Bangladesh’s life expectancy falls to 72.3 yrs in 2021

Life expectancy at birth in Bangladesh has gone down from 72.8 in 2020 to 72.3 in 2021, according to the "Sample Vital Registration System 2021" launched Monday by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

The report shows that COVID-19 pandemic wiped out some of the gains the country achieved in the area over the last decades.

It said the life expectancy for males was 70.6 in 2021, down from 71.2 in 2020.

For females, the report showed it was 74.1 years in 2021, down from 74.5 years in 2020.

Source: Xinhua Finance Agency

Heatwave: Is India ready to deal with extreme temperatures?

In his best-selling 2020 novel, The Ministry for the Future, science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson opens with a deadly heatwave in India which kills millions of people.

The sky blazes like an "atomic bomb", the heat from it is a "slap in the face", the eyes sting and "everything was tan and beige and a brilliant, unbearable white". Water doesn't help because it is "hot as a bath… worse than the air". People die "faster than ever".

Mr Robinson's dystopian tale about global heating might be a horror fantasy of sorts, but it is also a chilling warning. Earlier this week, 12 people died from heatstroke and many others were admitted to hospital after attending a government-sponsored event in an open ground under a blazing sun in Navi Mumbai in India's Maharashtra state.

Heat killing many more Indians now: Lancet study

India is one of the countries most exposed and vulnerable to heat. Hot days and hot night events have risen significantly, and are projected to increase between two and four-fold by 2050. Heatwaves are also predicted to arrive earlier, stay longer and become more frequent.

People attend an award function during a hot day on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, April 16, 2023.

Twelve Indians died from heatstroke after attending an event in an open ground in Navi Mumbai on Sunday

The weather office has predicted above-average temperatures and heatwaves until the end of May. Average temperatures in India have risen by around 0.7% between 1901 and 2018, partly due to climate change.

Heatwaves killed more than 22,000 people between 1992 and 2015, according to official figures. Experts reckon the actual toll would be much higher. Yet, the country really "hasn't understood the importance of heat and how heat can kill", says Dileep Mavalankar, director of the Gujarat-based Indian Institute of Public Health. "This is partly because we don't compile our mortality data properly."

Delhi suffers at 49C as heatwave sweeps India

Prof Mavalankar should know. In May 2010, he found that the city of Ahmedabad had recorded 800 all-cause excess deaths - a measure of how many more people are dying than expected, compared to the previous few years - during a sweltering week of record-breaking temperatures. It was clear, he said, that heat was killing a lot of people. He said researchers compared the total number of deaths in the city to the maximum temperature recorded on the day, and laid down three colour coded alerts, with the red warning triggering above 45C.

Prodded by these findings, Prof Mavalankar helped put together India's first heat action plan for the city of Ahmedabad. The plan kicked off in 2013 and advocated simple solutions like staying indoors, drinking lots of water before stepping out, and going to the hospital emergency if one felt sick. By 2018, he says, deaths from all causes had declined by a third in the hot, dry city.

heat

But the bad news is India's heat action plans don't seem to be working very well. (It is unclear whether the authorities in Navi Mumbai had a heat action plan in place when a million people reportedly were allowed to gather under the open sky.) A new study of 37 heat action plans at the city, district and state levels by Aditya Valiathan Pillai and Tamanna Dalal of Centre for Policy Research, a think-tank, found a lot of shortcomings.

For one, most of the plans were not "built for local context and have an oversimplified view of the hazards". Only 10 of the 37 plans studied seem to establish locally defined temperature thresholds, although it was unclear whether they took factors like humidity into account while declaring a heatwave. "We recommend nuancing and localising the heat hazard definition by including climate projections," Mr Pillai told me. One way to do it is to have more automated weather stations at village levels, according to Prof Mavalankar.

Second, the researchers found that nearly all the plans were poor at "identifying and targeting vulnerable groups". Farm and construction workers who toil in the open, pregnant women, the elderly, and children were most vulnerable to heat.

Coal shortage sparks India's power woes

Some three-fourths of India's workers work in heat-exposed jobs like construction and mining. "Workers are losing the ability to safely and efficiently work outside as the planet warms. It's becoming too hot and humid for them to cool themselves enough when they generate a large amount of body heat when conducting heavy labour," says climate researcher Luke Parsons of Duke University, North Carolina.

This becomes worse during heatwaves as there are fewer safe and productive work hours during the day, he adds.

Traffic moves on a road in a heat haze during hot weather on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, May 12, 2022

Ahmedabad was the first city in India to have a heat action plan

Mr Pillai says that India needs "granular understanding of which neighbourhoods have most people working in jobs where they are exposed to heat and whether they could afford to buy a cooler or afford to skip work". He adds: "You might have a situation where 3% of the area of the city contained 80% of the vulnerable population."

Also most of the heat action plans seem to be underfunded, had weak legal foundations with scant accountability, and were not sufficiently transparent, Mr Pillai and Ms Dalal found.

Heatwave solutions can often be simple - planting enough trees in extremely exposed and hot areas or using design choices to reduce heat gain and increase heat loss in buildings.

Sometimes simple surveillance solutions such as moving patients from a baking top floor to a lower floor of a non-airconditioned hospital can protect lives, as a study in Ahmedabad found. Having worker protections in place to stop or slow work if it is too hot can help so people don't feel the need to keep working at high intensity when it's not safe, says Mr Parsons.

India saw a 55% rise in deaths due to extreme heat between 2000-2004 and 2017-2021, a recent study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, found. Exposure to heat also caused a loss of 167.2 billion potential labour hours among Indians in 2021, resulting in loss of incomes equivalent to about 5.4% of the country's GDP.

But clearly, Indians are still not taking heat seriously enough.

According to reports, the place in Navi Mumbai where the government ceremony had taken place had recorded a maximum temperature of 38C (100F) on Sunday. Yet, photos of the event showed thousands sitting directly under the sun with no roof or covering to offer shelter. Only a few carried umbrellas, or wrapped towels on their heads.

"I live in Delhi where the temperature can touch 50C and I see very few people even bring out their umbrellas," Mr Pillai says.

Source: BBC

Afghan economic hopes threatened by Taliban – UN

Weak signs of recovery in Afghanistan's economy are at risk of being undone by Taliban restrictions on women working for NGOs, the UN says.

Donations to the UN are under threat of falling sharply because of the ban on Afghan women working for it, the United Nations Development Programme said.

The number of families living in poverty had nearly doubled in two years, its report found.

The Taliban said politics should not be linked with humanitarian aid decisions.

Afghanistan was pushed into economic collapse when the Taliban took over in 2021, and foreign funds that were being given to the previous regime were frozen.

Already, 34 million people - 90% of the population - are living below the poverty line. Two in three Afghans don't know when they will get their next meal.

The UNDP report noted signs of hope brought about by inflows of foreign aid through different UN agencies - coupled with improved security conditions, a reported reduction in corruption and better tax collection by the Taliban government.

But it stressed: "The economy cannot be reignited if women cannot work, while future economic growth is constrained by under-investment in girls' and women's education."

Last year, the Taliban banned Afghan women from working for non-governmental organisations. Girls were also barred from secondary school and women from university.

When the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in August 2021, billions of dollars in Afghan assets held abroad were frozen as the international community waited for the Taliban to honour promises on security, governance and human rights - including allowing all girls to be educated.

The United Nations and other non-governmental organisations have since played a crucial role in saving Afghans from going hungry.

But the UN said 94% of 127 national organisations it had surveyed had fully or partially ceased operations after the ban on women employees was imposed in December.

About 150 NGOs and aid agencies have suspended all or part of their work.

A senior Taliban finance ministry official told the BBC's Yogita Limaye in Kabul that the rules imposed on women were "internal matters" for the country and that their government was working to improve the economic situation.

"All the humanitarian aid and donations on the ground, those should not be related to these issues only," said Mairaj Mohammad Mairaj, the ministry's director for general revenue.

"It is our duty as men, in the Islamic view, to take care of our women sitting in their homes."

Mr Mairaj said there had been "a lot of corruption and misuse of power" in the previous government.

"We have stopped ill-practices like bureaucracy, corruption from our departments - this was the reason we have a very well managed structure of revenue collection.

"We need not only aid - we need trade," he said. "We need the international community to come and work with us."

'When I see the boys going to school, it hurts'

BBC helps Afghan children banned from school

Taliban to set new rules on women's aid work, UN says

Currently, more than a million children, male and female, have been forced to leave school to provide for their families.

Said Ali Akbar and his elder brother Ali Sena are among them. They hammer and weld away for nine hours each day in Kabul to earn just 150 Afghanis - less than $2.

"I really like school. I miss it. This is very hard work, but I have got used to it now," Said Ali, who is 11, told the BBC. He dropped out of sixth grade last year.

Their father lost his job when the economy collapsed and has now gone to Iran to find work. Their mother, Lila, begs on the streets.

"I feel awful that my young children are working. This is their time to study and be something. But life is hard for us. I am struggling to find work, and they have to provide for the family," Lila told the BBC.

Some 84% of Afghanistan's 5.1 million households are having to borrow to pay for food, the UNDP report says.

Earlier signs of recovery, such as a rise in exports, an expected increase in fiscal revenue, and a reduction in inflation - have been fuelled by international aid amounting to $3.7bn in 2022, according to the UNDP.

UNDP simulations now suggest that if aid were to drop by 30%, gross domestic product (GDP) could contract by 0.4% in 2023 and the inflation rate might spike to about 10% in 2024.

By that time, per capita incomes could decline to a projected $306, compared with $512 in 2020.

Source: BBC

DMP gives financial grants to 116 injured, sick policemen

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Khandkar Golam Faruq today provided financial assistance for the treatment of 116 injured and sick policemen.

He handed over the grants among the police personnel, who were injured while on duty and sick police members, at DMP headquarters here.

After giving financial grant, the DMP Commissioner said, “You have spent a huge amount of money for your treatment, this grant is very less compared to the expenses.”

“We are trying to provide the highest grant from our fund. Considering the gravity of the injury we usually give Tk two lakh as grant. Besides, financial grants were given from the Traffic Welfare Fund, the Police Headquarters and the Government Welfare Fund,” he said.

The 70th meeting of the DMP Welfare Fund Management Committee was held at the DMP Headquarters on April 10 last. In the meeting, a total of Tk 48.20 lakhs were approved for 116 policemen, Faruq said.

Additional Commissioners AKM Hafiz Akhtar; Dr Kh Mahid Uddin; Muhammad Ashrafuzzaman, Md Asaduzzaman, Md Munibur Rahman and Mohammad Harun-or-Rashid; Joint Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and other senior officials were also present.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

India always remains beside Bangladesh’s development: Indian HC

Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Pranay Kumar Verma today said the Indian Government always remained beside of Bangladesh's development.

More efforts for communication development are going on for boosting further-more relations between Bangladesh and India as the communication system plays an important role towards the economic growth.

Indian Envoy Pranay Verma came up with the observation while talking to the media after visiting Rajshahi University (RU) campus.

He said they have been working with various projects at present so that the border connectivity between the two countries is improved. Processes for strengthening development relations along with inclusion of the people and the economy are also progressing.

He also termed the Rajshahi region as economically important and said the Indian government will work on Rajshahi's development. "We will do better for cultural development at Rajshahi", he added.

Bangladesh and India, as the closest neighbours, will continue to work together to establish a secure South Asia for the benefit of all people.

He said the relationship has its genesis in the War of Liberation in 1971 and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman maintained excellent relations with the Indian leadership.

RU Vice-chancellor Prof Golam Sabbir Sattar, Pro-vice-chancellors Prof Sultan-Ul-Islam and Prof Humayun Kabir and Assistant Indian High Commissioner at Rajshahi Monoj Kumar were present on the occasion.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Police to remain alert during Eid: DMP Commissioner

Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Khandkar Golam Faruq today said police will remain alert round-the-clock in order to ensure the overall security of markets during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr.

"Businessmen should keep constant contact with local police regarding the overall security of their markets," he said while speaking at a view-exchange meeting with businessmen at the DMP headquarters here.

"Moreover, you (traders) can install IP cameras in the markets to monitor the market from home," he said during the meeting conducted by Joint Commissioner Biplab Kumar Sarkar.

Senior police officials, representatives from the intelligence agencies, Special Branch and Fire Service, leaders of Bangladesh Shop Owners Association, Bangladesh Jewelry Association, Dhaka Metropolitan Shop Owners Association and FBCCI leaders were present in the meeting.

The DMP Commissioner underscored the need for ensuring fire safety arrangements in every market side by side taking necessary preparations to extinguish fire.

There should be a detailed plan so that fire fighters can easily enter into the fire-affected markets, he added.

Use of old electric cables, fake, cheap and substandard electronic products is the main cause of fire incidents, he opined, advising the businessmen to use standard electronics devices to avoid fire risk and install CCTV cameras in the markets for proper vigilance.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

BNP playing with fire and will be burnt in its inferno: Quader

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader today said the BNP is playing with fire to oust Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government but it will be burnt in its fire.

"The BNP has a habit of setting fires. They (BNP) are playing with fire to topple the government, but the BNP itself will be burnt in the inferno," he said at an Eid gift distribution programme here.

On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the AL relief and social welfare sub-committee, on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, distributed Eid gifts among the underprivileged people in front of the party's Bangabandhu Avenue central office this afternoon.

Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, said probes are underway to unearth the reasons behind the fire incidents that broke out at different city markets.

The BNP has the habit of setting fire while the AL does not play with fire and it never believes in terrorism, he said.

Quader said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir talked about fire today. "If they (BNP leaders) have shame, the blame would not be put on the shoulders of the Awami League. The AL doesn't hatch plots. Rather, it is a victim of conspiracies time and again," he said.

He said the AL works for the welfare of people and, in contrast, the BNP fulfills their pockets.

"For the BNP, power means pocket development, corruption and vote stealing. To the Awami League, to Sheikh Hasina, power means the development of people's fates and standing by the helpless people," the AL general secretary said.

He said during the holy month of Ramadan, the BNP leaders have held iftar parties with affordable people while the ruling AL is distributing iftar items and this is the difference between the AL and BNP.

"This is the difference between Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia," he said.

Quader said Bangladesh is doing well despite the ongoing global crisis and the country is addressing the situation better than many developed countries.

Chaired by AL relief and social welfare affairs secretary Aminul Islam Amin, the meeting was addressed, among others, by AL joint general secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim and deputy publicity secretary Syed Abdul Awal Shamim.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Motorcycles can ply Padma Bridge from April 20: Quader

The government has allowed the movement of motorcycle on the Padma Bridge from April 20.

"Under the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government has given permission for plying of motorcycle on the Padma Bridge," Awami League General Secretary and also Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told reporters here.

The maximum speed for motorcycle movement on the Padma Bridge has been fixed at 60 kilometres, he added.

On June 27 last year, the Bridge Division under the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges banned the plying of motorcycles on the Padma Bridge.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Tab distributed among students in Meherpur

As many as 330 tablet computers were distributed among high School students in Sadar and Mujibnagar Upazilas here today.

State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain distributed the tabs as the chief guest in a function held at Meherpur municipality Community Center this afternoon.

With Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Azizul Islam in the chair the function was addressed among others by Police Super Rafiul Alam, Mujibnagar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Animesh Biswash, Secondary Education Officer Monirul Islam, Academy Supervisor of Secondary Education Office Anarul Islam and Deputy Director at district Statistics Office Boshir Uddin.

A total of 330 students from 55 educational institutions under Mujibnagar and Meherpur Sadar Upazila got tablet computer as gift of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Holy Shab-e-Qadr being observed tonight

The holy Shab-e-Qadr, also known as Lailatul Qadr, (the Night of Decree) when the first verses of the holy Quran were revealed to Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), is being observed across the country tonight.

The Muslim devotees are passing the night offering special prayers, reciting the holy Quran, holding zikr and other religious rituals, seeking blessings of the almighty Allah for long life, peace and progress for themselves, their families, relatives, friends as well as the nation and the Muslim Ummah.

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina greeted the countrymen and the Muslim Ummah across the world on the occasion.

Marking Lailatul Qadr, tomorrow will be a public holiday.

Newspapers published special articles while state-run Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television and private television channels are airing special programmes highlighting significance of the Lailatul Qadr.

According to the holy Quran, the night is better than 1,000 nights as the angels and the spirit descend therein, by the permission of almighty Allah with all decrees.

This is one of the holiest and most blessed nights which is likely to occur on one of the odd number nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan and most likely to be the 27th of the holy month.

Devotees, on the nights, usually visit graveyards to seek eternal blessings for the departed souls of their near and dear ones.

To the Muslims, the entire month of Ramadan is a period of spiritual training. Besides fasting, they devote themselves to praying, reciting the holy Quran and offering charity.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

3rd Bangladesh-Turkey military dialogue held

The 3rd Military Dialogue between Bangladesh and Turkey was held at Multipurpose Hall, Armed Forces Division, Dhaka Cantonment on April 12-14, 2023.

The Bangladesh delegation was led by Brigadier General Husain Muhammad Masihur Rahman, Director General, Directorate of Operations and Plan, Armed Forces Division and Brigadier General Tansel Çokuysal led the Turkish delegation, said a press release of ISPR here today.

Also representative from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense and senior officials from Armed Forces were present.

Every year, many members of the Bangladesh Armed Forces receive training at various institutions in Turkey.

The two countries' armed forces have been working together in UN peacekeeping mission and the war on terror, it said.

Exchange of military visits of senior officials between the two countries is another feature of military cooperation.

This dialogue will enhance the defense and military cooperation in the areas of global and regional security, technology, defence equipment disaster management, peacekeeping operations, training, visits, joint exercises and deployments workshops etc.

The 1st dialogue between Bangladesh and Turkey was held on July 05-06, 2015 in Dhaka and 2nd dialogue was held on March 21-23, 2022 in Turkey.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Chiefs of three services pay courtesy call on President

Chiefs of the three services today paid a courtesy call on President M Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban here.

Army Chief General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed, Navy Chief Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Sheikh Abdul Hannan met the President.

President Hamid will hand over the charge of the office to the President-elect Md Sahabuddin at 11 am on April 24. He served long ten-year tenure as the President in the office.

During the meeting, the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Forces briefed the President about the various activities of their respective forces, President's Press Secretary Md Joynal Abedin told BSS.

They gratefully recalled the President's cooperation in the expansion and development of the Bangladesh Armed Forces Division.

They thanked him (the President) for his guidance and support in fulfilling their respective assignments.

The Head of State said the members of the armed forces have brought honour to the country through their outstanding activities both at the national and international levels.

Referring to the armed forces as a symbol of our pride and heritage, the supreme commander of the armed forces, said, besides protecting the sovereignty of the country, they always stand by the people in any need or emergency, including various natural disasters.

They have also brightened the image of Bangladesh across the world by participating in peacekeeping forces mission.

Concerned secretaries of Bangabhaban were present during the call on.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha