long way short to Paris?

Climate negotiations with tempestuous bargaining ended in Lima, 32 hours beyond the scheduled two weeks time. It's now time to reflect on the gestation, meaning and implications of the 43-page, 23-item document titled the Lima Call for Climate Action, that includes an Annex -- 'Elements of A Negotiating Text' -- for finalising an...

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