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.
Dhaka, Aug 31 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned home on Friday afternoon from Kathmandu warping up her two-day official visit to Nepal to attend the 4th summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec).
A VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh carrying the Prime Minister and her entourage landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 2:35pm (BST).
Earlier, the flight took off from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu at 1:15pm (local time).
Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister Ishwor Pokharel and Bangladesh Ambassador in Kathmandu Mashfee Binte Shams saw her off at the airport.
Earlier in the day, Sheikh Hasina attended the Bimstec retreat and closing session.
On Thursday morning, the Prime Minister went to Kathmandu and addressed the opening session of the two-day Bimstec summit on the same day.
Bimstec having seven Member States -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand -- came into being on June 6, 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
During her stay in Kathmandu, Sheikh Hasina held meetings with her Indian and Nepalese counterparts Narendra Modi and KP Sharma Oli.
She also had meetings with Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Bhutan's Chief Adviser or interim government chief Dasho Tshering Wangchuk there.
Dhaka, Aug 31 (UNB) – BNP on Friday turned down the Election Commission’s (EC’s) decision to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the national elections, saying such machines can easily be manipulated.
“The Election Commission in which we’ve no confidence will control the EVMs. We reject their decision of introducing EVMs in the national elections,” said BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed.
Speaking at a discussion, he also said BNP which, what he claims, represents most people of the country will not accept the use of EVMs in the polls. “We don’t accept the decision.”
Youth Forum, a pro-BNP platform, arranged the programme at the Jatiya Press Club demanding BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s release from jail.
Earlier on Thursday, the Election Commission at a meeting decided to send a proposal to the government for amending the electoral laws to pave the way for the use of EVMs in the general elections.
Moudud, a BNP standing committee member, alleged that the government is behind the EC’s such decision. “I think there’s a big conspiracy behind the move to use the machines for taking votes just three months ahead of the parliamentary polls. The government is directly involved with the plot.”
He said the EC’s hurried decision to use the voting machine has raised various questions in public mind.
Referring to Bangladesh Bank’s reserve heist, the BNP leader said how people can keep confidence in the electronic voting system in a country where central bank’s reserve was plundered through hacking.
“We would like to say voting machine manipulation is not a tough job in a country where central bank’s money can be looted by hacking,” he observed.
Moudud said many countries, including Germany, Italy and Ireland, discarded the use of EVMs in the polls. “Even, 73 percent people in India gave opinions against the EVM use…there’s no country where election was fair and unquestionable using the EVMs.”
He said the move to procure EVMs was taken to indulge in corruption and plunder public money. “Public money will only be wasted by buying the voting machines as those won’t be used in the polls.”
The BNP leader said the government is now trying to keep confidence in machines instead of people as people’s minds cannot be manipulated like machines.
About the efforts of Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury and Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain to forge a national unity, Moudud said it will turn out to be a successful one as people want all to get united against the current government.
Earlier, at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi also opposed the EC’s decision describing EVMs as the magic boxes of vote rigging.
“We think the unilateral decision of using EVMs was taken as part of a master plan to rig votes in the next parliamentary polls,” he observed.
The BNP leader also warned that people with their united efforts will foil the government’s all ‘evil plans’ to manipulate the next election.