Nepal fully committed to work for collective well-being of peoples of BIMSTEC region-PM

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' said Nepal was fully committed to work for the collective well-being of the peoples of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) region. In a message delivered on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of inception of the BIMSTEC, Prime Minister Dahal expressed Nepal's unwavering commitment to the objectives and principles enshrined in the BIMSTEC Charter. Extending best wishes to the governments and the people of the member-nations on behalf of the Nepal government and on his own, he said regional cooperation stood as a mainstay of stability, economic prosperity and solidarity in today's complex, dynamic and interconnected world. The BIMSTEC was established as an intergovernmental forum comprising friendly countries of South Asian and South East Asia to realize the shared aspirations of our peoples for a well-integrated, peaceful and prosperous region through strengthened regional cooperation and partners hips, the PM noted, adding the forum has made some landmark achievements and much remained to be done to translate the spirit of its Charter into a concrete reality. "BIMSTEC as a region holds immense potentials and opportunities in uplifting millions of people out of poverty, establishing missing links in connectivity; expanding energy cooperation; enhancing trade, investment and tourism; keeping progress of Sustainable Development Goals and leaving no one behind", the message reads. By leveraging its diverse strengths and complementarities, BIMSTEC has continued to make strides towards institution-building process, forge synergies for win-win benefits and deepen collaboration in agreed areas of cooperation, the PM stated. He further said that Nepal as a lead country in the people-to-people contact sector remained steadfast to further work closely with all the member-states in a spirit of unity and friendship for meaningful partnerships to unlock regional potentials for shared prosperity. The peace, pros perity and collective well-being of the peoples of the region hinges on success stories of BIMSTEC, he noted, highlighting urgency of building broader political commitments and consensus for enhanced collaborations and achieving people-centered development. He further noted that the coming into force of BIMSTEC Carter since last May has provided added momentum to this end. BIMSTEC aims to support the rapid economic development of member nations by implementing assistance projects for trade, investment, industry, technology, human resources, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure and connectivity expansion. BIMSTEC was established on June 6, 1997 with the objective of jointly achieving economic growth and social prosperity of the member nations by embracing the spirit of equality and cooperation. Source: National News Agency RSS

Eid-ul-Azha to be celebrated June 17 in Bangladesh

The holy Eid-ul-Azha, the second biggest religious festival of the Muslims, will be celebrated in the country on June 17. The National Moon Sighting Committee took the decision at a meeting held at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in the capital after the moon of the holy month of Zilhaj was sighted in the sky of Bangladesh territory this evening, said a press release of the Islamic Foundation. Religious Affairs Minister Md. Faridul Haque Khan presided over the meeting. The Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated on the 10th day of Zilhaj. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

RIF’s knowledge transfer office provides services to 34 cases in a year’s time

The Central Knowledge Transfer Office (CKTO) of the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF) has just completed one year of operation and provided services to 34 knowledge cases a press release says. The CKTO offers a wide range of knowledge transfer and commercialisation services for research results including, among others, the development of an IP protection strategy and the identification of IP exploitation opportunities as well as the development of national level IP skills and competences. A total of 56 service requests have been submitted and 34 cases have been handled in the first year of operation. Furthermore, 10 local knowledge transfer offices have requested and are receiving capacity building services, and 23 capacity building training workshops have been organized for local offices. In a scheduled meeting held at the offices of the Foundation, on Friday 7 June 2024, between META and Foundation, the Director General, Theodoros Loukaides said that the protection of research results and the sup port of institutions for their exploitation is their priority, adding that they expect that the services will lead to tangible results in the near future. META Group President Andrea Di Anselmo stated that a product/service without use has no value adding that Central Knowledge Transfer Office provides clear support for the use of knowledge to impact the economy. The office's operation is funded under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, "Cyprus Tomorrow". Source: Cyprus News Agency

Bangladesh has to be saved from conspirators: Bahauddin Nasim

Awami League (AL) Joint General Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim,MP, today said Bangladesh will have to be protected from the grip of conspirators under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 'We want to build Bangladesh with the spirit of the Liberation War,' he told a memorial meeting of former lawmaker Manu Mojumder organized by Protirodh Joddha Parishad in city's Krishibid Institution of Bangladesh. Bahauddin Nasim said his party wants to make corruption-and-terrorism-free Bangladesh as AL leaders and activists' work for the country and its people. Manu Mojumder was truly devoted to the ideal of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and was Bangabandhu's trusted compatriot, he added. Manu Mojumder was a also very humble person, he continued. President of Protirodh Joddha Parishad valiant freedom fighter Selim Talukder presided over the meeting while AL Liberation War affairs Secretary Mrinal Kanti Das, AL central leader Dipankar Talukdar,MP, and Krishak League Presiden t Samir Chanda, among others, also spoke. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

New yellow warning for high temperatures, red alert for forest fires still in place

A new yellow warning was issued by the Meteorology Department for extreme high temperatures. According to a post on the Department's official account on X, the warning will come into force on Friday at 21:00 local time until 15:00 tomorrow, Saturday and the inland maximum temperature is expected to rise to around 40 degrees Celsius. The lowest temperatures inland, over the southeastern and eastern coastal area are not expected to fall below 27 degrees Celsius and below 25 degrees Celsius over the western coastal area. At the same time the Forestry Department urges the public to be extremely vigilant as risk for fires remains in red alert. The public is reminded that lighting a fire without a permit is prohibited and that it constitutes an offense which, according to the Forestry Law is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years or a fine of up to pound 50,000 or both penalties together. In addition, and according to the Prevention Fires in the Countryside Law the offender can go to jail for up to 5 yea rs or pay a fine of up to pound 20,000 or both penalties together. Lighting of fire, for food preparation, is only allowed in designated spots in the picnic areas. The citizens are strongly urged to be extremely careful during their outings and to avoid activities that are likely to cause a fire, such as the use of tools or agricultural machinery that produce heat, sparks or flame, such as electric saws, oxygen welding and electric welding. If someone notices smoke or fire, they are asked to call 1407 (Forestry Department) or 112 (Fire Service). Source: Cyprus News Agency

Lightning strikes kill three in Chapainawabganj

Three persons including two children were killed by lightning strikes this afternoon. The deceased were Boby Bhokot, 32, wife of Suvas Bhokot of Alidanga under Shibganj municipality, Kabita Khatun, 11, daughter of Ershad Ali of Dakkhin Panka Nishipara under Shibganj upazila and Amena Khatun, 10, daughter of Islam Ali of Andipur Hatatpara under Bholahat upazila in the district. Police said Boby Bhokot was hit by lightning strike as she was sitting in front of her house at around 2 pm. She died on the spot. On the other hand, Kabita died after being struck by lightning as she went to take water from a tube well behind her house at 3 pm. Officer in charge of Shibganj thana Md Sajjad Hossain confirmed the incidents. Officer in charge of Bholahat police station Sumon Kumar said, Amena Khatun died after being struck by lightning when she was collecting mangoes in the rain at a nearby orchard at around 2:45 pm . She was rushed to Bholahat Upazila Health Complex where the doctor on duty declared her dead. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Delegation of Libyan FM meets Cypriot FM officials in Nicosia

A delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Libya, led by Dr. Muftah Ali Al-Teeh, Director of the Department of International Law and Treaties, along with representatives from various departments within the Ministry, paid an official working visit to the Republic of Cyprus. The delegation met with their Cypriot counterparts at the Cyprus Foreign Ministry on Thursday, June 6. According to a press release issued by the Embassy of Libya, during the meeting the two parties discussed the Agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) previously signed between Libya and Cyprus, expressing a mutual desire to activate some of these agreements. They also deliberated on drafting new Agreements and MOUs to enhance bilateral cooperation and further develop the historical relations between the two countries . Additionally, discussions included plans for reopening the Cyprus Embassy in Tripoli in the near future. The meeting was attended by the Ambassador of the State of Libya to the Republic o f Cyprus, along with members of the Embassy's diplomatic corps, the press release said. Source: Cyprus News Agency

No reason to worry over bank borrowing targets: Ali

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali today said that there is no reason to worry over the target for bank borrowings in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year (FY25). 'The borrowings from banks are a standard procedure, and all the countries even the developed ones borrow more from the banks. So, there is nothing to worry about,' he said. The Finance Minister was replying to a barrage of questions at a post-budget press conference at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital this afternoon after placing a Taka 7,97,000 crore budget for FY25 at Jatiya Sangsad yesterday. The government has set a target of Taka 1,37,500 crore borrowings from the banks in the proposed budget. Echoing with the Finance Minister, Prime Minister's Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman said that the government's bank borrowing is a regular phenomenon, and if the banks do not lend loans, their business would squeeze. 'Stopping the lending of banks couldn't be an operation of a well-thought out government or cou ldn't be acceptable,' he added. Mashiur said that the trend of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) has increased over time due to various reasons, while it is the pledge of the government to reduce the NPLs as it is also included in the election manifesto. He said if the operations of the banks are deterred, it also has an impact on economic activities. 'It's very much necessary to strike a balance between the economic activities and proper operations of banks. Otherwise, there can be an ominous impact on the economy,' Finance Division Secretary Dr Md Khairuzzaman Mozumder said that due to the country's LDC graduation, foreign loans would be gradually dried out, resulting in a greater need for bank borrowings. He said if there is a shortfall in revenues by the NBR, the government will automatically have to go for bank borrowings. 'Besides, there is no relation between liquidity crises in banks and this,' Answering a question, Mozumder said that manpower in the income tax department of the NBR has already increas ed while the process is at the final stage of increasing manpower in the customs department. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Cyprus Department of Meteorology – Forecast for the Sea Area of Cyprus (C)

CYPRUS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY FORECAST FOR THE SEA AREA OF CYPRUS (C) FOR THE PERIOD FROM 1800 07/06/2024 UNTIL 1800 08/06/2024 Area covered is 8 kilometers seawards. Winds are in BEAUFORT scale. Times are local times. Atmospheric pressure at the time of issue: 1007hPa (hectopascal) Warm air mass is affecting the area. The weather will be mainly fine. Visibility: Good Sea surface temperature: 23°C Warnings: NIL Source: Cyprus News Agency

Senior journalist Mufazzal Hussain passes away

Senior journalist and former special correspondent of the national News agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), Mufazzal Hussain, died of old-age complication on Wednesday in Maryland, USA. He was 88. He left behind two sons and a host of relatives and friends to mourn his death. Born on July 9, 1936, in Barisal, he started his career with the then Pakistan Observer as district correspondent. He completed his master's from Lahore University, in journalism. He was the only East Pakistani journalist to cover General Ayub Khan's Washington visit in 1965. Later, he joined the daily Morning News in Dhaka. After suffering a stroke in 1977, he experienced partial paralysis. However, he continued with BSS for several years. He also served as correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, London in Bangladesh. He was a regular contributor to renowned journals like Textile Asia, Petroleum News, and Gemini News. For health reason, he had to move to London where he lived with his wife for 27 years until she passed away in 2016. Then he started living with his elder son in the USA. His younger son Adeeb Hussain lives in Australia. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

UNSG’s intention is to extend Holguin’s contract, FM says

Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos said on Friday that the UN Secretary - General Antonio Guterres intends to extend the contract of his Personal Envoy on Cyprus, María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar. Kombos also said that on Sunday he will leave for the USA, where he will hold a series of contacts in the framework of the presentation of Cyprus' candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council. The Foreign Minister was speaking to journalists after a meeting held at the Presidential Palace between the President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulides and the envoy of the UN Secretary General for humanitarian aid to Gaza, Sigrid Kaag. Asked if there is any indication as to when the UNSG's Personal Envoy will return to Cyprus, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that there they are aware that there is an intention to extend Holguin's contract. This implies, he added, that she will return there where the diplomatic effort is being conducted, which is primarily in Cyprus. He said that he expected that immediately after th e completion of the formal procedures in New York, in the immediate future, she would return to Cyprus. The Foreign Minister noted that this is an issue that primarily concerns Holguin and the UN Secretary-General himself. Asked about the next steps in relation to the Cyprus issue, Kombos referred to his recent visit to Egypt, where, as he noted, the Cyprus issue discussed, among other issues, and thanked the Egyptian side "for the strong support to Cyprus in all international fora on issues concerning Cyprus, maintaining a firm position of principles". He also said that on Sunday he will depart for the US and that as part of this visit there he will have meetings both in Washington and in New York, within the framework of the UN, where the candidacy of the Republic of Cyprus for the Human Rights Council will be presented, in view of the elections for the members of the Council that will take place in October. "If we are elected, it will be the first time that we achieve this. It is a very difficult proces s, but we will continue the effort," he pointed out. He furthermore noted that an event will be held at the UN regarding the 60 years of the UN peacekeeping force presence in Cyprus and then he will go to Washington where he will have a series of contacts at all levels with US officials. He said that talks will focus on the Cyprus issue, "the excellent relations with the USA which are now on another dimension, in the context of a strategic cooperation which is being formed and the tangible results which we can all see," and referred to the cooperation with the US on the humanitarian maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza as such an example. Asked if he will have a meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Kombos noted that Guterres will be in Jordan and that the Summit on Ukraine will follow. He added that he will hold meetings with other top UN officials during which issues concerning the Cyprus issue will be discussed, as well as issues that have more to do with the peacekeeping force and its role in Cyprus. Invited to comment on the statements of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, that he is ready in view of an informal meeting in Susa in July for the accession of the illegal regime in Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas, as a regular member, to the Turkic States summit, Kombos noted that this issue has been going on for long and spoke of an "extraordinary" attempt to amend the statute of the Organization of Turkic States. "The proposed amendment has not yet been ratified. However, we can see that the illegal regime is invited as an observer in various such meetings", he added. He noted that at the moment, especially as regards Azerbaijan, "there is a particular degree of difficulty in influencing how they approach these kind of issues, and the intention of the Turkish side is to use this particular organization as a vehicle for the benefit of a so called or substantial upgrading of the illegal occupation entity". This, too, is part of these plans, he added. Kombos noted that the formalities related to the ratification of the amendment have not yet been completed. "The intention is there by some of the participants, for some others there is no such intention at this stage, but it is a field in which the influence of the Turkish side is particularly strong," he added. Nevertheless, "as always, we are makin efforts to prevent this", he added, noting that, "formally and informally, there is representation in some cases due to the special relations that exist either with Turkey or with Azerbaijan." Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Columbia as his personal envoy for Cyprus, to assume a Good Offices role on his behalf and search for common ground on the way forward in the Cyprus issue. Source: Cyprus N ews Agency

Hilsa conservation programme intensified to boost its production

The government is strengthening hilsa conservation activities in 29 coastal districts with a view to protecting brood hilsa fish and thus boost its production in the country. The Department of Fisheries is implementing a project titled 'Hilsa Resource Development and Management' in 134 upazilas of 29 districts, making the coastal fishermen, who catch fish from the Bay of Bengal, aware of the importance of the natural resources. Under the project, a social awareness campaign is being carried out among the fishermen, asking them not to catch brood hilsa and jatka, project officials said. Besides, they said, the government is providing financial support and alternative livelihood options for the fishermen in 107 upazilas in 27 districts to prevent them from catching hilsa during its breeding period. They are holding meetings with fishermen and disseminating messages through laudspeakers, TVC campaigns, posters, and leaflets at the upazila level and on the banks of rivers. The Department of Fisheries starte d planning hilsa resource management at field level in 2009, resulting in a gradual increase in hilsa production. In continuation of that, the 'Hilsa Resource Development and Management' project was undertaken in 2020. Fisheries and Livestock Minister Abdur Rahman said, 'The awareness campaign will continue for the conservation of brood hilsa.' He said the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and the Department of Fisheries, in association with local administrations, police, navy, coast guard, and naval police, are conducting drives to check the use of illegal fishing nets and other gear that destroy fisheries resources in the country's coastal region. 'The mobile courts are conducting joint operations as a crash programme to stop illegal fishing during the ban period,' he added. Abdur Rahman said the fishermen community of the country is poor, and in most cases, their participation in government activities remains limited as they live in remote and hard-to-reach areas. He said hilsa is the national fish of Bangladesh and one of its natural resources. The significance of hilsa in the country's economic development, employment, export income, and protein supply is immense, he added. The minister said, 'The contribution of hilsa to the country's total fish production is the highest, with about 12.23 percent, while its contribution to GDP is over one percent. Hilsa is the main source of livelihood for the local fishermen,' he said. He said about six lakh fishermen are directly involved in catching hilsa, while around 25 lakh fishermen are indirectly involved in the profession. Bangladesh ranks top among 11 hilsa producing countries in the world as about 80 percent of the world's total hilsa production comes from Bangladesh. 'Indiscriminate destruction of hilsa and jatka and other small fish is not only destroying hilsa resources, but also putting the coastal ecosystem in peril,' Abdur Rahman mentioned. A huge number of fishermen get unemployed during the ban on catching hilsa and jatka, so they face a hard time bearing their family expenses. In such a situation, the minister said, the government, under the project is distributing poultry and goats to 31,700 fishermen so that they can manage alternative livelihood during the ban period. To advance this programme, 31,700 fishermen are being imparted trade-based residential training for three days, while fishermen are being encouraged to take an alternative livelihood through training. Even after raising public awareness and providing alternative livelihoods, drives are being conducted in rivers, fish markets, fishing ghats, and haats by the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry. Project director Mullah Emdadullah said the operation must continue against the fishermen to stop catching brood hilsa to boost hilsa production. He said the hilsa production was 2.29 million tonnes in fiscal 2000-01, but it declined to 1.99 million tonnes in 2003-04. 'Now, the production of hilsa has increased significantly due to pragmatic measures taken by the incumbent government und er the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,' he added. He said public awareness is being carried out for the conservation of brood hilsa and jatka through the distribution of 10,000 legal fishing nets to fishermen, while alternative employment opportunities have been created for 30,000 families of fishermen. Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha