Project to strengthen response to gender-based violence launched

Kathmandu: Minister of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens, Bhagbati Chaudhary and World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos jointly launched the Institutionalizing Gender-Based Violence Response in Federal Nepal Project. The three-year project will help increase women's and girls' access to multi-sectoral gender-based violence (GBV) response services such as legal aid, psychosocial counseling, and medical support in six municipalities in Koshi and Lumbini provinces. It aims to benefit 49,000 women and girls who have experienced violence through better access to quality services. 'Addressing gender-based violence is a priority for the government of Nepal. This project will help establish a functioning coordination system to link GBV response mechanisms at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels,' said Minister Bhagbati Chaudhary. The project is financed by a $4.6 million grant from the State and Peacebuilding Trust Fund and will be implemented by the Ministr y of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens. The project will help strengthen institutional frameworks and capacity, pilot innovative GBV service models with a focus on improving service coverage and quality, and promote behavior change among first responders and local stakeholders for improved GBV response. "This project will help empower women and girls to readily access GBV services, report violence, and seek help, especially in the most remote and hard to reach areas. This is key to supporting Nepal's development that is green, resilient, and inclusive,' said WB Country Director Faris. The Nepal government and the World Bank signed the financing agreements for the project on April 24, 2024. Source: National News Agency RSS

Radwan Mujib thanks all for wishing on his birthday

Radwan Mujib Siddiq, who edits country's first in-depth and insightful policy magazine, on facebook expressed gratitude to all on a humorous note in response to pouring of warm wishes on social media marking his birthday with tribute for his initiatives to empowering youths. "Thank you for the lovely birthday wishes everyone", wrote Radwan a gesture of acknowledgement for those extended wishes to him. Then Radwan, who is credited with empowering youth through country's largest youth platform Young Bangla, cracked a witty analogy. "Thoughts of ageing helped me temporarily forget that Jurgen Kloop left Liverpool", reads the post that contains a sketch. A trustee of Center for Research and Information (CRI), Radwan's initiatives have been attributed to some of country's biggest efforts for youths that plays a critical role in empowering the young change-makers. Called as mentors by country's brightest super achievers for initiatives like Young Bangla, the largest youth platform, Radwan, also a grandson of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also works to bring history closer to youths but in a creative manner. After the gruesome assassination of country's founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, military rulers wiped out the heroic struggle of Mujib whose speech now even earned recognition from UNESCO. Determined to reintroduce Bangabandhu to the youth, Radwan initiated the creation of the graphic novel series "Mujib". This 10-part series, based on Bangabandhu's unfinished autobiography, has captivated children, adolescents, and young adults alike, making the country's history accessible through engaging storytelling. Radwan, who graduated in Governance and History from the London School of Economics and Political Science, also did his Masters in Comparative Politics from the same institution. He was born on this day in 1980 to Bangabandhu's youngest daughter, Sheikh Rehana and renowned academic Shafique Ahmed Siddiq. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Buddha’s teachings for welfare and peace of human beings, says PM Dahal

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has said Gautam Buddha's sacrifice, thoughts and practice should be followed for overall welfare and peace of human beings. In a message today on the occasion of 2568th birth anniversary of leader of the World Peace, Gautam Buddha, Prime Minister Dahal has said that Buddha's views have become famous and immortal across the world as Buddhism and the philosophy has shown the path of non-violence, harmony and human welfare. Saying the teachings and path shown by Gautam Buddha is still relevant, he expressed the belief that national unity, tolerance and mutual harmony could gain heights if the country moved ahead following Buddha's teachings and path. The Prime Minister explained that he has expected positive role of the general people to fulfill the national aspiration of good governance, social justice and prosperity. "In present context, moving ahead with mutual harmony, collaboration and unity in favour of human beings by following Buddha's teachings would be a true respect towards Buddha", reads the message. Prime Minister Dahal has also wished that Buddha Jayanti would encourage all to move ahead following Buddha philosophy of non-violence, and fraternity. He has extended best wishes for happiness, peace and prosperity to all Nepalis and Buddhists at home and abroad on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti. Source: National News Agency RSS

Govt doesn’t care about sanctions imposed by supporters of genocide: Quader

Awami League (AL) General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today said the government does not care about the sanctions imposed by the supporters of genocide. "The government does not have any headache over sanctions of those who have been giving support to genocide and the killing of children in Palestine day after day," he told a meeting here. The AL's Culture Affairs Sub-Committee arranged the meeting titled 'Smart Bangladesh enriched in cultural diversity' by at the party's Bangabandhu Avenue central office this afternoon. The meeting was arranged to decide its action plan in observing the 75th founding anniversary of the Awami League to be observed on June 23. Speaking as the chief guest, Quader said Israel has so far killed 35,000 innocent Palestinian people indiscriminately, while they are carrying out the killing avoiding the United Nations Security Council's (UNSC) Resolution, which called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. "When the students of the United States (US) staged protest against it, police of that country carried out attack on them. The female students were taken away with ropes tied behind their hands. Human rights are being violated there. They (US) support Israel and Netanyahu. If this is their democracy and human rights, we have no headache with their visa policy or sanctions," he said. Replying to a question about the US sanction on Bangladesh's former army chief General (retd) Aziz Ahmed, Quader said the army has its own rules and regulations, and Bangabandhu's daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is not the person who will spare anyone if she/he is offenders. Criticising BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir for his statement over the killing of Anwarul Azim, MP, the AL general secretary said BNP leader Salahuddin's life remains safe in friendly-country India. Quader urged Mirza Fakhrul not to play blame game of politics about the friendly country. Chaired by AL advisory council member and culture affairs sub-committee chairman Atau r Rahman, the meeting was attended, among others, by former state minister for cultural affairs KM Khalid and actor Ferdous Ahmed, MP. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Buddha Jayanti and Ubhauli festival being observed

Kathmandu: The 2568th birth anniversary of Siddhartha Gautam popular around the world as Buddha, the harbinger of peace is being celebrated today. Buddha Jayanti is celebrated every year on the full moon day of the month of Baisakh in the Lunar calendar. As Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death falls on the full moon day of Baishakh, Buddhists around the world, including in Nepal, celebrate the day with reverence and devotion to Buddha. Likewise, Buddhist monks and religious leaders sit in chaityas, monasteries, vihars etc., and perform traditional rituals. Special events are held in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and in Kapilvastu, Swayambhu and Boudha. Siddhartha Gautam was born to King Suddhodhan and Queen Mayadevi in Lumbini of present Rupandehi district in 563 BC i.e. 2568 years ago. Born as a prince, he became worried seeing the sufferings of the people. At the age of 29, he left the palace and went for meditation and penance. Also today, the Ubhauli festival is being celebrated especially by the Kirant Rai community across the country. During the festival, there is a tradition of worshiping nature before planting the crops to ensure that the land gives good output. Chandi dance is also performed on the occasion of this festival. Sakela dance is also performed among different sects of the Kirant community. Meanwhile in Kathmandu, the Kirant Rai Yayokkha is hosting a special event including prayers and worshipping Sakelasthan in Hattiban of Lalitpur. However, the people of Ainselukharka Rural Municipality of Khotang celebrate this festival after 22nd of the month of Jetha (first week of June) in the Lunar calendar. Source: National News Agency RSS

Buddhists celebrate Buddha purnima in Ctg

The Buddhists celebrated their most sacred festival Buddha Purnima in the city as elsewhere in the district today with solemn devotion and enthusiasm. Reverentially, the most important day for the followers of Buddhism commemorates three important events -- Lord Buddha's birth, enlightenment or 'Nirvana' in Bodh Gaya and 'Parinirvana' in Kushinagara of India. As the name itself suggests, Buddha Purnima is observed on a bright full moon in the Vaisakha month, a time especially suited for introspection, charity and puja. This day is a thrice blessed day. Gautam Buddha "lived and died in about the fifth century before the Christian era". Buddha means "enlightened one" - someone who is completely free from all faults and mental obstructions. Besides, decorating the monasteries with colorful Buddhist flags, the morning prayer, colorful peace procession of the monks, worship with large offerings, blood donation and religious discussions were the highlights of the day. Besides sermons and non-stop recitations of Buddhist scriptures, the Buddhists also after bath and clad in white clothes offered incense, flowers, candles and fruits to the statue of Lord Buddha. They were spending their entire day listening to discourses on the life and teachings of the Buddha. The day's programmes herald with hoisting of the national and religious flags atop of all monasteries in the dawn and chanting of the sacred verses from the Tripitaka. In the city, the colourful peace procession under the auspices of Bangladesh Buddhists Association brought out from city's Nandankanan Buddhist temple. In the city, main religious congregations were held at Nandankanon Buddhist temple, Katalganj Nabapandit Vihar, Purnachar International Buddhists Monastery at Devpahar, Mughaltooli Shakkyamuni Shoswan Vihar at Agrabad and Sarbajanin Bouddha Vihar at Momin Road. To mark the day, local dailies brought out some articles while Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television, Chattogram centers aired special programmes highlighting significance of t he festival. A good number of periodicals of the community like Amitabh, Sombodhi, Krishti, Bodhibarta and Arya were published special supplements. Besides, special prayers seeking continued peace and progress of the nation as well as global peace also offered in all monasteries. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Order to register petition against DPM Lamichhane

Kathmandu: The Supreme Court has ordered to register the writ petition filed against Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane and Attorney General Dr Dinmani Pokharel. A single bench of Justice Tek Prasad Dhungana today issued an order to register the writ petition filed by Advocate Anupam Bhattarai. Advocate Bhattarai filed the writ petition in the Apex Court questioning the validity of the letter issued by the Officer of the Attorney General in the name of Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane. Source: National News Agency RSS

Zia became BAKSAL member by begging: Nanak

Textiles and Jute Minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak today said BNP founder General Ziaur Rahman had become a member of the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL) by begging, and he had planned to destroy the Awami League and the spirit of the Great Liberation War after 1975 by grabbing state power. 'Ziaur Rahman formed his party to destroy the spirit of the Liberation War,' he said while speaking at a meeting with the Dinajpur District Awami League in Dinajpur Circuit House, according to a press release. Mentioning that upon returning to the country in 1981, Awami League President Sheikh Hasina organized the party, he said anti-liberation forces had attacked her repeatedly, but she didn't bow down to any evil forces. Pro-liberation forces will run the country, and they will also play a role as an opponent party in the country, he added. The jute minister also said, 'We want to increase the use of jute-made goods in Dinajpur.' The whip of Jatiya Sangsad and Member of Parliament of Dinajpur-3 constit uency, Iqbalur Rahim, Zakaria Jaka MP, former MP, Manoranjan Shil Gopal, leaders of Dinajpur district, the Awami League, and other organizations were present in the meeting. Dinajpur District Awami League General Secretary Altabuzzaman Mita moderated the program. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Foundation stone of Kakadvitta-Laukahi road section expansion laid

Chairperson of CPN (UML) and former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the upgrading of the Kakadvitta-Laukahi road section as part of the Asian Highway. Speaking at the foundation-laying ceremony organized by the Department of Roads at Padajungi Chowk located in Kamal Rural Municipality-5, he said that the construction of the Asian highway will add a new dimension to Nepal's infrastructure development and create new opportunities for economic development. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth said that the construction of the section of the Asian Highway will be completed within three years. The construction company will also be responsible for maintenance for six years after the construction is completed. The Asia highway is going to be built with the loan support of Asian Development Bank. Head of Project Office, Damak, Sunil Babu Pant, said 52 bridges, 289 culverts, 10 vehicular overpasses, three pedestrian o verpasses, 18 pedestrian underpasses and 12 animal crossings will be constructed. The construction of the highway is being carried out jointly by an Azerbaijani and Chinese construction company together with a Nepali company. Source: National News Agency RSS

Rivalry steepens among US, European aircraft producers over Bangladesh market

An apparent rivalry has steepened among US-based Boeing and Europe's Airbus over the Bangladesh's aviation sector as the two commercial aircraft producers are vying to reach a deal with state-run Biman airlines that decided to procure craft to expand its fleet. Boeing has demanded a 'full and fair evaluation' of its proposal of selling wide-body jets while its archrival Airbus said they were confident to ink the deal with Biman. 'We want to see a full and fair evaluate on (by Biman) of our proposal and we hope that happened before the final (purchase) decision,' Boeing's visiting vice president Ryan Weir told a select group of aviation reporters here on Tuesday. Weir said he recently met with concerned senior officials including that of the PMO and civil aviation ministry alongside the Biman and "they told us quite frankly that they will do full evaluation of the Boeing proposal'. French ambassador in Dhaka Marie MASDUPUY, on the other hand, told diplomatic reporters on Wednesday morning that discussions between Airbus and Biman was 'going well' on purchasing Airbus wide body passenger and freighter planes. 'We hope that soon there will be a signature of finalization (of the deal) … We are very confident,' she said. Civil aviation and tourism minister Faruk Khan, meanwhile told BSS today that he asked the Biman to evaluate thoroughly both the proposals and accept one which would benefit the national airliner. 'We will accept the proposal which will be beneficial for us,' he briefly told this correspondent. The tug of war between the two aviation giants continues for more than a year when the Bangladesh government decided to purchase more wide body planes for the Biman fleet, which currently is dominated by Boeing planes. The Airbus came to the scene last year when a Joint Communique was signed in London between UK's Minister of State in the Department of Business and Trade Lord Dominic Johnson and Bangladesh Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman. The Communique, includ es the purchase of 10 A350 aircraft, including two A350 Freighters from the Airbus to establish an aviation and trade partnership to develop Bangladesh's aviation sector. French President Emmanuel Macron visited Dhaka in September last year when he said that Bangladesh had committed to order 10 aircraft from Airbus. Seeing the Airbus move to munch Boing monopoly in Bangladesh's aviation industry, the US plane manufactures came up with a proposal to Biman to supply more Boing wide body aircraft. "We have had a proposal on the table for years now," said Boeing's vice president adding they placed a proposal to sell four passenger planes of Boeing 787 Dreamliner and two Boeing 777-300ER cargo planes. 'We understand that the Airbus proposal was (already) evaluated (by the Biman). (So) We are always after a fair evaluation of our products,' Weir said. Boeing Managing Director-Commercial Marketing, Eurasia, and Indian Subcontinent Ashwin Naidu and Sales Director Kaanthi Bhuvanagiri also spoke at the 'meet and g reet' session with reporters at a city hotel. Boeing officials assured that the Export-Import Bank of the United States (US EXIM Bank) would provide adequate credit to Biman to procure the US made new aircraft. Weir said in its proposal Boeing also offered a consultancy service at free of cost to Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) to get its status upgraded from category 2 to category 1 by the US federal Aviation Authority so that Bangladeshi airlines can fly to the United States. Ashwin Naidu claimed, as per their internal research, Boeing 787 would earn Biman about US$5 million more profit per plane annually because of its fuel efficiency and reduce 30 percent maintenance cost. 'We can offer competitive delivery timing with a delivery position of 787 while Boeing products are going to be more or less expensive than those of our competitors,' he claimed calling their proposal lucrative. On the other hand, he said, Biman would need to spend an approximate additional amount of nearly $150 milli on over the next 20 years if go for a mixed fleet, meaning incorporation of Airbus craft in its fleet alongside the existing Boeing ones. These costs are driven by airplane and engine spares and spare parts, tooling, training as well as additional pilot salaries and administrative overhead costs due to having multiple pilot grounds, he added. In an earlier interview with the BSS, Airbus President and Managing Director in India and South Asia Remi Maillard, however, claimed that currently the Biman is not benefiting from fleet commonality. He said Biman does not enjoy any benefit of "cross-crew qualification" training for lack of a common cockpit design as its fleet consists with different version of six Boeing 777-300 ER, four Boeing 787-8, two Boeing 787-9, six Boeing 737 and five are Dash 8-400 aircraft. Maillard also claimed that the 300-410 seater category of A350-900 offers the lowest cost per seat of any large wide body as this new version of aircraft offers 25 percent advantage in fuel burn, operat ing costs and CO2 emissions compare to previous generation planes. He said the A350 aircraft can fly profitably from Dhaka to any large port in the world as it offers up to ultra-long haul 9,700 nautical miles while fuel costs account for 40 to 50 percent of an airline's operating expenditure broadly. Both the Boeing and Airbus offered for a long-term partnership with Bangladesh to help Dhaka's desire of turning the country as an aviation hub through providing technology transfer and technical support to its aviation educational institutes. High officials of both the giant plane manufacturers observed huge aviation market potentials of Bangladesh as it is predicted that the fleet size in Bangladesh is expected to be tripled in next 20 years due to the country's unpretending economic growth. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Bagmati Province to top contribution to GDP

Kathmandu: Bagmati Province is to top the contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) in the country, while the Karnali Province is in the bottom. The Provincial GDP Estimates, 2080/81 made public by the National Statistics Office on Wednesday showed the Bagmati Province is estimated to contribute 36.4 percent to the nation's GDP in this fiscal year. The Bagmati Province is followed by the Koshi Province (15.8 percent), while Lumbini counts 14.3 percent, Madhesh 13.1 percent, Gandaki 9.1 percent and Sudurpaschim 7.1 percent. The Karnali Province has the lowest share for GDP- only 4.3 percent. There is marginal change is province contribution to GDP as per revised estimates for the fiscal year, 2079/80. "As compared to the last year, there is marginal decline in the GDP contribution by the Koshi, Madhesh, Karnali and Sudurpaschim provinces, while others are to witness slight increase," the Office stated. The GDP at consumer price is estimated at Rs 575 billion for the current fiscal year, 2080/81. Since the adoption of federalism, the Office has been monitoring the economic activities and producing data to support evidence-based policy making and reduce socioeconomic disparity. Source: National News Agency RSS

Bangladesh, Australia hail growing strategic depth, dimensions in ties

Bangladesh and Australia are committed to working together to find out practical solutions to the shared contemporary challenges, including maritime security threats, climate change, cybercrimes and countering trafficking in persons. Both the countries also appreciated the growing strategic depth and dimensions of the bilateral relations between Dhaka and Canberra. These were observed at the bilateral meeting with Bangladesh foreign minister Dr Hasan Mahmud and his Australian counterpart Penny Wong that held on Tuesday in Dhaka, according to a joint statement issued here today. During the meeting, the Ministers acknowledged the importance of building regional health security, promoting demographic resilience, enhancing multi-modal connectivity, and strengthening clean energy supply chains. They agreed on the importance of promoting open channels of communication and confidence-building measures to reduce the risk of conflict in the region. The Ministers noted the warm bilateral relationship founded on m ore than fifty years of diplomatic relations and deepening friendship between our peoples. They also recognised that the high-level visits at the political level can help to take the relationship to further new heights. The Ministers affirmed their intention to enhance cooperation on deepening two-way trade and economic ties as Bangladesh progresses towards graduation from UN LDC status, with Australia committing to maintain tariff-free, quota-free access to its market to support Bangladesh's smooth transition. The Bangladesh Minister provided assurances that necessary support would be given to Australian investors, including in thrust sectors like agro-processing, ICT and logistics. The Ministers noted Australia's ongoing funding for multilateral development banks to support Bangladesh's efforts to address its priority structural reforms that would bolster development and economic growth. The Ministers stressed the need for strengthening the international financial architecture. Noting the importance of enhanced connectivity to increase regional economic integration and growth, the Ministers discussed Australian technical support in partnership with the World Bank and International Finance Corporation to the connectivity measures via South Asia Regional Infrastructure Connectivity programme. They also agreed to work further on bilateral air connectivity and cable connectivity resilience. They noted the commonalities between Bangladesh's Indo-Pacific Outlook, the Indian Ocean Rim Association's Indo-Pacific Outlook and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. They reaffirmed their shared vision and desire to work towards a region that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, inclusive and free from intimidation, interference and coercion. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Indo-Pacific, democratic values, human rights, freedom of navigation and over flight and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Australia and Bangladesh are committed to working together to find p ractical solutions to shared contemporary challenges, including maritime security threats, climate change, cybercrimes and countering trafficking in persons. They reiterated their shared concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, which has been exacerbated following the 7 October attacks, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and reaffirming support for a two-state solution. The Ministers also expressed serious concern over the ongoing war in Ukraine and its repercussions around the world. They reiterated the call for a peace process through dialogue and diplomacy with respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter. The Ministers expressed their deep concern at the deteriorating conflict situation in Myanmar and its effect on regional security and stability, calling for scaling up of efforts by ASEAN and other key regional actors. The Ministers acknowledged the imp ortance of skills development and training to foster inclusive economic growth, with Australia announcing AUD 3 million in support for delivery of technical and vocational training for Bangladesh's youth. The Bangladesh Minister expressed interest in enhancing cooperation with Australia in the fields of research and innovation. The Ministers affirmed Australia's long-standing commitment in building of capacity in Bangladesh, with over 3,000 Bangladeshis having completed studies under the Australia Awards Scholarships and Fellowship Programme since 1982. Working with the UNDP, Australia has provided technical assistance and policy support towards developing a strategy for inclusive social security system. Australia and Bangladesh reaffirmed the vital importance of gender equality and women's empowerment in all fields, notably across education, government and parliamentary representation. Australia reaffirmed its support for investments to promote women's economic empowerment. Recognising gender equality as a shared priority with opportunities for regional leadership, the Ministers agreed to work bilaterally and multilaterally to combat all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls. The Ministers agreed on the importance of enhanced cooperation on climate change, including funding of vital climate adaptation and mitigation measures. Australia emphasised its partnership with Bangladesh to support agricultural production and adaptation of research, including through the work of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. They discussed enhancing cooperation on capacity building for accessing international climate financing. Bangladesh welcomed the forthcoming visit by Australia's Ambassador for Climate Change, and offered to share some of its locally-led adaptation solutions with the Pacific Island countries, including through trilateral engagement with Australia. Australia acknowledged the generosity of the Bangladesh government and people in hosting the forcibly displac ed Rohingyas from Myanmar while Bangladesh acknowledged the sustained humanitarian contribution of the Australian Government to support the Rohingyas and host communities in Bangladesh. Both Ministers underlined the importance of working towards the Rohingyas' safe and dignified repatriation to Myanmar. The Ministers confirmed their commitment to enhancing maritime and oceans capabilities as a critical means to protecting our marine environment and promoting sovereignty and the rule of law. The Ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation to combat people's smuggling and transnational crimes across the region, including through prioritising cooperation between their coast guards. They agreed to support regional and international efforts towards combating transnational organised crimes in the Indo-Pacific through both normative and practical actions. As founding members of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, Australia and Bangladesh expressed concern about the loss of life and exploitation of vulnerable people such as the Rohingyas, including women and children, at the hands of transnational criminal networks. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha