Fire breaks out at Sunamganj market

A fire broke out at Notunpara Jamia Islamia Rafiqia Madrasa Market in Sunamganj’s Bisshomvorpur upazila Friday morning.

The fire started at around 11am and gutted three shops. However, no casualties were reported.

Upon information from a journalist, a unit of Bisshomvorpur fire service rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control.

The owners of the burnt shops claimed that their losses amount to Tk 10 lakh.

Traffic on the Bisshomvorpur to Tahirpur road was temporarily disrupted due to the incident, said police station sources.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

DUJ expresses concern over BB move seeking journalists’ bank details

Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) Friday expressed grave concern over the central bank’s directive seeking bank account details of 11 journalist leaders.

This concern was expressed at a meeting of the Executive Council of the DUJ on Friday afternoon.

“DUJ thinks it is unprecedented and ill motivated to summon bank accounts of the elected top leaders of a particular profession,” read a press release.

“This has created a scary atmosphere in the entire journalistic community and this incident is a threat to independent journalism,” observed the meeting.

DUJ has decided to exchange views with former and current journalist leaders next Sunday afternoon over the matter.

Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of the Bangladesh Bank issued letters to the commercial banks asking for details of bank accounts of 11 journalist leaders last week.

Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Thursday said journalist leaders have no reason to be worried about their bank account details sought by Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU).

Speaking at the annual general meeting (AGM) of a faction of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ), the minister also said the government is trying to bring discipline in the mass media by removing various problems.

Dr Hasan said he tried to look into the matter after seeing a report in the newspaper on seeking bank account details of 11 journalist leaders by the BFIU.

“The government can of course seek bank account details of anybody for any reason. But I don’t think there’s any reason to be worried about it. I know those whose bank account details have been sought. I also know the financial condition of many of them,” he said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Walton sets $100 million export target for FY22

Walton has targeted exporting “Made in Bangladesh” products worth $100 million to the global market in the fiscal year (FY) 2021-22.

Golam Murshed, managing director and chief executive officer of Walton Hi-Tech Industries, announced the target recently on the closing day of a two-day “Walton International Business Summit 2021” in Sreemangal.

Walton International Business Unit (IBU) organised this summit as part of the implementation of the roadmap of the company’s “Vision – Go Global 2030.”

Setting targets of exporting products worth $100 million by 2022 and initiating other plans for export expansion were highlighted at the summit, according to a media statement.

At the summit, Golam Murshed said: “Walton products now have a combined market value of about $1 billion in local and international arenas that need to be raised to $10 billion over the next nine years.”

IBU President Edward Kim said the export volume of Walton products was less than $1 million in 2018 and 2019. “But in 2020, exports increased to $14 million. Despite the Covid-19 situation, new export markets for Walton products have been created in 14 countries, including nine in Europe.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Evaly CEO, chairman placed on 3-day remand

A Dhaka court placed Evaly CEO Mohammad Rassel and his wife Shamima Nasrin, the chairman of the troubled company, on a three-day remand on Friday, a day after the couple was arrested on charges of embezzlement and fraudulence.

Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Md Atiqul Islam passed the order after rejecting their bail plea on Friday noon.

The couple was arrested by Rab on Thursday from their flat in Mohammadpur.

They were produced before court at noon.

Aminul Islam, Inspector (Investigation) of Gulshan Police Station, said police sought 10-day remand for Rassel and Shamima for quizzing them over the allegation that they misappropriated several hundred crores of taka taken in advance from the e-commerce company’s customers and deceiving them by not delivering the products.

During interrogation after arrest Rassel informed that Evaly has liabilities of more than TK 1,000 crore, Khandaker Al Moin, Rab’s Legal and Media wing director revealed during a press briefing at the elite force’s headquarters on Friday.

The Evaly couple was held after an aggrieved customer Arif Baker lodged a case with Gulshan police station accusing Rassel, Shamina and few other company executives of embezzlement and fraudulence.

Sub-inspector Ahidul Islam, the investigation officer of the case, said the case was registered over the allegation of embezzlement of money and fraudulence.

Besides, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), an arm of the Bangladesh Bank that specializes in financial crime investigations, directed all commercial banks and financial institutions through a common letter on August 27 to freeze all the bank accounts operated by top executives of Evaly.

The Directorate of National Consumer Right Protection, a department under the commerce ministry, also received allegations from consumers about “cheating” by Evaly.

Bangladesh Bank officials said that one of the major allegations against Evaly is forcing its consumers to deposit their money in the e-wallet of the firm which was totally illegal.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Connectivity: Passenger Terminal Building (I) inaugurated at ICP Petrapole

A new passenger terminal building (I) was inaugurated at Integrated Check Post Petrapole – on India’s side of the Benapole border -on Friday in a major boost to modernization of border infrastructure and to further strengthen Bangladesh-India connectivity.

ICP Petrapole, the largest land port in South Asia, is the most important port for passengers’ movement between the two countries.

It is also the ninth largest international immigration port of India, handling about 23 lakh passengers annually.

Built by the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), the new PTB (I) is spread across an area of 1,305 Sqm and is designed to handle around 550 passengers at any point of time.

The new PTB (I) will facilitate smooth and comfortable movement of passengers and is equipped with facilities such as Immigration, Customs and Security under one roof.

The Terminal Building is also equipped with 32 immigration counters, 4 customs counters, 8 security counters and has adequate office spaces for allied stakeholders.

Nityanand Rai, Minister of State for Home Affairs and Nisith Pramanik, Minister of State for Home Affairs joined from the Indian side while Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Minister of State for Shipping, joined from Bangladesh side at the function.

Vikram Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh, Aditya Mishra, Chairman, LPAI, and Md. Alamgir, Additional Secretary and Chairman, Bangladesh Land Port Authority were also present on the occasion.

As Bangladesh and India celebrate fifty momentous years of diplomatic partnership, all the guests at the inaugural ceremony reaffirmed the importance of strengthening the bilateral relationship and putting in place requisite modern infrastructure facilitating greater people-to-people connectivity.

LPAI is also in the process of constructing a new state-of-the-art Passenger Terminal Building (II) at ICP Petrapolewhich is planned to cater to half a million handling capacity.

The construction work commenced in February 2020 and is expected to be completed by end of 2022.

During the inaugural ceremony, the guests also laid the foundation stone of a common second cargo gate along the India-Bangladesh border.

By setting an example of strong Border Agency Coordination between LPAI and BLPA, this move is expected to speed up the release/clearance of goods at the border crossing through a better institutional arrangement and further enhance bilateral trade and connectivity between the two countries.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Three ‘missing’ madrasa girls rescued from Dhaka slum

Three minor girls who went missing from the residential hall of a madrasa in Jamalpur on Sunday, have been rescued, police said on Friday.

The three have been identified as Mim Aktar, 9, Monira,11, and Surya Banu,10, all students of Darul Taqwa Mahila Madrasa in Islampur upajila of the district.

The girls were rescued from a slum in the Manda area of Dhaka around 12am Friday by a police team, led by additional superintendent of Islampur circle Md Sumon Mia.

Sumon said that after fleeing from the madrasa on September 12, the three girls took a train to Dhaka.

Three ‘missing’ madrasa girls rescued from Dhaka slum

The trio got off at Kamalapur railway station and took a cycle rickshaw, whose owner was tracked down by the police team after scanning the CCTV footage of the station.

“We rescued the three from the rickshaw puller’s house in the slum,” Sumon said.

On September 12, during the Fazr prayer in the early morning, the three students went missing from the madrasa mysteriously.

On Wednesday night, Monira’s father filed a complaint against the headmaster of the madrasa, Moulana Asaduzzaman, and three other teachers — Rabeya Aktar, Shukria Aktar and Ismail Hossain.

An FIR was subsequently lodged by the police against the four under the Human Trafficking Prevention Act. The four were arrested later.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Restoration of democracy: US, Australia call for inclusive dialogue in Myanmar

The US and Australia have called for a swift return to democracy, inclusive dialogue between all parties, and immediate, unimpeded humanitarian access in Myanmar.

“The secretaries and ministers remain gravely concerned about the situation in Myanmar,” said a joint statement released by the governments of the US and Australia on the occasion of the 31st Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2021.

They urged a cessation of violence and the release of political prisoners and those arbitrarily detained, including Australian Professor Sean Turnell and US journalist Danny Fenster.

Both sides expressed support for the mandate of the special envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) chair on Myanmar and encouraged ASEAN to hold Myanmar accountable to the five-point consensus.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hosted Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton in Washington DC for the 31st AUSMIN 2021.

The US and Australia will continue to advance peace, security, and prosperity to ensure an open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific region, reads the joint statement. “Our allies and partners are our greatest strategic asset and central to achieving our collective goals in the region.”

They will pursue closer cooperation in priority areas, including regional security, infrastructure, economic growth, technology, democratic resilience, human rights, climate challenge, and pandemic response.

The secretaries and ministers reaffirmed their commitment to working through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) to support Indo-Pacific partners to respond to the defining challenges of today’s world.

Quad is already making a difference on Covid-19 vaccine production and delivery through the Quad Vaccine Partnership, and deepening cooperation on other core regional challenges, including climate change, critical and emerging technology, maritime security, infrastructure, cyber, and countering disinformation.

The US and Australia are committed to regular Quad engagement at all levels, including the second Leaders’ Summit scheduled for September 24.

The secretaries and ministers expressed a strong commitment to Southeast Asia, ASEAN centrality, and ASEAN-led architecture.

They underscored the role of the East Asia Summit as the region’s premier, a leader-led forum for addressing strategic challenges and expressed their ongoing support for the practical implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Police: 10 female Jamaat leaders held in Satkhira

Police have arrested 10 female leaders and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh on Friday in Satkhira.

They were arrested from the house of Abdul Jalil in Bashtala upazila in Satkhira during a secret meeting.

The arrestees are Majeda Khatun (45), Firoza Begum (55), Morzina Khatun (50), Farida Khatun (45), Rizia Khatun (35), Rafiza Khatun (45), Beauty Khatun (45) of Alipur village of Sadar upazila. Khadija Parveen (40), China Parveen (35) of Sultanpur and Anwara Begum (58) of Bagerhat district.

Satkhira Sadar Police officer-in-charge Mohammad Delwar Hussain said that a raid was carried out on Friday morning over a tip-off. During the raid 33 jihadi books were also recovered.

A case has been filed against the arrestees at Satkhira police station, he said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Suspected Ansarullah militants held in Mymensingh

Anti Terrorism Unit (ATU) of Police on Friday claimed to have arrested two members of banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) from Muktagachha upazila in Mymensingh.

The arrestees have been identified as Md Kawsar Ahmed alias Milon (30), son of Abdul Majid of Bokchar village in Muktagacha upazila, and Zahid Mostafa (20), son of Mostafa Mofazzal Haque Shariful of Chandimondo village.

Acting on a tip-off, sources said, a team of ATU conducted a drive in the Kalibari Mosque area of Chechua Bazar in Muktagachha upazila on Thursday night and nabbed the duo.

Two mobile phones, four SIM cards and seven books on extremism were seized from the possession of the accused, the ATU said in a release.

Screenshots of 34-page Facebook and Messenger chats about their organisation’s extremist activities have been found stored in their mobile phones, according to ATU.

The duo were selling books on extremism to ABT members across the country, using multiple fake Facebook IDs.

A case has been filed against the two at Muktagachha police station, said the release.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Evaly’s liabilities over Tk 1,000 crore

Mohammad Rassel, the man behind Evaly, in 2009 started his career as a coaching center teacher who by 2018 became the owner of a company with over 3,700 employees, and positioned as the country’s second largest e-commerce platform.

With year-long huge discounts and up to 150% cashback offers the platform was able to attract a huge number of customers across the country.

But with complaints and irregularities it soon became a name for controversy in the e-commerce market.

On September 16, after the arrest of Evaly’s CEO Mohammad Rassel and Chairperson, his wife Shamima Nasrin RAB revealed that the platform counts liabilities over Tk 1,000 crore.

Though Rassel wanted to create Evaly’s brand value to sell the platform to some foreign company, the supply chain could not be maintained and liabilities kept growing, he said.

The couple also admitted that they had little investment on the platform. The discount-trap was what made customers pay advance for the products that fueled the growth of this platform.

On Friday afternoon a Dhaka court placed Rassel and Nasrin on a three-remand leaving millions of its customers in worries of never getting back their money and keeping the country waiting for more insights into this burning scam.

From coaching center to Evaly

Rassel was from Dhaka’s Savar and grew up in a boarding school. After his post-graduation in 2007, he started teaching in a coaching center from 2009. In 2011, he got into the banking sector where in several banks he worked for six years and learned the mechanism behind the banking process. Meanwhile in 2013, he completed his MBA and started developing different business ideas. In 2017, he developed a company for kids’ products that eventually became the Kidz Diaper brand. Selling the diaper brand Rassel established Evaly in December 2018, making himself the CEO and his wife Nasrin the chairman of the e-commerce platform.

Evaly mechanism

With over 4.4 million registered customers the platform has always made year-long huge discounts and cashback offers. With advanced payments from the customers the platform grabbed more customers by increasing the level of promotion, i.e. increasing the discount. In this manner the platform used customers’ money to bring more money into its account; more similar to a Ponzi scheme: advance payment from customers – use the money to run massive promotion campaigns – get more money – repeat.

According to Rassel, Evaly followed the strategy of making 1: 2 attractive deal offers more like the foreign e-commerce platforms and extracted money from the manufacturers-customers supply chain. His eventual plan was to build brand value of the platform to sell it at a huge price – something he almost thought he had with the Jamuna Group in the final stretch. All the liabilities too would of course be transferred.

For this reason, even after the notices from the ministry asking for transaction records, Evaly did not disclose any such information – it rather sought six months more, during which Rassell the showman would surely try and get someone to pay for his greatest trick. But this time the show was over, and no-one was buying.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

PM reaches in Finland route to New York to attend UNGA

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reached Finland on Friday en route to New York to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Ambassador of Bangladesh in Finland (non-resident) Md Nazmul Islam received the prime minister at the Vanta International Airport, Helsinki as she arrived there on a VVIP chartered flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines at 3:37 pm local time ( 9 am Bangladesh time).

On September 19 (Sunday), Sheikh Hasina will leave Helsinki for New York by a VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG-1902) at 3pm (local time). The flight is scheduled to land at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York at 6pm (local time).

It is her first foreign trip since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. She is going to join the UNGA for the 18th time as the head of government of Bangladesh and will address the UNGA general debate on September 24.

During the two-week official visit Sheikh Hasina will attend the opening session of the UNGA general debate on September 21 and other sideline events in the UN headquarters (UNHQ) on September 20-24. She will also have talks with a number of leaders during her stay in New York. The PM is expected to return home on October 1 next.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

No evidence of Zia’s body in Chandrima: Information Minister

Information Minister and Awami League joint general secretary Hasan Mahmud has said there is no evidence of ex-president Ziaur Rahman’s body being buried in the Chandrima garden, the site of his mazaar.

On Friday afternoon at his official residence in the capital, the information minister said this to the reporters, adding that the Prime Minister had rightly said that no one had seen Zia’s body.

Hasan Mahmud said, “I am from Rangunia, where BNP claims that Zia was first buried. The then chairman of Rangunia, Zahir Saheb who is still alive, said three bodies were unearthed but none of those were of Ziaur Rahman. Even Ershad and Mir Shawkat, close associates of Ziaur Rahman, both said they had not seen Zia’s body.”

Asked about the removal of Zia’s grave from Chandrima, he said that a grave without any body is like cheating the country’s people and it’s also against the religious rules and regulations. He also raised the question of what is the valid reason to have the grave at Chandrima garden.

In a counter to BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s remark to the effecr that Awami League is “torturing BNP for permanent power”, Hasan Mahmud said that Awami League will run the country as long as the people want, not even a day more.

“The Awami League does not believe in the suppression of the opposition,” he added for good measure.

Source: United News of Bangladesh