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Dhaka, November 16, 2016: For much of his early life on Bhola, an island in south-central Bangladesh, Mohammed Abul Kalam battled poverty and a hostile river that twice engulfed his homestead.
Now, as a resident of a “bastee,” or private slum on the western edge of the capital, Dhaka, he faces new challenges: the trade-offs he has made on the family’s health, education and security in exchange for being near a source of work.
“I came here because I found no other way,” Kalam said, sitting on the floor of his tin shack.
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The story of how he swapped rural farming for survival in one of Dhaka’s burgeoning slums on privately-owned land reflects the precarious situation of up to half a million Bangladeshis estimated to migrate to the capital each year.
Kalam’s journey began when the Meghna River wiped out his home for the second time, sending the family deep into debt after he borrowed $765 from moneylenders to build a new house.
His neighbors told him, “Go to Dhaka”, suggesting that in order to pay to marry off two teenage daughters, he would have to leave his home in Madras, on Bhola, home to more than two million people, a third of whom live below the poverty line.
With empty pockets, he and his family set off on the 18-hour trip by river to the capital, where he was taken on by a garment washing factory to carry clothes in a role that was a far cry from his old life paddy farming in his village.
Earning just $76 a month, Kalam struggled to make ends meet and, four months into the job, he left to take up other work demolishing buildings with a hammer and a shovel, he said.
This paid a little over $6 a day but the work was irregular and eventually he had no alternative but to find work for his two eldest daughters with a garment producer in Mirpur district.
There, his teenage daughters cut sewing threads and checked clothes for alterations for $51 a month – less than the industry minimum wage of $68.
Kalam and his family are not alone. According to the World Bank, each year up to half a million rural migrants stream into Dhaka for work, swelling the ranks of the urban poor.
Experts say more than three-quarters of new arrivals end up living in a bastee – owned by private landlords who provide some services – as squatter settlements on public land have disappeared amid demolitions and evictions by authorities.
Since Bangladesh declared independence in 1971, the city’s population has quadrupled to around 20 million. By 2050, it is projected to reach more than 35 million.
Three years on, life for Kalam and his family is far from comfortable. He and his wife sleep on the concrete floor of their one-room shack to leave space for four children who share a bed. The family shares a toilet with 10 households and risk fire by cooking with an electric stove as they have no gas.
Even a brief burst of rain sends water into the bastee, which is spread out over five acres of low-lying land.
“[My] sorrows have a beginning but no end. I have lost everything, but the greatest loss is my daughters’ education,” said Kalam, reflecting on his life in the city.
The family rents their room for $32 a month and the landlord takes care of some services, including electricity and water – important in a city where slum-dwellers on public land often have to pay “mastaans”, powerful local figures, for utilities.
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Experts say the failure to re-house inhabitants evicted from homes in public settlements that have been demolished partly accounts for the boom in privately-owned slums.
“Slums are being cleared, but slum dwellers stay behind – they are not leaving Dhaka,” Khondker Rebaca Sun-Yat, executive director at advocacy group the Coalition for the Urban Poor (CUP), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
A 2014 census found that nearly 60 percent of slums in the north and south of Dhaka are built on private land, but urban experts and rights groups estimate the figure at 80-90 percent.
Sun-Yat blamed centralized development that focuses services and industries in urban areas for the rise in private slums.
“Cities have sources of income. You build infrastructure in cities; how can you expect rural people not to come to cities?” she said. “If rural areas had income sources and mills and factories, people wouldn’t have come to Dhaka,” she said.
Nevertheless, she warned that cities would “become paralyzed” if slum-dwellers returned to their place of origin.
The development of Dhaka reflects a wider rise in the numbers of urban poor and what economists call the “non-monetary” conditions of poverty, such as overcrowding, vulnerability, poor security and poor sanitation, experts say.
In comparison to rural poverty, urban poverty is surging.
The number of urban poor in Bangladesh rose to 8 million from 6 million between 1991 and 2010, the latest period for which data is available. In contrast, the number of rural poor went down in the same period, to 46 million from 55 million.
Nine in 10 slum-dwellers in Dhaka were born outside the capital, while one-fifth are poor, according to initial results of a 2016 urban slum survey conducted by the World Bank.
Tenure in privately-owned slums is no more secure than in public squatter settlements, according to Salma A. Shafi, treasurer of the Centre for Urban Studies, a think tank in Dhaka.
“The tenants (in private slums) have no security as rents are raised according to the owner-developers’ whims,” she said.
“Without any contractual agreement or legal support, tenants have no power.”
Mosharraf Hossain, Minister of Housing and Public Works, is among those who believe migration to urban areas of Bangladesh is now “unnecessary” as wages have risen in rural areas.
He said the city was not in a position to absorb more rural migrants given the poor state of its sewerage network, which covers just two-fifths of the city’s population.
“It’s better not to have slums,” Hossain told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at his ministerial office in central Dhaka. “Slum people are living in sub-human conditions, near the rail lines. This is unnecessary.”
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The government was piloting a low-cost housing project in Mirpur, which would be scaled up if successful, he said.
Kalam said he was prepared to move to another private slum nearby – even for more rent – if he had to, but he did not want to leave Mirpur, where he and his daughters earn their living.
“I never expected my daughters to support me,” he said. “Instead, I dreamed they would continue their education.” (VOA)
Chip manufacturer MediaTek on Monday announced that it is focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, substantial expansion in Research and Development capabilities.
MediaTek's plans to boost technology democratisation and enable access to disruptive connectivity with its range of mainstream to flagship 5G chips.
"We at MediaTek are focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, and substantial expansion in our R&D capabilities. For 2022, we are focused on further strengthening our presence in India, offering incredible experiences to customers, and supporting the country's technology initiatives with our expertise and collaboration with leading OEMs," Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India said in a statement.
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In the flagship segment, MediaTek recently announced the Dimensity 9000 chip, which is a milestone of innovation and a rise to the incredible, built-to-power flagship 5G smartphones in the world, the company claims.
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 features a single Cortex-X2 performance core clocked at 3.05GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores at 2.85GHz and four Cortex-A510 efficiency cores at 1.8GHz.
It packs a 10-core Arm Mali-G710 that takes care of graphics processing, the report said.
The chipset also comes packed with MediaTek's fifth-generation APU with six total cores for AI processing.Unsplash
Also read: Realme Unveils First 5G Smartphone
The chipset also comes packed with MediaTek's fifth-generation APU with six total cores for AI processing.
The chipset can handle screens with up to a 180Hz refresh rate at Full HD+ resolutions. It is also the first chipset to have an 18-bit image signal processor, offering the ability to capture 4K HDR video using up to three cameras at the same time, or still photos using up to a massive 320MP sensor. (IANS/PR)
(Keywords: 5G, smartphones, Mediatek)
If the US loses Chinese companies, Wall Street will gradually alienate itself from the world's most prosperous market and the US will no longer be the true global financial centre, Chinese state media claimed.
Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant, announced on Friday that the company is starting the work of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and initiating preparations for listing in Hong Kong.
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One day before Didi made the statement, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a mandate requiring foreign companies listed in the US to provide audits for inspection. Otherwise, they could be delisted from NYSE and Nasdaq in three years.
"The new SEC regulation clearly targets Chinese companies listed in the US. Analysts believe that it could lead to more than 200 companies being kicked off US exchanges," Global Times reported.
Also Read : The forgotten Indo-China War
Didi is the first Chinese company, which announced that it would delist from the NYSE after the SEC issued its new regulation. The company got listed in the US in June without the approval of Chinese regulatory authorities, sparking concerns that the information of hundreds of millions of Chinese users would be leaked to endanger China's national security. More than 20 apps linked to the company were subsequently removed from mobile stores. The SEC's new regulation has compressed Didi's space for financing in the US from the other direction, the report said.
It will become more difficult for Chinese digital technology and application companies to get listed in the US in the future.Unsplash
There have already been voices in the US demanding most of the "China concept stocks" be removed from the US. Scrutiny of "China concept stocks" is expected to get stricter. The US provides various excuses such as "financial security" and "national security" for such scrutiny, the report said.
It will become more difficult for Chinese digital technology and application companies to get listed in the US in the future. This will cause losses to both sides. But the tendency shows that China has greater initiative to adjust and adapt to new conditions, the report said.
Global Times said Chinese companies have other alternatives, and if they go back to China, they will greatly enhance the attractiveness of the mainland and Hong Kong capital markets, creating the possibility of gradually changing the global financial landscape. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Wall street, China, stocks, companies, businesses, losses, regulations, prosperous, technology, authorities, delisting.)
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Sommet Education, one of the worlds leading hospitality and culinary education players, recently joined hands with the countrys premium hospitality institute, Indian School of Hospitality (ISH).
With this Sommet Education now own a 51 per cent stake in the ISH, a significant addition to the former's expansive global network. The strategic partnership allows Sommet Education to establish two of its prestigious institutions in India: Ecole Ducasse, a worldwide education reference in culinary and pastry arts, and Les Roches, one of the world's leading hospitality business schools. With this academic alliance, Ecole Ducasse will now have its first campus in India at ISH, and Les Roches will launch its undergraduate and postgraduate hospitality management programmes in the country.
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Sommet Education's belief in the Indian market and its potential to grow exponentially made the country the focal point of its development plans. As per the recent data, the Indian hospitality industry has shown a 122.9 per cent growth in RevPAR in Q3 2021 as compared to Q2 2021. The sector bounced back strongly with the relaxations in regulations over travel restrictions post the second wave of the pandemic.
During the recent meeting between Benoit-Etienne Domenget, CEO, Sommet Education and Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality, both the leaders shared their future development plans for India. Two are exploring opportunities to launch a second campus, most likely to be located in Mumbai, Bengaluru, or Hyderabad. The duo also plans to set up a network of Ecole Ducasse studios in select cities across India, including New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. These studios institutes will cater to the needs of not only hospitality aspirants but also professionals, enthusiasts, and career changers for upskilling and acquiring new skills in line with changing dynamics of the industry. Besides setting Ecole Ducasse studios in India, the expansion of the current ISH Gurugram campus is also underway. The new campus will feature an additional 25,000 sq. ft of classrooms, training kitchens, and student experience areas. This expansion will comfortably stretch the current capacity of the campus to over 500 students.
Speaking about the entering Indian market, Sommet Education CEO, Benoit-Etienne Domenget, said: "India is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, with hospitality and tourism contributing to a large share of economic growth and employment. As a dynamic young economy, India is the perfect development platform for international education brands to invest in and expand. We are happy to partner with ISH through which enables us to provide Indian students, within the country, with globally renowned standards of hospitality, culinary and management education.
"Together, we will be able to address the industry's need for specialised talent and expertise in a better and more organised manner. Hospitality management and culinary arts aspirants in India and neighbouring countries will now be able to benefit from our combined expertise and explore international career opportunities."
The mutually benefitting collaboration aims to offer a global standard of education to a larger number of hospitality and culinary arts aspirants in the years to come in India and the neighbouring countries. While ISH has set benchmarks with its cutting-edge pedagogical approach, updated curriculum, learning techniques, faculty base, and state-of-the-art infrastructure, expansion of the campus will lay grounds for more talented students to set foot into the exciting field of hospitality and culinary arts and become future leaders who will steer the industry towards success. New facilities are under construction and will be operational by early 2022.
Commenting over the new partnership and expansion plans, ISH Founder and CEO, Dilip Puri, said: "ISH and Sommet Education joined hands for the two share similar belief system and vision of establishing entrepreneurial and developmental mindset among learners. The higher education landscape in India is rapidly transforming. In order to elevate the same to the global standards, ISH, with the help of its new partner, intends to be the pioneer of this transformation, bringing the best of industry education and opportunities from across the world to our students.
Industry demands for hospitality leaders by bringing two of the world's best brandsUnsplash
"Partnering with Sommet Education will also enable us to strengthen our academic offerings and expand our presence pan India, and in neighbouring countries, as now on we will be part of Sommet's prestigious network of 18 campuses across eight countries. We will also be able to further support industry demands for hospitality leaders by bringing two of the world's best brands in hospitality management and culinary education to India."
The current transition in the hospitality and services sector requires future leaders to be well-prepared to take on global opportunities emerging in India and abroad. This tie-up will help ISH to further expand its portfolio of programs with opportunities for students to study semesters abroad and benefit from various pathways within undergraduate and post-graduate programs throughout the Les Roches network of institutions. Students can access opportunities, including pursuing a part of the select course at Les Roches campuses in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Marbella, Spain and Shanghai. Together the two hold a common vision of empowering learners with new-age skills to stay ahead in the robust and fast-evolving industry and aim to become the country's largest hospitality and culinary arts education player in the next three years. (IANS/PR)
Keywords: hospitality management, culinary education