|The Post-Qadhafi Libya|
|WITH the death of Moamer
Qadhafi the Arab spring has
claimed a third victory. The
Libyan people have the
chance to build a just and
democratic system of governance after
42 years of autonomous rule by the
colonel, his family, his cronies and his
tribe. No wonder there are such scenes
of jubilation throughout the country.
Qadhafi´s removal will be a source of
great relief to the new government of
Libya, whatever its ultimate composition.
Qadhafi had billions of dollars at
his disposal, in cash and gold, with
which he was threatening to fund an
insurgency and derail the revolution.
Nevertheless, the new regime would
probably rather have captured Qadhafi
alive to make a show of his trial, as the
Iraqi interim government did with
Saddam Hussein in 2004. Such a trial.
|LAST month President
Obama finally unveiled a
serious economic stimulus
plan - far short of what I´d
like to see, but a step in the
right direction. Republicans, predictably,
have blocked it. But the
new plan, combined with the
Occupy Wall Street demonstrations,
seems to have shifted the
national conversation. We are, suddenly,
focused on what we should
have been talking about all along:
So what is the GOP jobs plan?
The answer, in large part, is to
allow more pollution. So what you
need to know is that weakening
environmental regulations would
do little to create jobs and would
make us both poorer and sicker.
Now it would be wrong to say
that all Republicans see increased
pollution as the answer to... |
Yunus denies Hasina’s charge on scuppering bridge
AFP DHAKA BANGLADESH’S microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus has denied accusations that he told the World Bank to cut off funding to a project to build the country’s largest bridge over graft allegations.
The World Bank earlier this month halted a $1.2-billion credit line for the $3 billion bridge, the country’s costliest project, citing suspicions of corruption. Bangladeshi media quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accusing Yunus of telling the World Bank not to fund the bridge over the Padma river — the local name of the Ganges.
“I would like to categorically state that this allegation (of the prime minister) is completely untrue and without basis,” the 71-year-old Nobel laureate said in a statement on Friday.
“The building of the Padma bridge has been a dream of all Bangladeshi people for many, many years. Also, it is simply preposterous to suggest an institution like World Bank would act so drastically because someone asked it to do so.” The 6.15-kilometre bridge was a key election pledge of the government led by Hasina. The bridge has been designed to carry a highway and rail line and is aimed at transforming the country’s impoverished south. Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 with microlender Grameen Bank which he founded to combat poverty, has clashed with Hasina before.
The two fell out after he formed a party briefly during an army-backed caretaker regime in 2007. Hasina was detained for a year by the interimregime, but was swept back to power after her Awami League-led coalition posted a landslide victory in elections in December 2008. Yunus was removed as head of the microlender by the country’s nominally independent central bank in March for exceeding the mandatory retirement age — a move widely seen as orchestrated by Hasina’s government.
Corruption allegations over the bridge project have been rife ever since the government launched a bidding process for construction contracts.
Last month, Canadian authorities raided the offices of engineering group SNCLavalin outside Toronto in connection with a corruption probe involving the project.
A special World Bank unit alerted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to possible wrongdoing at SNC-Lavalin during the bidding process for the Padma bridge project, a Bank spokesman said.
The World Bank had committed the $1.2 billion loan — its biggest one-off credit line to any country — in February to build the bridge. The bridge has been targeted to go into operation in 2014. SNC-Lavalin’s vice president of communications, Leslie Quinton, said that the company was cooperating with police in the matter. But she noted: “We are not aware of any information that would justify such an inquiry” and indicated the company’s bid on a “very small part” of the Padma project was not accepted.