Next UK PM: Rishi Sunak a strong favorite

Former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak is strong favorite to become Britain’s next prime minister within days — or even hours — after former leader Boris Johnson dropped out of the Conservative Party leadership contest.


After the resignation of Liz Truss last week, the governing party is choosing Britain’s third prime minister this year at a time of political turmoil and severe economic challenges.


Sunak, 42, is the only candidate with confirmed support from more than 100 lawmakers, the number needed to run in the election. House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt has far fewer expressions of support, but is aiming to reach the threshold by the time nominations close at 2 p.m.


If Mordaunt does not reach 100 nominations, Sunak will win by acclamation and could move into 10 Downing St. by Monday evening.


If both make the ballot, the 357 Conservative lawmakers will hold an indicative vote on Monday to show their preference. If neither subsequently drops out, the choice will go to the 172,000 party members around the country, with a result announced Friday.


Mordaunt will come under intense pressure to step aside and not force a membership vote if Sunak is the strong favorite among lawmakers.


Home Secretary Grant Shapps, a Sunak supporter, said the former Treasury chief did not think he had the contest “in the bag.”


“He’s speaking to colleagues this morning, he’s working very hard to attract those supporters who were perhaps with Boris Johnson previously,” Shapps said. “But, look, I’ll leave it to Penny, she’s a terrific colleague. Let’s see what happens.”


Sunak, who was runner-up to Truss in this summer’s Tory leadership race to replace Johnson, has promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability” if he forms a government — a contrast to the chaos that consumed the past two prime ministers.


Johnson dramatically quit the race on Sunday night, ending a short-lived, high-profile attempt to return to the prime minister’s job he was ousted from little more than three months ago amid ethics scandals.


Johnson spent the weekend trying to gain support from fellow Conservative lawmakers after flying back from a Caribbean vacation. Late Sunday he said he had amassed the backing of 102 colleagues. But he was far behind Sunak in support, and said he had concluded that “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.


The prospect of a return by Johnson had thrown the already divided Conservative Party into further turmoil. He led the party to a thumping election victory in 2019, but his premiership was clouded by scandals over money and ethics that eventually became too much for the party to bear.


In his Sunday statement, Johnson insisted he was “well placed to deliver a Conservative victory” in the next national election, due by 2024. And he said that he likely would have won a ballot of Conservative Party members against either of his rivals.


“But in the course of the last days I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do,” he said.


He hinted he might be back, however, saying: “I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”


Truss quit Thursday after a turbulent 45 days in office, conceding that she could not deliver on her botched tax-cutting economic package, which she was forced to abandon after it sparked fury within her party and weeks of turmoil in financial markets.


Sunak, who was Treasury chief from 2020 until this summer, steered Britain’s slumping economy through the coronavirus pandemic. He quit in July in protest at Johnson’s leadership.


The Conservative Party turmoil is fueling demands for a national election. Under Britain’s parliamentary system, there does not need to be one until the end of 2024, though the government has the power to call one sooner.


Currently that looks unlikely. Opinion polls say an election would spell disaster for the Conservatives, with the left-of-center Labour Party winning a large majority.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Preparations taken to evacuate 3 lakh people in Bhola char areas

The district administration has taken preparations to move some three lakh residents of the char areas of Bhola district to the shelters as cyclone ‘Sitrang’ is likely to make a landfall in southern Bangladesh coast by early Tuesday.


Due to the impact of Cyclone ‘Sitrang’ the residents of Bhola districts have been experiencing light to moderate rain since Monday morning.


Mahbub Rahman, an officer of Bhola Weather Observatory Centre, said the local met office recorded 72 mm of rainfall in 24 hours till 3 pm on Monday .


Besides, the launch and ferry services on Dhaka-Barishal route remained suspended.


The low-lying areas of Dhalchar area were flooded due to tidal surges caused by cyclone ‘Sitrang’.


Six teams of Bangladesh Coast Guards are working in the district and they were seen making people alert about the cyclone through loudspeakers.


Deputy Commissioner Toufique-e-Elahi Chowdhury, said already 746 cyclone shelters were prepared while 1,306 educational institutions will also be kept ready.


Besides, the authorities opened eight control rooms while 76 medical teams and 13,600 volunteers were also kept ready, he said.


District Relief and Rehabilitation officer Delwar Hossain said 25 metric tonnes of rice and Tk 5 lakh were allocated while preparation were taken to provide 1000 packets of dry food at the cyclone shelters.


Source: United News of Bangladesh


‘Sports for All’: Young Bangla holds “Let’s Talk” with policymakers, students in Ctg


Centre for Research and Information’s (CRI)’s youth platform, Young Bangla, held its latest instalment of “Let’s Talk” – an interdisciplinary discussion between policymakers and university students – in Chattogram city on October 23, 2022.


This session focused on ‘Sports for All’, where policymakers and young leaders discussed and shared their views on abovementioned topic with around 360 participants at Premier University Bangladesh in port city, according to a press release.


Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP and ex-President of Bangladesh Cricket Board and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Sayeda Zakia Noor Lipi, MP, from Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare; Krishna Rani Sarker, footballer of Bangladesh Women’s National Football Team; and Santwana Rani Ray, Founder of Lalmonirhar Taekwon-Do Association (LTA) and Joy Bangla Youth Awardee, answered questions from the participating students, as well as took part in a discussion in “Let’s Talk” on ‘Sports for All’. The event was moderated by Israt Jahan Noor Eva.


Vice Chancellor and Ekushe Padak recipient, prominent scholar, sociologist and sports enthusiast Dr. Anupam Sen gave the welcome speech, thanking CRI and Young Bangla for such innovative initiative on his campus. He expected that his students will understand the value of healthy upbringing to build a more creative, humane nation.


Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP emphasized on ensuring the possibilities of positive outcome in different sports as well as private and public sector involvement in sports development at the root-level. He also expected that CRI will carry the words and questions of the students to the Ministry of Youth and Sports.


‘’We often lack the right questions and right issues to discuss in our standing committee. Today, all of you have asked the right questions. We should not hold an elitist mindset when it comes to sports. Sports is all about equal opportunity on the playground,” he noted.


‘Sports for All’: Young Bangla holds “Let’s Talk” with policymakers, students in Ctg


He also shared his thoughts of developing primary-level coaches and health instructors so that they can contribute at the primary level. In addition, he mentioned the chance of re-skilling and upskilling the retired players and develop coaching skills in them to enhance manpower.


Sayeda Zakia Noor Lipi, MP talked on the challenges of female players as she hoped the international recognitions will make it easier for women to participate in sports more often. She also mentioned the added 10 crore funding to Bangladesh Women’s Sports Association solely for training and development.


“The government is already ensuring funds for retired players. In this, private and local sponsorships can also make their contribution. I would also want the policymakers to add CSR (corporate social responsibility) to this,” she said.


Bangladesh Women’s National Football Team player Krishna Rani Sarker talked about her journey as a professional football player. She felt fortunate that her family, school authority and local community helped her with continuous support. Krishna Rani added that continuous short-term and long-term trainings helped the team physically and mentally to compete at the international level.


‘’As we have won the SAFF Championship, I would like to keep this trophy in Bangladesh for several years. Besides competing at the Asian Games and AFC Women’s Asian Cup, my dream is to play for FIFA as well,” she hoped.


Combat sports specialist Santwana Rani Ray talked on the role and responsibility of local and national media in talent hunting at the root-level. She shared with joy that in recent years, Bangladesh government has implemented three primary and high school level combat sports in their physical development curriculum such as rugby, archery and Taekwon-do.


‘’We have seen much more interest of female participants in combat sports. My sole aim is to give them proper training and facility at root-level.’’


The event was participatory and informative as the students were enthusiastic to participate in such innovative policy discussion event.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Cyclone Sitrang: Rain disrupts commute in Dhaka

Rain triggered by Cyclone Sitrang has been causing commute woes for Dhaka dwellers since this morning. Bangladesh Meteorological Department recorded 28 mm rains in 9 hours till 12 pm.


People, especially office and school goers, struggled to reach their destinations amid the rain due to lack of public transport in the morning.


Cyclone Sitrang Rain Dhaka


However, there was no report of traffic congestion and waterlogging till filing of this report at 1:30 pm.


CNG-run auto-rickshaw drivers and rickshaw-pullers were seen charging extra fares from passengers.


The number of private vehicles on the roads was also low.


Rain Dhaka Cyclone Sitrang


Md Ashraf, operations manager of Alif Paribahan, told UNB that the number of bus passengers is relatively low. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Joint Commissioner (Traffic-North) Abu Raihan Mohammad Saleh said that traffic situation is almost normal in the city.


Day labourers and other low-income people were seen without work due to inclement weather. Many preferred to stay indoor due to the torrential rain that started Sunday night.


Source: United News of Bangladesh


Cyclone Sitrang: Nothing much to worry, says State Minister Enamur

Bangladesh State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman on Monday (October 24, 2022) said there is nothing much to worry about the approaching cyclone Sitrang as it’s unlikely to be a super storm.


The state minister said this while talking to reporters at the Secretariat after a meeting of Inter-Ministerial Disaster Management Coordination Committee.


Cyclone Sitrang over east-central Bay and adjoining west-central Bay is moving in a north-northwesterly direction and likely to intensify into a severe cyclone, he said.


Sitrang is likely to hit 13 coastal districts and the government has prepared 7,030 cyclone shelters for the people being evacuated, he added.


Enamur added that the Army, the Navy and the Coast Guard members will evacuate people from hard-to-reach areas as cyclone Sitrang is heading towards Bangladesh.


“We’ve requested the representatives of the armed forces and the Coast Guard to assist us in relocating people from danger zones to the safe cyclone shelters and they’ve agreed. The volunteers of the Fire Service and the Red Crescent are also working alongside volunteers of Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP) to ensure safety to the affected people,” Enamur said.


Replying to a question, he said that Sitrang is a severe cyclonic storm and it is unlikely to turn into a very severe or super cyclone like Sidr in 2007.


“We’ve prepared a total of 7,030 cylcone shelters in 15 coastal districts where around 25 lakh people can be accommodated. In each of these districts, we’ve allocated Tk 5 lakh and supplied daily essentials like rice and lentil so that people can eat cooked food. Besides, dry foods like biscuits have also been made available so that people may not suffer from hunger,” Enamur said.


Asked when Sitrang will hit Bangladesh, the state minister said that the impact will be between 6:00am to 7:00am on Tuesday morning.


“The Met office has hoisted danger signal 7 in various coastal districts including Bagerhat, which may go up to signal 10. We’ll ensure the safety of people and their cattle, but we can’t assure that the agricultural and fisheries resources will remain unaffected,” Enamur added.


Cyclone Sitrang may cross Barishal-Chattogram coast near Khepupara by early morning Tuesday (October 25, 2022) and heavy rains would continue to lash the country under its impact, according to the latest bulletin of Bangladesh Metrological Department.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Bangladesh reports two more Covid deaths, 207 cases

Bangladesh reported two more Covid-linked deaths and 207 more cases in 24 hours till Monday morning.


With the new numbers, the total fatalities rose to 29,415 while the caseload to 2,034,348, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).


The daily case test positivity rate rose to 4.65 per cent from Sunday’s 4.44 per cent as 4,454 samples were tested during the period.


The mortality rate remained unchanged at 1.45 per cent and the recovery rate rose to 97.25 per cent.


In September, the country reported 40 Covid-linked deaths and 13,251 cases.


Bangladesh registered its highest daily caseload of 16,230 on July 28 last year and its highest number of fatalities of 264 on August 10 the same year.


Source: United News of Bangladesh


Cyclone Sitrang: Flight operations at Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Barishal airports suspended

Flight operations to and from Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar and Barishal airports have been suspended due to the inclement weather.


The flight operations to and from the airports were suspended at 3 pm today and will remain shut till 12 pm on Tuesday, Mohammad Sohel Quamruzzaman, public relatiosn officer of Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority told UNB.


The decision has been taken due to the impact of the cyclonic storm ‘Sitrang’ as it may make a landfall in the southern coast of the country by early Tuesday.


The decision to resume the flight operations will be taken after observing the overall situation, he said.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Cyclone Sitrang: Electricity supply snapped in Patuakhali

Power supply in Patuakhali district has been snapped since this noon as many electric poles were uprooted during a storm due to the impact of cyclonic storm Sitrang.


Mohammad Mainuddin Razzaque, executive engineer of West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited, said a bout of moderate to heavy rains lashed the district in the morning, uprooting many electric poles.


Besides, electric wires in several areas have been snapped, disrupting power supply.


According to the local weather observatory centre, the Met Office has recorded 89.5 mm of rainfall in 24 hours, till 9 am today.


Payra port has been asked to hoist local cautionary signal no 7.


The local administration has taken all preparations to tackle the storm and 703 cyclone centers were opened.


All educational institutions and high rise buildings have been kept ready to shelter people. The local administration has allocated 300 metric tons of rice and Tk 2.27 lakh cash. Local health department has formed 72 medical teams to provide medical services to the people. The movement of all kinds of water vessels during Cyclone Sitrang remain suspended in the district.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Cyclone Sitrang: Power distribution, transmission entities asked to open control rooms

Power Division has asked its all subordinate bodies – in power transmission and distribution segments – to open control rooms in their respective offices as Cyclone Sitrang approaches.


In an office order issued on Monday, all the organisations in power transmission and distribution were directed to open control rooms to take measures and asses any damage by Cyclone Sitrang, and inform the Power Division.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Cyclone Sitrang: Power supply disrupted in Pirojpur, Madaripur

Power supply has been disrupted in different areas in Pirojpur and Madaripur districts due to Cyclone ‘Sitrang’ that triggered torrential rains in the coastal area of the country.


“’We’ve received information of power supply disruption in Pirojpur and Madaripur. Our engineers are trying to fix them,” Azharul Islam, managing director of the West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited (WZPDCL), told UNB.


He also informed that five coastal districts out of total 21 district under the WZPDC power distribution network are now taking preparations to face the cyclone. These are Barisal, Bhola, Barguna, Satkhira and Pirojpur.


The WZPDCL chief noted that his organization has taken preparation to deal with any kind of situation in power supply before and after the cyclone hit the areas.


“We’ve readied our teams with necessary equipment to immediately reach the spot if any disruption occurs,” he added.


He said that electricity demand in the districts under WZPDCL is relatively much lower than a normal day.


Normally, districts under WZPDCL networks require over 400 MW while today (Monday) it’s around 300 MW and it may drop further.


“We don’t have any scheduled load shedding, but disruption by Cyclonic wind in 11 kV feeder lines causes blackouts in many places,” he said.


Meanwhile, officials of both Dhaka Power Supply Company Limited (Desco) and Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) informed that they have no load shedding schedule in any area as electricity demand is much lower and there is no demand and supply gap.


“We’re now receiving 750 MW against the same demand while normally demand stays at 1050 MW in other days and we need to resort to about 300 MW load shedding,” said Md. Kausar Ameer Ali, managing director of Desco.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Cyclone Sitrang: BDRCS deploys its volunteers to protect people at risk

Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) has deployed around 1200 volunteers in the coastal areas of the country to protect the people from cyclone “Sitrang” which is approaching fast.


The volunteers are working together with the government in all kinds of support activities including relocating people from coastal areas to safe shelters, said BDRCS on Monday.


Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is working in coordination with the Meteorological Department, concerned DCs, Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP), IFRC, RRRC, UNHCR, UN Refugee Agency and IOM to reduce the damage of Cyclone Sitrang.


The people from the coastal areas who are at risk have already taken shelter in 65 shelters of the society and other shelters.


The society has arranged solar power in 20 shelters to provide round the clock electricity facility. Also, preparations have been made to provide relief assistance to the shelters by the Red Crescent.


Red Crescent volunteers are also working with CPP volunteers to spread signals and warning messages at seaports.


Chairman of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society Major General ATM Abdul Wahab (Rtd.) said millions of people who are at risk due to the sudden cyclone are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.


“Bangladesh Red Crescent Society volunteers are always ready to provide all kinds of emergency assistance in such situations,” he said.


Meanwhile, the Red Crescent has allocated around Tk 15 lakh on an emergency basis to distribute dry food among the people who are in danger due to Sitrang.


Ambulances with medical teams have been kept ready. All officers and employees of BDRCS have been asked to remain at work until further instructions from the National Headquarters.


Cyclone Sitrang is likely to intensify further, move in a north-northeasterly direction and cross Barishal-Chattogram coast near Khepupara by midnight Monday or early morning Tuesday, said the latest Met office bulletin.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Cyclone Sitrang: PM Hasina monitoring situation, giving instructions

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is observing the Cyclone Sitrang situation round the clock and giving necessary instructions to government officials so that lives and properties can be protected.


“The Prime Minister is giving directives to ministries, directorates and other government offices round the clock,” PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told UNB.


He said that the Prime Minister also taking all information from the field level.


“She also gave necessary instructions to Awami League leaders regarding this,” PM’s press secretary said.


He said that the PM is also communicating with local leaders, including MPs and other public representatives, of her party to gather information fast and has given necessary directives.


A monitoring cell, PM’s Disaster Management Coordination and Relief Monitoring Cell, has been opened in the Prime Minister’s Office, as per her instruction.


All are requested to communicate with the cell through its hotline numbers. These are: 01769010986, 02-55029550 and 02-58153022. The fax number is 02-9102469.


Source: United News of Bangladesh


Cyclone Sitrang: Loading, unloading suspended at Chittagong Port; Alert-3 issued

The Chittagong Port authorities on Monday suspended loading and unloading of containers fearing possible damages due to the approaching cyclone Sitrang.


The authorities issued Alert No 3 for the port.


“All the ships of New Mooring Container Terminal (NCT) and Chittagong Container Terminal (CCT) have been sent to the outer anchorage. Besides, lighter vessels have also been removed from the channel and shifted to Shah Amanat Bridge area. Loading and unloading of goods and containers are currently suspended, while large ships have been sent to the deep sea” said Md Omar Faruq, Secretary of Chittagong Port Authority.


A control room has also been opened, he said.


The met office has hoisted cautionary signal no 6 in Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar ports and signal no 7 in Mongla and Payra ports.


The wind is blowing at a speed of 62kph within 54km of the cyclone center, which has the possibility of reaching 88kph when the cyclone reaches its peak.


Source: United News of Bangladesh