Washington, Sept 8 (AP/UNB) — After two marathon days questioning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, senators concluded his confirmation hearing Friday by listening to others talk about him — friends stressing his fairness and warmth but opponents warning he'd roll back abortion rights and shield President Donald Trump.
One of the Democrats' star witnesses was John Dean, Richard Nixon's White House counsel who cooperated with prosecutors during the Watergate investigation. He told lawmakers that the high court with Kavanaugh on it would be "the most presidential powers-friendly court in the modern era."
Senators on the Judiciary Committee are likely to vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation on Sept. 20 with a vote by the full Senate the following week. Republicans hope to confirm the judge, who would nudge the high court further to the right, in time for the first day of court's new term, Oct. 1.
With special counsel Robert Mueller deep into his investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, committee Democrats expressed concerns throughout the weeklong hearing that Kavanaugh would side with Trump on questions such as whether a president can be forced to testify. Kavanaugh, like previous nominees, declined to answer hypothetical questions that might come before him as a justice.
Trump, campaigning in Fargo, North Dakota, said the Democrats had made fools of themselves and crowed that he was looking forward to running against "one of those people" in 2020. Committee members Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California are among the Democrats considered possible candidates in the next presidential campaign.
Abortion was another main focus throughout the hearing, with Democrats portraying Kavanaugh as a judge who might vote to undercut or overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. Senate Democrats, in the minority 51-49, hope to appeal to two Republican senators who support abortion rights to break from their party and vote against Kavanaugh.
On Friday, New York University law professor Melissa Murray told lawmakers that Kavanaugh would provide the "necessary fifth vote that would utterly eviscerate" Roe v. Wade.
On the Republican side, witnesses testifying in support of Kavanaugh included longtime friends and former law clerks. They talked about his intelligence and open-mindedness, calling him "thoughtful," ''humble," ''wonderfully warm" and a "fair-minded and independent jurist." A number praised his concerted efforts to hire as law clerks both minorities and women.
Senate Democrats had worked into the night Thursday on Kavanaugh's final day of questioning in a last, ferocious attempt to paint him as a foe of abortion rights and a likely defender of President Donald Trump.
But the 53-year-old appellate judge stuck to a well-rehearsed script throughout his testimony, providing only glimpses of his judicial stances while avoiding any serious mistakes that might jeopardize his confirmation.
On Friday, Democratic witnesses expressed concern about Kavanaugh's record on a range of issues including affirmative action, the rights of people with disabilities, access to birth control and abortion. Democratic witnesses also included a student who survived the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and Rochelle Garza, the legal guardian for a pregnant immigrant teenager whose quest for an abortion Kavanaugh would have delayed last year.
Yale law school professor Akhil Reed Amar, a liberal testifying in support of Kavanaugh, had a message for Democratic senators: "Don't be mad. He's smart. Be careful what you wish for. Our party controls neither the White House nor the Senate. If you torpedo Kavanaugh you'll likely end up with someone worse."
Dhaka, Sept 8 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the common people are now getting the benefits of her government’s development programmes as it has been able to lower the inflation rate with sustainable GDP growth.
"Bangladesh economy has made a good progress...we’ve been able to lower the inflation rate…it’s now 5.4 to 5.6 percent, and the economy is strong as we’re maintaining 7.78 percent GDP growth. Now the grassroots are getting the benefits," she said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the 6th National Convention of Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB) its premises here.
Agriculture Minister MatiaChowdhury was present as a special guest at the programme held with KIB President AMM Salehin the chair. KIB Secretary General MdKhairulAlam delivered the welcome speech.
Returning to power in 2009, Sheikh Hasina said, the Awami League government has taken long-, mid-, and short-term programmes to take the country forward. "We’re now marching ahead with the programmes."
She said the government wants to lead the country towards prosperity as Bangladesh is now the third largest vegetable-producing country, while 8th in potato, 7th in mango and third in fish production.
"Our country is now totally self-reliant…now we’ve to go for value addition to our products…we’ve to go for food processing as well," the Prime Minister said.
Hasina said the socioeconomic status of people is improving while the local market is expanding. "We can sell our processed foods within the country as well as export those after fulfilling the local demand and earn foreign exchange."
Hasina said the government has given a special attention to food processing and encourage investment in this sector. "We’ll produce more foods, process those, meet our own local demand and export the surplus ones to fetch foreign currencies."
The Prime Minister said the government has also given importance to research to enhance production. “Through research, the government has improved the production of rice, fish and vegetable. We also decoded the jute genome," she added.
Hasina said the government is providing all-out support to farmers through investing in research and giving all agri-related facilities.
Describing irrigation as the important component of agriculture, she said the government wants to encourage the use of renewable energy for this purpose.
Hasina said she requested the Agriculture Minister to encourage cooperative system for using solar panel in irrigation as its use by a single person is costlier.
The Prime Minister said the Awami League government is in power for the two consecutive times. "If people cast their votes for us, we’ll be in power again, if they don’t we won’t be there in power," she said.
Referring to some natural disasters like floods in the past, Sheikh Hasina said the agriculture sector is first affected by various calamities like early and long-lasting floods, draughts, landslides, tidal upsurge and earthquakes.
Keeping these in mind, she said, the government has been developing modern food storages and silos in the county to ensure up to 22 lakh metric tons of food storage to meet crisis during any crisis.
She sharply criticised the post-75 governments like of Zia, Ershad and Khaleda who never wanted Bangladesh to be self-sufficient in food.
Governments after 1975 violated the agriculture policy framed by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and they never wanted development of the farmers and improvement of the lifestyle of the common people.
They destroyed institutions like BADC for which the country could not achieve desired development in the agriculture sector, she added.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the convention by hoisting the national flag and releasing doves and balloons.
President and CEO of IFDC Scot J Angel also spoke on the occasion.
Dhaka, Sept 7 (UNB) – Voicing serious concern over its chairperson’s health condition, BNP on Friday alleged that the government is out with an ‘evil plan’ to kill Khaleda Zia in jail.
“The family members of our leader Khaleda Zia met her in jail yesterday (Thursday). “We’re not only concerned, but also got surprised and disappointed over what they told us about her health condition,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he further said, “No step is being taken for her medical treatment though she is seriously ill. The government, out of its political vengeance, is making heinous evil efforts to kill her by keeping her in jail.”
Under the circumstances, Fakhrul said, their party is going to send a letter to the Home Minister today seeking permission so that its senior leaders can meet Khaleda in jail to see for themselves her health condition.
He urged the government to take steps for ensuring Khaleda’s better treatment in any specialised private hospital and free her from jail to save her life.
The BNP leader said Khaleda’s relatives who met her on Thursday told them that her left hand and left leg have got almost paralysed, and she is suffering from severe pain. “She told them that she’s not getting any treatment. “She also told the illegally set up country in jail on September 5 that she wouldn’t be able to appear before it as she’s very sick. We’re deeply worried over her health condition.”
Opposing the trial of Zia Charitable trust graft case against Khaleda in a makeshift court in Old Dhaka Central Jail, Fakhrul said the government has got desperate to give the BNP chairperson punishment further.
As per the country’s Constitution and existing law, he said, the trial of a sick citizen cannot be held. “It’s completely unconstitutional and inhuman act. It’s now crucial to make sure her better treatment by shifting her to a specialised hospital. We’re giving importance to her treatment as it’s a matter of her life and death.”
The BNP leader warned that the government and the jail authorities will be held responsible for violating the Constitution and human rights if they do not allow Khaleda to receive better treatment.
“It has now become clear that the government is trying to keep Khaleda Zia away from politics and the upcoming election to get elected unilaterally as part of its blueprint,” he observed.
The BNP leader said the government has turned Bangladesh into an autocratic country by destroying all the constitutional and democratic institutions.
“We once again call upon the government to free our leader (Khaleda) from jail and allow her to receive proper treatment. Or else, people won’t forgive you,” he said.
BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury were, among others, present.
Dhaka, Sept 7 (UNB) - Four lawyers of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia met her at the Old Dhaka Central Jail at Nazimuddin Road on Friday.
The four Supreme Court lawyers, led by BNP standing committee member Jamiruddin Sircar, entered the jail around 4:30pm and held nearly an hour-long meeting with Khaleda.
The three other lawyers are Supreme Court Bar Association President Zainul Abedin, Abdur Rezzak Khan and former Attorney General AJ Mohammad Ali.
Talking to journalists after the meeting, Zainul Abedin said, “Khaleda Zia’s health condition is very bad. She can’t even speak well.”
He also said the BNP chairperson is suffering from severe pain and she needs treatment immediately at any specialised hospital.
“She is so sick that it’ll not be possible for her to go to the court,” Zainul added.
Khaleda has been staying in the jail since a special court convicted her in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8 last.
Earlier in the day, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam said they have sent a letter to the Home Minister seeking permission so that their party’s senior leaders can meet Khaleda in jail to see for themselves her health condition.
Meanwhile, a 10-member BNP delegation, led by Mirza Fakhrul, sought Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan’s schedule to meet him on Sunday to discuss about Khaleda’s health condition and her treatment.
Khaleda Zia’s personal secretary ABM Sattar sent a letter to the Home Ministry on Thursday in this regard, BNP chairperson’s media wing member Sayrul Kabir Khan told UNB on Friday.
If the Home Minister gives appointment, he said, the 10 BNP standing committee members will meet him at his office.
Dhaka, Sept 7 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said the new book containing the secret documents of Pakistani Intelligence Branch (IB) on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will provide an immense opportunity to people to know about the Father of the Nation properly and elaborately.
"To me, it’s the diamond out of a coalmine. We’d been able to find the diamond mine inside the coalmine," she said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the publication ceremony of the first edition of 'Secret Documents of Intelligence Branch on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman' at her official residence Ganobhaban.
Emeritus Professor Rafiqul Islam chaired the function while Bangla Academy Director General Prof Shamsuzzaman Khan was the discussant.
Sheikh Hasina, the elder daughter of the Father of the Nation, said there is a priceless depot of information in these books.
"The IB reports are against Bangabandhu. There’s nothing in favour of him, everything is against him. Why have we published these reports? It’s my interest that by this publication, people will know each and every activity, move and speech of the Father of the Nation from 1948-71. There’re so many information there," she said.
The Prime Minister also said the IB reports will give the readers, researchers and others an opportunity to find out the most valuable information about Bangabandhu. "Country’s people will be able to know a lot about the Father of the Nation."
Mentioning that there are some questions about how Bangabandhu had contributed to the Language Movement as he had been in jail at that time, Hasina said, “The hostile attitude of a section of people will be removed after reading these documents."
Explaining the reason behind the publication of the IB reports, she said, “I took the step to publish those as country’s people will be able to divulge truth from these. They’ll know the history of Bangladesh. They’ll be able to know how we got the independence."
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Javed Patwary, Golam Mostafa of Hakkani Publishers, Father of the Nation Bangbanadhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust Member Secretary Sheikh Hajizur Rahman and Curator Nazrul Islam Khan also spoke at the programme.
Bangabandhu Memorial Trust is funding the publication of the book. Hakkani Publishers will publish the book in 14 volumes.
Pakistani Intelligence Branch (IB) used to make reports on Bangabandhu every day.
The book will contain different information on the country’s War of Liberation and founding of Awami League, letters written to Bangabandhu by his party leaders and workers, relatives and speeches delivered by him at different meetings and public rallies.