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     Volume 4 Issue 39 | March 25, 2005 |

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News Notes

Dying for a better life
Once again, poverty leads youth to scavenge the other side of the world, but in vain.
Right after the Mediterranean tragedy, where a few young men had to give up their lives in the intention of leading a better life, another event occurred where 24 Bangladeshi fortune-seekers returned home a year after travel agents, promising them a job in Italy, sent them to Mali instead.
Monir and Liton of Linkan Travels took Tk 6-7lakhs from each of the 24 young men. According to the victims, they were promised a better life and a job in Italy, but were taken to Mali on a tourist visa and were kept in Bamako, capital of Mali, for a month. They were then dumped into the Sahara desert where they wandered for days with no food and water. The local police lifted them on a helicopter only to send them to jail where they stayed from seven to 11 months for illegally travelling in the country.
Asma Akhter, operations assistant of IOM, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) took steps to repatriate them and brought the 24 Bangladeshi by a Biman flight from Dubai.
In another similar situation, 11 among 26 Bangladeshis who with the help of a travel agency left the country on December 23 died of hunger and thirst in a boat on the Mediterranean, en route to Spain from Morocco.
They, along with 15 other Bangladeshis ran out of fuel, supplies and went without food and water for 10 days on the high sea as the boatman lost his way and headed for Algeria instead of Spain. It seems that each of them had paid Tk 6 lakh to two brokers -- Reazul Islam Raju and Mostak Ahmed -- of Dohar Travel Agency in Basundhara.
Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Mohammad Quamrul Islam told The Daily Star that proper action would be taken against the unscrupulous travel agents.

10 BNP Men
for Killing Kibria

The CID Assistant Superintendent of Police, Munshi Atiqur Rahman, finally submitted a chargesheet accusing 10 BNP leaders and activists for the sensational Kibria murder on January 27 in Habiganj. Habiganj district BNP Vice-President AKM Abdul Quaiyum was named in the chargesheet as the planner of the grenade attack that killed five including the AL lawmaker. Quaiyum, who has been hoping to get the BNP ticket for the next general elections, plotted Kibria's murder to ensure victory in Kibria's seat.
Asma Kibria, wife of late SAMS Kibria, has however rejected the chargesheet, saying the investigation was incomplete and names of the people who ordered the killings were not exposed in the investigation. She reiterated her claim for an FBI probe into the grisly murder, which she believes would, unmask the behind-the-scene criminals.
Interestingly, almost two months into the grenade attack there is no sign of any FBI team, in spite of the government assurance to invite FBI and allow them a free hand in the investigation procedure. The delay seems to have resulted due to the negotiation between the FBI and the Bangladesh government over FBI's reluctance to work unless they are allowed to operate independently.
According to press reports, an FBI team is expected very soon, but one wonders, even if they arrive will justice be meted out to the families who lost there dear ones?

Make Love, not War
As the US casualty in the war reached 1,519, thousands of activists protested the US-led occupation of Iraq last Saturday. The day also marked the second anniversary of the start of the war against the oil-rich middle-eastern country.
The largest marches took place in Britain where around 1,00,000 Londoners took to the street to protest what the organisers termed their country's participation in this brutal and unjust war. Two former soldiers of the Royal army left a cardboard coffin at the entrance to the US embassy, inscribed with the words: "100,000 dead".
In Turkey, another US ally, 15,000 people marched against the war.
Japan, which has 550 troops in southern Iraq, mostly in non-combatant role, witnessed one of the biggest anti-war protests in its recent history. Around 5,000 people marched in Tokyo. "The self-defence Force [Japan's military] should withdraw from Iraq immediately... and the occupation of Iraq should be stopped," demanded Ken Takada, a member of civic group World Peace Now.
In Australia, which has announced the deployment of a further 450 soldiers, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of all the major cities.
In Greece, trade unions and Marxist groups gathered to protest the occupation of Iraq. "Bush, the number one terrorist," said leaflets being passed out to marchers.
Bearing coffins draped in the country's flag, citizens took to the streets in the US. Protests also took place in all the major cities of Europe and Asia.
While the human rights groups are pressing for the body count of the Iraqis, US-led occupation of Iraq continues to take a heavy toll on lives. US causality, on the other hand, has been increasing by day, as the occupation-forces are facing a fierce resistance in the hands of Iraqi insurgents.
Though Bush and cronies blamed Saddam Hussein and his party-members for carrying out numerous suicide attacks, the number of such incidents has only been on the rise lately.

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