Other Voices

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Celebrated Iraqi Musician Naseer Shamma Named UNESCO Artist for Peace

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, will name Iraqi composer and oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma as a UNESCO Artist for Peace in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters on 23 February (6.30 pm).

Can Bangladesh Become an Economic Powerhouse?

According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Bangladesh has the potential to become the world's 23rd largest economy by 2050. In a report released earlier this month, PwC also predicted Bangladesh would be the 28th biggest economy by 2030 in terms of its Gross Domestic Product calculated at Purchasing Power Parity. This may not seem like a big deal given that Bangladesh already has the 31st largest economy in the world in terms of total GDP; however, thinking along that line may be misleading given the bigger picture.

Corruption Kills

Preparing for earthquakes should go beyond first aid preparation. Most of the time schools, companies and government offices equip employees, workers, and students the basic knowledge of stop, drop, cover, hold, and then evacuate to open spaces, as protocols in the event of an earthquake. As an extra preparation, like in our offices at Palafox Associates and Palafox Architecture, all of our employees are equipped with emergency kits that have a whistle, flashlight, bottle of water, compass, first aid kit, and multi-function portable tools. Identified members of the company are trained to do first aid, rappelling, and coordination for emergencies. But at the end of the day, these are things that we hope will not be necessary because preparation goes beyond first-aid reactionary measures.

Fear of Education

There are two prevailing mindsets that could account for the staggered growth of female education in Pakistan: that which thinks of education as an asset, and the other which views it as a threat. The crux of the issue of slow-to-improve gender disparity in our education system is that Pakistanis appear to have both mindsets at the same time.

The High Price of the World Bank’s Blunder

It was the country's largest infrastructure project - that is up to that point of time in 2011, costing USD 2.9 billion. It was also the World Bank's largest loan to the tune of USD 1.2 billion. Asian Development Bank, JICA and Islamic Development Bank also joined hands to fund the project that would be so vital for Bangladesh's development, especially for the 30 million people living in the disadvantaged south for whom the River Padma stood as a solid barrier towards national integration.

The Government Needs to Be Constructive Rather than Combative

Is the essentially combative tone adopted by the Government to the Juan Mendez report finding that a “culture of torture” is still being practised in Sri Lanka quite wise, one might ask? Of course, we live in an age where, confounding his own advisors and despite solid evidence to the contrary, the President of the United States is on record stating bombastically that ‘torture works’ as an interrogation method.

Growth & Job Generation

Pakistan needs to generate millions of new jobs a year if it wants to absorb the young people who are currently looking to join the workforce. And it will need to continue creating an even larger number of new jobs every year, for at least a couple of decades, since we are still going through a demographic transition and are adding more young people to the population than there are people exiting the workforce. Female participation rates in the labour force continue to be quite low. If more women were to come into the workforce as they should, we will need even more jobs.

Redistribute or Not?

The subject of income inequality, once pushed to the margins of economics by more attractive offerings such as economic growth, has experienced a spectacular turnaround.

What the Rest of the World Can Do

Although President Trump has only been in office for less than a month, it is already becoming clear how he intends to carry out implementing his campaign pledges and who he is appointing in his cabinet. It is therefore possible to assess some likely actions and policies on climate change based on his campaign statements and also some of his advisers' statements and most importantly from his own Twitter statements.

Arab Coalition-backed Yemeni resistance take full control of Al Mokha

Backed by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, the Yemeni popular resistance today took full control of the liberated city of Al Mokha while scores of Houthi militias were killed or taken prisoners as others fled the city.

Ending Enforced Disappearances

On the issue of enforced disappearances or missing persons, a kind of media civil war is going on, with the human rights lobby and liberals pitted against the military elite and its intelligence agencies. The human rights lobby and liberals accuse the intelligence agencies of engaging in the immoral, illegal and unconstitutional practice of enforced disappearances with ill intention and impunity. For their part, the military elite and its intelligence agencies accuse the human rights lobby and liberals of, at best, not understanding the necessity of this practice to safeguard national security and, at worst, of acting on a foreign agenda. The two groups question each other’s intentions and neither is willing to accept that both may actually be right in part.

Will Death Penalty Law Stop Summary Killings?

The death penalty has always been a divisive issue in the Philippines, whether it is about restoring or outlawing the punishment.

Work Ethics

The discourse on labour in Pakistan is dominated by the terms and conditions of employment and other indicators such as the labour participation rate and the status of employment. Labour productivity, a crucial measure of economic performance and one of the key indicators of the labour market, receives scant attention and is yet to be reported by the FederalBureau ofStatistics in its yearly Labour Force Survey being published since 1963.

Make Way for Bamboo, the Plant for the Future

Bamboo with its graceful form has been an inspiration to artists and poets in many eastern countries. It is considered to bring good luck and prosperity to those who live near it. This is, in fact, a reality as bamboo is now established as an eco- friendly crop with high socio-economic returns.

Can Education Uphold Human Solidarity?

It is hardly a run of the mill event when nine of the most highly populated countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan) get together to discuss the challenges of achieving the goal of Education for All. This is precisely what is happening from February 5 to 7. This international conference of the E-9 group as they are called, is being hosted for the first time, by Bangladesh. Launched in 1993 in New Delhi as part of the Education for All movement, this is the 11th biannual E-9 meeting but the first one in the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2030 era.

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