Six charged over 2015 murder of Bangladesh blogger

Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born US national, was hacked to death on a busy road outside Dhaka University in February 2015. (AFP)
Updated 18 February 2019
0

Six charged over 2015 murder of Bangladesh blogger

  • Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born US national, was hacked to death outside Dhaka University
  • He was known in Bangladesh for his Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog

DHAKA: Six people have been charged with the gruesome murder four years ago of a controversial atheist blogger, Bangladesh police said Monday.
Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born US national, was hacked to death on a busy road outside Dhaka University in February 2015. His wife was critically injured in the attack.
Police investigators said 11 of the 12 militants from the outlawed Ansar Al-Islam group implicated in the murder took part in the street killing.
“Six people have been charged over the murder of Avijit Roy. Of the six, two are on the run,” Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman said.
A sacked army major who masterminded the attack was one of those still on the loose, Rahman said, adding police could not identify the other five involved.
One suspect was killed by police in a crackdown that followed the murder.
Roy, who migrated to the United States two decades ago, was known in Bangladesh for his Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog, where he railed against all forms of organized religion.
One of his books, “The Virus of Faith,” became a controversial bestseller in Bangladesh, which is officially secular even though 90 percent of the population is Muslim.
Ansar Al-Islam has been accused of the 2013-14 murders of atheist and secular bloggers and gay activists that prompted many to flee the country.
The government launched a crackdown on Ansar and other radical groups after an attack on a Dhaka cafe in July 2016 left 18 foreigners dead.
Nearly 100 extremists have since been killed by police while hundreds have been arrested.


Apple expected to launch long-awaited video service

Updated 25 March 2019
0

Apple expected to launch long-awaited video service

  • The new video service is expected to have original TV and movies
  • Apple is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new profit growth

Apple is expected to announce Monday that it’s launching a video service that could compete with Netflix, Amazon and cable TV itself.

It’s a long-awaited attempt from the iPhone maker, several years after Netflix turned “binge watching” into a worldwide phenomenon.

The new video service is expected to have original TV shows and movies that reportedly cost Apple more than $1 billion — far less than Netflix and HBO spend every year.

Also expected is a subscription service consisting of news, entertainment and sports bundled from newspapers and magazines.

Apple is making the announcements at its Cupertino, California, headquarters during an event likely to be studded with Hollywood celebrities.

The iPhone has long been Apple’s marquee product and main money maker, but sales are starting to decline. The company is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new growth.

Making must-have TV shows and movies that are watchable on any device has propelled Netflix into a force in both Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

But Apple remained focused on making on gadgets: iPhones, iPads, computers and its Apple TV streaming box for TVs. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs began toying with the idea of building a powerful TV business, but he couldn’t pull it off before his death in 2011. It has taken his successor, CEO Tim Cook, nearly eight years to draw up the script that the company will now try to execute.

“Apple is very late to this game,” eMarketer analyst Paul Verna said. “Netflix has become the gold standard in how to create and distribute content, using all the data they have about their viewers.”

Netflix’s prowess has attracted 139 million subscribers worldwide. But Apple will have several other deep-pocketed competitors fighting for consumers’ dollars. Amazon has also become a formidable force in video streaming. Walt Disney Co. is launching its own service this year, armed with an imposing library that became more formidable with its purchase of 21st Century Fox’s films and TV series. AT&T is debuting another streaming service built around HBO.

Apple has plenty of money to spend, though, with about $245 billion in cash and marketable securities. It must prove itself attractive to Hollywood even without a track record for supporting high-quality programming and then ensuring it gets widely seen.

As part of its efforts to make quick connections, Apple hired two longtime Sony television executives, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, in 2017. They have reportedly signed up stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston.