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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: 055 - (27/09/10)

An ugly case of Religious Persecution
In what appears to be a shocking case of religious persecution, Buddhist extremists held eight Chakma Christians for four days to force them to return to Buddhism. The Buddhists held a pastor, a church secretary, a village leader and five members from a Baptist church in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. The captives were forced to wear Buddhist robes, shave their heads, bow down before a statue of Buddha and clean the temple. They were also threatened with beatings and even death if they tried to escape. They were released only under the condition that they remained Buddhist. Chakma Christians have often been caught in the crossfire whenever there is an outbreak of violence between Bangladeshi Muslims and other groups over land disputes. Sadly, many Chakma Christians in the area face death threats and Buddhist extremists have forbidden them to read the Bible or pray. They are also prohibited from entering Buddhist villages, use bridges, ferries, or roads and have been banned from buying food or sell crops more especially since Buddhist merchants face fines when selling to Christians. Amidst all of the chaos, there is a conspicuous absence of the role of major institutions of government, in protecting the rights of the Chakma Christians.

UAE-Bangladesh Investment Agreement
UAE and Bangladesh have entered into an agreement as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoF) to improve financial relations with other countries. The agreement was signed by His Excellency, Ali Al Bustani, Executive Director of International Financial Relations Sector at MoF, on behalf of UAE, and Ms. Ovruza Khan, Deputy Secretary in the Bangladesh Ministry of Industry. The agreement seeks to encourage greater capital flows between the two countries, create a positive environment for investment, outline the process of transfer of profits, etc. The agreement also includes provisions for the settlement of disputes and for application of investment conventions. The provisions do not apply to disputes that arose before the signing of the agreement or to conflicts resolved at a previous date. An initial agreement to avoid double taxation on income was signed between the two countries in Dhaka in May 2010. The final ratification of that agreement is being pledged as part of the legal framework for UAE public and private sector investments and will ensure their protection against any risks.

Financial Assistance from World Bank and Asian Development Bank
The World Bank has committed itself to providing Bangladesh with $6.1 billion in credit over the next four years to support economic growth, infrastructure development and to fight the effects of climate change. The government is trying to increase its per capita income from $652 to more than $800 over next few years. The funds are also expected to improve education in rural areas. The Asian Development Bank has also guaranteed a loan of $25 million along with a grant of $800,000 towards the Strengthening Governance Management Project. Using state of the art information and communications technology, the project will introduce online filing of tax returns, digitize land records management in selected districts, and establish 40 specialized tax, land information and service centers for easy access to information. "Enabling online tax filing and easy and accurate access to land records will reduce the scope for human interaction, and help reduce demands for illicit extra payments for services," said Hiranya Mukhopadhyay, Economist (Fiscal Management) in ADB's South Asia Department. One of the major benefits of electronic tax filing is a boost in government revenues while digital records of land documents will reduce the number of inaccurate records. The project will also enhance accountability and transparency.

Anthrax Cases Reported
A total of 589 people in Bangladesh have been confirmed to be infected by anthrax according to a statement made by Bangladesh's Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) under the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. According to IEDCR, 12 districts out of 64 districts in the country have been found infected by anthrax cases since the disease first broke out on August 18 at Sirajganj district, northwest of capital Dhaka. On September 5, the Bangladesh government announced red-alert across the country and formed committees in all the 64 districts to coordinate all efforts of anthrax prevention and treatment. The government has decided to form a national coordination committee to contain anthrax outbreak in the country.

CNG-Driven Auto Rickshaws
The Bangladesh government plans to manufacture CNG-driven auto rickshaws to replace the city’s non-motorized rickshaws. CNG stands for Compressed Natural Gas, a substitute for petrol, diesel or LPG, and is considered an environmentally clean alternative to those fuels. This project has been undertaken by the Ministry of Industries and involves 26.84 million taka to help manufacture the passenger vehicle, by using local expertise and spare parts. The Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Center and the Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation are in charge of the project’s implementation. The primary objective of the project is to gradually reduce the dependence on non-motorized rickshaws. As per the plan, rickshaw drivers will be trained on aspects relating to technical expertise and will be provided with soft loans to help them choose alternative modes of transportation.


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