Saturday, March 31, 2012

Canada to Observe Its 2012 Earth Hour Tonight

Earth Hour logo
Courtesy: WWF-Canada

Canada, like other countries, is observing its 2012 Earth Hour today (March 31) at 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time in support of the movement against climate change.

Those, who are conscious about the adverse effects of climate change, will switch off unnecessary lights, machines and gadgets for one hour to save energy and, thereby, express their solidarity with like-minded people in the world.

Background of the Earth Hour

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) first organized the Earth Hour in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. In 2008, the Earth Hour was observed in 400 cities in 35 countries, including Canada. Later more countries joined in. 

More Information on the Earth Hour

To know more about the Earth Hour and its impact on the environment, you may visit the following:

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bangladesh Govt. Honours Foreign Supporters of the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971

L-R: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, President Zillur Rahman 
and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni at the awarding ceremony 
of foreigners in Dhaka
Photo courtesy:

In an elaborate ceremony on March 27 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka, the Government of Bangladesh honoured 83 foreigners and foreign organizations for their roles in 1971 supporting the independence movement of Bangladesh, report Bangladesh news sources.

In 1971, Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) was engaged in deadly war of independence with the military ruling elite of West Pakistan (presently called Pakistan). After a nine-month war, Bangladesh gained independence on December 16, 1971.

Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the awards in two categories – (1) Bangladesh Liberation War Honour (for foreign heads of states) and (2) Friends of Liberation War Honour (for foreign persons from different walks of life and foreign organizations). 

The recipients of the awards were heads of states, ministers, lawmakers, artistes, humanitarian activists, lawyers, military officers and personnel, journalists and writers. They come from Bhutan, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Soviet Union (presently Russia), Sweden, United Kingdom, U.S.A. and former Yugoslavia. 

President Zillur Rahman, speaking on the occasion, said: “Bangladesh is grateful to recognize contributions of the country’s foreign friends and well-wishers who whole-heartedly supported the war of independence and rendered invaluable endeavour of freedom from their respective positions.” “Their precious inspiration and support put impetus to achieve our victory,” he said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said: “They gave us all sorts of help available – food, shelter, medicine, and even military training. Most importantly, they gave greater voice to our legitimate cause, facilitated our access to global media, mobilized public opinion and financial support…Their moral and logistics support had been a constant source of inspiration for our valiant freedom fighters.”

Among these honorees were four foreign Roman Catholic missionaries who dedicated their life for the service to the people of Bangladesh. These missionaries are: Father Mario Veronesi, S.X. (from Italy) who was shot dead by West Pakistani army personnel for giving shelter and treating internal refugees in Jessore after March 25 and later military attack on ordinary citizens, many of whom were Hindus; Father William P. Evans, CSC (from the USA) who was also killed by West Pakistani military personnel for helping internal refugees and supporting freedom fighters in their efforts in Golla-Bandura area of Dhaka District; Father Richard W. Timm, CSC (from the USA) who assisted many East Pakistanis in different ways in different areas of East Pakistan and created public opinion in the USA in favour of the Bangladesh war of independence; and Father Eugene E. Homrich, CSC (from the USA) who gave shelter and fed innumerable East Pakistanis in Jalchatra-Pirgacha area of Tangail District and helped create public opinion in the USA in support of the freedom struggle in East Pakistan. 

All the 83 award recipients, many dead and some alive today, saw the West Pakistan army's blatant atrocities, injustices and total disregard for life in East Pakistan during the nine-month liberation war in 1971. Their conscience moved them to support the cause of the East Pakistani victims in different ways. There's no doubt that their voice and action against this genocidal war were a tremendous source of encouragement and inspiration to the East Pakistanis. 

The complete list of the first batch of the award recipients can be viewed at: The Awardees. More of such awards will follow in future.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Today Is the 41st Independence Day of Bangladesh

The above image says: "Independence '71, 26th March"
Artwork (Toronto: March 25, 2012) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

Today is the 41st Independence Day of Bangladesh. This day reminds its citizens how much sacrifice was made to make this country independent in 1971. 

This freedom also bestowed upon us a tremendous burden of responsibility. A responsibility encompassing all its citizens -- irrespective of ethnicity, religion and education -- to treat each other fairly and equally as much as possible in every sphere of life. 

We need to go back to the past and deeply look at different aspects of the independence movement that culminated in 1971 in a deadly warfare with the West Pakistani ruling junta and finally in the independence of Bangladesh.

This study and re-study will open our minds further and make us more introspective and mindful of our responsibilities. Then and then only will we be able to strive to take our country forward to greater peace and prosperity.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Father Sebastian Tudu Installed as the New Bishop of the Diocese of Dinajpur

 The consecration ceremony of Bishop Sebastian Tudu
in Dinajpur (January 27, 2012)

 Newly-consecrated Bishop Sebastian Tudu
is presenting himself to the audience

 After the consecration: (L-R) Bishop Subrata Howladar, CSC 
(Auxiliary bishop of Chittagong), Bishop Theotonius Gomes, CSC 
(Auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Dhaka),  Archbishop Patrick
 D'Rozario, CSC (of Dhaka),  Bishop Joseph Marino (Apostolic 
Pro-Nuncio or Vatican Ambassador to Bangladesh),  newly-consecrated
 Bishop Sebastian Tudu (of Dinajpur), Bishop Moses Costa, CSC 
(former bishop of Dinajpur and present bishop of Chittagong), 
Bishop Paul Ponen Kubi, CSC (of Mymensingh), 
Bishop Gervas Rozario (of Rajshahi) 
and Bishop Bejoy N. D'Cruze, OMI (of Sylhet)

 Photos @ courtesy of Brother Nirmal Francis Gomes, CSC

With the episcopal consecration on January 27, Father Sebastian Tudu became the seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Dinajpur, Bangladesh.

He is the first bishop in Bangladesh to come from the Santal ethnic group, which is one of about 30 ethnic groups in the country.

Bishop Tudu was born on June 26, 1967 in the village of Satana in Ghoraghat Upazilla of Dinajpur District. He belonged to the Mariampur Catholic Church parish. He studied for priesthood at the Holy Spirit Major Seminary in Dhaka and later received his doctorate degree in theology in 2007 from Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, Italy. 

The Diocese of Dinajpur covers an area of 12,638,991 square kilometres with a Catholic population of over 42,000 among the total population of over 16,000,000. In this diocese, one out of 381 persons is a Catholic.

 The Diocese has 14 Catholic Church parishes, three high schools, two vocational schools, 25 primary schools, one hospital, two health centres and six dispensaries.

Previous Bishops of the Diocese of Dinajpur

Among the six previous bishops, the first three were Italians and the last three Bangalis (Bengalees): 

1. Bishop Santino Taveggia, PIME (1927-1928),
2. Bishop Giovanni Battista (John Baptist) Anselmo, PIME (1929-1947),
3. Bishop Giuseppe (Joseph) Obert, PIME (1949-1968),
4. Bishop Michael Rozario (1968-1978), who later became the archbishop of Dhaka,
5. Bishop Theotonius Gomes, CSC (1979-1996), who later became the auxiliary bishop of Dhaka), 
6. Bishop Moses M. Costa, CSC (1996-2010), who later became the bishop of Chittagong.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

A Photo Essay on the 2012 Annual Sports Day at Holy Cross Girls' High School in Dhaka

It was the annual sports competition at Holy Cross Girls' High School at Tejgaon, Dhaka. This is the first time I witnessed all-girl sports competition in my life. 

The colourful competition was timely, well-organized and disciplined. Among the spectators were parents, girl students and a few invited guests. 

Holy Cross Girls' High School, besides regular studies, gives equal importance on extra-curricular activities of its students. 

This photo essay gives you an over-all picture of the annual sports competition held in the school on January 20, 2012.

School-teacher judges (below):

School Girls Participate in Drills and Parades (below):

Running and Quiz-Answer Competition (below):

Competition on Skipping and Running with Books on Head (below):

Student Spectators (below): 

School Teachers, Parent-Spectators and Invited Guests (Below):

Photos (Dhaka: January 20, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa
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