Grameen Bank Breakup Runs Into Heavy Going

The Bangladesh government, apparently quailing in the face of national and international outrage, has postponed until July 20 a workshop scheduled to hear a plan to break up the celebrated Grameen Bank, which provides aid for 8.4 million of the country's poor, almost all of them women, and to bring 51 percent of its functions…

Grabbing Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank

Apparently driven by jealousy, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed*, is seeking to have the Bangladesh government take over 51 percent of the ownership of Grameen Bank, arguably the most successful institution ever invented anywhere to provide aid for the poor, almost all women. Hasina has been on a vendetta against the bank's founder, Muhammad Yunus,…

Tragedy in Bangladesh

The eight-storey building that collapsed on April 24 in Bangladesh, killing at least 930, housed five garment factories that employed at least 3,000 workers and placed weight on the floors almost six times greater than the building was intended to bear, according to a still unpublished early damage assessment by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center.…

Deforestation threatens Bangladesh Food Security

Activists are warning that food insecurity in southeastern Bangladesh may worsen over the next decade as a result of unfettered deforestation. Abdul Mannan of the local NGO, Society for Health Extension & Development, works with communities in Cox's Bazar District where, by the group's estimate, some 400,000 depend on the forest to survive. "The southeastern…

Bangladesh and Landslides

Despite attempts by the government to relocate residents from hilly areas of southeastern Bangladesh, the residents insist on returning , facing high risk of landslides, locals and activists say. “This is fast becoming a major problem,” said Abdul Matin, secretary-general of Bangladesh Paribesh Andalan, a Dhaka-based activist group. “Each year the local government relocates a…

Bangladesh’s December Elections

Bangladeshi elections continue to be a nightmare for voters in a largely undemocratic political culture that has prevailed since independence, failing to take ethics and human rights into consideration. The years 2006, 2007 and 2008 ranked among the worst, with factional squabbling between the country’s bitter rivals, the Bangladesh National Party led by Begum Khaleda…

Bangladesh Politics Returns to Chaos

Nearly four years after national elections brought hope that Bangladesh could finally begin put its poisonous politics behind it, the country has returned to the tumultuous factionalism that generated a coup and two years of military-backed caretaker government. “Hope has been replaced by deep disillusionment as two familiar threats to Bangladesh’s democracy have returned: the…

Sheikh Hasina’s Assault on Grameen Bank

Muhammad Yunus, who founded the pioneering microlender Grameen Bank, is finding himself under increasing attack from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has ordered a four-member commission to investigate 54 businesses founded by the Nobel Laureate. There is rising concern that the government will seek to privatize both Grameen Bank and the scores of affiliated…

Torture Video Sparks India-Bangladesh Tension

Tensions have been mounting at the India-Bangladesh border following the discovery of a video showing Indian border guards torturing a Bangladeshi cattle smuggler. Shot on a mobile phone camera, the video contains graphic (NSFW) footage of several men wearing the uniforms of India’s Border Security Force (BSF) stripping a Bangladeshi man in his 20s completely…

Severe Water Shortage in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi troops have been forced to guard water pumps in parts of Dhaka as a severe water shortage grips the capital, causing a rise in water-borne diseases, officials said. The move follows angry protests earlier this month by residents over what many see as a deteriorating situation. “The army will work in coordination with the…
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