Circus Cortex: Warrior theme for Ukrainian show starting in Sheffield

A Ukrainian circus troupe will perform warrior-themed shows in tribute to their families back home.

Yorkshire-based Circus Cortex is mainly comprised of performers from the war-torn country.

Boss Irina Archer said the show's theme was decided before the Russian invasion but was now a nod to family and friends fighting for their country.

"Somehow by fate it fits so much because they are warriors, you can't say anything different," she said.

Last year, shows were delayed as performers were conscripted into the military or had their visas frozen.

However, the circus was in a "better position this year", with more people being able to come to the UK, Ms Archer said.

"We have some of the old ones which came back from last year and we have got 50% of the new ones, but we still have 50 Ukrainians here."

A recent injury to a BMX stunt rider led to the circus looking for sponsors for new visas, which Ms Archer said had been difficult.

"Not many people have been coming forward to sponsor Ukrainians [now]. I'm already sponsoring six, so I've had to look for people who can help us again, but by the skin of our teeth we've got everyone here," she said.

Choreographer Svitlana Dvoyashkina said she had not seen her mother, who lives in northern Ukraine, for a year.

"The war is very dangerous. One day I told her I [would] come, and she said don't come because she is worried.

"We decided I go in the summer. I miss her, and all my friends."

Trapeze artist Sergey Malinovskiy said his Ukrainian colleagues would keep a close eye on what was happening back home.

"It's a little bit hard but every day we check news, every attack. We always keep phone calls with my family and they feel good when we talk.

"When the music start, I try to 100% be on the stage so I cannot think about nothing but the work."

The Circus Cortex UK tour opens in Sheffield on 31 March.


EU continues to support Bangladesh after graduation of LDC

The European Union (EU) has reiterated its commitment to support Bangladesh for a sustainable and smooth transition in its graduation out of least developed country (LDC) status.

Expressing the views during meetings held in Brussels on March 29, the members of the European Parliament and senior officials of the European Commission commended Bangladesh on its development trajectory and reiterated the EU's commitment to support Bangladesh for a sustainable and smooth transition in its graduation out of LDC status, according to a press release received here today.

The meetings were held marking Bangladesh and EU's 50 years of partnership where the five-member delegation from Bangladesh led by M Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, took part, among others, the release added.

The Bangladesh delegation held meetings with Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for the propose GSP regulation, Bernd Lange, Chair of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) and Maximilian Krah, Rapporteur for South Asia on INTA Monitoring Group.

Meetings were also arranged with Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues, Helena Konig, and Acting Managing Director for Asia-Pacific, Paula Pampaloni, both from the European External Action Service (EEAS).

Bangladesh delegation highlighted how the country has rightly utilized EU's EBA (Everything but Arms) trade facility which has directly contributed to the impressive socio-economic development and transformed the lives of millions.

Apart from diversification of trade, the country is now focusing on achieving greater sustainability through a circular economy, protecting the environment, biodiversity and enhanced use of renewable energy and green technology, said the release.

With the ongoing external shocks on the global economy, food and energy crisis and volatility in international financial markets, the Bangladesh side requested for EU's strong support in the WTO negotiations for the submission by the LDC Group for an extension of International Support Measures (ISM) for another six years after graduation.

Bangladesh also requested that the country's trade interests, particularly in the RMG sector be protected in the new GSP under consideration of the EU.

The need for fair pricing and responsible business conduct by the companies and brands was stressed upon in addition to requesting consideration of a mechanism under Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence to make relevant companies accountable in these areas.

The EU interlocutors applauded Bangladesh on the exemplary humanitarian role being played by the country in sheltering more than a million Rohingyas forcibly displaced from Myanmar for more than five years.

They also lauded the phenomenal role of the government in empowering women.

The Principal Secretary is on a 3-day visit to Brussels with members from the government and private sector.

His delegation includes Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Faruque Hassan, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Nihad Kabir, President of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and Farooq Ahmed, Secretary General and CEO of Bangladesh Employers' Federation.

Bangladesh Ambassador to the EU, Mahbub Hassan Saleh, participated in the meetings along with concerned officials from the embassy.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

BNP’s mindset is still chained in subjugation: Obaidul Quader

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader today said the mentality of those, who question about the country’s independence even after 52 years, is still confined in the shackles of subjugation.

“BNP never believes in the country’s independence. In fact, the mentality of those, who raise questions about the country’s independence even after 52 years, is still confined in the chains of subjugation,” he said in a statement.

Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, said whenever they (BNP) was in power, they did not do anything for the development of the country and its people.

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina continues her struggle for the economic emancipation of the people aiming to make meaningful the country’s independence achieved under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest Bengalee of all time.

Once Bangladesh was a hunger-poverty and famine-stricken country but it has graduated to a developing country from a least developed one under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the AL general secretary said.

Apart from achieving sufficiency in food, he said, Bangladesh has ensured food and nutritional security for its people.

As a result of the unprecedented success in the socioeconomic arena, Bangladesh today elevates to a prestigious position at the global stage, he added.

Quader said because of the food sufficiency achieved under the skilled leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, none remains hungry now in the country.

“But what was the state of the country during the BNP regime? Did Mirza Fakhrul forget it? During their tenure, how people in monga-prone North Bengal died suffering from the shortage of food!” he said.

Claiming that Bangladesh has been freed from the curse of hunger as a result of Bangabandhu’s multifaceted actions, Quader said Mirza Fakhrul and other BNP leaders have been involved in spreading propaganda and hatching conspiracy against the government to conceal the horrible history of their time.

He said the global economy is going through a deep crisis now due to the Ukraine-Russia war and that is why inflation goes up at an alarming rate across the world.

The people of Bangladesh have been suffering from the pressure of inflation too and the government has taken all possible steps, including various people-friendly and food-friendly programmes, to ease their sufferings, the minister said.

When the government is trying hard to deal with this crisis situation, he said, some identified quarters are hatching conspiracy against the government in an organised way by capitalising the crisis.

Echoing the voice of a newspaper, Mirza Fakhrul has given unabashed support to the heinous act of child exploitation, which is, in the politics of Bangladesh, a manifestation of hatred and anger towards the Awami League, Quader said.

Stating that the Awami League always stayed beside the people in all crises and disasters in the past, he said the government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has taken all necessary measures to ensure food security of the country’s people in any circumstances.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Doctors at 51 public hospitals start to see patients taking fees

After working hours, doctors at 51 public hospitals under 39 upazilas of 12 districts started to see patients taking fees.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque today inaugurated the boikalic Sashtoseba(afternoon healthcare service) programme virtually at a function at his ministry, an official release said.

Secretary of Healthcare Service Division Anwar Hossain Hawlader, Secretary of Medical Education and Family Welfare Division Md Azizur Rahman, Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam and director general of the Directorate General of Medical Education Prof Dr Md Tito Mia, among others, were present at the function.

Maleque said, "We have introduced the boikalic Sashtoseba(afternoon healthcare service) as a pilot progrrame to discourage the people to go private hospital and clinics.... I hope people will get better healthcare facilities under the newly introduced programme at public hospitals."

The government has started the boikalic Sashtoseba programme in a limited scale and it will be expanded in large scale after reviewing outcome of the pilot programme, he added.

Under the programme, Taka 400 has been fixed for professors, Taka 300 for associate professors and Taka 200 for junior consultants, the health ministry sources said.

The government has also fixed the fees of different medical testing services at those hospitals under the pilot programme.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Tigers face off Ireland to complete ‘mission whitewash’

Bangladesh are determined to come up with another stellar show in a bid to inflict a whitewash on Ireland when they take on the visitors in the third and final T20 International at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium here tomorrow (Friday).

The match starts at 2 PM and will be aired live on T Sports Channel.

The Tigers had already wrapped up the series, winning the first match by 22 runs through DLS method and second one by 77 runs. Both of the matches were hit by rain but that mattered little for Bangladesh which put up a ruthless performance to keep them on track of making a giant in this format.

Another victory which is highly likely going by their performance would help them sweep two consecutive series. Earlier they whitewashed world champions England in three-match T20 series. Their victory in the second game against Ireland was their fifth in a row, making it their longest streak in this format. There is a chance to extend the streak.

But more than streak or anything else, Bangladesh looked inclined to create a brand that would make them a force like ODI in this format.

"We wanted to put up the same performance we did in the past few games and we did it well. If we want to be a great side, we have to go out there and express ourselves from ball one," Shakib said, stressing on the importance of playing a fearless cricket to be a giant in this format. "That's what we discussed and agreed that's how we're going to play."

Bangladesh broke a number of records before winning three-match ODI series against Ireland by 2-0. One match was washed out.

Keeping up that trend, Bangladesh's two dominating victories in T20 series saw a number of records break. They compiled two 200 plus scores for the first times in their history in row and they could have well broken the record of highest total which is 215 if they were able to play full 20 overs.

Opener Liton Das hit the quickest fifty by a Bangladeshi batter when he reached the feat off 18 deliveries, eclipsing Ashraful's 20 ball-fifty, during the course of his marauding 41 ball-81. Skippper Shakib Al Hasan claimed 5-22, his second five-for which also put him on top of the T20 International wicket-taker list. Rony Talukdar played two impactful innings and also shared a national record of 124-run for the opening stand with Liton in the second game.

Ireland indeed were no match in the five matches they played against Bangladesh in this tour so far.

It looks Ireland need weather support if they want to avoid the T20 whitewash, which will be their second at the hands of Bangladesh following 3-0 loss at their own den in 2012.

Shakib Al Hasan hinted at some changes in the team but at the same time made it clear, regardless of the changes, the only goal will be to sweep the series.

"If you're a good team, when you go to Australia or England, they always try to win 3-0 if they're up 2-0, we'll try the same. No chance of us being complacent. We might try a few new players but they'll be just as hungry to do well," Shakib said.

Ireland stand in skipper Paul Stirling admitted that Bangladesh are "a very strong team" but added he "didn't think it was going to be this one-sided."

He however expected to put up some resistance in tomorrow's match

"We have to think about team selection. We'll have an unused pitch on Friday and hopefully we'll be one step ahead. There's no dead-rubber as far as we're concerned and we want to ... show we're serious."

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Liton Das, Rony Talukdar, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Towhid Hridoy, Shamim Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Rishad Hossain, Jaker Ali Anik.

Ireland: Paul Stirling (Captain), Mark Adair, Ross Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Graham Hume, Matthew Humphreys, Barry McCarthy, Fionn Hand, Conor Olphert, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

UNGA adopts resolution to advance climate justice

The UN General Assembly has adopted a consensus resolution urging the International Court of Justice to provide advisory opinion on the obligations of States in respect of climate change.

The resolution, tabled on March 29 by a core group of countries including Bangladesh, is a landmark achievement for countries advocating for climate justice and equity, said a release of the UN's Permanent Mission of Bangladesh today.

Introduced by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, the resolution requested the ICJ to provide its opinion based on existing international law, including international human rights law and the recognized principles, the legal obligations of the states to ensure the protection of climate system and the rights of the present and future generations to be protected from the effects of climate change, it said.

The ICJ is also requested to advise on the legal consequences of the acts or omissions that have caused significant harm to the climate system with respect to the States, due to their geographical circumstances and level of development.

Foreign Secretary Ambassador Masud Bin Momen represented the Bangladesh delegation to the session.

In his statement, Foreign Secretary Momen said, "Despite clear warnings on the devastating and irreversible threats of climate change, global response to climate change is nowhere close to what is needed for the survival of humanity. This resolution and the subsequent advisory opinion will provide better understanding of the legal obligations of states in respect of climate change and rights of affected States and the people to be protected from climate change".

Noting that the Court's advisory opinions have tremendous importance, the Secretary General Antonio Guterres in his remarks stated that such an opinion, if and when given, would assist the General Assembly, the UN and Member States, to take the bolder and stronger climate action that our world so desperately needs.

The resolution has received overwhelming support from the member states as well as international civil society organizations, including climate activists and the youths, the release added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Attack on Bernicat’s convoy: Probe report on May 7

A court here today set May 7 to submit report on further investigation in a case lodged over the attack on the convoy of the then US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia S. Bernicat in August 2018.

Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Rashidul Alam passed the order as detective branch (DB) of police could not submit the report today.

On January 3, the court of Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rezaul Karim Chowdhury ordered DB to further investigate the case and submit the report.

Badiul Alam Majumdar, Secretary of Shusashoner Jonno Nagorik (SUJON), filed the case with Mohammadpur Police Station on August 10, 2018, for the alleged attack that took place on August 4.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Jubo Mohila League stages demo protesting Prothom Alo’s falsehood

Jubo Mohila League today staged a demonstration in the capital, protesting the falsehood and conspiracy of the daily Prothom Alo to underestimate the Independence Day.

The demonstration was staged in front of Russell Square at Dhanmondi.

Awami League office secretary Biplab Barua, central committee members Tarana Halim and Mohammad A Arafat, Jubo Mohila League president Daisy Sarwar and its general secretary Sharmin Sultana Lily, among others, spoke at the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Biplab Barua said the news item and photo published in Prothom Alo on the Independence Day were intentional one and information conspiracy.

“Today we staged the demonstration against those who instigate the nation intentionally through such information intrigue,” he added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Journalist Shamsuzzaman sent to jail in DSA case

A Dhaka court today rejected the bail plea of Prothom Alo journalist Shamsuzzaman Shams and ordered to send him to jail in connection with a case filed under the Digital Security Act.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Dhaka Tofazzal Hossain passed the order after the investigation officer of the case, Inspector Abu Ansar of Ramna Model police station, produced him before the court, seeking to confine him in jail.

Advocate Abdul Moshiur Malek filed the case against Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, journalist Shamsuzzaman, a cameraperson and some unidentified persons with Ramna Model Police station on Wednesday night.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Spanish anger over TV star Ana Obregón’s surrogate baby in US

Spanish TV actress Ana Obregón has come under fire after revealing that she has had a baby girl via surrogacy in the US at the age of 68.

Obregón is best known for starring in a number of Spanish sitcoms.

Her son and only child died of cancer in 2020 at the age of 27, and she had since spoken of her struggles to move on with her life.

Spain has banned all forms of surrogacy, but parents can adopt the child when they return to the country.

Surrogacy is when a woman agrees to carry and give birth to a baby on behalf of someone else. It is often, but not always, done in exchange for money.

Obregón - who also lost both her parents after the death of her son - was pictured on the cover of ¡Hola! magazine earlier this week outside a Miami hospital, cradling a newborn baby.

In an Instagram post, she later commented on the magazine cover, saying:

"A light full of love came into my darkness. I will never be alone again. I AM ALIVE AGAIN."

Her remarks ignited debate on Spanish social media, and some ministers in Spain's left-wing government were incensed at the move.

Education Minister Pilar Alegría called the image of Obregón leaving the hospital "Dantesque", referring to the Italian writer's journey through hell.

Equality Minister Irene Montero said the move was "a form of violence against women" and added there was a "clear poverty bias" against women who become surrogate mothers because they needed the money.

Ms Alegría also noted: "This is not surrogacy, this is renting a womb which, as we know, is an illegal practice in Spain."

"Women's bodies should neither be bought nor rented to satisfy anyone's desires," declared Presidency Minister Felix Bolaños.

But Cuca Gamarra - number two in the conservative People's Party - was more cautious, saying the subject had to be approached via "deep and serene debates because it touches on many moral, ethical and religious questions".

Spain's Socialist-led coalition government came to power almost five years ago and has made women's rights one of its key areas of policy.

Earlier this year, it imposed tighter restrictions on surrogacy, banning advertisement for surrogacy agencies.

It identifies surrogacy as a form of violence against women, categorises any "reproductive exploitation", forced pregnancy and forced abortion, forced sterilisation or forced contraception in the same way.


‘Can’t afford rice’ quote lands journalist in jail

A journalist at a leading Bangladeshi newspaper has been jailed on charges of publishing "false" news after his report on high food prices went viral.

Samsuzzaman Shams of Prothom Alo daily appeared in court and was denied bail, a day after he was arrested.

His story - which ran on 26 March, the country's Independence Day - is alleged to have "smeared the government".

Rights activists have denounced the arrest and accused the government of stifling press freedom.

The government denies the allegation but media rights groups have warned of a steady erosion in freedoms under the governing Awami League, in power since 2009.

Reporters Without Borders ranked Bangladesh 162 out of 180 countries in last year's World Press Freedom Index, below Russia and Afghanistan.

The paper Mr Shams works for is Bangladesh's largest and the most influential daily. It was not immediately clear how long he would stay in jail.

The reporter was picked up at his home outside Dhaka early on Wednesday morning by plain-clothes officers.

His employers had no idea of his whereabouts for nearly 30 hours as police and other security agencies said they had no information on him.

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The report for which Mr Shams was detained featured ordinary Bangladeshis talking about their lives on Independence Day.

One quotation was from a labourer who asked: "What is the use of this freedom if we can't afford rice?"

The comment was seen to reflect growing worries about escalating food prices, which have soared around the world since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Prothom Alo article was shared by large numbers of people. When the paper posted the report on Facebook, it used a wrong photo of a person.

"Once we realised the error, we immediately pulled it down and issued a clarification under the (amended) report," Sajjad Sharif, the paper's executive editor, told the BBC.

"But we stand by the original report. The quote of the labourer on the food price was genuine," he said.

But supporters of the governing Awami League accused the daily of fabricating quotes and tarnishing the image of the country.

Police have also launched an investigation against its editor, Matiur Rahman, as well as a video journalist from the newspaper and several other people under the controversial Digital Security Act (DSA).

Law Minister Anisul Haq said Mr Shams had "misrepresented facts with the mala fide intention of creating discontent".

"The case was filed by an individual not by the government. Due process will follow," Mr Haq told the BBC.

He said the editor and the publisher of the daily also had responsibility for the report - and that's why police were investigating them.

The latest developments come amid concerns over the alleged harassment of human rights defenders and media personnel in the build-up to elections later this year.

The Media Freedom Coalition, an initiative by a group of Western nations in Dhaka, has expressed concern over recent reports of violence and intimidation of journalists, including the detention in the Prothom Alo case.

Bangladeshi journalists say there are increasingly under pressure for reporting that is critical of the government of Sheikh Hasina. They say the DSA has created a culture of fear.

According to media rights groups, cases have been filed against around 280 journalists under the DSA since it was enacted in 2018.

Mr Haq says the government is working with media houses on issues concerning the act. "I engaged with them [editors] to remove the fear. We are trying to take the best practices. If the DSA has to be improved we will make rules to do that," he said.


Over 4 lakh primary applications submitted for RU entry test

A total of 4,01,414 primary applications were submitted for admission test in the first year (honours) classes of 2022-23 academic session at Rajshahi University (RU).

Prodip Kumar Pandey, Administrator of Public Relation Office, told BSS that 2,19,273 aspirant students submitted the application during the stipulated time from March 15 to 27.

After scrutiny, the selected students can submit the final application from April 9 to 15.

He said there is scope of appearing in the entry test for the second time this year like the previous year.

The varsity authority has fixed fees worth Taka 55 for each of the primary applications, while Taka 1100 for final application for 'B' (Commerce) unit and Taka 1320 for 'A' (Humanity) and 'C' (Science) units respectively.

Prof Prodip Pandey said admission tests for 'C' (Science) units will be held on May 29, while May 30 and May 31 have been fixed for 'A' (Humanity) and 'B' (Commerce) units. Every day, four tests, from 9 am to 10 am, from 11 am to 12 noon, from 1pm to 2pm and 3.30pm to 4.30pm, will be held.

Each of the tests will be 100 marks and there will remain 80 multiple choice questions.

He also said detailed information about the admission application and tests remained available on website.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha