28-06-2019

tbtbangla

friDaY

DhaKa: June 28, 2019; ashar 14, 1426 BS; Shawal 24,1440 hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.Da~2065, Vol.17; No.153; 12 Pages~Tk.8.00

international

Wildfire still out of

control in Spain after

burning 4,000 hectares

>Page 7

art & culture

Madonna defends

'disturbing' gun

massacre video

>Page 8

sport

Mahmudullah will play

even if he's slightly fit:

Khaled Mahmud

>Page 9

REB success leaves

govt's solar partners

in the lurch

DHAKA : The government's partners in

the solar home system (SHS)

program have been nursing deep frustrations

over inaction on the part of the stateowned

Infrastructure Development

Company Ltd (IDCOL) to resolve their

problems.

According to sources involved in the

SHS program, around Tk 2000 crore

invested by the partner organisations -

who are mainly private firms and NGOs -

remained stuck for several years against a

backdrop of fast advancement of rural

electrification across the country, reports

UNB.

IDCOL and its POs have jointly been

working for the last 15 years to bring electricity

to remote off-grid areas of the

country through SHS program, which

already covered 4.2 million families in

remote rural areas against a target of 6

million by 2021.

But in recent years, the SHS program

experienced a drastic fall in its growth

because of the fast-growing rural electrification

program of state-owned Rural

Electrification Board (REB), which is now

providing about 300,000 connections a

month to the rural areas.

"Our monthly SHS installation now

came down to 2000 a month from earlier

60,000," said a leader of the association

of partner organisations, the Partner

Organisation Forum Trust (POFT).

He said many rural consumers who

earlier installed SHS for electricity pulled

out their systems as soon as REB provided

them the conventional electricity.

Many consumers who installed SHS

under an IDCOL-PO credit programme

to repay the cost in 3 years just suspended

the repayment of loan instalments,

and as a result about Tk 2000 crorewas

lost. In financing the installation of a solar

home system, the IDCOL finances up to

60-70 percent of the cost while the POs

invest 30-40 percent.

Due to such problem, most of the POs

became loan-defaulters being unable to

SANGSAD BHABAN : Farmers will be

able to take loan at 4 percent interest

for producing non-major food grains,

said State Minister for Rural

Development and Co-operatives

Division Shawpan Bhattacharjee in

Parliament on Thursday, reports

UNB.

A project titled 'Production and

Marketing of Nutrition-rich and High

Priced Non-major Food Grains aiming

to Alleviate Poverty' will soon be

implemented by Bangladesh Rural

Development Board (BRDB) as per

the directive of the Prime Minister for

Juma

03:46 AM

01:15 PM

04:38 PM

06:53 PM

08:19 PM

5:12 6:50

repay their loans to IDCOL.

In such a deadlock situation, the POs

were demanding loan rescheduling facilities

with lowered interest rate for further

financing of different renewable energy

programmes.

IDCOL was also pursuing the policymakers

to lower the interest on the credit

it receives from the government. Finally,

the Finance Division lowered the interest

rate to zero percent from the earlier 3 percent.

The Finance Division in a letter dated

May 29, 2019 to the Economic Relations

Division (ERD) said that the rate of interest

on the loan received by IDCOL under

9 programs for SHS has been re-fixed to

zero percent from 3 percent with effect

from July 1, 2018.

The POs were expecting that this letter

will bring them some relief as the IDCOL

would subsequently reduce the 6-9 percent

interest rate it in turn charges in providing

loans to the POs.

"But despite the Finance Division's

decision, no subsequent measures have

followed from IDCOL to reduce interest

on loan to POs. We are deeply frustrated

by this," a top leader of the Partner

Organisation Forum Trust (POFT) told

UNB.

He said the POFT had written to

IDCOL's management on a number of

occasions, asking for measures to break

the deadlock and overcome the crisis.

IDCOL's chairman of the board as well

as ERD secretary Monowar Ahmed

admitted to UNB that the Finance

Ministry had indeed initiated some measures

recently for reducing the burden of

interest on a loan.

"Definitely, IDCOL will take some

measures soon and the POs will get some

benefits" he told UNB.

As a board-chairman, he would also

advise IDCOL management to take measures

that encourage new avenues for

renewable energy programs in the country,

he added.

Loan for farmers at 4pc

interest for non-major crops

production: State Minister

providing agro-loan at single digit

interest to cooperative farmers.

He said this replying to a question

from Awami League MP Md Israfil

Alam (Naogaon-6).

"Under the project, all farmers can

take loan at 4 percent interest for producing

non-major food grains," said

the State Minister.

Besides, it has been proposed to provide

loan to cooperative farmers at 8

percent interest under a project titled

'the Invincible Journey of BRDB for

Enhancing Rural Production.'

In reply to a question from AL MP

AKM Rahmatullah (Dhaka-11), the junior

minister said at present the number

of cooperative associations (Samabay

Samity) is 54,202 in the country.

There are 17,30,843 members under

the associations and the total capital of

the associations is Tk 177.75 crore, said

Shawpan Bhattacharjee.

Local Government Minister Md Tajul

Islam said all slum dwellers of the capital

will be brought under legal and safe

water supply by December 2019 with a

view to implementing the vision of 'Safe

Water for All' in the country.

He said this while replying to a question

from ruling party MP

DidarulAlam (Chattogram-4).

In reply to another question from AL

MP Md. Afzal Hossain (Kishoreganj-

5), the Minister said the present government

has relentlessly been working

to attain the target of 100 percent

sanitation coverage in the country.

PM ordered

arrest, trial of

Barguna

killers:Quader

DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina has ordered to bring to book

those involved in the killing of a man in

front of his wife in broad daylight in

Barguna, reports UNB.

Awami League General Secretary

Obaidul Quader, speaking to the media

about the incident, said that it was tragic.

"The Prime Minister has ordered to

arrest the killers as soon as possible and

make them stand trial," he said.

Quader, also the transport minister,

said the killing was an isolated incident.

Rifat Sharif, 22, was hacked to death

by four miscreants in front of the main

gate of Barguna College on Wednesday

afternoon. The incident was captured in

a surveillance camera which showed

miscreants hitting Rifat indiscriminately

while his wife was desperately trying

to save him.

Dulal Sharif, the father of Rifat, filed a

case against 12 people on Thursday.

Police arrested a suspect, Chandan,

from the town in the morning.

Ershad's condition

improving: GM Quader

DHAKA : The condition of Jatiya Party

Chairman HM Ershad, undergoing

treatment at the Combined Military

Hospital (CMH), has improved but he

is not out of danger yet.

"Doctors said that his condition has

improved 25 percent in the last 24

hours," party's acting Chairman GM

Quader said at a meeting with leaders

of Barishal and Khulna divisions in

Dhaka on Thursday, reports UNB.

Ershad was admitted to the CMH on

Wednesday morning. He has been suffering

from various ailments for the last

nine months and received treatment

from aboard at different times.

"Doctors said he's still not out of danger,"

Quader, the younger brother of

Ershad, said. "It'll take some time for

him to recover."

Japa MP demands

Speaker's ruling over

2 BNP MPs remarks

SANGSAD BHABAN : Jatiya Party lawmaker

Anisul Islam Mahmud

(Chattogram-5) on Thursday demanded

the ruling from the Speaker over the

remarks of two BNP MPs who termed the

present parliament illegal, reports UNB.

"Standing in this parliament, no MP

can term this (11th) parliament illegal. I

seek the ruling from you (Speaker) over

this issue. It'll have to deliver the ruling

as to why they (BNP MPs) term this

parliament illegal," he said.

Anisul Islam Mahmud placed the

demand participating in the general

discussion on the proposed national

budget for 2019-20 fiscal year in the

House.

Nipironer Biruddhe Shahbagh, a platform of writers, artists, and

journalists held a protest rally at Shahbagh yesterday demanding

exemplary punishment of Rifat's killers.

Photo: Star Mail

Six deep wounds found on

Rifat's body : SBMCH physician

DHAKA : Rifat Sharif died of excessive

bleeding from six deep wounds on his

body, said Dr Jamil Hossain, an assistant

professor of Surgery Department of

Sher-e-Bangla Medical College and

Hospital (SBMCH) on Thursday,

reports UNB.

He received injuries on his throat,

head and chest and most of his important

veins were severed that prompted

his death, Prof Jamil told reporters after

conducting an autopsy on Rifat's body.

Rifat Sharif, 22, was hacked to death

by four miscreants in front of the main

gate of Barguna College on Wednesday

afternoon.

The incident was captured in a surveillance

camera which showed miscreants

hitting Rifat indiscriminately while his

wife was desperately trying to save him.

Dulal Sharif, the father of Rifat, filed a

case against 12 people on Thursday.

Police arrested a suspect, Chandan,

from the town in the morning.

UNB Barguna correspondent reports:

Rifat was buried on Thursday evening at

the family graveyard at Labangola village

under sadar upazila after his

namaz-e-janaza.

Barguna Police Station Officer-in-

Charge Abir Mohammad Hossain said

Rifat's father Dulal Sharif filed a First

Information Report (FIR) against 12

named and 5/7 unnamed persons.

Police arrested Chandan whose name

was included in the FIR, he added.

Barguna Police Super Maruf Hossain

said several check posts have been set up

at different points on Thursday morning

in the town to arrest the criminals.

Several teams of Police and Rapid

Action Battalion (Rab) are trying to

arrest the criminals.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina on Thursday ordered to bring to

book those involved in Rifat killing.

Students of Nimaichora High School in Chatmohar upazila of Pabna are pursuing their studies in

derelict building which is on the brink of collapse.

Photo: Star Mail

None of Rifat's

killers to be spared:

Home Minister

CHATTOGRAM :Terming the killing of

Rifat Sharif in broad daylight unfortunate,

Home Minister Asaduzzaman

Khan Kamal on Thursday said none of

those involved in the murder will be

spared, reports UNB.

"All the killers will be brought to

book. Police have already arrested two

people in connection with the murder,"

he said.

The minister came up with the

remarks while talking to reporters after

attending an award giving ceremony of

Bangladesh Police Women Network

(BPWN) at International Convention

Center in the city.

"However, I don't think that murder

incident demonstrates the overall deterioration

in the country's law and order

situation," he said.

"Police have started their work to

catch the offenders. The capacity of the

police force has changed much comparing

to what it was ten years back," he

added.

Rifat Sharif, 22, was hacked to death

by four miscreants in front of the main

gate of Barguna College on Wednesday

afternoon. The incident was captured in

a surveillance camera which showed

miscreants hitting Rifat indiscriminately

while his wife was desperately trying

to save him. Dulal Sharif, the father of

Rifat, filed a case against 12 people on

Thursday.

Bangladesh needs

to make itself

heard in China:

Chinese scholar

DHAKA : Shedding lights on the growing

importance of Bangladesh, a leading

Chinese scholar has said

Bangladesh voice should be heard loud

and clear inside China instead of

"Bangladesh deficit in China."

"It's the responsibility of Bangladesh

to promote itselfto China. Let

Bangladesh's voice be heard in China.

This is very important," said Dr Ruan

Zongze, Executive Vice President of

China Institute of International Studies

(CIIS), here on Wednesday, reports

UNB.

The globally renowned intellectual

made the remarks while delivering the

keynote address at the latest Cosmos

Dialogue, titled "China's Role in the

Contemporary World", at Cosmos

Centre here highlighting the global

challenges and opportunities ahead

keeping people's welfare in mind.

Putting much emphasis on

Bangladesh perspective, Dr Zongze said

they should do more as scholars.

Principal Research Fellow of the

Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS),

National University of Singapore, former

adviser, and President of Cosmos

Foundation Dr Iftekhar Ahmed

Chowdhury chaired the seminar, held

at Cosmos Centre at Malibagh in the

city.

Cosmos Group Chairman Amanullah

Khan delivered the welcome remarks at

the seminar hosted by Cosmos

Foundation, the philanthropic arm of

Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos

Group.

Former secretary Enam Ahmed

Chowdhury, former foreign secretaries

Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury and Md

Touhid Hossain, among others, spoke

at the event.

Diplomats, university teachers and

senior journalists were present.

The CIIS scholar who contributes to

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on

policy issues, said China and

Bangladesh should do two thingstogether-reinforcing

this relationship and

collaborating more on key issues.

He said there is no lack of political

commitment from two sides-

Bangladesh and China.

Dr Zongze said Bangladesh's vision

for future is very ambitious and very

useful to understand what Bangladesh

is going to be. "It needs international

collaboration (to achieve its development

goals)."

He said Bangladesh is now in the

right direction and it deserves a better

future; and laid emphasis on more

grassroots-level engagements between

the two countries.


FRIDAY, JuNe 28, 2019

2

Ahsania Mission Female Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center organized a seminar at DAM

auditorium yesterday on the occasion of observing International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit

Trafficking.

Photo : Star Mail

2 killed in

Gazipur

road crash

GAZIPUR : Two people

were killed and eight others

injured after a truck

rammed into a human

hauler on Tongi-Kaliganj

road at Shalimun in Tongi

on Thursday.

The identities of the

deceased could not be

known immediately, reports

UNB.

Kamal Hossain, officer-incharge

of Tongi Police

Station, said the accident

took place around 7am

when a truck hit the Tongibound

human hauler.

A passenger of the human

hauler was killed on the spot

and nine others were

injured.

The injured were taken to

Ahsanullah General

Hospital where doctors

pronounced another

passenger dead.

Man killed

by ‘nephew’

in Pabna

PABNA : A man was killed

allegedly by his nephew at

Shantipur Beturia village in

Sujanagar upazila on

Wednesday night, reports

UNB.

The deceased was

identified as Kalam

Hossain, 45, son of Abdus

Samad of the village.

Hadiul Islam, inspector

(investigation) of Sujanagar

Police Station, said Kalam

and his brother Hanif had

been at loggerheads over the

ownership of a tree at the

demarcation boundary of

their houses.

An altercation took place

betweek Kalam and Hanif's

son Ripon around 9 pm over

the matter.

During the quarrel, Ripon

stabbed

Kalam

indiscriminately, inflicting

mortal wounds. Later, he

was taken to a local hospital

where doctors pronounced

him dead.

Man to die for killing

Ranada Prasad Saha

DHAKA : The International Crimes Tribunal here on Thursday sentenced a man to death for

killing philanthropist Ranada Prasad Shaha and his son during the Liberation War.

The convict was identified as Mahbubur Rahman, 69, hailing from Mirzapur upazila of

Tangail district, reports UNB.

A three-member bench of ICT led by Justice Shahinur Islam announced the verdict.

Prosecutors Zoad Al Malum, Mokhlesur Rahman Badal and Rana Das Gupta represented

the state while advocate Gazi MH Tamim stood for the defense.

Police arrested Mahbubur Rahman in a criminal case last year. On June 2018, the

International Crimes Tribunal sent him to jail for his alleged involvement in the double

murder during the Liberation war and since then he is in the bar.

According to the prosecution, Mahbubur Rahman along with Pakistani army picked up

Ranada Prasad Shaha, founder of Kumudini Welfare Trust and his son Bhabani Prasad Saha,

from their residence in Khanpur in Narayanganj district and since then they remained

missing. Mahbubur was charged with the killing of 55 people including 33 people from the

Hindu community. The tribunal also pressed three charges against him including abduction,

arson and mass killing.

FBCCI demands govt steps to

end harassment by tax officials

DHAKA : The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry urged the

government to take steps to end harassment of businesses by tax officials, reports UNB.

"The tax officials at field level harass businesses in various ways. Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina announced zero tolerance against corruption. You (tax officials) should issued notice

to us (FBCCI and concerned chambers) before taking final steps against businesses," said

FBCCI president Sheikh Fazle Fahim on Thursday.

The FBCCI president said this at a discussion on the proposed national budget and finance

bill 2019-2020 held at a hotel in the capital. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Principal

Coordinator ( SDG Affairs to Prime Minister's Office Md. Abul Kalam Azad, among others,

were present. Fahim proposed withdrawal of advanced tax (AT) from raw materials of

industries and machineries. The FBCCI president further proposed reduction of 2.5 percent

corporate tax and cancellation of whole 15 percent tax on stock dividend.

BGMEA president Rubana Huq said that their members are being harassed in various

ways.

China's industrial

profits shrink in

Jan-May

Profits of China's major industrial firms fell 2.3 percent year on year in the January-May

period, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday, reports BSS.

The decline narrowed 1.1 percentage points from the first four months, according to the

NBS.

Combined profits of industrial firms with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan

(about 2.91 million U.S. dollars) amounted to 2.38 trillion yuan in the first five months.

Specifically, profits of state-owned industrial firms dropped 9.7 percent from one year

earlier to 734.23 billion yuan, while those of private ones reached 607.27 billion yuan, a 6.6-

percent year-on-year increase. Major industrial firms' operating revenue reached 41.61

trillion yuan in the period, up 5.1 percent from year on year, the NBS data showed. Assets of

major industrial firms totaled 113.35 trillion yuan, up 6.3 percent year on year. Companies in

mining posted a profit growth of 4.7 percent in the five months, while those in the

manufacturing industry saw a 4.1-percent decline in profits. Among the 41 sub-sectors, 26

saw higher profits and 15 reported lower earnings.

Students of Barguna government college formed a human chain at the college campus yesterday

demanding exemplary punishment of Rifats killers.

Photo : Star Mail

3 female students

suffer burns in

Natore hostel fire

NATORE : Three female

students suffered severe

burns after a fire broke out

in their room at Borogaccha

of the district town on

Thursday, reports UNB.

The victims were

identified as Sanzida,

Shamima and Fatema. They

are second-year students of

Nawab Siraj Ud-Daulah

Government College.

Akter Hamid Khan, senior

station officer of Natore Fire

Service, said the fire broke out

at Joti Female Hostel when

one of the students was

lighting their cooking stove.

They were taken to a local

hospital but doctors shifted

Sanzida and Shamima to

Rajshahi Medical College

Hospital as their conditions

deteriorated.

Rape suspect killed in

Chattogram ‘gunfight’

CHATTOGRAM : A young

man accused of raping a

seventh grader was killed in

a so-called gunfight with

Rapid Action Battalion

(Rab) at Amirabad of

Sitakunda upazila on

Thursday, reports UNB.

The deceased was

identified as 20-year-old

Rana. A team of Rab-7 went

to arrest Rana from the area

on early Thursday acting on

a tip-off, said Assistant

Superintendent of Police

Mashqur Rahman, media

officer of Rab-7.

Rural women making own

fortune in Rangpur region

RANGPUR: Near about 25,000 rural

women have become own fortune makers

through various income generating activities

(IGAs) in all five districts of greater Rangpur

region in last ten years, reports BSS.

Most of them have changed fortune with

government supports and their own

initiatives, capacities and potentials setting

up dazzling example of women

empowerment after eradicating poverty

everlastingly.

Talking to BSS, Chairman of Rangpurbased

research organisation North Bengal

Institute of Development Studies Dr Syed

Samsuzzaman said many rural women used

to live amid miseries due to abject poverty

even a decade ago in greater Rangpur region.

However, various government supports

has being extended to rural women to enable

near about 25,000 of them to become

engaged in cottage industries, setting up

enterprises, businesses and IGAs to achieve

self-reliance especially in last ten years.

"Besides, rehabilitation of many homeless

and have-nots group women under

'Asrayan' and Cluster Village projects,

providing training and micro-credits for

IGAs, allowances and other supports

assisted them to improve livelihoods,"

Samsuzzaman added.

Deputy Director of the Department of

Youth Development Dilgir Alam said 3,200

unemployed youths, mostly women, got

training and many of them got interest free

loans to become self-reliant in Rangpur

district alone through IGAs in last ten years.

District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer

for Rangpur ATM Akhteruzzaman said

successful implementation of the

government's massive social safety-net

programmes (SSNPs) effectively helped

many rural women to improve their

livelihoods. District Women Affairs Officer

for Rangpur Kawser Pervin said over 3,000

unemployed female youths are earning well

after getting training on sewing and

embroidering and assistance from the

Department of Women Affairs in last ten

years.

Talking to BSS, successful women of

different rural areas said they attained selfreliance

through hard endevours with

government assistance under the SSNPs and

supports of different NGOs to improve their

living standard.

An 'Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar' project

beneficiary Alefa Begum of village Kursha

Balorampur in Rangpur Sadar upazila said

she along with her husband and four

children were in hardship even ten years

back. "Being a Member of Kursha

Balorampur Village Development Samity

(VDS), I took Taka 10,000, Taka 15,000 and

Taka 18,000 loans since 2012, purchased

heifers, goats and sheep," she said.

"Currently, I have seven cows, ten goats

and 15 sheep, two acres cultivable land taken

on lease along with other assets worth Taka

eight lakh," an affluent Begum said.

Member of Horkoli VDS Ambia Begum in

Sadar upazila here said she got Taka 7,000

loan and invested the same in her small hotel

business with assistance of her husband

Mominul at Horkoli Bazar in 2012.

"I got Taka 18,000 in 2014 and again Taka

30,000 in 2015 to expand my business with

assistance of my husband," she said adding

that she has assets worth Taka five lakh and

their two children are going to schools.

Like other beneficiaries, Feroza Begum

was rehabilitated at Purbo Kochua-1

Asrayan Prokalpo in 1997 in Nohali union of

Rangpur as the then government of Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina completed its

construction during her previous 1996-2001

tenure. Everything started changing when

she got shelter at Purbo Kochua-1 Asrayan

Prokalpo getting back new life, address,

ensured livelihoods and dream of brighter

future for her children.

Government Advocacy Forum organized a national seminar at CIRDAP international conference

center on Thursday.

Photo :TBT

China to deepen market-oriented interest rate reform,

lower interest rate for smaller firms' financing

China will further cut the real interest

rate on loans to micro and small

enterprises, pilot reform measures

regarding financial services for private,

micro and small firms, support more

intellectual property pledge financing

and credit supply for the

manufacturing sector, and promote

innovation and the development of the

real economy, the State Council's

meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang

decided Wednesday.

The Chinese government puts great

emphasis on financing for micro and

small enterprises. Premier Li has

repeatedly highlighted the need for

taking a multi-pronged approach in

lowering the real interest rate so as to

meaningfully ease the financing

difficulties facing micro and small

enterprises.

It was pointed out at the Wednesday

meeting that financing costs for micro

and small businesses have come down

over some time, thanks to the

combined efforts made by various

authorities in implementing the

requirements by the Central Economic

Work Conference and the Government

Work Report.

Going forward, liquidity will be kept

reasonably sufficient and the lending

rate for micro and small businesses will

be further lowered.

"We will keep the prudent monetary

policy neither too tight nor too loose,

with anticipatory adjustments and

fine-tuning as appropriate, to adapt to

the shifting dynamics in the

international and domestic markets,"

Li said.

The meeting decided on the following

measures. Market-oriented interest

rate reform will be deepened to

improve commercial banks' Loan

Prime Rate mechanism and better

harness LPR's role in shaping the real

interest rate. Banks will be urged to

reduce lending surcharges to lower

financing costs for micro and small

businesses.

Small and medium enterprises will

be supported in bond and note

financing. Regulatory and evaluation

methods for commercial banks

regarding their financial services for

micro and small firms will be refined.

The goal is to enhance the banks'

lending capacity to smaller firms.

Financial institutions are expected to

significantly increase their financial

bonds issued for micro and small

businesses this year toward the target

of no less than 180 billion yuan.

The policy incentives for cutting loan

guarantee fees on micro and small

businesses must be fully implemented.

The role of the State Financing

Guaranty Fund should be harnessed in

reducing re-guarantee fees and

incentivizing further cuts in guarantee

charges.

It was also decided at the meeting

that the central government will

provide fiscal support, in form of

reward rather than subsidy, to the

three-year, comprehensive pilot

reforms concerning the financial

services for private, micro and small

firms in some cities.

These pilot reforms will explore ways

to expand financing for these

businesses, make financing easier,

lower financing costs, improve the risk

compensation mechanism, and

support financial innovation to guide

more financial resources to smaller

companies. "We must use marketoriented

reform measures to see that

the real interest rate come down, and

reform the transmission mechanism.

The purpose of these measures is to

deliver concrete benefits to all market

players, micro and small businesses in

particular, and send a positive signal to

the market," Li said.

To support innovation-driven

development, intensify the protection

and use of intellectual property rights,

and promote employment, the meeting

also called for expanding the use of

intellectual property pledge financing

to widen financing channels for private,

micro, small, start-up and innovation

businesses and ease their financing

difficulties.

Banks will be guided to formulate

separate lending plans and evaluation

mechanisms for intellectual property

pledge loans. The non-performing loan

(NPL) ratio of such lending that is no

more than 3 percentage points above

the overall NPL ratio will not be

considered a minus factor in

government oversight or performance

evaluation.Packaged intellectual

property pledge will be explored and

the scope of collaterals and means of

disposal will be expanded.

"We must step up the building of

an intellectual property

information platform. Intellectual

property pledge financing may

seem a minor business for financial

institutions, yet in practice, it is of

vital importance as it boosts

entrepreneurship and innovation,

and helps with the protection of

intellectual property rights," Li

said.The meeting required

improvement of the loan mix and

guide more credit issuance for the

manufacturing and service sectors.

Large banks will be encouraged to

refine lending evaluation mechanism

and provide targeted rewards to

ensure that the balance of total loans,

medium and long-term loans and

credit loans for the manufacturing

sector this year will be notably higher

than last year.


METRO

fRiDaY, jUnE 28, 2019

3

Doctorate degree

conferred

Kafil UDDin MojUMDER

(ChhagalnaIya, FenI):

Shaif Uddin ahammed,

younger son of Mahiuddin

ahammed, a freedom

fighter of Durgapur of

Parshuram Upazila under

Feni District has been

awarded with a Doctorate

Degree on ‘Business

administration’ from

University of the West of

Scotland in the UK.

he is the nephew of

Shahabuddin ahammed,

Feni district correspondent

of The new nation and The

Daily amar-Sangbad.

Six envoys present

credentials to

President

DhaKa : Four ambassadors and two

high commissioners to Bangladesh

separately presented their credentials to

President M abdul hamid at

Bangabhaban here this afternoon.

all of them are non-resident envoys.

They are andrei I. Rzheussky, ambassador

of the Republic of Belarus, Sekou Kasse,

ambassador of the Republic of Mali, Carlos

Jose de Pinho e Melo, ambassador of

Portugal, gudmundur arni atefansson,

ambassador of Iceland, agis loizou, high

commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus

and gabriel P. Sinimbo, high

commissioner of the Republic of namibia.

Welcoming the envoys, the President

hoped that the bilateral relations with

those countries would further expand

during the tenures of their respective

assignments here, President's Press

Secretary Joynal abedin told BSS after the

meetings.

noting that Bangladesh has bright

possibilities in different areas, especially

tourism, readymade garments (RMg) and

medicine sectors, the President urged the

diplomats to give optimum efforts for

exploring the existing potentials for the

benefits of their respective countries.

The head of the state also urged the nonresident

ambassadors and high

commissioners to ensure frequent visits to

different tourist sites, including the world's

largest sea beach and mangrove forest, in

Bangladesh.

President hamid hoped that the existing

commerce and investment relations with

the countries would strengthen more in the

days to come, the press secretary added.

The envoys sought cooperation from the

President during the tenures in

Bangladesh while President hamid

assured them of providing all sorts of

cooperation in discharging their duties

here. Secretaries concerned to the

President and high officials of the Foreign

Ministry were present.

earlier, on their arrivals at Bangabhaban,

a smartly turned-out contingent of the

horse-mounted President guard Regiment

(PgR) gave the envoys guards of honour as

part of the ceremony.

Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing along with other guests at the

national Press Club in Dhaka on Thursday.

Photo: Courtesy

9th Social Business Day event

begins in Bangkok friday

DhaKa : The 9th Social Business

Day, hosted by nobel laureate

Professor Muhammad yunus, will begin

on Friday at the Centara grand &

Bangkok Convention Centre, Central

World in Bangkok, Thailand, reports

UnB.

This year 1,450 delegates from 58

countries have registered to attend the

2-day event to be inaugurated by

Professor Muhammad yunus, said a

press release.

yunus Centre, Dhaka, asian Institute

of Technology (aIT) and Kasetsart

University, Thailand are jointly going to

organise the event with a theme

"Making Money is happiness, Making

Other People happy is Super

happiness". Keynote speeches will be

delivered by armida Salsiah

alisjahbana, executive Secretary of the

United nations economic and Social

Commission for asia and Pacific and

Mechai Viravaidya, Chairman,

Mechaiviravaidya Foundation and

Father enzo Fortunato, Spokesperson

and Communication Director of The

holy Convent of Papal Basilica of assisi.

a range of topics related to the social

business ecosystem ranging from food

and agriculture, deforestation, green

energy to education, health, technology,

sports, culture and arts will be discussed

in the event.

Social Business Day is an annual event

of experience sharing and goal setting

for social business activists, supporters,

partners, and investors and getting

ready for the coming years.

The event attracts international and

local social business activists, corporates

and social leaders, leading ngOs,

students, innovators and early adopters

of the social business philosophy that

looks to tackle socio economic problems

at its core to update themselves on the

social business frontier.

There will be nine country forums

ranging from Bangladesh, China,

australasia, Japan, europe etc where

delegates from individual country will

have separate conferences.

Bangkok will be the venue for Social

Business Day for the first time. eighth

social business day took place in

Bangalore while the previous social

business days were held in Dhaka.

a pre-conference of the Social

Business academia network will be

held on June 29in order to prepare for

Social Business academia Conference

2019 which will take place in november

in germany. Many of the

representatives from yunus Social

Business Centres in 74 Universities in

34 countries will attend the conference.

Canadian High Commissioner in Dhaka Benoit Prefontaine on Thursday speaking at a program titled

"Canada-Bangladesh Bilateral Relations: over 47 Years of Engagement" organised by Diplomatic

Correspondents association, Bangladesh (DCaB) at BiiSS auditorium in the city. Photo : TBT

Un's Charter signing day observed; ambassador

Masud puts symbolic signature

DhaKa : The United nations

general assembly (Unga) has

organised an event observing the day of

signing (June 26, 1945) of the Charter of

the United nations in San Francisco,

reports UnB.

It is an initiative of the President of

the 73rd Unga to launch activities for

commemorating the 75th anniversary

of the Un next year. The Permanent

Representatives and ambassadors of

the member states put signatures at the

symbolic ceremony arranged under this

event to commemorate the Un's

Charter signing day.

Permanent Representative of

Bangladesh to the Un ambassador

GD-1068/19 (6 x 4)

Masud Bin Momen put his signature on

behalf of Bangladesh, said a media

release on Thursday.

Before that, a poster containing the

Preamble of the Un Charter was

displayed in all six official languages of

the Un.

a short video featuring the signing

ceremony of the Un Charter and the

Statute of the International Court of

Justice in San Francisco in 1945 was

also displayed at the event.

María Fernanda espinosa

garcés, the President of the

73rd Unga and Fabrizio hochschild

Drummond, Special advisor on the

Preparation for the Commemoration of

the 75th anniversary of the Un spoke at

the event.

Mentioning the historic signing

ceremony of the Charter of the Un, the

Pga said, "I firmly believe that we can

summon the spirit of San Francisco as

we make a symbolic commitment

today, we'll also think ahead to highlevel

week and the concrete steps will

take to keep the promises we've made

through the 2030 agenda, the Paris

agreement and so many other

instruments on the critical challenges of

our times whether it would be

migration, oceans, food security,

terrorism, health or women

empowerment."

fBCCi president addressing a discussion on the proposed national budget and finance bill 2019-2020

held at a hotel in the capital.

Photo : Courtesy

Canada to continue support

to people affected by

Rohingya crisis: Envoy

DhaKa :Canadian

high Commissioner in

Dhaka Benoit Prefontaine

here on Thursday said

Canada is committed to

continue working with

domestic, regional and

international partners to

deliver support to the

people affected by the

Rohingya crisis, reports

UnB.

"Canadian support to

the host communities is

fully aligned with the

priorities of the

government of

Bangladesh in alleviating

pressures caused by the

crisis," he said.

Benoit Prefontaine said

this while speaking at a

program titled "Canada-

Bangladesh Bilateral

Relations: Over 47 years

of engagement"

organised by Diplomatic

Correspondents

association, Bangladesh

(DCaB) at BIISS

auditorium in the city.

DCaB general secretary

nurul Islam hasib also

spoke in the program with

DCaB President

Raheedejaz in the chair.

Multiple high-level

visitors, including the

Canadian Minister of

Foreign affairs, the

Minister of International

Development, special

envoy Bob Rae, and the

Parliamentary Secretary

for Development all

observed that Canadian

assistance provides

critical support to

individuals who have

been affected by the crisis,

he said.


EDITORIAL frIDay,

jUnE 28, 2019

4

Iran responds to US threats with further aggression

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

Telephone: +8802-9104683-84, Fax: 9127103

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

friday, june 28, 2019

Putting inflation

under a leash

Small people put away some money as savings out of a

thinking that the unspent money would buy them

goods and services in value in the same or near the

same measures like when they had put aside that amount.

When they find to their great dismay that theirs saved

amounts will not even buy a fraction of the things bought in

the past five or ten years down the road, not only this makes

a mockery of the advice that people should save for their

own good and that of the national good, it also involves great

hardships for the savers.

People in the normal walks of life and they are the overwhelming

majorities in all countries, are not adept at cunning,

crimes and other qualities that would enable them to

stay ahead of living costs no matter however high they may

soar. They have no choice but to plan their future and the

costs of living must fill the slots they have projected ; otherwise

they must be poorer with their money resources proving

to be far short of what would be required to maintain

even their current lifestyle sometime in the future.

Salaried persons have their provident funds, terminal

benefits, gratuities, saving deposits in banks and in other

schemes. They make a sacrifice in their current consumption

and keep aside the amounts out of a hope that the same

will fulfill their requirements for ready cash to materialise

plans such as building of a house, buying of an apartment,

paying for a daughter's marriage or a son's higher education

and so on.

But when such a saver finds out how worthless his

painstaking saving effort for a long period has been from the

plummeting value of the currency, then his or her great bitterness

and frustrations should be understandable to all

those who had suffered in the same manner.

This writer knows a gentleman who retired as a midranking

civil servant two years ago. He has a plot of land in

Dhaka which was purchased many years ago when land

prices were reasonable. He had planned for the day when he

would build a house on it in the sunset years after his retirement.

The various estimates of house building materials at

the time when he started saving for the purpose gave him

assurance that he would be in a position to build a house

even without taking a loan from the House Building Finance

Corporation (HBFC). But all his dreams have been

shattered.

After retirement and the settlement of his dues such as

provident fund, gratuity, insurance payments, etc., he found

out that what he possessed as monetary resources were

largely insufficient by today's requirements to either build a

decent house or pay well for occasions such as the wedding

expenses of his grown up daughter and even the private university

fees of his only son.

Thus, this gentleman seems headed for a fate which is

dismal to say the least. He would be forced, it seems, to

change his status from one having a middle class existence

to a lower one or worse, fairly soon. He had to leave his

government quarters after retirement and finds renting

accommodation in a decent place or apartment in the city

financially stressful.

The amount of money he has as retirement benefits would

last long many years ago when Taka's value was higher and

held steady. But this amount is not enough today to enable

him to live in middle class comfort for a long time in the

future. So, he had to practice caution and count his money

while renting a home in a rather unattractive area of the city

that led to his declassing of sorts.

The present rate of inflation in Bangladesh is, officially,

near to 6 per cent. But unofficially the rate is considered to

be higher. Whether it is inflation in the economic sense or

the outcome of unethical businesses practices, people's

experience is that the value of their savings have been eroding

continuously without a pause.

The loss of Taka's value used to be not so quick in the distant

past. The only difference now is that this loss has been

accelerating in recent years that has created a specter of a

vast number of people getting declassed and actually going

down in the class hierarchy. One hears plenty of inspirational

rhetoric from government leaders to the effect that

people's income are growing and people in increasing number

are escaping to an existence above the poverty line.

But to truly searching eyes the realities are different from

many middle class people turning into lower middle class

ones and the latter in turn joining the ranks of the poor. The

story is also one of the poor turning poorer from living costs

fast outpacing earnings and buying powers of non affluent

sections of people decreasing dramatically from the lower

purchasing power of the currency as such or the lowered

value of their savings.

This process must stop to make any sense out of the talks

of poverty reduction and to this end it is supremely important

to stabilize the value of the Taka. In a country like the

United Kingdom, for instance, the annual inflation rate seldom

rises above 2 or 3 per cent and, if it does, it creates a

great hue and cry for bringing the same down at the fastest.

People there are found to be very disagreeable to compromise

their present and future living standards by passively

allowing their living standards to decline from losses in the

value of the Pound or in their savings.

No such concern is seen in Bangladesh where it matters to

really fight inflation, price rise or irrationally higher living

costs - whatever the name or the ills that lead to erosion in

the value of the currency. But a huge number of people in

the country are suffering due to such unconcern.

Since the Trump administration

began exercising its "maximum pressure"

policy on the Islamic Republic,

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

appears to have given the green light for

the military to act as it wishes.

In order to alter Iran's aggressive policies

in the Middle East and deter Tehran from

obtaining nuclear weapons, the US offered

it the chance to come to the negotiating

table. The Iranian leaders categorically

declined the invitation and threw cold

water on the possibility of negotiations in

the future.

In a tweetmentioning Japan's Prime

Minister Shinzo Abe, Khamenei wrote:

"You said that Trump has said negotiations

with the US would lead to Iran's progress.

By the grace of God, without negotiations

and despite sanctions, we will progress." In

a meeting with Abe, Khamenei also pointed

out that: "I do not consider Trump, as a

person, deserving to exchange messages

with. We will not negotiate with the United

States."

In order to maximize pressure on the

Iranian regime, US President Donald

Trump withdrew from the Joint

Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),

also known as the Iran nuclear deal, the

Department of Treasury reimposed primary

and secondary sanctions on Iran's

energy sector and its banking and financial

systems; and the Islamic Revolutionary

Guard Corps (IRGC) was designated as a

terrorist organization.

Nevertheless, Iran appeared determined

to continue its destabilizing behavior and

We used to think photos like this

could change the world, but

what needs to change is who we

are. The photograph conforms to all the

necessary standards for a media image

depicting tragedy. It shows a father and

his daughter, face down, at the edge of a

river, their bodies floating in the muddy

water. They can't be identified and their

faces are not visible, which would violate

standards of "taste" at many media outlets.

But the story of the two people in the

photo by Julia Le Duc has been documented.

Oscar Alberto Martnez Ramrez

and his toddler daughter, Valeria, died

after being swept away by a strong current

while the family was trying to cross the

Rio Grande into the United States.

Unknown to most of the world until this

week, they are now briefly famous, a toddler

in red shorts and tiny shoes, tucked

inside her father's dark T-shirt, seemingly

at rest as if napping with her dad on a hot

afternoon.

The intimacy of their apparent embrace

gives the image its essential power. In

that, it recalls the vulnerability of Aylan

Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian Kurdish boy

whose body washed up on a beach in

Turkey in 2015. Nilfer Demir's picture of

the boy, who seemed to resting after play,

became one of the most searing images of

the European refugee and emigration crisis.

Both images share elements with

other photographs in which the innocence

of childhood highlights the cruelty

of human or natural forces, including a

haunting photograph of a young Haitian

girl, seemingly at prayer but in fact

crushed by the weight of falling concrete

during the horrific earthquake of 2010.

The child looks as if he or she is doing

Over the past year there has been a

barrage of Western media reports

focusing on prospects of a Chinese

military invasion of Taiwan, with provocative

headlines such as "A Chinese invasion

of Taiwan would be a bloody, logistical

nightmare," "Forget the US-China trade

war: Is a conflict over Taiwan the real

threat?", "Why a US-China war over

Taiwan won't be anything like the Syria

strikes," and "We can tell you how China

would invade and crush Taiwan," among

others.

This fixation on war and military conflict

- whether with China, Iran, Russia, Syria,

North Korea or Venezuela - is understandable

given the increasing militarization of

US foreign policy over the past two

decades. As David Oakley of the National

Defense University observed, "US policymakers

have turned to the military as the

preferred foreign-policy tool, becoming

enamored with the notion that they can

shape the world through force."

James Stavridis, a retired admiral and

military chief of the North Atlantic Treaty

Organization, concurs and argues that

Washington has indeed avoided the

"ounce of prevention" diplomatic

approach and instead opted for a "pound

Dr. MajID rafIzaDEH

the Iranian leaders issued several threats.

For example, Rear Adm. Alireza Tangsiri,

the head of the IRGC Navy, was last month

quotedas saying: "If we are banned from

using it (the Strait of Hormuz), we will

close it."

As a result, the US deployed a Patriot

missile battery, the USS Abraham Lincoln

aircraft carrier, the USS Leyte Gulf guided

missile cruiser, Carrier Air Wing Seven,

and destroyers from Destroyer Squadron

Two to the Middle East in order to deter

the Iranian regime from carrying out its

threats. But, instead of coming to the negotiating

table and avoiding an escalation, the

Iranian regime decided to practice its own

version of maximum pressure not only on

the US, but also on other countries in the

region.

Iran's equivalent of employing maximum

pressure is overwhelmingly

anchored in using hard power rather than

soft power. There are two crucial pillars to

Iran's policy. The first is instructing its

proxies across the region to attack and

wreak havoc on entities that are linked to

the US, European countries and Gulf

states. For example, 40 workers at an

ExxonMobil site in southern Iraq had to be

evacuatedlast week after it came under

rocket fire.

The Houthi attack on a Saudi oil installation

and the rocket that landed near the US

Embassy in Baghdad are also being tied to

the Iranian regime and its proxies. It was

recently leaked that the head of the Quds

Force, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, had

In order to maximize pressure on the Iranian regime,

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the joint

Comprehensive Plan of action (jCPoa), also known as

the Iran nuclear deal, the Department of Treasury

reimposed primary and secondary sanctions on Iran's

energy sector and its banking and financial systems; and

the Islamic revolutionary Guard Corps (IrGC) was

designated as a terrorist organization.

something fundamentally childlike - napping,

playing, praying - that elicits one

response (warmth and sentimentality),

which is then immediately subverted by a

darker, sadder truth.

That double message - the innocent first

take followed by the bitter second one - is

a basic emotional mechanism of this genera

of tragedy images. It also helps us

think about how the image functions in

the larger world, its power to elicit social

sympathy or political change. Because

these images have already broken

through our own resistance to seeing pain

and tragedy in the world, we imagine that

they must break through the collective

conscience as powerful political icons.

They enter our consciousness almost by

stealth, and then explode, and that is how

we assume they'll work in the public

square, too. So the image gets shared on

social media, and is seen repeatedly on

cable television and sometimes in the

pages of newspapers. As it circulates, we

believe it will acquire enough force and

familiarity that our political leaders will

have to do something different - change

policies, reverse course, revise their own

instructed a conglomerate of more than 40

Iraqi militia groups that operate under the

banner of the Popular Mobilization Forces

to "prepare for proxy war." In the last two

months, six oil tankers have been attacked.

First, four were targeted close to Fujairah

in the UAE. A month later, a pair of tankers

transiting the Gulf of Oman off the coast of

Iran was sabotaged with explosives - one

went up in flames and both were left adrift.

Both attacks took place close to the Strait of

Hormuz, the narrow waterway that separates

Iran and Oman and is one of the most

a stain on our deformed conscience

PHILIP KEnnICoTT

understanding of the severity of a problem.

For more than a century, this

metaphor has been in operation behind

the scenes whenever journalists, or

activists, hold up photographs to the

world, and say: This is a truth you must

acknowledge.

The metaphor of "breaking through,"

however, relies on an understanding of

the human conscience that is being sorely

tested at the moment, not just in the

United States, but in every country where

nationalism and nativist populism are

That double message - the innocent first take followed by the

bitter second one - is a basic emotional mechanism of this

genera of tragedy images. It also helps us think about how the

image functions in the larger world, its power to elicit social

sympathy or political change. Because these images have

already broken through our own resistance to seeing pain and

tragedy in the world, we imagine that they must break through

the collective conscience as powerful political icons.

of flesh" military approach toward the

world, Oakley wrote. However, a militarized

foreign policy is not only destabilizing

for the international order, it also risks

pushing allies away who are worried about

their economic security. This is evidenced

by the European Union forging its own

policy toward Iran and setting up trade

mechanism to bypass US sanctions, in an

creating divisions between us and them,

between the rightful "folk" and the supposedly

illegal outsider. The metaphor

suggests that our conscience is hindered

only by laziness or indifference, that if we

make the effort to understand who these

people are, how they died, how they probably

suffered and how we would feel in

their place, then the image can't help but

"break through." The thing that needs to

be broken through is a basic sluggishness

in the moral apparatus, a resistance to

doing the hard work of humanising the

other.But when nationalism has successfully

dehumanised the other, there is no

attempt to keep Iran in the nuclear deal

and prevent another regime-change war

that would worsen the EU refugee crisis.

Similarly, this US militaristic approach

may have the unintended consequence of

driving Taiwan to forge closer economic

ties with China. Not only is Taiwan's economy

caught in a fallout in the electronics

sector due to Trump's tariffs on technology

exports from China, Taipei is also subjected

to tariffs on steel and aluminum

imports to the US - for fear these products

may contain China-made steel. In

response, Taipei took severe measures to

restrict export of its products with any content

of China-made steel to the US, and

launched a self-investigation into dumping

and government subsidies focused on

China-made steel exported to Taiwan

from 2015-2017. Nonetheless, these

efforts appeared to have been in vain, and

Taiwan was not included on the tariff

exemption list.

crucial in the world, with about a third of

global seaborne-traded oil passing through

it.

Instead of coming to the negotiating

table, the Iranian regime decided to practice

its own version of maximum pressure.

Iran's fingerprints are all over these

attacks. And this brings us to the second

pillar of Iran's policy, which involves direct

military attacks. It is believed that the

attacks on the tankers were directly carried

out by the Iranian regime because of the

high level of sophistication. As US

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed

out: "This assessment is based on intelligence,

the weapons used, the level of

expertise needed to execute the operation,

recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping

and the fact that no proxy group operating

in the area has the resources and proficiency

to act with such a high degree of sophistication."

Iran's direct attacks have also included

shooting down a US military dronelast

week. The head of the IRGC, Maj. Gen.

Hossein Salami, said that was a warning to

the US, addingthat: "The only way for our

enemies to be safe is to respect our sovereignty,

national security, and the national

interests of the great Iranian nation."

Instead of acting as a rational state, Iran

is becoming more aggressive and violent.

Tehran is attempting to further destabilize

the region in order to impose insecurity

and fear and advance the regime's revolutionary

and parochial interests.

Source : Arab news

breaking through, and people who imagine

that a photographic message must

assuredly be so powerful that it will touch

all hearts are forced to grapple with a

more confounding truth: Not all consciences

operate alike, not everyone is

susceptible to what seems a basic, even

rudimentary level of empathy. And so,

there is a paradox: We resist the idea of

living in an us-vs.-them world only to find

that our basic sense of "us" is already fractured.

We look out at our fellow humans

and can't honestly understand how their

minds work. At some level, we think,

"Can't you see what is happening in this

image?" As if seeing and understanding

are identical.

The photograph as an exercise of conscience

requires time, effort and openness,

similar but more profound than what we do

when we go to the theatre or look at a painting.

A fully human sense of who is represented

is a collaborative act, with the audience

filling in details, relating elements in

the representation to emotional touchstones

in their own lives. This one photograph

tells us very little about Ramrez and

his daughter, and perhaps with all the attention

it has received, we will learn more about

the reality of who they were. But just as

important is the imaginative reality of the

viewer's effort to sense them as humans,

absolutely identical in value and dignity to

any person in our most intimate circle of

acquaintance. We must do what is sometimes

called "ekphrasis," a thorough elaboration

of both what we are seeing and what

we imagine must have taken place, filling in

details, adding meaning, making connections.

Source : Gulf news

US neglecting Taiwan’s economic security

CHrISTIna LIn

However, a militarized foreign policy is not only

destabilizing for the international order, it also

risks pushing allies away who are worried about

their economic security. This is evidenced by the

European Union forging its own policy toward

Iran and setting up trade mechanism to bypass US

sanctions, in an attempt to keep Iran in the nuclear

deal and prevent another regime-change war that

would worsen the EU refugee crisis.

Faced with a large financial burden of

tariffs, on Saturday, Taiwan's top trade

negotiator John Deng said that failure to

secure exemption status from the US

administration would hurt Taiwanese

steel and aluminum exporters.

Additionally, tariffs in the electronics

sector - which account for 40% of Taiwan's

total exports - are already hurting Chinabased

Taiwanese firms. With exports

accounting for three-quarters of its entire

gross domestic product, growth in Taiwan

has slowed to its worst level in almost three

years at 1.72% in the first quarter, down

from 3.15% in the first three months of

2018.

Despite President Tsai Ing-wen's

administration implementing a New

Southbound Policy (NPS) in 2017 to divert

the island's exports away from China into

South and Southeast Asia, there have not

been concrete results. Even with the

prospect of Taiwanese firms relocating

from China back to the island, ING economist

Iris Pang assessed the "scale will not

be large enough to move the GDP needle a

lot."

Source: Asia times


STRATEGIC ISSUES FRIdAy,

JUNE 28, 2019

5

Why China’s economic reforms often backslide

Zhizhen Lu

Market reform has been China's flagship economic initiative

for over 40 years, yet each new round of reform often ends up

with more heavy-handed state control. Why does China's

market reform so often backslide? Why is government

intervention a persistent syndrome even after the center

repeatedly promised to "give the market a decisive role in

resource allocation"? With the state playing a central role in

coordinating economic activities, the Chinese government

builds and sustains the market, but falls short on

empowering it.

While building functional markets requires state

facilitation, China's state-led market reform hinders the

establishment of healthy market selection and adjustment

mechanisms. Business performance is dependent more on

"riding the policy wave" than prudent management or

innovative business models. Subdued by political objectives,

the alleged market economy "with Chinese characteristics"

encounters various challenges both in terms of the

macroeconomy and sector-specific reforms.

The policy shift in mid-2018 from market reform to growth

stabilization belies a recurrent pattern of a policy-induced

business cycle, which the leading liberal economist Wu

Jinglian described as the "seesaw economy." Growth has

been created by massive state-led investments, leaving an

indebted, risk-filled economy, but contractionary side effects

from deleveraging motivate a return to economic expansion.

Starting in late 2017, the state embarked on supply-side

structural reform to make China's growth model more

"normal" and sustainable by giving the market a greater role

in resource allocation. The rationale behind this move,

according to Huang Yiping, a professor of economics at

Peking University National School of Development, is that

China's economic success is based on an open goods market

and controlled production factors (labor, land, capital, etc.).

To rebalance the economy, adds Huang, the state must

tolerate slower growth, improve income distribution,

upgrade industry structure, and gradually free up production

factors.

Yet the reform campaign did not pan out. Ironically, the

market restructuring effort was executed with one-size-fitsall

administrative measures due to political pressure on

officials at various levels. The central government distributed

production capacity and debt reduction targets to provinces,

which were then vertically allocated to cities and counties.

Directives, restrictions, and quotas, rather than market-led

rebalancing, are preferred by local officials to achieve

political key performance indicators. This leads to policy

overimplementation. Coupled with trade conflicts with the

United States, China's exports and domestic investment

stalled and the state decided to stage a new expansionary

cycle in mid-2018. Keynesian-style government investment

became the most effective "painkiller" for economic

slowdown since 2008, and this time is no different.

Politically motivated local governments and state-owned

Women walk by a bank window panel displaying the security markers on the latest 100 yuan notes

in Beijing.

Photo: Andy Wong

enterprises (SOEs) launched infrastructure projects with

cheap credit from state-owned banks. Politburo economic

meetings in four consecutive quarters in 2018 saw mounting

concerns over the economic slowdown and rising support for

expansion. The March 2019 session of the National People's

Congress approved a 0.2 percentage point raise in the fiscal

deficit, reaching 2.8 percent. The local special-purpose

revenue bond quota saw an 800 billion renminbi ($119

billion) increase. Active fiscal policies will support

infrastructure construction in transportation, logistics, nextgeneration

internet, and urban facilities.

The most worrisome aspect of infrastructure expansion is

local government solvency, despite the state's reassurance

that investment will be "targeted and mild." Previous rounds

of stimulus already strained local coffers; while disclosed

government balance sheets look healthy, the state is vague

about implicit debt figures, which are believed to be much

larger than explicit liabilities. Disciplining illicit local

borrowing made progress in 2018; officials are held

accountable for increasing unpermitted debt. But it remains

in question whether the approved fiscal enhancement is

sufficient for local infrastructure expansion, and if not, how

localities should balance between growth targets and

borrowing restrictions. Meanwhile, lowering the GDP

growth target to 6.0-6.5 percent does not mean the goal is

easier to achieve; it is now much costlier to generate growth

as investment needed for one additional unit of GDP has

grown from 3.5 in 2007 to 6.3 in 2016, according to Huang

Yiping. As such, local malpractice may still occur to ensure

targets are hit.

Vested interests and rent-seeking lead to inconsistent and

often times contradictory state management of sectorspecific

reforms through the dual-track system. As China

took a gradualist approach in the transition from planned to

market economy, it set up a new track for marketization in

parallel with the planned track, hoping that the two will

eventually merge together. However, balancing the market

and planned tracks is tricky. Interest groups representing

monopolistic state-owned sectors can balk at the reform

agenda. Illicit practices in new markets normally abound

before rules could be established. Arbitrage between the two

tracks often benefits actors with privileged access to political

resources.

In promoting market reform, the state often faces a similar

dilemma as for the macroeconomy - should it choose stability

or reform? After a market is established and operational, the

state pulls out of the market only to find a surge of

malpractices that destabilize market orders. When the state

weighs back in, market actors lose their vitality and start

speculating on policy loopholes or acquiring subsidies.

Market selection and price signals are largely ineffective. This

pattern is widespread across various industries undergoing

the dual-track transition, including electricity, healthcare,

and more.

China's healthcare marketization, for example, is marked

by both market and state failures. Since the start of reform in

1985, public hospitals became de facto for-profit market

entities as they were encouraged to take responsibility for

their own financial sustainability. The dual-track system

generated incentives to provide care services by allowing

hospitals to monopolize drug sales at 15 percent markups,

and compensating practitioners for over-prescription of

drugs and lucrative testing. In addition to distorting financial

incentives, the policy introduced managerial inefficiencies

that inflate costs and retard quality improvement. With

misaligned market signals, these "drug-addicted" hospitals

are blamed for pushing up healthcare costs, harming public

health, and driving local health insurance funds to the brink.

State-led efforts to restore market mechanisms have been

disappointing. In the 1990s, a 30 percent cap on prescription

drug revenue as a ratio of total income was introduced as a

way to curb excessive drug spending for patients. After initial

pilots, the policy was rolled out nationwide and recognized as

the primary indicator for hospital performance in 2009.

This, too, failed to yield satisfactory results as profit-seeking

public hospitals gamed the system to increase nonprescription

income by dodging high-quality drug

prescriptions, duplicating tests and examinations, or opting

for complicated surgeries. The drug sales cap failed to shake

up the strong pro-markup lobbying group of public hospitals

and pharmaceutical companies.

A second wave of state intervention began in 2015 after

several unsuccessful attempts to separate drug sales from

monopolistic interests. In 2017, the "two-invoice" system

superseded markups in the pharmaceutical procurement

supply chain to restrict public hospital funding sources to

medical services and state subsidies only. In January 2019,

the State Council proposed new performance criteria to

evaluate third-tier public hospitals, which replaced drug sale

caps with requirements on "rational" prescribing and dosage.

Nevertheless, incentives are still misaligned with the public

good. Making up funding losses will be hard for hospitals,

especially those lower-level ones that rely even more on drug

sales. Patients may see surging service charges for fewer drug

prescriptions. The goal to ensure fairness, profitability, and

effectiveness in public care providers is hardly achieved, not

to mention cleaning up the bloated, ineffective, and opaque

pharmaceutical supply chain.

What significance presidential

elections in Kazakhstan bear

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo, left, deliver his speech.

Photo: Achmad Ibrahim

Where do Indonesia's presidential

candidates stand on foreign policy?

Erin Cook

As the countdown continues to Indonesia's elections,

foreign policy is among the areas that outside observers

will be looking to get a sense of. On this front, however,

it must be said that the two contenders' foreign policy

outlooks have not really factored heavily into the

campaign all that much beyond a series of tendencies.

While that ought not to be that surprising, it

nonetheless warrants attention.

Even before the campaign began, the extent to which

foreign policy would matter in the election was already

expected to be quite circumscribed. For one, more

generally, the extent to which foreign policy actually

matters in any election, including Indonesia, is a

contested question in and of itself.

For another, the last presidential election, which saw

a contest between the two candidates in Joko "Jokowi"

Widodo, now the incumbent running for reelection, and

Prabowo Subianto, who lost, foreign policy mattered in

terms of highlighting some key issues and indicating a

difference of worldviews and styles - with Subianto

perceived as being more assertive and hardline than

Jokowi - but the race was not really determined in terms

of where candidates stood on specific foreign policies.

This time around, if anything, that tendency might be

said to be reinforced. The incumbent, Jokowi, was

expected to lay out a case for continuation of current

foreign policy, and he has been far from a foreign policy

president unlike his predecessor Susilo Bambang

Yudhoyono. That foreign policy has not been as central

to Jokowi's time in office means it offers less potent of a

place of attack for the Subianto camp.

And that has indeed been how it has played out. A

case in point was the debate on foreign policy both

candidates had a few weeks ago. Again, in such

elections, it is important to emphasize that debates

hardly set hearts aflame. With unclear evidence debates

really assist swing voters in making a choice and

criticisms that landing jabs is more important than

talking policy, Indonesia's previous three debates have

been more fodder for social media users than political

blockbusters.

Nonetheless, the debate reinforced both the place of

foreign policy in the election and where both candidates

have stood. Jokowi held his line laying out a case for

continuation of current foreign policy, while Subianto

tried to come across as different enough by emphasizing

where his more aggressive and nationalist view might

make him a better choice.

Jokowi's areas of focus were not surprising. They

directly addressed, touched on, or flowed from some of

the areas that he has developed during his tenure,

including a foreign policy focused on addressing

domestic needs first and foremost, highlighting the role

of traditional aspects of Indonesian leadership in the

region and the Muslim world - including solidarity with

respect to the Rohingya - and securing Indonesia's

interests and sovereignty. He steered clear of

addressing the persecution of China's Uyghur Muslim

minority so as to avoid bringing China into the

conversation, and he highlighted his administration's

securing of economic deals and benefits from other

countries.

Subianto's areas of focus, similarly, amounted to

more of the same. A former military man, he put the

focus on issues such as increasing funding to the

Indonesian military, pointing to Singapore's annual

defense expenditure as being so far ahead of Indonesia

and indicating neglect on this front under Jokowi. And

he kept going back to a theme he is fond of emphasizing

- Indonesia is "disrespected" by international peers:

including because it is an economic basket case because

of with a weak rupiah and high public debts.

Catherine Putz

Kazakhstan's interim president,

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, announced

snap elections set for June 9, 2019 in a

televised address to the nation on

Tuesday afternoon. Sitting in Nur-

Sultan, the recently renamed capital of

Kazakhstan, Tokayev said that after

consulting with Nazarbayev and other

government leaders, he had decided to

hold presidential elections early.

Tokayev's statement praised

Nazarbayev and the calm,

constitutional transition of power. "We

are on the right course," he said, but in

order to move confidently forward,

ensure harmony, and address the

demands of socio-economic

development "it is necessary to remove

any uncertainty."

On March 19, in a televised address

Nazarbauyev announced his

resignation and handing off of the

presidency, as the constitution has it, to

the chair of the Senate, Tokyaev. The

next day Tokayev assumed the interim

presidency, with the general

assumption that he may serve out the

rest of Nazarbayev's term. But as I

noted at the time, "The next

presidential elections were scheduled

to take place by April 2020, but early

elections are the norm in Kazakhstan."

Tokayev's first initiative as interim

president was to call for the renaming

of Astana to Nur-Sultan (with a

hyphen, no one knows why).

Meanwhile, the Senate elevated

Nazarbayev's eldest and most

politically active daughter to the top of

the Senate, putting her in a position of

significance and power, and

constitutionally second in line for the

presidency.

Nazarbayev, though stepping down

from the presidency, stated in his

resignation speech that he wasn't going

anywhere. He remains the head, for

life, of the security council; retains the

title and more importantly the legal

perks, chiefly protection from

prosecution, endowed by his status as

Leader of the Nation; and is still head of

Nur Otan, the only party in Kazakhstan

with influence.

Who will run to become the next

president of Kazakhstan? Speculation

abounds about possible successors but

the truth is that we just don't know.

Nursultan and Nur-Sultan have

exerted considerable effort over the

years toward demolishing anything

resembling opposition politics in the

country. This culling has left the state

with Nur Otan, the president's party,

and a handful of potemkin parties like

Ak Zhol, a shadow of its former self,

and a neutered version of the

Communist Party. To illustrate the

shallowness of the political pool in

Kazakhstan, it's worth recounting an

anecdote highlighted in Joanna Lillis'

well-timed book Dark Shadows: Inside

the Secret World of Kazakhstan. Mels

Yelusizov, a registered candidate for the

presidency in the 2011 election, was

asked after casting his own ballet who

had voted for. "Nazarbayev," he said.

Given that Kazakhstan has never held

an election considered free and fair by

legitimate observers and the only truly

developed political party is Nur Otan -

which Nazarbayev runs - it would seem

logical to assume that the state machine

will arrange itself behind whatever

candidate Nur Otan, and by that I mean

Nazarbayev, chooses. Tokayev, in his

statement, promised fair and open

elections but the system has been

rigged for so long and opposition

parties starved of space to develop that

it's difficult to imagine any gathering

the resources and getting up to speed

with the elections now only two months

away.

Nur Otan announced shortly after

Tokayev's announcement that it would

choose its candidate within 20 days.

Tokayev is a favored pick by some, as is

Nazarbayeva, though she reportedly

said she wasn't going to run.

One has to wonder what the point of

this theater has been. Why did

Nazarbayev go through the grand

production of surprise retiring in

March when he could have just called

for early elections at that time? It would

have not been unusual to do so. Why

bother with an interim president at all?

Did Tokayev serve his purpose or was

he not as well-received as Nazarbayev

had hoped, necessitating a change of

plan? Was this the plan all along? Does

any of this even matter?

The only certainty is that Nazarbayev,

now from behind a thin curtain of

retirement, is still the shot-caller in

Kazakhstan. Everything else is a flashy

theater production designed to distract

the Kazakh people, and the

international community, from

Kazakhstan's economic and social

problems.

Kazakhstan's interim President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, center,

attends a wreath laying ceremony. Photo: Pavel Golovkin


NATIONAL

FRIDAY, JUnE 28, 2019

6

Gaibandha SP offers reward

if one can help trace brokers

Jaldhaka municipal budget was announced at the municipal office on Thursday.

Photo: Hafizur Rahamn

Jaldhaka municipal budget announced

HAFIzUR RAHMAN, JALDHAKA CORRESPONDENt:

A budget of tk 20.5 cr for the year

2019-2020 has been announced by the

Mayor of Jaldhaka Municipality on

thursday.

the budget declaration program was

held at municipal office. Mayor of

Jaldhaka municipality Fahmid Faisal

Comet declared the budget. During the

time, Municipal Secretary

Ashrafuzzaman, Assistant Engineer

AKM tofazzal Hossain, Accountant

Aawlad Hossain, Panel Mayor Ruhul

Amin, Councilor Rahmat Ali, Ranjit

Kumar Roy, Mohsin Ali, ziaur Rahman

zia, Fazlur Rahman and reserved

women councilor Sumona Chowdhury

were also present at the occasion.

In this year budget, an amount of tk

2.99 crore has been estimated for

revenue sector while 17 crore taka for

the development sector. In total, the

total budget increased to 19.99 crore

taka. the municipal mayor in his

speech said that this budget is not an

imaginary budget, but this budget has

been announced for the purpose of

development for protection of the

municipal people from suffering.

RAFIqUL ISLAM, GAIBANDHA CORRESPONDENt:

Gaibandha Police Super (SP)

Engineer Abdul Mannan Miah offered

rewards for those who can help trace

brokers by keeping their identity

confidential. He made the

announcement at a guardian rally at

Kamarjani char area of Gaibandha

Sadar on thursday.

He further said that there is no need

to pay any extra money for the

government fixed treasury challan in

the employment sector. In case of

constable recruitment, no one must be

deceived by the name of getting a job in

exchange of money or promise. the

candidates and their guardians are

advised to be aware of this matter.

Police Super Engineer Abdul Mannan

Miah (BPM) created history in

Gaibandha district by announcing that

the recruitment of police constable of

Gaibandha district on 29 June will done

through examination of the merits

rather than recommendation from

Ministers and MP and refraining from

brokers. Gaibandha district police held

various campaigns announcing that

jobs will be available for police

constable post at only 103 taka. One can

get a police job of the police by doing a

bank draft of tk 100 and by buying a

form of tk 3.

It was known that previously during

the appointment of police constable, the

family of the candidates used to be busy

lobbying to political leaders and

influential people. Even they used to sell

their cow, goat, land and used to give

money to the brokers to get the job. Still,

uncertainty did not pass. these

situations were face repeatedly by the

people of

Gaibandha. But

this year, with the

announcement of

getting the job at

tk 103, there was

a storm of

discussions

among the people

of the district.

Besides, eligible

children of many

helpless poor

families are now

preparing to take

part in the police

recruitment

competition.

Locals of

Gaibandha said

that for the first

time in life they

did not have to

bribe for the

police job. Now if

a child of a

Thursday.

helpless poor

family is qualified, then the guardians

can proudly say that their son or

daughter is a cop. the helpless poor

families expressed their gratitude and

thanked the police super to illustrate this

honesty. Gaibandha Superintendent of

Police Abdul Mannan Miah announced

that the appointed for police constable

will take place at Gaibandha Police Line

on 29th June. this time a total of 144

people of Gaibandha will get a job at

Bangladeshi police.

Police Super further said that many

families lose their last resort for the

police job. But if one takes refuge in

Gaibandha Police Super (SP) Engineer Abdul

Mannan Miah addressed a guardian rally at

Kamarjani char area of Gaibandha Sadar on

Photo: Rafiqul Islam

these, then they will not get a job.

Because those who do not come

through their eligibility, they will not be

recruited no matter how much lobbying

they do. Police Super Engineer Abdul

Mannan Mia, will call all the people at

103 rupees to send the message to the

police in other areas of the district. He

further said that police constable job is

available only at tk 103. Of this, a bank

draft of tk 100 should be made and a

form of tk 3 needs to be purchased. HE

urged all to stand by line according to

government rules. After the physical

examination, the job will be available in

accordance with qualification.

Gournadi Upazila Education Officer Faisal Jamil as the chief guest addressed a discussion marking the

etiquette and morality sub-cluster training of teachers in Gournadi upazila on Thursday. Photo: TBT

Etiquette and

morality training

of teachers held

in Gournadi

GIAS UDDIN MIAH, GOURNADI CORRESPONDENt:

A day-long etiquette and morality sub-cluster

training of teachers was held at North

Ramsiddhi Government Primary School in

Gournadi upazila on thursday.

Marking the occasion a discussion meeting

was held which was presided by the School

Management Committee President and

Municipal Councilor Kazi toufiq Iqbal Sajal.

Upazila Education Officer Faisal Jamil was the

chief guest at the occasion. Among others,

Assistant Officer Badiuzzaman, Gournadi

Upazila Press Club President Md. Gias Uddin

Miah, President of municipal Krishak League

unit Mohammad Shahjahan Bepari, School

Management Committee member Nantu,

Upazila Government Primary School Head

teacher Association President Salim Ahmed

and General Secretary Kutub Uddin,

Headmaster of North Ramsiddhi Government

Primary School Abdul Matin Hawladar,

Upazila Chhatra League President and

Assistant teacher Syed Mahbubur Rahman,

Borhan Uddin, Shamim Ahmed, and 28

teachers of 5 Government Primary School were

also present at the occasion.

Workshop on 'Climate

change, e-agriculture'

held in Rajshahi

RAJSHAHI: A daylong workshop was held

here on Wednesday amidst discussing and

devising ways and means of protecting the

agriculture from adverse impact of climate

change after the best uses of modern

information and communication technologies,

reports BSS.

Agriculture Information Service (AIS)

organized the workshop on 'Climate Change

and e-agriculture' at conference hall of

Additional Director of Department of

Agriculture Extension (DAE).

'Agriculture Information Service

Modernization and Digital Agriculture

Information and Communication

Strengthening Project' supported the

programme. Chaired by DAE Additional

Director Dev Dulal Dhali, the workshop was

addressed, among others, by Deputy Directors

Joynal Abedeen, Shamsul Haque, Monzurul

Huda, Sahir Uddin and Subrata Sarker as

resource persons.

In three technical sessions, Senior Scientific

Officer of Soil Resource Development

Institution Dr Nurul Islam, Executive Director

of Probha Abu Musha and Regional Agriculture

Information Officer Abdullah Hil Kafi

presented three papers on 'Climate Change

Impacts on Land Degradation and Soil

properties of Barind region', 'Different crop

management practices', and 'e-agriculture for

agriculture development' respectively.

Education

assistance provided

among 300

students in Pirganj

BISHNU ROy, PIRGANJ

CORRESPONDENt:

Education assistance was

provided among 300 SSC and

HSC students in Pirganj on

thursday. Non-governmental

development organization

Good Neighbors Bangladesh

organized the ceremony at

Good Neighbors hall room in

Pirganj.

Pirganj CDP manager

Raymond Kuiya chaired the

ceremony while among

others, Upazila chairman

Akhtarul Islam, Upazila

Secondary Education Officer

SM Saeed Hassan, Pirganj

Press Club Joint Secretary

Bishnu Roy and Program

Officer of the organization

Sherajul Islam were also

present at the occasion.

It is to be noted that

education assistance of tk

2500 were distributed among

the 2019-2020 fiscal year

students who wants to get

admission in college.

Education assistance was provided among 300 SSC and HSC students in Pirganj on Thursday. Photo: TBT

The closing paraded of the 93rd recruiting batch training programme of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB)

was held on Thursday. The parade was conducted at Border Guard Training Center and College in

Satkania, Chattogram. BGB Director General Major General Md Shafeenul Islam took the inspection and

salute to attend the parade as the chief guest.

Photo: Courtesy

Three accused held over killing

wife for dowry in Kishoreganj

MAFE MOHIUDDIN, KISHORE-

GANJ CORRESPONDENt:

Police have arrested three

accused over killing wife for

dowry in Kishoreganj

upazila. the accused were

arrested from different areas

of Nilphamari Sadar uapzila

and Kishoreganj upazila on

Wednesday and was sent to

Nilphamari jail.

According to Kishoreganj

police station and the case

information, it is learned

Shilpi Begum (22) daughter

of Rabiul Hossain of

Dhulatipara village under

Khutamar union of Jaldhaka

upazila married Ariful Islam

Arif, son of Mosharraf

Hossain of Porakort village

of Putimari upazila of

Kishoreganj upazila four

years ago. Since the

marriage, their life was

going well. Later became

parents of a daughter. After

the daughter's birth, Ariful

Islam Arif, father-in-law

Mosharraf Hossain, motherin-law

Rezina Begum

started torturing Shilpi and

demanded tk 50,000 as

dowry. Later Shipli Begum

filed a petition against 5

people at senior judicial

magistrate court in

Nilpharami on 26/2/2017.

the petition case no. is

22/17. In the last six months

during the trial, the

defendants tried somehow

Members of Kishoreganj Police Station arrested three accused over killing

wife for dowry in Kishoreganj upazila on Wednesday. Photo: Mafe Mohiuddin

convinced Shilpi about the

matter and brought back her

home. But the accused again

started to torture her and

demanded tk 50,000 as

dowry. On June 25, Ariful

Islam Arif, father-in-law

Mosharraf Hossain, motherin-law

Rezina Begum and

other accused started to beat

up Shilpi and later he fell

down unconscious. the

accused later hanged her

with ropes so prove she

committed suicide.

After getting the news,

members of Kishoreganj

police station rushed to the

spot and recovered the body

of the Shilpi Begum and sent

it to Nilphamari morgue.

Later, the victim's mother

lodged a murder case with

the Kishoreganj Police

Station on Wednesday, June

26 against 5 people. Case no.

is 16. Women and Children

Repression Prevention Act

2000 (amended in 2013) ,

Section 11 (Ka) / 30.

Officer-in-Charge of

Kishoreganj Police Station

and investigation officer of

the case Mofizul Haque said

that after filing the case,

drives were conducted at

different areas of

Nilphamari Sadar Upazila

and Kishoreganj Upazila

and three accused were

arrested and sent to

Nilphamari jail.


INTERNATIONAL FRIDAY,

JUNE 28, 2019

7

Around 350 firemen with the help of 15 aircraft and helicopters are working to control a wildfire

which has burned around 4,000 hectares of land in the region of Tarragona, northeastern Spain, on

Thursday morning.

Photo : AP

Wildfire still out of control in Spain

after burning 4,000 hectares

Around 350 firemen with the help of 15

aircraft and helicopters are working to

control a wildfire which has burned

around 4,000 hectares of land in the

region of Tarragona, northeastern

Spain, on Thursday morning, reports

UNB.

Local emergency services confirm

that the fire, which began on Wednesday

afternoon for reasons so far

unknown, has led to around 30 people

being evacuated from their homes

overnight by the Red Cross.

One hundred and twenty members of

the Spanish Military's Emergency Unit,

are also helping with the task of fighting

the flames, while the leader of the Catalan

regional government Quim Torra is

also visiting the area affected by the fire

on Thursday morning.

Miquel Buch, the Interior Minister in

North Korea urges

South to stop mediating

between North, US

North Korea said Thursday

that South Korea must stop

trying to mediate between

Pyongyang and Washington,

as it stepped up its pressure

on the United States to

work out new proposals to

salvage deadlocked nuclear

diplomacy, reports UNB.

The North Korean statement

was an apparent continuation

of its displeasure

with Seoul and Washington

over the stalled diplomacy.

But there are no signs that

North Korea would formally

abandon talks anytime soon

as an inter-Korean liaison

office in North Korean

remains operating and the

North still talks about good

relations between its leader,

Kim Jong Un, and President

Donald Trump.

The statement came two

days before Trump visits

South Korea for two days.

There have been no public

meetings between the United

States and North Korea

since the breakdown of the

second summit between

Trump and Kim in Vietnam

in February. Kim returned

home empty-handed after

Trump refused to provide

him with badly needed sanctions

relief in return for a

limited denuclearization

step. The summit's collapse

was a blow to South Korean

President Moon Jae-in, a

liberal who shuttled between

Washington and Pyongyang

to facilitate talks between

the countries to help find a

diplomatic settlement of the

North Korean nuclear crisis.

Talk of a revival of diplomacy,

however, has flared

after Trump and Kim

recently exchanged personal

letters. Moon said earlier

this week that U.S. and

North Korean officials were

holding "behind-the-scene

talks" to try to set up a third

summit between Trump and

Kim. Moon also said talks

between the two Koreas

have been under way

through unspecified "various

channels."

On Thursday, Kwon Jong

Gun, chief of the North

Korean Foreign Ministry's

U.S. affairs department, said

it will "never go through"

South Korea again when it

deals with the United States.

He also dismissed.

the Catalan assembly described the fire

as "one of the like which hasn't been

seen in years... it could be the worst in

the last 20 years," he said, adding that

"it could potentially burn 20,000

hectares."Firefighters have to deal with

extreme weather conditions which are

complicating their task with temperature

of 40 degrees Celsius affecting

nearly all of Spain. Temperature of up

to 42 degrees is predicated to affect in

the Tarragona region until the end of

the weekend.

"When the wind drops we will be able

to control the fire better, but temperatures

are going to rise even higher and

the relative humidity will be low,"

explained Jordi Sola, the Chief of the

firefighting operation. Spanish Prime

Minister Pedro Sanchez also expressed

his concern about the fire in a tweet

Almazbek Atambayev with his supporters in Koi-Tash.

which read "I am worried about the

information which arrives from Tarragona

and for the families who have been

evacuated," before thanking emergency

services for their efforts.

This summer Spain is facing an even

greater risk from wildfires than usual

after 2019 has so far seen 25 percent

less rainfall than average leaving areas

of the countryside bone dry.

The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture

informs that 6,220 wildfires were confirmed

from the start of 2019 until June

16, almost 4,000 more than in the same

period in 2018 and 1,100 above the

average for the last 10 years.

The majority of these fires damaged

less than one hectare, but so far the fire

has affected 38,023 hectares, well

above the 9,284 hectares damaged a

year ago.

Turkey's Erdogan says ties with China based

on comprehensive strategic partnership

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late Wednesday that his country considers its

ties with China within the framework of a comprehensive strategic partnership, reports UNB.

"We consider our ties with China as based on a comprehensive strategic partnership and on

the principle of one-China policy," Erdogan told reporters at the Ankara airport ahead of his

departure for the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, state-run Anadolu agency reported.

Erdogan said that during his visit to Beijing on July 2, he will discuss with Chinese

President Xi Jinping bilateral relations and also regional and international issues. The Turkish

leader emphasized on the importance of bilateral relations within the Belt and Road Initiative

(BRI) framework. "The BRI is not only an economic initiative, it continues to be an

important opportunity for nations of the geography that it encompasses to come together,"

said Erdogan, adding that China is one of the main foreign trade partners of Turkey.

Kyrgyz parliament revokes

ex-president Atambayev’s

immunity

The Kyrgyz parliament voted on Thursday in

favor of depriving the country's former President

Almazbek Atambayev's immunity,

reports UNB.

Of the total 120 deputies, 103 deputies voted

for deprivation of the status of the expresident,

only 6 voted against.

Earlier, the parliament created a special

commission which concluded that Atambayev

could be involved in 6 crimes during

his presidency. The conclusion was submitted

to the Prosecutor General's Office on

June 20.

Speaking on Thursday at the parliament

session, the country's Prosecutor General

Otkurbek Dzhamshitov said that five out of

the six crime charges are related to corruption,

including the suspected corruption during

the reconstruction of Bishkek's thermal

power station, the unlawful obtaining of land

for building his residential house, and helping

release Chenchen criminal Aziz

Batukayev.

The prosecutor general said that now

Atambayev can be summoned for questioning,

where he can testify and if charges are

found, a criminal case will be initiated.

On May 16, Kyrgyz President Sooronbai

Jeenbekov signed a law allowing to deprive

the ex-presidents of immunity.

Earlier, representatives of Kyrgyz law

enforcement agencies said several criminal

cases had been launched against the former

president, which they could not investigate

due to his immunity.

Meanwhile, Atambayev himself called the

accusations of parliamentarians against him

"absurd" and said that he was clean and

ready to answer all the accusations.

Atambayev, 62 now, served as President of

Kyrgyzstan from Dec. 1, 2011 to Nov. 24,

2017.

Photo : Internet

Two pilots killed

in plane crash in

Russia's Buryatia

Two pilots were killed on

Thursday after an An-24

passenger plane crashed at

the airport of Nizhneangarsk

in Russia's Republic of Buryatia,

the Russian Investigative

Committee said, reports

UNB.

When landing at the airport,

the plane rolled out of

the runway and caught fire

after colliding with a sewage

treatment plant, the committee's

Eastern-Siberian

Transport Division said in a

statement.

The Buryatia division of

the Russian Emergencies

Ministry said in a separate

statement that there were 43

passengers and four crew

members on board, 45 of

which were saved.

The Investigative Committee

said that 14 passengers

with injuries of various

severity had been taken to a

medical facility.

The committee has

launched criminal proceedings

into violations of traffic

safety and air transport

operation rules that resulted

in deaths.

Investigators are working

at the scene to establish the

circumstances of the incident,

it said.

At least 9 hurt in

suicide attacks

in Tunisia

Two suicide bombers targeting

Tunisian security forces

struck nearly simultaneously

in the capital, injuring at

least nine people, including

six officers, reports UNB.

Statements from the Interior

Ministry said one

bomber set off explosives

near a police patrol in the

capital's busy commercial

center shortly before 11 a.m.

Thursday. At about the same

time, a second bomber

struck one of the entrances

of the headquarters of the

government's anti-terrorism

brigade on the outskirts of

the city.

Tunisia has been struck

repeatedly by terror attacks.

In October a female suicide

bomber struck the city center,

killing only herself.

A suicide bomber targeting

a police patrol has struck

a busy commercial street in

central Tunis, injuring at

least five people including

two officers.

Tunisia's interior ministry

says the attacker detonated

explosives near the French

embassy shortly before 11

a.m. Thursday. Radio

Mosaique reported a second

explosion soon afterward in

the parking lot of the government

anti-terrorism

agency. Tunisia has been

struck repeatedly by terror

attacks. In October a female

suicide bomber struck the

city center.

Yitzhar evacuation" and "price tag" spray-painted on a home in Einabus in the

northern West Bank on June 13, 2019.

Photo : AP

Migrant: Young family ignored

advice against border swim

The young family from El Salvador

appeared in this border city over the

weekend with fear already on their faces,

reports UNB.

They went to the downtown bridge that

leads to Brownsville, Texas, where

Xiomara Mejia, herself also a migrant

from Central America, explained that the

newcomers would not be able to add their

names to the long list of families waiting

to apply for asylum in the United States

until Monday.

"I noticed they were really nervous,

scared," she said. "They had panic on

their faces."

"They said to me, 'You haven't tried to

cross the river?'" Mejia said. "We said to

them, 'No,' because of the children more

than anything. I don't know how to swim

and my kids do, but either way I'm not

going to risk it."

Mejia had arrived in Matamoros from

Honduras with her husband and three

children on May 8. They said Wednesday

that there were only two families still in

line ahead of them to file their asylum

applications with the U.S. government.

They started out in March from San

Pedro Sula, the second largest city in

crime-plagued Honduras.

After chatting, the Salvadoran family

said they would come back Monday,

Mejia said. "I didn't think they were going

Hong Kong protesters push ahead

as territory’s leader unseen

Vehicles vandalized, racist slogans

spray-painted in anti-Palestinian

hate crime in West Bank

Cars were vandalized and anti-Arab slogans

were spray-painted in the West Bank, Israeli

authorities said Thursday, reports UNB.

The incident took place overnight between

Wednesday and Thursday in Sarta, a Palestinian

town located in the northern West

Bank between the Israeli settlements of

Barkan and Revava.

A spokesman with the Israeli police said in

a statement that an investigation was

launched after a report from Palestinian officials

was received over damage caused to

vehicles in Sarta.

The spokesman added that the incident is

being investigated as a suspected hate crime

against Palestinians.

Photos released by Yesh Din, an Israelbased

human rights group, showed hate

graffiti reading "non-Jews = enemies" and

"expelling the Arab enemy" spray-painted on

the walls of private homes.

Some ten cars were vandalized, their tires

Protesters opposed to legislation

they fear would reduce

Hong Kong's judicial independence

rallied outside the

Justice Department on

Thursday, as the territory's

leader remained out of public

view for a second week,

reports UNB.

A few hundred people

staged a sit-in on the street in

front of the Justice Department,

demanding that Secretary

for Justice Teresa Cheng

Yeuk-wah withdraw the nowsuspended

bills and drop

charges against protesters

arrested after a June 12

demonstration that turned

violent.

The action was the latest in

a series of protests this month

targeting police headquarters

and government offices.

"Withdraw the evil bill,

release the protesters, there

were no riots, only a tyrannical

government," protest

leader Joshua Wong told the

crowd. Police briefly attempted

to push the crowd back

onto the sidewalk, but eventually

relented and permitted

them to occupy the road.

Some protesters took it upon

themselves to direct traffic

around the gathering.

Hong Kong Chief Executive

Carrie Lam hasn't been seen

in public since issuing a televised

apology nearly two

weeks ago for mishandling

the extradition legislation.

Lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki of the

opposition Civic Party suggested

she request a longterm

leave of absence.

"To refuse to appear, to

refuse to acknowledge a

request and to refuse to make

a decision is entirely irresponsible,"

Kwok was quoted

as saying by Radio Television

Hong Kong. "It will only hurt

to decide to cross the river," she said

Wednesday.

On Sunday, not far downriver from that

bridge, the family crossed a popular bike

and jogging path and walked down a

slope through the brush to the Rio

Grande's edge. Not far upriver there had

been soccer games on fields beside the

river and even an outdoor yoga class.

The river does not appear wide there,

maybe 20 to 30 yards, but vegetation carried

by the current passes swiftly.

Óscar Alberto Martínez

Ramírez, 25, and his 23-monthold

daughter, Valeria, were swept away.

Their bodies were recovered Monday

morning, lying face down by the river

bank a few hundred yards downstream, a

heartbreaking scene captured in a news

photo showing the girl tucked inside her

father's shirt for protection.

Martínez's 21-year-old wife,

Tania Vanessa Ávalos, was

expected to accompany the bodies of her

husband and daughter back to El Salvador

on Thursday.

Martínez had shared a seagreen

brick home with barred windows in

San Martin on the outskirts of the capital,

San Salvador, with his mother, his wife

and their daughter.

In their working-class neighborhood of

about 40,000 people, Martínez

Hong Kong more," he said of

Lam's absence.

Lam's push to pass the

extradition bills prompted

hundreds of thousands of

people to fill Hong Kong's

streets in protest marches

earlier this month.

The proposed changes

would have allowed suspects

to be extradited from Hong

Kong to mainland China for

trial. Many fear the proposals

would erode Hong Kong's

judicial independence and

the civil liberties the city was

guaranteed after its handover

from British rule in 1997.

Several thousand people

joined a rally Wednesday

night that capped a daylong

appeal to world leaders to

take up the issue at this

week's G-20 summit, which

brings together the heads of

China, the United States and

others.

were slashed and a Star of David was spraypainted

on them, according to Yesh Din.

On Monday, at least 12 cars were vandalized

and hate graffiti were spray-painted in

the town of Sinjil northeast of Ramallah

city.

Last Tuesday, some 23 vehicles were vandalized

in the Palestinian town of Deir Istiya,

southeast of Nablus city. A day earlier, hate

graffiti in Hebrew were spray-painted on a

mosque in the village of Malik, northeast of

Ramallah city.

Earlier in June, four vehicles and a mosque

in the village of Einbus in the northern West

Bank were sabotaged.

Thousands of these "price-tag" attacks,

assaults by far-right Israelis against Palestinians

and their property, including

mosques, synagogues and cemeteries, have

been carried out over the past years.

However, Israeli authorities rarely find or

indict any suspects.

worked in a pizzeria and Ávalos

was a cashier in a fast-food restaurant,

said his mother, Rosa Ramírez.

The area has had problems with gang

violence, but these days it's calm, she

said. She said her son never had any

problems with gangs, and he left with his

family for economic reasons.

2 Norwegian shipping

executives indicted in

antitrust case

Two Norwegian shipping executives have

been indicted on charges that they participated

in a sprawling antitrust conspiracy,

reports UNB.

The case against the two Norwegian

businessmen has been unsealed in federal

court in Baltimore. It's part of an ongoing

U.S. investigation into bid rigging and

other anticompetitive actions in the international

shipping industry.

The accused men were once top executives

at Oslo-based Hoegh Autoliners.

Prosecutors have identified them as Ingar

Skiaker and Oyvind Ervik. It's unclear

whether they had lawyers who could

comment.


ART & CULTURE

FRiDAy,

JUNe 28, 2019

8

Saudi Arabia has welcomed its

first art house cinema

Madonna has defended a graphic

music video depicting a nightclub massacre,

saying people need to understand

"this is what happens when people

shoot".

The pop superstar's song God

Control calls for people to "wake up"

about the reality of gun violence in the

US. The scenes in the music video

recall the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting

in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people

were killed.

Pulse survivor Patience Carter said

she was "truly disturbed" by the video.

The eight-minute video shows actors

playing revellers being shot and lying

lifeless and covered in blood in a fictional

nightclub called The Globe.

"I couldn't even watch after the first

45 secs @Madonna," Carter wrote on

Twitter.

"There are so many creative avenues

that could've been taken to bring

awareness to gun control. The victims

of these mass shootings should always

be taken into consideration. I applaud

the attempt, but I am truly disturbed."

Another survivor, Brandon Wolf,

wrote: "Appreciate the message, but

please remember that there are people

behind the prop you're using."

The singer told CNN her response to

those who had a problem with the graphic

violence in the video was that "this is

what happens when people shoot".

She told People: "Seeing the reality,

and the brutality of things makes you

wake up. This is really happening. This

is what it looks like. Does it make you

feel bad? Good, 'cause then maybe you

BTS, the biggest K-pop group in the world,

now has the biggest app in the world.

"BTS World," a mobile simulation

game that lets fans virtually become the

South Korean pop stars' manager, quickly

rose to the top of Apple's App Store

charts in multiple countries just hours

after its release on Wednesday, June 26.

The free-to-play "BTS World" game

launched on iOS and Google Play on

June 26 in the early morning U.S. time

(around 2 a.m. PT) and 6 p.m. Korean

Standard Time. As of 7 a.m. PT, the game

already ranked No. 1 for iPhone downloads

in the U.S. overall and among

games apps, according to research firm

App Annie.

In less than 24 hours, "BTS World" hit

the top of Apple's App Store charts in 25

countries, including South Korea, Japan,

and all Southeast Asian markets, according

to Sensor Tower App Intelligence

data. It's currently ranked among the top

five apps in an additional 36 countries.

In China, "BTS World" ranks No. 50

overall but is the country's No. 8 iPhone

game by downloads, per Sensor Tower.

BTS World's debut at No. 1 for U.S.

iPhone downloads outpaced last week's

release of "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite"

from Niantic, which took 15 hours to

reach Apple's App Store top spot, Sensor

Tower said.

"BTS World," developed by Korean

gaming company Netmarble in collaboration

with the K-pop group, takes

players back before the band's debut to

pursue the role of BTS's manager, with

the ultimate goal of fostering the septet

on their way to superstardom.

Netmarble released the game on

Apple's App Store and Google Play in

176 countries worldwide.

Twitter Ads info and privacy

The game includes 10,000 exclusive

new photos and 100 video clips, and players

will be able to interact virtually with

BTS as a manager in the game through

various one-on-one interactive content.

In addition to the main "BTS World"

story, the game features individual stories

where each BTS member appears as

the main character. The seven-member

group - comprising members RM, Jin,

Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook -

was formed by Big Hit Entertainment in

2013.

Netmarble also announced that a

brand-new title song from the "BTS

World" original soundtrack,

"Heartbeat (BTS World OST)," is

available exclusively on the introduction

and main lobby within the game

will do something about it."

She also said gun violence "is the

biggest problem in America right now",

adding: "I cannot take it any more."

Actor George Takei, who set up the

anti-gun group 1Pulse4America after

the Orlando tragedy, was among those

to praise the singer.

March For Our Lives, the lobby

group founded after the 2018 Parkland

school shooting, also thanked the pop

star. The Guardian's music editor Ben

Beaumont-Thomas said the video

would be "very triggering for anyone

disturbed by the Pulse nightclub terror

attack", but added Madonna was making

her voice heard about gun reform

"louder and clearer than almost anyone

in pop culture".

-BBC

BTS World Mobile Game

Rockets to No. 1 Spot on

App Charts Worldwide

for the first 48 hours until the full "BTS

World OST" album comes out on June

28. The album will include each member's

theme songs within the game, and

three unit songs - "Dream Glow (BTS

World OST Part.1)," "A Brand New Day

(BTS World OST Part.2)," and "All

Night (BTS World OST Part.3)" - which

were previously revealed earlier this

month leading up to the game's launch.

Meanwhile, BTS announced Tuesday

that their latest feature film, "Bring the

Soul: The Movie," will be released

worldwide on Aug. 7, focusing on the

band's final days of their "Love

Yourself" tour in Europe.

--Variety

i, Daniel Blake

After having suffered a heart-attack, a 59-

year-old carpenter must fight the bureaucratic

forces of the system in order to receive

Employment and Support Allowance.

Genre

Director

Writer

Cast

: Drama

: Ken Loach, Laura

Obiols

: Paul Laverty

: Dave Johns, Hayley

Squires, Sharon

Percy

: 1h 40min

Runtime

Release Date : 9 June 2017

For many filmmakers, the opportunity

to direct a Disney movie represents

a type of holy grail. Now the studio

is launching a program to help

directors from underrepresented backgrounds

along the first step in that

journey.

Disney Launchpad: Shorts Incubator

is a seven-month program that will

guide emerging filmmakers in the creation

of original live-action short films

that may receive their premiere on the

upcoming Disney+ streaming service.

Based at the studio's Burbank campus

and featuring a curriculum of storytelling

and professional development

led by educational partner AFI, the

program, crucially, will provide participants

with a living stipend, and they

will be paid the Guild-negotiated minimum

for the content they create. (Over

on the television side, the Disney/ABC

Writing Program is the only of the

major network programs to pay a

stipend.)

"Part of being inclusive and representative

is [being mindful of] geography,

and it's not exactly inexpensive to

live in southern California," Disney vp

The speculations were rife

that producer Karan Johar

will be announcing the

sequel to Tarun

Mansukhani's Dostana.

Eleven years later, it is confirmed

that Dostana 2 is in

the works and with a fresh

cast. While Priyanka

Chopra, John Abraham and

Abhishek Bachchan were

loved by the audience in the

first one, it is now confirmed

that two out of three lead

actors are Kartik Aaryan and

Janhvi Kapoor.

A day ago, Karan Johar

shared a teaser video which

pretty much gave away what

the announcement would be.

The film will be helmed by

debutante director Colin

D'Cunha who has previously

worked as an assistant director

for the films like Bhaag

Milkha Bhaag, Talaash, and

NH10 among others.

This time around, the storyline

will be similar like the

previous film with humour

woven in the screenplay but

the topic of homosexuality

will be tackled sensitively. The

makers plan to go on floor by

the year-end and release it in

2020.

Karan Johar says, "I am

excited to take the Dostana

franchise forward with

Kartik and Janhvi, and can't

multicultural audience engagement

Julie Ann Crommett tells The

Hollywood Reporter. "Economics and

entry into this business is so much

based on whether or not you can actually

move and live here, and we wanted

to lift that burden as much as possible."

Launchpad considers a wide variety

wait to create some desi boygirl

madness with them.

This is Dharma Productions'

first film with Kartik and we

are looking forward to working

with him. We will also be

introducing a new male

lead, who will join the

SToRyliNe :

Having recently suffered a major heart

attack at work, Newcastle's 59-year-old

widowed carpenter Daniel Blake has

been ordered by his doctors to stay out of

any vigorous action and rest, however,

after a negative employment support

assessment, he is deemed ineligible for

compensation, not scoring enough

points to obtain benefits. Without any

income or a pension, desperate and frustrated

from the endless, dead-end conversations

over the phone with the

impersonal government health-care

agents, Daniel will visit the welfare office

to make an appeal, only to face in person

the draconian civil servants and to be

consumed by a faceless system and its

bureaucratic jargon. Against all odds,

with perseverance and courage, Daniel

Blake, as an original, modern workingclass

hero, he will boldly stand up for

himself and for those in need, withstanding

nobly the humiliation while

reminding that, above all, we are human

by default.

-IMDb

Disney Seeking Underrepresented Filmmakers

of backgrounds and perspectives in its

definition of underrepresented. "We're

very inclusive across the spectrum of

what that means, including gender,

race, ethnicity, LGBTQ, persons with

disabilities, veterans, different religious

groups," says Crommett. "The sky is

the limit." -The Hollywood Reporter

Kartik Aaryan & Janhvi Kapoor

confirmed for Dostana 2

incredible talent at our production

house. Collin

D'Cunha also makes his

directorial debut with

Dostana 2."

While Janhvi was appreciated

for her performance in

Dhadak and is seen as a talent

to watch out for, Kartik,

after his recent spate of

films, has emerged as a teen

heart-throb. A newcomer

will join the two actors, to

complete the triangular

romantic-comedy.

-Bollywood Hungama

H o R o S C o p e

ARieS

(March 21 - April 20) : You

may feel extra dreamy today,

Aries. Your moods may fluctuate.

It may be hard to get other people

to share your boisterous good

humor. Trying to get people to jump

on your bandwagon of excitement

may be difficult.

TAURUS

(April 21 - May 21) : Pay close

attention to your friends today,

Taurus. One of them may be going

through a tough time and need a little extra

support and attention. If you can, gather several

buddies together and organize an

impromptu lunch or dinner or any other activity

that allows you to laugh, bond, and share.

GeMiNi

(May 22 - June 21) : Your artistic

nature is especially heightened

today, Gemini. Your heart

and brain are working together to create

something great. Use your creative abilities

to make a bold statement. Have a

good time. There may be a tendency

toward laziness. If sitting on the couch is

all you want to do, that's fine.

CANCeR

(June 22 - July 23) : Nothing will

escape your attention today,

Cancer. Your sixth sense is right

on target. Your mind is razor sharp and

emotions extra sensitive. You will move

through this day with your radar fully intact.

You're like a detective cutting through to the

core of every issue.

leo

(July 24 - Aug. 23) : You may feel like

you're ready to get the party started

today, Leo, but for some reason, the

people around you aren't exactly following suit.

Perhaps you need to slow down and wait for others

to catch up. They may end up not coming

around at all. If people say they're doing fine,

don't necessarily believe them.

ViRGo

(Aug. 24 - Sept. 23) : Don't worry

so much about getting things

done today, Virgo. Instead, concentrate

on your feelings and relationships. A

caring, sensitive attitude is needed, as

opposed to a harsh, militant way of dealing

with things. You will find that by adopting a

tender, nurturing tone, people will be much

more receptive to you in general.

liBRA

(Sept. 24 - Oct. 23) : Don't get

sad if no one is laughing at

your jokes today, Libra. It

doesn't mean you aren't funny. It just

means that people may not be in the

mood to laugh. Ridiculous as it seems,

today is simply a better day to cry. Let out

all your pent-up emotions.

SCoRpio

(Oct. 24 - Nov. 22) : Don't be

shy today, Scorpio. Express

how you feel. The more you

share with others, the more they will be

encouraged to share themselves with you.

Today may be filled with a great many

tender moments that are worth documenting

in your journal tonight.

SAGiTTARiUS

(Nov. 23 - Dec. 21) : Hold your

temper today, Sagittarius. No

one wants to argue. It may be

tough to connect with the people

around you, but this isn't a reason to get

upset. Tone things down and speak more

softly. Listen to what others have to say.

There may be a bit of a disruption in your

daily routine.

CApRiCoRN

(Dec. 22 - Jan. 20) : Today is an excellent

day for you, Capricorn. You will

discover many opportunities. You

would do well to work with others by tuning into

your sensitive nature and chiming in to the energy

of the group. Your grounding and stability are

exactly what are needed to give order to the fluctuating,

indecisive minds you're working with.

AQUARiUS

(Jan. 21 - Feb. 19) : Today is a good

day for you, Aquarius. New opportunities

will abound in your regular

routine. Work with a group to accomplish

something greater than you could do by yourself.

Tune in to the energy of the collective. You

have exactly the right qualities that others

need today. Use them.

piSCeS

(Feb. 20 - Mar. 20) : Your

intuition is more reliable than

your mind today, Pisces. This

is a terrific day in which you should

enjoy a good mood and clear head. Your

emotions are high, so take advantage of

this energy and share it with others.

Your generous, nurturing spirit is in

demand.


SPORTS

FRIDAy,

JUNE 28, 2019

9

Argentina’s Armani wary of

pacey outsiders Venezuela

Mahmudullah has not been bowling in the World Cup due to a shoulder injury but has been doing well

with the bat.

Photo: AP

Mahmudullah will play even if he's

slightly fit: Khaled Mahmud

Sports Desk: Argentina goalkeeper

Franco Armani warned his teammates

on Wednesday not to be

caught out by minnows Venezuela

when the sides meet in the Copa

America quarter-finals, reports BSS.

Argentina scraped into the knockout

rounds courtesy of a 2-0 win

over invitees Qatar in their final pool

match having gone into it bottom of

Group B.

And now they're wary of avoiding a

banana skin against the tournament

minnows, one of only two of South

America's 10 national sides - the other

being Ecuador - never to win the

Copa.

"We need to score goals, to be very

careful… to avoid a surprise," said

the River Plate goalkeeper ahead of

Friday's clash at Rio de Janeiro's

Maracana stadium.

Armani said Venezuela would

"look to win back the ball quickly

and attack" from the flanks, where

"they have quick players."

And in Newcastle United forward

Salomon Rondon, they have "a center-forward

who holds up the ball

well and has good movement."

While 14-time former winners

Argentina may have been a disappointment

for many onlookers,

Armani feels they are finding their

form as they progress deeper into

the competition.

They began with a 2-0 defeat to

Colombia before benefitting from a

couple of contentious decisions in a

1-1 draw with Paraguay, only securing

qualification to the latter stages

with victory over Qatar.

There has been little so far to suggest

they might end a 26-year trophy

drought, though.

"We've gone from worse to better

in this Copa. Match by match we've

gained confidence, we've gained the

functionality the team needs, and we

arrive in good shape for this quarterfinal,"

he said.

And now they're wary of avoiding a

banana skin against the tournament

minnows, one of only two of South

America's 10 national sides - the other

being Ecuador - never to win the

Copa.

"We need to score goals, to be very

careful… to avoid a surprise," said

the River Plate goalkeeper ahead of

Friday's clash at Rio de Janeiro's

Maracana stadium.

But Argentina haven't beaten

Venezuela in their last three meetings,

and lost 3-1 when the sides met

in Madrid in a friendly in March,

when five-time Ballon d'Or winner

Lionel Messi made his long-awaited

return to the national team after an

eight-month absence.

For Venezuela captain Tomas Rincon,

Argentina have lost the fear factor

they once had thanks to a multitude

of star players.

"It's been a while since they won,

with their history and their (star)

names," said Rincon.

"What's important now is the

teamwork, how you play as a team.

We respect everyone, but we fear noone."

Sports Desk: Bangladesh all-rounder

Mahmudullah Riyad, who has been

suffering from several injuries, will take

the field against India on July 2 even if

he is not fully fit, said Tigers team manager

Khaled Mahmud, reports UNB.

Mahmudullah, who was batting on

one run, sustained a calf injury while

picking up a single during their game

against Afghanistan and batted only

after team physio Thian Chandramohan

put up some compression tape

around his calf. He added valuable 56

runs with Mushfiqur Rahim before getting

out for 27 runs.

Mahmud hoped that Mahmudullah

will take the field in a must-win game

against India. If Bangladesh can win

that match, their route to the semifinals

will get a further boost.

"The possibility of Mahmudullah's

participation is 50-50. We can't say

whether he'll play or not at this

moment. But I think he'll take the field

if he is slightly fit because he's an

important weapon of Bangladesh setup.

We'll be monitoring his fitness in

the coming days before the next game.

I hope he'll be fine before the match,"

Mahmud told the reporters.

Mahmudullah also had serious injury

scare ahead of the World Cup after an

MRI report of revealed a grade-3 tear

on his shoulder. As a result he is not

bowling in the ongoing tournament

Earlier, Bangladesh captain

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza expressed similar

views on Mahmudullah's participation

in the next game on July 2. At the

end of the last match against

Afghanistan, Mashrafe said that Mahmudullah

might play the next match if

he feels slightly better.

In the five matches of the World

Cup, Mahmudullah scored 190

runs batting at the lower middleorder.

He hit a fifty against Australia

while making a 127-run stand

in the fifth wicket with Mushfiqur

Rahim who ended up hitting his

first ton in the World Cup.

Bangladesh are now on the cliff's

edge. They are at number five in the

points table and their chance to qualify

for the semis is tough. Tigers need to

beat India and Pakistan in their next

two games.

Salah sends Egypt

into Cup of Nations

last 16

Sports Desk: Mohamed

Salah scored his first goal of

the Africa Cup of Nations as

hosts Egypt secured a place

in the last 16 on Wednesday

with a 2-0 win over the

Democratic Republic of

Congo, reports BSS.

Ahmed Elmohamady

prodded Egypt ahead on 25

minutes after a wicked Salah

cross and the Liverpool star

slammed in a second shortly

before half-time to spark

frenzied celebrations at a

packed Cairo International

Stadium. Record seven-time

champions Egypt rode their

luck at times as DR Congo

twice struck the crossbar in

the first half but the Group A

leaders held firm to join

Nigeria as the first teams

through to the knockout

phase.

Egypt overcame the distraction

of Amr Warda being

banished from the squad

earlier in the day over

mounting sexual harassment

allegations. The claims

surfaced earlier this week on

social media platforms. Multiple

women posted screenshots

and testimonies of

Warda's alleged lewd comments.

"I think the team is

strong and the squad is

strong but we are not happy

to lose a member of our family,"

said coach Javier

Aguirre. "The team focused

more on our match and

played the 90 minutes in a

serious manner. I don't

think the Egyptian team will

be affected by the absence of

anyone."

Mexican Aguirre fielded

the same side that defeated

Zimbabwe 1-0, with centreback

Ahmed Hegazy sporting

a mask after breaking his

nose in the opening game of

the tournament.

Salah was guilty of missing

a hatful of chances in the

curtain-raiser and this season's

Premier League joint

top scorer again threatened

inside five minutes here

when an interception broke

his way only for the Egyptian

to skew wide under pressure.

After four days of small

crowds, another capacity

75,000 crowd turned out to

cheer on the hosts in the

capital, but they were nearly

silenced when Marcel Tisserand

slammed against the

bar at a corner.

Sri Lanka seek breathing space

amid mid-table clutter

Sports Desk: A win would keep Sri Lanka

alive as competition tightens for the

three remaining semi-final spots, but for

that they have to get past a South African

side with nothing to lose, reports ICC.

As did Pakistan's win over New Zealand

on Wednesday, 26 June, a win for Sri

Lanka over South Africa would really

open up the competition and tighten the

race to the semi-finals. Sri Lanka are currently

seventh, but two points would take

them straight up to fifth, just below England,

who are themselves in a fight to

make the last four now. Of course, any

gain on the points table is only momentary

as teams continue to scrap hard and

displace each other, but it is precisely for

that reason that every point from here on

out matters.

South Africa have had their worst campaign

ever at the ICC Men's Cricket World

Cup. This is only the second time since

their debut in the competition, in 1992,

that they have failed to go past the first

round. But there is nothing more dangerous

in a multi-team tournament than a

team with nothing to lose, and South

Africa will be eager to prove just that by

picking up wins in their last two matches

and upset the teams that still stand a

chance.

The veteran pacer has shown that he

still has the ability to turn matches on

their head and is a proven performer

under pressure. Malinga has had a crucial

role to play in both of Sri Lanka's wins so

far in the competition, snaring seven

wickets across those two games, and figures

to be a prominent part of Sri Lanka's

campaign going forward.

Morris only made the squad after an

injury took down Anrich Nortje, but he is

showing why he deserves his spot. Morris

has been one of the few South African

bowlers to have shown a measure of incision

in this tournament, and has

undoubtedly been their best bowler after

Imran Tahir.

A bright day is expected at Chester-le-

Street. Rain should be a non-entity, so we

should get a full game in. This is

Durham's CWC19 debut, but as a guide,

the last match on this ground, between

England and Australia a year ago, produced

a high-scoring derby, with England

running down a 311-run target inside 45

overs.

Squads: Sri Lanka: Dimuth

Karunaratne ©, Avishka Fernando,

Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo

Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis

(wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Thisara Perera,

Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva,

Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne,

Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay.

South Africa: Faf du Plessis ©, Aiden

Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim

Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David

Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo,

JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Beuran

Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi

Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi.

A win would keep Sri Lanka alive as competition tightens for the three

remaining semi-final spots.

Photo: AP

Argentina haven't beaten Venezuela in their last three meetings, and lost 3-1 when the sides met in

Madrid in a friendly in March.

Photo: AP

Pressure off as

Osaka hopes for

better Wimbledon

fortune

Sports Desk: With the

burden of being world number

one lifted, Naomi Osaka

will set her sights on Wimbledon,

buoyed by the support

of Roger Federer and

praying for a decent draw

this year, reports BSS.

The 21-year-old Japanese

star saw her hopes of a third

consecutive Grand Slam title

end in a dispiriting third

round exit at Roland Garros.

She admitted that loss to

Katerina Siniakova, ranked

42 at the time, was "the best

thing that could have happened"

for a player so

uncomfortable in the spotlight.

Since then, she has lost her

top ranking and will head

into Wimbledon next week

seeded at number two.

Osaka could not be more

thrilled."During my entire

clay season, it kind of mattered

and it showed because

I was kind of stressed out the

entire time," she said when

asked about the intense

scrutiny which came with

being the world's top player

who was hunting a Paris title

to add to her US and Australian

Open crowns.

"Now, I'm just kind of having

fun. I'm kind of chilling."

At the French Open, Osaka

complained that the pressures

she faced were causing

her to suffer constant

headaches, stress and

fatigue. However, when the

Wimbledon draw is made on

Friday, more headaches

could be on the way.

Her last two trips to the All

England Club have ended in

back-to-back third round

losses against players at ease

on grass courts.

In 2017, she was defeated

by five-time champion

Venus Williams who went

on to reach the final.

World Cup hero Babar Azam

says belief is key for Pakistan

Sports Desk: Babar Azam says Pakistan

have the belief they can win their remaining

games to complete a dramatic turnaround

and reach the World Cup semi-finals following

victory against a strong New Zealand side

on Wednesday, reports BSS.

The 24-year-old hit a match-winning

unbeaten 101 to anchor Pakistan's reply to

New Zealand's score of 237 for six at Edgbaston.

Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed hit the winning

runs in the final over as they finished on 241-

4 to win by six wickets.

Pakistan had a disastrous start to their

World Cup campaign, losing three of their

first five matches with a single victory,

against England, and a no-result.

But Sunday's win over South Africa at

Lord's and Wednesday's victory in Birmingham

have revived their hopes of pulling off a

sensational comeback.

Their next game is on Saturday against

Afghanistan, who have lost all seven of their

matches at the tournament in England and

Wales and they finish their group fixtures

against Bangladesh, who are level with Pakistan

on seven points. Sri Lanka are also in

the hunt, one point behind but with a game

in hand, meaning 1992 winners Pakistan

must still rely on other results going in their

favour to qualify from the 10-team group

phase. "Belief has been the key," said Babar,

who reached his 10th one-day international

hundred off 124 balls with 11 fours. "We have

the belief that we will win our next two

games and then look ahead."

Babar, 24, said even when the team were

struggling earlier in the tournament, they

were confident they could turn their fortunes

around. "We were not winning matches but

we talked to each other and had the belief

that we could do it and now our focus is on

the next game," he said.

Defending champions Australia are the

only team to have qualified for the semifinals

so far while New Zealand, India and

England currently occupy the other top-four

slots. Babar said his role had been to bat until

the end of the innings.

"I was given a role to bat until the end and

others bat around me and that worked well

as (Mohammad) Hafeez and then Haris

(Sohail) batted well to establish partnerships,"

said Babar. He said his target is to

become the best batsman in the world.

"I can say that this is one of my best knocks

because the aim is to be the best batsman in

the world," said Babar, who is already the

top-rated batsman in the world in Twenty20

cricket.

Kerber happy with perfect Wimbledon

preparation at Eastbourne

Sports Desk: Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber is feeling confident ahead of the

defence of her title after easing into the quarter-final of the Eastbourne International on

Wednesday, reports BSS.

Kerber, who has twice reached the final at Eastbourne, was forced to save set points in the

first set against Rebecca Peterson, but romped through the second to seal a 7-6(4), 6-0

victory. "I like to play on grass," said the three-time Grand Slam champion. "This is the best

preparation for me for Wimbledon.

"You are playing here, the fans are cheering for you, and you have good opponents, you have

the competition. "Every match it's really tight and close. You have to play good tennis. That's

why I'm coming back every year to have these matches before another Grand Slam."

Kerber next faces a fellow former world number one in Simona Halep after the Romanian

got the better of Polona Hercog 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki's hopes of a third Eastbourne title were dashed as

Aryna Sabalenka gained revenge for defeat to the Dane in last year's final 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).

Sabalenka trailed 2-5 in the deciding set and saved a match point on the Wozniacki serve

before reaching the last eight on a tie-break.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

10

FRIDAy, JUNE 28, 2019

Asian markets rally as crucial

Trump-Xi meeting approaches

The 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Millennium Information Solution Limited - a subsidiary company

of Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd (AIBL), was held in the Head Office of the Bank recently. Niaz Ahmed,

Chairman of the Company presided over the meeting. The shareowners of the company have approved 6%

cash dividend for 2018 financial year. The Directors & Shareholders of the Company Alhajj Abdus Samad

labu, Alhajj Abdus Salam, Badiur Rahman, Salim Rahman, Engr. Kh. Mesbahuddin Ahmed, Md. Liakat

Ali Chowdhury, Alhajj Mohammed Emadur Rahman, M Kamal Uddin Chowdhury, Farman R Chowdhury,

Mahmud Hossain and Fokhruz Zaman were present on the meeting.

Photo: Courtesy

Asian markets rose Thursday as

investors brushed off Donald Trump's

latest dig at China and threat to impose

more tariffs on the country's goods if

crunch talks with Xi Jinping fail this

weekend, reports BSS.

Before setting off for the G20 summit

in Japan, the president said in an

interview that he had a "Plan B" in case

the face-to-face talks show no progress,

adding he would "take in billions and

billions of dollars a month and we'll do

less and less business with them".

He said Xi wanted to make a deal as

"China's economy is going down the

tubes".

His remarks on Fox Business

Network came soon after Treasury

Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two

sides were "90 percent" of the way to an

agreement when talks broke down last

month, with the US blaming Beijing for

backsliding.

Still, observers said traders were

taking the latest developments with a

pinch of salt.

"The market is unreactive to these

types of headlines given that Trump

has continued to adopt a 'good cop/bad

cop' strategy with… Mnuchin," said

Stephen Innes at Vanguard Markets.

"Instead, market participants are

content to wait for Saturday's meeting

to unfold where the proof will be in the

pudding.

"A harmonious photo op could go a

long way to soothing investors'

concerns at the market open on

Monday."

However, while there is optimism for

an eventual agreement, analysts say

they are not expecting anything major

to come out of the Osaka meeting.

OANDA senior market analyst

Alfonso Esparza said: "The G20 is

looking to be a disappointment to

investors looking for a blockbuster

trade deal to be announced and is now

expected to yield a new round of talks

between the US and China to be held

later this year."

And Eli Lee, head of investment

strategy at Bank of Singapore, added:

"Our baseline scenario is that both

sides will commit to re-engage in trade

negotiations while Trump puts the final

round of tariffs on hold for a few

months." Hong Kong added 1.3 percent

in the afternoon, Shanghai jumped 0.7

percent and Tokyo ended up 1.2

percent.

Sydney was 0.4 percent higher,

Singapore rose 0.7 percent, Seoul put

on 0.6 percent and Taipei jumped 1.1

percent. Wellington, Mumbai, Manila

and Jakarta also rose.

In early trade London and Paris each

rose 0.1 percent, while Frankfurt

gained 0.5 percent.

Regional energy firms enjoyed

healthy interest after a rally in oil prices

Wednesday fuelled by data showing US

inventories had seen their biggest

weekly drop since September 2016

owing to a dip in US production and

improving exports.

Brent rallied more than two percent

and WTI shot up almost three percent

on the news, though both edged down

Thursday.

H&M shares fly off

the shelves on

quarterly results

Shares in Hennes and Mauritz surged on Thursday, boosted by quarterly results

pointing to a budding recovery in the Swedish fashion retailer's earnings, reports

BSS.

About an hour into trading on the Stockholm stock exchange they stood 9.4

percent higher at 158.84 kronor.

H&M, which has been lagging in a relentless competition with Spanish rival Zara,

earlier reported a net profit of 4.5 billion kronor (427 million euros, $485 million)

between March and May, the second quarter of its financial year.

The net result was little changed from year-earlier levels, and slightly short of

analysts' forecasts, but a brighter outlook still had investors rushing to buy into the

stock.

"The H&M group continues to increase full-price sales, reduce markdowns and

increase market share, showing that customers appreciate our collections and the

improvements we are making to the product assortment and the customer

experience," said CEO Karl-Johan Persson in a statement.

Sales meanwhile rose by 11 percent with analysts welcoming the Swedish group's

apparent success in accelerating its digital performance, especially in online sales

which rose 20 percent in local currencies in the quarter, and 27 percent once

converted back into kronor.

20th Meeting of the Shariah Supervisory Committee of Standard Bank Ltd. held on 27 June 2019 at

Meeting Room, SBL Gulshan Branch. Janab Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, Honorable Chairman of the

Committee presided over the meeting. It was attended by the members of the Committee Janab Kazi

Khurram Ahmed, Dr. Muhammad Saifullah, Managing Director & CEO of the Bank Janab Mamun-Ur-

Rashid, Additional Managing Director Janab Md. Tariqul Azam and Deputy Managing Director Janab Md.

Motaleb Hossain.

Photo: Courtesy

Panel discussion on 'Cyberbullying' organized

by International School Dhaka

Marcel sees a sharp rise in its

TV sales during World Cup

The local electronics

manufacturer witnessed a

sharp rise in the sales of its

LED and smart television

during the ongoing Cricket

World Cup, says a press

release.

Sales of Marcel TV were

gone up by about 30 percent

in the current month

compared to the sales of TV in

last year's June, according to

Nasima Akhter, deputy

assistant director of Marcel.

During the first half of the

current year, she said, the local

brand registered nearly 35

percent growth in the sales of

its television against the sales

of the same period of the

previous year.

Centering the Cricket World

Cup, Marcel has been offering

'Sera Dame Sera TV' to the

television's customers from

the month of May of 2019

under the ongoing digital

campaign.

Under this offer, customers

are likely to get attractive

cashback on the purchase of

24, 32, 39 and 43-inch LED

and smart televisions of

Marcel from any branded

outlet across the country.

By registering the purchased

televisions from any Marcel

outlet all over the country,

customers may get a chance of

buying the local brand's 24-

inch LED TV at Tk 8,990

instead of its regular price of

Tk 12,990; 32-inch LED TV at

Tk 12,990 as against its

regular price Tk 16,500 and

the same size's smart TV at

18,990 instead of the current

price Tk 21,900.

The offer may allow the

customers buying Marcel's 39-

inch smart TV at Tk 19,990 as

against the regular price Tk

31,900 as well as 43-inch

smart TV at Tk 22,990 in lieu

of its present price Tk 34,900.

Dr. Md. Shakhawat Hossen,

Marcel's head of Sales, said

that the demands for

televisions were increased

remarkably across the country

centering the world cup. To

meet the abruptly increased

demands, he said, Marcel

released new models of worldclass

LED and smart

televisions with advanced

features at affordable prices.

Besides, customers are offered

various facility on the

purchase of Marcel TV,

mentioning it he claimed that

sales of Marcel TV were

swelled by manifolds in this

year, specially during the

ongoing Cricket World Cup.

According to Marcel

authorities, customers are

now enjoying 6 months

replacement guaranty; 4 years

guaranty on the panels of

Marcel brand 32, 39, 43, 49

and 55-inch LED and smart

TVs; and easy installment

facility up to 36 months.

Marcel is delivering swift and

best post sales services to its

customers through more than

70 service centers across the

country under the ISO

standard service management

system.

Cyberbullying' is a serious issue and

to raise more awareness about it,

International School Dhaka (ISD) has

recently organized a Panel Discussion

recently in their auditorium, a press

release said.

Doobie Whitecombe, ISD's

Behavioural Counsellor led the Panel

Discussion and addressed various

issues of cyberbullying, such as steps a

school can take to make students feel

safe about cyberbullying, perception of

children who are bullied, steps parents

can take to stop bullying, ways to

prevent bullying, online etiquette and

more.

Lisa Reid, ISD's School Counsellor,

Ildiko Murray, ISD's Secondary School

Principal, Zimraan Rahman, a student

of Grade 8 and a parent of an ISD

student took an active part in the

discussion as panelists. Other students

also joined the discussion to voice their

opinion about the issues addressed.

Additionally, students were also

encouraged to discuss in detail their

thoughts, experiences and the steps

they should take to ensure their own

safety. Further discussions took place

regarding the terms of dos and don'ts

for preventing cyberbullying.

Secondary School Principal Ildiko

Murray added, "Modern tools such as

the Internet and social media can aid

students in conducting research and

getting homework tutoring; but they

have also opened another platform for

bullies. Because cyberbullying takes

place online, it poses special problems

for schools and bullying victims, who

can be taunted anytime and anywhere.

According to UNICEF, 32% of

children in Bangladesh are vulnerable

to online violence, cyberbullying, and

digital harassment. Considering this,

we are raising the issue among our

students and trying to make our school

a safer place for the children."

German companies plan to

invest around 395 mln euro

per year in Russia, says survey

The total amount of investments in

Russia planned by 44 German

companies within the next 12 months is

roughly 395 mln euro, according to a

survey conducted by the Russian-

German Chamber of Commerce

among 141 companies in May-June

2019, reports BSS.

"The readiness to invest among the

interviewed companies rose by almost

one quarter compared with December

2018. Thirty-nine percent of

respondents plan to invest in Russia

within the next 12 months against 30%

in December. Meanwhile, 61% of

respondents plan no investment within

the next year against 70% in December.

Out of 55 companies planning

investment in Russia within the next 12

months, 44 unveiled its amount that

totally stands at around 395 mln euro,

which is considerably lower than the

amount specified by companies in

December 2018 within one year - 628

mln euro," the survey said.

German investors consider

agriculture and food industry (51%), IT

and telecommunications (46%),

machine building and machine tool

building (28%) and energy and

healthcare (26% each) as most

promising sectors of the Russian

economy in terms of growth.

Bank Asia Ltd. for the first time in Bangladesh unveiled a Hajj (Pre-paid) Card with collaboration with Al

Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia, for the Hajj &UmrahPilgrims of Bangladesh. The card is for their easy and

secure financial transactionduring the Hajj period in Saudi Arabia. The Hajj &Umrah Pilgrims in

Bangladesh canload money in the Hajj Card as per their need before departure and can withdraw cash

from any ATM and make all types of payment in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, they need not take any cash carrying

risk. A. Rouf Chowdhury, Chairman of Bank Asia Ltd., has launched the Hajj Card only for Hajj

&Umrah Pilgrims recently . Rume A. Hossain, Chairman of Board Executive Committee, Honorable guest

M. A. Rouf, JP,Ex-Chairman of Mutual Trust Bank Ltd, Md. Arfan Ali, President & Managing Director,

Md. Zia Arfin, Head of International Division of the Bank among other senior executives were present at

the inauguration program held at Bank's Corporate Office.

Photo: Courtesy


MISCELLANEOUS

frIDAY, JUNE 28, 2019

11

Afghan leader in Pakistan to

talk ties, peace with Taliban

The Afghan president on Thursday

praised Pakistan's efforts to advance

the peace process in the region as he

reached out to Islamabad for help in

bringing the Taliban to the

negotiating table with the Kabul

government, Pakistani officials said,

reports UNB.

Ashraf Ghani's remarks came at the

start of his two-day visit to Pakistan,

his first since elections that brought

Prime Minister Imran Khan to power

last year. The visit is also seen as an

attempt by Ghani to reset the oftenstrained

relationship between the two

neighbors amid the stalled peace push

with the Taliban.

Ghani first met with Foreign

Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

before heading into talks with Khan.

He thanked Islamabad and "praised

Pakistan's role in the peace process,"

according to a foreign ministry

statement, as Qureshi assured Ghani

that Pakistan will continue to extend

its full support to the ongoing efforts.

Ghani is also scheduled to meet

Navajo cancer

center will cut

tribal members'

travel time

Colon cancer took a heavy

toll on Loren McCabe's

family. His greatgrandmother

was diagnosed

too late to fight it. His

grandfather didn't want to

travel for treatment because

he felt better protected

within the Navajo Nation's

four sacred mountains.

McCabe's mother died, too,

after choosing treatment so

she could see her son

graduate from college but

having to travel far to receive

it, reports UNB.

None had the option of

being treated on their

reservation, nor do Native

Americans elsewhere in the

United States, despite

having higher rates for some

types of cancer.

A hospital on the rural

Navajo Nation that serves

Navajo, Hopi and San Juan

Southern Paiute tribal

members is changing that

with a cancer treatment

center that offers

chemotherapy and screenings

and takes into account certain

cultural beliefs. For instance,

the new center at the Tuba

City Regional Health Care

Corp. is housed in a

nondescript building because

Navajos believe speaking of

death or disease will invite it

into their lives.

It welcomed its first

patient this month.

Native Americans across

the country rely on the federal

Indian Health Service for

medical care, but the agency

funds only primary care and

refers patients to other

facilities for specialty care, like

cancer.

The Tuba City hospital,

which is run under contract

with IHS, used its own

funding, donations and grants

to open the cancer treatment

center. Chief executive

Lynette Bonar said is the first

of its kind on any Native

American reservation.

Chinese researchers have

improved a diagnostics system

for nuclear fusion devices, paving

the way for producing controlled

thermonuclear fusion power in

the future, reports UNB.

At the temperatures required

for fusion reactions, the matter

can only exist in the plasma state,

free negative electrons and

positive nuclei. Some fusion

reactors use a magnetic field to

confine hot plasma for fusion

actions to take place.

Plasma is hard to control and

contain and is subject to sudden

termination, usually with very

little warning. When a disruption

occurs, the considerable thermal

and magnetic energy contained

within the plasma is suddenly

released very quickly, which can

with President Arif Alvi before

traveling to the eastern city of Lahore

to attend a gathering of businessmen.

The visit comes after dozens of

Afghan political leaders attended a

peace conference in Pakistan last

week to pave the way for further

Afghan-to-Afghan dialogue. Pakistan

has facilitated ongoing peace talks

between Washington and the Taliban

as U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is

trying find a negotiated exit to the 17-

year war in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have refused to talk

directly with Kabul, considering it a

U.S. puppet. The insurgents, however,

say they will sit down with any

Afghan, even a government official,

but as an ordinary citizen and not as a

government representative.

An earlier attempt at restart

Afghan-to-Afghan talks was scuttled

after neither side could agree on the

list of participants.

Ghani is convinced that Pakistan

wields considerable influence over the

Taliban and can play a role in

arranging direct talks with his

government. Islamabad says its

influence over the militant Islamic

movement is overstated.

Khan has been a strident critic of

Islamabad's previous participation in

Washington's so-called war on terror.

However, he promised after winning

the polls last July that his government

would be "partners in peace," and

since then, has said Islamabad would

do whatever is needed for the success

of the peace process.

Ghani's visit comes ahead of the

next round of talks Saturday between

the Taliban and Khalilzad in Qatar,

where the insurgents maintain a

political office.

Since being appointed in

September, Khalilzad has met with all

sides, including the Taliban, Afghan

officials and Pakistan's political and

military leaders. The Taliban

currently control nearly half of

Afghanistan, and are more powerful

than at any time since the 2001 U.S.-

led invasion.

Australia probes reports of

citizen detained in N Korea

The Australian government said Thursday it

was "urgently seeking clarification" on reports

that an Australian had been detained in North

Korea, which the attorney-general described as

a "matter of the utmost seriousness." The

family of Alek Sigley said they had no

confirmation that the 29-year-old Pyongyang

university student had been detained, reports

UNB.

"Alek has not been in digital contact with

friends and family since Tuesday morning

Australian time, which is unusual for him," a

family statement said. "Alek's family hope to

re-establish contact with him soon," it added.

Attorney-General Christian Porter, who is

based in Sigley's hometown of Perth, told Perth

Radio 6PR: "This particular jurisdiction, most

Australians' common sense would tell them,

makes this a matter of the utmost seriousness."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

said it was providing consular assistance to the

family but did not confirm the man's identity.

"The department is urgently seeking

clarification. Owing to our privacy obligations,

we will not provide further comment," a

Plasma diagnostic system improved

to ensure safe nuclear fusion

lead to damages.

Scattering of laser light from

the electrons in plasma is known

as Thomson scattering. It has

been used as an established

method to measure the electron

temperature and density in

fusion devices, assisting in the

identification of critical points of

the fusion plasmas.

Researchers from Aerospace

Information Research Institute,

Chinese Academy of Sciences and

University of Science and

Technology of China (USTC)

tested their new Thomson

scattering diagnostic system in

the Keda Torus eXperiment, a

fusion device at the USTC.

The new system used laser

beams of 200 Hz repetition rate

and 1.5 J pulse energy each as the

department statement said.

Australia does not have an embassy in North

Korea. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann,

who is also based in Perth, said Australia's

embassy in South Korea "has reached out to

relevant officials in North Korea."

"There is obviously some complications in

providing consular assistance into North

Korea," Cormann told reporters in Japan. "We

work through the Swedish government in

North Korea and all of these steps are

underway."

Sigley said on social media that he was

studying Korean literature at Kim Il Sung

University and ran guided tours through a

travel company he founded, Tongil Tours.

He told Australian Broadcasting Corp. two

years ago that he wanted to break down

negative stereotypes about the country.

"If we thought it was unsafe, we would stop

doing these tours," Sigley said. "We wouldn't be

able to bear the moral and legal responsibility

of bringing people to North Korea if it was

dangerous." Official media in North Korea

haven't mentioned the reported arrest.

UN mission in Iraq affirms importance

of helping victims of IS sexual violence

The United Nations mission in Iraq said

on Wednesday that response to the needs of

survivors of sexual violence in the conflict

perpetrated by Islamic State (IS) is needed

to assist victims' recovery, reports UNB.

Marking the annual International Day for

the Elimination of Sexual Violence in

Conflict, the UN mission in Iraq observed

the day with Iraqi government and

Kurdistan Regional Government, the UN

Assistance Mission for Iraq said in a

statement.

Speaking in Baghdad, UN Deputy Special

Envoy to Iraq Alice Walpole urged the Iraqi

government to implement a survivorcentered

approach to the prevention and

response to conflict-related sexual violence,

the statement said.

"For more than three years during the

conflict with the IS, women and girls were

subjected to the most atrocious forms of

violence, including sexual violence, as a

weapon of war," the statement quoted

Walpole as saying.

"It is widely agreed that a holistic

approach is the best way to start rebuilding

the resilience of survivors and minimizing

the risk of re-traumatization, social

exclusion and stigma," Walpole said.

In Erbil, the capital of the semiautonomous

Kurdistan region, Himyar

Abdulmoghni, deputy representative of

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),

stressed the need for action.

"Despite the end of the war and the

recapture of territories in Iraq, these

survivors, in the majority, suffer from

depression," the statement said.

UNFPA, with donors and partners, will

continue to work towards addressing the

needs of survivors in post-conflict Iraq, the

statement added.

source of intense radiation for

scattering and achieved the

accurate detection of the electron

temperature under 5 electron

volts, the energy unit that

electron temperature is often

expressed in terms of.

The time response of the

diagnostic system using a single

laser unit is two times faster than

that of a conventional one.

According to the researchers,

the frequency of laser beam

decides how often the diagnostic

system measure the electron

temperature. In a hot

magnetically confined plasma,

the laser system thus can record

fast changes and measure

turbulence and electron

fluctuations so as to ensure safe

operation of the fusion reactor.

At least 1 person

dead in Vienna

apartment

building blast

Austrian firefighters say they

have found a body at a

residential building in Vienna

following a suspected gas

explosion, reports UNB.

Vienna fire service

spokesman Christian Feiler

said Thursday that the

female body was found

overnight inside the house,

according to the Austria

Press Agency.

Feiler said rescuers using

cameras to inspect the rubble

also located what appeared to

be a second person who

showed no signs of life, and

they were working to recover

that person. Fourteen people

were injured, two of them

seriously, in the blast

Wednesday afternoon that

blew a hole in the building.

Forty-two people were

registered as living in the

building's 22 apartments.

Putin, Trump to

hold talks at G20

summit: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir

Putin and his U.S.

counterpart Donald Trump

will hold a meeting on

Friday on the sidelines of the

Group of 20 (G20) summit,

during which they will

discuss a number of bilateral

and regional issues, Kremlin

aide Yuri Ushakov said

Wednesday, reports UNB.

He said the meeting is

scheduled to be held after

the first session of the

summit, which is slated for

Friday to Saturday in the

Japanese city of Osaka.

"The issues (on the agenda)

are logical: the general state

of bilateral relations, strategic

stability and numerous

regional conflicts, including

Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine,

Venezuela, obviously Iran

and so on," Ushakov was

quoted by Sputnik news

agency as saying.

In particular, the leaders will

discuss the general situation in

Syria and the joint work by the

two countries on normalizing

the situation there, he said.

The meeting is expected to

last for about one hour and will

be held in the presence of

Russian and U.S. national

delegations with four or five

people on both sides, according

to Ushakov.

EU resolutely

supports Iran

nuclear deal,

regrets over

US exit

The European Union (EU) on

Wednesday firmly supported

the Joint Comprehensive

Plan of Action (JCPOA),

commonly known at the Iran

nuclear deal, regretted over

U.S. withdrawal from the deal

and asked Iran to implement

the agreement, reports UNB.

The current and future EU

members of the United Nations

Security Council (UNSC)

expressed a unified position on the

JCPOA, noting that in the current

context, "it is more important than

ever" to preserve the deal and

Resolution 2231, which endorsed

the JCPOA on Iran's nuclear

program. The Security Council

held its semi-annual briefing on the

implementation of Resolution 2231

on Wednesday.

"We, as the current and future

European Union members of the

Council, underline that in the

current context, it is more

important than ever to preserve

the JCPOA and Resolution 2231,"

according to a joint statement of

the six current and future EU

members of the UNSC (Britain,

France, Germany, Belgium,

Poland and Estonia) after the

conclusion of the semi-annual

briefing on the implementation of

Resolution 2231.

"The JCPOA is widely regarded as

fundamental to regional and

international peace and security, a

major achievement in nuclear nonproliferation

and of diplomacy.

Fulfillment of all nuclear-related

commitments under the NPT (Treaty

on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear

Weapons) as well as the JCPOA

remains fundamental to guarantee

the peaceful nature of Iranian nuclear

program," said the statement read

out to reporters by Polish UN

ambassador Joanna Wronecka.

Border aid bill faces

standoff in Congress

over protections

Congress is at a standoff over a $4.6 billion

aid package for the southern border as

House Democrats say a Senate-passed

measure doesn't go far enough to care for

thousands of migrant families and children,

reports UNB.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering a

fresh vote Thursday. Democrats want to add

more protections for the children - including

medical and hygiene standards at facilities,

and a requirement that any death of a minor

be reported within 24 hours. Democratic

leaders will convene early Thursday and

Pelosi's spokesman says they plan to push

the amended measure through the House

quickly.

"The humanitarian emergency at our

southern border challenges the conscience

of America, and we must act," Pelosi said in

a statement after meeting with key

lawmakers late Wednesday. "For the

children, we must do the best we can."

It's a risky stalemate over a border crisis that

has captured global attention amid unsettling

reports of gruesome conditions at federal

facilities and the deaths of migrants and

children. The funding is urgently needed to

prevent the humanitarian emergency on the

U.S.-Mexico border from worsening. Money

runs out in a matter of days.

The GOP-led Senate on Wednesday

passed a bipartisan $4.6 billion measure on

GD-1069/19 (4 x 3)

we`ÿ r/Rb-1604(3)/27/6/19

GD-1067/19 (9 x 3)

a sweeping 84-8 vote. Approval came less

than 24 hours after the Democraticcontrolled

House approved a similar

measure backed by liberals. The House bill,

which contained tougher requirements for

how detained children must be treated,

faced a White House veto threat and was

easily rejected by the Senate.

Pelosi called President Donald Trump

before he departed for the G-20 Summit in

Osaka, Japan, with an appeal to make

changes. Trump seemed open, but it's

unclear if the Senate will accept any

amendments without assurances from the

White House that Trump will sign the

measure into law. Both chambers are

racing the clock to come to an agreement

before leaving town for a weeklong recess.

Trump said passing the legislation was

urgent. "We are moving along very well with

a bipartisan bill in the Senate," he said. "It's

very far along and I believe the House is also

going to also be getting together with the

Senate to get something done. It's

humanitarian aid. It's very important."

Republicans and the White House far

prefer the Senate measure, but Pelosi is

pressing for quick resolution - promising

that Democrats won't knuckle under. Asked

ahead of voting if the House would pass the

Senate bill and send it to Trump, Pelosi

said, "No."


FRIDAy, DHAKA, JuNe 28, 2019, ASHAR 14, 1426 BS, SHAwAl 24, 1440 HIJRI

The water level in Dharla River is rising following the gushing water from the upstream and incessant

rains in Kurigram. The photo was taken from Kathalbari area of Kurigram Sadar uapzila on

Thursday.

Photo: Star Mail

'Bangladesh must empower

local govt bodies'

DHAKA : To achieve upper-middle

income status, Bangladesh must empower

the local government institutions

through administrative and fiscal decentralisation,

a new World Bank report said

Thursday, reports UNB.

It noted that the local government

institutions play a limited role in delivering

services due to limited decision-making

and financial authority, lack of

resources and staff, and weak capacity.

The report - 'Local Government Public

Financial Management System

Assessment' - finds that Local

Government Institutions (LGI) suffer

from weak pubic financial management

practices, hindering their service delivery

capabilities.

Though the LGI's spending as a share

of GDP increased from 0.67 percent in

2001 to 1.1 percent in 2013, it remains

nearly five-time lower than the developing

country's average, World Bank said in

a statement.

In Bangladesh, spending by LGIs

accounts for 7 percent of total government

expenditure, whereas on average it

is 19 percent in developing countries and

28 percent in industrial countries.

The relatively low share of LGI spending

in government's total expenditure

indicates limited fiscal decentralisation.

"We've seen globally that the local government

institutions with the participation

of the communities are best placed

for providing basic services such as education,

healthcare, water supply and sanitation,

and local law and order," said

Dandan Chen, World Bank Acting

Country Director for Bangladesh and

Bhutan.

She said the World Bank has supported

the government's decentralisation agenda

through successive projects.

"A predictable and transparent financial

resource transfer system covering all

the Union Parishads - the lowest tier of

local government - has improved planning,

participatory budgeting, and transparency,"

Chen said.

The assessment identified the LGIs'

weak capacities relating to public financial

management.

These are: limitations in planning and

executing budgets, inadequate book

keeping and financial reporting, lack of

internal controls over cash management

and weaknesses in audit management

process, among others.

In addition, LGIs still largely maintain

transaction records manually. They need

to expand the use of IT in accounting system

and integrate with the government

IBAS ++ system.

IT technologies should be used in

administration and service delivery monitoring.

In the statement, Planning Minister

MA Mannan was quoted as saying that

over the last decade Bangladesh has

improved its policy and legal framework.

"The country has taken concrete steps

to effectively decentralise the local government.

These steps have contributed to

the country's robust economic growth

that benefitted majority of the population,"

he said.

Mannan said the work is not complete

yet. "Our government is committed to

take further measures to empower the

local government," said.

The Assessment also made several recommendations

including further administrative

and fiscal decentralisation; adequate

staffing; stronger monitoring

capacity; improved understanding of

budget; multi-year budgets; timely

release of budget transfers; expanded

revenue collection efforts; and strengthened

LGI audits, and others.

Barguna murder

HC seeks

info about

steps taken

DHAKA : The High Court

on Thursday ordered the

state counsel to inform it by

2pm on Thursday what steps

have been taken against those

involved in the murder of a

Barguna man before his wife

in broad daylight, reports

UNB.

The bench of Justice FRM

Nazmul Ahasan and Justice

KM Kamrul Kader issued the

order after reading reports of

the incident published by

dailies. "It's the failure of the

people," the court said in its

observation.

The court asked Deputy

Attorney General Abdullah Al

Mahmud Bashar to inform it

about steps taken regarding

this incident so far. Barrister

Ruhul Kuddus Talukdar

placed newspaper reports

before the court and drew its

attention to the incident.

Rifat, 22, a resident of

Sadar upazila, was hacked to

death by four miscreants in

front of the main gate of

Barguna College on

Wednesday afternoon. His

wife tried to save him desperately

as the attackers kept

hacking him indiscriminately.

The entire incident was

caught on surveillance camera.

A case was filed with

police by the victim's father in

the morning and a suspect

was arrested for his alleged

involvement in the killing.

Issue red alert at border

to stop escaping of

Barguna killers: HC

DHAKA : The High Court

(HC) yesterday ordered government

to issue red alert at

all the borders of the country

to prevent escape of people

those killed a youth in

broad daylight in Barguna.

A High Court division

bench comprising Justice

FRM Nazmul Ahasan and

Justice KM Kamrul Kader

passed the order.

"The incident is very sad.

Tell inspector general of

police to issue red alert at

borders, so that they

(killers) cannot cross the

borders," the court told

Deputy Attorney General

Abdullah-Al-Mahmud

Bashar.

"A man was hacked to

death in broad daylight on

the street. None but his wife

came forward to stop the

killers. They were making

videos, but did not come

forward. It is the failure of

people. None protested. If

five had come forward,

killers would not get such

guts," the court observed.

The court came up with

the observations as

Supreme Court lawyer

Barrister Ruhul Quddus

Kazal drew court's attention

to this barbaric incident that

took place on June 26.

The court also asked the

state counsel to inform it the

government steps taken

after that incident.

The deputy attorney general

then said already an

accused have been detained

and operation is going on to

arrest the rest.

Hearing in Savar students

lynching case

adjourned till July 15

DHAKA : A Dhaka court yesterday adjourned till July 15 the

hearing of a case lodged over lynching of six students in suspicion

of being members of gang of dacoits in Aminbazar, Savar in

2011.

Thursday was fixed for cross examining second investigation

officer of the case former CID ASP Sirajul Islam, but he did not

appear before court on health ground.

The prosecution then pleaded for time and Dhaka 2nd additional

district and sessions judge Faijunnesa adjourned the

hearing till July 15. A total of 52 witnesses out of the total 92

have so far testified before the court in the case, prosecutor

Shakila Jeasmin Mitu told BSS.

The students were brutally beaten to death on the night of

Shab-e-Barat on July 17, 2011. The killers then filed a robbery

case against the deceased with Savar Model Police Station.

Police on the other hand filed another case against 600 villagers

for lynching the students.

Charge sheet in the case was filed against 60 on January 7,

2013, while Dhaka 2nd additional district and sessions judge

Md Helal Uddin on July 8, 2013, framed charges against them.

The six victims are Shams Rahim Shamim, 18, Touhidur

Rahman Palash, 20, Ibrahim Khalil, 21, Kamruzzaman Kanto,

16, Tipu Sultan, 19 and Sitab Jabir Munib, 20.

The World’s First

Parachute Jump

INTERESTING NEWS

On December 26, 1783, a crowd gathered

outside the observatory in

Montpellier, a French city near the south

coast on the Mediterranean Sea. They

were about to witness the world’s first

successful jump in a parachute.

The observatory was housed inside a

tall mediaeval tower known as “Tour de

la Babotte”. It is one of only two towers

that survive from a time when

Montpellier was encircled by ramparts.

The tower is some 26 meters tall, and for

a while it had been used as an observatory

to study celestial phenomenon such as

eclipses. But that

December afternoon, the

tower was being used for

an entirely earthly purpose.

L o u i s - S é b a s t i e n

Lenormand, the son of a

clockmaker, was about to

make a demonstration.

He had engineered a

contraption that would

allow people to jump

from burning buildings

and land safely on the

ground unhurt. His

device consisted of two

umbrellas attached

together to a rigid wooden

frame. Lenormand

had been practicing the

jump for quite sometime

from a lesser height—the

upper branches of an elm

tree. He also tested his

apparatus with animals,

before he was confident

enough to try it on himself.

On the appointed day,

Lenormand appeared at

the top of the tower. He

waved briefly at the gathering

crowd that was growing eager by

the minute. On a cue, he grabbed the

handle of his gigantic umbrella and

jumped.

Lenormand did not invent the parachute—he

was just the first one to trust

his life on an idea that had existed for

thousands of years. The earliest account

of parachutes were fictional. The

Western Han Dynasty writer Sima Qian

recounts the story of Shun, a legendary

Chinese emperor who ran away from his

murderous father by climbing onto the

top of a high granary and leaping to safety

by grabbing two bamboo hats.

Anisul for advocating

integration of human

rights-based approach

in climate change

adaptation

DHAKA : Law, Justice and

Parliamentary Affairs

Minister Anisul Huq yesterday

said all should advocate

for integration of human

rights-based approach in any

climate change adaptation or

mitigation measures.

"As policies and programmes

are formulated, the

main objective should be to

fulfill human rights.

Principles and standards

derived from international

human rights law - especially

the Universal Declaration of

Human Rights and the core

universal human rights

treaties, should guide all policies

and programming in all

phases of the process," he

said. The law minister said

these while addressing a seminar

on SDGs: Climate

Change and Human Rights at

Hotel Sonargaon yesterday

morning.

Organized by National

Human Rights Commission

(NHRC) and supported by

Human Rights Programme

(HRP) and United Nations

Development Programme

(UNDP), the seminar was

chaired by NHRC chairman

Kazi Reazul Hoque.

Md Abul Kalam Azad,

Principal Coordinator (SDG

Affairs), Prime Minister's

Office (PMO), Dr Md Billal

Hossain, Acting Secretary,

Ministry of Environment,

Forest and Climate Change;

addressed the seminar as special

guests.

Aggrieved leaders of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) set fire to a motorcycle helmet, banners and festoons

in front of the patry's Naya Paltan central office yesterday in protest for forming the central

committee without determining age limit.

Photo: Star Mail

Bangladesh economic growth

continues to be strong: IMF

Bangladesh economic growth continues

to be strong: IMF

DHAKA : Bangladesh has succeeded in

fostering a dynamic and fast-growing

economy with significant poverty reduction

and the country's economic growth

continues to be strong, observed

International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday.

A visiting team of IMF, led by its

Mission Chief for Bangladesh Daisku

Kihara, came up with the observation

while presenting its statement on

Bangladesh economy at a press conference

at Bangladesh Bank (BB) headquarters

in the city.

Kihara said important challenges

remain to realize the authorities' aspiration

to reach upper middle-income status

and preserve the resilience and sustainability

of growth.

He recommended taking reform initiatives

for reducing elevated banking sector

vulnerabilities, creating fiscal space to

address social needs, infrastructure

requirements, and climate change vulnerabilities

and diversifying the economy

by strengthening the business environment

through improved governance.

"Economic growth in Bangladesh continues

to be strong. Robust private consumption

pushed real GDP growth close

to 8 percent in fiscal year 2017-18, while

inflation increased slightly, due mainly to

higher food prices," he added.

He said export growth has picked up

recently, based on solid performance of

the ready-made garments sector and

remittances inflows have also strengthened.

"This has led to a narrowing of the current

account deficit despite higher

imports of capital goods," he opined.

The IMF mission chief said macroeconomic

performance is set to remain

strong in the fiscal 2019-20, with growth

projected at above mid-7 percent and

inflation close to the central bank's target.

In the proposed national budget for fiscal

2019-20, Bangladesh government has

targeted to achieve 8.2 percent GDP

growth containing the inflation rate

below 5.5 percent.

Kihara said monetary policy should be

geared toward containing risks to the

inflation outlook stemming from higher

global oil prices, rapid economic growth,

and elevated inflation expectations.

"Continuous efforts to control the

issuance of National Savings Certificates

should support deepening of the capital

market and reduce budget interest payments,"

he added.

He said fiscal policy should keep the

public debt ratio stable by strengthening

revenue mobilization and containing

spending pressures from higher subsidies,

accompanied by efforts to improve

public investment management.

While fiscal pressures from the

Rohingya refugee crisis appear to be limited

so far, continued financial support

from donors remains essential, he added.

The IMF mission chief said the financial

situation in the banking sector continues

to deteriorate despite strong

growth. "Resolutely addressing the high

level of non-performing loans in the

banking sector is essential to address

financial stability risks and associated fiscal

risks," he added.

He said a comprehensive, credible, and

time-bound action plan could notably

focus on strengthening banking sector

supervision and avoiding regulatory forbearance,

a close assessment of banking

sector assets, tighter criteria and limited

use of rescheduling or restructuring of

loans, improving corporate governance,

reforming the legal system to strengthen

creditor rights, redefining the role and

mandate of state-owned commercial

banks, and developing bank crisis management

and resolution mechanisms.

He said implementation of the new

VAT law in fiscal 2019-20 is a step

towards modernization of the tax regime,

but its revenue impact is uncertain

because of multiple rates and implementation

challenges.

"Efforts to increase tax revenues should

continue. Tax policy reforms should focus

on tax base broadening and ensuring tax

compliance," he added.

Kihara said the IMF stands ready to

support the government's reform efforts

through policy advice and capacity building,

including on monetary and fiscal

policies, financial sector supervision and

regulation, and macroeconomic statistics.

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam, Advisory Editor: Advocate Molla Mohammad Abu Kawser, Managing, Editor: Tapash Ray Sarker, News Editor : Saiful Islam, printed at Sonali Printing Press, 2/1/A, Arambagh 167, Inner Circular Road, Eden Complex, Motijheel, Dhaka.

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