Gang-rape in Ctg: UP member arrested

Chattagram, Police have arrested a union parishad member who allegedly raped a woman along with others in Sitakundu upazila of Chattogram.

A team of police of Sitakundu Model Police Station arrested UP member Jahed Sultan Robin from a relative’s house in Lalanagar area early Monday.

Tofael Ahmed, officer-in-charge of Sitakunda Model Police Station, said they conducted a drive after the woman’s husband filed a case against him.

“We arrested him at around 3 am. He was sent to a court,” he said.

Police said the rape survivor and his husband were picked up at Sonaichhari union by UP member Jahed Sultan Robin and some cohorts while there were going to their workplace.

They tied up the man and raped his wife by turns at the office of the UP member.

They also looted two mobile phone sets and gold ornaments from them.

Police from a local police station rescued the couple after getting a call on emergency helpline no 999.

Robin went into hiding soon after the incident.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Each country should have ‘Data Protection Act’: Law minister

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq said on Monday that every country should have the ‘Data Protection Act’.

The minister came up with the reply a day after US Ambassador in Dhaka Peter Haas said that many US organisations would have to leave Bangladesh once the draft law is passed.

The Law Minister made his statement while replying to questions from journalists after inaugurating the ‘11th Orientation Course of Additional District and Sessions Judges’ at the auditorium of Justice Administration Training Institute in the capital.

He said corrections will be made if any inconsistency is detected in the drafted law (Data Protection Act) after discussion with the stakeholders.

The minister said the justice division is working to provide low cost and quick services despite being burdened with some 37 lakh pending cases. He said that reducing the huge gridlock of the pending cases is a big challenge.

Read more: Law Minister in staunch defence of Digital Security Act

He advised the additional district and sessions judges detailing how to reduce the huge number of pending cases by using their own experiences.

The training institute Director General Justice Nazmun Ara Sultan chaired the function where Secretary to the Law and Justice division Md Golam Sarwar also spoke.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Court rejects plea to try BNP student leader Jonny’s 2015 death in police firing

A Dhaka court on Monday rejected a petition seeking permission to file a case against 15 policemen over what it alleged was the “custodial death” of BNP student front Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal’s leader Nuruzzaman Jonny in Dhaka’s Khilgaon area eight years ago.

Judge Md Asaduzzaman of Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court passed the order finding no sufficient grounds for taking into cognizance the charges brought against the accused, said Additional Metropolitan Public Prosecutor Tapash Kumar Pal.

Earlier this day, Jonny’s father Md Yakub Ali filed the plea with the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court accusing 15 policemen.

Former Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Miah is among the accused.

The other accused are–Krishna Pada Roy, Commissioner of Chattogram Metropolitan Police, SI Deepak Kumar Das (DB Ramna Zone), Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Hasan Arafat, Md Zahidul Haque Talukder, DB Police Inspector Fazlur Rahman, Ohiduzzaman, SM Shahriar Hasan, SI Shihab Uddin, Bahauddin Faruqi, Md Jahangir Hossain, DB Constable Md Solaiman, Abu Syed, Md Lutfar Rahman and Khilgaon police station SI Md Alauddin.

All of the accused were posted with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police at the time of Jonny’s death.

Jonny, general secretary of JCD Khilgaon unit at the time, was allegedly killed in a “gunfight” with police in Dhaka’s Khilgaon area on January 20, 2015.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Fish trader burned dead amid asleep in Pirojpur

Pirojpur, A fish trader was burnt to death in sleep as a fire broke out at his house in Sadar Upazila of Pirojpur district early Monday.

The deceased was identified as Sohel Hawladar, 28, son of Nazrul Islam Hawladar, a resident of Bhaijora area of Phirojpur municipality.

Nasir Uddin, elder brother of Sohel Hawladar, said that his wife woke him up in the early morning saying that his brother Sohel’s house caught fire.

Later other family members and locals tried to put out the blaze but could not save Sohael who was asleep inside the house, he added.

Abdur Rashid, Sub-officer of Pirojpur Fire Service and Civil Defense, said a fire service unit extinguished the blaze after receiving information from locals and recovered a charred body from the house.

The fire is initially believed to have originated from the kitchen stove.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

No sale of antibiotics without prescription: Cabinet clears draft law

The Cabinet on Monday gave the final approval to the draft of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 2023 banning the sale of antibiotic drugs without prescription from a registered doctor.

The approval came from the weekly Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office.

“As per the draft law, the antibiotic drugs can’t be sold without the prescription of any registered doctor and it'll be a punishable offence,” said Cabinet Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain while briefing reporters at Bangladesh Secretariat after the meeting.

He said if the antibiotic drug is sold without the prescription, the shopper will be fined Tk 20,000.

The Cabinet Secretary said the matters of monitoring and controlling the use of antibiotics were included in the proposed law as prevention of the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has now emerged as a big challenge.

Now there are two drug laws, which are Drugs Act, 1940 and Drugs (Control) Ordinance, 1982.

But the two laws focused only on drug issues, not cosmetics. “In the proposed law, the cosmetics issue has been included,” said Mahbub Hossain.

In the proposed law, some 30 types of offences were cited and the maximum punishment would be life-term imprisonment for several offences like production of fake and adulterated drugs as well as creating artificial crisis of drugs, he said.

Some new issues including development of drugs, vaccines and medical devices were incorporated in the draft law, he said adding that the WHO guidelines will have to be followed in case of drug issue.

Mahbub said the government will fix the prices of some drug items as per the draft law.

The meeting also gave the final nod to the draft of the Copyright Act, 2023 keeping punitive provisions to check piracy.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

BGMEA, SOWTEX to hold “Textile Sourcing Meets’23” & Road Show in India from February 9-12

The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has set a goal to take RMG export to $100 billion by 2030.

To achieve this goal, the RMG sector of Bangladesh needs reliable and quality raw materials supply from building up our own backward linkage as well as readily available materials from China and India, said BGMEA on Monday.

The demand for man-made fiber-based garments is growing and India is a reliable source of man-made fiber-based fabrics and lots of specialty fashion fabrics.

As Indian textile supply chain is deep and highly fragmented, BGMEA has collaborated with SOWTEX – Tech Aggregator B2B Sourcing platform for fashion and textile materials to fast track connection to right suppliers from India.

BGMEA has been working with the government agencies of Bangladesh and India to open up additional land ports and ease the congestion in Petrapole-Benapole border and better connectivity via train for smooth flow of raw materials from India to Bangladesh.

The faster lead time and additional quality raw materials from a reliable source like India can help fulfill the demand for our buyers as well as grow the Bangladesh market in diversified product category areas.

To this end, BGMEA and SOWTEX along with Confederation of Indian Textile Industries (CITI) have planned two "Textile Sourcing Meets’23 and Road Show in India from February 9 to 12.

The event will be led by BGMEA President Faruque Hassan and Vice President Shahidullah Azim along with a team of delegates from Bangladesh RMG Industries.

The BGMEA team is going for close interactions with top Indian Textile Manufacturers in a four-day visit on Textile Sourcing Roadshow planned in three cities Delhi - Ahmedabad - Surat.

Team SOWTEX is co-hosting this Textile Roadshows starting from Delhi on February 9, 2023 and is inviting strategic stakeholders from CITI, Denim Manufacturing Association, SRTEPC and Ministry of Textile, GOI to have a close networking among the various stakeholders together.

The first meeting will be held in Delhi on February 9 followed by a meeting in Ahmedabad and Surat on February 10 and 11.

This meeting between Bangladesh and India will be a major step towards building strategic partnership to provide high quality fabrics and materials to this ambitious goal of $100 billion of RMG export from Bangladesh, and can contribute $15 billion of raw material support from India in the next 3-5 years, according to BGMEA.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

One held with 18 gold bars in Satkhira

Police in a drive arrested a man and seized 18 gold bars, weighing 2,100 kg from Bakal Bridge in Sadar upazila of Satkhira district on Monday.

The arrestee was identified as Md Mithu, 27, son of Shawkat Ali of the upazila.

Tipped off, a team of police conducted a drive in the area and intercepted Mithu while he was crossing the area by a motorbike in the afternoon, said Additional Superintendent of Satkhira Police Sajeeb Khan.

Later, they seized a packet containing 18 gold bars from under the seat of the motorbike.

Police also seized the motorbike.

The market value of the seized gold bars is Tk 1.53 crore.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Adani Power team likely to visit Bangladesh to discuss coal price, power tariff

A high level team of the Indian Adani Group is likely to come to Bangladesh within this month to discuss the coal price and power tariff issue, said a highly placed source at the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).

“We’ve been communicated by the Adani Group that a team of the company is coming to Bangladesh within February”, he told UNB on condition of anonymity.

According to official sources, the move from the Indian conglomerate came in response to BPDB’s letter sent recently to the Adani Group following a request received in relation to opening LCs (in India) to import the coal that will be used as fuel for the 1,600 MW plant in Jharkhand.

Since practically all the power generated by the plant located in the Godda district of Jharkhand state will be exported to Bangladesh, Adani Power requires a demand note from BPDB that it can present to Indian authorities before opening LCs against the coal import.

Adani Power recently sent a request for BPDB to issue the demand note, where the coal price is quoted at $400 per ton -- far above what BPDB officials believe it should be given the present state of the international market.

“In our view, the coal price they have quoted ($400/MT) is excessive - it should be less than $250/MT, which is what we are paying for the imported coal at our other thermal power plants," the BPDB official said.

The same sources also said Bangladesh’s stance on the issue was communicated to Adani Power officials during the visit of a delegation led by State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid to the site of the power plant in the first week of January.

Meanwhile, the State Minister on Sunday said that electricity from India Adani Group's Jharkhand power plant will be added to the national grid in March as per the agreement.

"There is no uncertainty over supply of electricity from Adani Power to the national grid,” he told reporters at his office on Sunday.

The junior minister's remarks came against the backdrop of a UNB report that state-owned BPDB sought a revision into the power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with Adani Group.

He said the tariff of Adani's power will be competitive compared with other coal-fired plants like Payra power plant.

"The tariff of Adani power will not be more than the tariff of power from the Payra plant," he said.

He also said about 750 MW will be added to the national grid in March and another 750 MW from April this year.

A number of BPDB officials told UNB the Adani’s power tariff might be between Tk 20-22 per kilowatt hour (each unit) because of the absence of a provision for discounts on the purchase of coal in the PPA signed with Adani Power, that allowed the Indian firm to quote such a steep bill for the coal.

The absence of such a provision is all the more notable since it was made mandatory in the PPAs for thermal power plants signed with other independent power producers, domestic or foreign. In these PPAs, the price of coal to be purchased as primary fuel was kept as “pass-through”.

The PPA with Adani Power was signed in November 2017, in Dhaka. Then-Power Division Joint Secretary Faizul Amin, BPDB secretary at the time Mina Masuduzzaman and Adani’s Business Development President Kandarp Patel signed two documents - the PPA and an Implementing Agreement - on behalf of their respective sides.

Officials said that they have been working on a number of alternatives to offer Adani so that its coal price could be reduced to ultimately lower the power tariff.

" If the Adani’s power tariff is not competitive, it would be difficult for BPDB to keep it on the merit list to take its electricity for the national grid”, said another top BPDB official.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Global food prices dropped further in January: UN

Global food prices dropped for the tenth consecutive month in January, the UN food agency said recently.

Price indices for vegetable oils, dairy and sugar drove the January decline, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said Friday.

The FAO Food Price Index fell 17.9 percent below its peak reached in March 2022 following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The downward pricing trend was helped in part by a pivotal agreement signed in July to unblock Ukraine grain exports amid the ongoing war.

Tracking monthly changes in the global prices of commonly traded food commodities, the latest index averaged 131.2 points in January, falling 0.8 percent since December.

The FAO reported small price decreases on its latest meat and sugar indices.

"Strong harvest progress in Thailand and favourable weather conditions in Brazil outweighed the impact on sugar prices due to concerns over lower crop yields in India, higher gasoline prices in Brazil, which support demand for ethanol, as well as the Brazilian real's appreciation against the US dollar," the UN agency said.

Also, vegetable oil prices fell 2.9 percent, stemming from subdued global import demand for palm and soy oils and ample export availability of sunflower seed and rapeseed oils. Cereal prices remained essentially unchanged since December.

International wheat prices fell for the third consecutive month. The 2.5 percent decrease relates to Australia and Russia outpacing production expectations. Meanwhile, slightly higher global maize prices were rooted in a strong demand for exports from Brazil and concerns over dry conditions in Argentina.

Cheese became slightly more expensive despite dairy prices averaging 1.4 percent lower than in December, which came after lighter demand from leading importers and increased supplies from New Zealand.

Currency movements drove the price increase alongside a recovery in food services and retail sales in Western Europe following the New Year holiday.

Global rice prices climbed 6.2 percent from December, triggered by tighter availability. Other factors included strong local demand in some Asian exporting countries and exchange rate movements.

In its latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, the FAO expects international trade in cereals in the 2022/23 period to decline by 1.7 percent from the previous year's record level to 474 million tons.

Early indications point to likely area expansions for winter wheat cropping in the northern hemisphere. However, higher costs may affect the amount of fertiliser that can be applied to crops, with adverse implications for yields.

Low domestic prices could result in a small cutback in wheat plantings in Russia, the world's largest exporter, while severe war-induced impacts in Ukraine are estimated to reduce winter wheat area plantings by 40 percent.

Record planting is forecast for India, spurred by high market and support prices, and relatively high planting is projected in Pakistan as standing water from the 2022 floods is causing less hindrance than initially anticipated.

In the southern hemisphere countries, most of the 2023 coarse grain crops have been sown. Brazil may post record maize plantings, while those in Argentina could decrease due to low soil moisture levels and weather conditions augur well for maize yield prospects in South Africa, the FAO said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Belgian Queen Mathilde lauds progress of Bangladesh RMG industry

Mathilde, Queen of Belgium, visited a garment factory in Naraynganj on Monday to witness the progress of Bangladesh’s RMG industry in social, environmental and economic fronts and its contribution to women empowerment and their welfare.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan accompanied Queen Mathilde during her visit to Fakir Apparels Limited and apprised her of how the apparel industry had been making a difference to millions of people, especially women by creating job opportunities for them, thus paving the way for their inclusion in mainstream economy.

He also briefed her about the exemplary achievements of Bangladesh’s RMG industry in the areas of workplace safety, environmental sustainability and workers’ rights.

Faruque Hassan told Queen Mathilde about BGMEA’s sustainable strategic vision- 2030 which aims to accelerate the growth of the RMG industry in a manner that is sustainable and positively impacts the economy, the environment and the lives of peoples.

In line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), the RMG industry aims to reduce carbon emission, energy and ground water usages, and increase use of sustainable raw materials, and renewable energy, he added.

Queen Mathilde praised the transition of Bangladesh’s RMG industry towards sustainable and responsible manufacturing and also the progress in workers’ rights and welfare, according to BGMEA media release.

The BGMEA President requested the Belgian Queen to share the positive stories of Bangladesh’s apparel industry at global platforms and with the international community.

ILO Country Director Tuomo Poutiainen and Executive President of BKMEA Mohammad Hatem were also present during the Queen’s visit.

Fakir Maniruzzaman, Managing Director of Fakir Apparels Limited, welcomed the Belgian Queen to the factory to see the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, environment-friendly practices and technologies and various initiatives taken by the factory for workers’ welfare.

Queen Mathilde has been appointed by the UN Secretary-General as one of the 17 SDG Advocates for 2021-2023 as an inspiring and influential individual raising global awareness of the SDGs and the need for accelerated action.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

SAFF U-20 Women’s Championship: Bangladesh need a draw against Bhutan to make final

Hosts Bangladesh need just a draw against Bhutan in their last league match on Tuesday to make the final of the four-nation SAFF U-20 Women's Championship 2023.

The match will kick off at 7pm at the Birshrestha Shaheed Sipahi Mostafa Kamal Stadium in the capital's Kamalapur.

League leader India will play Nepal in Tuesday's other match at 3pm at the same venue.

Both India and Nepal have the chance to reach the final by winning their last league match.

Bangladesh will reach the final before playing their last match against Bhutan if India beat Nepal Tuesday afternoon.

Read: SAFF U-20 Women's Champs: Bangladesh play out goalless draw with India

Nepal have kept their hope of playing the final alive, beating Bhutan 4-0 in their second match riding on a hat-trick of Amisha Karki, after a 3-1 loss against Bangladesh. They need to beat India in their last league match to make the final.

The final match between the two top teams of the league basis championship will be held on February 9 at 6pm at the same venue.

On Sunday, Bangladesh played a goalless draw with their giant neighbour India in their second league match.

India topped the league table after securing four points from two matches with a superior goal difference. They beat Bhutan 12-0 in the tournament opener.

Bangladesh are on the right track to reach the final, securing four points from two matches after beating Nepal 3-1 in their first match.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

No triple cropping land can be destroyed: PM directs officials

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday directed the authorities concerned not to destroy any land where three crops are planted and harvested a year.

She issued this directive while chairing the Cabinet meeting held at her office here.

“The premier has given a clear directive that no triple cropping land can be destroyed. No project can be taken on triple cropping lands. Rather these lands will have to be protected,” said Cabinet Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain briefing reporters at Bangladesh Secretariat.

He said the government will now monitor the matter of protecting triple-cropping land regularly.

The directive came as different ministries received some proposals for using the triple cropping land for development works like solar installation and building construction.

Source: United News of Bangladesh