Fire at Bhashantek slum under control

The fire that broke out at the Bhashantek slum earlier in the evening has been brought under control.

The fire originated around 8:15 pm and soon started spreading to the adjacent areas, said Shahjahan Sikder, DAD (media cell) of the Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters.

On information, five firefighting units rushed to the spot and brought the blaze under control around 8:45 pm, said the officer.

No casualties were reported in the incident.

A probe has been ordered to ascertain the exact cause of the fire, he added.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Rights expert urges Denmark, Greenland to examine colonial legacy’s impact

Denmark and Greenland must address the negative impact of a colonial legacy that has led to structural and systemic racial discrimination against the indigenous Inuit community, an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said Friday.

The development would represent a key measure to tackle past injustices and create a more inclusive society, said UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples José Francisco Cali Tzay said at the end of a 10-day visit to the two countries.

Inuit people comprise nearly 90 percent of the population of Greenland, an autonomous dependent territory of Denmark that was a colony up until 1953.

They still face barriers to fully enjoying their human rights, according to Cali Tzay.

"I was particularly appalled by the testimonies of Inuit women who reported that Danish healthcare providers had inserted intrauterine devices (IUDs) without their knowledge or consent. Some of them were as young as 12 years old," he said.

Cali Tzay recalled reports of Inuit women living in Denmark whose children had been taken from them without their knowledge and consent and placed in Danish foster care.

He urged Denmark to review its procedures for assessing out-of-home care for Inuit children and address structural bias within care services.

Meanwhile, Greenland still faces numerous social challenges that relate to poverty and lack of adequate housing, appropriate quality education and scarce mental health support, he added.

"Around 20 percent of children in Greenland are estimated to have been exposed to violence and sexual abuse," he said, adding that the country has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

During his mission, the special rapporteur observed a lack of established mechanisms to implement the Inuit people's right to free, prior, and informed consent, including when allocating tourism concessions, implementing business projects, and adopting legislative and administrative acts in Greenland.

"I urge Greenland's government to consult with the Inuit people whose traditional livelihoods will be directly affected by plans to expand mining, tourism and infrastructure," the UN expert said.

He also hailed Greenland's extensive self-governance as "an inspiring example of an indigenous self-government in practice and a peaceful process towards self-determination for Indigenous peoples worldwide."

Source: United News of Bangladesh

7 Jamaat-Shibir men held from procession in Dinajpur

Police arrested seven leaders and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and their student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir from a procession on charge of attempting to carry out subversive activities in the district town on Saturday morning.

The detainees are district Jamaat ameer Anisur Rahman, Phulbari upazila unit’s former ameer Manjurul Quader, leaders-Abu Taher, Jahidul Islam and Abul Bashar and Shibir leader Nayeem Billah.

Tanvirul Islam Tanvir, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Police Station, said they arrested the Jamaat-Shibir men from in front of the road of Polytechnic College around 10am.

After the primary interrogation, they were produced before a court at noon, he said.

Turning down the claim by the law enforcers, the Jamaat-Shibir alleged that they were arrested from a procession brought out to express solidarity with the central committee to press home 10-point demand.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Newly established Bangladesh-Türkiye Business Forum launched as trust

Six months after the formation of the Bangladesh-Türkiye Business Forum (BTBF), the founders have decided to set up a formal organisation to better serve the objectives of the forum.

With the support of the Turkish Embassy, the Forum was formalised as a trust to protect and promote Turkish and Bangladeshi commercial interests through a trade and investment-focused approach and activities.

In June 2022, the Turkish Embassy initiated the formation of BTBF to further develop bilateral trade, investments and cultural encounters and act as an advocacy platform promoting bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Türkiye.

Led by Rubana Huq, managing director of Mohammadi Group and vice-chancellor of Asian University for Women and Salahuddin Kasem Khan, chairman, EC of Board, AK Khan and Co, the BTBF now includes 12 Bangladeshi conglomerates and four Turkish companies.

As of now, the founding trustees of the BTBF are Founding Chairperson Rubana Huq, Founding Co-Chairperson Salahuddin Kasem Khan, Trustee and Founding Deputy Chairperson Kazi Zahedul Hasan, founder and managing director of Kazi Farms Group, BTBF Trustee and Founding Secretary Ercu¨ment Polat, CEO of United Aygaz LPG, Enayetullah Khan, founder and managing director of Cosmos Group, Hakan Altinisik, director of technology and innovation of Arçelik, Mehmet Yildiz, administrative and financial specialist of NKY Architects and Engineers, and Özgür Türk, country director of LCWaikiki.

The other BTBF founding trustees are Anjan Chowdhury, key stakeholder of Square Group, Moinuddin Hasan Rashid, chairman and managing director of United Group, SK Nasir Uddin, chairman of Akij Group, Alihussain Akberali, chairman of BSRM, Mirza Salman Ispahani, chairman of MM Ispahani, Abul Khair Litu, chairman of Bengal Group and founder of Bengal Foundation, Simeen Rahman, group CEO of Transcom Group, and Rupali Chowdhury, managing director of Berger Paints Bangladesh.

On January 17, 2023, the BTBF office was inaugurated at Marina Mansion in Gulshan-2 in Dhaka followed by a press conference organised at the Turkish Embassy Residence to launch the BTBF Trust.

As one of the core objectives of the BTBF is to promote and highlight the shared historical and cultural values of Bangladesh and Türkiye, the official launch of the BTBF was preceded by a classical music recital by the scholars of Bengal Parampara Sangeetalaya.

After the recital, Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Osman Turan addressed the guests and the media, followed by remarks from Salauddin, Ercüment, Rubana and Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman.

During their meeting on February 7, the BTBF trustees decided to make an in-kind contribution to the relief efforts for the victims of the February 6 earthquakes in Türkiye.

The BTBF is planning to visit Türkiye in September 2023.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Union-level march: BNP leaders allege obstruction by AL men in Natore

BNP leaders and activists have alleged that some of their activists were injured in attacks by Awami League (AL) men during the ongoing union-level march in different upazilas of Natore on Saturday.

Shahidul Islam Bachhu, convener of Naldanga upazila unit BNP, alleged that the ruling party activists swooped on their leaders and activists when they brought a procession in Madhnagar Rail Station area under Madhnagar union around 10am.

Several activists sustained injuries in the attack, he said.

However, police brought the situation under control later, he said.

Abul Kalam, Officer-in-charge of Naldanga Police Station, said a scuffle took place between the two groups in rail station area.

He said he had no idea about the injury in the clash.

Apart from the Naldanga, allegations of attacks on the BNP march were reported from Kafuria of Sadar and Kalme union of Singra upazilas.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Niranjan, Bijay re-elected president, gen secy of Bangladesh Brahman Sangsad

Lt. Col. (retd) Niranjan Bhattacharya and Bijay Krishna Bhattacharya have been re-elected as President and General Secretary of the BangladeshBrahman Sangsad through a national Brahman delegates conference at the Bangladesh Railway Puja Mandir in the city’s Shahjahanpur on Thursday.

Journalist Deepak Kumar Acharjee was also re-elected as Chief Coordinator of the central executive committee of the Bangladesh Brahman Sangsad, said a press release.

The delegates also elected other executive members of the Sangsad. At least three thousand members (Brahman) of the Bangladesh Brahman Sangsad attended the Tri-Annual Conference, the release added.

In 2014, the country’s Brahman community of the Hindu religion for the first time launched Bangladesh Brahman Sangsad.

Former Vice-Chancellor (VC) of National University Dr Durgadas Bhattacharjee, chief patron of the Sangsad, General Secretary Bijay Krishna Bhattacharya, Editor and Publisher of The South Asian Times, also Chief Coordinator of the Sangsad and other senior leaders of the Sangsad spoke at the Tri-Annual Conference.

General Secretary Bijay Krishna Bhattacharya placed seven-point demands including to introduce a quota system in all districts for the people of the Hindu Community for fresh appointment.

He urged the government to meet the demands as soon as possible for better survival of the country’s Brahman community.

Lt. Col. (retd) Niranjan Bhattacharya said the main objective of the Sangsad was to unite all Brahmans of the country and achieve Brahmanism.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

BNP march: 12 activists injured in clash with police in N’ganj

Twelve BNP activists were injured in a clash between police and BNP during their ongoing union-level march at Panchrukhi in Araihazar upazila of Narayanganj district on Saturday.

Lutfur Rahman, former joint secretary of district unit BNP, said they brought out a procession as part of their scheduled march programme at union level around 10 am.

When the procession reached Panchrukhi, police obstructed them, leading to a chase and counter-chase.

Police also lobbed tear gas shells and charged baton to disperse them, leaving 12 people injured.

The injured were given first aid.

The leaders and activists of main opposition BNP and its associate bodies have started march in all the unions across the country to press home their 10-point demand - most importantly, to hold the next general election under a non-party caretaker government.

On February 4, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the march programme at the union level from a rally in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

BGB DG Nazmul Hasan visits Tin Bigha Corridor, Angarpota-Dahagram border

Major General AKM Nazmul Hasan, director general of Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) on Saturday visited Tin Bigha Corridor, Angarpota-Dahagram and Panbari border areas in Patgram of Lalmonirhat.

He visited BGB's Rangpur Region headquarters and Rangpur Battalion as part of his inspection of operational, training and administrative activities of various units of BGB, said Md Shariful Islam, public relation officer (PRO) of the BGB headquarters.

At that time, he also planted trees there, he added.

Later, he visited Tin Bigha Corridor where a team of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) gave a guard of honor to him. He exchanged greetings with the BSF members.

In addition, he visited Angarpota-Dahagram and Panbari border areas and talked to the local public representatives and inquired about the common people.

The BGB director general also exchanged greetings with the BGB members on duty at the border and provided guidance on various operational, training and administrative issues.

On his way back, he also visited Teesta Battalion and Teesta Barrage areas.

During his visit, senior BGB officers, battalion captain and other officers were also present, added Shariful.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

EC to purchase 700mt paper from Karnaphuli Mills ahead of national election

The Election Commission will purchase paper from the state-owned Karnaphuli Paper Mills (KPM) ahead of the upcoming national parliamentary election.

AKM Anisuzzaman, managing director of KMP, said EC collected paper from the mill for use as ballot paper in the national election. The EC has sent a letter seeking 700 mt of paper and those will be provided to the EC in time as per their demand, he said.

Sources said paper in three colours -- yellow, blue and pink -- are needed for ballot paper. This year the KMP will provide the colour papers as per the demand of the EC.

Papers of KPM are also supplied to different government organisations and universities.

Besides, the government is using the paper of KPM in textbooks, provided to students for free.

Despite some limitations, KPM, since 75 years of its establishment, has been providing high-quality paper to different organisations due to its huge demand.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Expand legal aid services to upazila level: Speakers

Members of Legal Aid Committees have been urged to increase the capacity of legal aid offices, and raise public awareness from grassroot and coordination among the members of the committee to ensure government legal aid.

They also advocated for the expansion of legal aid services to the upazila level.

They came up with these suggestions at the capacity coordination conference of the Legal Aid Committee on Saturday. The conference was a joint initiative of USAID’s Promoting Peace and Justice and the National Legal Aid Committee.

Golam Sarwar, secretary of the Law and Justice Division, said “The coordination meeting today was called in response to Law Minister Anisul Haque's request to strengthen the legal assistance program. The establishment of Alternative Dispute Resolution Centers in each district is ongoing. He promised to take action to raise the fees of panel lawyers.”

“The current administration has taken a number of steps to strengthen the legal aid program,” he added.

Stating that presidents of the Union and Upazila Legal Aid Committees are public representatives, he said, “Their active cooperation is needed to speed up the legal aid process. If the involvement of public representatives is increased, the legal aid program will be accelerated.”

Helen LaFave, Deputy Chief of Mission of US Embassy in Dhaka, Heather Goldsmith, Chief of the Party of Promoting Peace and Justice and senior officials of Department of Law and Justice and National Legal Aid Organization were present.

One union and upazila parishad member from selected 20 districts along with legal aid officers and presidents of district committees were also present at the conference.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

BCL men attack BNP office in Barguna; 8 injured

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists allegedly vandalized the office of Barguna’s Patharghata upazila unit BNP on Saturday morning.

A total of eight BNP activists were injured in this attack, said Chowduhry MD Faruk, convenor of Patharghata upazila BNP.

The injured are Masum Billah, Md Harun-ur Rashid, Khairul Sharif, Masum Billah, A. Hadid, Hafiz Alamgir, Mizanur Rahman and Abbas Uddin.

Several attempts were made to contact the president of Patharghata upazila Chhatra League, Md Walid Makki and president of municipality, Ahmed Shahjada, but they could not be reached.

Md. Shah Alam, officer-in-charge of Patharghata police station, said the incident could not escalate further because police were present.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Toronto mayor steps down after affair with ex-staffer

The mayor of Canada’s largest city has stepped down after acknowledging he had an affair with a former staffer.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said at a late Friday night news conference that he developed a relationship with an employee in his office.

The 68-year-old was known as a straight-laced, button down moderate conservative — almost the polar opposite of previous Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, whose term was plagued by scandals involving public drinking and illegal drug use.

“I recognize that permitting this relationship to develop was a serious error in judgment on my part,” Tory said after the Toronto Star reported on the affair.

“It came at a time when Barb, my wife of 40-plus years and I were enduring many lengthy periods apart while I carried out my responsibilities during the pandemic," he said.

"As a result, I have decided I will step down as Mayor so I can take the time to reflect on my mistakes and to do the work of rebuilding the trust of my family.”

Tory was first elected mayor in 2014, in part on a promise to restore respectability to the office after the turbulent term of Ford. Tory recently won a third term.

Rob Ford’s four-year tenure as mayor of Canada’s largest city was marred by his drinking and crack cocaine use. He later died from a rare form of cancer.

Tory said he is “deeply sorry” to the people of Toronto.

Source: United News of Bangladesh