Space Program of Bangladesh
------The Bangladesh Space Agency------
Bangladesh's Level = 4 (national agency) HDI: Low
Bangladesh's SPARRSO acts as its space agency
There have been no launches from Bangladesh
Bangladesh uses earth imaging tech to monitor itself
Bangladesh has no satellites in orbit
Plans are to continue and expand earth observation
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(Level 4 Space Agency)
Bangladesh, though troubled by poverty and hunger, has a nascent space agency: The Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization. SPARRSO was created in 1980, but it took until 1991 for Bangladesh's National Assembly to officialize it as a government agency. It is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Defense. Dhaka University offers a degree in physics and the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology does in engineering, but nothing specific to space related educational architecture, such as astrophysics, astronomy, astronautics or aeronautics. The government has a Ministry of Defense which is devoted nominally to space.
Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries, with its people crammed into a delta of rivers that empties into the Bay of Bengal.
Poverty is deep and widespread; almost half of the population live on less than one dollar a day. However, Bangladesh has reduced population growth and improved health and education.
The major employer is agriculture, but it is unable to meet the demand for jobs. Thus many Bangladeshis - in common with citizens from other countries in the region - seek work abroad, sometimes illegally. The country is trying to diversify its economy, with industrial development a priority. Overseas investors have pumped money into manufacturing and the energy sector.
Onshore and offshore gas reserves hold out some chance of future prosperity. There has been a debate about whether the reserves should be reserved for domestic use or exported. Some international energy companies are involved in the gas sector.
Formerly East Pakistan, Bangladesh came into being only in 1971, when the two parts of Pakistan split after a bitter civil war which drew in neighbouring India.
Bangladesh spent 15 years under military rule and, although democracy was restored in 1990, the political scene remains volatile.
Analysts say the antagonism between the Awami League, which governed until July 2001, and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party reflects personal animosity between their leaders rather than substantial ideological differences.
Political tensions have spilled over into violence; hundreds of people have been killed in recent years. Attacks have targeted opposition rallies and public gatherings. Senior opposition figures have also been targeted.
Concern has grown about religious extremism in the traditionally moderate and tolerant country, which found apparent form in a string of bomb attacks in August 2005. The government, which long denied that it had a problem with militants, has outlawed two fringe Islamic organisations.
Bangladesh has been criticised for its human rights record, with particular concern about assaults on women and allegations that police use torture against those in custody.
The low-lying country is vulnerable to flooding and cyclones and it stands to be badly affected by predicted rises in sea levels.
Full name: People's Republic of Bangladesh
President: Iajuddin Ahmed
Iajuddin Ahmed has been titular head of state as president since 2002. In October 2006 he assumed leadership of the caretaker authority which will lead the country to elections in January 2007.
The caretaker authority replaced Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia at the end of her five-year mandate.
Violent protests over who should lead the three-month administration killed at least 25 people and injured hundreds.
Bangladesh introduced the caretaker system in 1991 after military president Hossain Mohammad Ershad was toppled through a people's uprising led jointly by Khaleda and Sheikh Hasina, who now heads the main opposition party, the Awami League.
The system, designed to prevent ruling parties from rigging polls, is considered to have worked generally well in three elections.
Leading women in politics
Politics is dominated by arch-enemies Begum Khaleda Zia, the chief of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and Sheikh Hasina, leader of the Awami League.
Khaleda was prime minister between 1991 and 1996 and again from 2001 to October 2006, when she handed over power to a caretaker administration ahead of elections.
Hasina was prime minister from 1996 to 2001.
They face each other in elections in January 2007.
The hostility between the women stems in part from differences over who played a greater role in the country's independence struggle - Hasina's father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, or Khaleda's husband, General Ziaur Rahman.
After independence from Pakistan in 1971, Mujib was named father of the nation in the country's 1972 constitution.
But when Khaleda assumed power in 1991 her party pushed the idea that her husband was an equally key player in the independence struggle.
Khaleda's government amended the constitution in 2004 to delete the reference that Mujib was the father of the nation.
Khaleda and Hasina sank their differences when military ruler Hossain Mohammad Ershad was in power from 1982 to 1990. The two cooperated in the movement to oust Ershad.
But their alliance ended with Ershad's departure and they have been uncompromising rivals ever since on a range of issues.
Hasina accuses Khaleda's BNP and its Islamic allies with links to outlawed Islamist groups blamed for a series of bomb attacks in 2007.
Khaleda says Hasina's statements amount to treason.
Hasina escaped an assassination attempt in August 2004 when grenades exploded at a rally she was addressing. Twenty-three people were killed in the attack, which the Awami League said could be linked to parties in the ruling coalition.
The main broadcasters - Radio Bangladesh and Bangladesh Television - are state-owned and favourable to the government. Little coverage is given to the political opposition, except in the run-up to general elections when a caretaker government takes control.
Bangladesh Television is the sole terrestrial TV channel, although private satellite stations have established a presence.
The constitution guarantees press freedom, but journalists are subject to regular harassment from the police and political activists. The media rights organisation Reporters Without Borders says journalists are targeted by Islamist and Maoist groups, as well as officials and politicians.
Bangladeshi newspapers are diverse, outspoken and privately-owned. The country has a strong tradition of owner-editorship. English-language titles appeal mainly to an educated urban readership. The authorities sometimes withdraw foreign publications from circulation over articles or images deemed malicious or offensive.
The BBC World Service is available on FM in Dhaka.
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Remnants of civilization in the greater Bengal region date back 4,000 years, when the region was settled by Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, and Austro-Asiatic peoples. The exact origin of the word Bangla or Bengal is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from the Dravidian-speaking tribe Bang that settled in the area around the year 1000 BCE.
After the arrival of Indo-Aryans, the kingdom of Gangaridai was formed from at least the 7th century BCE, which later united with Bihar under the Magadha and Maurya Empires. Bengal was later part of the Gupta Empire from the 3rd to the 6th centuries CE. Following its collapse, a dynamic Bengali named Shashanka founded an impressive yet short-lived kingdom. After a period of anarchy, the Buddhist Pala dynasty ruled the region for four hundred years, followed by a shorter reign of the Hindu Sena dynasty. Islam was introduced to Bengal in the twelfth century by Sufi missionaries, and subsequent Muslim conquests helped spread Islam throughout the region. Bakhtiar Khilji, a Turkish general, defeated Lakshman Sen of the Sena dynasty and conquered large parts of Bengal. The region was ruled by dynasties of Sultans and feudal lords for the next few hundred years. By the sixteenth century, the Mughal Empire controlled Bengal, and Dhaka became an important provincial center of Mughal administration.
European traders arrived late in the 15th century, and their influence grew until the British East India Company gained control of Bengal following the Battle of Plassey in 1757. The bloody rebellion of 1857, known as the Sepoy Mutiny, resulted in transfer of authority to the crown, with a British viceroy running the administration (Baxter, pp.30—32). During colonial rule, famine racked the Indian subcontinent many times, including the Great Bengal famine of 1943 that claimed 3 million lives.
Between 1905 and 1911, an abortive attempt was made to divide the province of Bengal into two zones, with Dhaka being the capital of the eastern zone. (Baxter, pp. 39—40) When India was partitioned in 1947, Bengal was partitioned along religious lines, with the western part going to India and the eastern part joining Pakistan as a province called East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan), with its capital at Dhaka.
In 1950, land reform was accomplished in East Bengal with the abolishment of the feudal zamindari system. (Baxter, p. 72) However, despite the economic and demographic weight of the east, Pakistan's government and military were largely dominated by the upper classes from the west. The Language Movement of 1952 was the first sign of friction between the two wings of Pakistan. (Baxter, pp. 62—63) Dissatisfaction with the central government over economic and cultural issues continued to rise through the next decade, during which the Awami League emerged as the political voice of the Bengali-speaking population. It agitated for autonomy in the 1960s, and in 1966, its president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was jailed; he was released in 1969 after an unprecedented popular uprising.
In 1970, a massive cyclone devastated the coast of East Pakistan, and the central government responded poorly. The Bengali population's anger was compounded when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whose Awami League won a majority in Parliament in the 1970 elections, (Baxter, pp. 78—79) was blocked from taking office. After staging compromise talks with Mujib, President Yahya Khan arrested him on the night of March 25, 1971, and launched Operation Searchlight, a sustained military assault on East Pakistan. Yahya's methods were extremely bloody, and the violence of the war resulted in many civilian deaths. Chief targets included intellectuals and Hindus, and about ten million refugees fled to neighbouring India. (LaPorte, p. 103) Estimates of those massacred range from three hundred thousand to 3 million. Most of the Awami League leaders fled and set up a government-in-exile in Calcutta, India. The Bangladesh Liberation War lasted for 9 months. The guerrilla Mukti Bahini and Bengali regulars eventually received support from the Indian Armed Forces in December 1971. Under the command of Lt. General J.S. Arora, the Indian Army achieved a decisive victory over Pakistan on 16 December 1971, taking over 90,000 prisoners of war in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
After its independence, Bangladesh became a parliamentary democracy, with Mujib as the Prime Minister. In the 1973 parliamentary elections, the Awami League gained an absolute majority. A nationwide famine occurred during 1973 and 1974, and in early 1975, Mujib initiated a one-party socialist rule with his newly formed BAKSAL. On August 15, 1975, Mujib and his family were assassinated by mid-level military officers.
A series of bloody coups and counter-coups in the following three months culminated in the ascent to power of General Ziaur Rahman, who reinstated multi-party politics and founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Zia's rule ended when he was assassinated in 1981 by elements of the military. Bangladesh's next major ruler was General Hossain Mohammad Ershad, who gained power in a bloodless coup in 1982 and ruled until 1990, when he was ousted in a popular uprising. Since then, Bangladesh has reverted to a parliamentary democracy. Zia's widow, Khaleda Zia, led the BNP to parliamentary victories in 1991 and 2001 and was Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996 and again from 2001 to end of 2006. At the present, the caretaker government is in power and after a successful election the new government will be formed. Sheikh Hasina, one of Mujib's surviving daughters and the head of the Awami League, was in power from 1996 to 2001. Although Bangladesh enjoys the distinction of having two female politicians leading national politics, it continues to suffer from extensive corruption, disorder and political violence.
|Anthem||Amar Shonar Bangla|
|Animal||Royal Bengal Tiger|
|Bird||Oriental Magpie Robin|
|Flower||White Water Lily|
Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy. The President is the head of state, a largely ceremonial post. The real power is held by the Prime Minister, who is the head of government. The president is elected by the legislature every five years and has normally limited powers that are substantially expanded during the tenure of a caretaker government, mainly in controlling the transition to a new government. Bangladesh has instituted a unique system of transfer of power; at the end of the tenure of a government, power is handed over to members of a civil society for three months, who run the general elections and transfer the power to elected representatives. This system was first practiced in 1991 and institutionalized in 1996 as the 13th amendment to the constitution.
The prime minister is ceremonially appointed by the president and must be a member of parliament (MP), commanding the confidence of the majority of the MPs. The cabinet is composed of ministers selected by the prime minister and appointed by the president. The unicameral parliament is the 300-members House of the Nation or Jatiyo Sangshad, elected by popular vote from single-member constituencies for five-year terms of office. There is universal suffrage for all citizens from the age of 18.
The Constitution of Bangladesh was written in 1972 and has undergone thirteen amendments. The highest judiciary body is the Supreme Court, whose Chief Justices and other judges are appointed by the President. The Judiciary is not separate from the administration, which has caused much commotion in recent years. Laws are loosely based on English common law, but family laws such as marriage and inheritance are based on religious scripts, and hence differ from one religious community to another.
The two major parties in Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Awami League. BNP finds its allies among Islamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and Islami Oikya Jot, while Awami League aligns with leftist and secularist parties. Another important player is the Jatiya Party, headed by former military ruler Ershad. The Awami League-BNP rivalry has been bitter and punctuated by protests, violence and murder. Student politics is particularly strong in Bangladesh, a legacy from the liberation movement era. Almost all parties have highly active student wings, and students have been elected to the Parliament.
Two radical Islamist parties, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), were banned in February 2005. Bomb attacks taking place since 1999 have been blamed on those groups, and hundreds of suspected members have been detained in numerous security operations, including the head the of those two parties in 2006. The first recorded case of a suicide bomb attack in Bangladesh took place in November 2005.
Bangladesh is located in the low-lying Ganges-Brahmaputra River Delta or Ganges Delta. This delta is formed by the confluence of the Ganges (local name Padma or Pôdda), Brahmaputra (Jamuna or Jomuna), and Meghna rivers and their respective tributaries. The alluvial soil deposited by these rivers has created some of the most highly fertile plains of the world.
Most parts of Bangladesh are within 10 metres above the sea level, and it is believed that about 10% of the land would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1 metre. The highest point in Bangladesh is in Mowdok range at 1,052 m (3,451 ft) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to the southeast of the country. A major part of the coastline comprises a marshy jungle, the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world and home to diverse flora and fauna, including the Royal Bengal Tiger. In 1997, this region was declared endangered.
Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, Bangladeshi climate is tropical with a mild winter from October to March, a hot, humid summer from March to June. A warm and humid monsoon season lasts from June to October and supplies most of the country's rainfall. Natural calamities, such as floods, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and tidal bores occur almost every year, combined with the effects of deforestation, soil degradation and erosion. Cox's Bazar, south of the city of Chittagong, has a beach that stretches uninterrupted over 120 kilometres (75 mi); it is the longest unbroken natural sea beach in the world.
Despite sustained domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains an underdeveloped and overpopulated nation. The per capita income in 2004 was a low US$440, and many other economic indicators were less than impressive. Yet, as the World Bank notes in its July 2005 Country Brief, the country has made impressive progress in human development by focusing on increasing literacy, achieving gender parity in schooling, and reducing population growth.
Jute was once the economic engine of the country. Its share of the world export market peaked in the Second World War and the late 1940s at 80% and even in the early 1970s accounted for 70% of its export earnings. However, polypropylene products began to substitute jute products worldwide and the jute industry started to slow down. Bangladesh grows significant quantities of rice, tea and mustard. Although two-thirds of Bangladeshis are farmers, more than three quarters of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from the garment industry, which began attracting foreign investors in the 1980s due to cheap labour and low conversion cost. In 2002, the industry exported US$5 billion worth of products. The industry now employs more than 3 million workers, 90% of whom are women. A large part of foreign currency earnings also comes from the remittances sent by expatriates living in other countries.
Obstacles to growth include frequent cyclones and floods, inefficient state-owned enterprises, mismanaged port facilities, a growth in the labour force that has outpaced jobs, inefficient use of energy resources (such as natural gas), insufficient power supplies, slow implementation of economic reforms, political infighting and corruption. According to the World Bank's July 2005 Country Brief: "Among Bangladesh’s most significant obstacles to growth are poor governance and weak public institutions."
Since 1990, the country has achieved an average annual growth rate of 5% according to the World Bank, despite the hurdles. The middle class and the consumer industry have seen some growth. In December 2005, four years after its report on the emerging "BRIC" economies (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), Goldman Sachs named Bangladesh one of the "Next Eleven," along with Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and several other countries. Bangladesh has seen a sharp increase in foreign direct investment. A number of multinational corporations, including Unocal Corporation and Tata, have made major investments, the natural gas sector being a priority. In December 2005, the Central Bank of Bangladesh projected GDP growth around 6.5%.
One significant contributor to the development of the economy has been the widespread propagation of microcredit by Muhammad Yunus (awarded Nobel peace prize in 2006) through the Grameen Bank. By the late 1990s, Grameen Bank had 2.3 million members, along with 2.5 million members of other similar organizations.
In order to enhance economic growth the government set up several export processing zones to attract foreign investment. These are managed by the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority.
Recent estimates of Bangladesh's population range from 142 to 147 million, making it one of the ten most populous countries in the world. With a population similar to Russia's confined to an area of 144,000 square kilometers, it is very densely populated. Bangladesh's population growth was among the highest in the world in the 1960s and 1970s, when the count grew from 50 to 90 million, but with the promotion of birth control in the 1980s, the growth rate slowed. The total fertility rate is now 3.1 children per woman, compared with 6.2 three decades ago. The population is relatively young, with the 0–25 age group comprising 60%, while 3% are 65 or older. Life expectancy is 63 years for both males and females.
Bangladesh is ethnically homogeneous, with Bengalis comprising 98% of the population. The remainder are mostly Bihari migrants and indigenous tribal groups. There are 13 tribal groups located in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the most populous of the tribes are the Chakmas. The region has been a source for ethnic tension since the inception of Bangladesh. The largest tribal groups outside the Hill Tracts are the Santhals and the Garos (Achiks). Human trafficking has been a lingering problem in Bangladesh and illegal immigration has remained a cause of friction with Myanmar and India.
The main language, as in West Bengal, is Bangla (Bengali), an Indo-Aryan language of Sanskrit origin and has its own script. Bangla is the official language of Bangladesh. English is used as second language among the middle and upper classes and in higher education. Since a President Order in 1987, Bangla is used for all official correspondence except foreign ones.
Two major religions practised in Bangladesh are Islam (88% US State Department est. 2005) and Hinduism (11% US State Dept. 2005). Ethnic Biharis are predominantly Shia Muslims. Other religious groups include Buddhists, Christians, and Animists.
Health and education levels have recently improved as poverty levels have decreased. Nevertheless, Bangladesh remains among the poorest nations in the world. Most Bangladeshis are rural, living on subsistence farming. Nearly half of the population lives on less than 1 USD per day. Health problems abound, ranging from surface water contamination, to arsenic in the groundwater, and diseases including malaria, leptospirosis and dengue. The literacy rate in Bangladesh is approximately 41%. There is gender disparity, though, as literacy rates are 50% among men and 31% among women, according to a 2004 UNICEF estimate. Literacy has gone up due to many programs introduced in the country. Among the most successful ones are the Food for education (FFE) program introduced in 1993, and a stipend program for women at the primary and secondary levels.
A new state for an old nation, Bangladesh has a culture that encompasses elements both old and new. The Bangla language boasts a rich literary heritage, which Bangladesh shares with the Indian state of West Bengal. The earliest literary text in Bangla is the eighth century Charyapada. Bangla literature in the medieval age was often either religious (e.g. Chandidas), or adaptations from other languages (e.g. Alaol). Bangla literature matured in the nineteenth century. Its greatest icons are the poets Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam. Bangladesh also has a long tradition in folk literature, evidenced by Maimansingha Gitika, Thakurmar Jhuli or stories related to Gopal Bhar.
The musical tradition of Bangladesh is lyrics-based (Baniprodhan), with minimal instrumental accompaniment. The Baul tradition is a unique heritage of Bangla folk music, and there are numerous other musical traditions in Bangladesh, which vary from one region to the other. Gombhira, Bhatiali, Bhawaiya are a few of the better-known musical forms. Folk music of Bengal is often accompanied by the ektara, an instrument with only one string. Other instruments include the dotara, dhol, flute, and tabla. Bangladesh also has an active heritage in North Indian classical music. Similarly, Bangladeshi dance forms draw from folk traditions, especially those of the tribal groups, as well as the broader Indian dance tradition. Bangladesh produces about 80 films a year. Mainstream Hindi films are also quite popular, as are films from Kolkata, which has its own thriving Bengali-language movie industry. Around 200 dailies are published in Bangladesh, along with more than 1800 periodicals. However, regular readership is low, nearly about 15% of the population. Bangladeshis listen to a variety of local and national radio programmes from Bangladesh Betar, as well as Bangla services from the BBC and Voice of America. There is a state-controlled television channel, but in the last few years, privately owned channels have grown considerably.
The culinary tradition of Bangladesh has close relations to Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine as well as having many unique traits. Rice and fish are traditional favourites; leading to a common saying that "fish and rice make a Bengali" (machhe bhate bangali). Meat consumption has increased with higher production in recent years. Bangladeshis make distinctive sweetmeats from milk products; some common ones are Rôshogolla, Chômchôm and Kalojam.
The sari (shari) is by far the most widely worn dress by Bangladeshi women. However, the salwar kameez (shaloar kamiz) is also quite popular, and in urban areas some women wear Western attire. Among men, European dressing has greater acceptance. Men also use the kurta-paejama combination, often on religious occasions. The lungi, a kind of long skirt, is widely worn by Bangladesh men.
The two Eids, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha are the largest festivals in the Islamic calendar. The day before Eid ul-Fitr is called Chãd Rat (the night of the Moon), and is often marked by firecrackers. Other Muslim holidays are also observed. Major Hindu festivals are Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja. Buddha Purnima, which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha, is one of the most important Buddhist festivals while Christmas, called Bôrodin (Great day) in Bangla is celebrated by the minority Christian population. The most important secular festival is Pohela Baishakh or Bengali New Year, the beginning of the Bengali calendar. Other festivities include Nobanno, Poush parbon (festival of Poush) and observance of national days like Shohid Dibosh.
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in Bangladesh. In 2000, the Bangladesh cricket team was granted Test cricket status and joined the elite league of national teams permitted by the International Cricket Council to play test matches. Other popular sports include football (soccer), field hockey, tennis, badminton, handball, volleyball, chess, carom, and kabadi, a 7-a-side team-sport played without a ball or any other equipment, which is the national sport of Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Sports Control Board regulates 29 different sporting federations.
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A chronology of key events:
1947 - British colonial rule over India ends. A largely Muslim state comprising East and West Pakistan is established, either side of India. The two provinces are separated from each other by more than 1,500 km of Indian territory.
1949 - The Awami League is established to campaign for East Pakistan's autonomy from West Pakistan.
1970 - The Awami League, under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, wins an overwhelming election victory in East Pakistan. The government in West Pakistan refuses to recognise the results, leading to rioting. Cyclone hits East Pakistan - up to 500,000 people are killed.
1971 - Sheikh Mujib arrested and taken to West Pakistan. In exile, Awami League leaders proclaim the independence of the province of East Pakistan on 26th March. The new country is called Bangladesh. Just under 10 million Bangladeshis flee to India as troops from West Pakistan are defeated with Indian assistance.
1972 - Sheikh Mujib returns, becomes prime minister. He begins a programme of nationalising key industries in an attempt to improve living standards, but with little success.
1974 - Severe floods devastate much of the grain crop, leading to an estimated 28,000 deaths. A national state of emergency is declared as political unrest grows.
1975 - Sheikh Mujib becomes president of Bangladesh. The political situation worsens. He is assassinated in a military coup in August. Martial law is imposed.
1976 - The military ban trade unions.
1977 - General Zia Rahman assumes the presidency. Islam is adopted in the constitution.
1979 - Martial law is lifted following elections, which Zia's Bangladesh National Party (BNP) wins.
1981 - Zia is assassinated during abortive military coup. He is succeeded by Abdus Sattar.
The Ershad era
1982 - General Ershad assumes power in army coup. He suspends the constitution and political parties.
1983 - Limited political activity is permitted. Ershad becomes president.
1986 - Parliamentary and presidential elections. Ershad elected to a five-year term. He lifts martial law and reinstates the constitution.
1987 - State of emergency declared after opposition demonstrations and strikes.
1988 - Islam becomes state religion. Floods cover up to three-quarters of the country. Tens of millions are made homeless.
1990 - Ershad steps down following mass protests.
1991 - Ershad convicted and jailed for corruption and illegal possession of weapons. Begum Khaleda Zia, widow of President Zia Rahman, becomes prime minister. Constitution is changed to render the position of president ceremonial. The prime minister now has primary executive power. Cyclonic tidal wave kills up to 138,000.
1996 - Two sets of elections eventually see the Awami League win power, with Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, becoming prime minister.
1997 - Ershad is released from prison. The opposition BNP begins campaign of strikes against the government.
1998 - Two-thirds of the country devastated by the worst floods ever. Fifteen former army officers sentenced to death for involvement in assassination of President Mujib in 1975.
2000 September - Sheikh Hasina criticises military regimes in a UN speech, prompting Pakistani leader General Musharraf to cancel talks with her. Relations strained further by row over leaked Pakistani report on 1971 war of independence.
2000 December - Bangladesh expels Pakistani diplomat for comments on the 1971 war. The diplomat had put the number of dead at 26,000, whereas Bangladesh says nearly three million were killed. Bangladesh wants Pakistan to apologise for alleged genocide it says Pakistani forces were guilty of during the war.
2001 April - Seven killed in bomb blast at a Bengali New Year concert in Dhaka. Sixteen Indian and three Bangladeshi soldiers killed in their worst border clashes.
2001 April - High Court confirms death sentences on 12 ex-army officers for killing Mujib. Only four are in custody.
2001 June - Bomb kills 10 at Sunday mass at a Roman Catholic church in Baniarchar town. Bomb at Awami league office near Dhaka kills 22. Parliament approves bill providing protection for Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana, who feared that the killers of their father Mujib were out to get them too.
2001 July - Hasina steps down, hands power to caretaker authority, becoming the first prime minister in the country's history to complete a five-year term.
2001 September - At least eight people are killed and hundreds injured as two bombs explode at an election rally in south-western Bangladesh.
2001 October - Hasina loses at polls to Khaleda Zia's Nationalist Party and its three coalition partners.
2001 November - Law repealed which guaranteed lifelong security to former prime minister Sheikh Hasina and sister Sheikh Rehana.
2002 March - Government introduces law making acid attacks punishable by death amid public anger over escalating violence against women.
2002 May - Government orders tightening of safety standards after up to 500 people die when a river ferry goes down in a storm.
2002 June - President Chowdhury resigns after ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) accuses him of taking an anti-party line.
2002 July - Pakistani President Musharraf visits; expresses regret over excesses carried out by Pakistan during 1971 war of independence.
2002 September - Iajuddin Ahmed sworn in as president.
2002 December - Simultaneous bomb blasts in cinemas in a town north of Dhaka kill 17 and injure hundreds.
2003 April - More than 100 people killed in two almost-simultaneous ferry disasters.
Many of those behind a string of explosions remain at large
2004 Opposition calls 21 general strikes over the course of the year as part of a campaign to oust the government.
2004 May - Parliament amends constitution to reserve 45 seats for female MPs.
Bomb attack on Muslim shrine in north-eastern town of Sylhet kills two and injures UK high commissioner and 50 others.
2004 July onwards - Worst flooding in six years leaves nearly 800 people dead, millions homeless or stranded, and an estimated 20m in need of food aid. September's floods in Dhaka are said to be the worst in decades.
2004 August - Grenade attack on opposition Awami League rally in Dhaka kills 22 people. Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina survives the attack.
2005 January - Prominent Awami League politician Shah AMS Kibria is killed in a grenade attack at a political rally. The party calls a general strike in protest.
2005 February - More than 140 people are killed when a ferry capsizes near Dhaka.
2005 May - Some 150 people are killed within a week in three ferry accidents.
2005 17 August - Around 350 small bombs go off in towns and cities nationwide. Two people are killed and more than 100 are injured. A banned Islamic group claims responsibility.
2005 November - Spate of bombings, blamed on Islamic militants, hits Chittagong and Gazipur. Twelve people are killed.
2006 February - Opposition Awami League ends year-long parliamentary boycott.
2006 August - Six people are killed in nation-wide protests against a British firm's plan to develop a coal mine in Phulbari in Dinajpur district. Opponents say the project will displace hundreds of families and damage the environment.
2006 October - Violent protests over government's choice of a caretaker administration to take over when Premier Zia completes her term at the end of the month. President Ahmed steps in and assumes caretaker role for period leading to elections due in January 2007.
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HISTORY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
SPARRSO CONDUCTS (from its webpage at http://www.sparrso.gov.bd/activity.html)
Estimation of major crop yield : rice, wheat etc. particularly the winter crops
This forecast is used to plan the food situation in the country and helps attain food security. The role of SPARRSO in this regard has been commended by the Government. Vegetation indices are calculated for the entire country
Environment study: Climate change, Global warning, EL-Nino, Monsoons and Ecology.
Completed monitoring of Coastal Mangrove Afforestation of the Department of Forest in two phases under World Bank assistance.
Conducted survey of Modhupur Sal forest & other forests.
Performed Timber Volume Inventory of Sundarban forest.
Model on Suitable Site Selection of Shrimp farming using R/S and GIS in Coastal Areas.
Determined morphological changes of the Major rivers and Mapped small & large water bodies of the country and provided support to NWMP & FCD projects.
Detected nature of fluvial Changes in the Jamuna :confluence movement, bank erosion, channel movement and island characteristics.
Kaptai Lake and Hail haor studied.
Oceanography, Coastal environment study
Bangladesh has not launched anything into space, nor has it any launch capability, but it does have ground facilities:
Meteorological satellite ground station.
Image processing and GIS facilities.
Advanced cartography laboratory.
Advanced photographic laboratory.
Advanced hardware maintenance laboratory.
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THE SPACE-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
Bangladesh lacks the industrial base, the educational base and the political foundation for a process like this to occur within it. It has no functioning university with an astrophysics or astronautics program, and marginal industry.
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LAUNCHERS AND SATELLITES
Bangladesh operates no satellites and, not having an orbital presence, has no space power.
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TODAY AND THE FUTURE
The government of Bangladesh in Kampala has no plans for attempting to further any ambition in space development or research.
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