Bangladesh. In June, the opposition canceled a
eleven-month boycott of Parliament's work in order not to
risk being excluded from the People's Assembly. According to
long-standing confrontation between the political blocs
continued with extra-parliamentary methods. A long series of
short strikes, announced in protest against government's
economic policy, paralyzing Dhaka and other major cities at
regular intervals. The aim of the actions was to force new
elections, which was unsuccessful. Regular parliamentary
elections will be held around mid-2001.
Former military dictator Hussain Mohammad Ershad,
released from prison in 1997, was re-convicted of corruption
and sentenced to five years in prison and fined. Waiting for
the verdict to gain legal force, he had to retain his seat
Severe floods hit Bangladesh in the fall. The disaster
was estimated to be the worst in 20 years, and at least two
million people became homeless. Hundreds of people were
killed. Agriculture and road networks were badly damaged.
The government accused India of making the situation worse
by opening dustbins.
But the natural disasters are not the only ones to hit
Bangladesh. The Asian Development Bank granted $ 5 million
in aid to combat rising pollution in the country. The
discharge from oil tankers and untreated wastewater from the
industries affects the ecosystem of the coastal area. The
Khulna district is one of the world's most polluted areas.
As a result of the pollution, forests worth $ 110 million
have been destroyed and experts estimate that most animal
species in the sea will soon be eradicated. About 1½ million
fishermen still have to go farther out to sea to get a
proper catch. Fisheries account for 6% of the country's GDP
and exports exceed $ 150 million a year, but if pollution is
not reduced, this industry will be drastically affected.
Industrial pollution originates from approx. 1000
Bangladesh is still heavily dependent on foreign aid -
95% of development programs are financed abroad. Its major
contributors - the United States, Japan and the Asian
Development Bank, ADB - contributed $ 2.1 billion in 1991.
An increase of 10 million compared to the previous year.
Since the 1970s, Bangladesh has also been one of the main
goals of Danish development assistance.
The same year in December, the government declared war on
smuggling. It is a huge business involving financial
institutions, newlyweds, politicians and corrupt officials.
The population of Bangladesh has an annual average income of
US $ 170. Half the population lives in clay huts without
sanitary conditions. The toilet has to be shared on average
between 50 families. More than 3 million live in
In 1994, the author Taslima Nasrin became famous when she
published the book "Shame" condemning the oppression that
the Muslims believe she exerts over Hindus and other
minorities. Nasrin was detained when she claimed that
Islamic law gives women more rights. It was made as a
criticism of the Qur'an.