Dhaka, Sept 2 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the electronic voting machines (EVMs) should not be imposed hurriedly as the machines need to be introduced on a limited scale in national elections.
“There’s an EVM system in many countries of the world. I was always and still I’m in favour of it. Yes, this is right it shouldn’t be imposed in hastily as it’s a matter of practice. We’ll have to examine it,” she said while addressing a press conference at her official residence Ganobhaban.
The press conference was arranged to brief the media about the outcomes of her just-concluded visit to Nepal for attending the 4th Bimstec summit.
The Prime Minister said introduction of EVMs is part of the government’s ‘Digital Bangladesh’ vision as it is a new technology.
“Well, let it (EVM) be used in some places. Let people examine gradually whether there’s any system loss here (with machines),” she said.
Hasina said if any system loss is found in assessment, the EVM use will be cancelled. “This not final words (EVM must be introduced). There’s nothing to raise so much of objections here. Let’s start using the technology on a limited scale.”
Noting that BNP is very much vocal against EVM, she said BNP does not want the EVM as they will not be able to apply their vote-rigging technique with the machines.
“They know a good rigging technique…. we’re yet to discover it,” she said adding that even election observers could not find out their technique.
Explaining the justification behind the EVM use, Hasina said now people doing their money transactions online, buying sacrificial animals, foodstuff and all other things online.
She said money is the most important thing to people, which they can send online. “If you can trust money transaction online why can’t you trust it (EVM)?”
Hasina said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed her that India developed software so that people can cast their votes using mobile phones from any place across the world. They will not require going to polling stations to exercise their voting rights, she added.
Dhaka, Sept 1 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said any anarchic activity by the students of public universities is not acceptable at all as they are availing of the education facility with public money.
"Indiscipline is not acceptable, never. All must follow rules, if anyone wants to get education from any public institution he or she has to abide by the rules and regulations of that educational institution and act accordingly. That’s what we want from the students as does the nation," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating “7 March Bhaban”, a newly constructed residential building for female students inside Ruqayyah Hall of Dhaka University.
In Bangladesh, she said, a student avail of the higher education probably at the cheapest cost in the world. "And all the education expenses are borne by the government….100 percent expenses are provided by the government. I don't know whether this exists in any other countries of the world. So, the students must honour this system.”
Chaired by DU Vice Chancellor Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman, the function was addressed, among others, by Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, University Grants Commission chairman Prof Abdul Mannan, DU Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic) Professor Dr. Nasreen Ahmad, DU Pro-Vice Chancellor (Administration) Prof. Dr. Muhammad Samad, DU Treasurer Prof Dr M Kamal Uddin and Ruqayyah Hall Provost Prof Dr Jinat Huda.
The 11-stoery ‘7 March Bhaban’ constructed at a cost of Tk 88 crore with all modern facilities.
The Prime Minister reiterated her stance to see the expenses in education as the investment which will be useful for building the country. "The people of the country will be built as good human resources…the teachers will deliver their lessons properly while the students will take that accordingly ….these lessons are not mere academic ones, these will be needed in all spheres of life to develop their lifestyle."
She asked the students to give special attention to their education so that the positive results of their education can be spread for the mass people of the country.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken an initiative to diversify the education from primary to tertiary levels. For this, the government has formed Prime Minister's Education Assistance Trust Fund.
She put emphasis on creating skilled and effective manpower for the trade, commerce and other sectors of the country. "Keeping that view in mind, the government has taken steps to establish universities in all big districts across the country."
She also mentioned that the government has formed Bangabandhu Science and Technology Fellowship Trust giving emphasis on research works because no country can move forward without giving proper attention to research.
About the Dhaka University, the Prime Minister said all movements that gave something to the country and its people had started from this university. "Dhaka University is the birthplace of all movements that helped achieve the Bengalee nation."
Recalling the barbaric August 15, 1975 massacre, she said the killing was just to reestablish the anti-liberation force in the country.
Hasina said Awami League runs the government with an ideal. "Power is not the matter of luxury and enjoyment to me…to me, power is performing of the responsibility given by people," she added.
On her arrival at the stage, Lipi Akter and Sraboni Islam, students of Rokeya Hall, adorned the Prime Minister with “Uttoriyo”.
Students of the Department of Music and Dance performed songs and dances at the function highlighting the Liberation War spirit.
Earlier, the Prime Minister opened the building by unveiling its plaque. She also visited the museum and signed the visitors’ book.
The building, which will accommodate 1,000 students, has a five-storey administrative block, service block and museum.
In its museum, the 7th March speech, rare photographs of the armed struggle of the Bangalees and information regarding the participation and contributions of women to the Liberation War were placed.
Dhaka, Sept 1 (UNB)- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address a press conference on Sunday to brief journalists about the outcomes of her just-concluded visit to Nepal for attending the 4th Bimstec summit.
The press conference will be held at her official residence Ganobhaban at 4:00pm, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said.
The Prime Minister visited Nepal on August 30 and 31 to attend the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec).
Dhaka, Sept 1 (UNB) – BNP senior leaders on Saturday urged all, including democratic political parties and institutions, to forge a greater unity to ensure the rule of people and ‘restore’ democracy by removing the current “autocratic regime”.
Speaking at a public rally, they also demanded the government release BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and all political prisoners after withdrawing the ‘false’ cases filed against them to create an atmosphere for an inclusive and meaningful election.
“I would like to urge the people of all walks of life, all democratic parties and institution, let’s save the country and democracy putting aside all the misunderstandings and conflicts,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Stating that Khaleda, before going to jail, called for a national unity, he said, “We believe a national unity will be forged. We welcome those putting in efforts for forging a national unity. We call upon them to come forward for creating a greater national unity to defeat the autocratic regime and establish the rule of people,” he said.
Fakhrul also said the government must take steps for releasing BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and ensure her better treatment as she is very sick.
The BNP leader renewed their party’s some demands for holding the next election in a fair and credible manner. “Before the announcement of the election schedule, this government must quit, parliament must be dissolved, the Election Commission will have to be reconstituted and army must be deployed.”
BNP arranged the public rally in fort of its Nayapaltan central office marking the party’s 40th founding anniversary.
Hundreds of leaders and activists of the party and its associate bodies joined the rally in small processions from across the city.
Fakhrul alleged that the government is making various plots to hang onto power as people are not with it. “Now, they’re trying to use EVMs in the polls to perpetuate its power as people won’t protect them. People have abandoned Awami League and it has now turned into a politically bankrupt party.”
He alleged that the government is hatching a new plot against their party senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman. “The ruling party leaders are saying that Tarique Rahman will be convicted in the August-21 case as if they’ve taken the charge of judges.”
The BNP leader alleged that the government is deliberately trying to influence the August-21 case. “We would like to clearly say that people won’t accept any verdict of conspiracy. They’ll rather give a befitting reply to it.”
Fakhrul said Awami League leaders cannot have sound sleep as a fear of BNP and its leaders always hunt them down.
Speaking at the rally, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said the government is conspiring to use EVM in the next polls to cling to power through another lopsided election.
He warned that people will not allow the ruling party to implement its any plot, and hold another January-5 like election. “BNP together with people will resist such plots.”
The BNP leader alleged that the government has kept Khaleda Zia in jail unfairly to keep her and BNP away from the next polls.
Mentioning that freeing Khaleda Zia from jail is a challenge for their party, he said, “Awami League won’t release her willingly. We must free her through a strong movement.”
Mosharraf said the Prime Minister and her government must quit before the announcement of the election schedule to create a level-playing field for the polls. “Khaleda Zia must be freed, if the government wants to ensure the participation of BNP and an inclusive election.”
He also called upon the law enforcers to change their partisan attitude so that they can play a neutral role during the election as per people’s hopes and aspirations.
BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said it will not be possible to free Khaleda from jail through a legal battle. “Street movement is the only way for having freed her from jail.”
“We need to get ready for taking to the streets. We’ll have to go to polls after freeing our leader (Khaleda). We’ll carry out the movement for our leader’s release and installing a non-party neutral election-time government,” he said.
The BNP leader said the government must dissolve parliament before the announcement of the election schedule. “Holding parliamentary polls keeping parliament functional is unprecedented in the world.
Moudud thanked Dr Kamal Hossain, B Chowdhury and others who are trying to forge a national unity. “We’ll launch the movement by forging the national unity, and ensure a free and fair election in the country.”
The BNP leader said the young generation will never vote for Awami League the way the government repressed those waged quota-reform and safe-road movement.”
BNP standing committee members, Jamiruddin Sircar, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, among others, addressed the rally.
Washington, Aug 31 (AP/UNB) — Brett Kavanaugh emailed his White House colleagues in June 2003 with an alert: The U.S. Supreme Court was about to release opinions on the University of Michigan's use of race as a factor to admit students.
It was an issue of great interest to his boss, President George W. Bush — who favored race-neutral admissions — and one Kavanaugh had followed for years. Staff prepared a response anticipating the practice would be struck down, saying, "We must be ever mindful not to use means that create another wrong and thus perpetuate our divisions" in the pursuit of diversity.
But the next day, justices released a 5-4 opinion written by Reagan appointee Sandra Day O'Connor that upheld the university's law school admissions policy, a disappointment that prompted then-Bush policy adviser Joel Kaplan to email Kavanaugh, then a White House attorney: "What's going on???" In a separate 6-3 opinion, the court said race could be a factor in undergraduate admissions, but not the deciding factor.
There is no evidence of a reply from Kavanaugh among the tens of thousands of pages of emails released by the Senate Judiciary Committee from his time in the White House counsel's office.
But as President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, his views on affirmative action, along with voting rights and discrimination, are coming under intense scrutiny by civil rights organizations as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to begin confirmation hearings Tuesday.
"We are confident that if he's confirmed to the court, he would undermine the court's integrity and would prove a grave threat to civil rights, racial justice and the marginalized communities that the Legal Defense Fund represents," Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said Thursday as the organization officially opposed Kavanaugh's nomination and asked the Senate to place its consideration on hold until more documents from his career were made available.
Civil rights organizations that have been combing through Kavanaugh's 300-plus decisions during 12 years as a federal appeals court judge in Washington, D.C., his work as a lawyer and his time inside Bush's White House say there are red flags. He co-wrote a brief as a private attorney in a case involving native Hawaiians that they fear signals his personal opposition to affirmative action, and he wrote the appellate court opinion upholding South Carolina's voter ID law.
Kavanaugh's record also includes opinions that civil rights advocates would praise in other candidates — including that a single utterance of a racial epithet toward a black employee could create a hostile work environment under federal law, and a suggestion that federal courts should make it clear that discriminatory actions by employers violate the Civil Rights Act.
That contrasting record underscores the challenge facing groups that already opposed Kavanaugh because he was on a list of potential nominees put forward by the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, essentially certifying them as appropriately conservative for Trump, who has vowed to move the high court to the right while replacing retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The White House had no comment for this story but referred The Associated Press to a former Kavanaugh law clerk, an African-American, who said Kavanaugh is attuned to civil rights and racial justice issues.
"In my experience with him, he's someone who approaches cases fairly and with an open mind," said Luke McCloud, who clerked for Kavanaugh from 2013 to 2014 and is now in private practice. He praised Kavanaugh's efforts to recruit and mentor minority lawyers, adding that Kavanaugh "acknowledges the history and current reality of race in this country and takes it into account as he can within the confines of his role as a judge."
Kavanaugh's keen interest in affirmative action is evident in the released White House emails. Although he appeared careful to withhold his own opinion, he clearly was interested in Bush's anti-affirmative action views, often emailing and receiving articles and opinion pieces on the issue.
Also, while in private practice a few years earlier, Kavanaugh wrote a brief along with failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork challenging a law banning non-native Hawaiians from voting in Office of Hawaiian Affairs elections. He also wrote an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal sharply criticizing the policy, but during confirmation hearings for the appeals court post, he said he wrote the piece to advance his client's position and refused to say whether he agreed.
The case involved a $300 million public trust fund set up by Congress to compensate ancestors of native Hawaiians whose land and cultural heritage were taken by the U.S. The state said only blood relatives could vote in board of trustees elections, while Kavanaugh challenged that as discriminatory to non-indigenous residents. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the law amounted to racial discrimination.
Kavanaugh's brief and other comments around the case indicate that he thinks government will ultimately end up race-blind, which "could signal where his own thinking is" on affirmative action, said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who also opposes Kavanaugh. "His record is deeply disturbing ... but there is a lot we don't know."
Opponents point to other issues that trouble them, especially his 2012 ruling on South Carolina's voter ID law. Kavanaugh said the statute was legal because those who had difficulty getting a photo ID still could vote by signing an affidavit. The law had been blocked by the Justice Department, which sided with those who said such laws make it more difficult for minorities to vote and are pushed by conservatives to dampen minority turnout.
Critics also question his record on employment discrimination, citing an appellate court case in which Kavanaugh disagreed with the majority of judges, who said that a black woman fired from a job as House of Representatives deputy budget director could pursue claims of racial discrimination and retaliation in federal court.
"We're mostly concerned about whether Judge Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would approach civil rights issues with the appropriate understanding and respect for the history of racial discrimination in this country," said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.