Dhaka ranks 2nd worst in Air Quality Index

Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, ranked second worst in the Air Quality Index (AQI) Friday morning.

 

The city had AQI score of 245 at 10.30am.

 

Pakistan’s Karachi and Lahore occupied the first and third spots in the list respectively.

 

An AQI score between 101 and 200 means that there is an increased likelihood of adverse effects and aggravation to the heart and lungs among the general public, particularly the sensitive groups.

 

Read more: Dhaka’s air quality stays ‘unhealthy’

 

The AQI, an index for reporting daily air quality, informs people how clean or polluted the air of a certain city is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for them.

 

In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants – Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2 and Ozone (O3). The Department of Environment has also set national ambient air quality standards for these pollutants. These standards aim to protect against adverse human health impacts.

 

Dhaka, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, has been battling air pollution for a long time.

 

The air quality generally worsens during summer and shows signs of improvement during monsoon.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

No scope to see Shaheenbagh incident as security threat: Foreign Secretary

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has said the situation that US Ambassador Peter Haas faced cannot be seen as a security threat.

 

“There is no scope to see it as a security threat,” he told reporters at the Foreign Service Academy on Thursday evening, noting that the incident will have no impact on the Dhaka-Washington relations of long 50 years.

 

Ambassador Haas visited the residence of Sanjida Islam, coordinator of Mayer Dak, an organisation of the relatives of the victims of enforced disappearance, at Shaheenbagh in the city on Wednesday morning.

 

Sanjida is the sister of BNP leader Sajedul Islam Sumon, who was reportedly disappeared in 2013.

 

As Haas arrived there though, he was intercepted and confronted by members of another organisation – Maayer Kanna (Mother’s Tears) – a platform of family members of victims of earlier regimes, specifically the administration of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman.

 

Read: DUTA slams US Ambassador for ‘contradictory’ behaviour

 

The US Ambassador met Foreign Minister Momen on emergency basis at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs right after the incident.

 

The Foreign Secretary said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen tried to explain the situation on Wednesday.

 

“I told him that it is our responsibility to ensure security for you and your people. I asked him (Haas) whether anybody attacked him or on his people. He replied, no,” the foreign minister told reporters, adding that they will provide the Ambassador additional security if he wants.

 

The Ambassador’s security escort asked him to leave the place as soon as possible fearing blockade by people there.

 

“Due to security reasons he left quickly. He is very unhappy with that incident. He is a bit worried,” Momen said.

 

Read: Families of armed forces officers executed during Zia regime seek US ambassador’s intervention for justice

 

The US Ambassador and embassy staff concluded the meeting early on December 14 due to “security concerns”.

 

The US side said they have raised their “concerns” about this matter at the “highest levels” of the Bangladesh government.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Twitter suspends journalists who wrote about owner Elon Musk

Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of journalists who cover the social media platform and its new owner Elon Musk, among them reporters working for The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America and other publications.

 

The company hasn’t explained to the journalists why it took down the accounts and made their profiles and past tweets disappear. But Musk took to Twitter on Thursday night to accuse journalists of sharing private information about his whereabouts that he described as “basically assassination coordinates.” He provided no evidence for that claim.

 

The sudden suspension of news reporters followed Musk’s decision Wednesday to permanently ban an account that automatically tracked the flights of his private jet using publicly available data. That also led Twitter to change its rules for all users to prohibit the sharing of another person’s current location without their consent.

 

Several of the reporters suspended Thursday night had been writing about that new policy and Musk’s rationale for imposing it, which involved his allegations about a stalking incident he said affected his family on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

 

“Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” Musk tweeted Thursday. He later added: “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”

 

“Doxxing” refers to disclosing online someone’s identity, address, or other personal details.

 

The Washington Post’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, called for technology reporter Drew Harwell’s Twitter account to be reinstated immediately. The suspension “directly undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech,” Buzbee wrote. “Harwell was banished without warning, process or explanation, following the publication of his accurate reporting about Musk.”

 

CNN said in a statement that “the impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising.”

 

Read more: Musk’s Twitter tweaks foreshadow EU showdown over new rules

 

“Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses Twitter,” CNN’s statement added. “We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.” Another suspended journalist, Matt Binder of the technology news outlet Mashable, said he was banned Thursday night immediately after sharing a screenshot that O’Sullivan had posted before the CNN reporter’s suspension.

 

The screenshot showed a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department sent earlier Thursday to multiple media outlets, including The Associated Press, about how it was in touch with Musk’s representatives about the alleged stalking incident, but that no crime report had yet been filed.

 

“I did not share any location data, as per Twitter’s new terms. Nor did I share any links to ElonJet or other location tracking accounts,” Binder said in an email. “I have been highly critical of Musk but never broke any of Twitter’s listed policies.”

 

Binder said a message he received while trying to access his Twitter account showed that his suspension was permanent. But Musk later suggested the penalty would last a week in response to a question about his suspension of former ESPN and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann.

 

Late Thursday, Musk briefly joined a Twitter Spaces conference chat hosted by journalist Kate Notopoulos of Buzzfeed. He reiterated his claims that the journalists Twitter banned were “doxxing” him when they were reporting on the jet tracking accounts being banned.

 

“There is not special treatment for journalists,” Musk said, after being asked by the Post’s Drew Harwell if he had a connection between the stalking incident and posting of real-time information.

 

“You dox, you get suspended, end of story,” he added, before abruptly signing out.

 

Read more: Musk’s Twitter disbands its Trust and Safety advisory group

 

Another suspended reporter, Steve Herman of Voice of America, said he assumes he was banned “because I was tweeting about other journalists being suspended for tweeting about accounts being booted that had linked to the Elon Jet feed.”

 

The suspensions come as Musk makes major changes to content moderation on Twitter. He has tried, through the release of selected company documents dubbed as “The Twitter Files,” to claim the platform suppressed right-wing voices under its previous leaders.

 

He has promised to let free speech reign and has reinstated high-profile accounts that previously broke Twitter’s rules against hateful conduct or harmful misinformation, but also has said he would suppress negativity and hate by depriving some accounts of “freedom of reach.”

 

The nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists, which defends journalists around the world, said Thursday night it was concerned about the suspensions.

 

“If confirmed as retaliation for their work, this would be a serious violation of journalists’ right to report the news without fear of reprisal,” the group said.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

Victory Day: PM pays tributes to Liberation War martyrs

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial in Savar, marking the 52nd Victory Day.

 

Sheikh Hasina placed floral wreaths at the altar of the memorial around 6:34 am to pay homage to the great heroes of the country.

 

After placing the wreath, she stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the martyrs of the Great War of Liberation in 1971.

 

A smartly turned out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force presented a state salute on the occasion when the bugles played the last post.

 

Flanked by senior leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of the ruling Awami League (AL), laid another wreath at the National Memorial as the party chief.

 

The Prime Minister also signed the visitor’s book kept there.

 

Later, Sheikh Hasina as the Prime Minister and the president of Bangladesh Awami League paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman placing two separate wreaths at his portrait at Bangabandhu Bhaban in the city’s Dhanmondi-32 area in the morning.

 

Read more:Bangladesh set to celebrate Victory Day Friday

 

The prime minister will also join the military parade programme at National Parade Square at 10:30pm, when President Abdul Hamid will take salutes and inspect the parade as the chief guest.

 

She will enjoy the attractive march past, spectacular fly-past and aerobatic display there.

 

The Nation is celebrating its 52nd Victory Day with elaborate programmes paying homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the country during the Liberation War.

 

On this glorious day in 1971, Bangladesh was liberated as an independent country after the Pakistani occupation forces surrendered following a bloody nine-month war.

 

Along with the government, different socio-political, educational and cultural institutions and organisations have chalked out a series of programmes to celebrate the day.

 

The people of Bangladesh at home and abroad are celebrating the Victory Day, the most joyous day when the country was born at the cost of the supreme sacrifice of three million martyrs and the honour of nearly half a million women.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

GEF climate adaptation funds to support V20 Group efforts to minimize climate impacts

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Climate adaptation funds support the V20’s funding program with $5.3 million for community-based adaptation activities and will also leverage funding from other sources including those that will provide complementary support to address loss and damage from climate change.

 

The 58 member countries of the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group are at the frontlines of the climate change problem having lost 20% of GDP growth (USD 525 billion) over the last two decades (2000-2019) due to climate-fueled risks.

 

In response, the V20 Group proposed a funding program to deliver multilateral resources to front-line communities to address, avert and minimize the impacts of climate change on those most vulnerable.

 

The proposal, which will support adaptation initiatives in the V20 member countries, secured an initial funding of USD 5.3 million from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) Council at its 33rd meeting on December 2.

 

Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Finance for the Republic of Ghana and Chair of the V20 Group welcomed the partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and highlighted that “we have to take a proactive approach towards doubling adaptation resources by 2025 and ensuring the delivery of resources to frontline communities, enterprises and economies”, a confirmation of the call made by the V20 Ministers of Finance during the Ninth V20 Ministerial Dialogue that was convened in Washington DC in October 2022.

 

He added that “through the GEF, particularly through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), the V20 Group aims to mobilize additional resources for climate change adaptation to boost the adaptive capacity in the LDC countries. This is to ensure that we leave no vulnerable community and economy behind”.

 

Read more: COP27: Bangladesh among first recipients of Global Shield financial support

 

According to the V20 Chair, the evolution of the program must include increased mobilization of resources from the GEF’s Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) to secure finance for climate change adaptation for non-LDC climate vulnerable countries.

 

He, therefore, urged the donors of the GEF to scale up resources for both the LDCF and the SCCF to support the economic transformation of climate vulnerable countries which has been necessitated by the climate crisis amongst other global emergencies.

 

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, added that the GEF-managed LDCF and SCCF have an important role in serving the Paris Agreement, which has established a global goal on adaptation to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience, and reduce vulnerability to climate change.

 

“We commend the decision of the LDCF/SCCF Council to allocate resources to bolster adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience, and reduce vulnerability to climate change in climate vulnerable countries. By supporting adaptation in V20 countries through micro and community level projects, impacts of climate change will be averted and minimized,” he said.

 

“This is a step in the right direction but compared to the scale of adaptation needed in V20 countries, this funding allocation is modest, and this is where the role of donors becomes critical in further boosting their contributions for the LDCF and SCCF”.

 

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), an agency of the GEF, will administer this LDCF and SCCF funded project.

 

Read more: V20, G7 reach agreement on financial protection against climate change loss

 

The initial investment of the V20 Funding Program will support a range of adaptation interventions across themes such as agriculture, water, climate information services, and disaster risk reduction including the repair and reconstruction of community infrastructure impacted by extreme weather events to build back better standards.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Landslide at Malaysia campground leaves 16 dead, 17 missing

A landslide early Friday at a hillside tourist campground in Malaysia left 16 people dead and authorities said 17 others were feared buried at the site on an organic farm outside the capital of Kuala Lumpur.

 

An estimated 94 Malaysians were sleeping at the campsite in Batang Kali in central Selangor state, around 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, when the incident occurred, said district police chief Suffian Abdullah.

 

He said the death toll has risen to 16, including a five-year-old boy. Seven people have been hospitalized with injuries and rescuers were searching for the estimated 17 missing people, he said. Another 53 people were rescued without harm.

 

Suffian said the victims had entered the area, a popular recreational site for locals to pitch or rent tents from the farm, on Wednesday. More than 400 personnel, including tracking dogs, were involved in the search and rescue efforts. The Selangor fire department said firefighters began arriving at the scene half an hour after receiving a distress call at 2:24 a.m.

 

The landslide fell from the side of a road from an estimated height of 30 meters (98 feet) and covered an area of about three acres (1.2 hectare). The fire department posted photos of rescuers with flashlights digging through soil and rubble in the early hours of the morning.

 

Read more: Newborn among 7 dead in Italian island landslide

 

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has called for a thorough search and is expected to visit the site late Friday.

 

Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming told local media that the campsite has been operating illegally for the past two years. The operator has government approval to run an organic farm but has no license for camping activities, he said. If found guilty, Nga warned the camp operator could face up to three years in jail and a fine.

 

Some families with young children who were rescued took refuge at a nearby police station. Survivors reportedly said they heard a loud thundering noise before the soil came crashing down.

 

Leong Jim Meng, 57, was quoted by the New Straits Times English-language daily saying he and his family were awakened by a loud bang “that sounded like an explosion” and felt the earth move.

 

“My family and I were trapped as soil covered our tent. We managed to escape to a carpark area and heard a second landslide happening,” he told the newspaper. He said it was surprising because there was no heavy rain in recent days, only light drizzles.

 

Read more: 33 killed in Colombia landslide

 

The campsite is located on an organic farm not far from the Genting Highlands hill resort, a popular tourist destination with theme parks and Malaysia’s only casino. Access to roads leading to the area have been blocked. Authorities have halted outdoor recreational activities in Batang Kali.

 

Nga, the local government development minister, said all campsites nationwide that are situated by rivers, waterfalls and hillsides will be closed for a week to assess their safety amid forecasts of downpours in the next few days. Malaysia is currently experiencing year-end monsoon rains.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

11.5-degree Celsius in Chuadanga, lowest temperature so far this year

The mercury has started to drop as the winter has come in Bangladesh.

 

The lowest temperature of this season was recorded 11.5-degree Celsius in Chuadanga and Rajshahi Thursday.

 

“Chuadanga has started to feel the bite of the winter season as a cold blast of air has settled in the district,” Rakibul Hasan, in-charge of Chuadanga meteorological office, said.

 

The chilly weather is disrupting daily life, forcing people to stay indoors and causing woes for low-income people.

 

Read: Night temperature may fall by several degrees over the country

 

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said: “Moderate to thick fog may occur over the river basins, and light to moderate fog may occur elsewhere over the country from late night to morning.”

 

“Night temperature may fall slightly, and day temperature may remain nearly unchanged over the country,” it added.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

Nation celebrating Victory Day

The nation is celebrating the 52nd Victory Day, 2022 on Friday, the most joyous day when the country was born at the cost of the supreme sacrifice of three million martyrs and the honour of nearly half a million mothers and sisters, with elaborate programmes.

 

On this glorious day in 1971, Bangladesh was liberated as an independent country after the Pakistani occupation forces surrendered following a bloody nine-month-long war.

 

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid homage to the martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War by placing a wreath at the National Memorial in Savar in the morning.

 

The head of the state placed a wreath at the altar of the National Memorial at about 6:30am followed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

 

After placing the wreath, they stood in solemn silence for a while as a mark of deep respect to the memories of the martyrs of the Liberation War in 1971.

 

A smartly turned out contingent drawn from the Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force presented the state salute on the occasion as the bugles played the last post.

 

Flanked by senior leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of the ruling Awami League (AL), laid another wreath at the National Memorial as the party chief.

 

Read more: Victory Day: President, PM pay tributes to Liberation War martyrs

 

Later, Sheikh Hasina as the Prime Minister and the president of Bangladesh Awami League paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman placing two separate wreaths at his portrait at Bangabandhu Bhaban in the city’s Dhanmondi-32 area in the morning.

 

Freedom fighters, their family members, foreign diplomats, leaders of Awami League and different political and social organisations and people from all walks of life also paid homage to martyrs.

 

Various programmes will be held today to pay deep homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the country during the Liberation War in 1971.

 

Along with the government, different socio-political, educational and cultural institutions and organisations have chalked out a series of programmes to celebrate the day. Bangladeshis will celebrate the day at home and abroad.

 

The day’s programme began with a 31-gun salute.

 

Discussion meetings will be held at the national level on the theme of ‘Empowering the spirit of the liberation war and the best use of digital technology in building Sonar Bangla as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.’

 

Apart from this, reception of brave freedom fighters and martyr family members will be held in the metropolis, districts and upazilas.

 

The national flag will be hoisted atop government, semi-government, autonomous and private offices across the country.

 

On this day, an exhibition of documentary films and posters based on the history and tradition of the Liberation War will be organized at the ‘Swadhinota Stombha’ and the Museum of Suhrawardy Udyan.

 

Bangladesh embassies abroad will also undertake similar programs highlighting the significance of the day.

 

Read more:| Victory Day: PM pays tributes to Liberation War martyrs

 

The day is a public holiday. National dailies brought out special supplements on the occasion.

 

State-owned and private television channels and radios will broadcast month- long special programmes highlighting the significance of the Liberation War.

 

Receptions will be accorded to the freedom fighters and family members of martyrs at city, district and upazila levels.

 

Destitute children will be allowed to visit the children park in the capital on the day free of cost. Improved diets will be served in jails, hospitals, orphanages across the country.

 

Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the occasion.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Russia warns of ‘consequences’ if US missiles go to Ukraine

Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned Thursday that if the United States confirms reports that it plans to deliver sophisticated air defense missiles to Ukraine, it would be “another provocative move by the U.S.” that could prompt a response from Moscow.

 

Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a weekly briefing that the U.S. had “effectively become a party” to the war in Ukraine, following reports that it will provide Kyiv with Patriot surface-to-air missiles, the most advanced the West has yet offered to help repel Russian aerial attacks.

 

Growing amounts of U.S. military assistance, including the transfer of such sophisticated weapons, “would mean even broader involvement of military personnel in the hostilities and could entail possible consequences,” Zakharova added.

 

She did not specify what the consequences might be.

 

U.S. officials said Tuesday that Washington was poised to approve sending a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine, finally agreeing to an urgent request from Ukrainian leaders desperate for more robust weapons to shoot down incoming Russian missiles that have crippled much of the country’s vital infrastructure. An official announcement is expected soon.

 

Operating and maintaining a Patriot battery requires as many as 90 troops, and for months the U.S. has been reluctant to provide the complex system because sending American forces into Ukraine to operate the systems is a nonstarter for the administration of President Joe Biden.

 

Even without the presence of U.S. service members to train Ukrainians on use of the system, concerns remain that deployment of the missiles could provoke Russia or risk that a fired projectile could hit inside Russia and further escalate the conflict.

 

Before reports emerged on the delivery of Patriot systems, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, which is chaired by President Vladimir Putin, warned that if Patriots enter Ukraine “along with NATO personnel, they will immediately become a legitimate target for our armed forces.”

 

Read: Russian drone strikes damage 5 buildings in Ukraine capital

 

Asked Wednesday whether the Kremlin backs that threat, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov answered yes, but added in a conference call with reporters that he would refrain from more detailed comment until the U.S. officially announces the Patriot delivery to Ukraine.

 

Two defense officials said Russia’s warnings would not change the calculation about what weapons the U.S. would provide. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the issue.

 

Ukraine has so far been cautious in reacting to the reports. Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, told reporters Thursday in Kyiv that the delivery of such weaponry remains “sensitive not only for Ukraine, but for our partners,” and that only President Volodymyr Zelenskyy or Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov would make any official announcement on such an agreement.

 

White House and Pentagon leaders have said consistently that providing Ukraine with additional air defenses is a priority, and Patriot missiles have been under consideration for some time. As the winter closed in and the Russian bombardment of civilian infrastructure escalated, official said, the idea became a higher priority.

 

Ukraine’s electricity provider said Thursday that the country’s energy system had a “significant deficit of electricity,” and that emergency shutdowns had been applied in some areas as temperatures hover around or below freezing.

 

The state-owned grid operator Ukrenergo warned in a statement on Facebook that damage caused to energy infrastructure by Russian attacks is being compounded by harsh weather, including snow, ice and strong winds.

 

Maximum temperatures in the capital were forecast to barely climb above freezing heading into the weekend, with even colder weather expected early next week.

 

The southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was left completely without power following Russian shelling on Thursday, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, who wrote on Telegram. He added that two people were killed in the attacks.

 

Heavy shelling of the city’s Korabelny district was still underway in the afternoon, and Russian shells hit 100 meters (yards) from the regional administration building, he said.

 

Read: Ukraine president again presses West for advanced weapons

 

Amid the infrastructure attacks and power outages across the country, seven civilians were killed and 19 wounded on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a report issued by the Ukrainian president’s office.

 

The head of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, Pavlo Kyrylenko, reported that Russian strikes the previous day had killed two civilians and wounded seven.

 

Kremlin-backed authorities in the region, which was illegally annexed by Moscow in September, announced that Russia had taken control of 80% of the city of Marinka, seen as critical to Ukrainian hopes of retaking the Russian-held regional capital, Donetsk.

 

The Moscow-installed mayor of Donetsk, Aleksei Kulemzin, said Thursday that the city center had been hit by “the most massive strike” since the area came under the control of Russian-backed separatists in 2014.

 

Writing on Telegram, Kulemzin said 40 Ukrainian rockets struck Donetsk on Thursday morning, noting that multistory residential buildings were hit and that fires broke out at a hospital and university campus.

 

Elsewhere, Ukrainian forces shelled Russia’s western Kursk province, according to regional Gov. Roman Starovoyt. Six shells reportedly struck a farm in the province’s Belovsky district, which borders Ukraine’s Sumy province. There were no casualties, Starovoyt wrote on Telegram.

 

In other developments Thursday:

 

— Russia continued to build up its military presence in Belarus, a senior Ukrainian military official said. According to Brig. Gen. Oleksiy Hromov, Russian units “are undergoing training and combat coordination” in Belarus, with the Kremlin using Belarusian officers and training grounds to improve the combat capability of existing units, as well as to train newly created units.

 

Read: Russia grinds on in eastern Ukraine; Bakhmut ‘destroyed’

 

Speaking at a press briefing, Hromov said the probability of a Russian offensive from Belarus “remains low,” but he highlighted that the transfer of Russian weapons to Belarus is ongoing, including three hypersonic missile-carrying aircraft, a set of tanks and a long-range radar-detection aircraft.

 

— Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the Vatican has apologized for a statement Pope Francis made in a recent interview in which he singled out two Russian ethnic minorities — the Chechens and the Buryats — as being “the most cruel” participants in the war in Ukraine.

 

At a briefing on Thursday, Zakharova quoted from what she said was a message from the Vatican that “apologizes to the Russian side” for the pope’s comments. Zakharova praised the message, saying that it showed the Vatican’s “ability to conduct dialogue and listen to interlocutors.” A Vatican spokesman would say only that there had been diplomatic contacts on the matter.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Monster made of plastic waste at Cox’s Bazar to spread awareness

The tourists visiting Cox’s Bazar now will come across a unique, 38-foot long and 14-feet wide monster made out of plastic waste, standing at the sea beach with the message of how plastic pollution reached such an intimidating scale around them.

 

Sixteen volunteers worked for seven days to bring the statue to life designed by Abir Karmakar, a former student of the Fine Arts department of Dhaka University under an anti-plastic initiative of the Bidyanondo Foundation.

 

The huge monster placed at Sugandha Point of the beach attracted a lot of attention from locals and visiting tourists already. Plastic waste like chips packets, water bottles, broken buckets, chairs, and balls was seen used in creating the awareness-raising monster.

 

Read: Beach photographer stabbed to death in Cox’s Bazar

 

Nadira Kanon, a tourist from Dhaka said, “It’s great to see such an initiative taken in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar as we should all be aware to stop the plastic monster. We have to make people see that plastic waste is actually wreaking havoc on the oceans.”

 

Abir Karmakar, who planned the statu, said 20 sacks of plastic waste collected from Cox’s Bazar and Saint Martin’s island have been used to build this monster.

 

Eight volunteers including him and four carpenters worked hard for the last seven days to build this monster to raise awareness among people against plastic waste and its repercussions, he said.

 

The district administration along with Bidyanondo Foundation is trying to give a message that the accumulated plastic waste and its pollution is turning into a monster day by day and posing a great risk for lives and the environment, said Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Shaheen Imran.

 

He said the statue will be kept there on the beach for the next two months as part of the awareness campaign.

 

Bidyanondo Foundation organisers said a team of their volunteers had been campaigning to collect plastic waste at Saint Martin’s Island for the last few days.

 

Read: Cox’s Bazar: Football fan falls to death while hanging Brazil flag

 

On Tuesday, the first day of the collection campaign locals brought four Metric Tons of plastic waste which was brought by 400 local families at the ‘Plastic Exchange Store’ set up by the organisers.

 

In exchange, they took rice, pulse, oil, sugar, salt, clothes and other essentials worth Tk 4,20,000, said the organisers. Each family will get the chance to exchange plastic waste for essential commodities once every month from this unique store, they said.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

Nagad offers up to Tk200 bonus on ‘add money’ from Mastercard

Mobile financial services (MFS) provider Nagad has brought a bonus offer of up to Tk200 on “add money” from Mastercard.

 

A customer will get a bonus of Tk60 for adding Tk3,000 and Tk140 for TK7,000. A customer can avail of the offer only once during the campaign, according to a media statement.

 

The campaign will continue till January 9, 2023, it added.

 

Read: Nagad is a Digital Bangladesh success story: Mustafa Jabbar

 

Nagad Chief Business Officer Sheikh Aminur Rahman said: “Customers do not have to wait in long queues in banks thanks to Nagad’s add-money feature.”

 

“We are making digital transactions more powerful and familiar,” he added.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh

 

Mastermind behind porn ring among 6 held for ’embezzling Tk30 crore through livestreaming’

The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said they arrested six members of a ring, including the mastermind, for embezzling Tk30 crore through livestreaming porn videos on mobile apps.

 

Abu Musa Imran Ahmed Sunny and his accomplices Abu Shama, Fatima Akhter, Shayla Akhter, Shah Arman and Md Salim were arrested from various parts of the country on Wednesday, CTTC said Thursday.

 

Also, phones, SIM cards, laptops, debit-credit cards, and cheque books were seized from their possession.

 

Read: 150 Jamaat-Shibir men sued, 6 held over attack on police in Rajshahi

 

The Cybercrime Investigation Division of CTTC found that the ring was broadcasting pornography live through the mobile app Dream Live of the international video livestreaming platform Top Class Entertainment.

 

Sunny maintained the video livestreaming site through over 120 agencies across the country.

 

The gang swindled different people out of a large chunk of money through illegal virtual diamond coins and game coins.

 

CTTC said they found that Sunny made over Tk30 crore of illegal transactions through his bank accounts and mobile financial services in the last three months.

 

Read: Launch passenger stabbed dead after brawl in Chandpur: 8 held

 

“A case was filed against Sunny and his accomplices at Raman Police Station. The accused confessed to siphoning off money to other countries through broadcasting illegal porn videos,” thdy added.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh