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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: 050- (26/03/10)

Bangladesh Independence Day
Bangladesh commemorated the 39th anniversary of its independence on March 26. Thousands of people congregated at the Savar National Memorial from early morning to honor the millions who made the ultimate sacrifice to realize the dream of a new nation. President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths at the memorial for the freedom fighters that sacrificed their lives during the nine-month war against Pakistani occupying forces.

The Prime Minister called upon the people of Bangladesh to be aware of "all conspiracies to thwart upcoming war crimes trials.” Opposition leader Khaleda Zia also urged the people to unite against “conspiracies to make Bangladesh a country that depends on others for its sovereignty.”

Trials for War Crimes
After nearly four decades, Bangladesh is planning to hold trials for those accused of committing war crimes in the 1971 war. Officials say that most of the people facing trial had been on the side of Pakistan during the 1971 war of liberation. Those suspected of war crimes will be tried for crimes such as genocide, murder, rape, arson and crimes against humanity. Law Minister Shafique Ahmed, speaking to VOA's Bangla language service, says justice has been a long time coming. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's father, Bangladesh's founder and independence war hero, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, had intended to hold such trials before he was assassinated in a 1975 coup. Prime Minister Hasina had wanted some of those behind the coup to be tried for war crimes but subsequent government freed more than 10,000 war crime suspects.

Bangladesh: Tata investment
Bangladesh’s Minister of Industry, Dilip Barua, has stated that the Sheikh Hasina government is willing to restart talks with TATA, the vast Indian conglomerate, about reviving its Bangla investment plans. "We are open to negotiating with the Tatas.” In the past, the Tatas were interested in investing in various projects to the tune of $2-3 billion which included a steel mill, a fertilizer unit and power plants. However, the plans fell through because the Bangladeshi authorities did not agree to the Tatas' request to provide gas at cheaper rates. It is worth noting that the possibilities for greater economic cooperation between India and Bangladesh have increased since Sheikh Hasina came to power.

Plight of Burmese Refugees
Researchers for the organization, Physicians for Human Rights, have recently conducted lengthy interviews and a survey of 100 Burmese families living in a refugee camp. Most of the people belong to the Rohingya minority, who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar. The researchers found that more than 18 percent of the children under 5 showed symptoms of acute malnutrition and 55 percent had suffered diarrhea in the past 30 days because of squalid conditions in the camps. The human rights group has called on the Bangladeshi government and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to take urgent steps to improve conditions in the Rohingya settlements in southeastern Bangladesh. Bangladesh holds the position that it lacks the capacity to care for the Rohingya refugees and wants Myanmar to take back those who are registered with the UN refugee agency. Nearly 1 in 5 Burmese Muslim children living in unofficial refugee camps in Bangladesh are suffering from acute malnutrition because they are being denied food aid and health care.

China- Bangladesh Sign Agreement on Oil and Gas
China and Bangladesh have agreed to closer cooperation after signing an agreement on oil and gas, during an official visit to Beijing by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The two countries issued a joint statement in which they agreed to strengthen cooperation in trade, investment, agriculture, transport and infrastructure, the official Xinhua news agency said. China National Petroleum Corporation also signed a memorandum of understanding with two Bangladeshi groups on cooperation in oil and gas. The statement came on the third day of Hasina’s visit when she also met with Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. China has provided Bangladesh with a soft loan and also agreed to provide preferential tariffs for more Bangladeshi products. The two nations also agreed to cooperate on hybrid-rice production technology.

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