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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: 048- (29/01/10)

Mujib’s Assassins Executed
Five former army officers were convicted of killing Bangladesh's founder, Sheikh Mujibur. The five men were sentenced to death in 1998. But various appeals delayed the death sentence. However, Sheikh Hasina vowed to complete the trial when she returned as the country's prime minister, last year. The men were executed in a Dhaka prison as hundreds of security personnel stood vigil outside. Roads outside the prison were closed to traffic. The five men executed did not deny their role in Rahman’s death but were given immunity for two decades by subsequent governments which benefited from the coup. Chief State Attorney, Mahbubey Alam, says “the executions have finally pulled the curtains down on one of history's most gruesome killings.” Supporters of the ruling Awami League Party were happy to see justice being served at last.

Bangladesh Bans Religion-Based Parties
Following the recent Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a 2005 High Court ruling which eliminated the fifth amendment to the country's Constitution (which allowed for religious-based politics to flourish in the country), the Election Commission of Bangladesh has launched a concerted drive to ban religion-based political parties. It has done this by issuing a directive to three Islamic parties to amend their charters which have been found to be in conflict with the country's Constitution. The Election Commission has written to the Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Khelataf Andolan and Tarikat Federation to amend their respective constitutions as their constitutions were directly in contravention of the provisions of the Representation of People Order (RPO). The constitutions of these religiously- affiliated organizations acknowledged Allah as the sovereign and the supreme being, denying recognition to any other elected government. The Election Commission declared that such manifestos undermined the authority of Bangladesh’s parliament and elected legislature and ran contrary to the constitution of the country.

Bangladesh-India Anti-Terror Deal
Bangladesh is ready to sign a prisoner exchange deal with India that will allow for the transfer of key separatist leaders. A new agreement to combat international terrorism will also be signed during Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming four-day visit to New Delhi which will focus on security issues, according to Foreign Minister, Dipu Moni. The announcement of the prisoner exchange deal follows reports that Bangladeshi authorities have secretly handed over top-ranking separatist leaders from United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) to India, despite there being no legal basis for such transfer. ULFA is one of the most powerful rebel armies in India's northeast among 30-odd militant groups active in the tea and oil-rich region and has been fighting for an independent homeland for ethnic Assamese since 1979. The deal between Delhi and Dhaka is meant to formalize the extradition process between the two countries. This is a huge step in tackling the rise of terrorism jointly as neither state had a framework for prisoner exchange prior to this. India claims that groups waging insurgencies in its volatile northeast operate from areas within Bangladesh. But the prisoner transfer deal will not be applicable to Anup Chetia, a ULFA leader, who has been held in Bangladesh since 1997 awaiting extradition. New Delhi has also claimed that Bangladesh-based Islamist groups have been the masterminds behind a string of blasts across India in recent years excluding the Mumbai attacks of November 2008, for which it holds Pakistani militants responsible.

Indian Telecom Company Purchases Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom International
Indian Telecommunications Company, Bharti Airtel Ltd, is buying 70% of Bangladesh's Warid Telecom International for $300 million. Bharti Airtel is India's biggest mobile-phone operator. The acquisition comes months after Bharti failed to clinch a deal with South Africa's MTN Group for a possible merger. The Indian company has been looking to expand its overseas operations to boost revenue and margins, which have been hurt in recent months due to tariff cuts at home. Bharti had launched services in Sri Lanka in early 2009. Bangladesh is one of the largest untapped markets in South Asia with only 32% of its 160 million population having access to telecom services. In comparison, about 46% of India's 1.1 billion population has access to telecom services. "This landmark deal underlines our intent to further expand our operations to international markets where we can implant our unique business model and offer quality and affordable telecom services," Bharti Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Bharti Mittal said in the statement. Mr. Mittal added that Bharti will expand services "to the deepest pockets of Bangladesh and double the teledensity in few years." Bharti will take control of the management and the board of Warid Telecom, while the Abu Dhabi Group--which has business interests in financial services, telecom and real estate in many countries--will retain 30% and have its nominees on the board. Manoj Kohli, chief executive and joint managing director at Bharti Airtel, told reporters that the company intends to launch its brand in Bangladesh in the next few months. Warid Telecom offers mobile services in all 64 districts of Bangladesh and has more than 2.9 million users. Grameen Phone Ltd. is the market leader with 22.75 million users, followed by Orascom Telecom Bangladesh Ltd. with 12.99 million and Axiata (Bangladesh) Ltd. with 8.87 million subscribers. At the end of November, Bharti Airtel had more than 116 million mobile subscribers in India. Meanwhile, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. Tuesday said it will continue working with its associate in Bangladesh, Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd., and that it sees its Indian associate Bharti Airtel's decision to take control of Warid Telecom as complementary to its own investments in the country. "Since our investment, PBTL has grown its network capacity to 3.5 million customers and has been EBITDA positive during the second half of 2009," SingTel said in a statement in Singapore. In response to a question about whether there have been any discussions with Bharti about a possible merger between PBTL and Bharti's new asset in Bangladesh, SingTel said it is open to working with other operators if it enhances shareholder value. (Source: Economic Times). 

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