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Rest of South Asia  
Awami League poised to steamroll to victory in Bangladesh polls
1/4/2014 11:11:00 AM

Dhaka, Jan 4 (ANI): The Bangladesh ruling party, Awami League, is poised to steamroll to victory as January 5 elections draw near.

The Bangladesh National Party (BNP) is boycotting in protest at Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's move to scrap the tradition of letting a caretaker government oversee elections. The impasse threatens to undermine the legitimacy of the poll and is fuelling worries of economic gridlock and further violence in the impoverished South Asian country of 160 million.

But

Two buses set on fire as Bangladesh opposition's 48-hour shutdown begins
1/4/2014 12:10:00 AM

Dhaka, Jan. 4 (ANI): Two buses were reportedly torched in Chittagong on Saturday morning during protests spearheaded by the opposition BNP-led alliance.

A Dhaka Tribune report said that on Friday night, one person was also held with six crude bombs. He was picked up from the Fouzdarhat area of the national capital.

The opposition has called for a dialogue to hold fresh polls under non-partisan government and scrap the elections.

Meanwhile, Osman Faruq, a spokesperson for Bangladesh

Awami League women supporters protest against BNP leader Khaleda Zia
1/1/2014 11:50:00 AM

Dhaka, Jan.1 (ANI): Women supporters of Bangladesh's ruling Awami League Party staged protests against opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia on Tuesday, saying that she was to blame for violence in the country.

The irate protesters shouted slogans against Zia and burnt her effigy in Dhaka.

Awami League Member of Parliament Sahida Tareq Dipti said the protest was organised to condemn Khaleda Zia's action in public.

Violence has gripped the country as Prime Minister Sheikh

Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami member charged over 1971 war crimes
1/1/2014 10:36:00 AM

London, Jan. 01 (ANI): Bangladesh's main Islamist party member has been charged over war crimes during the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.

The special war crimes tribunal, set up in 2010 to investigate abuses committed in that war, has framed charges against Abdus Subhan, who was arrested last September, of collaborating with Pakistani forces, the BBC reports.

However, Subhan has denied all the charges against him, the report added.

Bangladesh recently executed senior

1971 Indo-Pak War victim's wife calls for trial of all perpetrators
12/20/2013 3:53:00 PM

Dhaka, Dec.20 (ANI): The wife of a Bangladesh liberation war victim, Shyamali Nasreen Chaudhury, called for the trial of all war criminals accused of genocide in the wake of the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah.

Mollah was hanged last week. His was the first war crimes execution in Bangladesh. He was accused of collaborating with Pakistani forces, who were eventually defeated with India's help.

Protesters from Jamaat and its student wing, Islami Chhatra

Bangladesh executes Islamist leader for 1971 war crimes
12/13/2013 10:50:00 AM

Sydney, Dec. 13 (ANI): Bangladesh has hanged an Islamist party leader for crimes committed during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.

The execution of Abdul Kader Mullah, convicted of mass murder and rape, comes more than four decades after Bangladesh won its independence in a bloody war that left an estimated three million people dead.

According to news.com.au, a jail official said Mullah, a central leader of opposition Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, was hanged at Dhaka

Protesters continue to demand execution of Islamist leader in Bangladesh
12/12/2013 1:50:00 PM

Dhaka, Dec.12 (ANI): Protesters continue to gather in Dhaka to demand the execution of Islamist opposition leader Abdul Quader Mollah.

Abdul Quader Mollah, who has been declared guilty of war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, was due to be hanged at the Dhaka Central Jail just after midnight on Wednesday, but his lawyers earned a last minute reprieve.

Lawyers met at the Supreme Court's appeals division and are likely to resume arguments on Thursday.

On Dec.12 1971, a psy-op that aided the Tangail pradrop: Bangla war
12/12/2013 1:24:00 PM

New Delhi, Dec.12 (ANI): I had the unique opportunity of being the Public Relations Officer of the Army in New Delhi during the the 1971 India Pakistan operations.

As an officer in the Directorate of Public Relations, I was attached to the office of the Army Chief, General S.H.F.J. Manekshaw, who later became a Field Marshal for his role in the war.

Pakistan had nearly four divisions in its eastern wing. Three divisions were deployed along the border with India to plug the main

HRW calls on Bangladesh to halt executions of war crimes accused
12/9/2013 1:40:00 PM

New York, Dec. 9 (ANI): The death sentence against Abdul Qader Mollah, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party convicted of war crimes during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence, should immediately be stayed due to fair trial concerns, Human Rights Watch has said.

Mollah should be granted a right to appeal against the conviction and death sentence.

Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as an irreversible, degrading, and cruel punishment, Brad Adams,

Bangladesh court orders Abdul Kader Mullah to be hanged
12/9/2013 11:35:00 AM

London, Dec. 09 (ANI): A Bangladeshi war crimes court has ordered prison authorities to hang Abdul Kader Mullah of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, months after he was sentenced to death.

According to the BBC, Mullah could now be hanged at any time, unless President Abdul Hamid or the Supreme Court intervenes.

The Islamist party has called for a national strike in protest, the report added.

Meanwhile, the human rights groups have said that the war crimes tribunal falls short of international

UN team in Dhaka to encourage pre-poll dialogue
12/7/2013 2:33:00 PM

Dhaka, Dec.7 (ANI): A six-member United Nations team led by Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, has arrived in Bangladesh capital Dhaka with the objective of encouraging political parties to sit down for a dialogue and create an environment conducive to holding an inclusive, non-violent and credible election.

Fernandez-Taranco is leading a five-member delegation.

According to the Daily Star, it includes two senior officials from the Department

Bangladesh: Does it really matter that Khaleda Zia is not contesting elections?
12/7/2013 1:38:00 PM

Dhaka, Dec.7 (ANI): December 2, 2013 was the last date for the filing of nominations for the tenth parliamentary elections being held on January 5, 2014. The BNP, which had declared its intention of not participating in the elections under a Sheikh Hasina led election-time government, confirmed its decision by not filing nominations.

Now, that it is sure that the BNP will not participate in the elections, what is the significance and impact, if any, of this decision?

Some commentators

Ex-Bangladesh dictator Ershad threatens to commit suicide
12/5/2013 4:00:00 PM

Islamabad, Dec. 5 (ANI): Former military dictator of Bangladesh, Hussain Muhammad Ershad, has threatened to kill himself.

The move from Ershad comes after security forces besieged his home following his decision to boycott next month's elections.

According to Dawn News, Ershad told a local television crew during an interview inside his home that he has loaded four pistols and told the government that if they play any tricks with him, he would kill himself.

Ershad said that

Sri Lankan military blamed for summary executions of 17 aid workers in 2006
12/4/2013 11:22:00 AM

Sydney, Dec. 04 (ANI): The Sri Lankan government has allegedly protected the security forces, who had executed 17 local workers in 2006, a French aid group said.

Action Against Hunger accused the security forces of having lined up the victims at their office in the eastern town of Muttur, forcing them to their knees and shooting them in their heads, News.com.au reports.

The group has compiled a report with information implicating army, navy and police personnel and said its sources

Bangladesh opposition announces fresh 72-hour blockade
11/30/2013 2:18:00 PM

Dhaka, Nov. 30 (ANI): Bangladesh's main opposition has announced a 72-hour blockade starting Saturday over its demand for a non-party caretaker government to oversee the January 5 national elections.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) made the announcement of rail, road and waterway blockade demanding cancellation of the election schedule and holding a free and fair election, the Bangladesh Chronicle reports.

BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that the

Bangladesh: Why Khalida Zia will not contest?
11/29/2013 1:41:00 PM

Dhaka, Nov. 29 (ANI): The BNP-led 18 party alliance outrightly rejected the election schedule that called for elections on January 5, 2014.

It held the announcement a 'unilateral' move to hold a 'farcical' election without trying to reach an understanding with the opposition on the poll-time government.

It also called for a 48-hours hartal starting November 26 that was later extended till November 29 morning.

Not content with rejecting the poll schedule, the

'Defiant' Rajapaksa says Sri Lanka would 'take own time in probing alleged HR abuses
11/17/2013 10:41:00 AM

London, Nov. 17 (ANI): Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reacted defiantly to Britain's call for an inquiry into alleged human rights abuses.

Speaking on the second day of the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa said people living in glass houses should not throw stones at others.

According to the BBC, British PM David Cameron had urged Rajapaksa to ensure an independent inquiry or face a UN investigation.

The abuses are alleged to have been committed mainly

HRW says Bangladesh factory deaths could have been prevented
11/15/2013 2:39:00 PM

New York, Nov. 15 (ANI): Seven deaths at an October fire in a fabric mill in Bangladesh could have been prevented, Human Rights Watch has said.

In interviews, workers from the Aswad Composite Mills told Human Rights Watch that the fire hydrant system at the plant did not work properly, allowing the flames to spread quickly.

The fire is the latest in a series of garment-manufacturing catastrophes that have killed more than a thousand workers in the last year alone.

It is also

CHOGM set to begin in Sri Lanka amidst boycott calls
11/15/2013 11:35:00 AM

Colombo, Nov 15 (ANI): Sri Lanka is all set to host the three-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) today amidst boycott calls over allegations of war crimes.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will chair the three-day summit in Colombo.

The agenda for the three-day summit, which will be opened by Britain's Prince Charles, includes sessions on debt restructuring and climate change.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will lead the Indian delegation

Manmohan Singh's letter to me does not address Tamil issue: President Rajapaksa
11/14/2013 2:36:00 PM

Colombo, Nov.14 (ANI): President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka on Thursday said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's letter to him has not addressed the issue of alleged human rights violations against Sri Lankan Tamils.

Speaking a day before the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here, President Rajapaksa said: The letter that PM (Manmohan Singh) had sent me, doesn't address the Tamil's issue.

The Sri Lankan Government has of late been criticised

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