Bangladeshi youth killed in BSF firing along Lalmonirhat border

A Bangladeshi young man was gunned down by some members of the Indian Border Security Force(BSF) along Patgram border in Patgram upazila on Tuesday morning.

The shooting occurred near No 862 main pillar of Shamsernagar Kanirbari under No 3 ward of Jagatber union of the upazila.

The deceased was identified as Rifat Hossain, 30, son of Islam Hossain of Munshirhat Najirgomani area in the upazila.

Belal Hossain, Company Commander of BGB-61 battalion, said a patrol team of BSF opened fire on a group of cattle traders when they went to the border to bring cattle around 10:30 am.

Later, Indian police and BSF took away the body.

A letter was sent to BSF seeking return of the body after holding a flag meeting, said Belal.

In September, Indian Border Security Force had reiterated its policy of using non-lethal weapons on the Bangladesh-India border.

The BSF made the assurance in response to the concerns expressed by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on border deaths.

The BSF assured that all unarmed and innocent trespassers and victims of human trafficking will be handed over to BGB personnel.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Indian Air chief’s Bangladesh visit ‘highly significant’

India has described the two-day visit of Indian Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria to Bangladesh “highly significant” in view of the Golden Jubilee of the historic victory in 1971 War for the Liberation of Bangladesh.

The Indian Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) was invited by his counterpart Air Marshal Shaikh Abdul Hannan, Chief of Air Staff, Bangladesh Air Force to review the Passing Out Parade and Commissioning Ceremony at Bangladesh Air Force Academy (BAFA) in Jashore on June 28 on the occasion of ‘President Parade 2021’.

“The two-day visit was highly significant,” said a media release issued by the Press Information Bureau of India on Tuesday.

This occasion also marks the first instance when any foreign chief was invited to review the Parade as the chief guest, a reaffirmation of the strong bonds of friendship and trust between Bangladesh India and their Armed Forces.

While addressing the graduating trainees on parade, Indian CAS complimented them for an excellent parade and noted the rapid progress being made in all aspects of military-level interactions, with bilateral defence cooperation having become an important pillar in the deep historical and fraternal ties between India and Bangladesh.

The CAS described this event as a reflection of the excellent state of professional relationship between the two Air Forces based on mutual trust and understanding.

He expressed confidence that his presence in BAFA during this historic 50th year of the Liberation War would reinforce the already strong and multidimensional partnership between the two Nations.

During his stay in Bangladesh, Bhadauria held discussions with his host, the Chief of Air Staff Bangladesh Air Force as well as the Chief of Army Staff and Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division; wherein matters of mutual interest and avenues to further strengthen the all-encompassing defence cooperation were discussed.

He also interacted with the High Commissioner of India Vikram K. Doraiswami during his stay in Dhaka.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Woman goes missing in Meghna trawler capsize

A woman went missing after a potato-laden trawler capsized in the Meghna River near Kazipura in Gajaria upazila of Munshiganj on Tuesday.

The missing woman was identified as Belayetunnisa , 52, wife of Abdul Jalil of Molla Char in Munshiganj Sadar Upazila.

Abdus Salam, in-charge of Gazaria Naval Police Outpost, said Belayetunnisa was going to Chandpur from Muktarpur area of Munshiganj in the large trawler carrying 400 maunds of potatoes.

The trawler sank in the Meghna at around 8:15 am. Three people managed to swim ashore but Belayetunnisa went missing, he said.

Police said the trawler has not been salvaged yet.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Online Healthcare: Up to 50% discount on payment by bKash

Customers can now enjoy up to 50% discount on bKash payment for health check-up and doctor consultations via online at three healthcare service providers while staying at home during the pandemic.

Alongside the discount on Covid-19 test, customers can get up to 50% discount on health check-up at ‘Amar Lab’, 20% discount at ‘Dhaka Doctor’, and 5% instant cashback on payment of Tk 300-1500 at ‘Pulse Healthcare Services’ by making payment through bKash.

These offers will be available at Amar Lab till July 17, at Dhaka Doctor and Pulse Healthcare Services till September 17.

Customers can avail Covid-19 test service from their home from these three healthcare service providers and Asgar Ali Hospital via online.

bKash payment has brought special opportunities for patients outside of Dhaka to get specialized doctors’ consultation through online, said a media release on Tuesday.

This service is helping to curb the risk of Covid-19 infections for patients and their relatives, it said.

Patients can enjoy several health tests, Covid-19 test, full body check-up from the comfort of their home by paying through bKash.

In such cases, service providers will collect test samples from home, and later, patients can receive their reports online.

Customers can visit website and Facebook page of bKash and healthcare service providing organizations’ websites to know more about these offers.

They can make payment through bKash app or USSD code *247# to avail these offers.

They need to click on the given link provided by healthcare service providers after bKash payment to get the service.

bKash customers can Cash In to their own and dear ones’ account from 270,000 agent points across the country and also Add Money from 29 banks and Visa and Mastercard issued in Bangladesh conveniently.

Bringing money to bKash 24/7 and availing online healthcare service through bKash payment will help customers maintain social distance during the pandemic.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

US: Big drop in migrant kids at largest emergency shelter

The number of migrant children housed at the Biden administration’s largest emergency shelter for those who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border alone has dropped by more than 40% since mid-June, a top U.S. official said Monday, touting progress at the facility that has been criticized by child welfare advocates.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told reporters that 790 boys were housed at Fort Bliss Army base in El Paso, Texas, and the last girl left Monday. All the girls were reunited either with relatives in the U.S. or a sponsor such as a family friend or sent to licensed facilities, which have a higher standard of care, according to the agency responsible for caring for migrant children.

In mid-June, the administration reported about 2,000 boys and girls were at the Fort Bliss facility amid child welfare advocates’ concerns about inadequate conditions. A high of 4,800 children were housed there in May.

Becerra said his agency was evaluating whether it can close some of the emergency shelters that the government opened in the spring as record numbers of unaccompanied children crossed the border. He declined to say whether Fort Bliss would be among them.

“Because we’ve been successful in managing the flow, we are prepared to begin the demobilization of several of our emergency intake sites,” Becerra said.

He made his second visit to Fort Bliss since it opened in March and said more services and staffing have been added, including case managers who have helped get children released to relatives in the U.S. or placed in licensed facilities more quickly.

In transcripts of interviews done by attorneys and filed in federal court in Los Angeles last week, migrant children described their desperation to get out of Fort Bliss and the other large shelters set up by the Biden administration.

The children were interviewed from March to June by attorneys monitoring a longstanding settlement governing custody conditions for migrant children.

Some of the children said they did not know if anyone was working to reunite them with their families, giving them anxiety. Others did not have enough access to a mental health counselor, had trouble sleeping because lights were kept on at night and were avoiding meals because the food smelled foul. Several said they spent their days sleeping and had been in the facilities, like Fort Bliss, for more than a month.

Vice President Kamala Harris visited El Paso on Friday, and her spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, told reporters that President Joe Biden has instructed Becerra to “do a thorough investigation” and report back about the conditions at Fort Bliss, which advocates have called particularly troubling.

“The administration is taking this very seriously. Extremely seriously,” Sanders said.

Shaw Drake, staff attorney and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, applauded the reduction in the number of children housed at Fort Bliss but questioned why it has taken this long to see real progress in releasing kids from the government’s unlicensed shelters.

Drake praised the Biden administration for helping get children out of overcrowded holding facilities for adult migrants by opening more than dozen emergency shelters quickly. But he said “immediately after that, the focus should have been to reunify children with sponsors, and it seemed like that languished and left kids in places like Fort Bliss far too long.”

A rise in the number of migrant children crossing the southwest border alone has challenged the Biden administration. The Department of Health and Human Services has more than 14,200 migrant children in its care, down from 22,000 two months ago.

Becerra said more children are in licensed shelters now than unlicensed facilities, a reversal from a government report in May. He said officials are working to get more beds made available at licensed facilities.

“We have continued to expand our capacity, and as a result, we’re able to discharge more of these children into the hands of a responsible, vetted custodian, which then frees up a bed for another child,” he said.

Despite the improvements, Becerra said the shelters are not a solution and urged Congress to fix what he called a broken immigration system.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Corruption in health sector widespread: GM Quader

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Parliament GM Quader on Tuesday said though the irregularities in the health sector is now the key point of discussion in the country, no effective step is in sight to check the graft.

Joining the general discussion on the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 in parliament, he also opposed keeping the scope for whitening black money as he thinks it is tantamount to legalising corruption.”

“Reports are being published in the newspapers every day on the irregularities and corruption in the Health Ministry. But it seems the minister and others concerned are not taking it seriously. A mask worth about Tk 4 is being bought at Tk 350. If there’s any factual truth, then action needs to be taken,” he said.

GM Qauder, also the chairman of Jatiya Party, said it is not possible to implement the budget, no matter how much money is allocated, due to corruption and lack of coordination and good governance. “They don’t get the benefit for whom the money is allocated just for lack of good governance.”

He said the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) found evidence of 1,024 cases of money laundering in the last five years and it has sent reports with evidence to various government agencies to take action against those involved in siphoning off money. “But there’s no information that punitive action has been taken against anyone.”

Referring to media reports, GM Quader said Bangladeshis’ deposits in Swiss banks have also been increasing, “According to Global Financial Integrity, about Tk 64,000 crore is siphoned off abroad from Bangladesh every year undercover of trade with false information.”

He said the scope for whitening black money has been kept in the national budget for many years, but it is contrary to the good governance and the Prime Minister’s zero-tolerance policy against corruption.

He said the black money whitening opportunity definitely encourages corruption and it should be stopped.

The Jatiya Party chief said the banking sector is now at a sorry state due to plundering and corruption, but no visible action has been taken against those involved in Bangladesh Bank’s reserve heist, Hallmark Tk 4,000 core loan scam, Bismillah Group’s financial irregularities and Basic Bank’s scam.

He said it was mentioned in the proposed budget that Tk 1,13,453 crore will be borrowed from the central bank. “How realistic is it to be dependent on banks which are now in a bad shape!”

Voicing concern over the uncertainty of Covid vaccine, he said it was mentioned in the budget about bringing most people under the vaccination programme, but no specific allocation was given to implement it.

The Jatiya Party chief said no one knows when the vaccination programme resumes and when it will end as there is an uncertainty about the collection of the vaccine.

He said crores of people lost their livelihoods while around 2.5 crore people became poor due to the Coronavirus fallout. “This number is increasing every day. If the lockdown and the recession in trade are prolonged, a state of famine may arise in the country.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Moghbazar blast: Another body found in debris; death toll stands at 8

Firefighters recovered the body of a security guard from debris on Tuesday, two days after the deadly blast in a three-storey building near Moghbazar Wireless Gate.

Fire service men recovered the body of security guard Harun-ur-Rashid, 65, around 3:30 pm, said deputy director (operation) Debashish Bardhan of Fire Service and Civil Defence.

Earlier in the day, police lodged a case against unidentified people for the deaths for negligence.

An FIR in the case was filed with the Ramna police station following a complaint by sub-inspector Rezaul Karim, officer-in-charge Monirul Islam told UNB.

Seven people were killed and more than 66 others injured after a powerful explosion ripped through a building near Moghbazar Wireless Gate on Sunday evening.

The next day, police formed a seven-member committee to investigate the blast.

Additional police commissioner of Counter Terrorism and Transnationals Crime (CTTC) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) will head the committee, the Bangladesh Police Headquarters said in a release on Monday.

Earlier that day, Brig Gen Md Sazzad Hussain, director general of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said they had formed a five-member committee to investigate the explosion.

Both the committees have got seven working days to submit their reports.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

170,000 schools to be connected with high speed internet by 2030: Palak

Some 1.7 lakh, or 170,000 primary and secondary schools will be connected with high speed fibre optic internet connectivity within 2030, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said Tuesday.

The state minister inaugurating a “Girls in Tech Day Bangladesh 2021” program organized by International Telecommunication Union’s Asia and Pacific regional office.

The campaign will be implemented under the Digital Connectivity project, he said.

Palak said, “The ICT department is working closely with the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education to include Coding learning in the primary education syllabus from next year.”

Moreover 35,000 modern digital computer labs will be established across the country for making a skilled next generation, he said.

The initiative is one of the many taken by the government like Girls in ICT Program, Job Opportunity and Empowerment, ensuring no one lags in technology, said the State Minister.

With the assistance of the United Nations, fifty thousand entrepreneurs have been created, 4,000 women freelancers who aspire to be entrepreneurs while 7,000 women were trained to work as IT service providers and call center agents, he said.

Fifty percent of the entrepreneurs working in 7,000 Union Digital Centers are currently women, which is an achievement for the bottom up approach taken by the government, said Palak.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

India’s Reliance Group to build mega chemical project in UAE

The conglomerate on Tuesday inked a pact with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to set up a multi-billion-dollar chemical project in Al Ruwais city of the United Arab Emirates.

“This is a significant step in globalising Reliance’s operations, and we are proud to partner with ADNOC in this important project for the region,” Mukesh, the Group’s chairman, said in a statement.

The project at TA’ZIZ Industrial complex will manufacture ethylene dichloride, a key building block for production of PVC in India, according to the Reliance group.

The project will have a capacity to produce 940,000 tonnes of chlor-alkali, 1.1 million tonnes of ethylene dichloride and 360,000 tonnes of PVC annually, the statement said.

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and ADNOC’s CEO said: “The domestic production of critical industrial raw materials strengthens our supply chains, drives in-country value and accelerates economic diversification.”

The development comes barely a week after Mukesh appointed the chairman of Saudi Aramco, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, on the board of the Reliance Group.

The richest person in Asia and the 14th richest in the world, Mukesh’s current net worth is around USD 78 billion. His Reliance Group is now India’s most valuable company by market capitalisation.

UNB had earlier reported about Mukesh’s rumoured plans to hand over three core business areas of Reliance Industries to his three children — Akash, Isha and Anant — and also about his aggressive fundraising spree to make his conglomerate debt-free amid the pandemic.

The fundraising spree was aimed at reducing Reliance’s dependence on the flagship oil sector to diversify into telecom and e-commerce. Last year, Reliance raised USD 15.2 billion by selling stakes in its telecom unit Jio and another USD 7 billion through rights issue.

The digital news outlet had also reported about Reliance’s plans to take its telecom arm Jio public in the 2021-22 fiscal, riding on the increased digital adoption across the world, in the wake of Covid. India’s internet users are likely to grow to 850 million by 2022.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

8 more Covid patients die at Kushtia hospital

Kushtia General Hospital on Tuesday recorded eight more Covid-related deaths in 24 hours.

Among the deceased, four were confirmed Covid patients while the remaining showed symptoms of the virus, said Dr MA Momen, administrator of Kushtia General Hospital.

Besides, 180 people have tested positive for corona in the district in the past 24 hours. “A total of 545 samples were tested during the period,” he said.

The positivity rate currently stands at 33.89%. Moreover, a total of 196 patients are currently undergoing treatment at the hospital with Covid symptoms.

Kushtia Civil Surgeon HM Anwarul Islam said that many patients died in the district hospitals before their test reports came.

So far, 7,537 people have contracted Covid in the district, while the death toll from the virus currently stands at 198.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

City courts can help Bangladesh effectively reduce case backlogs: Experts

Speakers at a virtual discussion on Monday laid emphasis on enacting a new law for establishing city courts in city corporations to settle petty disputes and thus help reduce the backlogs of cases in the judicial system.

They also said the empowerment of common people will get strengthened if city courts can be set up in a planned way in the light of village courts.

Participating in the discussion, Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Md Tajul Islam welcomed the demand but said some sort of intervention should be there in place to ensure transparency and accountability of such an alternative dispute resolution system.

The virtual discussion programme titled ‘City Court Act: Proposed Outline and Possibility of Implementation’ was organised jointly by the Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA), Citizen’s Platform for SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), and Nagorik Uddyog.

Speaking at the programme, Tajul Islam said he support the initiative for establishing city courts to mitigate the small problems of city dwellers through arbitration.

“I appreciate you as you identify that there’re some separate incidents in the cities that can be resolved through city courts in the light of village ones. But there’s a challenge to ensure transparency of such a court,” he said.

The minister said it has to be worked out first how transparency and accountability can be ensured in the activities of city courts before setting up those to prevent the abuse of power. “Even if any good person goes above accountability, he/she can be derailed.”

Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam said the formation of city courts is a very timely and justified proposal. “I fully support this proposal and it’s necessary to execute. I think city courts will be nice platforms to resolve trivial problems of the city dwellers and reduce pressure on the formal legal system.”

He said many city dwellers come to him for having their many small problems settled, including land disputes, but the mayor and councillors do not have the legal jurisdiction to do so. “Union Parishads chairmen can resolve such problems through village courts. So, I think, it’s necessary to constitute city courts as soon as possible.”

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Convenor of Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, said the urban population is growing by around 3 percent every year. “There’s a projection that around 50 percent of the population of Bangladesh will live in cities by 2035-2040.”

With the rise in population, he said, various problems, relating to land, accommodation, transport, civic amenities, education, healthcare will also increase, and it will create a huge pressure on the traditional legal system. “Many such problems cannot be resolved now easily within a reasonable time for lack of adequate judges.”

He said the city court system can be a measure for alternative dispute resolutions like in other countries of the world. “We’ve also prepared a draft framework of such a court for discussion and to draw the attention of policymakers.”

“Getting justice is a basic right of citizens. The scope for deprivation of various rights and facilities begins when citizens are deprived of the right to justice. So, it’s important to set up the city court as part of ensuring justice for the city dwellers, especially for the disadvantaged ones,” he added.

Mohammad Shahid, Chief Coordinator, MLAA made the keynote presentation.

He said the people of this subcontinent, especially in Bangladesh, have been settling petty disputes at local levels traditionally without going to court.

Shahid said village courts are established at union parishads under the Village Court Act 2006 while Dispute Arbitration Boards were constituted under the Arbitration of Disputes (municipal areas) Board Law 2004 to resolve the petty disputes.

He said around two crore people live in 12 city corporations in the country, but there is no law for them to resolve petty disputes.

Shahid said over 39 lakh cases are still pending in various courts of Bangladesh and the judicial system is simply overwhelmed. “It’s estimated that there’re 1,883 cases against one judge and there are only 0.73 judges for one lakh people. “So, we think the government should think of setting up the city court to reduce the backlogs of the cases.’”

Presenting a draft framework of the city court, he said it will have the jurisdiction for settling minor social and family feuds, trivial clashes, stealing, and deception, embezzlement of assets, and insult and offensive attitude towards women.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

ACC to sue 4, including Baizid Bostami secretary, for ‘misappropriating’ Tk2.5 crore

The Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) will file a case against four people, including the secretary of Hazrat Baizid Bostami Rahmahtullah Darbar Sharif Advocate Anowarul Islam, for “misappropriating” Tk2.5 crore.

Rafikul Islam, Yazzem Hossain Romen and Mohammad Harun-or- Rashid will also be sued in the case.

The anti-graft watchdog gave the go-ahead for the case on Monday.

Muhammad Arif Sadeq, deputy director of the ACC public relations office, told UNB that the anti-graft watchdog’s Chattogram coordinated office will file the case.

Anowarul Islam and a developer company completed their signing before the approval of Waqf Estate administration and sold the goods of the old mosque without tender or following any government rules and regulations, Arif Sadeq said.

The four people also collected Tk2.5 crore from 46 individuals as an advance payment for transferring the shop ownership of a proposed shopping complex, he added.

Source: United News of Bangladesh