Bangladesh dishonouring Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus?


Muhammad Yunus

There may be numerous ways to honor a Nobel laureate, but if one wants to know how to malign an internationally recognized social scientist, even though he is the one and only Nobel prize winner of the nation, come to Bangladesh.  The Bangla government at Dhaka has perhaps created a kind of records in insulting a legendary economist turned banker turned social thinker Professor Muhammad Yunus on various occasions.

The recent one has been reported from the capital city of the populous country, where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed claimed on 16 January 2016 that a former managing director of a bank (read Prof Yunus who created celebrated Grameen Bank of Bangladesh) had provoked high officials of the US government in Washington to threat her to stop financing of Padma multipurpose bridge project over his removal. Addressing a prestigious award (in memory of Kazi Mahbub Ullah) function at Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka, Ms Hasina commented, “Some high officials from the USA told me that funding (of Padma bridge) would be stopped if a particular person is not there in the post (of Grameen Bank).”

The veteran politician, who leads Awami League party, without mentioning Prof  Yunus’s name in the reference asserted that he influenced the World Bank management to cancel the financial support to Padma bridge project due to the conflict with her government. “Even I was directly threatened,” claimed Ms Hasina. She also added the particular person (Prof Yunus) went to the court and the court gave the verdict. He violated the law of that bank and remained as the managing director for extra 10 years. If anyone failed to win in the court that is not our  responsibility….Could the construction of Padma bridge be stopped for that? PM Hasina pondered.

It may be mentioned that Prof Yunus was compelled to resign as the managing director of Grameen Bank in March 2011 on the ground that the ‘banker to the poor’ had crossed the official age limit (60 years).

Though Prof Yunus approached the apex court of the country against Bangladesh Bank, the highest banking authority of the south Asian nation, he lost the case. “There was huge pressure on my government to reinstate him (Prof Yunus) as the managing director. But I did not bow down,” asserted the third time Prime Minister, who is the daughter of Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Though it was an oblique reference to Prof Yunus by PM Hasina, the Yunus Centre immediately hit back to the Prime Minister alleging that she was carrying out a smear campaign against Nobel laureate. The centre, which functions as Prof Yunus’s secretariat, stated in a press communiqué, “We are saddened and frustrated by the baseless remarks made by the Honorable Prime Minister.” It is out of the question that Prof Yunus encouraged World Bank to cancel the loan for the bridge over river Padma, added the statement.

“Prof Yunus has dedicated his whole life to build various institutions for the welfare of the people of Bangladesh and would never do anything against the interest of the people of Bangladesh. Such unfair and unfounded smear campaign to discredit one of the most respected and celebrated Bangladeshis and his work is unfortunate,” asserted the Yunus Centre. Regretted that same allegations keep on resurfacing, even though Prof Yunus had already given elaborate clarification on the matter long back, the centre dedicated for promoting and disseminating the Nobel laureate’s philosophy, also added, “It is shocking that Honorable PM keeps repeating the allegation without ever presenting any proof in support of her allegation.”

Arguing that the Padma bridge is a dream project for the people of Bangladesh (so thus Prof Yunus) and hence he would never stand in the way of realizing that dream. The centre also cautioned that PM Hasina’s unfounded comments might have serious global implication over the country as a whole and Prof Yunus in particular.  Mentionable is that Bangladesh government inked a contract with the World Bank for financing the US $1.2 billion  Padma bridge in 2010. However the international lending agency backed out from the Bangladesh’s biggest ever infrastructure project in 2012 citing the reason of unusual high-level corruption. Under stress, the Hasina  government later took the initiative to complete the 6.1 km river-bridge with financial supports from Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Islamic Development Bank.

Prof Yunus, who  initiated a lending exercise in 1976 at some villages of Chittagong locality and later it inspired him to launch Grameen Bank of Bangladesh in 1983, received the global recognition for his micro-lending initiative as he and his bank were jointly honored with Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. The Grameen Bank is recognized as the only bank in the world which is owned by the loan receiving women of  Bangladesh. Their share is around 97%, where as the rest share of ownership is with the government. The bank that provides small loans to poor Bangladeshi nationals, who are mostly ladies, without any collateral is today emerged as a brand name across the globe.

Many socio-political analysts of Bangladesh argue that the elevated fame of the unique bank annoyed Ms Hasina as she was often introduced in public space as the Premier of the land of Muhammad Yunus.
Moreover, PM Hasina herself was expecting the Nobel award for her successful initiative in ending the decade long tribal insurgency in south-eastern Bangladesh. She maintained her suspicion that Prof Yunus received the award because of the Clinton family’s lobby to the Nobel committee.

Days back, the Prime Minister made the same allegation in Jatiya Sansad (National Parliament of Bangladesh), while responding to a Parliamentarian’s query, that ‘some domestic evil forces’ (implying Prof Yunus) were running negative propaganda against the poverty stricken country. She also added that ‘there were unprecedented efforts to attach the stigma of corruption to her government’, where she and her family were put as the prime target. Even later in a cabinet meeting, PM Hasina commented that Prof Yunus was conspiring against her government.  The local media reported the Premier’s comment which tempted the Yunus Centre to issue a formal statement protesting against her remark that Prof Yunus was waiting for Hillary Clinton to become the next US President to create more troubles to her government.
The centre also added, “The theory (Prof Yunus is plotting to bring down the government of Bangladesh when she becomes the US President) is stretching the imagination to the limit….Implicating a front-running Presidential contender of a friendly country with such a serious accusation does not promise our country a good start with new President if she is elected.”

It is known to everyone who tracks Prof Yunus’s spirited mission to make the world poverty-free within our lifetime that he is close to Bill Clinton’s family. Even the US presidential hopeful Ms Clinton, who visited Dhaka as the US Secretary of State, publicly asked PM Hasina to resolve the conflict with Prof Yunus amicably. But even then one would expect, because of the proximity only, Prof Yunus should not be blamed as a conspirator to a national project engaging the graceful American lady.


Nava Thakuria is a journalist based in Northeast India. Views expressed are personal. 

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Hot yoga guru Bikram Choudhury to pay $7.4 million in sexual harassment case


Bikram yoga4

Global yoga guru Bikram Choudhury has been ordered to pay nearly $7.4 million to his former legal advisor who alleged that he sexually harassed her and fired her for investigating claims that he raped a yoga student.

Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, the former personal attorney of the founder of Bikram yoga and a celebrity yoga guru, was awarded $6.4 million in punitive damages and almost $1 million in compensatory damages.

Women asked to give massage

A Los Angeles jury, that heard the case, awarded Jafa-Bodden compensatory damages for claims of discrimination, retaliation and of suffering sexual harassment herself. The lawyer alleged in the lawsuit that Bikram Choudhury created a “hyper-sexualized” and “degrading” environment for women. She also alleged that some women, who participated in Vikram’s yoga sessions, were requested to brush his hair and give him massages.

Bikram yoga2

According to Aljazeera America, one witness, Sharon Clerkin, testified that Vikram, 29, once announced at a packed training session, the majority of whose participants are usually women, that “I should rape more girls, it’s good for business.”

Bikram style hot Yoga

Bikram yoga style, performed in sweltering rooms heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius), is reportedly practised by millions of people around the globe.

‘Bikram is a dangerous predator’

The Los Angeles Times quoted Minakshi Jafa-Bodden as saying “I feel vindicated, I’m elated,” after the verdict and describing Bikram Choudhury as “a dangerous, dangerous predator.”

According to the newspaper, Bikram Choudhury admitted to keeping a fleet of up to 40 luxury cars — including Bentleys, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces – during cross-examination in the court. Prospective teachers of Bikram studio reportedly pay thousands of dollars to attend his weeks-long training certification programs, which are required to teach his style of hot yoga.

The Minakshi Jafa-Bodden v. Bikram Choudhury lawsuit is one of several against the renowned yoga guru that allege sexual harassment and abuse.

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VIDEO: National zoo Panda Tian Tian plays in snow #blizzard2016 | USA



Tian Tian, the giant adult panda who lives in Washington DC’s Smithsonian’s National Zoo, was delighted at the sight of so much snow this morning. And the 18-year-old panda rolled himself in the snow after a winter snowstorm formed two feet of white layer on the ground.

The National zoo posted the video of Tian Tian on its official Facebook and Twitter handle and it has gone viral on the internet.


Meanwhile, a massive blizzard has blanketed the US east coast in snow, paralysing and bringing life to a standstill. New York and also Washington DC have been affected badly. According to Reuters, at least 19 people have died in incidents related to the snowstorm.

Emergency has been declared in New York, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

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International Space Station astronaut: Hello, Is this Planet Earth?… Sorry Wrong Number



It is not every day that you get a call from the International Space Station asking “Hello, is this planet Earth?” An unsuspecting woman experienced exactly this on Christmas when British astronaut Tim Peake mistakenly called the wrong number from the ISS.

The astronaut later apologised to the lady for his mistake and assured her it was not a prank call and that he was trying to speak to someone on earth from the International Space Station.

Tim Peake divulged this on microblogging site Twitter.

Tim Peake who arrived on the ISS on December 15 will be at the space station for six months to conduct scientific experiments. Earlier on December 22, the British astronaut had delivered a Christmas video message from the International Space Station (ISS).

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VIDEO: Serena Williams chases phone thief in superhero style


Serena Williams

Serena Williams is a star in the tennis court and outside… Superhero is the word she would like to use.. This is how the tennis star thwarted an attempt by a man to steal her cell phone.

In the words of Serena:

Soooooo yesterday at dinner the CRAZIEST THING happened to me. I was sitting enjoying some Chinese food (delicious may I add) and this guy stands next to me. It was only 2 of us sitting at a 4 person table just chatting like we have not seen each other in years.


Anyways I digress, so this guy is standing next to me and something (I have now dubbed it my SUPERHERO sense) told me to watch him. My phone was sitting in the chair but I just didn’t feel right. He was there too long. “Is he a customer?” I thought “Is he waiting on the bathroom?” nonetheless I tried to shake his this eerie feeling. However, I kept watching him from the corner of my eye. Than when least expected low and behold this common petty thief grabbed my phone and swiftly left. I looked at the chair, than shouted “Omg that dude took my phone!!” Not thinking I reacted (hence the superwoman photo) I jumped up, weaved my way in and out of the cozy restaurant (leaping over a chair or two) and chased him down.

He began to run but I was too fast. (Those sprints came in handy) I was upon him in a flash!

In the most menacing yet calm no nonsense voice I could muster I kindly asked him if he “accidentally” took the wrong phone. He stumbled on his words probably not expecting this to happen. While he was thinking of the right thing to say and eventually he said “Gosh you know what I did! It was so confusing in there. I must have grabbed the wrong phone.”

Meanwhile My phone was ringing, my superhero sidekick quailman was face timing me so he could not possibly deny the allegations. I swiftly thanked him and left.

Superhero? Maybe? Or HELL YEA!! I’ve got the speed the jumps, the power, the body, the seduction, the sex appeal, the strength, the leadership and yet the calm to weather the storm.

Always listen to your superhero inner voice. Always keep your things close! Fight for what’s right. Stand for what you believe in! Be a superhero!

When I got back into the restaurant I received a standing ovation. I was proud. I just showed every man in there I can stand up to bully’s and other men. It was a win for the ladies!

Just because you are a lady don’t be afraid to step up to any challenge and not be a victim but a hero!💪🏾. SuperSerena and her sidekick quailman


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WDBJ: Video shot and tweeted by suspected gunman Bryce Williams aka Vester Flanagan



This video (SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO) was filmed by the gunman who shot down a reporter and photographer of WDBJ TV station at West Virginia on Thursday. Suspect Vester Le Flanagan aka Bryce Williams apparently shared the video on Twitter. He was filming and live tweeting as he walked towards WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward at Bridgewater Plaza in Roanoke in West Virginia, United States of America.

It appears from the video that Parker was busy conducting the Live interview at a shopping center in Moneta and she and the cameraperson did not notice the gunman. The attacker was standing beside camera person Adam Ward for almost 20 seconds before he fired several shots at Alison Parker and then at Ward.


The incident was aired live until the camera fell down from Adam Ward’s hands and the broadcast cuts to a shocked and confused anchor.

The gunman later shot himself fatally when he was confronted by cops according to law enforcement authorities.

It has appeared that the attacker was a disgruntled former employee of WDBJ7 TV station and was fired from the channel.

ALSO READ: WDBJ: Suspect Vester Flanagan aka Bryce Williams live tweeted shooting

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WDBJ: Suspect Vester Flanagan aka Bryce Williams live tweeted shooting

Image Courtesy : BBC

Image Courtesy : BBC

Vester Lee Flanagan, aka Bryce Williams, the man suspected of gunning down two WDBJ journalists during a live interview programme shot himself when police confronted him, according to the CNN. The suspect shot and killed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward at Bridgewater Plaza in Roanoke in West Virginia, United States of America.

ABC News has said it received a manifesto through fax from a person who called himself Bryce Williams.  The news channel reported that it has handed over the 23-page document to law enforcement authorities.

As per reports on CNN, Vester Flanagan is a former employee of WDBJ-TV. He was fired from the TV channel, the CNN quoted an employee of the TV station as saying.

It appears that Bryce Williams Live tweeted the shooting through a Twitter handle @bryce_williams7. A video posted on Twitter showed the suspect shooting down Alison Parker during an interview. The account has been suspended by Twitter.

Image Bryce




WDBJ: Video shot and tweeted by suspected gunman Bryce Williams aka Vester Flanagan

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WDBJ reporter, cameraman shot dead on live TV in Virginia

Image Courtesy : BBC

Image Courtesy : BBC

In a shocking incident, two members of a news crew were shot dead in Moneta, Virginia, on Wednesday morning. The reports claim that another person got injured in the firing. The shooting was partially captured on video.

Scroll Down To Watch Video

A gunman opened firing when a news crew from WDBJ7 local news was shooting a segment for the morning news.

Those killed were Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27.

Police are investigating the matter.

More updates to follow…

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Shoreham air show plane crash: Video shows jet hit vehicles on road


Shoreham Plane crash

A Hawker Hunter jet plane crashed into several vehicles during the Shoreham air show in England on Saturday. Seven people have reportedly died in the accident. Amateur video showed the jet performing loop-the-loop in the air. As the plane completes the stunt and hits the ground, a large fireball erupts and dark clouds of smoke are seen.

The BBC said in its report that 14 people have been injured in the crash. British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed grief and sent “heartfelt condolences” to the families of those who died in the crash.


The Shoreham Airshow has been cancelled on Sunday following the incident.



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