Calling for international observers to monitor her country’s elections in January 2024 to ensure they are fair and democratic, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ended a 15-day trip to Japan, the United States, and the UK.
On 7 May 2023 in London, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland paid Sheikh Hasina a courtesy call, during which the Bangladesh PM asked for diversified election observers to oversee the general elections.
According to news reports Patricia Scotland, the UK wants to help the South Asian country hold fair, peaceful, participatory, and corruption-free elections. The Commonwealth Secretary-General accepted the invitation and offered to train Bangladesh elections officers at the district level as they have previously.
Also on Sunday, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair highly praised what he described as Sheikh Hasina’s tremendous economic advancement thanks to her dynamic leadership. They both met in a venue in London. Blair said he wishes to continue helping Bangladesh’s further development in various sectors.
“The current economy of Bangladesh is very attractive, and Bangladesh is doing very well economically,” Blair added. He also told Hasina he believed his good standing with Middle Eastern countries could help broker Gulf Cooperation Council-Bangladesh commercial accords.
Sunak and Hasina
After two weeks in three countries, the Prime Minister returned home with a series of praises from country leaders worldwide, who said her management of Bangladesh’s economy is admirable and inspirational.
“I’ve been following you for many years. You’re a successful economic leader,” Rishi Sunak told his Bangladesh counterpart, according to Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem. She said Sunak also told Hasina she is a “role model for development” and “an inspiration for us.”
Hasina thanked Sunak for lauding her efforts in favor of human rights and homelessness, her success in maintaining 6% economic growth despite the pandemic, and for providing shelter to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees. The Bangladesh PM also thanked Sunak for the UK’s support of the Rohingya plight, which she invited Sunak to see firsthand.
The UK and Bangladesh have shared a robust bilateral relationship since 1972. The United Kingdom was among the first European countries to recognize Bangladesh’s independence. The countries have since enjoyed beneficial relations, further strengthened in 2017.
Bangladesh’s top five 2022 export destinations were the United States ($8.7B), Germany ($8.3B), Spain ($3.6B), United Kingdom ($3.29B), and Poland ($2.94B), according to a The Observatory of Economic Complexity report.
On Saturday, 6 May, the Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK, Saida Muna Tasneem, said, “All the heads of state and government who have spoken to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina showed appreciation for her continued leadership and the remarkable economic growth of Bangladesh under her leadership.”
During Charles III’s coronation ceremony, Hasina met with the presidents of Egypt and Rwanda, prime ministers of Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Gambia, Namibia, and Uganda.
An astonishing 43% of England’s smokers have bought illegal tobacco in the past month. A survey by Kantar, commissioned by JTI UK, of 1,400+ smokers in England shows that 43% of them admitted to buying cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco in the past month that were not in the plain packs required in the UK. Even more concerning was that the seven percentage point (7pp) increase from Q3 this year, the biggest change since the survey began and now stands at its highest point.
This staggering finding reinforces our view that the consumption of non‑UK duty paid tobacco products has been increasing since the start of 2022. If the Chancellor does not amend his tobacco duty policy on the 15th March, the potential for the biggest ever excise duty increases will add fuel to the fire of a growing illegal trade in tobacco products. If taxes are increased in line with inflation as usual, the cheapest pack of 20 cigarettes could cost over £12 and a 30g pack of hand rolling tobacco £17.50!
These kinds of increases will no doubt be a gift to the illegal trade, with our own test purchasing finding illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco typically on sale for £5 and the UK Government’s own figures showing that tobacco smuggling cost them £2.5 billion in tax revenue in 2020/21 alone. This increase is an incentive for criminals as it will further widen the price between legitimate and illegal products.
In what is emerging as the biggest political scandal of 2030, dozens of MPs from all parties are set to have the whip removed after the contents of secret conversations and group chats were leaked on Chinese social media.
The files, published on Chinese social network Weibo, featured messages from MPs from the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, the DUP, Greens and the newly formed Boris4King Party.
MPs used unencrypted chats to GOSSIP about party leaders, TRASH policies that they had voted for, RIDICULE their own constituents, and make disparaging remarks about lobby journalists.
One message from a Labour MP mocked the haircut of a well-known lobby reporter, “I reckon he goes to Mr Toppers LOL” – a reference to a popular London discount barber chain.
In a thread comparing constituents, one Tory complained “M8, all the Tory voting wrinklies in my constituency just keep going on about bins!!! Like, who cares?” A Lib Dem MP replied “My lot just keep banging on about a second referendum. Move on, lads. That ship’s sailed (And you can get duty-free gin on it now!!!).”
Of the 132 MPs who had messages leaked, 119 had voted for the Online Safety Act, which demanded that end-to-end encryption be compromised in the UK, ironically for “security” reasons.
A spokesperson for Index on Censorship, which campaigned vigorously to protect encryption before the law was passed in 2023, said:
“We hate to say we told you so, but, well, we did. Breaking end-to-end encryption has rendered private communications vulnerable to attack. Perhaps now MPs will act to restore security to British politicians and citizens.”
None of the affected MPs were available for comment, but party insiders say that Westminster is bracing for a raft of resignations. Bookmakers have stopped taking bets on a general election brought about by further revelations – which would be Britain’s 22nd since 2017.
*This is a spoof news article, but the threats are very real. The proposed Online Safety Bill will force platforms to monitor private communications among the British public, undermining end-to-end encryption and exposing sensitive information. With concerns about privacy online on the rise with cyberattacks from Russia and Iran, without changes and scrutiny and changes this Bill will make Britain and its people ever more vulnerable.
Content written by Index on Censorship.
Gambling in the UK is standard, with the average UK gambler spending £2.60 per week on gambling activities. Here are the traits of moderate UK gamblers.
Gambling remains one of the main activities through which UK residents prefer to make money. Even though when comparing the last years, the brick-in-mortar gambling establishments have decreased in numbers, the online gambling sector has advanced.
Thus, more people choose to gamble remotely, as there are many advantageous factors: access from anywhere, a variety of games, promotions, and convenience.
Statistics reveal that during 2020, more than 24 million UK gamblers have wagered, and close to half of them chose to do this via web-based gambling platforms. Considering this data, we can understand that almost 22% of players in the UK decide to access gambling-oriented activities through online operators. Nearly a third of these players gambled at least once a week.
Furthermore, another 30% of UK punters reportedly gambled less than once a week a month, while under a sixth of them gambled less than once a month. This study shows that the gambling and betting sector remains one of the most stable industries in the UK market.
In 2020, the National Gambling Treatment Service researched the annual statistics of gambling activity in the UK. According to their survey, the median age of the average gambler is 35 years old.
Out of a total of 8490 individuals treated by gambling services, 80.3% were male, and 19.6% were female gamblers.
In February 2022, Statista released a survey conducted between 2015 and 2021, through which 4007 respondents participated. It turns out that over 23% of females have been involved in at least one form of gambling in the past month.
Another similarity between the average gamblers is that UK gamblers who are employed (73%) and married (26%) or in a relationship (36%) are more likely to develop gambling as a habit than people who are unemployed (10%) or divorced (4%) or separated (3%).
Learn. Work. Retire.
Three little words you won’t find emblazoned on a mug, yet their meaning is ingrained in our consciousness.
And like their more fashionable cousin, Eat. Sleep. (Read/Run/Rave). Repeat., they’re crying out for a revamp.
Because while most of us still think in terms of a relatively simple three-stage life – education comes first, then working and perhaps raising a family, and finally retirement and leisure – that model no longer adds up.
Thanks to breakthroughs in medicine and public health, we’re living longer lives. You most likely underestimate your own life expectancy. Based solely on my age and sex, I’ve got a one in four chance of reaching 95. One in five baby girls in the UK today will reach 100.
But for longer lives to be better lives, we need to change the way we think about how – and when – we work, learn, save, care for our families, and retire.
A recent report by consumer-finance champion, This is Money, has compiled the ‘Ten Money Rules for a Richer Life’ – looking at important money factors such as budgeting, saving, investment and paying off debts.
Whilst everyone might have a different definition of what consists of a richer life, if we are looking at financial freedom and having disposable income, these rules below offer some sound advice for financial fulfilment. Below are the ‘Ten Rules for a Richer Life’ and we speak to some financial experts to hear their thoughts and opinions on this…