Let us usher in New Year 2014 with hope expectation!

Let us usher in New Year 2014 with hope  expectation!

In ancient days, there was no New Year. They used to say ‘in the tenth year of the reign of Emperor such and such’. When a new Emperor comes, the clock is reset: It is year one and it continues until the Emperor dies and his reign ends. Then a new Emperor is installed and a new year begins..

The Gregorian calendar year is the most widely used calendar in the world today. .The Gregorian calendar year of 2013 closes on 31 December and a New Year dawns on 1st January 2014.

It was first decreed by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom it was named, on 24 February 1582. The Gregorian calendar modifies the Julian calendar’s regular four-year cycle of leap years.

The last day of the Julian Calendar was Thursday, 4 October 1582 and this was followed by the first day of the Gregorian Calendar, Friday, 15 October 1582.

The Gregorian solar calendar is an arithmetical calendar. It counts days as the basic unit of time, grouping them into years of 365 or 366 days; and repeats completely every 146,097 days, which fill 400 years.

New Year’s Resolutions:

The New Year is always a time out with the old and in with the new in mind. New Year is like a fresh, empty canvas. It is up to us what we “paint” on this canvas on the first day of the year 2014.

A lot of people create New Year’s resolutions and declare to friends and family what they’d like to accomplish in the year ahead. In fact, most of New Year’s resolutions have continued, on average, may be a week or two.

New Year’s resolutions can be very positive resources. They can provide an opportunity for us to evaluate our progress in life. What we did last year and we can do this year. They can invigorate our lives with inspiring challenges and wonderful experiences to look forward to.

Just because things haven’t worked out well in the past do not mean that this year’s New Year Resolutions will not work. New Year’s Resolutions are wonderful mechanisms for creating new and exciting time ahead.

Top Global Events in brief during 2013

The widely publicised global events include among others : Boston Bombings, China’s moon landing, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, Egypt army ousts Egyptian President Morsi, Syrian chemical attack, Kenya’s Shopping Mall Attack, Scientists Clone Human Cells., successful Warsaw UN Conference on Global climate change saw some success and WTO’s Bali Summit reached a rare consensus on multi-lateral trade for the Doha Round which began in 2001.

Deaths of important personalities include Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Journalist David Frost, Actor Peter O’Toole, and General Kalashnikov.

Brief Notable events of Bangladesh in 2013

2013 has witnessed achievements and political turmoil. About 8 million Bangladesh workers are abroad, GDP is well over $130 billon, Bangladesh Bank reserves reached up to record $17 billion, Foreign aid disbursement reached to $5 billion and $16 billon is on the pipeline. Many of the social indicators are much better than those of India and Pakistan. Many of the MDG goals have been achieved.

Since the announcement of poll schedule on 25th November, the country has been sharply divided. BNP and its allies continue in phases to call blockade and hartal programme in November-early December leading to arson, blasts, derailment of trains and deaths of many people all over the country.

The political crisis has been so critical that the Ambassadors of US, Canada, Australia, Germany and European Union, and the UN expressed concern and urged the political leaders of both sides to arrive at a settlement. Even the Chinese and Japanese envoys who normally keep quiet in an internal matter also expressed concern on the situation.
UN envoy Oscar Fernandez -Taranco arrived in Dhaka on December 6th and stayed until 11th December and failed to settle the differences on the nature of poll-time government between AL and BNP.

Meanwhile AL and its allies have won 154 seats uncontested as the BNP and other parties boycotted the elections– winning of 154 uncontested seats is a rarity in the world of parliamentary elections.. As the year closes the upcoming parliamentary elections of only 146-seats on January 5 people have expressed concern whether they will be able to cast their votes safely amidst high tension in the country.

Deaths include of important personalities such as President Zillur Rahman, politician Abdul Jalil, General Majidul Huq, former first IGP and first Home Secretary Abdul Khaleque, former Bankgladesh Bank Governor Lutfar Rahman Sarker, noted physician and national Professor Dr.. Nurul Islam, Barrister Dr. Zahir folk singer Abdur Rahman Bayati, and former chief Justice Kemaluddin Hossain. Tragedies include collapse of Rana Plaza in which more than 1100 garment workers perished.

Hope for Year 2014:

To predict the likely events in national, regional and international scenes for 2014 is difficult because it is basically a guess work. Events are going to happen whether one likes it or not. However one may conceive some of one’s wishes with a pragmatic attitude.

The main question will be whether the election result will be accepted by people in Bangladesh and international community. In 2014, Bangladesh stands at a crossroads because it all depends on whether confrontational politics continues or not.

Hopefully some of the outstanding issues with India, such as the agreement on sharing of waters of Teesta River, completion of border demarcation including the exchange of enclaves, opening of border hat bazaar and access of Bangladeshi goods without non-tariff barriers will be achieved.

In South Asia, change of leadership may take place in India and Afghanistan. . Sri Lanka has to convince the international community that they did not commit any international crimes against Tamil rebels.

In the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinians negotiations may not find a mutually acceptable solution unless new settlements of Israelis are stopped in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

A new war between Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel may erupt. Iraq’s unity government will remain unstable because of sectarian tensions.

The new leaders of Japan, South Korea and China would hopefully ease regional tension. Japan would settle the territorial disputes with both China and South Korea on rocky islands in East China Sea. China is expected to resolve the disputes with regard to group of islands in the South China Sea, particularly with the Philippines and Vietnam. All global powers including the US should ensure that China rises peacefully and is fully integrated with global security.

In Africa, hopefully civil wars in South Sudan, Mali, Congo and Somalia will end. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development –a blue print for Africa, will be implemented, according to free market specialists, on the basis of “three” opens—open economy, open societies and open governments.

In Latin America, the tension between the US and left-wing government may likely to be eased in the coming year.

Finally, the New Year 2014 hopefully will be much better place for living for people across the world. Global stability, resurgence of global economy and an interactive global order will be in place and promote economic progress, prosperity and peace for all.

By Barrister Harun ur Rashid

Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.

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