Tsunami warning for the coastal area of USA & Japan



International Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
photo: collect

photo: collect

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After the volcanic eruption below the South Pacific Ocean floor, a tsunami alert was issued. People have already been told to stay at a safe distance from the coast.

The BBC reports that waves up to 3 meters high in the sea off the coast of Japan and 1.2 meters high in the south of the country have been warned.

Extreme levels of flood danger were announced in at least two places in the United States.

A tsunami alert was issued in the Pacific island nation of Tonga on Saturday (January 15) following a volcanic eruption.

Footage released through social media showed a church and several houses flooded after a volcanic eruption on the seabed.

The New Zealand national daily, the New Zealand Herald, reported that the country's volcanic mountains, Hunga Tonga and Hunga Hapai, became active on Thursday. The eruption has caused huge waves in the sea.

In addition, ash, gas and smoke from volcanic eruptions have risen up to 20 km above sea level. Volcanic ash has been falling like rain for two days in the capital Nuku'alofa.

'I do not want to live in a country led by corrupt people'



News Desk, Barta24.com
Moldova President Maia Sandu Photography by Jessica Scranton

Moldova President Maia Sandu Photography by Jessica Scranton

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“If you want to live in a better world … become involved in shaping it,” Moldovan head of state Maia Sandu tells graduates in the first in-person HKS (Harvard Kennedy School) graduation ceremony since 2019.

Do not be afraid of the messiness of politics if you want real change, Moldovan President Maia Sandu said Friday (27 May) to the Harvard Kennedy School graduating class of 2022.

Describing her own unlikely journey from anti-corruption activist to Moldova’s head of state, Sandu said that “politics is about big, real, immediate, and long-term impact.”

“If you want real change that will directly impact communities and societies—you need to get into politics,” Sandu said. “Political leadership is about educating society and setting an example and standards for the society. Shaping the future. It is about empowering people. At Harvard, we are all prepared to work hard, and dream big. So do not be afraid. Get involved in politics, in the name of greater changes that we all need in these extremely challenging times.”

Sandu was addressing 609 HKS graduates from 37 U.S. states and 86 countries, gathered on campus for commencement celebrations for the first time in three years. The pandemic forced the University to hold virtual graduations in 2020 and 2021. Sandu was introduced by Dean Doug Elmendorf, who described how she has "demonstrated principled and effective public leadership that is a model for us all." Despite difficulties in Moldova, Elmendorf said, "President Sandu keeps going, keeps inspiring, keeps leading."

Sandu spoke at HKS at what is a particularly challenging time for her country, a former Soviet republic sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine. There are concerns that it is in Moscow’s sights, and Russian military leaders have spoken about connecting a Russian-speaking part of Moldova, known as Transnistria, to Russia via a land bridge across southern Ukraine. Following explosions in the region in late April, Moldovan government officials warned of a possible attempt by pro-Russian forces to destabilize the country. And earlier this week tensions rose when former President Igor Dodon, head of Moldova’s pro-Russian party and Sandu’s predecessor, was arrested on corruption charges.

Sandu repeated her criticisms of the invasion and said there could be no justification for Russia’s attempts at “carving out spheres of influence in the 21st century.” She pointed to the sacrifices her country was making in welcoming more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees—amounting to about 4% of Moldova’s population. And she reiterated her aspiration to “lock in Moldova’s future in a family of established democracies, a European family.” Looking westward toward Brussels and the European Union rather than Moscow is “our main national project,” Sandu said.

“If you want real change that will directly impact communities and societies—you need to get into politics," saying Sandu focused less on the current geopolitical turmoil and more on the value of politics as a profession and vocation. She was working at the World Bank after graduating from HKS when her journey into politics began, she said. Offered the post of Moldova’s minister of education, she returned to her country. Entering what she described as the most difficult professional period of her life, she endured withering criticism by a skeptical public and media, and eventually enacted numerous reforms, including installing video cameras in high school exam rooms to end widespread cheating.

By 2015, frustrated by entrenched corruption, Sandu launched the 'Party of Action and Solidarity'. A year later she ran for president, drawing 48% of the vote in the runoff, and her party became an established force in parliament in the reformist pro-European bloc.

“I never intended to become a politician. I didn’t know how to do it,” she said. “I realize that here at Harvard Kennedy School  and in other good places, many well-educated, effective managers and sectoral leaders say they prefer to keep their distance from politics. People do not want to mess up with politics. I thought exactly the same. Up to a point. Up until I decided that I do not want to live in a country led by corrupt people.”

“I think they didn’t see us as a threat to their rule, but looked at us as a bunch of nerds unable to pose a threat to their crooked regime,” she said. “Novices who would play politics and exit under pressure from a government that can crack anyone. But they were wrong.”

Following elections in 2019, Sandu forged a coalition with the old-guard, pro-Russian Socialists, but vowed to pursue a policy of “de-oligarchization.” After just five months as prime minister, her insistence on appointing an independent chief prosecutor to fight corruption led to her ouster through a no-confidence vote. Refusing to back down, she launched a campaign for president and won with 58% of the vote in 2020. Success in parliamentary elections followed a year later.

“This gave us a clear mandate for change, for reforming Moldova and bringing it where it belongs—to the European family of states,” Sandu said. “My country is now run by a woman president and a woman prime minister—both Harvard Kennedy School graduates,” Sandu said, referring to Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita MPP 2005.

Sandu offered graduates a series of lessons for new leaders, including having patience, humility, building a strong team, and staying true to one’s principles. But above all, she urged a passion for stepping into the cauldron of politics. “We need new leaders in politics,” she said. “We need more people with integrity in politics. In all countries and international organizations that shape the future of our world.”

She concluded: “If you want to live in a better world, and I am sure you do, I urge you to become involved in shaping it, on behalf of your own people, and for the future generations!”

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Flourishing Democracy in Ukraine is Putin's Real Fear



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Associate Editor, Barta24. com
Flourishing Democracy in Ukraine is Putin's Fear

Flourishing Democracy in Ukraine is Putin's Fear

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'The Journal of Democracy' has been covering Putin’s war on Ukraine since the invasion began. In an article tittled 'What Putin Fears Most' published in 'The Journal of Democracy' on April 2022, VOLUME 33, ISSUE 2, and jointly written by Rob Person and Michael McFaul mentioned, "Putin is terrified of the prospect of a flourishing democracy in Ukraine."

The article is highly appreciated for its academic values and received global attentions. The authors of the article, however, are well known for their skills, expertise and wisdom.

The lead author Robert Person is associate professor of international relations at the U.S. Military Academy, director of its international affairs curriculum, and faculty affiliate at its Modern War Institute. His next book, 'Russia’s Grand Strategy in the 21st Century', is forthcoming.

The co-author Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, is professor of political science at Stanford University, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His most recent book is 'From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia' (2018).

In their lucid and analytical article, the authors categorically claimed that the
Russian president Vladimir Putin wants you to believe that NATO is responsible for his February 24 invasion of Ukraine—that rounds of NATO enlargement made Russia insecure, forcing Putin to lash out.

This argument has two key flaws. First, NATO has been a variable and not a constant source of tension between Russia and the West. Moscow has in the past acknowledged Ukraine’s right to join NATO; the Kremlin’s complaints about the alliance spike in a clear pattern after democratic breakthroughs in the post-Soviet space.

This highlights a second flaw: Since Putin fears democracy and the threat that it poses to his regime, and not expanded NATO membership, taking the latter off the table will not quell his insecurity. His declared goal of the invasion, the “denazification” of Ukraine, is a code for his real aim: antidemocratic regime change.

Putin may dislike NATO expansion, but he is not genuinely frightened by it. Russia has the largest army in Europe, engorged by two decades of lavish spending. NATO is a defensive alliance. It has never attacked the Soviet Union or Russia, and it never will. Putin knows that.

But Putin is threatened by a flourishing democracy in Ukraine. He cannot tolerate a successful and democratic Ukraine on Russia’s border, especially if the Ukrainian people also begin to prosper economically.

That would undermine the Kremlin’s own regime stability and proposed rationale for autocratic state leadership. Just as Putin cannot allow the will of the Russian people to guide Russia’s future, he cannot allow the people of Ukraine, who have a shared culture and history, to realize the prosperous, independent, and free future that they have voted and fought for.

Although the chance of a stable ceasefire seems remote today, unprecedented sanctions and growing public dissent within Russia could, in theory, force Putin to the negotiating table. The fog of war is dense. But regardless of where the Russian invaders are stopped—be it Luhansk and Donetsk or Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kherson, Odesa, Kyiv, or Lviv—the Kremlin will remain committed to undermining Ukrainian (and Georgian, Moldovan, Armenian, and the list goes on) democracy and sovereignty for as long as Putin remains in power and maybe longer if Russian autocracy continues.

And the Ukrainian people have already proved their mettle: They will fight for their democracy until the day Russian forces leave Ukraine.

This is the essence of the article, with which many disagree, but its evaluation cannot be ignored. No doubt, further analysis of Russia's aggression in Ukraine will continue. The various parties will investigate the cause of the conflict from different angles. But in all discussions, the impact of Ukraine's democracy and independence-mindedness will be the major focul point that really Putin fears most.

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Political Science, University of Chittagong and Associate Editor, www.barta24.com

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Malaysia: New Destination of Healthcare



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Associate Editor, Barta24.com
Sunway Medical Centre (SMC), Malaysia

Sunway Medical Centre (SMC), Malaysia

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Generally India has been the first destination for Bangladeshis seeking treatment due to many factors including cost, quality, facilities, doctors, culture etc. It is also statistically true that a large number of patients are going from Bangladesh to other countries.  However, their experience is not always good. It is reported that in many cases, the quality of healthcare is declining and patients are suffering due to lack of proper attention, facilities and transparency in terms of billings.

In this context, Malaysia is emerging as a suitable option. Malaysia is fast becoming a strong competitor in the global health and medical tourism sector. Given the potential of health tourism as a foreign exchange earner, the Malaysian government has taken a series of proactive measures to enhance Malaysia as a preferred health tourism destination.

According to official policy, Health tourism in Malaysia consists of two main categories which are medical tourism and wellness programme. Patients can opt for medical treatments in one of Malaysia's internationally recognised hospitals, and stay on during the convalescence or recovery period. Or they can come for a holiday by exploring the various forms of wellness programmes that are available in Malaysia.

Global medical newspapers describe competitive medical fees and modern medical facilities are two vital factors that make Malaysia a popular destination among health tourists. Patients can undergo treatment and recuperate in any part of the country for much less than what it would cost them for a treatment in other countries. For example, a normal cardiac bypass surgery (CABG) in Malaysia would cost only between US$6,000 and US$7,000 equal to Bangladeshi Taka 5 to 6 lakhs.

Malaysia offers a wide choice of state-of-the-art private medical centres boasting an impressive array of sophisticated diagnosis, therapeutic and in-patient facilities. These establishments are well-equipped and staffed to ensure the highest level of professionalism, safety and care to patients. Most private medical centres have certifications for internationally recognized quality standards such as MS ISO 9002 or have been given accreditation by the Malaysian Society for Quality of Health.

Besides, Malaysia is not too much in terms of medical expenses.  Moreover, due to the many places of Muslim culture, modern facilities and trave destinations, Malaysia may be a suitable place for complex patients or health check-ups purposes.

However, not many people in Bangladesh know about Malaysian medical tourism due to lack of information and publicity. In fact, more than 500,000 people travel out to India, Thailand and Singapore for treatment due to unavailable service, misdiagnosis and improper treatments in Bangladesh. Thus, it is important for Bangladeshi patients to consider Malaysia as an lucrative option of seeking medical treatment.

When contacted,  Ms Nurul Hasyikin binti Adanan of Sunway Medical Centre (SMC), the largest private hospital in Malaysia told barta24.com, with 29 centres of excellence, 617 licensed beds, more than 60 specialities & sub-specialties and more than 200 specialists, SMC provides a comprehensive range of medical and surgical solutions. As a quaternary hospital, SMC specialises in the areas of cancer, blood diseases, nuclear medicine, orthopaedic, robotic assisted surgeries, gastroenterology, neurology, neurosurgery, cardiac and vascular, women and children. Kidney transplant, paediatric cardiac surgery, bone marrow transplant are also available in Sunway Medical Centre, Sunway City. We also equipped with the latest technologies like Radixact-X9 Tomotherapy, Mako SmartRobotics, Leksell Gamma Knife Icon, Varian TrueBeam Stx, Philips Biplane Azurion 7 B12 (Angiographic System), Philips Biplane Azurion 7 I-Q Clarity B20/15 (Angiography System), 4-D PET/CT Scanner, da Vinci® Si Surgical System (3rd generation), da Vinci® Xi Surgical System (4th generation), Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT), SPECT-CT Scan, Brachytherapy and many others.

Sunway Medical Centre also is the biggest private hospital in Malaysia having sub-specialties like Paediatric in Dermatology, Neurology, Hematology & Oncology, ENT, Respiratory, Orthopaedic, Gastroenterology etc., she added.

Moreover, Malaysia offers a wide choice of state-of-the-art private medical centres boasting an impressive array of sophisticated diagnosis, therapeutic and in-patient facilities. These establishments are well-equipped and staffed to ensure the highest level of professionalism, safety and care to patients. Most private medical centres have certifications for internationally recognized quality standards such as MS ISO 9002 or have been given accreditation by the Malaysian Society for Quality of Health.

Most private medical centres in Malaysia also offer comfortable accommodation ranging from private rooms to suites for single occupancy or more. Room charges, inclusive of meals, vary at medical centres but are attractively priced. Some medical centres even provide highly qualified and trained private nurses and personal butlers at a reasonable cost.

In brief, factors that contribute to making Malaysia a centre of medical excellence in the region are listed below:

  1. a) Safe and politically stable country
  2. b) Wide choice of world class infrastructure facilities e.g. National Heart Institute and Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital, Sunway Medical Center (SMC).
  3. c) Competitive and affordable pricing and favourable exchange rate
  4. d) Highly qualified, experienced and skilled consultants with internationally recognised qualifications
  5. e) Tolerant multi-cultural and multi-racial Malaysian society accommodates patients of different cultures and religions
  6. f) Communication is easy - English speaking medical staffs
  7. g) State-of-the-art technology, such as MRI, 64-Slice CT Scan, PET Scanner for early detection of cancer and other diseases, cyberknife which is able to radiate tumours without damaging adjacent vital structures
  8. h) Quality and safety system in place, such as ISO and accreditation by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH)
  9. i) Recently, the Ministry of Health, Malaysia has set up a Corporate Policy and Health Industry Division to promote medical tourism and related healthcare products including traditional medicine, etc. As such, the Ministry's promotional efforts are more focused with the support from relevant government agencies and private sector
  10. j) Attractive and affordable packages during recuperation period.

To ease entry formalities for patients, the Immigration Department of Malaysia has implements the Green Lane System at main entry points which expedites custom clearance for medical travellers. Accompanying family members or friends of the patient can take advantage of their visit to sample Malaysia's various interesting tourist attractions. Cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang offer a truly comprehensive range of both health and tourism services, all within easy reach.

Interested person can find more information in  Sunway Medical Centre (SMC) website at

https://www.sunwaymedical.com

or write to ([email protected]).

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The War in Ukraine Will Not End Soon



News Desk, Barta24.com
The War in Ukraine Will Not End Soon

The War in Ukraine Will Not End Soon

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Analysts expect the war in Ukraine to continue at a high level of intensity through 2022, and at a greater or lesser tempo for years to come. According to many experts the war is still at a relatively early stage, and they envisage several possible outcomes, including Russia’s annexation of more territory, a further rout of Russian forces and a negotiated settlement.

However, war specialists expect several factors to prolong the war. The first is that the issues at stake for Ukraine and Russia are existential and are not susceptible to compromise. Ukraine is fighting for its right to self-determination. Its government and people have shown that they are prepared to make great sacrifices to defend their national sovereignty. As long as Russia is occupying Ukrainian land, it will be difficult for any Ukrainian government to make concessions on this fundamental issue.

Meanwhile, Russia has presented its invasion as a “special military operation” to protect Russians in Ukraine against a Nazi-type regime. Backing off from completing what it presents as an existential mission is almost impossible. Putting aside its outlandish claims, Russia’s real aim appears to be to put a stop to Ukraine’s integration into Western institutions such as NATO, which it regards as a security threat. For Vladimir Putin’s regime, winning the war in Ukraine, or being seen to win, has become vital to its future survival.

Besides, the war in Ukraine is not just a regional conflict: it has become a much larger confrontation between the West and Russia. In this sense, it has some of the characteristics of a proxy war, with the West standing four-square behind Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Western leaders have said that they will not become directly involved in the war, but their provision of military aid and intelligence to Ukraine carries the risk of their being drawn inadvertently into the conflict. The longer the war drags on, the greater the risk of the West being pulled in, either as a result of a military miscalculation by either side or of the war accidentally spilling over into a NATO member state. Such an unplanned event would pose the risk of a much more serious global conflict.

Even if such a scenario is avoided, the war marks a geopolitical watershed. It will result in Russia’s exclusion from the Western economic and political order. Sanctions will remain in place indefinitely, and Russia will become a no-go area for Western businesses. The Kremlin will come to rely increasingly on China and the developing world. The West will have to reorganise its global supply chains, including for commodities supplied by Russia. Ukraine and the wider region will remain a zone of instability for many years to come.

The war could very well turn into a protracted stalemate because neither side is capable of defeating the other. Having suffered major setbacks in the first months of the war, it is unlikely that Russia will succeed in subjugating Ukraine. Russia’s invasion has turned the Ukrainian population irrevocably against it, including in areas in the east that were traditionally pro-Russian. This means that even its lesser aims, such as forcing neutrality on Ukraine and obtaining Ukrainian consent to territorial losses, will be very difficult to achieve unless the course of the war changes dramatically.

Despite its undoubted military superiority over Ukraine, several factors have undermined Russia’s ability to press home this advantage. Its war planners badly miscalculated the willingness of Ukrainians to fight and the preparedness of their army. Ukraine has mobilised the entire country behind its war effort, whereas Russia is suffering from a manpower shortage and has so far eschewed a full mobilisation.

In addition, Russia’s army is fighting on hostile terrain, appears to be badly led and trained and suffers from low morale.

Finally, Russia’s military may be technologically superior to that of Ukraine, but it has proved no match for NATO’s advanced weapons systems, which Ukraine now has at its disposal.

In contrast, Ukraine’s army is fighting on its own territory against a foreign invader, is strongly motivated to fight and appears to be well-led. It can draw on advantages such as the support of the population and knowledge of the terrain.

In addition, Ukraine is receiving considerable intelligence, logistical, military, political and financial support from the West. Nevertheless, even with Western weapons, Ukraine is unlikely to be able to inflict a decisive defeat on Russia. Ukrainian forces have already routed the Russians in their attempted advance on Kiev. Large number of experts suggest that Ukraine could inflict a similar defeat on Russia’s army in the Donbas. However, Russian forces are well-established and better supplied in the east, and it will be difficult for Ukraine to drive them out. This cannot be ruled out entirely, but, given the Kremlin’s determination to do whatever it takes to obtain a result that can be framed as a victory, Ukraine is unlikely to be able to deliver a knock-out blow to Russia’s military.

In this context, the war in Ukraine will not end soon, according to a large number of experts.

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