When Jacinda Ardern announced this week she was stepping down as New Zealand's prime minister, speculation began almost immediately about what she might do for a second act. When she leaves, she will have accumulated 15 years experience as a lawmaker and five-and-a-half years as leader. She will also be just 42 years old. Observers say she has all sorts of career possibilities open to her. Ardern said she was leaving the job because she no longer has “enough in the tank to do it justice” and has no immediate plans for her own future other than to spend more time with her fiancé and 4-year-old daughter. Read more: New Zealand's Ardern, an icon to many, to step down “I’ll have to admit I slept well for the first time in a long time last night," Ardern told reporters Friday, adding that she felt both sadness and relief. Stephen Hoadley, an assistant professor of politics and international relations at the University of Auckland, said he couldn't imagine Ardern would remain at home over the long term, given her energy and skills. “She has the potential, she has the ability, she has the profile, she has the acceptability to do a whole lot of things," Hoadley said. “Give her a few weeks to rest up, and to refill the tank, to use her phrase. But I would imagine by the end of this year, she’ll be off and running on a whole new career line.” Hoadley pointed to the career path of Helen Clark, another former New Zealand prime minister who went on to become a top administrator at the U.N., leading the development program. “Jacinda could be tapped by any number of United Nations, or charitable, or philanthropical, or other kinds of organizations,” Hoadley said. “There are many, many possibilities, and her profile is so high that I think she would have her pick.” Climate Change Minister James Shaw, who first met Ardern in about 2007 and has remained friends, said he was in shock but also not wholly surprised when Ardern told him of her plans to resign. “It's been a really intense five years,” Shaw said. On top of a busy legislative program, Shaw said, Ardern had needed to steer the country through a series of crises, including a mass-shooting at two Christchurch mosques that left 51 people dead, a volcanic eruption that killed 22, and the coronavirus pandemic. On top of that, Ardern also bore the brunt of a growing number of threats, Shaw said, and a toxic, misogynistic online culture that had grown worse in recent years. Read more: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to leave office next month, sets October election “What I hope is that she can get some time at the beach with her family, uninterrupted, for a while,” Shaw said. He said he believes Ardern when she says she doesn’t yet have firm plans for the future. “I think she could do pretty much whatever she wants from this point,” Shaw said. “Jacinda is one of the most selfless, determined, publicly-minded people I have ever met," Shaw added. "So I would imagine that whatever it is, it will be in the public interest.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday reiterated her call to increase food production to save the country from any possible trouble amid the global economic recession due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war. “We have to increase our production and preserve those so that our country must not plunge into any danger,” she said. The premier was speaking at the programme marking the 25th founding anniversary of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU) and inauguration of a Technology Exhibition. The programme was held at the Begum Sufia Kamal Auditorium while the PM joined it virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban. Hasina said that the world is witnessing an economic recession as an impact of coronavirus and war-related sanctions and counter-sanctions by the US-led Western block and Russia. Read: PM Hasina wonders how leftists could join hands with BNP and Jamaat “As a result the prices of food items have soared beyond the purchasing capacity of all. Besides, prices of everything including power, fuel and transportation have been increased,” she said. Talking about the preservation capacity, she said that the government has set up a number of modern silos to stock rice. “Such godowns are urgently needed for food items being produced here,” she said. She also said that the government is focusing on the food processing industries in the 100 economic zones that are being set up in different parts of the country by the government. Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, Education Minister Dipu Moni, Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Md. Giashuddin Miah also spoke. A documentary on the university was also screened at the programme. Located at Salna, Gazipur, BSMRAU was established in 1998 as the country’s 13th state-run public university by an ordinance promulgated by the government of Bangladesh. The prime minister also put emphasis on research on food products to ensure food security in the country. She asked the authorities concerned along with involved persons to concentrate on producing more oil seeds in the country to reduce the dependency on others. She said that Bangladesh imports 98 percent of the edible oil it consumes. “But the mustard oil is the best for health. It can be upgraded through refining. We can do that,” she said. In this connection she said that there were various types of edible oil seeds in the country. “We must not be dependent on others. Why will we import from outside. We have to put more attention and do more research on edible oil production from various types of seeds. We have to take initiatives for that,” she said. The PM said that to save the arable lands of the country the government is setting up 100 economic zones across the country. She criticised those who during their regimes did not think about saving the arable lands. She said many arable lands were destroyed through indiscriminate urbanisation, establishment of mills and factories alongside construction of houses. “We do not want to lose our arable lands anymore. We have taken stern action regarding this,” she said. She said that the government has put emphasis on research on jute and jute made items to make it more diversified to earn foreign exchange. Read: Not that easy to overthrow AL govt through movement: PM “Jute can be a very important addition to our export basket, we have to put more attention to this item,” she said. The PM briefly described various steps of the government to improve the agricultural production and thanked the researchers for their utmost sincerity for inventing new varieties. Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, Education Minister Dipu Moni, Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Md. Giashuddin Miah also spoke. A documentary on the university was also screened at the programme. Located at Salna, Gazipur, BSMRAU was established in 1998 as the country’s 13th state-run public university by an ordinance promulgated by the government of Bangladesh.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader has said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the first phase of metro rail – spanning from Uttara to Agargaon – on December 28. The minister said this at a preparatory meeting of a sub-committee, formed on the occasion of the 22nd national council of Awami League (AL), in the capital's Dhanmondi Thursday. "The first phase of metro rail from Diabari to Agargaon will be opened to the public on December 28," Quader, also the general secretary of AL, said. "Let them (BNP) criticise us. We will respond to their criticisms with our work," he added. Read: Dhaka Metro Rail fare set at Tk 5/km
Prime Minister's outgoing principal secretary Ahmad Kaykaus paid a courtesy call on President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban Wednesday. Congratulating the outgoing Kaykaus on being appointed as the alternate executive director of the World Bank in Washington, President Hamid hoped that he would be successful with his duties and make all-out efforts to protect the interests of the country, President's Press Secretary Md Joynal Abedin said. Read more: PM Hasina pays courtesy call on President Hamid The outgoing principal secretary sought the president's guidance and cooperation in discharging his new duties. The president also thanked Kaykaus for successfully performing his duties as the principal secretary to the prime minister.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India’s G20 agenda will be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive. "Let us join together to make India's G20 Presidency a Presidency of healing, harmony and hope. Let us work together to shape a new paradigm - of human-centric globalisation," he said. In an article titled "India's G20 Presidency to promote the universal sense of one-ness" Prime Minister Modi said the previous 17 Presidencies of the G20 delivered significant results - for ensuring macro-economic stability, rationalising international taxation, relieving debt-burden on countries, among many other outcomes. "We will benefit from these achievements, and build further upon them," the article reads. "However, as India assumes this important mantle, I ask myself - can the G20 go further still? Can we catalyse a fundamental mindset shift, to benefit humanity as a whole? I believe we can," he said. India, as G20 Presidency, will be inviting Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as guest countries to its meetings and Summit, the Ministry of External Affairs, India announced in September this year. Read more: G20: As Lavrov watches on, UK PM Sunak criticises Russia’s “barbaric” war Under its Presidency, India is expected to host over 200 G20 meetings across the country, beginning December 2022. "Our mindsets are shaped by our circumstances. Through all of history, humanity lived in scarcity. We fought for limited resources, because our survival depended on denying them to others. Confrontation and competition - between ideas, ideologies and identities - became the norm. Unfortunately, we remain trapped in the same zero-sum mindset even today. We see it when countries fight over territory or resources. We see it when supplies of essential goods are weaponised. We see it when vaccines are hoarded by a few, even as billions remain vulnerable. Some may argue that confrontation and greed are just human nature. I disagree. If humans were inherently selfish, what would explain the lasting appeal of so many spiritual traditions that advocate the fundamental one-ness of us all? One such tradition, popular in India, sees all living beings, and even inanimate things, as composed of the same five basic elements – the panch tatva of earth, water, fire, air and space. Harmony among these elements - within us and between us - is essential for our physical, social and environmental well-being. India's G20 Presidency will work to promote this universal sense of one-ness. Hence our theme - 'One Earth, One Family, One Future'. This is not just a slogan. It takes into account recent changes in human circumstances, which we have collectively failed to appreciate. Today, we have the means to produce enough to meet the basic needs of all people in the world. Today, we do not need to fight for our survival - our era need not be one of war. Indeed, it must not be one! Today, the greatest challenges we face - climate change, terrorism, and pandemics - can be solved not by fighting each other, but only by acting together. Fortunately, today's technology also gives us the means to address problems on a humanity-wide scale. The massive virtual worlds that we inhabit today demonstrate the scalability of digital technologies. Housing one-sixth of humanity, and with its immense diversity of languages, religions, customs and beliefs, India is a microcosm of the world. With the oldest-known traditions of collective decision-making, India contributes to the foundational DNA of democracy. As the mother of democracy, India's national consensus is forged not by diktat, but by blending millions of free voices into one harmonious melody. Today, India is the fastest growing large economy. Our citizen-centric governance model takes care of even our most marginalised citizens, while nurturing the creative genius of our talented youth. We have tried to make national development not an exercise in top-down governance, but rather a citizen-led 'people's movement'. We have leveraged technology to create digital public goods that are open, inclusive and inter-operable. These have delivered revolutionary progress in fields as varied as social protection, financial inclusion, and electronic payments. For all these reasons, India's experiences can provide insights for possible global solutions. During our G20 Presidency, we shall present India's experiences, learnings and models as possible templates for others, particularly the developing world. Our G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not just our G20 partners, but also our fellow-travellers in the global South, whose voice often goes unheard. Our priorities will focus on healing our 'One Earth', creating harmony within our 'One Family' and giving hope for our 'One Future'. For healing our planet, we will encourage sustainable and environment-friendly lifestyles, based on India's tradition of trusteeship towards nature. For promoting harmony within the human family, we will seek to depoliticise the global supply of food, fertilizers and medical products, so that geo-political tensions do not lead to humanitarian crises. As in our own families, those whose needs are the greatest must always be our first concern. For imbuing hope in our future generations, we will encourage an honest conversation among the most powerful countries - on mitigating risks posed by weapons of mass destruction and enhancing global security," Modi said. Read more: US supports India for G20 presidency
Long-time opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as Malaysia's prime minister Thursday, in a victory for political reformers locked in a battle with Malay nationalists for days after the divisive general election produced a hung Parliament. Broadcast live on national television, Anwar took his oath of office Thursday evening in a simple ceremony at the national palace. Malaysia's king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, named Anwar, 75, as the nation's 10th leader after saying he was satisfied that Anwar is the candidate who is likely to have majority support. Anwar’s Alliance of Hope led Saturday’s election with 82 seats, short of the 112 needed for a majority. An unexpected surge of ethnic Malay support propelled Former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s right-leaning National Alliance to win 73 seats, with its ally Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party emerging as the biggest single party with 49 seats. The stalemate was resolved after the long-ruling bloc led by the United Malays National Organization agreed to support a unity government under Anwar. Such a tie-up was once unthinkable in Malaysian politics, long dominated by rivalry between the two parties. Other influential groups in Borneo island have said they will follow the king’s decision. “His Royal Highness reminds all parties that the winners do not win all and the losers do not lose everything,” a palace statement read. The monarch urged Anwar and his new government to be humble, and said all opposing parties should reconcile to ensure a stable government and end Malaysia's political turmoil, which has led to three prime ministers since 2018 polls. The statement gave no details on the government that will be formed. Read more: Reformist leader Anwar close to becoming Malaysia's next PM Muhyiddin, 75, has refused to accede defeat. At a news conference, Muhyiddin challenged Anwar to prove that he has the majority support of lawmakers to deflect doubts over his leadership. Police have tightened security nationwide as social media posts warned of racial troubles if Anwar’s multiethnic bloc wins. Anwar's party has urged supporters to refrain from celebratory gatherings or issuing sensitive statements to avoid risk of provocation. Read more: Former Malaysia PM Mahathir loses ground to poll rivals Anwar’s rise to the top caps his roller-coaster political journey and will ease fears over greater Islamization. But he faces a tall task in bridging racial divides that deepened after Saturday’s poll, as well as reviving an economy struggling with rising inflation and a currency that has fallen to its weakest point. Malays form two-thirds of Malaysia’s 33 million people, which include large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities. “He will have to make compromises with other actors in the government that means that the reform process will be a more inclusive one," said Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asia political expert. “Anwar is a globalist, which will assure international investors. He has been seen to be a bridge builder across communities, which will test his leadership moving forward but at the same juncture offers a reassuring hand for the challenges that Malaysia will face.” Anwar was a former deputy prime minister whose sacking and imprisonment in the 1990s led to massive street protests and a reform movement that became a major political force. Thursday marked his reformist bloc's second victory — its first being the historic 2018 polls that led to the first regime change since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957. Anwar was in prison at the time for a sodomy charge he said was politically motivated. He was pardoned and was due to take over from Mahathir Mohamad. But the government collapsed after Muhyiddin defected and joined hands with UMNO to form a new government. Muhyiddin’s government was beset by internal rivalries and he resigned after 17 months. UMNO leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob was then picked by the king as the prime minister. Many rural Malays fear they may lose their privileges with greater pluralism under Anwar. Fed up with corruption and infighting in UMNO, many opted for Muhyiddin’s bloc in Saturday’s vote.
Former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak is strong favorite to become Britain’s next prime minister within days — or even hours — after former leader Boris Johnson dropped out of the Conservative Party leadership contest. After the resignation of Liz Truss last week, the governing party is choosing Britain’s third prime minister this year at a time of political turmoil and severe economic challenges. Sunak, 42, is the only candidate with confirmed support from more than 100 lawmakers, the number needed to run in the election. House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt has far fewer expressions of support, but is aiming to reach the threshold by the time nominations close at 2 p.m. If Mordaunt does not reach 100 nominations, Sunak will win by acclamation and could move into 10 Downing St. by Monday evening. If both make the ballot, the 357 Conservative lawmakers will hold an indicative vote on Monday to show their preference. If neither subsequently drops out, the choice will go to the 172,000 party members around the country, with a result announced Friday. Mordaunt will come under intense pressure to step aside and not force a membership vote if Sunak is the strong favorite among lawmakers. Home Secretary Grant Shapps, a Sunak supporter, said the former Treasury chief did not think he had the contest “in the bag.” “He’s speaking to colleagues this morning, he’s working very hard to attract those supporters who were perhaps with Boris Johnson previously,” Shapps said. “But, look, I’ll leave it to Penny, she’s a terrific colleague. Let’s see what happens.” Sunak, who was runner-up to Truss in this summer’s Tory leadership race to replace Johnson, has promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability” if he forms a government — a contrast to the chaos that consumed the past two prime ministers. Johnson dramatically quit the race on Sunday night, ending a short-lived, high-profile attempt to return to the prime minister’s job he was ousted from little more than three months ago amid ethics scandals. Read: Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss to be named as UK's new prime minister Johnson spent the weekend trying to gain support from fellow Conservative lawmakers after flying back from a Caribbean vacation. Late Sunday he said he had amassed the backing of 102 colleagues. But he was far behind Sunak in support, and said he had concluded that “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament. The prospect of a return by Johnson had thrown the already divided Conservative Party into further turmoil. He led the party to a thumping election victory in 2019, but his premiership was clouded by scandals over money and ethics that eventually became too much for the party to bear. In his Sunday statement, Johnson insisted he was “well placed to deliver a Conservative victory” in the next national election, due by 2024. And he said that he likely would have won a ballot of Conservative Party members against either of his rivals. “But in the course of the last days I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do,” he said. He hinted he might be back, however, saying: “I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.” Truss quit Thursday after a turbulent 45 days in office, conceding that she could not deliver on her botched tax-cutting economic package, which she was forced to abandon after it sparked fury within her party and weeks of turmoil in financial markets. Sunak, who was Treasury chief from 2020 until this summer, steered Britain’s slumping economy through the coronavirus pandemic. He quit in July in protest at Johnson’s leadership. The Conservative Party turmoil is fueling demands for a national election. Under Britain’s parliamentary system, there does not need to be one until the end of 2024, though the government has the power to call one sooner. Currently that looks unlikely. Opinion polls say an election would spell disaster for the Conservatives, with the left-of-center Labour Party winning a large majority.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia will take over as the Arab country’s prime minister, and Prince Khalid bin Salman will take over as defence minister, according to a royal order cited by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Tuesday. The crown prince, who is Saudi King Salman’s heir apparent, already possesses a wide range of authority and is regarded as the day-to-day ruler of the kingdom. The Saudi Press Agency also stated that King Salman will continue to preside over the meetings of the Cabinet, Associated Press reported. Read: Oil price war, Mecca ban are latest risks by Saudi prince Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive plan to modernise its economy and eliminate its reliance on oil, known as “Vision 2030”, has been spearheaded by the 37-year-old crown prince, popularly known as MBS. MBS has been associated with the murder of Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering the Saudi Consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul. According to US intelligence, the crown prince probably gave the murder his approval. Read: Saudi prince's anti-corruption sweep ends with $106B netted The prince denied ordering the killing but stated in 2019 that he accepted “all responsibility” for it because it occurred under his watch. Saudi officials have claimed that renegade Saudi security and intelligence personnel were responsible for Khashoggi’s murder. Although they have not been named, Saudi Arabian authorities claim to have jailed eight Saudi citizens for the murder. Despite having previously pledged to declare Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the Khashoggi murder, US President Joe Biden visited the kingdom and had a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince MBS earlier this year, indicating the continued significance of relations with the greatest oil exporter in the world.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that she is returning from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with friendship for Bangladesh. She made the remark in response to a query regarding what she was returning home with from the 77th UNGA. “Friendship, I’m returning home with friendship for Bangladesh. Everyone tried to mention Bangladesh’s development,” the PM said. PM Hasina was speaking at a press conference held at Bangladesh’s Permanent Mission in the UN. “The most important thing is that we want peace. I don't want war, I don't want conflict. I think I have been able to convey this message to everyone and everyone has appreciated Bangladesh and our role,” she said. Replying to another question on investment of expatriates in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister said that investment opportunities have been created so that expats can invest without hassles in the country. “The government is establishing 100 economic zones for domestic and foreign investment,” she added. In response to another question, she said, expats who do not have NID can open bank accounts with their passports. “That arrangement has already been made.” Also read: PM in NY: Election will be fair, BNP has no reason to worry
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina broke down in tears and was overwhelmed with emotion in New York Thursday while talking about the everyday ordeals of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals – Rohingyas. She was speaking at a high-level meeting on the Rohingya crisis at a hotel. "She (PM) could not control her tears while talking about the hardship these displaced people (Rohingyas) have to go through every day," the Awami League tweeted. Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char Island. Also read: PM in NY: Rohingyas living in Myanmar’s Arakan since 8th century