NCGG working to create pool of well-trained civil servants to address emerging challenges

The National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), an apex autonomous institution of the Indian government, is expanding and scaling up its activities following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayaas to improve the quality of people's lives in the country and its neighbourhood.

A two-week capacity-building programme for the civil servants of Bangladesh, the Maldives and Arunachal Pradesh state was held from January 9 to 20.

Eighty-seven officers – 39 civil servants from Bangladesh (56th batch), 26 from the Maldives (20th batch) and 22 from Arunachal Pradesh (1st batch) – joined the programme.

At first, officers from Arunachal Pradesh were trained at NCGG, both at Mussoorie and New Delhi.

This is in furtherance to further improve the governance and public service delivery in northeast and border states as directed by Jitendra Singh, minister of state, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with NCGG in 2022 to train 500 officers of Arunachal Pradesh over the next five years, according to NCGG.

Upholding the spirit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Neighbourhood First" policy, NCGG in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs of India has been "helping" neighbouring countries among others, in building capacities of their civil servants.

NCGG designs and implements capacity-building programmes that focus on various aspects of good governance and transparent administration for "assured public service delivery."

For the first time, sessions were held jointly to facilitate intellectual interactions and deliberations among participants from three countries.

The two-week capacity-building programme was scientifically tailored by the NCGG team and included the exchange of vast information, knowledge, new ideas, and best practices that promote citizen-centric governance.

The sessions for each training programme were firmed up by the NCGG faculty based on the needs of the respective countries and in consultation with Indian missions.

This capacity-building programme is expected to help civil servants in putting up dedicated efforts to fill in the gaps between policies and implementation in their respective countries or states.

In this two-week programme for the civil servants of Bangladesh, the Maldives and Arunachal Pradesh, participants interacted with domain experts on diverse topics – namely, e-governance, the vision of India@2047 and the role of civil servants, decentralised municipal solid waste management, digital India, potential and challenges of the power sector in Arunachal Pradesh, approach to SDGs by 2030, health governance in India, climate change and its impact on biodiversity – policies and global practices, anti-corruption practices, LiFE, and circular economy.

The valedictory session was held on January 20 and was graced by SK Jaiswal, director of CBI. In his valedictory address, he emphasised the decisive and multi-pronged action taken against corruption in India.

He discussed how a number of preventive steps were taken by the government with the massive use of information technology and emphasis on ensuring transparency, to root out corruption with huge success.

Transparency, accountability, and centrality of citizens have become the hallmark of today's governance in India, he added.

He also congratulated Shri Bharat Lal, DG, and his team for imparting such a "meaningful programme" for the civil servants of the Maldives, Bangladesh, and Arunachal Pradesh.

As the role of government and the future of public service delivery is constantly evolving, so does the role of civil servants.

Considering all the challenges NCGG designs a capacity-building programme that further helps in improving the quality of life of people.

In his address, Bharat Lal gave actionable advice to the participants to translate their learnings by preparing a plan of action and implementing the same to improve the quality of life of their citizens.

He emphasised that the capacity-building programmes designed by the NCGG are in consonance with Narendra

Modi's Neighbourhood First policy and uphold the spirit of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam."

He urged the civil servants to create an enabling environment for citizens to help them realise their full potential and ensure that no one is left out. "In today's India, all programmes/schemes are all-inclusive and focused on improving the quality of life of people."

The needs of the poorest of the poor are addressed by the government in a transparent way and without leaving anyone.

On the last day of the session on anti-corruption strategy, Pravin Sinha, special director, Shri Anurag, joint director, of CBI and Shri P Daniel, secretary of Central Vigilance Commission, along with other officers took sessions about preventive steps, transparency and on use of technology to root out the corruption and ensure good governance.

The capacity-building programme was conducted with the efforts of the course coordinators – AP Singh (the Maldives), BS Bisht (Arunachal Pradesh) and Mukesh Bhandari (Bangladesh), and also assisted by the NCGG team.

In partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, NCGG has imparted training to civil servants of 15 countries, so far – namely, Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Seychelles, Gambia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Laos, Vietnam, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

Known for content and delivery, the capacity-building programme is "highly sought after" and NCGG is expanding its capacity to accommodate a higher number of civil servants from various countries as well as various states or union territories of India as per their requirements.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

PM unveils new book on Bangabandhu and his government

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday unveiled a book written focusing on the government of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and its basic outlines of building a new Bangladesh.

PM's Principal Secretary M Tofazzel Hosaain Miah composed the book titled "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman-er Sarkar: Desh Nirmane Moulik Ruprekha.'

The PM unwrapped the book at her office, said PM's Deputy Press Secretary Hasan Jahid Tusher.

ReadPM unveils book on Bangamata more:

The book highlighted a total of 47 issues related to the management of Bangabandhu's government, including the administration system, cabinet, budget, economy, foreign policy, planning, defence, infrastructure and communication, women's development, trade policy, legislation, civil service, education and human resources.

Sheikh Hasina wrote the preface of the book published by Pathak Shamabesh.

The book reflected the way Bangabandhu wanted to build Bangladesh, which would be research and guiding documents for the researchers, thinkers, economists, policy makers and political leaders who want to realize Bangabandhu's dream of building a Golden Bengal.

The book will be available at Pathak Shamabesh, Kataban, Dhaka.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

JS passes ‘Nursing and Midwifery Council (amendment) Bill 2023

The 'Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council (amendment) Bill 2023’ was passed on Monday.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Malek moved the Bill and it was passed by a voice vote.

As per the objective of the Bill, it has been proposed bringing an amendment to the law titled 'Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council Bill -2016'.

Earlier, the 'Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council Bill, 2016' had been enacted with a provision of forming a council for the registration of professionals having degrees in nursing, midwifery and related professions.

Similar to the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC), he said, the Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council would give recognition to the education, training and qualification of the nursing and midwifery professionals.

The proposed law was formulated to replace the Bangladesh Nursing Ordinance, 1983, according to the draft of the bill, adding that it was placed in a more expanded outline including midwifery as well as translating it into Bangla as per the earlier directives of the Supreme Court declaring all the Martial Law regime ordinances illegal.

As per the Bill, any person willing to use his or her degrees in midwifery education and nursing like a nursing diploma and postgraduate in nursing received from any institution at home and abroad must be recognised by the council.

As per the draft law, taking up the profession of nursing, midwifery and their related professions would be prohibited without registration with the council.

According to the draft of the Bill, anyone taking up the profession of nursing and midwifery without a valid registration will have to face a maximum of three years of imprisonment or a maximum Tk one lakh fine or both.

The registration of nurses, midwives or related professionals violating the specific rules and policies by their conduct will be cancelled and their names will be withdrawn from the council register.

The draft law mentioned that any aggrieved person could appeal before the government through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare within 30 days of the cancellation of the registration by the Council.

For giving false designation of nursing, midwifery and related profession, the person concerned will have to face maximum of one-year imprisonment or a maximum Tk50,000 fine.

The proposed law said that no institution other than a recognised educational institution can undertake any educational programme, prepare curriculum, conduct courses, provide training or award any certificate, degree or diploma related to nursing, midwifery or any allied profession.

If any institution violates the provisions it shall be an offence, and for that the responsible institution shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Tk 2 lakhs, and in addition, if the offence continues, for everyday the fine will be not more than Tk 20,000.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Germany says it won’t block Poland giving Ukraine tanks

The German government will not object if Poland decides to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, Germany's top diplomat said Sunday (January 22, 2023), indicating movement on supplying weapons that Kyiv has described as essential to its ability to fend off an intensified Russian offensive.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told French TV channel LCI that Poland has not formally asked for Berlin's approval to share some of its German-made Leopards but added “if we were asked, we would not stand in the way.”

German officials “know how important these tanks are" and “this is why we are discussing this now with our partners,” Baerbock said in interview clips posted by LCI.

Ukraine’s supporters pledged billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine during a meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday. International defense leaders discussed Ukraine's urgent request for the Leopard 2 tanks, and the failure to work out an agreement overshadowed the new commitments.

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Germany is one of the main donors of weapons to Ukraine, and it ordered a review of its Leopard 2 stocks in preparation for a possible green light. Nonetheless, the government in Berlin has shown caution at each step of increasing its military aid to Ukraine, a hesitancy seen as rooted in its history and political culture.

Germany’s tentativeness has drawn criticism, particularly from Poland and the Baltic states, countries on NATO’s eastern flank that feel especially threatened by Russia’s renewed aggression.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that if the fellow NATO and European Unio member did not consent to transferring Leopard tanks to Ukraine, his country was prepared to build a “smaller coalition” of countries that would send theirs anyway.

“Almost a year had passed since the outbreak of war,” Morawiecki said in an interview with Polish state news agency PAP published Sunday. “Evidence of the Russian army’s war crimes can be seen on television and on YouTube. What more does Germany need to open its eyes and start to act in line with the potential of the German state?”

Deadly missile strike adds to Ukraine war fears in Poland

Previously, some officials in Poland indicated that Finland and Denmark also were ready to send Leopards to Ukraine.

Earlier Sunday, the speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, said governments that give more powerful weapons to Ukraine risked causing a “global tragedy that would destroy their countries.”

“Supplies of offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime would lead to a global catastrophe,” Volodin said. “If Washington and NATO supply weapons that would be used for striking peaceful cities and making attempts to seize our territory as they threaten to do, it would trigger a retaliation with more powerful weapons.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, said Sunday that he had asked his defense minister to “work on” the idea of sending some of France's Leclerc battle tanks to Ukraine.

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Macron spoke during a news conference in Paris with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as France and Germany commemorated the 60th anniversary of their post-World War II friendship treaty. In a joint declaration, the two countries committed to their “unwavering support” for Ukraine.

France will make its tank decision based on three criteria, Macron said: that sharing the equipment does not lead to an escalation of the conflict, that it would provide efficient and workable help when training time is taken into account, and that it wouldn’t weaken France’s own military.

Scholz did not respond when asked about the Leopard 2 tanks Sunday, but stressed that his country already has made sizable military contributions to Ukraine.

“The U.S. is doing a lot, Germany is doing a lot, too," he said. "We have constantly expanded our deliveries with very effective weapons that are already available today. And we have always coordinated all these decisions closely with our important allies and friends.”

German caution on Ukraine arms rooted in political culture

In Washington, two leading lawmakers urged the U.S. on Sunday to send some of its Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the interests of overcoming Germany’s reluctance to share its own, more suitable tanks.

“If we announced we were giving an Abrams tank, just one, that would unleash” the flow of tanks from Germany, Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told ABC’s “This Week on Sunday.” “What I hear is that Germany’s waiting on us to take the lead.”

Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat who is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also spoke up for the U.S. sending Abrams.

“If it requires our sending some Abrams tanks in order to unlock getting the Leopard tanks from Germany, from Poland, from other allies, I would support that,” Coons said.

Defense leaders meet amid dissent over tanks for Ukraine

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of the Russian Security Council, said Friday's U.S.-led meeting at the air base in Germany “left no doubt that our enemies will try to exhaust or better destroy us,” adding that “they have enough weapons” to achieve the purpose.

Medvedev, a former Russian president, warned that “in case of a protracted conflict,” Russia could seek to form a military alliance with "the nations that are fed up with the Americans and a pack of their castrated dogs."

Ukraine has argued it needs more weapons as it anticipates Russia's forces launching a new offensive in the spring.

Oleksii Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council, warned that Russia may try to intensify its attacks in the south and in the east and to cut supply channels of Western weapons, while conquering Kyiv “remains the main dream” in President Vladimir Putin’s "fantasies,” he said.

Kyiv helicopter crash kills 18, including Ukraine’s interior minister, his two children

In a column published by online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda. he described the Kremlin’s goal in the conflict as a “total and absolute genocide, a total war of destruction"

Among those calling for more arms for Ukraine was the former British prime minister, Boris Johnson, who made a surprise trip to Ukraine on Sunday. Johnson, who was pictured in the Kyiv region town of Borodyanka, said he traveled to Ukraine at the invitation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“This is the moment to double down and to give the Ukrainians all the tools they need to finish the job. The sooner Putin fails, the better for Ukraine and for the whole world,” Johnson said in a statement.

The last week was especially tragic for Ukraine even by the standards of a brutal war that has gone on for nearly a year, killing tens of thousands of people, uprooting millions more and creating vast destruction of Ukrainian cities.

Netherlands says it will send Patriot assistance to Ukraine

A barrage of Russian missiles struck an apartment complex in the southeastern city of Dnipro on Jan. 14, killing at least 45 civilians. On Wednesday, a government helicopter crashed into a building housing a kindergarten in a suburb of Kyiv. Ukraine's interior minister, other officials and a child on the ground were among the 14 people killed.

Zelenskyy vowed Sunday that Ukraine would ultimately prevail in the war.

“We are united because we are strong. We are strong because we are united," the Ukrainian leader said in a video address as he marked Ukraine Unity Day, which commemorates when east and west Ukraine were united in 1919.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Biden should be ’embarrassed’ by classified docs case: Democrats

Senior Democrats, dismayed by a steady stream of startling disclosures, expressed criticism Sunday of how President Joe Biden handled classified material after leaving office as vice president and disappointment that the White House has not been more forthcoming with the public.

Lawmakers who might have anticipated questions focusing on the debt limit or Ukraine aid when they were booked last week for the Sunday news shows found themselves quizzed about the latest development over the weekend in the document drama that has put Biden's presidency on the defensive: During a search Friday of Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, the FBI found additional documents with classified markings and took possession of some of his handwritten notes, the president’s lawyer said Saturday.

Biden should be “embarrassed by the situation,” said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, adding that the president had ceded the moral high ground on an issue that has already entangled former President Donald Trump. Special counsels appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland are investigating both cases.

“Well, of course. Let's be honest about it. When that information is found, it diminishes the stature of any person who is in possession of it because it's not supposed to happen. ... The elected official bears ultimate responsibility," Durbin said.

FBI searched Biden home, found documents marked classified

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Biden “should have a lot of regrets. ... You just might as well say, ‘Listen, it’s irresponsible.'" The president told reporters on Thursday that he had “no regrets” over how and when the public learned about the documents and that there was “no there there.”

Despite their criticism, Biden's fellow Democrats defended what they said was his cooperation with the Justice Department as the search for additional classified material unfolds. They contrasted it with Trump's resistance to efforts to recover hundreds of documents after he left office.

“It is outrageous that either occurred,” Durbin said. "But the reaction by the former president and the current president could not be in sharper contrast.”

Biden voluntarily allowed the FBI into his home on Friday, but the lack of a warrant did not dim the extraordinary nature of the search. It compounded the embarrassment to Biden that started in earlier in January with the disclosure that the president’s lawyers had found a “small number” of classified records at a former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington shortly before the Nov. 8 elections.

The White House has disclosed that Biden's team found classified documents and official records on three other occasions in recent months — in follow-up searches on Dec. 20 in the garage of his Wilmington home, and on Jan. 11 and 12 in his home library.

The discoveries have become a political liability as Biden prepares to kick off his 2024 reelection bid, and they undercut his efforts to portray an image of propriety to the American public after the tumultuous presidency of his predecessor, Trump.

Manchin excoriated both men for their handling of sensitive security documents. “It's just hard to believe that in the United States of America, we have a former president and a current president that are basically in the same situation,” he said. “How does this happen?”

Biden on classified docs discovery: 'There's no there there'

At the same time, Democrats worried that Biden's travails have created an opening for newly empowered House Republicans.

“We have to worry, since this new group that has taken over control of the House of Representatives has promised us endless investigations, confrontations, impeachments and chaos, what is going to happen,” Durbin said.

The new chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said he took Biden “at his word when the first set of documents were found. ... But now this is gone from just simply being irresponsible to downright scary.”

The Justice Department says Trump took hundreds of records marked classified with him upon leaving the White House in early 2021 and resisted months of requests to return them to the government. Biden has willingly turned over the documents once found. But the issue is wearing on Biden and his aides, who have said they acted quickly and appropriately when the documents were discovered, and are working to be as transparent as possible.

Durbin appeared on CNN's “State of the Union,” Manchin was on CNN and NBC's “Meet the Press" and Comer was interviewed on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Japan provides Tk 6.9 million to JUAAB

The Embassy of Japan has decided to extend grant assistance worth US$ 66,216, or approximately Tk 6.9 million to Japanese Universities Alumni Association in Bangladesh (JUAAB) for improving the facilities of Japanese Cultural Center under the scheme of Grant Assistance for Cultural Grassroots Projects (GCGP).

Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori signed the “grant contract” for the project at his office in presence of Professor Dr M.A.M Yahia Khandoker, President of JUAAB.

Senior executive members of JUAAB also graced the occasion held at the Embassy on Monday.

Japanese Universities Alumni Association in Bangladesh (JUAAB) is the association of the people who obtained their Bachelor, Master or PhD degrees from Japanese universities.

JUAAB was established in 2000, on the historical occasion of the 30th anniversary of Japan’s diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

The association has been fostering friendship between the people of Bangladesh and Japan by facilitating academic exchanges, socio-cultural understanding and promoting mutual appreciation of our two nation’s heritage.

JUAAB is operating a Japanese Language School since 2001 and has been a premier Japanese language school in the country.

The organization also has an Ikebana school in operation.

Since 2002, JUAAB is organizing Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) in cooperation with Japan Foundation and Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh.

Moreover, JUAAB has been organizing Japanese Language Speech Contest every year since 2008, under the financial support from the Japan Foundation.

Association presently has more than 700 members.

Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh hopes to further promote Japanese language and culture in Bangladesh through this grass-root project.

Source: United News of Banglades

CEC meets Speaker Tuesday to discuss presidential election

A meeting about holding the 22nd presidential election between Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal will be held on Tuesday.

Election Commissioner Anisur Rahman said on Monday that the CEC on Sunday sought an appointment from the Speaker for the meeting.

The Election Commission Secretariat also contacted the Parliament Secretariat on the same day.

There will be no need to summon a Parliament session for the election as per law. Rather, a meeting will be called by the CEC for electing the President by Members of Parliament. The CEC will preside over that meeting.

If there is only one candidate such a meeting is not required.

Officials said that the detailed schedule of the presidential election will be discussed in the CEC's meeting with the Speaker.

The Election Commission will declare a single candidate as the winner as per law.

According to the law, elections should be held within 90 days of the end of the term of a President.

On Apr 24, 2013, Abdul Hamid was sworn in as the 20th President of Bangladesh.

Hamid is the only President who has been serving for two consecutive terms. His second and last tenure will expire on April 24 this year.

Hamid cannot be elected president for another term as the country’s constitution allows a maximum of two terms for a person in the post of president.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Sanctions were ‘unilateral’, not by the UN: Chinese Ambassador

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Yao Wen today (January 23, 2023) said China supports any global initiative if it remains conducive to common development worldwide and avoids division or confrontation.

He said any initiative by a country should be “open and inclusive” instead of being exclusive to a particular country or against any country.

The Chinese ambassador made the remarks when a reporter wanted to know his views on various global initiatives including the Indo-Pacific strategy.

Ambassador Wen had a meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Responding to a question on sanctioned Russian ship heading towards China, the ambassador said he saw the media reports and hoped that any sort of sanction would not affect ordinary people and cooperation with any country.

He also said that those were “unilateral sanctions”, and not by the United Nations.

Bangladesh has conveyed to the Russian side that they can send any ship except those 69 sanctioned ones carrying equipment for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

Sanctioned Russian ship Sparta III (Ursa Major) was scheduled to dock at Mongla port in Bangladesh at the end of December last year and unload cargo destined for the Rooppur power plant in Pabna.

Bangladesh won’t accept those Russian ships which are under sanctions: FM

But the authorities denied the ship permission to dock at the port after officials got a letter from the US Embassy in Dhaka, saying that the ship was on a list of Russian vessels sanctioned by the US.

The ship is en route to the port of Shanghai, China, sailing at a speed of 10.4 knots and expected to arrive there on January 31, according to which provides real-time vessel data.

Asked about the sanctioned ship's location, Foreign Minister Momen said they do not know anything further about the ship but reiterated that Bangladesh will not allow any sanctioned ship.

Regarding the situation along the border with Myanmar, he said the relevant ministries are working and they are also in touch with the Bangladesh mission in Myanmar.

Shipments for Rooppur plant and Bangabandhu Rail Bridge arrive at Mongla port

"The situation is not good," said the foreign minister, noting that people are moving from one place to another out of panic.

He said that no new entry from Myanmar will be allowed amid conflicts between two groups on the Myanmar side.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Parliament now a one-party club: Fakhrul

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday alleged that the government has turned the Jatiya Sangsad into a 'one-party club' by destroying the country’s electoral system.

“They (govt) have destroyed all the democratic institutions. Is it a Parliament that they have formed? They’ve created a one-party club. It’s a club of Awami League,” he said.

Speaking at a discussion meeting the BNP Secretary General also said the government has ruined the electoral system to cling to power by force.

Stating that the electoral system is the gateway of democracy, he said the Parliament and cabinet are supposed to be formed to run the country through a credible election. “But they've destroyed the electoral system. People now do not go to cast their votes.”

Fakhrul alleged that Awami League has also destroyed the state structure by hanging onto power through a ‘unilateral’ election with 154 uncontested MPs and through vote robbery and taking votes the night before the polling date. “They have taken all steps to take all the state machinery to their favour.”

Under the current circumstances of the country, he said their party placed a 27-point proposal to reform the state and fix the state institutions. “The 27-point outline is BNP’s dream and we’ll explain it before people. One can never succeed without a dream. We’ll move forward with the dream.”

Bangladesh Sammalita Peshajibi Parishad arranged the programme titled “The 27-Point Framework for State Reform: Explanation and Analysis” at the Jatiya Press Club. On December 19, BNP announced the 27-point framework for state reform.

Fakhrul said their party has been able to create a mass wave of people against the government through their recent 10 divisional rallies and other programmes. "The stormy wave that has begun will wash away the current regime since people are not with them.”

5 BNP MPs’ resignation: Election to vacant seats within 90 days, EC says

He said the first demand of their 10-point proposal is the resignation of the Awami League government by dissolving the Parliament for constituting a caretaker government, which will oversee next election.

After that election, the BNP leader said they will form a national government with the partners of their simultaneous movement to implement the 27-point outline.

He urged the BNP leaders and activists not to be frustrated as they are fighting to restore democracy and people’s lost rights, and to protect the country from misrule and fascism. “Why would we be disappointed? We are being successful, and we are moving forward. Hundreds of our leaders and workers went to jail. I have never seen any type of despair on their faces.”

Fakhrul said they have been in an imbalanced fight since their opponents are very powerful having the entire state apparatus, guns, and pistols in their hands. “Indiscriminately they attack us using those and then file cases against us.”

He said a Swechchasebak Dal leader activist Mokbul was killed in police action on December 7 last in front of BNP’s Nayapaltan central office. “On the contrary, a case was filed against our 450 leaders and workers. So, the bottom line is, we have to protect our existence and save our people.”

The BNP leader also alleged that the government has politicized the entire judicial system, depriving people of justice.

He bemoaned that the media also now cannot enjoy the freedom as they are being forced to exercise self-censorship. “One detective has been attached to every media house. They dictate what to write, create headlines and what to prioritise and what not to prioritise.”

5 BNP MPs submit resignation to JS Speaker

Fakhrul, however, praised journalists for what he said and their efforts to present the truth amid so many limitations. “Can you imagine that the editors are facing cases, including for murder charges?”

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Holy Shab-e-Meraj on February 18

The holy Shab-e-Meraj will be observed in the country on the night of February 18.

The National Moon Sighting Committee took the decision at a meeting held at the Islamic Foundation office at Baitul Mukarram on Monday evening.

On the night of 26th Rajab every year, Muslims observe Shab-e-Meraj when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) embarked on a special journey to meet Allah.

In the journey, the Prophet travelled on the “Buraq” to Heaven where Allah gave him some instructions to take back to the faithful regarding the details of prayers.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Impression of Rokeya’s: Intaglio process workshop at Cosmos Atelier71 from Monday

Cosmos Atelier71, the reputed printmaking studio of Cosmos Foundation, is set to host a 4-day exclusive Intaglio process Softground and Stencil Workshop by internationally acclaimed art maestro Professor Rokeya Sultana on Monday titled Impression of Rokeya's at the Cosmos Centre in the capital.

The workshop will continue from January 23-26 at the Cosmos Atelier71.

Supported by Gallery Cosmos, the artistic wing of the Cosmos Foundation, the workshop will feature eminent Bangladeshi artists - Shahabuddin Ahmed, Monirul Islam, Biren Shome, Nasir Ali Mamun and Anisuzzaman Anis, alongside 10 participating artists from home and beyond - Asmita Alam Shammi, Roosevelt Benjamin, Chhobi Zulfiqar, Rifat Jahan Kanta, Farzana Rahman Bobby, Mohammad Rezwanur Rahman, Bacchu Miah Arif, Kamruzzoha, Sukla Poddar and SM Ehsan.

The artists will work on the Intaglio Process, Soft ground and Stencil media in this exclusive printmaking workshop.

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“Every artist is going to finish two printmaking artworks during the workshop; later on, we are going to display these artworks for a daylong exhibition and sale in the Baridhara Garden Gallery on January 28,” Cosmos Atelier71 and Gallery Cosmos Executive Director Sourav Chowdhury told UNB. Currently a Professor of Printmaking at the Dhaka University Faculty of Fine Art, Rokeya Sultana was born in Chittagong in 1958. After graduating from the Bangladesh College of Arts and Crafts in 1980, she received a master’s degree in printmaking from Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, in 1983.

She has exhibited in Poland, Germany, Morocco, Oman (Bait Al Zubair Museum), France, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Taiwan, Nepal, Korea, Jordan, Denmark, Pakistan, India, USA—Denver, Wyoming, NY (Art Student League)—and Japan, among other countries.

Sultana is the recipient of numerous national and international scholarships and awards, including a prestigious Fullbright grant, which supported her nine-month artist’s residency at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is an influential figure in Dhaka, Santiniketan and Sydney art scenes.

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Notable among the artist’s awards are the Purchase Award, Somerstown Gallery, 4th Biennial, NY, USA (1992), Grand Prize in the 3rd Bharat Bhavan Print Biennale (1995), Bengal Foundation Award in the 14th National Art Exhibition (1999), Honourable Mention in the 9th Asian Art Biennale (1999), Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Award in the National Art Exhibition (2002). In 2003, Sultana availed a French government scholarship at L’Atelier Le Couriere et Frelaut in Paris, and in 2017 she became an Artist in Residence at Open Print Studio, Toronto Canada.

Her works are in the collections of the Bangladesh National Museum; Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy; President’s House, Bangladesh; Bengal Foundation, Dhaka; 1971 Genocide Torture Archives and Museum, Khulna, Bangladesh; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; Bangladesh Aga Khan Development Network; Blacktown Art Center, Sydney; University of Nebraska; Archives of SGC International at Zuckerman Museum of Art, Georgia; Academy of Art University, San Francisco; The Museum of International Contemporary Graphic, Fredrikstad, Norway; Universal Graphic Museum, Cairo; Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Kolkata; Young One Collection, Korea; among others.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Mozammel sounds out election year conspiracy in parliament

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque on Monday alleged that BNP-Jamaat and 'those who feed on leftovers', meaning extreme left and right wingers, become active for conspiracy whenever election comes nearer.

The Minister, who is also in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office in the parliamentary affairs, said this in parliament in response to a tabled question from Awami League MP elected from Chattogram M Abdul Latif.

He said that a section of people are trying to create unrest by destroying peace in the society.

“Jamaat-BNP and some left over eaters--far left, far right, associated with them who have no public support, actually became active in conspiracy ahead of the election,” he said.

He said that these sections of people do not see the achievements of Awami League.

“Seeing that the people are with the Awami League, they unite to hatch a conspiracy.”

The minister mentioned that while the country under the leadership of the Awami League government is moving towards the realisation of Bangabandhu's dream, a section of people are trying to create unrest by destroying peace in the society.

“The stability that has been created in the country for the last one and a half years and the prosperity that the country is moving towards is not tolerated by many people,” he said.

The minister said drugs were a tool of the BNP when they were in power. BNP imports drugs to destroy the youth of this country. They do not want a healthy generation to develop in this country.

“They are angry with the people of this country because the father of the nation built an independent sovereign country called Bangladesh coming out from Pakistan.”

He alleged that In a bid to destroy this nation, Ziaur Rahman handed over weapons to some students after coming to power.

“He travelled abroad with them and introduced them to international terrorists.”

He mentioned that BNP has always wanted the country to be destroyed while Awami League has always wanted our country to move forward as a developed and prosperous country”

The Minister said that the people of this country should develop as self-respecting people; Let Bengali be known to the world as a developed, prosperous and self-respecting nation.

He said that the Awami League government wants to deal with all conspiracies taking the common people of this country with them.

Saying that social harmony committees have been formed from the Prime Minister's Office at all union/upazila and district levels of the country, the minister said that local and foreign cliques including BNP-Jamaat have become active to spread child marriage, drugs, militancy at various levels and destroy social harmony.

He said the Prime Minister directed the formation of this committee in all unions, upazilas and districts composed of people from all classes and professions. It is issued from the Prime Minister's Office.

The minister also said that overwhelming and spontaneous participation of people from all walks of life has been observed in the activities of the committee.

He also said all the people of the society will be united through this committee and different problems of the society will be uprooted.

Source: United News of Bangladesh