BCL men halt Islamic University recruitment test

The leaders and activists of the Islamic University unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League, student wing of the ruling Awami League, stopped a recruitment test forcing the job seekers out of the examination hall on the campus in Kushtia on Wednesday.


Witnesses said around two hundred job seekers, who applied for the post of office assistant-cum-computer operator at the political science department of the university, went to IU Nuclear Scientist MA Wazed Miah Science Building to take part in their computer typing test in the morning.


The leaders and activists of the IU BCL unit went to the building and threatened as well as forced the job seekers out of the examination hall at around 9:30am.


The BCL men, at one stage, put the main gate of the third floor of the Nuclear Scientist MA Wazed Miah Science Building of the university under lock and key.


Within minutes, a group of BCL men entered the examination hall and asked the applicants to leave, said several applicants.


The university authorities were yet to make any move against the ruling party men, who threatened not to allow the authorities to hold the recruitment test on the campus without their consent, seeking anonymity, a job seeker said.


The BCL men misbehaved with the job seekers, tore their admit cards and hurled abusive words. Later, the BCL men drove them out of the campus, he added.


“It is very unfortunate that I cannot sit for the recruitment test though I’ve travelled a long way for this,” said a job seeker who hailed from Panchagarh.


The university administration, however, postponed the recruitment process due to unavoidable reasons, IU acting registrar HM Ali Hasan said.


There was no involvement of incumbent IU BCL unit activists in the incident, IU BCL unit president Faisal Siddique Arafat said.


The former leaders and activists, who work at different offices daily at the university, forced the job seekers out of the examination hall demanding their jobs, he claimed.


Denying the allegation, IU BCL unit former organising secretary M Rasel Joarder said that they did not halt the recruitment test rather the running BCL activists did it.


“I am one of the job seekers of today’s test so why should we halt it,” he said.


Source: United News of Bangladesh



Canadian envoy explains Ottawa’s Indo-Pacific Strategy to Masud Bin Momen

Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls met Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen in Dhaka Wednesday and briefed him about her country’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present at the meeting.

On November 27, Lilly Nicholls said Bangladesh is a key part of Canada’s just launched Indo-Pacific strategy.

The high commissioner said the new Indo-Pacific strategy recognises Bangladesh in the Indo-Pacific at large and is absolutely critical for Canada and Canadians.

As a Pacific nation, Canada recognises that the Indo-Pacific region is critically important for the long-term prosperity, health and security of Canadians.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Dhaka Test: Bangladesh opt to bat first with two changes vs India

Bangladesh won the toss and chose to bat first in the crucial second Test of the two-match series against India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.


Bangladesh made two alterations to their playing XI, swapping out Yasir Ali and Ebadot Hossain for Mominul Haque and Taskin Ahmed.


India omitted Kuldeep Yadav, who had a successful first Test, and brought in Jaydev Unadkat. This will be only his second Test since his debut in 2010, having missed an astonishing 118 Tests in between, which puts him second in the all-time list for most consecutive Tests missed between appearances.


Also read: Dhaka Test: Desperate Tigers aim to prove their Test prowess


Gareth Batty tops this list, having missed an incredible 142 Tests between his appearances in 2006 and 2016.


India secured victory in the first Test of the ongoing series in Chattogram, and are now looking to register a clean sweep in this match. Meanwhile, Bangladesh are hoping for a strong comeback, as they have never won a Test against India in the 12 matches they have played against them.


Players of BAN vs IND 2nd Test in Dhaka


Bangladesh (Playing XI):


Najmul Hossain Shanto, Zakir Hasan, Mominul Haque, Litton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Nurul Hasan (w), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Khaled Ahmed, Taskin Ahmed.


Read More: Nasum Ahmed included in the Bangladesh squad for Dhaka Test vs India


India (Playing XI):


KL Rahul(c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant(w), Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jaydev Unadkat, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.


Source: United News of Bangladesh


Dhaka Metro Rail launch: From ticketing to seating – things to know


The much-awaited first metro rail in Bangladesh will soon be opened to the public according to the government but most potential passengers will have to wait a bit longer to get its full service as in the first phase it will operate from Uttara’s Diabari to Agargaon only.


As the government is starting the operation on a limited scale, it will take 20 minutes to travel the 11.73 Km distance from Uttara to Agargaon but soon it will shorten to 16-17 minutes, said the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited ( DMTCL ) authority.


On December 15, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the first phase of metro rail from Diabari to Agargaon will be opened to the public on December 28 after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates it.


Also read: Dhaka Metro Rail fare set at Tk 5/km


Things to know about the first phase


In the first phase, a limited number of trains carrying fewer passengers will operate for a short period in the morning and afternoon and the speed will be slower than usual for three months, as a period to get accustomed, Managing Director (MD) of DMTCL MAN Siddique told UNB.


The trains will wait for a bit longer than usual at the station at first to help passengers become accustomed with the new seating and ticketing system. With the increase in the number of trains the train will wait for less time at stations cutting the travel time.


In the beginning, the train will not stop at all stations. The train will leave the Uttara station and stop at Pallabi, and then it will go to Agargaon without stopping. Stopping of trains at intermediate stations will start later.


DMTCL MD MAN Siddique said “When the first metro rails were launched in different countries across the world, it was not fully operational from the very beginning. It was launched with capacity for limited passengers at first and then got fully operational.”


“Likewise, we will launch MRT Line-6 at first for a limited number of passengers,” he added.


He said that initially the train will carry 200 to 250 passengers and later 700 to 800 passengers.


Also read: Metro Rail (MRT Line-6) project cost goes up by Tk 11,486 cr; Gets Ecnec nod


Of the 12 trains that have been kept ready for operating from Uttara to Agargaon, ten will run regularly and two will be kept on standby for any problem, he added.


Seating arrangements inside metro rail


All the six compartments including the two driver compartments at both ends of a Dhaka metro rail will be air conditioned, said DMTCL.


A train can carry 306 seated passengers, 48 in each driver compartment and 54 in each of the other four.


However initially the trains will carry only 200 to 250 seated passengers each and will increase the number in phases later.


Up to 17,000 passengers can travel daily initially, said DMTCL, and they can easily travel standing in the 9.5 feet wide space between the seats at both sides.


There are two rows of long green seats inside the coach and handles at the top and poles at places for standing passengers to hold in the moving train. One metro rail can carry a maximum upto 2,000 passengers.


The train compartments are constructed in such a way that the floor remains level with the platform while making stops at the station, making it easier for passengers to get on and off the train.


Each compartment will have four doors on both sides and there will be a smart card and ticketing system for fare payment.


Ticketing system and fare


There are two systems for ticketing for passengers who want to travel through metro rail in Dhaka: automated and manual.


In the automated system passengers can get their tickets by themselves but one passenger will be allowed to get a maximum of five tickets at a time.


Besides, those who find the automated system confusing can get their tickets manually following the traditional system of buying tickets from counter paying cash.


All passengers will have to enter through the gate using a smart pass card after getting a ticket and will be able to use escalators to go to the platform on the third floor.


The minimum fare for Dhaka metro rail was fixed at Tk 20 and the maximum fare for travelling from Uttara to Motijheel at Tk 100.


In the first phase, the fare from Uttara station to Agargaon station will be Tk 60 . The fare from Uttara (North) to Uttara (Central) and Uttara-South Station will be Tk 20.


Besides, from the first station Uttara North to Pallabi and Mirpur-11 stations, the fare will be Tk 30, the fare till Mirpur 10 and Kazipara stations will be Tk 40 and till Shewrapara station it will be Tk 50.


How long before full scale operation?


After inauguration, it will take two or three months more to run Dhaka metro rail carrying passengers on a full scale.


According to DMTCL, the rail operation till Motijheel may start by the end of 2024, and Kamalapur by 2025.


By December 2024, metro rail will start operation from Agargaon to Kamalapur route with 24 trains.


As the train will run at the speed of 100km per hour it will take 38 to 40 minutes to reach Kamalapur from Agargaon crossing a distance of 21.16 Km.


The Metrorail project was taken up in 2012 and a loan agreement in this regard was signed with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a Japanese development cooperation agency, the following year.


The main construction work of the project started in 2017.


There are a total of nine stations on the Uttara to Agargaon route: Uttara North (Diabari), Uttara Central, Uttara South, Pallabi, Mirpur 11, Mirpur 10, Kazipara, Sheorapara and Agargaon.


There are seven stations on the Agargaon to Motijheel route: Bijoy Sarani, Farmgate, Kaowranbazar, Shahbagh, TSC, Press Club and Motijheel. Also there will be an 1.16 km extension to Kamalapur railway station.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Dhaka once again tops list of cities with most polluted air

Dhaka has once again topped the list of world cities with worst air quality. With an air quality index (AQI) score of 251 at 8:53am today, Dhaka ranked first in the list of cities with worst air.


An AQI between 201 and 300 is said to be ‘very unhealthy’, while a reading of 301 to 400 is considered ‘hazardous’, posing serious health risks to residents.


India’s Kolkata and Vietnam’s Hanoi occupied the second and third spots in the list, with an AQI score of 201 and 192, respectively.


An AQI between 101 and 200 is considered ‘unhealthy’, particularly for sensitive groups while a reading of 301 to 400 is considered ‘hazardous’, posing serious health risks to residents.


Also read: Dhaka ranks 2nd worst in Air Quality Index


In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants — Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2 and Ozone.


Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution issues. Its air quality usually turns unhealthy in winter and improves during the monsoon.


Air pollution consistently ranks among the top risk factors for death and disability worldwide. Breathing polluted air has long been recognised as increasing a person’s chances of developing a heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, lung infections and cancer, according to several studies.


As per the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

US Embassy Dhaka wants to know if Russian ‘principle of non-interference’ applies in Ukraine

The US Embassy in Dhaka took to Twitter Wednesday to respond to the Russian mission’s comment that they are against interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.


“Does this (principle of non-interference) apply to Ukraine?” asked the US mission. It also expressed solidarity with Ukraine saying: “Stand with Ukraine.”


Russia Tuesday said it is “invariably committed” to its principle of not interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries, including that of Bangladesh.


“States like Bangladesh, which shape their foreign and internal policy to serve their own national interests instead of following the lead of external powers, take the similar approach,” the Russian Embassy in Dhaka said in a statement.


Under the pretext of protecting “democratic values,” work is underway to interfere in the internal affairs of those who are out of favour with the states that consider themselves “rulers of the world,” the mission added.


“Such policy evidently results in undermining the sustainability of the world order, brings chaos and havoc. The incomplete list includes Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan,” it said.


Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Washington on Wednesday for a summit with President Joe Biden and an address to Congress to shore up support for his country and send a defiant message to Russia, reports AP.


Read more: Russian military to reach 1.5M; Putin vows to win in Ukraine


Zelenskyy said on his Twitter account before his arrival that the visit, his first known trip outside Ukraine since the war began in February, was “to strengthen the resilience and defence capabilities” of Ukraine and to discuss cooperation with the US.


The highly sensitive trip was taking place after 10 months of a brutal war that has seen tens of thousands of casualties on both sides and devastation for Ukrainian civilians. Just before his arrival, the US announced its largest single delivery of arms to Ukraine, including Patriot surface-to-air missiles, and Congress planned to vote on a spending package that includes about $45 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

FTX founder’s associates enter guilty pleas to accusations in court

A federal prosecutor says two associates of Sam Bankman-Fried have pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX.


Carolyn Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, a trading firm started by Bankman-Fried, and Gary Wang, who co-founded FTX along with Bankman-Fried, pleaded guilty to charges “related to their roles in the fraud that contributed to FTX’s collapse,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Wednesday night.


The guilty pleas were announced as Bankman-Fried was being flown to the U.S. from the Bahamas by U.S. law enforcement to answer to charges tied to his role in FTX’s failure.


In agreements signed with prosecutors on Dec. 19, Ellison and Wang agreed to plead guilty to charges including wire fraud, securities fraud and commodities fraud.


Bahamian authorities said Wednesday that former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has been extradited to the United States, where he faces criminal charges related to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange.


Bahamas’s attorney general’s office said that Bankman-Fried would be leaving for the United States later Wednesday, noting he had waived his right to challenge the extradition.


Reporters on the scene witnessed Bankman-Fried leaving a Magistrate Court in Nassau in a dark SUV earlier Wednesday. The vehicle was later seen arriving at a private airfield by Nassau’s airport, from which he is expected to be flown to the United States. He is due to land in New York and will likely appear in front of a U.S. judge on Thursday.


“The Bahamas has determined that the provisional arrest, and subsequent written consent by (Bankman-Fried) to be extradited without formal extradition proceedings satisfies the requirements of the (extradition treaty between the U.S. and the Bahamas) and our nation’s Extradition Act,” said Bahamian Attorney General Ryan Pinder, in a statement.


Bahamian authorities arrested Bankman-Fried last week at the request of the U.S. government. U.S. prosecutors allege he played a central role in the rapid collapse of FTX and hid its problems from the public and investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Bankman-Fried illegally used investors’ money to buy real estate on behalf of himself and his family.


The 30-year-old could potentially spend the rest of his life in jail.


Bankman-Fried was denied bail Friday after a Bahamian judge ruled that he posed a flight risk. The founder and former CEO of FTX, once worth tens of billions of dollars on paper, had been held in the Bahamas’ Fox Hill prison, which has been has been cited by human rights activists as having poor sanitation and as being infested with rats and insects.


Once he’s back in the U.S., Bankman-Fried’s attorney will be able to request that he be released on bail.


Also read: Russian military to reach 1.5M; Putin vows to win in Ukraine


Bankman-Fried was one of the world’s wealthiest people on paper, with an estimated net worth of $32 billion. He was a prominent personality in Washington, donating millions of dollars toward mostly left-leaning political causes and Democratic political campaigns. FTX grew to become the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.


He has said that he did not “knowingly” misuse customers’ funds, and said he believes his millions of angry customers will eventually be made whole.


At a congressional hearing last week, the new FTX CEO John Ray III, who is tasked with taking the company through bankruptcy, bluntly disputed those assertions: “We will never get all these assets back,” Ray said.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

UN Security Council adopts first-ever resolution on Myanmar; China, Russia and India abstain from voting

The United Nations Security Council has adopted its first-ever resolution on “situation in Myanmar”, placing an important focus on the Rohingya crisis and its sustainable solution.


Referring to the ongoing political unrest in Myanmar, continuous deterioration of its democratic institutions and arbitrary detention of political leaders, the resolution, among others, urges for ending violence and inclusive political dialogue.


As the penholder of the Myanmar situation in the Security Council, the United Kingdom tabled the resolution which was adopted by 12 votes in favour.


While no members of the Security Council voted against or used veto power to block its adoption, China, Russia and India abstained from voting, according to the Bangladesh Permanent Mission in New York.


Read More: US diplomat for ‘comprehensive approach’ to deal with Rohingya crisis


In the context of multifaceted global challenges including Russia-Ukraine conflict, the resolution is a demonstration of the UN’s supreme body’s determination towards resolving the ongoing crisis in Myanmar.


This resolution will further renew the attention of the global community towards the Rohingya crisis.


Since the exodus of Rohingyas in Bangladesh in 2017, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the position of Bangladesh clear to the international community — that they must return to their homeland in Myanmar from their temporary shelter in Bangladesh.


Bangladesh is now hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingyas out of humanitarian consideration.


Read more: Rights group urges UN Security Council to impose binding arms embargo on Myanmar


The resolution commends Bangladesh’s efforts for hosting and providing humanitarian support to the Rohingyas.


It also recognizes the implications of the current political situation in Myanmar on the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingyas to Myanmar and on regional security.


It underscores the need to address the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine State, and to create conditions necessary for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees.


The resolution also puts significant focus on ASEAN’s role in implementing its Five Point Consensus agreed on in 2021.


Read More: Requested US, UK, Japan to take Rohingyas from Bangladesh: FM


As an immediate action, the resolution requests the UN Secretary-General and his Special Envoy on Myanmar to submit a report, on the possible support from UN on the implementation of ASEAN’s Five Point Consensus, by March 15, 2023 to the Security Council.


The adoption of the resolution will serve as a first step to the regular discussion of the Security Council on Myanmar.


It will also strengthen Bangladesh’s ongoing efforts towards sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis.


Bangladesh Permanent Mission in New York made “significant contribution” to the negotiations of the resolution, Bangladesh said.


Read more: UN adopts resolution on human rights of Rohingya, other minorities in Myanmar


Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, Muhammad Abdul Muhith, held several bilateral meetings with the strategically important members of the Security Council and ensured that issues specific to Bangladesh’s interest were included in the resolution.


This resolution bears the testimony of Bangladesh’s milestone success in multilateral efforts to resolve the Rohingya crisis.


Source: United News of Bangladesh


Zelenskyy tells cheering US legislators funding Ukraine’s war effort “not charity” but an “investment”

Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy told cheering U.S. legislators during a defiant wartime visit to the nation’s capital on Wednesday that against all odds his country still stands, thanking Americans for helping to fund the war effort with money that is “not charity,” but an “investment” in global security and democracy.


The whirlwind stop in Washington — his first known trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February — was aimed at reinvigorating support for his country in the U.S. and around the world at a time when there is concern that allies are growing weary of the costly war and its disruption to global food and energy supplies.


Zelenskyy called the tens of billions of dollars in U.S. military and economic assistance provided over the past year vital to Ukraine’s efforts to beat back Russia and appealed for even more in the future.


“Your money is not charity,” he sought to reassure both those in the room and those watching at home. “It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”


Just before his arrival, the U.S. announced a new $1.8 billion military aid package, including for the first time Patriot surface-to-air missiles. And Congress planned to vote this week on a fresh spending package that includes about $45 billion in additional emergency assistance to Ukraine.


The speech to Congress came after President Joe Biden hosted Zelenskyy in the Oval Office for strategy consultations, saying the U.S. and Ukraine would maintain their “united defense” as Russia wages a “brutal assault on Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation.” Biden pledged to help bring about a “just peace.”


Zelenskyy told Biden that he had wanted to visit sooner and his visit now demonstrates that the “situation is under control, because of your support.”


The highly sensitive trip came after 10 months of a brutal war that has seen tens of thousands of casualties on both sides and devastation for Ukrainian civilians.


Zelenskyy traveled to Washington aboard a U.S. Air Force jet. The visit had been long sought by both sides, but the right conditions only came together in the last 10 days, U.S. officials said, after high-level discussions about the security both of Zelenskyy and of his people while he was outside of Ukraine. Zelenskyy spent less than 10 hours in Washington before beginning the journey back to Ukraine.


In his remarks to lawmakers, Zelenskky harked back to U.S. victories in the Battle of the Bulge, a turning point against Nazi Germany in World War II, and the Revolutionary War Battle of Saratoga, an American victory that helped draw France’s aid for U.S. independence. The Ukrainian leader predicted that next year would be a “turning point” in the conflict, “when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom — the freedom of people who stand for their values.”


Zelenskyy received thunderous applause from members of Congress and presented lawmakers with a Ukrainian flag autographed by front-line troops in Bakhmut, in Ukraine’s contested Donetsk province. The flag was displayed behind him on the rostrum by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris. Pelosi, in turn, presented Zelenskyy with an American flag that had flown over the Capitol that day, and Zelenskyy pumped it up and down as he exited the chamber.


Declaring in his speech that Ukraine “will never surrender,” Zelenskyy warned that the stakes of the conflict were greater than just the fate of his nation — that democracy worldwide is being tested.


“This battle cannot be ignored, hoping that the ocean or something else will provide protection,” he said, speaking in English for what he had billed as a “speech to Americans.”


Read more: US to send $3 billion in aid to Ukraine as war hits 6 months


Earlier, in a joint news conference with Biden, Zelenskyy was pressed on how Ukraine would try to bring an end to the conflict. He rejected Biden’s framing of finding a “just peace,” saying, “For me as a president, ‘just peace’ is no compromises.” He said the war would end once Ukraine’s sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity were restored, and Russia had paid back Ukraine for all the damage inflicted by its forces.


“There can’t be any ‘just peace’ in the war that was imposed on us,” he added.


Biden, for his part, said Russia was “trying to use winter as a weapon, but Ukrainian people continue to inspire the world.” During the news conference, he said Russian President Vladimir Putin had “no intention of stopping this cruel war.”


The two leaders appeared to share a warm rapport, laughing at each other’s comments and patting each other on the back throughout the visit, though Zelenskyy made clear he will continue to press Biden and other Western leaders for ever more support.


He said that after the Patriot system was up and running, “we will send another signal to President Biden that we would like to get more Patriots.”


“We are in the war,” Zelenskyy added with a smile, as Biden chuckled at the direct request. “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”


Biden told Zelenskyy that it was “important for the American people, and for the world, to hear directly from you, Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight, and the need to continue to stand together through 2023


Zelenskyy had headed to Washington after making a daring and dangerous trip Tuesday to what he called the hottest spot on the 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) front line of the war, the city of Bakhmut.


Poland’s private broadcaster, TVN24, said Zelenskyy crossed into Poland early Wednesday on his way to Washington. The station showed footage of what appeared to be Zelenskyy arriving at a train station and being escorted to a motorcade of American SUVs. TVN24 said the video, partially blurred for security reasons, was shot in Przemysl, a Polish border town that has been the arrival point for many refugees fleeing the war.


Officials, citing security concerns, were cagey about Zelenskyy’s travel plans, but a U.S. official confirmed that Zelenskyy arrived on a U.S. Air Force jet that landed at Joint Base Andrews, just outside the capital, from the Polish city of Rzeszow.


Biden told Zelenskyy, who wore a combat-green sweatshirt and boots, that ”it’s an honor to be by your side.”


U.S. and Ukrainian officials have made clear they do not envision an imminent resolution to the war and are preparing for fighting to continue for some time. The latest infusion of U.S. money would be the biggest yet — and exceed Biden’s $37 billion request.


Biden repeated that while the U.S. will arm and train Ukraine, American forces will not be directly engaged in the war.


The latest U.S. military aid package includes not only a Patriot missile battery but precision guided bombs for fighter jets, U.S. officials said. It represents an expansion in the kinds of advanced weaponry intended to bolster Ukraine’s air defenses against what has been an increasing barrage of Russian missiles.


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


Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said the delivery of the advanced surface-to-air missile system would be considered a provocative step and that the system and any crews accompanying it would be a legitimate target for Moscow’s military.


“It’s a defensive system,” Biden said of sending the missile system. “It’s not escalatory — it’s defensive.”


The visit comes at an important moment, with the White House bracing for greater resistance when Republicans take control of the House in January and give more scrutiny to aid for Ukraine. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California has said his party will not write a “blank check” for Ukraine.


Zelenskky appeared well aware of political divisions in the U.S. over prolonged overseas spending, and called on the House and Senate lawmakers to ensure American leadership remains “bicameral and bipartisan.”


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer opened the chamber’s session on Wednesday by saying that passage of the aid package and confirmation of the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynne M. Tracy, would send a strong signal that Americans stand “unequivocally” with Ukraine. Tracy was confirmed later on a 93-2 vote.


The Senate’s top Republican, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, said “the most basic reasons for continuing to help Ukraine degrade and defeat the Russian invaders are cold, hard, practical American interests.” He said “defeating Russia’s aggression will help prevent further security crises in Europe.”


Russia’s invasion, which began Feb. 24, has lost momentum. The illegally annexed provinces of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia remain fiercely contested.


With the fighting in the east at a stalemate, Moscow has used missiles and drones to attack Ukraine’s power equipment, hoping to leave people without electricity as freezing weather sets in.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Analysis: Biden, Zelenskyy try to keep Congress from balking

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s dramatic visit to Washington was a moment for the White House to demonstrate to Russia’s Vladimir Putin that the United States would sustain its commitment to the war for, as President Joe Biden put it, “as long as it takes.”


It also provided the Ukrainian president, dressed in military green, the opportunity in the grand setting of the U.S. Capitol to thank Congress for the billions of dollars that are sustaining his country in the fight.


“As long as it takes” is powerful rhetoric, but it now collides with a formidable question: How much more patience will a narrowly divided Congress — and the American public — have for a war with no clear end that is battering the global economy?


On Wednesday night, Zelenskyy made his case. In an address before a joint meeting of Congress, he melded Ukraine’s struggle to maintain its sovereignty with America’s battle for freedom. He spoke of the battle for Bakhmut — where a fierce, monthslong battle in eastern Ukraine is underway — as his country’s Battle of Saratoga, a turning point in the American Revolutionary War.


Zelenskyy, who visited the frontlines of Bakhmut shortly before traveling to Washington, presented members of Congress with a Ukrainian flag signed by the troops. And while he expressed thanks for U.S. aid, he also told the lawmakers “your money is not charity.”


“It’s an investment in global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way,” Zelenskyy said.


The majority of Americans, polls show, continue to support aid for Ukraine as it has managed to repel a Russian military some U.S. government officials initially believed would quickly overwhelm Ukrainian forces.


But the outmanned Ukrainians, with the help of some $21.3 billion in American military assistance since the February invasion, have managed to rack up successes on the battlefield and exact heavy losses on Russian troops.


Zelenskyy, seated next to Biden in the Oval Office, with a fire crackling in the fireplace behind them, acknowledged that Ukraine was in its more favorable position because of bipartisan support from Congress.


“We control the situation because of your support,” said Zelenskyy, who presented Biden with a medal that had been awarded to the Ukrainian captain of a HIMARS battery, a rocket system provided by the U.S., that the officer wanted Biden to have.


Yet even as support for Ukraine was being hailed by both Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell as serving core American interests, bipartisan unity on Ukraine was starting to fray.


“I hope that we’ll continue to support Ukraine, but we got to explain what they’re doing all the time,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said shortly before Zelenskyy landed in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. “I think you have to keep selling things like this to the American public. I don’t think you can just say, you know, for the next, whatever time it takes.”


Just before Zelenskyy’s arrival, the U.S. announced a $1.85 billion military aid package for Ukraine, including Patriot surface-to-air missiles, and Congress planned to vote on a spending package that includes an additional $45 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine.


Pelosi and others compared Zelenskyy’s visit to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s 1941 visit for talks with President Franklin D. Roosevelt following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor.


Read more: Zelenskyy to meet Biden, address Congress as war rages on


Pelosi, in a letter to fellow lawmakers Wednesday, noted that her father, Rep. Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., was a House member when Churchill came to Congress on the day after Christmas “to enlist our nation’s support in the fight against tyranny in Europe.”


“Eighty-one years later this week, it is particularly poignant for me to be present when another heroic leader addresses the Congress in a time of war — and with Democracy itself on the line,” said Pelosi, who will soon step down as speaker with Republicans taking control of the House.


Biden, born less than a year after Churchill’s historic visit, observed that Zelenskyy has showed enormous fortitude through the conflict. “This guy has, to his very soul — is who he says he is. It’s clear who he is. He’s willing to give his life for his country,” Biden said during a news conference with Zelenskyy.


McConnell made the case in a speech on the Senate floor that supporting Ukraine is simply pragmatic.


“Continuing our support for Ukraine is morally right, but it is not only that. It is also a direct investment in cold, hard, American interests,” McConnell said.


Still, there are signs of discontent in the Republican conference.


Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is vying to be the next House speaker when Republicans take over in the new year, as said his party won’t write a “blank check” for Ukraine once it’s in charge.


Some of the most right-leaning members of the Republican conference have lashed out at McConnell over his support of Ukraine.


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., in a Wednesday morning Twitter post accused McConnell of pressing for passage of the $1.7 trillion spending bill that includes new funding for Ukraine “so that he can hand a $47 BILLION dollar check to Zelenskyy when he shows up in DC today.”


“But in my district, many families and seniors can’t afford food and many businesses are struggling bc of Biden policies,” she added.


For now, hers is mostly an isolated voice.


Unlike in other conflicts of the past half century in which the U.S. has been deeply involved — Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan — the cost of helping Ukraine has been strictly financial.


While the far right is beginning to turn up the volume on its skepticism on spending, the Ukrainian cause is an easier sell than those long costly conflicts, said Elliot Abrams, who served in senior national security and foreign policy roles in the Donald Trump, George W. Bush and Reagan administrations.


“With Ukraine, I think it’s much easier to make the argument that helping Kyiv resist Russian aggression is a valuable thing to do, and grinding down the Russian military is a valuable thing to do,” said Abrams, who is now chairman of the conservative foreign policy group Vandenberg Coalition. “And the cost of American lives is zero.”


As the war in Ukraine has passed 300 days, polling shows Americans have grown less concerned and less supportive of U.S. aid. In September, just 18% of U.S. adults said the U.S. wasn’t providing enough support to Ukraine, according to Pew Research Center, compared with 31% in May and 42% in March.


Still, about as many — 20% — said in September that the U.S. was providing too much support. About a third said the level of support was about right, and about a quarter weren’t sure.


Republicans were roughly three times as likely as Democrats to say support was too much, 32% vs. 11%.


Read more: G20: Zelenskyy, Biden trying to persuade world leaders to further isolate Russia


Biden acknowledged that the past 10 months have been difficult and lamented that Russian President Vladimir Putin showed no sign of having the “dignity” to call off the invasion. He assured Zelenskyy that the U.S. wasn’t going anywhere.


“You don’t have to worry, we are staying with Ukraine,” Biden said.


Petr Pudil, a board member of Slovakian-based nongovernmental group Globsec, said Zelenskyy’s mission of keeping America engaged is a difficult one, but he is up to the task. Pudil’s group earlier this month helped organize a visit to Washington by Ukrainian parliament members who made their case that American support is going to be needed for some time while assuring lawmakers that it will not be wasted.


“One of the goals of Zelenskyy for this trip is convincing those who are still skeptical that winning is a real option,” Pudil said. “But it can be done, and only if they deliver the right support. Everyone needs to understand that there is a chance to win.”


Source: United News of Bangladesh


Argentina will open embassy in Dhaka next year: Country’s President writes to PM Hasina

Argentine President Alberto Fernández today said his country is working to reopen a diplomatic mission in Dhaka next year.


He also thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for greeting the Argentina football team on its FIFA World Cup 2022 victory, according to a press release from PM’s Press Wing.


Also read: ‘Let’s deepen this link’: Argentina’s president thanks Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh


“We’ve watched closely the celebrations of the friendly people of Bangladesh in support of the (Argentina) team,” he said in a letter to PM Hasina. Sports is a powerful tool of engagement between people, the letter added.


The Argentine president said his country is grateful for the Bangladeshi enthusiasm for the football team’s success and that it confirms the path of friendship between the nations.


Read More: Argentina’s foreign minister says will open embassy in Dhaka: Media report.


The letter also mentioned that both countries have completed 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations.


“I reaffirm to you our commitment to the consolidation of the friendship ties which unite us, being the establishment of diplomatic missions in the respective capitals the right way in this regard,” he wrote.


“On this, we will remain working for the next reopening of our diplomatic mission in Dhaka during the year 2023, as confirmation of the path we have decided to take in our bilateral relations,” Argentina President Alberto Fernández wrote in his letter.


Source: United News of Bangladesh


Top 10 Upcoming South Indian Films in January 2023

The very last week of the year has also seen a busy season at the Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam movie carnivals. It is nothing but a grand celebration to welcome the new year. The south silver screen will bear this vibe from the very first week of the year. Let’s look at the 10 South Indian Films set to release in January 2023.


10 Most Anticipated South Indian Movies Releasing in January 2023


Veera Simha Reddy | Telugu | January 12, 2023


This action film starring Nandamuri Balakrishna is directed by Gopichand Malineni. The subtitle ‘Man of Masses’ line along with the name of the movie impressed the fans a lot.


Balakrishna will be seen playing the roles of father and son in the movie. In the story of the movie, a foreign bank manager returns home to avenge his father’s murder.


Apart from Balakrishna, the cinema stars Shruti Haasan, Dunya Vijay, Lal, Honey Rose, and Varalakshmi Sarathkumar. Produced by Mithri Makers, the film’s music was composed and scored by S Thaman. The cinematography was done by Rishi Punjabi and the editing work was looked after by Naveen Nooli.


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Waltair Veerayya | Telugu | January 13, 2023


This action comedy movie is another production of Mithri Movie Makers. Director KS Ravindra presents a family action drama here, where Sathyaraj will be seen living happily with two wives. One wife is from Andhra Pradesh and another is from Telangana.


Chiranjeevi played the role of the leader of the port workers association, while Raviteja played the character of a police officer. Both of them are children of those two wives of Satyaraj. Prakash Raj is the main villain of the film, who will be seen doing smuggling. The film also stars Bobby Simha, Shruti Haasan, and Catherine Tresa.


The cinematography of the film was handled by Arthur A. Wilson and Niranjan Debramane was in charge of editing. The film’s music was supervised by Devi Sri Prasad.


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Vidya Vasula Aham | Telugu | January 14, 2023


The plot of this drama film revolves around the complex relationship between a young couple- Vidya and Basu. Their respective egos are mainly responsible for the conflict between them. Debutant director Manikant Geli here sheds light on the depressing and absurd micro-factors that make modern relationships suffer.


The film stars Shivani Rajashekar and Rahul Vijay in lead roles. In the movie, Shivani will be seen in the role of Vidya, a modern woman who is working hard for her career in a private firm while also juggling family responsibilities.


The film is bankrolled by Kumar Kodali and Lakshmi Navy Moturu on behalf of Ranjith Movies under the banner of Eternity Entertainment. Akhil Valluri was behind the camera and Kalyani Malik handled the film-score aspect.


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Thunivu | Tamil | January 11, 2023


Produced by Boney Kapoor under Bayview Projects LLP, this is an action-thriller in which a cunning criminal with his gang designs masterplans for bank robberies across Chennai. Writer and director H Binoth has filled the story of the movie with twists and mysteries.


The film stars Ajith Kumar, Manju Warrier, Samuthirakani, Prem Kumar, and Ajay in lead roles.


The film’s cinematography, editing, and music are handled by Nirav Shah, Vijay Velukutty, and Gibran respectively.


Read More: Bongo brings Bangla dubbed ‘Kaalidas’


Varisu | Tamil | January 12, 2023


Produced by Dil Raju, and Sirish under PVP Cinemas, this Sri Venkateswara Creations is made with every element of drama. As seen in Hari and Ashishor Solomon’s screenplay, everything around a happy-go-lucky youth begins to change after his foster father dies unexpectedly.


Directed by Vamshi Paidipally, the movie stars Vijay Rajendran, Rashmika Mandanna, A Sarathkumar, Prakash Raj, Prabhu, Ganesh Venkataraman, Srikanth, and Anandaraj in lead roles.


Karthik Palani, Thaman S, and Praveen KL were in charge of Cinematography, music direction, and editing respectively.


Read More: Bongo brings South Indian film ‘NGK’


Kranti | Kannada | January 26, 2023


This cinema starring Darshan is going to be quite influential as it focuses on the education system in India. An NRI goes back to his childhood Kannada medium school to overhaul the education system.


V Harikrishna did the all works of writing, directing, and composition of the film. Shailaja Nag and B Suresha bankrolled the movie on behalf of the production company Media House Studios.


Along with Darshan, Rachita Ram and Ravichandran also played the lead roles.


The cinematography was done by A Karunakar and Prakash Karinja made the edits.


Read More: KGF Chapter 2: Expensive Kannada film made record for fastest grossing


Shivaji Surathkal 2 | Kannada | January 16, 2023


Shivaji is the name of an honest and unscrupulous police inspector who takes up the challenge of solving the mystery of serial killing. Just as he is in the final moments of his investigation, it begins to affect his personal life.


This is the story of the upcoming version of the movie Shivaji Surathkal, starring Ramesh Aurobindo in the title role. Directed by renowned filmmaker Akash Srivatsa, the movie also stars Nasser, Meghna Gaonkar, Radhika Narayan, Aaradhya Chandra, Purnachandra Mysore, Raghu Ramankoppa, Vinayak Joshi, Ramesh Bhatt, Sri Sundar, Vidya Murthy, and Srinivas Prabhu.


Rekha KN and Anup Gowda were the film producers under Anjanadri Cine Creations. The film’s score was composed by Judah Sandhi, while Guru Prasad MG Kumar and Darshan M Ambat were the cinematographers.


Read More: Top 10 Best South Indian Thriller Movies for Weekend Movie Mania


Orchestra Mysuru | Kannada | January 12, 2023


Directed by Sunil Mysuru, the main character will be seen as passionate about performing with an orchestra in this musical movie. Purnachandra Mysuru and Rajalakshmi played the lead roles in the film.


This entertaining film is going to be released by KRG Studios, Dhanjaya Dali Pictures, Karthik Gowda, and Yogi G Raj. Ashwin Creations and Raghu Dixit Productions assisted in the overall financing of the film. The music composer of the cinema was Raghu Dixit and Rahul Roy worked behind the camera. Ritvik made all the edits to the film.


Read More: 5 Must-Watch Movies of Rajinikanth


Ayisha | Malayalam | January 20, 2023


It is an Indo-Arabic film directed by Aamir Pallikal and written by Ashif Kakodi. This is the first time that an Indian film has been produced in Saudi Arabia.


The film stars Manju Warrier in the lead role, who is accompanied by actresses like Radhika, Sajna, and Purnima. Besides, foreign stars like Latifah from Tunisia, Salama from UAE, Jennifer from the Philippines, Sarafina from Nigeria, and Sumair from Yemen have also worked in this movie.


The film’s finances were overseen by Cross Border Camera, Feather Touch Movie Box, Imagine Cinemas, Movie Bucket, and Last Exit Cinemas. Prabhu Deva, Vishnu Sharma, and Appu N Bhattathiri were involved in the choreography, cinematography, and editing of the cinema respectively.


Read more: Jaya Ahsan’s Bollywood debut confirmed as photos emerge with Pankaj Tripathi, other co-actors


Poovan | Malayalam | January 06, 2023


Not only does losing his sleep, the new rooster next door starts to change the whole daily life of the insomniac Hari. With such an interesting story, the screenplay of the film is written by Varun Dhara and directed by Vineet Vasudevan. Vineet himself is playing the lead role in this film. He is accompanied by Antony Varghese, Vineet Vishwam, Sajin Cherukail, and Varun Dhara.


The dramatic movie presents some of the important conventional problems of society in a humorous way. The comedy film is produced by Shebin Backer of Shebin Backer Productions and Girish Eddy of Stuck Cows. Sajith Purush worked behind the cinematography and Midhun Mukundan was the music director. Akash Joseph Varghese has done the overall edits of the film.


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Wrap Up


These best 10 upcoming South Indian movies in January 2023 are expected to mark a great intro to the year. The schedules of the movies have already been announced. Now the cinephiles can plan their movie day outs. Not to mention, the first quarter of 2023 is waiting with tons of surprises from the Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam film industries. In that sense, these January movies will give a proper warm-up to the moviegoers.


Source: United News of Bangladesh

Russia warns increasing supply of US arms to Ukraine will aggravate war

The Kremlin warned Wednesday that increasing the supply of U.S. arms to Ukraine would aggravate the devastating 10-month war ignited by Russia’s invasion, and Russia’s defense minister called for expanding Moscow’s military by at least 500,000 troops.


Speaking during a meeting with his top military brass, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would use lessons learned in the conflict to “develop our armed forces and strengthen the capability of our troops.” He said special emphasis would go to developing nuclear forces, which he described as “the main guarantee of Russia’s sovereignty.”


Putin also said the Russian military’s new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile would enter service shortly. The Sarmat is intended to replace aging Soviet-built ballistic missiles and form the core of Russia’s nuclear forces. Putin has hailed its capacity to dodge missile defenses.


The bullish rhetoric from Moscow came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with President Joe Biden in Washington, where U.S. officials announced a huge new military aid package for Kyiv. The $1.8 billion package includes for the first time a Patriot missile battery and precision guided bombs for fighter jets, U.S. officials said.


Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the beefed-up Russian military will include 695,000 volunteer contract soldiers, 521,000 of whom would be recruited by the end of 2023. The Russian military had about 400,000 contract soldiers as part of its 1 million-member military before the fighting in Ukraine began.


All Russian men ages 18 to 27 are obliged to serve in the military for one year, but many use college deferments and health exemptions to avoid the draft. Shoigu said the draft age range would be changed to 21- to 30-years-old, and the recruits would be offered a choice of serving for one year as draftees or signing a contract with the military as volunteers.


He also said Russia would form new units in the country’s west in view of ambitions by Finland and Sweden to join NATO.


The Kremlin’s plans marked a return to the Soviet-era military structure, which Russia abandoned during recent reforms that saw the creation of smaller units. Some Russian military experts have argued the more compact units intended for use in local conflicts were undermanned and underequipped for a massive conflict like the action in Ukraine.


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the expansion of Western weapon supplies to Ukraine has led to “an aggravation of the conflict and, in fact, does not bode well for Ukraine.”


Peskov’s comments were the first official Russian reaction to news that Zelenskyy was in Washington for his first known foreign trip since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion triggered the war that has killed thousands and laid waste to towns and cities across Ukraine.


The announcement of the new U.S. military aid came just hours before Zelenskyy paid a visit to the White House to thank U.S. leaders and “ordinary Americans” for their support in fighting off the invaders and to press for continued aid.


Read more: Russia-Ukraine War: US estimates 200,000 military deaths, injuries on both sides


Biden said the U.S. and Ukraine would continue to project a “united defense” as Russia wages a “brutal assault on Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation.”


Later, in a historic address to Congress aimed at sustaining U.S. and allied aid for Ukraine’s defense, Zelenskyy thanked “every American” for their support of his country.


Zelenskyy called U.S. support vital to Ukraine’s efforts to beat back Russia, and thanked lawmakers and everyday citizens for tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance over the last year.


The Ukrainian leader predicted that next year would be a “turning point” in the conflict, “when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom — the freedom of people who stand for their values.”


Moscow also was involved in high-level diplomacy. The deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, met Wednesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Medvedev, a former Russian president, said in a video statement that he and Xi discussed an array of topics, including “the conflict in Ukraine.” Medvedev did not elaborate.


China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and criticized sanctions against Moscow. Beijing has only referred to the invasion as the “Ukraine situation” in deference to Moscow, and accused the U.S. and NATO of provoking Putin by expanding into eastern Europe.


In other developments Wednesday, Dmitry Rogozin, the former Russian deputy prime minister and one-time head of the state space agency Roscosmos, was wounded during Ukrainian shelling of a hotel in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk.


Rogozin, who joined the Russian troops in Ukraine as a volunteer, told Russian state-controlled RT that a shell fragment missed his spine by just a centimeter (0.4 inches). Russian news agencies quoted Rogozin’s aide as saying that he was hospitalized, but his life wasn’t in danger.


Russian messaging app channels said Rogozin was celebrating his birthday at a restaurant when it was hit. Several other people, including the Moscow-appointed head of the regional government in Donetsk, were also wounded.


Russia annexed the Donetsk region along with three other regions of Ukraine in September.


Elsewhere, Russian forces pounded populated areas with more missiles and artillery. They shelled areas around the city of Nikopol in Ukraine’s southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, its governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, said Wednesday on Telegram.


Nikopol is across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Russian forces currently occupy the plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power station.


The Ukrainian president’s office reported Wednesday that Russian attacks on Tuesday killed five civilians and wounded 17. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Russia unleashed five missiles and 16 airstrikes on Ukrainian territory and 61 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems.


General Staff spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun said Ukrainian forces repelled attacks around more than 25 populated areas in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, with the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka continuing to be key targets of Russia’s grinding offensive.


The bodies of seven civilians, including a teenage girl, were found in a mass grave in the village of Pravdyne in southern Ukraine’s Kherson province, the Ukrainian defense minister said Wednesday. The village was held by Russian forces from March until early November.


Read more: Impact of Russia-Ukraine War on Asia’s climate goals


“They simply kill,” Oleksii Reznikov wrote on Twitter. He said that as, of Dec. 21, the bodies of about 500 civilians who died during the Russian occupation have been found in the country’s northeastern Kharkiv province.


Source: United News of Bangladesh