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Key Economic Data 
  2004 2003 2002 Ranking(2004)
Millions of US $ 56,844 51,900 45,500 54
GNI per capita
 US $ 440 400 390 175
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bangladesh

Update No: 028 - (01/05/08)

The new US ambassador to Dhaka, James F. Moriarty has urged Bangladesh’s army-backed government to lift the state of emergency. Moriarty highlighted Washington's concerns about democracy being reinstated by late 2008 because under the current emergency rules, it would be extremely difficult to hold elections. The US is trying to push really hard for a return to democracy in Bangladesh. Moriarty also called on the government to address criticism of its human rights record. For the United States, the protection of human rights is a major issue and this concern has become even more obvious in the light of several cases of human rights violations. For example, earlier this year, Human Rights Watch reported that security forces had tortured detainees. More importantly, there were no checks on the powers exercised by the Bangladesh’s security forces. The arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of journalist Tasneem Khalil is a case in point. During the journalist’s detention, the government did little to clamp down on subversive groups. It added that it was not acceptable for the government to claim the human rights situation was no worse than under previous governments. Amnesty International in January accused the authorities of failing to protect human rights and to be accountable for its anti-graft campaign. 

Bangladesh’s Supreme Court today ruled today that the country’s arrested politicians will not be entitled to bail until their trials are over. In its verdict, the court said, “no court, including the High Court, has jurisdiction to grant bail to anyone arrested under emergency power rules.” The Supreme Court’s decision leaves the fate of both former Prime Ministers, Sheikh Hasina and Begum Khaleda Zia, in the balance. Hasina and Zia were both detained on various corruption charges last year. The ruling came after the interim government had appealed against a High Court action that granted “anticipatory bail” to a trader charged, under emergency rules, with selling adulterated edible oil in April last year. Anticipatory bail is a bail granted in advance, so that police do not arrest the accused. The court’s verdict may have far-reaching effects on Bangladesh’s political system as 40 of the detainees, including several former ministers, have been convicted and sentenced to various jail terms for corruption and abuse of power. 

According to a recent report on Bangladesh’s economic situation, the country is facing an acute energy crisis. The power generation and supply crisis is seriously affecting industrial production, and the government is finding it hard to pay the import bills for food and oil. Many of Bangladesh’s export oriented industries are failing to meet export commitments and becoming less competitive in the market. In some areas like Chittagong, the state lacks the capacity to provide gas and electricity connection to any new industries for the next couple of years. This situation has significantly eroded investment opportunities in the sector. Critics fear high levels of unemployment, low export earnings and possible economic depression. The energy crisis has had an appalling effect on people’s lives. There are frequent power-cuts which has made the life of ordinary citizens unmanageable. Frequent power cuts have also impacted water pumping and delivery systems. Currently, only about 35% of the total population has power. The Chittagong area also lacks sufficient manpower and infrastructure.     

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