Even if action can’t be taken now, strong measures will be taken after election: Quader on those whose wealth saw abnormal increase
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said that action will be taken after the election against those whose wealth increased abnormally. “Even if action cannot be taken at the moment as the government is only conducting routine work, strong measures will be taken after the election,” Quader said in response to a question referring to Transparency International Bangladesh’s (TIB) allegation of discrepancies in the affidavits submitted by the aspirants for the upcoming 12th parliamentary election. Read: AL Pledges to Expand Modern Urban Facilities to Every Village in Smart Bangladesh The Awami League general secretary made the remarks at a press conference on contemporary issues at the party’s central office in Dhanmondi this afternoon (December 28, 2023). In its report, TIB questioned the authenticity of candidates’ income, wealth, loans, and debt disclosed to the Election Commission. The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) accused a minister, who remains unnamed, of owning “undisclosed overseas companies” engaged in real estate business abroad, with total assets valued at around Tk 2,312 crore. Commenting on BNP's movement, Quader said the party has lost the support of the people. “If there was public support [for BNP’s movement], no party would have to carry out sneak attacks to oust the government,” said the AL general secretary. Read: In Smart Bangladesh Awami League pledges more safeguards for minorities, end of intolerance Calling the incidents of violence in different constituencies “isolated,” Obaidul Quader said, "It is normal. No candidate will boycott the election.” The candidates want to bring voters to the polling centres by convincing them, he said.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said they want to see a "free, fair, non-violent and transparent" election and achieve the goal to build a "Smart Bangladesh" ensuring peace and stability. "We want all from the entire world to come and see, and learn from us," he said while talking to journalists after his meeting with a team of European Union (EU) experts at his residence on Wednesday (December 27, 2023) night. Momen, however, said the visiting EU team only listened to him as they wanted to know a few things, but did not make any comment on the election. “They didn't even want to talk to the media.” He said Bangladesh is a democratic country, and there is a very strong Election Commission in place that is taking all necessary steps to hold a fair election. Asked about BNP's allegations to the EU team in a separate meeting, the foreign minister said the government has not arrested anyone on political grounds but arrested those who were involved in “terrorist activities.” Also read: Don’t want to see any proxy war in region; want to show world fair polls: FM He referred to CCTV footage and statements made by some BNP supporters, mentioning who instructed them to carry out arson attacks and vandalism. "Not a single person has been arrested for political reasons . Only criminals have been arrested. We cannot tolerate terrorism," Momen said. The foreign minister said some big countries want Bangladesh to purchase things from them, but Bangladesh does not do so at the cost of sacrificing public interests. "That's why they are unhappy to some extent. But we follow our principles. If you stand by your principles, your dignity will be enhanced," Momen said. Also read: EU polls mission holds meeting with FM Momen, BNP leaders in Sylhet He also talked about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s desire to build a “Sonar Bangla” and a “Smart Bangladesh.” "We want peace. We want stability. We don't want terrorism. We want freedom of media and freedom of speech. We want the continuation of democracy. We want more job opportunities," Momen told the reporters, referring to Awami League's election manifesto. Before going to Sylhet, Momen also talked to reporters in Dhaka on Wednesday afternoon. Highlighting the importance of peace and stability for greater development, he said they do not want to see any “proxy war” in the region. “Our main goal is that we do not want to see any proxy war here. Problems remain there where we see proxy war despite having resources. Europe has fallen into proxy war and is facing challenges,” he told reporters, noting that there might be efforts to make the countries in the region weaker. Momen said Bangladesh has taken a leadership role in the region and other countries acknowledge this. Read more Cumilla presiding officer show-caused for campaigning in favour of AL candidate Mustafa Kamal
Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday requested all voters to go to the polling centres early in the morning and cast their ballots for 'boat' to let her party serve them again. “The election will be held on January 7. Please go to the polling centres early morning with other voters and cast your votes for boat (the electoral symbol of Awami League,” she said. The prime minister said this while addressing a public rally at Taraganj Degree College. Her younger sister Sheikh Rehana was present on dais. She said that boat is the symbol of the boat of Prophet Nuh that saved the human race during the Great Flood, “This boat gave your independence and developed your living standard,” she said. “Will you cast your votes for the boat? Promise me, please raise your hands,” she asked while the audience raised their hands and chanted slogans for the AL election symbol. She also introduced Awami League nominated candidate for Rangpur-2 constituency Abul Kalam Mohammad Ahasanul Huq Chowdhury (Duke) at the rally and requested all to vote for him. Read: ‘PM sounded sincere about ensuring infrastructure facilities enabling those with disabilities to move independently’ Referring to numerous implemented development programmes of the government in the last 15 years, Hasina said that it was possible for the government as the people gave votes for her party in the last three elections. She also said that there are some development programmes left unfinished to materialise the dream of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. These are to make the country free from homeless and landless people and eradicate poverty completely, she said.
At least one person was killed and several hundreds were injured in violent clashes across the country as leaders and activists of Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) took to the streets across the country in a show of force ahead of the next general election. A young man was killed and 50 people were injured in sporadic clashes between leaders and activists of BNP and Awami League in Laxmipur district town on Tuesday. According to Mahfuzzaman Ashraf, superintendent of Laxmipur police, both BNP and Awami League brought out processions across the city. Also read: Not a victory march, it’s a defeat march: Quader on BNP’s program At 4 pm, the procession of BNP and Awami League mingled at Samad Academy intersection. At one stage, the BNP men tore down banners of Awami League, triggering a chase and counter chase. The BNP men, numbering 30/40, chased some 15/20 men of Awami League, forcing them to take shelter in a building inside Madin Ullah Housing. Sajib of Chandraganj was found lying on the ground floor of the building, and he died due to profuse bleeding, police said quoting locals. Also read: Quit now, people don’t want to see you in power anymore: Fakhrul asks govt Earlier on Tuesday, BNP's Dhaka march for its one-point demand came under attack near Mirpur's Govt Bangla college. As part of their one-point movement, BNP started a march towards Old Dhaka from Gabtoli Bus Station around 11:20 am. Also read: 50 injured in AL, BNP, police clash in Feni When the march reached near the college in Mirpur around 11:45 am, some youths attacked them, resulting in a clash, witnesses said.
The poll to elect the Board of Directors of the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) will be held on July 31. On the polling day, the FBCCI members will cast votes in favor of their chosen candidate from 9 am to 4 pm. The names of elected directors will be announced on that day. The election to the posts of FBCCI president, senior vice-president, and six vice-presidents will be held on August 2 by the vote of elected directors for the period of 2023-2025. FBCCI-HSBC to work together to boost exports between Bangladesh-UK The FBCCI election schedule was announced on May 11, 2023. Mahbubur Alam has submitted his nomination papers as the panel leader for the 2023-25 term of the board of directors of the FBCCI. He is the President of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce & Industry and former Vice President of FBCCI. If Mahbubur Alam is elected as the panel leader, then he will be the next president of the FBCCI. He submitted nomination papers on Saturday (July 1) to the Chamber Bhaban in Motijheel on Saturday. FBCCI and Faction sign MoU to boost research, innovation The chairman of the Election Board A Matin Chowdhury accepted the nomination papers while election board members Shamsul Alam and KMN Manjurul Haque were present at that time. FBCCI president Jasim Uddin, Senior Vice President Mostafa Azad Chowdhury Babu, Vice President MA Momen, Amin Helali, Habib Ullah Don, MA Razzak Khan Raj, Former Senior Vice President Md. Ali, former vice president Helal Uddin, BGMEA president Faruk Hassan and other senior leaders of different associations were present. Policy support needed in budget for import-alternative industry in Bangladesh: FBCCI President tells ERF discussion
Voting in the by-election for Gaibandha-5 constituency, which was suspended due to irregularities, is underway with participation of voters in a festive mood. Voting started at 8 am and will continue till 4:30 pm. No untoward incident was reported till the filing of this report around 10 am. People were seen standing in long queues since morning, ignoring the cold. The presence of female voters is comparatively higher than their male counterparts. A total of 3,39,743 people are expected to exercise their franchise in 145 polling centres. Of them, 1,70,160 are females and 1,69,583 are male. District Election Officer and Returning officer Abdul Motaleb said that of the 145 polling centres, 72 are consider "important" while 32 are counted as "most important". Read: EC has 'no legal obligation' to bring parties to election All preparations have been taken to hold a smooth, free and fair election, he said. Elections will be monitored through CCTV cameras as done before. Rab, police, BGB and Ansar members will remain deployed to hold the election peacefully, said Motaleb. The candidates of the Gaibandha-5 by-election are: Awami League candidate Mahmud Hasan Ripon, Jatiya Party candidate AHM Golam Shaheed Ranju, Bikalpa Dhara candidate Advocate Jahangir Alam and independent candidate Syed Mahbubur Rahman. The constituency consists of Saghata and Phulchhari upazilas. On October 12 last year, the Election Commission (EC) suspended the by-election due to “rampant irregularities” on the election day and later the commission fixed January 4 for holding the polls. Following the death of Gaibandha-5 lawmaker and Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Fazle Rabbi Miah on July 22, 2022, it became a constitutional obligation to hold election for the parliamentary seat by October 20, 2022. Accordingly it was scheduled for October 12. A three-member committee was formed to look into the election irregularities on October 12 last year. Following the recommendations of the committee, the Election Commission took punitive actions against 133 officials including an additional deputy commissioner, five sub-inspectors and returning officer of the election. Read More: EC to delve into slow voting complaint in Rangpur City Corporation Polls
More than half of 17.5 million users who responded to a Twitter poll created by billionaire Elon Musk over whether he should step down as head of the company had voted yes by the time the poll closed Monday. There was no immediate announcement from Twitter, or Musk, about whether that would happen, though Musk said that he would abide by the results. Musk attended the World Cup final on Sunday and may be midflight on his way back to the U.S. early Monday. Musk has taken a number of unscientific polls on substantial issues facing the social media platform, including whether to reinstate journalists that he had suspended from Twitter, which was broadly criticized in and out of media circles. Musk has clashed with some users on multiple fronts and on Sunday, he asked Twitter users to decide if he should remain in charge of the social media platform after acknowledging he made a mistake in launching new speech restrictions that banned mentions of rival social media websites on Twitter. The results of the unscientific online survey, which lasted 12 hours, showed that 57.5% of those who voted wanted him to leave, while the remaining 42.5% wanted him to say. The latest poll followed yet another significant policy change since Musk acquired Twitter in October. Twitter had announced that users will no longer be able to link to Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon and other platforms the company described as “prohibited.” That decision generated immediate blowback, including criticism from past defenders of Twitter's new owner, that Musk promised not to make any more major policy changes without an online survey of users. The action to block competitors was Musk's latest attempt to crack down on certain speech after he shut down a Twitter account last week that was tracking the flights of his private jet. The banned platforms included mainstream websites such as Facebook and Instagram, and upstart rivals Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and former President Donald Trump's Truth Social. Twitter gave no explanation for why the blacklist included those seven websites but not others such as Parler, TikTok or LinkedIn. A test case was the prominent venture capitalist Paul Graham, who in the past has praised Musk but on Sunday told his 1.5 million Twitter followers that this was the “last straw” and to find him on Mastodon. His Twitter account was promptly suspended, and soon after restored as Musk promised to reverse the policy implemented just hours earlier. Policy decisions by Musk have divided users. He has advocated for free speech, but has suspended journalists and shut down a longstanding account that tracked the whereabouts of his jet, calling it a security risk. But he has changed policies, and then changed them again, created a sense of confusion on the platform about what is allowed, and what is not. Musk permanently banned the @ElonJet account on Wednesday, then changed Twitter's rules to prohibit the sharing of another person’s current location without their consent. He then took aim at journalists who were writing about the jet-tracking account, which can still be found on other social media sites, alleging that they were broadcasting “basically assassination coordinates.” He used that to justify Twitter's moves last week to suspend the accounts of numerous journalists who cover the social media platform and Musk, among them reporters working for The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America and other publications. Many of those accounts were restored following an online poll by Musk. Then, over the weekend, The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz became the latest journalist to be temporarily banned. She said she was suspended after posting a message on Twitter tagging Musk and requesting an interview. Sally Buzbee, The Washington Post's executive editor, called it an “arbitrary suspension of another Post journalist” that further undermined Musk’s promise to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech. “Again, the suspension occurred with no warning, process or explanation — this time as our reporter merely sought comment from Musk for a story,” Buzbee said. By midday Sunday, Lorenz's account was restored, as was the tweet she thought had triggered her suspension. Musk was questioned in court on Nov. 16 about how he splits his time among Tesla and his other companies, including SpaceX and Twitter. Musk had to testify in Delaware’s Court of Chancery over a shareholder’s challenge to Musk’s potentially $55 billion compensation plan as CEO of the electric car company. Musk said he never intended to be CEO of Tesla, and that he didn’t want to be chief executive of any other companies either, preferring to see himself as an engineer instead. Musk also said he expected an organizational restructuring of Twitter to be completed in the next week or so. It’s been more than a month since he said that. In public banter with Twitter followers Sunday, Musk expressed pessimism about the prospects for a new CEO, saying that person “must like pain a lot” to run a company that “has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy.” “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Musk tweeted. ___AP writer Brian P. D. Hannon contributed to this report.
Malaysia’s graft-tainted coalition that had ruled the country for decades was losing ground to rival Malay blocs but could still return to power depending on post-election alliances, according to partial results Sunday from general elections. Among other key election losers was two-time former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who at 97 is leading a separate Malay movement. The alliance led by the United Malays National Organization, which ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain until 2018, suffered upsets in a number of seats in an apparent swing of support to former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Malay-based Perikatan Nasional, or National Alliance. Many rural Malays, who form two-thirds of Malaysia’s 33 million people, which include large minorities of ethnic Chinese and Indians, fear they may lose their rights with greater pluralism. This, together with corruption in UMNO, has benefited Muhyiddin’s bloc, especially its ally, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, that touts Sharia. PAS rules three states and has a strong Muslim base. The Election Commission’s website showed UMNO’s Barisan Nasional, or National Front alliance, with only 24 seats so far. Muhyiddin’s bloc is neck-and-neck with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s reformist bloc with about 60 seats each. Anwar’s bloc espouses greater pluralism and has strong support in urban areas. Mahathir lost his seat in northern Langkawi island in a shock defeat to Muhyiddin’s bloc. A total of 220 seats in Parliament are up for grabs in Saturday’s vote. Polling for two federal seats has been postponed after the death of a candidate in one constituency and bad weather in another. Many surveys had put Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan, or Alliance of Hope, in the lead, though short of winning a majority. This could spark a new crisis if rival blocs again join hands to block his ascent. Anwar, 75, won his seat in northern Perak state. Read more: Suu Kyi lost Malaysia’s support for her role against Rohingya: Mahathir “Malays who don’t like UMNO swung to PAS, as they could never accept Harapan, which they perceived as too liberal and accommodating to non-Malays,” said Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. PAS leader Hadi Awang earlier told reporters that he was confident Muhyiddin’s alliance could form the government. UMNO leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a statement that his alliance accepted the results and is committed to ensure a stable government can be formed. In an allusion to a revival of its partnership with Muhyiddin’s bloc, Zahid said the National Front is willing to set aside differences. With vote counting underway early Sunday, there was still no clear winner. If Anwar’s bloc fails to win enough seats or seek alliance for a majority in Parliament, it may be sidelined again by the UMNO-Muhyiddin alliance. Both sides will have to court support from two states on Borneo island, which account for a quarter of parliamentary seats. The two states are traditionally aligned to UMNO. The economy and rising cost of living were chief concerns for voters, though many are apathetic due to political turmoil that has led to three prime ministers since 2018 polls. Anger over government corruption had led to UMNO’s shocking defeat in 2018 to Anwar’s bloc that saw the first regime change since Malaysia’s independence in 1957. The watershed polls had sparked hopes of reforms as once-powerful UMNO leaders were jailed or hauled to court for graft. But political guile and defections by Muhyiddin’s party led to the government’s collapse after 22 months. UMNO bounced back as part of a new government with Muhyiddin’s bloc, but infighting led to continuous turmoil. Initially confident of a strong victory due to a fragmented opposition, UMNO pushed incumbent caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob in October to call snap polls. But the UMNO campaign has been relatively muted as infighting and corruption charges against Zahid cast a shadow over its election promise of stability and prosperity. Anwar was in prison during the 2018 vote on a sodomy charge that critics say was trumped up. Mahathir led the alliance’s campaign and became the world’s oldest leader at 92 after the victory. Anwar was pardoned shortly after and would have succeeded Mahathir had their government not crumbled. His bloc has promised a reset in government policies to focus on merits and needs, rather than race, and good governance to plug billions of dollars it said was lost to corruption. Critics say the affirmative action policy that gives majority Malays privileges in business, housing and education has been abused to enrich the elites, alienate minority groups and has sparked a brain drain. Read more: Malaysia, Asean members will work to resolve Rohingya crisis: Mahathir
Americans are less concerned now about how climate change might impact them personally — and about how their personal choices affect the climate — than they were three years ago, a new poll shows, even as a wide majority still believe climate change is happening. The June Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, which was conducted before Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act on Friday, shows majorities of U.S. adults think the government and corporations have a significant responsibility to address climate change. The new law will invest nearly $375 billion in climate strategies over the next decade. Overall, 35% of U.S. adults say they are “extremely” or “very” concerned about the impact of climate change on them personally, down from 44% in August 2019. Another third say they are somewhat concerned. Only about half say their actions have an effect on climate change, compared with two-thirds in 2019. Black and Hispanic Americans, women and Democrats are especially likely to be strongly concerned about the impact of climate change on them personally and about how their personal choices affect the climate. Many climate scientists told The Associated Press that the shifts are concerning but not surprising given that individuals are feeling overwhelmed by a range of issues, now including an economy plagued by inflation after more than two years of a pandemic. In addition to being outpaced by other issues, climate change or the environment are mentioned as priorities by fewer Americans now than just a few years ago, according to the poll. Diane Panicucci in West Warwick, Rhode Island, believes climate change is happening and that it needs to be addressed. But for her, it’s a lower priority compared with other issues, including inflation and food and drug costs. “There’s so much unrest in this country right now,” the 62-year-old said. “People are suffering.” Panicucci added solar panels to her house, and she’s cut back on driving. She thinks individuals should do what they’re told will help, but “it doesn’t start with little ol’ me. It has to be larger scale,” she said. While the climate crisis will require an “all of the above approach,” it’s “reasonable” that individuals don’t feel they have the bandwidth to tackle climate action “on top of everything else,” said Kim Cobb, director of the Institute at Brown University for Environment and Society. Roughly two-thirds of Americans say the U.S. federal government, developed countries abroad and corporations and industries have a large responsibility to address climate change. Fewer — 45% — say that of individual people. Jack Hermanson, a 23-year-old software engineer, feels strongly that corporations are the “major culprits” of emissions and that the government is complicit in that behavior. “I don’t know if that makes sense to say that individuals should have to work and fix the climate,” the Denver resident said. “I would say my individual actions hardly mean anything at all.” Read: Climate Change: Biden's administration urged to take genuine leadership role U.S. household greenhouse gas emissions are not as much as those from cars, trucks and other transportation, electrical power generating and industry. A 2020 University of Michigan study of 93 million U.S. homes estimates that 20% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions comes from home energy use, with wealthier Americans’ per capita footprints about 25% higher than low-income residents. But like many others that spoke to the AP, that difference hasn’t stopped Hermanson from trying. He’s been a vegetarian for four years, and he tries to bike or take public transportation, buy products with less packaging and recycle. Among Americans who believe in climate change, 70% say it will be necessary for individuals to make major lifestyle changes to combat the issue. Most think individuals have at least some responsibility. Individuals can believe they personally don’t have a direct impact while also recognizing that collective action is essential to combatting climate change, said Shahzeen Attari, who studies human behavior and climate change at Indiana University. The poll shows about 6 in 10 Americans say they have reduced their driving, reduced their use of heat or air conditioning and bought used products instead of new ones. Nearly three-quarters are using energy efficient appliances. Among those who are taking those steps, most say the main reason is to save money, rather than to help the environment. Fewer — roughly a quarter — say they use an electricity supplier that gets power from renewable sources, and only about 1 in 10 live in a home with solar panels or drive a hybrid or electric car. Brad Machincia, a 38-year-old welder, said he wouldn’t switch from his gas car to an electric vehicle. While he said he grew up in a West Virginia household that used renewable energy sources, he hasn’t adopted those practices for his family in Christiansburg, Virginia. Climate change used to be a concern for him, but at this point, he feels like it’s “beating a dead horse.” “There’s nothing we can do to fix it,” he said. Individuals should feel empowered to make climate-driven decisions that not only help reduce emissions but also improve their lives, said Jonathan Foley, executive director at climate nonprofit Project Drawdown. Foley thinks the findings show that efforts to engage Americans need to shift away from doomsday scenarios, include diverse messengers and focus on the ways climate solutions can intersect with Americans’ other priorities. Julio Carmona, a 37-year-old financial clerk, said he recently transitioned his home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to solar energy because the switch will help reduce his carbon footprint and his expenses, even if modestly. “I thought that it was just something smart for us to do long term,” he said. “I just kind of wanted to do my part, whether or not it’s gonna make a difference.”
Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif on Monday said BNP will join the next parliamentary election under the current government as the party did in 2018. “The next election will also be held under the present government in line with the constitution and BNP must take part in that poll,” he said. Hanif came up with the comment while talking to journalists during the inauguration of the newly constructed District Seed Certification Agency office building in Saddam Bazar area. He said the government will do whatever is necessary for holding the forthcoming election in a free, fair and neutral manner with the participation of all parties. The ruling party leader recalled that BNP joined the 2018 election under the Awami League government. He said Awami League is the only party in Bangladesh which believes in democracy and handing over power through an election. “Awami League has so far handed over power through elections. The Awami League does not resort to any trick over the election. The BNP has the habit of rigging votes and manipulating the elections.” READ: BNP is opposing election commission law to embarrass the govt: Hanif Earlier on Sunday, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader assured that the 12th parliamentary polls will be held in a free and credible manner, and urged all registered political parties to join it. However, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Monday said Awami League’s assurance of a fair election is only a trap to deceive their party. Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, Rizvi also said what the ruling party leaders and the prime minister are saying about the fair election is nothing but a deception.