Hasina sworn in as Bangladesh prime minister

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Sheikh Hasina's ruling Awami League (AL) party and its allies won the Dec. 30 elections by a landslide, securing 288 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. (Reuters)
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Sheikh Hasina takes oath as the Prime Minister for the fourth time at the Bangabhaban in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Jan. 7, 2019. (Reuters)
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina including other party officials attend the oath taking ceremony of the newly formed cabinet in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Jan. 7, 2019. (Reuters)
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Sheikh Hasina signs the official oath book after taking oath as the Prime Minister for the fourth consecutive time in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Jan. 7, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 07 January 2019
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Hasina sworn in as Bangladesh prime minister

  • New government urged to fight corruption in all sectors
  • Opposition members did not take the oath as members of Parliament

DHAKA: Sheikh Hasina was sworn in as Bangladesh’s prime minister for a record fourth term on Monday after an election victory marred by claims of widespread rigging.

Hasina’s new Cabinet consists of 47 ministers of them 27 set to serve as ministers for the first time in their political careers.

The Cabinet has 24 ministers, 19 state ministers and three deputy ministers. President Abdul Hamid administered the oath in a ceremony at Bangabhaban, the president’s official residence.

Her ruling Awami League (AL) party and its allies won the Dec. 30 elections by a landslide, securing 288 seats in the 300-seat Parliament compared to just seven for the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led (BNP) alliance Jatio Oikya Front (JOF).

Rejecting the election results, the opposition alliance accused the ruling party of vote rigging and called for a re-election. Opposition members did not take the oath as members of Parliament.

Rasheda K. Chowdhury, an adviser to the former caretaker government said: “The ruling AL had presented a very good election manifesto. If the new government can control corruption in different sectors, that will be a great achievement.” 

Chowdhury urged the new government to take steps to bridge the growing gap between the rich and poor in the country.

Pinning hope on the new faces in the Cabinet, she said most of them have vast experience of working at the grassroots level, which will help them in solving many issues facing the masses.

“They may lack experience, but with good intentions and sincere efforts they can overcome their limitations,” she said.

However, the inclusion of only one woman as a full member in the Cabinet made her a little upset. She said more female representatives would have helped the country in expanding women’s role in development.

Transparency International Bangladesh’s Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman also called on the new setup to root out corruption from society. 

“During the election campaign, the AL promised zero tolerance on corruption and now the nation wants to see it implemented,” Zaman said. 

He said there are some institutional laws in the country, which tend to scuttle the freedom of expression. He said to ensure “inclusive development,” the new government needs to revisit those laws. 

Dr. Gobinda Chakraborty of Dhaka University said: “To attain sustainable development, the government needs to work on good governance. At the same time, we need to work on development issues beyond infrastructure and social indexes to reduce social inequality.” 

“For the new government, democracy itself is a big challenge. They need to make a functional Parliament which is more vibrant,” said Chakraborty, a renowned political scientist in the country. 

Dr. Dilara Chowdhury a political scientist at Jahangirnagar University stressed the need for establishing “rule of law.”

True progress cannot be measured in terms of gross development product, she added.

“The right of education, health, security, human rights — all these are very much related with the development of a country,” Chowdhury said. 

“Development and democracy is a part and parcel and cannot be separated. Without democracy there cannot be any sustainable development,” she said.


UN counterterrorism chief makes controversial trip to Xinjiang

Updated 6 min 36 sec ago
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UN counterterrorism chief makes controversial trip to Xinjiang

  • Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov traveled to Beijing and Xinjiang from Thursday to Saturday last week
  • The officials exchanged views on international counterterrorism efforts and reached “broad consensus”

BEIJING: The UN counterterrorism chief visited Xinjiang last week despite protests from the US and a rights group that the trip would be inappropriate in light of the human rights conditions in China’s far west region.
Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov traveled to Beijing and Xinjiang from Thursday to Saturday last week, said a statement Sunday from the Chinese foreign ministry. Voronkov and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng exchanged views on international counterterrorism efforts and reached “broad consensus,” the statement said.
The US, researchers and rights groups estimate that as many as 1 million ethnic Muslims may be arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang, home to the Uighur and Kazakh minority groups.
Former detainees have told The Associated Press that they were held without charge in “reeducation centers” where they were forced to denounce their faith and pledge loyalty to the ruling Communist Party. The Chinese government denies there is widespread abuse in these centers, which it says are vocational training schools aimed at combatting extremism and helping Xinjiang residents gain employable skills.
In a conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan conveyed “deep concerns” about Voronkov’s visit.
“Beijing continues to paint its repressive campaign against Uighurs and other Muslims as legitimate counterterrorism efforts when it is not,” Sullivan said, adding that Voronkov was putting the UN’s reputation and credibility at risk “by lending credence to these false claims.”
Human Rights Watch said Friday the UN should have sent a human rights expert instead of a counterterrorism official.
China’s foreign ministry did not provide details of Voronkov’s trip to Xinjiang.
“Counterterrorism cannot be linked to specific countries, ethnic groups and religions,” the ministry said in its Sunday statement. “It cannot adopt ‘double standards.’ China supports the UN in playing a central coordination role in international counterterrorism affairs.”