The definition of "political avenue" are built on the fact that a political decision affects the road of life-choices people have access to when they 'travel' through their lifes or the options politicians make available to them.
Author: Ali Riaz, Illinois State University
Bangladesh’s economy will continue its high growth into 2020 according to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank. This comforts the government, serving as a morale booster for the ruling Awami League (AL). AL is being criticised for their part in the questionable December 2018 election, widely described by global commentators as ‘farcical’.
Although these economic forecasts are lower than the Bangladeshi government’s own estimates, the widely agreed growth of above 7 per cent is still impressive. The country is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
But positive reports were accompanied with warnings that the government and its supporters are barely mentioning. The country’s banking sector is facing a serious crisis. A key vulnerability that the World Bank stresses is the growing amount of non-performing loans (NPLs).
The amount of NPLs in June 2018 reached US$10.8 billion — 10.5 per cent of all outstanding loans in the economy. And it continues to grow. It appears the banking sector has become a hostage to defaulters. And instead of going after defaulters, the government is pouring money into the banking sector, repeatedly offering bail-outs and allowing banks to reschedule loans at lower interest rates.
The government’s lenient attitude is due to many defaulters being well connected. Political connections are also often the reason behind the loans’ approvals in the first place. Similar considerations dictate the debt rescheduling occurring for loans unlikely to ever be repaid. Despite the poor performance of those established private commercial banks that were approved under political consideration, three more were approved in February. This is classic cronyism.
Banking sector issues are only symptomatic of the overall flawed governance system. Rampant corruption and the absence of the rule of law have become the norm — getting away with anything is possible given connections to the ruling party and its leaders.
The Election Commission, local administrations and law enforcement agencies all helped deliver victory for the incumbent AL during the last national elections, meaning voters have become dismayed with the electoral system. Extraordinarily low voter turnouts in the Dhaka North City Corporation mayoral election held on 28 February and in the on-going upazila sub-district elections are demonstrating that citizens’ confidence in elections has been shattered.
This did not happen by accident, but by design. A concerted effort to depoliticise society and make all institutions ineffective helps the AL tighten its grip and amass more power. It is unsurprising that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has suggested that reviving the one-party system, introduced in 1975 by her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, offers a solution to the elections-without-voters problem.
There is a mood of resignation and powerlessness among Bangladeshis. Misdeeds that previously provoked protests and moral outrage are increasingly accepted as the way it is. Legal system abuse and the government’s frequent extralegal use of measures to quell dissent have sent a message. The failure of the opposition, in particular the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), to reorganise itself and challenge the government’s growing authoritarian tendencies are a source of frustration.
The BNP rejected the election results and publicly stated that its elected members — only six — will not join the parliament. But two opposition parliamentarians of the Jatiya Oikya Front’s minor Gano Forum party have since broken rank, posing questions over whether others are also tempted to fall in line.
Dhaka’s air is thick with a rumour that a deal between the BNP and the government is in the making. It would involve the BNP chief Khaleda Zia being allowed medical treatment parole in exchange for those six BNP members joining parliament.
But the BNP has trashed that rumour. Zia has been jailed since February 2018 after being convicted in two cases of graft, while 34 other cases are pending. As her health deteriorates in Dhaka Central Jail, her lawyers’ efforts to secure bail for these cases have allegedly been blocked by the government, although the government claims that it has no hands in the judicial process.
Despite securing an unprecedented victory and having the participation of 344 out of 350 parliamentarians, the ruling party still feels that it needs these six boycotting members in to provide moral legitimacy to the parliament and the seemingly managed national election.
Whether wanting to bring the BNP into the parliament is due to external pressure or because of anxiety within the ruling party is an open question. But there is no denying that the election and the degenerating style of democracy have engendered concern among Bangladeshis. Simmering discontent over governance is finding itself expressed through sporadic grassroots non-partisan social movements as well as labour unrest.
Separate mass protests viewed together paint a larger picture of popular agitation, including garment workers in January, the second road safety movement in March, the ongoing unrest in the jute mill sector, and protests at Dhaka University. More is likely to follow.
These are yet to pose a serious challenge to the government but represent the growing popular discontent against the lack of transparency and accountability occurring in Bangladesh.
Ali Riaz is a Distinguished Professor at the Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University.
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Just weeks after officially announcing their latest project — a cable television network — design superstars Chip and Joanna Gaines celebrated at the TIME 100 Gala as two of the evening’s honorees.
The Texas couple parlayed their hit HGTV home remodeling show Fixer Upper into an empire that includes branded goods, a magazine, a coffee shop and a market, along with their Magnolia Homes remodeling business. Though Fixer Upper ended in April 2018, the Gaineses shared details about their return to television with TIME.
The new venture will be “in the vein” of Fixer Upper, but “bigger and broader in scope,” Chip told TIME during cocktail hour. The network will also expand its scope to “cooking, lifestyle, family,” Joanna added.
The as-yet-unnamed network is set to replace Discovery’s DIY network, and will premiere in 2020.
“We do construction for a living, we raise babies for a living, we’re married for a living so all of those elements will definitely be in the show,” Chip said. The Gaines welcomed their fifth child, son Crew, last June.
The luminaries kept rolling into the event and the pair had jokes about collaborating with a few. “We’ve got Jimmy Fallon, we’ve got the Rock. Glenn Close just told us she’d do a 30-minute documentary with Jane Goodall,” Chip riffed.
Before mingling with their fellow honorees, the pair made a joke about Joanne’s noted adoration of shiplap, the wooden board “This just in: Jo’s over shiplap,” he said. “That is not true!” Joanne contested.
At just 21 years old, Khalid is already on the path to becoming something of a legend in the hip-hop world.
But there were haters who doubted his skills, and even bullied him.
“I guess people didn’t like my singing or my voice. Says it’s something that happens to everyone in high school but he had a good friend group to get him through it. “I never let it get me down,” the R&B singer and songwriter told TIME at the TIME 100 gala in New York City Tuesday.
Khalid, born Khalid Robinson, hit the red carpet before performing for his fellow honorees as one of TIME’s most influential people of 2019. Taylor Swift is set to perform at the gala as well.
Since he released his first single in 2016, his songs have repeatedly topped the billboard charts. In 2017, he snagged an MTV video music award for best new artist and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Alicia Keys, who wrote his tribute for this year’s TIME 100, praised him as “totally unique.” “He’s accessible—almost like you’ve met somebody like him before, although there’s nobody else like him,” Keys wrote.
His latest album Free Spirit came out earlier this month and it’s already topping charts. But Khalid was coy about when he would release his third album.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney says she is requesting the transfer of a female member of the Islamic State extremist group to face justice for crimes against women from Iraq’s Yazidi minority and American hostage Kayla Mueller, who was killed in 2015. Clooney represents Yazidi women and girls who were held […]
這篇文章 Amal Clooney seeking Islamic State woman for Yazidi crimes 最早出現於 The China Post。
NEW YORK (AP) — A Florida man who mailed crudely made pipe bombs to prominent critics of President Donald Trump said he abused steroids for over 40 years, an issue his lawyers say they’ll cite at sentencing. Cesar Sayoc made the assertion in lengthy and rambling letters to a federal judge that were posted in […]
這篇文章 In rambling note to judge, pipe bomb mailer blames steroids 最早出現於 The China Post。
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida House opened debate on a hotly contested Republican bill that would require local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and ban so-called “sanctuary city” policies aimed at shielding immigrants who are arrested. The GOP-dominated House on Tuesday turned back several Democratic amendments intended to weaken the […]
這篇文章 Florida House debates bill banning 'sanctuary city' policies 最早出現於 The China Post。
Justin Thomas is the latest PGA Tour player to launch a foundation, and it wasn’t anything he threw together overnight. “We’ve been talking about it the last couple of years,” Thomas said. “My mom has done an unbelievable job of making sure everything was done properly. We’ve talked to so many other athletes, their wives, […]
這篇文章 Justin Thomas launches foundation for children, military 最早出現於 The China Post。
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr drove home from a stunning 35-point defeat at Oracle Arena one night last month and thought of something on the bright side: He can’t recall very many ugly losses during Golden State’s sensational five-year run. This season has brought a handful of embarrassing performances in the final hurrah at […]
這篇文章 Warriors will try to eliminate Los Angeles at home 最早出現於 The China Post。
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — New LSU athletic director Scott Woodward began his tenure at his alma mater by asserting he would throw “100 percent support” behind recently reinstated basketball coach Will Wade — unless he’s presented with new information that forces him to reconsider. “I have not met with Will,” Woodward said during his […]
這篇文章 New LSU AD Woodward initially supportive of embattled Wade 最早出現於 The China Post。
WASHINGTON — Google affiliate Wing Aviation has received federal approval allowing it to make commercial deliveries by drone.
It's the first time a company has gotten a federal air carrier certification for drone deliveries.
The approval from the Federal Aviation Administration means that Wing can operate commercial drone flights in ...
WASHINGTON (AP) - Google affiliate Wing Aviation has received federal approval allowing it to make commercial deliveries by drone.
It's the first time a company has gotten a federal air carrier certification for drone deliveries.
The approval from the Federal Aviation Administration means that Wing can operate commercial drone flights ...
Jared Kushner, in his first public comments since the public release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, on Tuesday downplayed the impact of Russian interference in the 2016 election, which saw his father-in-law win the Oval Office.
“You look at what Russia did, buying some Facebook ads and trying to sow dissent. It’s a terrible thing,” Kushner, who is also one of President Donald Trump’s senior advisers, said at a Time magazine event in New York. “But I think the investigations and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years has a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple Facebook ads.”
The Justice Department, however, is offering a starkly different assessment of the potential dangers of a Russian intelligence operation for U.S. national security — and argues that it doesn’t take a master spy to do serious harm.
In a little-noticed court filing on Friday, an expert witness for the government, Robert Anderson Jr., a former assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, outlined how the activities of the Russian gun-rights activist Maria Butina during the election contained all the hallmarks of a sophisticated intelligence operation.
Anderson’s declaration has spawned a new fight between the government and Butina’s lawyers, who countered that it was speculative and blurred the line between informal networking and clandestine intelligence operations.
But the filing also sheds new light on how the Justice Department views the ongoing threat of Russian attempts to influence American politics, and goes well beyond what Mueller’s team was able to say in its 448-page report.
Allowing Russia to “bypass formal channels of diplomacy, win concessions, and exert influence within the United States” by entertaining backchannel lines of communication could result in “commensurate harm to the United States, including harm to the integrity of the United States’ political processes and internal government dealings, as well as to U.S. foreign policy interests and national security,” Anderson wrote.
Butina created a plan called the “Diplomacy Project” in March 2015 aimed at cultivating Republican presidential candidates and their advisers and reporting her progress back to Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia.
She also tried to connect members of the National Rifle Association with Kremlin officials in December 2015 during a trip to Moscow, prosecutors say, and held U.S.-Russia “friendship dinners” to “exert the speediest and most effective influence on the process of making decisions in the American establishment,” according to a document she wrote during the election.
Butina pleaded guilty in December to conspiring against the U.S, agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and is in jail awaiting sentencing.
Butina wasn’t the only Russian trying to make inroads outside of formal diplomatic structures during and after the election, however. And she was arguably the least successful.
Mueller confirmed in his report that Paul Manafort, the campaign’s chairman, discussed ways to forge a Russia-Ukraine “peace plan” that would bolster Moscow’s influence over Kiev; that the incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, discussed sanctions relief with the Russian ambassador before Trump even took office; that Kushner suggested using Russian Embassy facilities to discuss Syria policy during the transition period, thereby evading detection from the U.S. intelligence community; and that a two-page document outlining a U.S.-Russia reset made its way from the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The first half of Mueller’s report was laser-focused on answering the question of whether Trump or members of his campaign had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia to hack into Democrats’ emails or influence the election through social media; it ultimately concluded that they had not.
Mueller had little to say about the broader national security implications of Russia’s efforts to cultivate Trump associates. But Andrew Weiss, the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he oversees research on Russia and Eurasia, noted on Twitter on Monday that, seen against the backdrop of Anderson’s declaration, “it’s clear that the conduct outlined in Volume I of the Mueller Report created enormous damage to US national security.”
Because the U.S. is “Russia’s primary target “for malign and intrusive intelligence operations,” Anderson wrote, the Kremlin is not just looking for classified information or trade secrets. It’s looking for access points and opportunities to influence policy.
“In targeting the United States, Russia works … to collect any information that could, by itself or in conjunction with other efforts, assist the Russian government in increasing its geopolitical power or undermining and harming that of the United States,” he continued.
The special counsel’s counterintelligence findings could illuminate the extent to which people in Trump’s orbit — and the president himself — have been, or remain, compromised. But those findings were largely handed off to the FBI over the course of the 22-month probe and were not enumerated in the final report.
Butina’s lawyers, meanwhile, have argued that the broad theory Anderson put forward — that a foreign national may be acting as an “access agent” when hobnobbing with D.C. operatives and sending information about those dalliances back to their government — “effectively criminalizes all networking behavior if done by a foreign national.” Her lawyers said in another court filing on Tuesday that it could take “months” for them to respond to Anderson’s declaration if the judge declines to strike it, indefinitely delaying Butina’s sentencing hearing. The hearing had originally been set for April 26.
D.C. prosecutors have been aggressive in the Butina case, as evidenced by their assertion early on that she was trading sex for a position in a special-interest organization — an accusation that the government walked back after realizing that it had misinterpreted a piece of evidence.
Prosecutors also recommended an 18-month sentence for Butina, despite her lawyers’ expectation that they would not make a specific recommendation given the 10 months she’s already spent in jail.
Butina’s lawyers also feel the government blindsided them with the last-minute Anderson affidavit that made her look complicit in a Russian intelligence operation.
“The fact that the government used this filing — made late in the evening on Good Friday … less than a week before sentencing — to unveil a complete new theory of the government’s case creates additional due process issues,” they wrote in a motion to exclude and strike Anderson’s declaration.
Disputes over the government’s conduct aside, the Anderson declaration was a striking — and ominous — analysis of the Russian government’s intelligence-collection methods.
“Russia’s efforts targeting the United States take a myriad of forms — it is, in essence, a numbers game,” he wrote. “Not every intelligence campaign needs to be successful for Russia to have achieved its goals.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
(Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey met with Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday, the same day the president tweeted that Congress should “get involved” in a battle against “discriminatory” practices by the social media company.
In a series of tweets, Trump said it was “so true” that he was the best thing to happen to the company, but that Twitter doesn’t “treat me well as a Republican.”
“The best thing ever to happen to Twitter is Donald Trump.” @MariaBartiromo So true, but they don’t treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory, hard for people to sign on. Constantly taking people off list. Big complaints from many people. Different names-over 100 M…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
…..But should be much higher than that if Twitter wasn’t playing their political games. No wonder Congress wants to get involved – and they should. Must be more, and fairer, companies to get out the WORD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
The president complained that his follower count would be “much higher” if Twitter “wasn’t playing their political games.”
“No wonder Congress wants to get involved – and they should,” he said.
The meeting between Trump and Dorsey, reported earlier by Motherboard, was confirmed by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue! pic.twitter.com/QnZi579eFb
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
As of Tuesday morning, Trump had 59.9 million Twitter followers, making him the 13th most-tracked user on the social media network behind individuals including former President Barack Obama and singers Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. But the president has repeatedly voiced his displeasure with an effort by Twitter last year to remove tens of millions of suspicious accounts, with the company saying it was trying to help combat manipulative and abusive content by deleting fake profiles.
The president lost hundreds of thousands of followers in the purge, but so did many of the company’s most-visible users, including Dorsey, who said he lost about 200,000 followers as part of the initiative.
Dorsey told lawmakers in September that the company wasn’t biased and that there were technical explanations for each example that Republicans had raised to press their case of political bias. And Twitter said Tuesday that about 38 percent of abusive content is now being found through technology and flagged for human review, up from none last year.
“We are taking a more proactive approach to reducing abuse and its effects on Twitter,” Dorsey said Tuesday in a statement. “We are reducing the burden on victims and, where possible, taking action before abuse is reported.”
Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, produces TicToc, a global breaking-news service for Twitter.
Samin Nosrat’s Netflix show focuses on the the four essential flavors of salt, fat, acid and heat – but pressed on which one she would give up if she had to, she picked salt.
“Fat gets all the textures. Acid gives dimension. Heat is cooking. But salt is kind of an acquired palate… I like to think that I would forget how delicious salt tastes,” the TIME 100 honoree said at the TIME 100 Gala on Tuesday.
When the chef, food writer and cookbook author turned her award-winning cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat into a Netflix series, it didn’t take long for viewers to fall in love as they watched her travel the world, dispensing tips and schooling viewers on the four fundamental elements of flavor.
The Netflix series, which premiered last fall, brought Nosrat to Italy, Japan, Mexico and her adopted hometown of Berkeley, Calif. Along the way, she ate everything from miso eggs to aggressively spicy tacos.
Nosrat, who is Iranian-American, has also long been passionate about increasing diversity in the food industry, and bringing opportunities to other brown chefs.
Nosrat came from Chez Panisse, one of the most prestigious restaurants in the United States – but her fight to improve diversity and representation in the restaurant industry isn’t just focused on elite kitchens.
“We can’t invent a generation of leaders, we have to raise them,” she said. “We’re not done until we’re really, really done, until a server at Applebee’s or a cook at Red Lobster [gets the same treatment as those at the top].”
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Bills to push people to safely store firearms and shield marijuana convictions must pass a key vote Tuesday if they are going to advance in the legislative process.
Lawmakers in the state Assembly are expected to hold a flurry of votes Tuesday as a legislative ...
TAIPEI (CNA) — The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) on April 23 urged ride-hailing service Uber Taiwan to register as a taxi service provider if it wants to maintain its current operating model in the country. “I am all for the sharing economy, but Uber must follow the law to operate legally in Taiwan,” […]
這篇文章 Uber should make transition for fairer competition: MOTC 最早出現於 The China Post。
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