GM Quader demands Tk 10,000 monthly checks for jobless families

Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Sunday demanded the government provide Tk 10,000 per month to each family of those who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, he said, “Several crore family members of those who become unemployed due to the pandemic are not in good conditions. So, it has become imperative for the government to provide Tk 10,000 per month to each of those families.”

GM Quader said the government must stand by the people who are facing serious financial crisis at this critical time of the pandemic.

Referring to various research findings, he said the living standards of about two and a half crore people have fallen below the poverty line during the corona period where there were around three and a half crore poor people in the country before the pandemic.

The Jatiya Party chairman said the government’s allocation for helping the poor and helpless people is too inadequate.

Analysing the annual government support in an electoral constituency having 3,33,166 inhabitants, he said around 1,09,945 people (around 33 percent) of this area are poor as per the official statistics.

“The government gave the cash assistance of TK 1,19,42,070 to the area in financial year 2020-2021. Foodgrains worth Tk 88,99,679 were distributed alongside baby food and animal fodder in the same area and the total allocation was Tk 2,10,41,749. So, the per capita allocation was Tk 191 per year and only Tk16 per month. How can a poor person live with only Tk16 per month government assistance?

The Jatiya Party chairman said the government passed a budget of around Tk 6,50,000 crore for the financial year 2021-22 in parliament, but the condition of the owners of that money is deplorable.

“So, I demand the government provide financial assistance of Tk 10,000 per month to each family (of the unemployed people) until the situation becomes normal. If the money is distributed among two crore families in a transparent manner, it will be a great help for the poor. It will cost only Tk20,000 crore per month.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Govt feels self-complacency working for only some people: Sultana Kamal

Noted human right activist advocate Sultana Kamal on Sunday criticised the current budget for ‘not having clear support plan’ for the disadvantaged community in this Covid pandemic, saying that the government feels self-complacency protecting the interest of some people.

“I would like to share my analysis that isolation has occurred between the government and the common people, which we’ve seen more acutely in this Covid situation,” she said at a media briefing.

Citizen’s Platform for SDGs Bangladesh arranged the media briefing over “Implementation of National Budget 2021-22: What benefit will the disadvantaged people get?” through a virtual platform.

Sultana Kamal, also a member of the Citizen’s Platform, said, “Though we say that we are living in a democratic society….. But we have many words (questions) over the election, which is the first and foremost step for democracy.”

“Questions can also be raised over how much we think those who govern the State as our men or how much they (Govt) think us as their men,” she said.

If the budget is evaluated from this perspective, there is isolation between the government and the common people or community particularly the disadvantaged people, she said adding that the government may have relations of interest with the people who are surrounding it or who assist it politically and socially or any other ways.

“We’re in such a political system that if those of us who are in charge of governing the State can protect the interests of some people, they feel self-complacency. They get praises from them (the particular section of people) and can understand that what they (government) did is a very wonderful job,” said Sultana Kamal.

Noting that the national budget for 2020-21 had to be adopted last year amid unknown and sudden Covid-19 situation, she said this time the government got a full year before the preparation of the budget, but the new problems caused by the pandemic were not recognised there.

She said it is as usual budget having nothing for the recovery from the Covid-19 fallout. “Some ad-hoc based steps were taken and works have been done, but the steps, which are very essential to rebound from this distress, unfortunately remain missing here,” she said.

“Some 3-3.5 crore people have become poor afresh. We’ve not find any clear plan to pay attention to them in the budget,” said Sultana Kamal, also the Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra.

Convenor of Citizen’s Platform Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said the government should provide direct food and cash support for the disadvantaged people as they may be awaiting tougher situations in the current fiscal year than the last fiscal.

“We fear that the disadvantaged community may be more distressed in 2021-22. Because, we fear that the pressure would increase on them further for the current pandemic situation,” he said.

Alongside providing free foods, the government also needs to expand open market sale (OMS) of foods at subsidized prices up to grassroots level in order to keep food price stable as the food inflation has recently witnessed a big jump, said Dr Debapriya.

“If we don’t provide direct cash support to them, not only the community will become poorer or deprived, but also their next generation will face malnutrition, physical and mental disabilities. It will emerge as a big national problem in future,” he said, adding that some 80 per cent people cut down their food expenses according to a recent survey.

Noting that the government stimulus packages, he said though the government has so far taken 30 Covid-related support interventions (including five new ones) amounting to Tk 128,194 crore, there is a very low share of fiscal and food support compared to hybrid ones (subsidized and interest based stimuli).

He said there are 13 fiscal and 4 food support interventions accounting for less than 20.5 per cent of the total allocation, while hybrid amounting to nearly 79.53 per cent.

Besides, nearly 39 per cent of fiscal stimulus packages were disbursed, while over 75 per cent of hybrid stimulus packages were disbursed within June 2021, he noted.

Dr Debapriya said the targeted GDP growth rate for 2020-21 fiscal was revised down from 8.2 per cent to 5.2 per cent, but the final figures would obviously be lower.

Prof Mustafizur Rahman, a member of the Citizen’s Platform said it is essential to strengthen direct cash transfer and OMS programmes in the current fiscal year just not considering the present food inflation rate.

“Rice prices witnessed over 20 per cent hike last year. If I say now that the inflation rate is 4-5 per cent, it will not give us a real picture,” he said, adding that the marginalized people are facing trouble to purchase food due to lower income and food price hike.

Besides, members of the Citizen’s Platform Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Shaheen Anam, Rasheda K Choudhury, Asif Ibrahim and Dr Mustaque Reza Chowdhury also spoke on the occasion.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

’Bassbaba’ Sumon returns home after treatment

Eminent Bangladeshi singer, musician and the frontman of rock band Aurtthohin, Saidus Salehin Khaled, also popularly known as ‘Bassbaba’ Sumon, has recently returned home after receiving treatment in Thailand and Dubai for five months.

The cancer-survived singer, who has been suffering from multiple health complications including a severe spine injury, returned from Dubai on Friday and shared his detailed health updates on his Facebook account and page on Sunday, stating that his condition has improved.

“Finally, I have returned home after 5 months. I have never stayed away from my country for a period this long. I am healthier than my previous health condition,” Sumon stated on the post.

Describing his current health condition, Sumon wrote, “The amount of pain in my spine has decreased. I could not sit for more than 2-3 minutes, now I can walk for 2-3 kilometres. I still need my spine surgery, however, it can wait for a year.”

Sumon flew to Bangkok on March 11 for treatment and was admitted to Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital. He was scheduled to undergo spine surgery in Germany, but could not travel due to the COVID-19 situation.

Earlier, Sumon and his son Ahnaf tested positive for COVID-19 back in September last year.

He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2011 and required surgery and chemotherapy. After his long battle with cancer, he got remission from cancer in 2013.

However, he had to go through multiple operations and check-ups abroad over the years. The singer suffered a devastating road accident in Bangkok in 2017 following a recent surgery at that time, and that accident resulted in a massive spine injury for the already ailing singer.

“My heartiest gratitude goes to everyone for being supportive throughout my hardest moments, and for believing me. The entire world is now going through a crucial period, please take care of yourselves and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Stay safe,” Sumon thanked his fans and well-wishers for their outpouring of affection and support throughout this treatment.

One of the most popular artists in the Bangladeshi band sphere, Sumon founded the rock band Aurthohin in 1998. He also played for other iconic bands such as Warfaze and Feelings (lead by rock icon James), prior to forming his own band Aurthohin.

Often considered as the most influential and the greatest bass guitarist in the country, Sumon earned the title “Bassbaba” (Father of Bass) for his unique and flamboyant style of bass playing.

Apart from being the ‘Bassbaba’, Sumon is currently serving as the Assistant General Secretary for Bangladesh Musical Band’s Association (BAMBA) and also as the director of Khaled Group of Companies.

His last public appearance was at the Joy Bangla concert on March 7, 2020, at Army Stadium in the capital, where he made a surprise performance alongside his longtime musical companion, music director Fuad Al Muqtadir. “This might be my last concert, my very last stage performance”, Sumon stated at the concert to his fans.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

The Perseverance Games: Surreal Olympics approach their end

The cauldron will be snuffed Sunday on the exhausting, enlightening, sometimes enraging 2020 Tokyo Olympics — held, actually, in 2021. These are the Games that were to be tolerated, not celebrated.

They will be both.

Imperfect but not impossible, these Olympics — willed into existence despite a pandemic that sparked worldwide skepticism and hard-wired opposition from Japan’s own citizens — just might go down as the Games that changed sports for good.

These became the Olympics where the athletes had their say. The Olympics where mental health became as important as physical. The Olympics where tales of perseverance — spoken, documented and discussed loudly and at length — often overshadowed actual performance.

It wasn’t only those who stood on the medals stand at the hyper-scrutinized pressure cooker in Tokyo, where spit tests for COVID-19 and sleeping on cardboard-framed beds were part of the daily routine. It was all of them.

Their voices were heard, in big ways and small, through hundreds of reminders that their mental and physical health were not for sale, not even to the $15.5 billion behemoth that underwrites many of their grandest dreams.

Those voices were notably reflected in the words of Simone Biles, who, early on, reset the conversation when she pulled out of the gymnastics meet, declaring her well-being was more important than medals.

“It was something that was so out of my control. At end of the day, my mental and physical health is better than any medal,” said Biles, who benched herself while battling “the twisties.”

And by Naomi Osaka, the tennis player who lit the cauldron on Day 1, but only after spending the summer insisting that the world listen to her — really listen — instead of only watching her on the court. The planet’s highest-paid female athlete and the host country’s poster girl, she faced expectations that were hard to handle.

“I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this,” said Osaka.

Hundreds of athletes found some way to use their voices in ways they hadn’t considered until the Tokyo Games — and the seismic 18 months that led up to it — all but commanded it.

They learned to talk about what it felt like to make sacrifices and accommodations for four years, then five, to come to the Games without friends and family, to put themselves out there, and to know they will be judged not on who they are but on how fast they run, how well they shoot, or whether they stick the landing.

“I’ve been afraid that my worth is tied to whether or not I win or lose,” Allyson Felix wrote the morning before her bronze-medal run in the 400 meters made her the most decorated female track athlete in Olympic history. “But right now I’ve decided to leave that fear behind. To understand that I am enough.”

They came in all shapes and sizes. A transgender weightlifter, a nonbinary skateboarder, and Quinn, the first openly transgender Olympian to win a gold medal. Teenage skateboarders, and surfers seeking gnarly waves — most of whom never dreamed of being on the Olympic stage, hugging and sharing tips and reminding us all that this is supposed to be fun.

They wove tales about sportsmanship: the high jumpers headed for a tension-filled tiebreaker for first, who stepped back and told a track official they should both win a gold.

And about advocacy: soccer players looking at a midday gold-medal game in the searing heat of the Olympic Stadium and deciding they deserved better. The world’s top tennis players demanding their matches be rescheduled, a request that went unheeded until Paula Badosa left the court in a wheelchair with heatstroke and Daniil Medvedev told the chair umpire, “I can finish the match but I can die. If I die, are you going to be responsible?”

And about mental health: During a teary post-race interview, sprinter Noah Lyles conceded he came as much to run as to spread the gospel that became the slogan of these fraught Games held during fraught times: It’s OK not to be OK.

And about gender equity and inclusion: The International Olympic Committee added five new sports and 18 new events for Tokyo to create an equal number of women and men for every sport, excluding baseball and softball. But when Britain’s first female Black swimmer was denied use of a cap that fit her voluminous afro, the conversation on a lack of diversity in the pool became louder.

“I just want people to know that no matter your race or background, if you don’t know how to swim, get in and learn to swim,” Alice Dearing, co-founder of the Black Swimming Association, said after the women’s open water marathon. “Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not for you.”

IOC president Thomas Bach said two days before the close that the Tokyo Games “far exceeded my personal expectations,” because when spectators were barred as a pandemic precaution he feared “these Olympic Games could become an Olympic Games without soul.”

Instead, Bach said, he found the intimacy in the empty venues made for an intense atmosphere. “In many cases you did not realize that there were no spectators,” he said. “Maybe in some cases you could even experience the feelings of the athletes closer and better than being surrounded by so many spectators.”

It is Bach’s job to call the Olympics a success. Maybe, though, that goal was met in Tokyo just by reaching the finish line. But of course there were highlights along the way.

— Italy shockingly establishing itself as a sprint power with a surprise win by Marcell Jacobs in the men’s 100 meters followed by “four Ferraris” teaming to win the 4X100 relay for another gold medal.

— Lydia Jacoby, the first swimmer from Alaska in the Olympics won gold, and Caeleb Dressel collecting five golds in the pool.

— Sunisa Lee, the first Hmong American Olympian, winning gold in the women’s all-around. And in these games where social media use soared and TikTok became the platform of choice for the Olympians, Lee blaming her bronze on the uneven bars from the distractions created by her new Internet fame.

— Streaming use surging among viewers, and NBC reporting that 3 billion minutes of content watched on its platforms were digital.

“I think the whole world will be quite happy that this event is going on in sports, in the times that we’re living in right now,” said Alexander Zverev after winning gold in men’s singles tennis for Germany in front of countryman Bach.

Though there were intermittent protests — a group of 10 or so outside the tennis final, loud enough that the players could hear and another small crowd outside Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony and before track and field events — the Japanese did have reason to celebrate. The host nation set a goal to win 30 medals in Tokyo and nearly doubled that number with 56 as of Saturday night.

Outside the Olympic bubble, COVID-19 cases soared in Tokyo to daily record highs, although Bach exonerated the Olympics because 11,000 athletes were placed away from the population and regular testing for everyone else produced extremely low rates of positives.

The pandemic still rages, and the Beijing Winter Games are set to open a mere six months from now. And COVID-19 is just one of the issues facing the next scheduled Olympics — the IOC has rejected several recent demands to move the Games from China over allegations of human rights violations.

“Our responsibility is to deliver the Games,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams. “It is the responsibility of others — the United Nations, who have been very supportive of the Olympic Games, and governments to deal with this — and not for us. The IOC has to remain neutral.”

The IOC did get involved when Belarus attempted to return sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya to her country after she criticized coaches on social media. It helped intervene as she instead went to Poland with a humanitarian visa. Then it booted two Belarus coaches from the Olympics, their credentials revoked for their role in the Tsimanouskaya saga.

The Games, of course, will go on. They always do. Japan will hand the Summer Olympics flag to France on Sunday for the 2024 Paris Games. Tokyo organizers will end with a “Worlds We Share”-themed ceremony designed to make athletes and viewers “think about what the future holds” and “expresses the idea that each of us inhabits their own world.”

The athletes did that already in Tokyo, where the Olympics will be forever remembered as the Games that persevered.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Shoriful enjoys his partnership with Mustafiz

Bangladesh left-arm pacer Shoriful Islam said he has been enjoying himself in the partnership with Mustafizur Rahman. The young pacer posed a strong challenge to the Australian batting line-up in the ongoing five-match T20I series.

Bangladesh won the first three matches and wrapped up the series. But they conceded a defeat in the fourth match. Now the Tigers are set to take on the Aussies in the fifth and final match of the series on Monday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

“Everyone in our team is doing their parts well,” Shoriful told the media on Sunday. “Nothing is left on a specific player. Instead of that, everyone is playing their own rules accurately, which eventually is making us a stronger team.”

In the first match of the series, Bangladesh had put only 131 runs while batting first. Despite a low score, the hosts managed to win the match by 23 runs. In the second match, they had chased down a target of 122 runs with five wickets in hand, and in the third match, they defended a total of 127 runs and won by 10 runs.

The winning streak came to an end in the fourth match when the hosts ended up scoring only 104 runs while batting first. They still fought valiantly and lost in the 19th over.

“We knew that the wicket of Mirpur will help the spinners a lot. So we (the pace bowlers) have prepared ourselves keeping that in mind. We thought the cutters and slowers would work better on this sort of surface. This is why we bowled more cutters and slowers that resulted in wins as well,” Shoriful, who took seven wickets in four matches in this series, added.

“I always try to learn from Mustafiz, follow the way he delivers his cutters. I tried those delivers in the nets, but I need to work on those more to have the confidence to bring those to international cricket,” Shoriful further added.

Shoriful paired up with Mustafiz in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup earlier. He also played with Mustaiz in the Dhaka Premier Divison T20 Cricket League, and now the left-arm pacers are playing for the national team together. Shoriful said he has been enjoying the company of Mustafiz.

“Mustafiz is so fast to read the batsmen. He is a more experienced bowler than me. He often comes to me in the match and advises me how to bowl well. Sometimes, I also go to him and take his advice which helps me a lot,” Shoriful added.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Oppo F19 Pro price slashed

Smart device brand Oppo recently offered a discount on its smartphone F19 Pro.

The buyers can now get the phone at Tk26,990, down from the original price of Tk28,990.

F19 Pro is a mid-range phone with Dual-View Video and AI Color Portrait Video, new crystal silver design with Reno Glow Effect, 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0 and Game Focus Mode.

The phone is now available in two variants along with its Crystal Silver colour limited edition across the country at all the outlets.

Also, buyers can order any Oppo device from home by calling 09610997791. Home delivery will be provided free of charge, according to a press release.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Lashed by non-stop rain, Bagerhat’s ‘White Gold’ industry stands on the brink

Three days of torrential rainfall have plunged Bagerhat’s acclaimed ‘White Gold’ i.e. shrimp industry into jeopardy once again, with the combined losses in the sector estimated by the authorities at Tk 11 crore.

The ill-fated shrimp farmers of the south-western coastal district are no strangers to excessive rainfall, tidal waves, drought and other natural adversities in the course of a business year, leaving them with heavy losses. This year the pandemic has only increased the burden.

And now the shrimp farmers are demanding a share of the government’s stimuli program for specific industries to recover the damages.

According to Bagerhat Fisheries Department, 16,770 shrimp enclosures, pounds and crab enclosures were washed away in eight upazilas recently by tidal wave and heavy rain.

Kanai Mandal resident of Kainmari village in Mongla upazila said this time the water flowed 1-foot above the enclosures washing away all their nets to save the shrimps.

“Each farmer here lost a minimum of Tk 2-3 lakh worth shrimp and this kind of disaster happens at least twice or thrice every year,” said Kanai Mandal.

Abdur Rahman from Chandpai village said every year crisis of shrimp fries, virus in enclosures, price fall and natural calamities upsets the shrimp farming in this region.

Hit by Cyclone Yaas on May 26, shrimp farmers in Bagerhat incurred losses of upto Tj50 crore taka, said Anwar from Chila village.

Before they could recover from that, the recent heavy rains and tidal waves caused by low pressure created over Bay of Bengal drowned 9,000 enclosures in the area, he said.

According to the fisheries department there are 70,000 shrimp enclosures in the district and 65,804 people’s lives are dependent on shrimp farming.

Fakir Mahitull Islam, president of Bagerhat Shrimp Farmers’ association, said due to back to back losses many have now lost interest in shrimp farming here.

He demanded stimulus packages for farmers and bringing them under insurance policies to keep the shrimp industry alive in Bagerhat.

District Fisheries Department official ASM Russel said the total amount of losses had been estimated and a list of the farmers who incurred losses has already been sent to the higher authorities.

To save the enclosures from frequent tidal waves in future, farmers will need to deepen them and make the edges higher, he said.

“We are providing the farmers with necessary consultation to cope with the natural calamities,” Russel added.

Deputy Commissioner of the district Md Azizur Rahman said the list of the damaged farmers had been sent to the authorities, and hopefully the assistance will soon be forthcoming.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Tokyo Mission celebrates 91st birth anniversary of Bangamata

Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan Shahabuddin Ahmed on Sunday recalled the memory of Bangamata Fazilatun Nesa Mujib and said that she was the center of all inspiration for Bangabandhu.

“She remained as a shadow with Bangabandhu all through her life,” said the Ambassador, adding that Bangamata was an ideal woman imbued with patriotism, dedications, sacrifices and farsightedness that new generation specially women should learn from her.

Today is the 91st birth anniversary of Bangamata Fazilatun Nesa Mujib, wife of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The Embassy of Bangladesh in Tokyo observed the day with due respect at the Bangabandhu auditorium of the Mission.

Ambassador Shahabuddin and officials of the embassy were present at the occasion.

The programme started with offering a special prayer seeking the peace and salvation of Bangabandhu, his family members who along with Bangamata Fazilatun Nesa Mujib embraced martyrdom on the fateful night of August 15, 1975.

Besides, the President and the Prime Minister’s messages issued on the occasion were read out to all.

The programme ended with screening a video documentary on the life of Bangamata Fazilatun Nesa Mujib.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Messi breaks down, says he wasn’t ready to leave Barcelona

Lionel Messi began crying before he even started speaking. The “most difficult” moment of his career had arrived and he wasn’t ready for it.

It was time to say goodbye to Barcelona after more than two decades with the Catalan club.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to speak,” he said while trying to compose himself during his farewell news conference at the Camp Nou Stadium on Sunday. “It still hasn’t sunk in that I’m leaving this club, that my life will be changing completely. It will be a difficult change for me and especially for my family. But we have to accept it and move on.”

Messi struggled to control his emotions and cried profusely as he stepped up to the podium at the Camp Nou.

“This is very hard for me after so many years, after being here my entire life,” he said. “I wasn’t prepared.”

Messi said that, unlike last year when he asked to leave, he had his mind set on staying with Barcelona and did everything possible to make it happen, including reducing his salary by 50%. He said he was surprised to hear he wouldn’t be able to stay because of the club’s debt and the Spanish league’s financial fair-play regulations.

“In these last few days I was thinking about what I would say today, but to be honest I couldn’t come up with anything. I was blocked, like I still am right now,” Messi said. “I was convinced that we would remain with the club, which is our home.”

Messi’s family and some of his teammates were at the Camp Nou for the emotional farewell. He was applauded several times by those in the audience.

The 34-year-old Messi avoided speaking specifically about his future, saying he received offers from several clubs after the announcement that he would leave the Catalan club. When asked about Paris Saint-Germain, considered the frontrunner to sign him, Messi admitted it was “a possibility.”

“At this moment I don’t have a deal with any club,” he said.

PSG has been in talks over the weekend with Messi’s team trying to finalize a deal.

Sports daily L’Equipe reported on its website Sunday that Messi was to fly to Paris later Sunday to put the finishing touches on the deal with a view to having a medical exam on Monday morning.

An email from The Associated Press to PSG seeking to confirm the report was not immediately answered.

Messi said he hopes to return to Barcelona in some capacity one day and that he wished he could have said goodbye to fans in a match with a capacity crowd chanting his name. He said it was sad to leave after not being able to play in front of fans for nearly a year and a half.

He said his best moment was his first-team debut in 2004, because “that’s when it all started.” He said he has “no regrets,” but believed he was part of a generation that should have won more Champions League titles.

Winning the Champions League again will remain one of his main goals, as well as closing the gap to former teammate Dani Alves as the most decorated player. The Brazilian defender won his 43rd title at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. Messi added that he has no immediate plans to retire.

He said it will be “strange” to see Barcelona without Messi, “but with time people will get used to it.” He said the club still has good players and can continue to succeed without him.

Barcelona announced Thursday it could not keep its greatest player because it wasn’t able to fit a new contract within the Spanish league’s financial fair-play regulations. The club’s salary cap has been significantly slashed because of its huge debt. President Joan Laporta blamed the club’s struggles on the coronavirus pandemic and particularly on the previous administration led by Josep Bartomeu.

“We all thought we would reach a solution without any problems, but in the end it wasn’t possible,” Messi said. “As the president said, the club is more important than anyone.”

Messi asked to leave at the end of the 2019-20 season but had his request denied by Bartomeu, with whom he had clashed.

“I wanted to leave then, but not now,” he said. “I didn’t expect it, so it’s sad to have to say goodbye.”

Messi spent nearly two decades with Barcelona after arriving from Argentina as a 13-year-old to play in its youth squads. He made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old, then played 17 seasons with the main squad. He helped the club win the Champions League four times, the Spanish league 10 times, the Copa del Rey seven times and the Spanish Super Cup eight times.

Messi leaves as Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer with 672 goals. He played in 778 matches with the club, also a record. He is also the overall top scorer in the Spanish league with 474 goals from 520 matches. He led the Spanish league in scoring in eight seasons, and was the top scorer in the Champions League six times.

He said none of the challenges he faced on the field compared to the one of saying goodbye to Barcelona.

“There were many tough moments, many losses, but in the end you always went back to training and to playing again,” he said. “This is different. There is no going back. This is the end. Now a new story begins.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Intercity, freight trains also to operate from Aug 11: Ministry

The Ministry of Railways has decided to operate 38 pairs of intercity and 20 commuter/freight trains from August 11 following the government’s announcement to ease the ongoing lockdown.

The ministry in a circular on Sunday said it has decided to operate passenger trains on all of its routes with a few exceptions following health guidelines until further directive.

The ministry, however, said intercity trains Ekta Express, Sundarban Express, Nilsagar Express and Rangpur Express will not operate from Dhaka on August 11, while Tongipara Express will not operate from Gobra.

It said 50% tickets of intercity trains will be sold online and through mobile apps while the remaining 50% will be sold from Monday 8 am.

In the case of any negligence in maintaining health rules while operating the trains, legal action will be taken against the authorities concerned, the ministry said.

The movement of passenger trains has remained suspended across the country since July 23 after the government re-imposed the stringent lockdown amid a massive surge of Covid cases.

The passenger trains were allowed to move for eight days from July 15-22 across the country keeping 50% of the seats empty apparently to facilitate the movement of people ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Division issued a circular saying that the government has decided to allow all public transport to operate at full capacity across Bangladesh from August 11.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Lockdown breaches: 241 arrested in Dhaka on day 17

Police arrested 241 more people in Dhaka on Sunday for violating lockdown restrictions on the 17th day of the countrywide lockdown aimed at reducing the Covid-19 spread.

The arrestees failed to show any valid reason for being out on the streets, said DMP Additional Deputy Commissioner (Media) Iftekharul Islam.

Meanwhile, mobile courts collected Tk 37,450 in fines from 84 people.

Also, the Traffic Division collected Tk 12,18,000 as penalties from 537 vehicles for violating lockdown restrictions.

The number of vehicles and people on the city’s streets were comparatively higher on Sunday than the previous day.

The movement of people and vehicles increased significantly on the 17th day of lockdown on as many people are coming out of their houses for various reasons.

Some people are going outside for vaccination as mass vaccination programme began in the country on Saturday while many more for other reasons as export-oriented factories were opened on August 1.

It is only the shopping malls and eateries that remained closed and public transport stayed off roads as per lockdown rules.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Muktijoddha, Baridhara share points in goalless BPL draw

Muktijoddha and Uttar Baridhara held each other to a 0-0 draw in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Football 2020-21 Sunday.

After the tame draw at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, Uttar Baridhara Club remained at 10th spot with 16 points and Muktijoddha at 11th place with 15 points, playing 19 matches each.

Bashundhara Kings stayed at the top of the table with 52 points from 19 matches.

Second-placed Sheikh Jamal earned 39 points from 18 matches. Dhaka Abahani remained at the third spot with 37 points from 19 outings.

Once again, Brothers Union Club and Arambagh are struggling to avoid relegation from the BPL and secured six and five points respectively from 18 matches.

On Monday, league leader Bashundhara Kings will face Sheikh Jamal at 4pm, and Dhaka Abahani will play against Arambagh at 6:15 pm, both at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Source: United News of Bangladesh